Flight Podcasts [en]

On my flight back home, I listened to a certain number of podcasts. I had some fitful sleep too, but not enough (overnight flight).

After finishing the episode of Heavyweight I was listening to, I immediately went for part 2 of the Search Engine piece on ADHD medication. (I talk about part 1 in a previous post.) As promised, and expected, the story it told was much closer to mine: a woman who discovers methylphenidate in her mid-thirties, which is life-changing for her – and she wonders why it took her so long.

Her story and mine are at the same time very different and very similar. Very different: she started really struggling with reading in childhood after surgery to remove a brain tumour when she was eight. I had none of that. I did, however, have heart surgery when I was six. And what she describes about how her operation is talked about (or not talked about) in her family feels very familiar. What she says about getting the implicit message, again and again, that “everything is ok”, “it’s normal”, “nothing is wrong”.

She was very objectively struggling as a child, and I think I can honestly say I was not. Academically, that is. Socially was another matter. Being good at school ended up defining me. At one point in the podcast, PJ and his guest talk about the two different paths they ended up going down, regarding their difficulties in school: “I’m not even going to try” and “I’ll manage, whatever the cost”. I think I spent a lot of my life “managing” without even realising there was a cost. It was “normal”, right. I do remember one episode, though, where I was getting a bad evaluation (it had to do with presenting science reports). I made some effort at improvement, and still got the same bad evaluation. My reaction was clearly “forget about this”. Thankfully my parents intervened, we talked things through with the teacher and started over with more support for me and an assurance that my efforts would be rewarded.

This reminds me of the Hidden Brain episode on perfectionism I listened to a few weeks back. It was a revelation to me. I’ve always seen myself as “over perfectionism”. I understood, as a teenager, that wanted to do things “too well” was keeping me from doing them. So I made a deal with myself that it was better to “just do, even not well” than “not do, perfectly”. And generally, what I do still is viewed as at least “very good”. I thought I had cracked perfectionism. For me, perfectionists are people who spend hours doing and redoing their tasks until they are perfect. People who are hard workers.

I’m none of that. I’m a first draft person. Quickly throw something together and be done with it. One might even say, on my internal compas, minimalistic. You know, Pareto’s Law – I do the 20%.

But listening to the podcast, I was shocked to hear that my strategy was in fact another kind of perfectionism. The drive behind is the same. The bar I set for myself is still impossibly high. Only, I set myself up to fail reaching it, from the start. If I don’t really try, then it makes sense I won’t reach it, right? If I didn’t really give it my all, then it hurts less when it’s not as good as it could.

Looks like I’ve been fooling myself all these years, and I am indeed a perfectionist, despite my frantic attempts not to. I have to say this realisation upset me – not because I was wrong, but because it forced me to realise that there is where lies the source of the excruciating pressure I put on myself.

Back to the Search Engine episode: the first part had bothered me also by the use of “amphetamine” (and “speed”) to cover ADHD medication. Methylphenidate is not amphetamine, and at least in Switzerland, amphetamine is not prescribed unless there fails to be a result with methylphenidate. I thought the tone was a bit dramatising of the drug (which is understandable given PJ’s personal history). So, I’m really glad this second part showed another type of ADHD story. In a way, it’s all very well to want to throw away the meds when you’ve lived your whole life on them, but that’s also maybe forgetting that they helped you bring you where you are. I’m surrounded by so many people who have gone through life with no diagnosis and no meds (like me), only to come crashing down somewhere in their forties or fifties. And at least in Switzerland, getting an ADHD diagnosis as an adult is hard, so imagine try to get that sorted out when you’re reached a state where you’re barely functioning anymore.

Unlike PJs guest, I take my medication even on my days off, because what I struggle with (without) is simply managing daily tasks, emotions, life in general. It’s not “just” for reading or concentrating. It’s to reign in some of my hyperactivity so that I can actually get somewhere, and not feel too shitty while I’m getting there.

So, definitely an episode to listen to, probably before the first part, actually.

After that I continued with Radiolab’s Poison Control. A rerun that I hadn’t heard the first time around (I think), and as always, very interesting. I’m not sure it’s the kind of episode that’s supposed to make you cry, however – the fact I was in tears listening to it probably says more about my mental state on that plane in the middle of the night than about the podcast itself. Do listen.

