Monthly Archives: July 2012

Video is adding to the rise of misinformation

Rich media, in particular video, is a low “resolution” method of obtaining information. Low because for the amount of bandwidth consumed, there is very little information content.

I never really understood why video on the web is such a big fascination. For entertainment and occasional news information it is fine. And, for some stories it is important to see the participants involved (for those non-verbal cues). However, for really understanding the news or some topic it is necessarily limited. In broadcast networks and web media it is composed of sound bites, interruptions, and entertainment. It is basically just a vehicle to sell advertising to sponsors. If you see a video about some event X, the next video you see also about X will not contain any new information.

A great example of this is the talk and interview shows. Invariably someone being interviewed will not answer questions addressed to them, important questions. Instead, the opportunity is taken to regurgitate what was said minutes before. Hence, no information.

The viewer, us, is conditioned to think that they got new information, but really they were manipulated. Video is a passive medium, you just look. It requires no interaction and exercise of logical thought, just emotional reaction.

Where to get information? Reading. Reading diverse sources and viewpoints will give one a better appreciation for reality, which is complex, nuanced, and bereft of easy answers. Not that one will automatically know what to think or decide on a course of action, but one will hopefully be more resistant to being manipulated, ’emotionalized’. With the looming elections in the USA, that is very important. There will probably be billions of dollars spent on double-speak and non-content news.

Updates

  1. Jul 29, 2012: Intentional ‘misinformation’ is really ‘disinformation’. I think I read this somewhere.
  2. Just had a thought, is video adding to illiteracy? Why read, there will be a talking head somewhere to tell you what to think about something.

Some related links
Note how some arguments against TV were made in the 70’s. Is the web the new TV?

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Science brain hype?

Is science any closer to understanding the most complex object in the universe, the human brain?

Nope. In fact not only is the hard problem of human consciousness still a problem, even little things are, like visual cognition. Well, I’m not an expert, but that’s the idea you get from being a consumer of science.

Just the other day I was reading about an astounding science experiment. Would you believe, a neuron in the brain can be used for more then one task. Wow! That is like so 1940’s. Next there will be a discovery of artificial neural networks (ANN). Perhaps, its how these press releases are created and how they have to be dummed down for publishing that gives the impression they are just going over old known facts.

Here is an idea for a ground breaking science project. Why does my cat move? I mean she was fed and that part of the floor is just like that other spot on the floor. Where did that impulse come from? I mean really from? Or is it all part of a cosmic quantum flotsam of macro-predictability in some multiverse of 108 dimensional karma that demands that my cat at this precise pico-second will move from that spot on the rug to that other spot?

Ok, Science, until you can answer that, leave my brain alone.

P.S. 7-23-12: Wow, I wrote this as a quick reaction to something I was reading. Now today doing a web search I found a very relevant article: Is Brain Science Just Hype?

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"Switched At Birth" TV series

I finished watching the 22 episodes on Netflix. It might also be available on Hulu and on the show’s web page. This is originally an ABC Family network show.

Excellent show! I couldn’t stop watching it. The actors were awesome. Imagine, the two teen girls learn that they were switched at birth. Not only that, they are from two different socioeconomic sides of the tracks. I also like that one of the “factors” of this show is that one of the teens is deaf, so there is use of ASL and that whole world is given some welcome recognition in media.

“Switched at Birth,” a one-hour scripted drama, tells the story of two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital. …. Things come to a dramatic head when both families meet and struggle to learn how to live together for the sake of the girls.*

Recommended.
Links

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All The Isms

Isn’t isms such a schism, makes you dizzy like a prism.

Need a doc, a physician, hurts unraveling these positions.

Syllogisms break, split into paroxysms.

Perhaps I don’t get all the mechanisms

Of these organisms, hierarchies of munitions,

Biting, spitting, running, pinching, stabbing me, my inhibitions.

Frenetic pace will not stop; a chasm of malapropisms.

Capitalisms merges corporatism, such a dissum.

Spiritualism takes a back seat to materialisms.

Excuses me’ums I must go and pissisms.

– Josef

Other works

  1. Scattered A short story about the future extremes of …
  2. Poverty
  3. Hero waits A nano-story.
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