Friday night lights cost more to shine, Yik Yak inspires honesty, and trusty typography: this week’s Fresh Powder Report
The cost of high school football:
A northern suburb of Dallas recently approved the construction of a $63 million football stadium….for a high school. It’s no secret that high school football in the south – and in Texas in particular – is a pretty big deal. With 12,000 seats and an attached events center, this super-sized sports stadium is surprisingly just one of many new, upgraded high school football stadiums in the state of Texas. Members of the community who aren’t invested in football as a sport but support the construction of the stadium purely for its economic value, as it has the capacity to attract regional tourists to the city.
Millennials take to anonymous chat app with surprising sincerity:
The BBC has recently been experimenting with a variety of different chat apps as a means to reach and connect with their audience. When The BBC tested Yik Yak – an anonymous social media app based entirely on location – they tested it out as a way to cover the Canadian elections this fall, posting questions to the app to see if any ‘Yakkers’ would contribute to the conversation. The BBC wound up with tens of thousands of posts from Canadian youths weighing in on the issues that were important to them. Soon after in the UK, the BBC used Yik Yak to engage with their audience during Mental Health Week, which opened up a public dialogue about mental illness that other social media platforms without the anonymity Yik Yak provides may not be able to mediate.
Sports teams still offend:
Sadly, it’s still a debate amongst high school and professional sports teams alike – racial slurs are still being used to represent team mascots, despite the mass attention the subject has gained from the public over the years. While many “educated” Americans get hung up on the linguistics – the same arguments often used as a means to invalidate the use of the singular “they” as a pronoun, or fight against the positive reclamation of outdated slurs like “queer” – the population actually affected by the slurs used in these names remain largely silenced, as the move to change the names of teams affiliated with offensive racial slurs or stereotypes has been almost painfully slow.
Department of secular studies:
The University of Miami recently welcomed a new academic chair for the study of atheism, humanism, and secular ethics. This addition to the academic department heads was made possible thanks to a large donation by a local wealthy atheist, whose goal was simply finding a way to make atheism more legitimate. Religious departments and studies exist at almost every American university – while atheists are often stigmatized in this highly religious country, creating a space in academia for purely secular studies bold step in the direction of integration of non-religious morality and belief systems.
Typography saves lives:
Ever wonder why traffic signs use essentially identical fonts across the nation? For the same reason the National Weather Service recently announced that it will no longer be publishing forecast and severe weather warnings in all caps – becausetypography choices can have life or death consequences.
These things also happened this week:
Hillary Clinton has refused to partake in a final debate with Bernie Sanders prior to the California primary on the grounds that, since she will be the nominee, there’s no point.
Facebook claims it will no longer rely on the input from news outlets to determine what news should be listed as “trending.”
Twitter aims to revamp the 140 character limit by leaving multimedia out of the character count, meaning photos and videos added to tweets will no longer eat into the already constricting character limit.