One of my very favorite podcasts is Meta de Choc, a French podcast on “why we believe what we believe”. It often covers topics linked to New Age spirituality – not as innocuous as you may think. The host, Elisabeth Feytit, does an extraordinary job of explaining very clearly what is at stake, why these beliefs are problematic, and where they stem from. This episode was on modern day witches (think wicca) and the sacred feminine. If you understand French, I definitely encourage you to listen. It’s possible that like me, you’ll feel a mixture of gratitude (and relief) that somebody is putting in words your concerns, and discouragement at how difficult/impossible it is to talk somebody out of this type of belief. As somebody said, you can’t reason somebody out of the position they didn’t reason themselves into in the first place.

To continue losing hope in humanity (what was I thinking?) I followed with the first three episodes of The Kids of Rutherford County. Seriously, in what dystopian world is it even imaginable to consider throwing elementary school age kids into jail (handcuffs, jumpsuit and all – as young as 8 years old) for a schoolyard fight scene? I listened at those three episodes in shock and disbelief. What is WRONG with people? I just don’t have the words (and you know me, usually I have more than enough words). It boggles the mind.

For good measure, I did include two Heavyweight episodes (Nick & The Elliotts) in my listening queue. That’s probably what saved my remaining sanity.

Aside from podcast recommendations: I made it home, tired (couldn’t stay awake in the train from Geneva, was afraid of missing my stop) and drained, but happy to see Oscar, who was visibly happy to see me too. It’s rainy and foggy and windy and stormy and cold here. I’m glad I planned on having a day off to settle before going back to work on Tuesday. I’ll go back to trying to fix my Lightroom sync problems (very annoying), eat something, watch a series or two and have an early night (easy with the jetlag). Bright side of things: I should be up nice and early tomorrow morning!

Looking at 2022 [en]

[fr] Un récapitulatif de mon année 2022

I haven’t written in ages (a familiar refrain) and figured I would use the pretext of 2022 coming to a close to jot a few things down. No particular order, just follow my brain.

I’m still listening to a lot of podcasts. Here are some: Meta de choc, On The Media, This American Life, Vethologie, Radiolab, Conspirituality, Atlas Obscura, The Moth, Hidden Brain, The Ezra Klein Show, NPR Politics, Short Wave, Science Vs, The Pulse, TWiV, Planet Money, Vacarme, Fresh Air, 99 Percent Invisible, The Daily (NYT), Brian Lehrer, Consider This, Hacking Humans, Trade Offs, Throughline, My Cat’s Tale, Gates Investigates… and Sleep With Me when I can’t sleep. Just realised writing this list that I’ve dropped a lot of Gimlet shows now they’ve gone Spotify-only (I use overcast to listen to my podcasts). In the “serialised investigations” department, The Trojan Horse Affair (Serial), Will Be Wild (Trump, Inc) and The Disappearance of Nuseiba Hasan (Conviction season 3).

After finishing Star Trek The Next Generation, I’m deep in Deep Space Nine, which is absolutely wonderful. I’ve also picked up (intermittently) the last books of the Foreigner series, that I’ve been reading for years now and highly recommend.

This has been a year of managing to do judo reasonably regularly (of course, still also regularly absent because of injuries), singing, hiking. Not much sailing and just a little skiing, but I hope to do more next year. I tried stand-up paddling and to my surprise, really enjoyed it and am planning on taking it up this spring. Along with snow-shoeing this winter. I figure that with 50 on the horizon, I should make sure I also have physical activities available that are a little less “rough” than judo and skiing.

The big event of the year has been starting a new job. It’s with the national train company, in the field of energy maintenance, near Bern. Quite a change from what has been my professional life until now, in a way (and I’m glad about it), but also a perfect continuation for my interest in management, strategy, and basically, how a business runs. I’m learning a lot and improving my German – at the same time, discovering what it is to function in an environment where I’m linguistically challenged, not something I’m used to. I’m really enjoying the environment I’m in and super happy about my new position.

2022 is the first complete year I’ve been through since my ADHD diagnosis and treatment (end 2021). And I can really say that it has changed my life. I finally feel alive and not surviving. I started being able to accomplish things I wanted to again. I stopped feeling overwhelmed all the time. My life felt like it was like it was supposed to be, instead of feeling like there was something horribly wrong with me all the time. Despite the stress of not having a job during the first part of the year, I was able to enjoy my life and learn more and more about how I function and how to manage myself. I already had quite a lot figured out (or I wouldn’t have made it this far), but the tweaks I started putting in place really made a difference. Long-term personal projects didn’t seem like something out of reach anymore. I even felt up to inviting my family over for Christmas.

