Friday High Five: Winning and Losing, Reviewing Nothing and an Eagle Piggyback

5 People Respect This

Much has been said about internet abuse by trolls and nasty commenters,but on the web’s most popular sites, it’s a trend that’s gone largely unchecked.

Now, as Google attempts to improve YouTube’s infamously vitriolic comments by requiring a Google+ account to post a response – while others are simply closing comments altogether –the Engaging News Project’s Talia Stroud has uncovered some fascinating insights through her research. Stroud argues that the quality of open discussions could be improved with a simple linguistic tweak: replacing the ‘like’ button with ‘respect’.

The Voice of God

Last month, the critic-hosts of Slate’s Culture Gabfest podcast talked about ‘uptalk’ and ‘vocal fry’ in their review of In A World. The romantic comedy, directed by Lake Bell, follows its star as she ‘tries to break the glass ceiling in the voice-over world –a world dominated by low-pitch, high-testosterone male voices.’

Lake Bell: director and star of *In A World*

Lake Bell: director and star of In A World

The gender trend in voice-over is one that also applies to broadcast radio – and more recently to podcasting, as American public radio hero Julie Shapiro (Third Coast International Audio Festival) pointed out earlier this year. In a guest post for, Shapiro queried the ‘egregious imbalance’ amongst the most popular podcasts – and offered a long list of women-hosted shows, too.

Everyone’s a winner

In a New York Times op-ed this week, Ashley Merryman argues against a culture which teaches kids to be rewarded for simply participating, and explains why losing is good for you.

It turns out that, once kids have some proficiency in a task, the excitement and uncertainty of real competition may become the activity’s very appeal. If children know they will automatically get an award, what is the impetus for improvement? Why bother learning problem-solving skills, when there are never obstacles to begin with?

But if losing’s good, is winning too much bad? Perhaps so, if you take your lessons from the case of Tyler Weaver.

The 9-year-old –who has won the Hudson Falls Public Library’s summer reading contest for five consecutive years – prompted the library’s director to cancel the competition. Lita Casey, a librarian who defended Weaver’s winning streak, was fired.

Reviewed: nothing

Is Ted Wilson really a retired accountant and widower who plays tuba and harpsichord in the Ryan Montbleau Band, as The Rumpus would have you believe? Incredibly not. Are his Ted Wilson Reviews The World pieces amongst the funnier weekly columns on the internet? A safer bet.

Recently, Wilson has turned his finely-tuned critical faculties to yawning, Canada and quicksand. This week, the subject of his attention is… nothing.

Walking back from the hospital the next day I overheard a police officer say, “there is nothing to see here,” so I immediately rushed over to see what nothing looked like. It turned out to be a corpse.

Bird’s eye

As far as uplifting thoughts go, nothing quite compares to visions of flying like an eagle. Well, now you can – almost – thanks to this YouTube video, in which a GoPro camera is strapped to the back of an eagle.

Flying eagle point of view #1

The bonus? This particular eagle is flying through Chamonix –the region of France which hosted the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924, around the Mer de Glace glacier.

If the sight still isn’t giddying enough for you, MultiTube it. We dare you.

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