Category Archives: culture

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?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Poverty

Poverty

The abandoned wreck lay in the street.

We climbed and jumped; so much to do that week.

A mattress appeared and now our feats grew.

Then one day no more; someone took it away.

Another week, a sewer formed a lake

from which sprung exotic adventures and competitions.

I played a pirate with my wooden sword, my buddy slayed the savage sea beast.

Then one day no more; someone took it away.

Nostalgic, I look back on those days. I was not poor; I enjoyed the endless array

Of things abandoned, trees to climb, hidden corners, and the paradise of neglected yards.

When summer lasted years, and the fun was measured by my socks and

how far they peeked from the holes in the bottoms of my shoes.

On rainy days from the past to today,

I can almost feel my soggy socks

and like an echo in my heart,

hear my mother calling me to come from play.

— Josef

Other works

  1. Scattered A short story about the future extremes of …
  2. Hero waits A nano-story.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

How can Justices be left or right leaning?

Hearing the justices speak and hearing commentators discussing how certain judges are left or right got me thinking about this again. How can a justice be politically biased? I thought they judged on the merits of the cases before them.

But, then we have the grilling that potential justices are put through to become judges and even there the questions don’t make sense. I guess I just don’t get it. Maybe I watched too many Star Trek episodes and now I think that somewhere or in some discipline there is a cold but accurate Vulcan logic being applied. No, there is just a bell curve and most of us are in the middle.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Got the "Downton Abbey" bug.

Just finished seeing season one of “Downton Abbey” in Netflix streaming. What can I say that hasn’t been written before, it is grand. Such superb story, characters, filming, scenes, language, and most important great actors.

What I don’t get is why the household let Thomas come back to work?

More stuff

Downton Abbey – Main Theme Song – Piano Music

Downton Abbey theme- Did I Make The Most of Loving You?

Downton Abbey- The Suite

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

News Literacy Project teaches how to sort fact from fiction

Just saw this on a TV news show. Boy is this needed! You’d be surprised what people take for real news today.

The News Literacy Project (NLP) is an innovative national educational program that mobilizes seasoned journalists to help middle school and high school students sort fact from fiction in the digital age.

The project teaches students critical-thinking skills that will enable them to be smarter and …
Learn More

The only negative I can see is that if people really start questioning the “news” and scrutinizing the bombardment of political-social-economic morass being spewed, there may be a revolution. Minimally we wouldn’t even vote in elections; after all what criteria distinguishes one bozo from another, the shiny nose quotient? (Just lame attempt at humor, maybe).

Further Reading
News Literacy Project


Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme) from “Empire Jazz”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

999 should be 6789

The Cain 999 tax simplification is attracting attention. Well, it should. In this political climate the major candidates have not been proposing anything bold, just the same phrases, party lines, and lack of answers to specific questions.

But, perhaps the 9-9-9 plan is too bold and as some critics are writing, lays the burden disproportionally on the 99%.

My counter proposal is just as simple, 6789:

  • 6% – income on the 99%
  • 7% – sales tax
  • 8% – corporate tax
  • 9% – income on the 1% rich

That is more equitable. Of course, economists and mathematicians can tweak the numbers. Most importantly, these numbers should be part of a feedback system. Why is everything “fixed” when the world is dynamic?

Based on economic performance and quality measures, the whole sliding scale could be shifted up or down. For example, in an overheated economy it could be shifted up, and in a difficult period, like now, it could be shifted down, such as, 5-6-7-8, etc.

Further Reading

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Do we need an ad-free top-level domain?

From its roots as an information sharing infrastructure, the internet is now increasingly composed of marketing and sophisticated attempts at private information harvesting. This has led to an adversarial relationship between providers and consumers.

Advertising is important. Commerce is important. Getting information on new products and solutions is important. Consumerism as culture is not important (it leads to a debtor nation). Advertising that preys on the bases ‘instincts’ and misinforms is not good. There are no easy solutions to fair advertising and fair use of personal information. Invariably, the consumer will be pimped.

When telephone soliciting became absurd, a Do Not Call registry was created. The same approach may not work in the web, for even the act of searching for something is subject to ad-fluenced manipulation.

A top level domain (TLD) that prohibits advertising will be useful if and only if it is also transparent. Since it must be funded and probably would not survive on donations or sponsorship by users, an ad-free domain must rely on organizations and companies. These must be explicit. No shenanigans like we have in the political process where influence is nefarious like the Political Action Committees (PAC) that subvert the democratic process.

Some difficulties:

  • What is advertising? How can it be identified?
  • Who does the filtering?
  • What people, organizations, and companies can become part of this domain.
  • What to call this? Radio Free Earth (rfe).

Oh well, perhaps a bad idea. It was out there, my brain picked it up.

I wrote about advertising and privacy before, but in a fictional short story format: Scattered.

Further Reading

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Ip Man

Who doesn’t appreciate a martial arts film once in a while. If you don’t, maybe you haven’t seen a good one yet, like Ip Man. “A semi-biographical account of Yip Man, the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun.”

The story is grand, music great, cinematography awesome, action entertaining, and the acting superb. Donnie Yen owned this character.

But, best of all there is a Ip Man 2!

Ip Man at IMDB
Ip Man at Rotten Tomatoes

Off topic … Ant
Enough of this, have to read up on Ant build scripts. Is AntCall really evil? But, there is no way to short-circuit declarative dependency handling, except by entangling conditionals all over the place. Or is there?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

SYTYCD — Episode 18, top 8 dancers.

One of my favorite programs on TV, “So You Think You Can Dance”, recently had another great show.

Two fabulous dancers Melani and Sasha put on a great performance, dancing to a Choreograph by Sonya Tayeh:

Melanie and Sasha Top 8 So You Think You Can Dance Season 8 July 27, 2011

Such power! I love at the beginning at 0:18 when Sasha reaches up and then falls back.

Here is another dance to the great Jeff Buckley’s “I Know It’s Over“:
So You Think You Can Dance Season 8 Marko Top 8

The whole show is currently on HULU

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Whatever happened to higher level discourse?

I am watching The McLaughlin Group TV show. The panelist are discussing the President’s use of “Corporate Jet” tax breaks as examples of need for tax change, etc.

The panelists get all flustered and indignant. One of them even mentions that Corporate Jets are made by people and creates jobs. Another, that Corporate Jets as a tax issue is irrelevant, would generate miniscule returns, and that executives use Corporate Jets to conduct business to save time and other benefits.

I’m astounded. Clearly the president used the Corporate Jet issue as a symbolic example of the perks and privileges that are available to the super rich and not available to the majority of Americans*. Only one panelist understood this, Eleanor Clift? I doubt it; I hope not. Were the rest just playing the game, entertaining?

The problem is that this type of fixed thinking or reactionary vs contemplative response is amplified in popular media. There seems to be an epidemic of abstraction level miscommunication: where people who have not agreed on definitions, are deluded that they are arguing about the same thing.

“The beginning of wisdom, is the definition of terms” — Socrates

See also

*If you use a vehicle to just get to work, you can’t claim any tax benefits, afaik. In fact, in addition to the taxes you already pay that eventually get used for roads and other infrastructure, you will probably pay even more taxes for the vehicle, fuel, and maintenance. And, unlike those with formidable legal and tax departments, more then likely you can’t exploit all the loop holes of corporate tax complexities to reduce your pain.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.