Starting my new job has of course been a big change in the way I organise my life, and I do feel I have temporarily backtracked in some of my progress (personal admin and projects, social life). But it’s pretty normal and I’m not too worried that I’ll catch up again with myself over the coming year.

During 2022 I also lost 10kg – on purpose, of course. I’d been slowly putting on weight over the years, and it sped up these last couple of years. Coming close to 90kg on the scale got me serious about doing something. My ADHD treatment also helped, certainly (better impulse control). I was followed by a nutritionist who really helped me tweak my food habits for better balance and more reasonable portions. I have never been on a diet in my entire life and didn’t intend to – I just knew I was eating “too much” and probably not making the best decisions regarding what to eat, and when (I never looked at the calorie count on food, so for example had no idea cheese was so… energy-dense). Overall the effort required was minimal, I feel better in my body (mobility) and fit in my large collection of 14L trousers again.

I’m still active managing the Feline Diabetes community I founded nearly 5 years ago on Facebook. 2022 is clearly the year the community for veterinarians took off (1.2k members and counting). I was even invited to give a talk on the occasion of the annual veterinary congress in France. An accomplishment I’m pretty proud of!

I still have my coworking space eclau, but have really had trouble getting it going again after the pandemic. I’ve also kept a small independent side-business in consulting, but I’m keeping it very minimal right now as I want to focus my energy on my new job and my personal activities and projects first and foremost. I continued my training in the Palo Alto brief therapy approach, and that is also on the back burner until next summer, when I’ll be going to Paris for a course in hypnosis and brief therapy. I should have gone this year but I got covid just before I was supposed to leave.

Overall, 2022 was a really good year for me, and I can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store!

The Future of Fake News [en]

[fr] Ce n'est pas souvent que la technologie me fait peur. Ça doit être que j'ai plus de 35 ans, maintenant. On peut maintenant, à partir de 20 à 40 minutes d'échantllons vocaux, faire dire ce qu'on veut à quelqu'un en tapant le texte en question. On peut également "animer" un visage dans une vidéo avec ses propres expressions. Ce n'est pas encore parfait, certes, mais on y sera très vite. Les "fake news" ont encore de beaux jours devant eux...

I’ve listened to the first half of Radiolab’s “Breaking News” episode and I’m terrified. Or maybe I’m just over 35. In a nutshell, the time where you can easily produce convincingly real “fake audio” and “fake video” (and mash the two together) is just around the corner.

This is the future of fake news. If people can be fooled by fact-less text, fake quotes stuck next to photos, photoshopped pictures and memes, even though we know all these things exist… What is going to happen when pretty much anybody can make anybody else (including 45 or other political figures) say anything?

At one point in the distant future we might get over it. We may learn not to trust anything recorded anymore, because it might be fake. We might fall back on face-to-face presence, being there in meatspace, seeing and hearing unmediated.

I have no concern that forensic scientists will be able to tell doctored media from undoctored media. But that will not help the court of public opinion much.

I’m worried that we, as a society, a culture, will not be able to learn fast enough to stay ahead of how technology is changing our access to information, and that this will be the end of the world as we know it.

Hopefully, it’s just that I’m over 35.



Podcasts I’m Listening To [en]

[fr] Les podcasts que j'écoute...

The list of podcasts I listen to has grown a lot during these last months. So much that I have trouble keeping up. Here they are, if you want to get infected too:

  • Mystery Show: solving mysteries, seriously. Like, detective stories without a crime.
  • On the Media: a meta-show about the media.
  • Savage Lovecast: your favorite gay sex-advice columnist
  • Freakonomics Radio: what can we learn about the world through data?
  • Invisibilia: about the hidden forces that shape our lives
  • Serial: true crime, eagerly awaiting season 2
  • Death, Sex & Money: the stuff we don’t normally talk about. Talked about here.
  • Planet Money: they manage to make money stuff understandable and interesting to me (quite a feat).
  • Love + Radio: love. Stories.
  • Radiolab: sciency, geeky, my first podcast love. About all sorts of interesting stuff, from big ideas like death and time to small things like buttons.
  • Reply All: a show about the internet and its hidden corners
  • Startup: raw behind the scenes stories of starting a business.
  • 99% Invisible: design. But you didn’t know design included all this stuff.
  • This American Life: stories. Real stories. Each week, a theme, and stories around it.
  • The Moth: live storytelling, on stage, of true stories. Be ready to laugh and cry, and be taken on the rollercoaster of emotions that is the human life.
  • Snap Judgment: more storytelling, slightly different atmosphere. It took me a few episodes to click, and now I love it.
  • Limetown: like a TV series. But audio, and in a podcast. Fiction.
  • TED Radio Hour: TED talks, radio-ified.
  • Note to Self: the human side of technology. How it’s changing our lives. How we can live with it without it completely taking over our lives.
  • Sur les Docks [fr]: newly discovered, because I’ve been looking for high-quality francophone podcasts. Takes you places.

