Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Siren Song of Google Circles

It's one of those days where I believe there's nothing I can write that hasn't already been posted somewhere on the Internet, but people repeat talking points about issues when the issues don't get resolved.

Message boards are teaming with people sharing things they find elsewhere, but don't you dare ask a specific question about something and expect an answer. Most of the content shared on Google+, Facebook, MySpace, etc. is generated elsewhere. If you want professional interaction with specific answers to your questions, you must find a dedicated site like WebMD.

Most online communities are made up of like-minded individuals. One must really make an effort to step outside ones own box. There may be unimagined perspectives beyond the realm of the standard opposing viewpoint. We must keep asking ourselves why we are comfortable where we are, and ask if this comfort of like-minded company within our Google Circles isn't really an isolated island of Sirens, keeping our eyes and ears couched in emotional validation while our rights and property are being looted. And, every time I share something I have to wonder if I'm just preaching to the choir.

Growing up I had very little control over my own impulses to seek out validation for its own sake, instead of delaying gratification to sit through important information being taught in school. Chronic anxiety disorder will do that. In school I was easily distracted by girls, food, other misbehaving students and the natural beauty outside the window.

My  brain was craving Dopamine. I've known about this since my mid thirties, yet I can't resist seeking satisfaction. Ten years on my vices are now pizza, ice cream and social media. Since our nation faces an epidemic of obesity and diabetes, I suspect too many of us never learned early enough about our impulses and how to deal with them.

Monday, November 12, 2012

An Affair to Disremember

The danger to our freedom to communicate electronically has never been more evident than the misguided ridiculous attempt to wave in front of the public, the secret affair of the CIA Director as some sort of "Asymmetrical Threat of Email" story intended to portray U.S. Intelligence and secrecy teetering on the precipice of annihilation because someone in the hallowed halls of national security was bumping boots and his low-security emails were mined for stank.

The news media knows that the allegedly shocking story about the affairs of former CIA Director David Petraeus would cause to get "the vapors," the radical fundamentalist right-wing conservatives who held their noses in support of Mitt Romney in the last election. No better way to start the end of days celebration then to force to resign, someone who is likely not in favor of war with Iran.

The House of Representatives is likely holding the last-ever session of the GOP. A political party is on its last legs when it must pull out all the stops and rely on emotional appeals, voter suppression and misinformation rather than arguing valid points based on scientific evidence.

Bloomberg is following up on the David Petraeus scandal with leering relish. Lawmakers on Capital Hill are looking forward to every lurid detail. My life isn't affected by it. Maybe stories like that published in business news should be consigned to a sections called "The Money Shot." Perhaps Intrade might have use for this information.

How newsworthy is this affair to you?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Education and skepticism

Did you ever stop and think about how you are taught? When you were doing research in school, did you ever find information that was relevant to your course work, but also relevant to another area of study that would require enrollment in a whole new degree program, like communication, business, and psychology? The separation of these three and other areas of study is sometimes called "stove-piping," not unlike the stove-piping of intelligence information between the F.B.I., C.I.A., and D.O.D. that if shared between the aforementioned agencies, could have prevented the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

The term "stove-piping" was used frequently in the media after that, and again used in reference to the invasion of Iraq regarding the claim that Saddam Hussein acquired Yellow Cake Uranium and was constructing weapons of mass destruction.

As a communication student, I lifted the technique of stove-piping and held it up against other aspects of our culture. Outside my normally required line of study for my coursework I found myself in the gray area between communication, psychology, and business; finding the conspiracies of social engineering, eugenics, and oligarchy.

Certain educational materials appear to be intentionally kept separate and appear to be inaccessible behind financial obstacles, such as the high cost of tuition or the high cost of subscriptions. The information is alleged to be available at public libraries, but how would you know exactly what to look for that would maximize your benefit?

You are conditioned to value certain things, and based on your conditioning, you search for information to improve what you believe is progress, along a specific path. This is called "Social Engineering." Through social engineering, generation after generation of people become pregnant as teenagers, drop out of school and become accustomed to following their parents and grandparents as prisoners, government social program participants, government social program employees, police officers, fire fighters, factory workers, miners, health care professionals and many other types of employees.

Meanwhile, a small number of people in different social circles became the "captains of industry." Many are the children of industrialists who long ago hired professionals to manage their estates. They have unlimited time and access to the most privileged scientific findings that give them an advantage in society. These people are sometimes referred to as "nobility," having the free time from the usual labor of survival to create and discover new things, and to become famous in our history books.

It's true that history is for the winners and the masters, and not for the laborers who followed them. How did your own behavior toward other people change after you first learned about slavery or the Holocaust? Was it more dangerous to ask why certain people treated others horribly, or is it more dangerous to ask why certain people were treated horribly? Did you find yourself aligning with an extinct ideal in history that is now considered inhumane and pathological? Maybe we should question the motives of teaching history that continuously recounts the denigration of certain people.

It's always healthy to question even the most seemingly mundane piece of information placed before you. Prepare yourself with questions beyond the information in the materials, especially about the way a class or culture is portrayed a certain way, and how it makes you feel about those people today.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Watching the markets

I'm keeping a close eye on some stocks, a couple I recently bought were KID and ITI, which seem to show sustainable growth so far. Tomorrow morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics is schedule to release the unemployment numbers for October. Today I'm guessing there will be movement toward stocks that are affected by the release of this data. I figure I might go back to last month and track down stocks with surges in trading volume during the immediate days prior to and after the release of the unemployment data.