Monthly Archives: January 2011

internet + demographics + culture = revolution

Look at what happened in Tunisia and is and may echo in Egypt. This is just the start.

An essay, “A Time for Choosing” by Daniel E. Geer Jr., has this as its first paragraph:

The Internet was built by academics, researchers, and hackers—meaning that it embodies the liberal cum libertarian cultural interpretation of “American values,” namely that it is open, nonhierarchial, self-organizing, and leaves essentially no opportunities for governance beyond protocol definition. Anywhere the Internet appears, it brings those values with it (treating censorship as a routing failure, say). Other cultures, other governments, know that these are America’s strengths and that we are dependent upon them, hence as they adopt the Internet they become dependent on those strengths and thus on our values. A greater challenge to sovereignty does not exist.

That last sentence is great: “A greater challenge to sovereignty does not exist.”

[What follows was not the point of the referenced essay above and is my own naivety.]

Now look at what happened in Tunisia and is and may echo in Egypt. This is just the start.

What will happen in America? I think the possibility of violent revolution is very remote. Then again, with the rich just getting richer across a very wide gap and jobs going overseas, we are creating new kinds of classes. Not very prudent.

In the middle east and other countries the demographics is of a very young population. In the USA we are old. If we simplistically assume that revolution is the dramatic change to an opposite, then a revolution in America due to its demographics would be opposite to that in other countries. We have freedom (compared to many countries), so a revolution would be to non-freedom. Is the rise of anti-science, extreme right wing politics, hate-radio, renewed gun fervor, all fueled by internet misinformation, fear-mongering, and irrational thinking the result? It seems that the Taliban is winning the war, we are becoming them.

I don’t have to belabor the point. Just look at non-fox news for evidence: politicians calling for stopping of support for public radio, Creationism and anti-science in schools, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Young people here would be wise to put away the game machines and yakking on Facebook and start seeing what is really happening. The future has swallowed empires of old. Its gaping maw is opening again.

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Eye of Odin

My Ubuntu’s (in my Virtualbox VM) background image cycles thru some great galactic images. But, now when this one comes up all I see is a left eye. The resolution and color depth heightens the affect; on my screen I even see the outline of a nose on the right.

The Helix Nebula: a Gaseous Envelope Expelled By a Dying Star
Source: Hubblesite.org

Anyway, be a good person. Your being watched! 🙂

The image is of: The Helix Nebula: a Gaseous Envelope Expelled By a Dying Star

Links
Hubble

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Seeing Faces in Images

Ever look at something and all of sudden you see a face or another kind of object?  Today I saw a giant lobster shape in the clouds.  My son saw it too.  Sometimes being told about an image is enough to make someone else see it.

[ found this post in my drafts.]

Just a few minutes ago I’m watching a science video on how a type of caterpillar moves (its gut acts as a piston!), and wouldn’t you know it, I see a face on the xray image.  Look at the image at about 1.47 mins.  See if you can see the face.  Hint, its not a full face*.

Today (6 Aug 2010) my son calls me to his room. After a shower a drop fell from his hair and landed on a cardboard and, yup, it formed a face. I guess this perceptual tendency is genetic.

Good article on this phenomenom:   “Faces, Faces Everywhere”, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/13/health/psychology/13face.html?_r=1

There is a term for this phenomenom:  Pareidolia.   Wikipedia mentions this in the Apophenia article where it says:   “…it has become more widely used to describe this tendency in healthy individuals without necessarily implying the presence of neurological differences or mental illness.”  That’s a relief!

More importantly, I think, is the possible connection this type of illusion may have with popular delusions that keep professional skeptics in action:  Pareidolia entry in The Skeptic’s Dictionary.

*The face in the video is the bottom half of an old man, it goes by quick, and unfortunately if you pause it, a big forward image is overlay ed..  At top is the bottom of the nose, the horizontal line below is the mouth.  It reminds me of some sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci or another artist.

Further Reading

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