Some others, that I have in my list but am not listening to (yet?):

Good luck… devil grin

A Patchwork Post From The Chalet [en]

[fr] Plein de choses en vrac. Y'a des liens qui mènent vers des trucs en français.

I keep falling into this trap. I don’t blog about something because there is something else, more important, that I should blog about before and haven’t got around to writing.

In this case, it’s the fact that just over a week ago, I finally got to see Joan Baez live on stage. I’ve been listening to her since I was seven or so. I know most of her songs. I’ve always listened to her. And a few years ago I decided that I should really go and see her live soon, because, you know, she’s not getting any younger, and at some point people who spend their lives touring and singing on stage might decide that they want to stay at home and paint instead.

Joan Baez at Paléo

And she was coming to Paléo, in Nyon, just next door. I think I cried during the whole show — not from sadness, just from too much emotion. I was glad to be there that evening, because it was the evening to witness, with Patti Smith and Robert Plant, too. Isn’t it strange how somebody can be such an important part of your life (the soundtrack of many of my years, like Chris de Burgh) — and yet they have no idea you exist?

If you’ve never listened to Joan Baez, just dive into YouTube.

During the drive to the chalet a story came up on the podcast I was listening to which is exactly about that. The Living Room, a story from the podcast Love + Radio, which I’m going to add to my listening list as soon as I have a good enough data connection.

I finished reading “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” by Jon Ronson, after devouring “The Psychopath Test” these last weeks. It’s a great book. Anybody spending time online should read it. It’s important. With great power comes great responsibility, but we the people on Twitter and Facebook are not aware of the power we wield. The power to destroy lives. To get the gist of it, use 17 minutes of your life to watch Jon’s TED Talk.

My reading of this book coincides with the unleashing of online fury over the killing of Cecil the Lion. It has disturbed me deeply. I feel an urge to dig through my archives and see what my reactions to Jonah Lehrer and Justine Sacco were, because I remember the stories. I’m worried of what I may find. I will be watching myself closely in future.

I also find myself shy in speaking up against those piling on against Cecil’s killer. Oh, he has done wrong. And I have no love for hunters, and no love for hunters of big cats. But what is missing here is proportionality. And I am scared that by speaking up I will find myself faced with a wall of “you’re either with us or against us”, ie, if you don’t join the mob then you’re defending the killing of lions. Just the way last year I was accused of “encouraging pedophiles” and whatnot because I was opposed to a stupid piece of “anti-pedophile” legislation. To some extent, I feel like I have let myself be silenced. Parallels to be drawn with the harassment episode I went through earlier this year (more on that, someday, probably).

This interview of Jon Ronson for On The Media also gives a very good summary of his book.

(My only gripe with Jon Ronson and his book is that a blog is not a post, dammit!)

Two local newspaper articles made me react today on Facebook (they’re in French). One about “the ideal age to conceive” for women, and one about a carer who got bitten by a Komodo dragon at the Lausanne Vivarium.

The first made me jump up because alongside statistics saying “if you want three kids you should get to work at this age” we find things like “you still have a 40% chance of conceiving at 40” and “don’t worry, it’s still quite possible to have children after 37”. Well, at 40 your chances of success through IVF are more around 10-15% — I’m curious where that “40%” comes from, and what it’s supposed to mean. Certainly not “4 attempts to conceive out of 10 succeed” but more “4 women out of 10 who are ‘trying’ (define that) succeed”. Another topic that’s keeping me from blogging about other stuff, because I have so much more to write about not having children. Well, you’ll get it in tidbits, it seems.

As for the second, well, I was expecting a “scare” piece. “Look, the dangerous animal.” Or “look, another negative story for the Vivarium” (which was running out of funding a couple of years ago). To my surprise the article was really good (edit: wow! they seem to have changed the title!), with the carer explaining how she was actually responsible for how the animal had reacted, and that showed how affectionate she was towards it despite the bite. I realised that reading the title had prepared me for “bad journalism”. But going back to it, the title was quite neutral: “Vivarium carer bitten by komodo dragon”. And so I wonder: how could the title have been better? Tricky.

Up in the mountains, in my chalet with almost no data connection, it’s easy to slow down and “do nothing”. A couple of weeks ago I decided I was going to consciously try and do less things in parallel, both on a micro and a macro level. Monotask more, multitask less. Try and keep my number of “open projects” under control. My podcast-hopping brought me to the “Bored and Brilliant Boot Camp” episode the other day. It really drove home the fact that my brain needs downtime. Bored time. And probably a holiday (I haven’t had a “real holiday” (= with no work to do) in much too long, and I’m starting to feel it. How did that happen? I thought I was over that.) So now, I’m paying more attention to where my phone is, and trying to keep it more in my bag and less in my hand, more in the other room and less just next to me.

That’s it for today, folks. My plan is to write again tomorrow. Or the day after. Let’s see if it materialises.

A Post About Many Things [en]

[fr] Des choses en vrac!

It happened again. As time goes by and things to say pile up, the pile weighs heavy on my fingers and blog posts don’t get written. Been there, done that, will happen again.

First, a heartfelt thanks to all the people who reacted to my post about being single and childless, here and on facebook. Rest assured that I actually rather like the life I have — it’s full of good things. But it’s very different from the one I imagined. I will write more on this, but exactly when and what I am not sure yet. Also, one can grieve not being a mother but not want to adopt or be a single parent. There is a whole spectrum of “child desire”, and it’s not at all as clear-cut as “no way” and “I’ll do anything”. Check out “50 Ways to Not Be a Mother“.

Most of my working hours are devoted to running Open Ears and a series of digital literacy workshops at Sonova. I’m still way behind on my accounting.

Tounsi (and his pal Quintus) went to see an animal behaviour specialist, because I was starting to get really fed up cleaning after Tounsi’s almost daily spraying in the flat (thankfully his pee doesn’t smell too strongly and I’m good at spotting and cleaning). I plan to write a detailed article on the experience in French, but it was fascinating and I regret not going earlier. As of now, spraying is pretty much under control, and I’m in the process of finally chucking and replacing two pieces of furniture which are soiled beyond salvation.

What I learned:

  • outdoor cats can also need stimulation (play, hunting…)
  • even a 20-second “play session” where the cat lifts his head to watch a paper ball but doesn’t chase it can make a difference, if this kind of thing is repeated throughout the day.
  • making cats “work” for their food can be taken much further than feeding balls or mazes: change where the food is all the time (I wouldn’t have dared do that, didn’t know if it was a good idea or not, but it is); hide kibble under upturned yoghurt cups; throw pieces of kibble one by one for the cat to run after (another thing to do “all the time”); use an empty egg-box to make kibble harder to get to; etc. etc.
  • clicker training for things like touching a reluctant cat: my baby steps were way too big and my sessions way too long
  • Feliway spray is way more efficient than the diffusor (at least to stop spraying)
  • cleaning with water (or water and neutral soap) is really not enough, there are products to spray on soiled areas which break down urine molecules (even if you can’t smell anything, the cat can)
  • spraying can simply be a “vicious circle” — it seems to be the case with Tounsi: he sprays in the flat because it’s a habit, and because there are “marking sign-posts” (ie, smell) everywhere

While we’re on the topic of cats, I’m playing cat-rescuer and looking for homes for Capsule and Mystik (together, used to living indoors but that could change) and Erika (has been living outdoors for 5 years but super friendly).

I don’t think I mentioned StartUp podcast or Gimlet Media here yet. Anyway: want great podcasts? Listen to Startup, Reply All, and Mystery Show. And in addition to Invisibilia and those I mention in that article, grab Planet Money (I swear, they make it interesting even for me!), Snap Judgement (great storytelling), and This American Life.

Reading? Spin, Axis, and Vortex, by Robert Charles Wilson.

Something I need to remember to tell people about blogging: write down stuff that’s in your head. It works way better than doing research to write on something you think might be interesting for people.

Procrastinating and generally disorganised, as I am? Two recent articles by James Clear that I like: one on “temptation bundling” to help yourself do stuff while keeping in mind future rewards (delayed gratification, anybody?) and the other on a super simple productivity “method”. I read about it this morning and am going to try it.

Related, but not by Clear: How to Get Yourself to Do Things. Read it, but here’s the takeaway: when you procrastinate, the guilt builds up and you feel worse and worse. But as soon as you start doing it gets better. And so the worst you’ll ever feel about not doing something is just before you start. Understanding this is helping me loads.

Enough for today. More soon, or less soon.

Thanks to Marie-Aude who gave me a nudge to get back to this blog. I’d been in the “omg should write an article” state for weeks, and her little contribution the other day certainly played a role in me putting “write CTTS article” in my list of 6 things for the day. Merci 🙂

Here Comes Everybody: Journalism and Ease of Publication [en]

I’m reading “Here Comes Everybody“. I’m taking notes.

In the chapter “Everyone is a media outlet”, Clay explains very well what is the matter with the journalism industry. (He has since then co-authored a report on the future of the news industry, which I need to read.)

In a world where everyone is a publisher, journalism is becoming an activity rather than a profession — activity which can be carried out both by those employed by the news industry and the “amateurs” (oh heck). A profession serves to solve a hard problem, that requires specialisation. Reproduction, distribution, and categorisation are now orders of magnitude easier and cheaper than before: professionals are no longer required for these activities.

Look at iStockPhoto and professional photography: the price of professional photography not so much due to the incredible quality of the professional’s work, in many cases, but comes from the difficulty of finding the right photo. iStockPhoto helps solve that problem, so the photo now costs 1$ instead of 500$, can very well have been shot by an amateur, and be no lesser in quality than a more expensive, specially-commissioned professional one.

As it has become easier to publish, public speech and action have become more valuable and less scarce, just like the ability to read and write became more commonplace with the invention of movable type, and scribes lost their raison-d’être.

Journalism is a profession that seems to exist because of accidental scarcity of published material due to the expense of publishing in the physical world. Scarcity (and therefore cost) is not an indication of importance: water is more important to life than diamonds, but that doesn’t make it expensive (The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith).

When everybody had learned to read and write, and scribes weren’t needed anymore, we didn’t call everybody a scribe, we just stopped using the word; reading and writing is ubiquitous and so not rare enough to pay for, even if it’s a really important skill. Scribes as a profession died out.

As for music and movie industry: the service they performed was distributing music and movies, but now anybody can move music and video easily and cheaply. The problem they were solving does not exist anymore, and so they are trying to maintain it by turning on their customers and trying to make moving movies and music harder artificially.

Because it’s so easy to publish, making something public is less the momentous decision that it used to be. The general criticism of the low quality of online content has to do with the fact we are judging “communications” content (conversation, often) by “broadcast” content standards of interest and quality. We look at Facebook statuses and think “was that really worth broadcasting?” — not realising that it was never intended for broadcast in the first place. It was not meant for us. If you eavesdrop on a dining hall conversation at the table next to you, doubtless you’ll find it uninteresting, but you won’t think “why are they speaking so loud I can hear what they’re saying?”

There used to be a distinction between communications and broadcast media, which has now broken down. Broadcast is one-to-many, a one-way megaphone which attempts to reach as many people as possible of a target audience. Communications, on the other hand, are two-way conversations for specific recipients, one-to-one. Now we also have many-to-many, communications tools which enable group conversation. There is a continuum between broadcast and communications rather than a sharp break neatly following the lines of the technology used (TV/radio vs. phone/fax). Communications and broadcast are mixed in the same medium, and we make the mistake of judging communications by the standards of broadcast.

Solar Impulse fait demi-tour et la presse fait… trois petits tours? [fr]

Update mardi 14 juin, 12h30: Solar Impulse effectue en ce moment sa deuxième tentative pour rallier le Bourget, à suivre en live sur le site!

Bon, écrire un titre, je vous l’accorde, ce n’est pas toujours simple. Mais franchement, depuis que Solar Impulse a annoncé que l’avion retournait sur Bruxelles plutôt que de continuer vers Paris, je suis simplement scandalisée par la piètre qualité de certains titres et papiers rapportant l’incident.

Solar Impulse décolle de Bruxelles, dans les nuages. Photo : Claude M. CAUWE.

Primo, les sources accessibles à tout un chacun via le site de Solar Impulse, en particulier:

Malgré mes rapports professionnels avec Solar Impulse ces temps, je n’ai pas eu accès à des infos privilégiées sur ce coup-ci, donc tout ce à quoi j’ai eu accès, le reste du monde y avait accès aussi (y compris les journalistes).

Au moment du demi-tour, il était très clair pour moi que:

  • André n’avait pas pu rentrer le train d’atterrissage, mais que ce n’était pas un gros problème en soi de voler avec, si ce n’est que ça freinait un peu l’avion
  • L’avion avait décollé tard de Bruxelles (18h36), avec donc peu de temps de vol “jour” pour stocker du soleil
  • Il y avait pas mal de nuages, pas mal de vent, et je crois même avoir entendu qu’il s’est fait pleuvoir un peu dessus
  • Avec un fort vent de face, l’avion avançait à 17 noeuds au sol au lieu des 30 escomptés: les batteries allaient donc se décharger plus vite, et le vol durer plus longtemps.

Quelle n’a donc pas été ma surprise (et ma déception!) quand j’ai commencé à voir pleuvoir sur Twitter des tweets parlant de “problèmes techniques” et même “d’incidents en série”. J’avais l’impression de n’avoir pas assisté au même vol! C’est peut-être une question de définitions, mais pour moi, “météo” ça ne rentre pas dans la catégorie “incident technique”.

Je ne mentionne même pas l’utilisation généreuse du mot “échec”, qui, franchement, pour un prototype qui effectue un vol encore jamais tenté auparavant et dans des conditions relativement peu favorables (météo), est un peu… ingrate?

Vous voulez des exemples? En voici.

Lesoir.be, pour qui “Solar Impulse fait demi-tour suite à des problèmes techniques” (on lit même dans l’article “L’avion a connu de nombreuses difficultés depuis son départ de Bruxelles.”) — lesoir.be qui s’est d’ailleurs déjà distingué en faisant subir un changement de sexe à la merveilleuse Elâ Borschberg, qui administre de main de maître le blog, le compte Twitter, la page Facebook, le supporters’ program, et tant d’autres choses.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/tdgch/status/79644994977280000″]

La Tribune de Genève titre hier “Problèmes techniques: Solar Impulse fait demi-tour et retourne à Bruxelles” et ne se rattrape pas aujourd’hui avec “Solar Impulse atterrit à Bruxelles après une grosse frayeur” (coupable du même titre: 24heures — et en passant c’est vraiment bête, parce que leur article n’est pas si mal).

7sur7 nous dit que “Solar Impulse rebrousse chemin pour soucis techniques“. TF1 ne nous étonne pas avec “Solar Impulse et le coup de la panne” (mythique, à ce stade j’imagine déjà l’avion rentrer en clopinant à Bruxelles, tracté par un petit avion de tourisme). A la RSR: “Un premier échec technique pour Solar Impulse“.

Ladépêche.fr nous annonce “Echec de l’avion solaire” — là, c’est tout le projet qui tombe à l’eau, visiblement. (On note en passant l’utilisation d’une image de synthèse de l’avion qui date de Mathusalem, alors que rien que sur Flickr, on a déjà bien mieux — j’ose à peine mentionner les magnifiques images disponibles de la part du service de presse de Solar Impulse.)

En anglais, on tweete des choses comme

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/entrepreneur_uk/status/79837567809372161″]

qui donnent l’impression que l’avion n’ira finalement pas à Paris (vous savez comme c’est, Twitter: on ne lit pas toujours les articles, on voit passer les titres, et ceux-ci sont du coup d’autant plus importants comme véhicule d’information). Ici aussi, “Solar-powered plane abandons Paris flight“, où l’on rapporte allègrement “a series of technical problems” et “a series of glitches”, du resucé de l’AFP, en fait.

Après, il y a aussi les petits détails qui nous montrent à quel point un certain journalisme est du copier-coller de communiqués (on le savait déjà, mais au point d’y laisser des guillemets au mauvais endroit, ça donne vraiment l’impression qu’on ne lit pas ce qu’on colle):

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/stephtara/status/79854855803514881″]

Guillemets mal placés, on regarde même plus ce qu'on copie

France Soir essaie de corriger la citation (“Solar Impulse: Echec et demi-tour“) mais du coup, André Borschberg se retrouve porte-parole plutôt que pilote:

Solar Impulse : Echec et demi-tour | France Soir


Heureusement, il y a aussi des choses bien.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/BreakingNews/status/79711854166949888″]

Futura-Sciences: “L’avion solaire de Solar Impulse n’a pas pu atteindre Le Bourget“.

Aerobuzz: “Solar Impulse contraint au demi-tour“.

RTBF a pris la peine d’inviter André sur leur plateau et a fait un petit sujet bien informatif, j’ai trouvé.

Il y a aussi les tweets d’André (je suis très fière de mon élève), son compte-rendu sur le blog, l’atmosphère sur Twitter entre “suiveurs de #solarimpulse“, et les magnifiques vidéos tournées par l’équipe multimédia. Celles-ci, par exemple, du décollage et de l’atterrissage à Bruxelles:

Je vous conseille aussi de lire l’article de Martin Gillet, dans la même veine que celui-ci: “Why Solarimpulse’s return to Brussels is not a failure“.

Nouvelles musiques: adieu la radio [fr]

[en] Years ago, when I sold my car, the radio stopped being my source for new music. Now it's TV series, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Il y a des années de cela, lorsque j’avais une voiture, je passais chaque jour du temps sur la route à écouter de la musique et… à chanter avec. Des périodes CD (c’était avant l’iPhone!) et des périodes radio. J’aimais la radio qui ne parlait pas, qui passait simplement de la musique.

C’était là que je découvrais de nouveaux artistes. Grâce à la radio que j’achetais des CDs (toujours ou presque dans les bacs à 10-15 balles).

Quand j’ai vendu ma voiture en 2007, j’ai perdu non seulement mon local de chant préféré (heureusement je chante avec Café Café, sinon mes pauvres cordes vocales se ratatineraient) mais aussi ma source de nouvelle musique.

En fait, j’ai aussi perdu mon lieu principal d’écoute de musique. J’aime travailler dans le silence, je n’arrive pas à lire ou écrire en musique. Alors j’écoute de la musique quand je fais le ménage ou quand je retouche des photos mais… c’est vrai que j’aime le silence.

Aujourd’hui, piétonne, j’écoute aussi de la musique en marchant ou dans les transports publics, mais c’est très frustrant pour moi de devoir “la fermer” et de ne pas chanter à plein poumons comme j’en ai envie. (Non, je ne suis pas “celle-là” dans le train qui chante pour tout le wagon avec son casque dans les oreilles…)

En plus, merci iPhone, la musique a maintenant une rude concurrence: les podcasts. Je suis accro à On The Media et à Radiolab, par exemple. (Si vous avez des émissions de qualité comparable à me proposer en français, je suis preneuse, hein.)

La radio a donc complètement disparu de mon radar — si ce n’est sous forme de ces podcasts, ou lorsque j’y passe 😉

Depuis quelques années, donc, j’ai conscience que mon “répertoire” musical stagne. Je n’achète plus de CDs depuis longtemps (un des derniers était Back to Bedlam de James Blunt) et malgré ce que pourraient croire certains, je ne suis pas une grande pirate: trop paresseuse pour télécharger “illégalement”, je me contente d’acheter des morceaux isolés sur iTunes. En passant, j’ai la sensation de payer pour le service plus que pour la musique (vous m’entendez, là-bas?)

Source première de nouvelles musiques? Les séries TV (et films), Grey’s Anatomy en tête. Un petit coup de Shazam pour identifier le morceau qui passe, et hop, j’achète.

Deuxième source? C’est ça qui me fait écrire aujourd’hui: mes fils d’actualité sur Facebook et Tumblr. Mes amis qui partagent vidéos et morceaux qu’ils aiment. Parfois, j’achète.

On The Media: Hyperlocal and Numbers [en]

[fr] Trois sujets à écouter sur On The Media: un sur le journalisme hyperlocal (qui me fait penser au Bondy Blog -- d'ailleurs, pourquoi a-t-on le Lausanne Bondy Blog et non le Renens Bondy Blog? mystère...), et deux sur l'abus de chiffres dans les médias et le chiffre magique 50'000.

I’ve started catching up with my On The Media backlog. Here are two pieces I suggest you listen to.

Is Hyperlocal the Future of News?

This reminds me of Bondy Blog. Started by a bunch of Swiss journalists covering civil unrest around Paris in 2005 from the Paris suburbs themselves, it has since then been handed over to young local reporters. Bondy Blogs have sprouted since then in various cities, including Lausanne and Vernier — though I remain convinced that the Lausanne Bondy Blog should be the Lausanne Bondy Blog at all, but the Renens Bondy Blog. Isn’t it about putting the local spotlight on the underpriviledged suburbs?

Are Bondy Blogs hyperlocal?

Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts followed by Prime Number

You probably know my distaste for numbers and our obsession with metrics (including in the media, which is the topic of these two pieces). Refresher: my rant about un-scientific Twitter metrics, fan-quoting Seth Godin, and Suw‘s heartily recommended “Metrics” series: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. (I’m not dead against analytics, though. Just cautious.)

Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts: The Politics of Numbers in Global Crime and Conflict is a book, and it’s now in my Amazon shopping basket.