Tag: Time

Times Person of the Year: It Is Us, The Protesters

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

It started with a 26 year old Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire sparking protests that over threw the government. The protest has spread to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Libya, Syria, Israel, Greece, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York City and across the United States to Chicago, Houston, Oakland, Portland, and Los Angeles. Russians have taken to the streets in the largest protests since the overthrow of the Soviet Union that may end the career of Vladimir Putin. It has been a year of protests that have changed the world. And we aren’t done.

Now Time magazine has named me, you, all of us, the Protester, the Person of the Year.

History often emerges only in retrospect. Events become significant only when looked back on. No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square in a town barely on a map, he would spark protests that would bring down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and rattle regimes in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. Or that that spirit of dissent would spur Mexicans to rise up against the terror of drug cartels, Greeks to march against unaccountable leaders, Americans to occupy public spaces to protest income inequality, and Russians to marshal themselves against a corrupt autocracy.Protests have now occurred in countries whose populations total at least 3 billion people, and the word protest has appeared in newspapers and online exponentially more this past year than at any other time in history.

Is there a global tipping point for frustration? Everywhere, it seems, people said they’d had enough. They dissented; they demanded; they did not despair, even when the answers came back in a cloud of tear gas or a hail of bullets. They literally embodied the idea that individual action can bring collective, colossal change. And although it was understood differently in different places, the idea of democracy was present in every gathering. The root of the word democracy is demos, “the people,” and the meaning of democracy is “the people rule.” And they did, if not at the ballot box, then in the streets. America is a nation conceived in protest, and protest is in some ways the source code for democracy – and evidence of the lack of it.

We will take to the streets and the ballot boxes and back to the streets until we have won the “war” against the oligarchs, the banks and the billionaires.  

Folk Wisdom for the Modern Era

At meeting this past Sunday a Friend’s message asked for help. Specifically she described a particular situation that was troubling her, namely the latest development of our militaristic society, the way that technology-based warfare can create atrocities just as easily as human hands. In so doing, she asked for specific prayers from those gathered for worship. I believe she was lamenting, in part, how human achievement can be so useful and so destructive at the same time. Many Friends rose to fulfill her request. They were so numerous, honestly, that I now have trouble now recalling all of them. One woman recited aloud the Lord’s Prayer, which I memorized at a young age, as many do. Others provided words of comfort that were utterly foreign to me, but no less intriguing.

Thoughts On The Universe

A Diary was posted earlier on asking questions on subjects like “What is the Universe?”, etc. My response was a little lengthier than the typical “comment”, so I wanted to reframe the question below.



comprare viagra generico a Torino For awhile…

___

I have actually given this question a bit of thought, and come to reject conventional thinking about the problem, which is why all the so-called accepted answers just lead off into more unresolved questions, and/or reverting to Centuries-old myth-making.

____________

Recall that viagra 100mg england Albert Einstein proved that Time itself was not linear, but in fact curved and flexible. This makes me think that we have to abandon conventional “linear” thinking about the Universe itself.

Recall also, that matter never disappears..but it is simply transformed into something else. For example, water evaporates and appears to be all gone, but really the matter itself still exists (just in a different form).

So therefore these questions about when did the Universe begin, how was it “created”, and such, are all moot, and not the correct approach to the analysis.  

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=prednisone-60-mg The Universe always was and always will be….only the form is changing, and it is changing constantly, (expansion, contraction, etc.).

The matter will never either go away or be “created”, only cialis generico barato the form will change.  

As for human beings, we are just one more mutation of matter, and an unpleasant one at that. I think human beings are destined to go the way of the levitra 5mg Dinosaur — with all the Wars, the mass-violence, the mass-poverty, and all the Environmental damage borne of our own making.

As comedian George Carlin once said, Planet Earth does not need saving.  Planet Earth is going to be just fine.  It’s human beings that are f**cked.

comprare levitra senza ricetta Bologna There is no God.

There is no Universe.

There is no linear Time.

There is no Justice.

There is no Heaven.

There is no “Afterlife”.

There is however an unlimited supply of matter and mutation.

And there surely is Hell, for we see it all around us each and every day

of our tragic lives — and follow site Hell always wins (just ask Dick Cheney, the dead Kennedys, or an oil-soaked pelican).

Now you know the truth, and can put down The Holy Babble, for it is written.

Feeling bored? Helpless? Excited? Energetic, perhaps? Then you should help Marcy Winograd!

So I was sitting around my house today, putting off doing my Latin homework, when it hit me – instead of just opening the fridge a dozen times and checking my facebook a hundred times, I could be putting this time to good use!  And I did.  I started doing some online phonebanking for Marcy Winograd‘s campaign for Congress in California’s 36th district.

If you’re bored, feeling helpless and alone amidst a sea of political currents fighting against you, excited about the upcoming primaries and election, overcome with energy you need to spend on something, or feeling any other emotion, this is for you!  Marcy has been a member of the Netroots for years and is a firebrand progressive.  Since she’s running against a corrupt Blue Dog (Jane Harman), this is one of the best races in the country for progressives to get involved in.

I live in Pennsylvania, yet I’m still able to help Marcy’s campaign, because of a neat online phonebanking tool that has been set up.  Follow me below the fold to learn how you can help, too.

Some Learning Curves are Longer than Others

In recent conversation with a friend, we discussed the means by which any organization or group might best enlighten those who cling to bigoted, ignorant, or otherwise offensive points of view.  It is a conversation no different from the very same ones we have in a multitude of related corners, spaces where abstract theorizing has to take the place of hard fact.  As an anthropologist, my friend is constantly aware of the intersection where intellect and biological construction meet and couches her views from that point.  As she puts it, evolution of any sort is a tediously slow process.  We have, for example, still not really advanced to the point that we have gotten the hang of this whole walking upright issue.  The human body’s propensity to arthritis is but only one of those most visible examples of this fact of reality.  If our skeletal construction are but unfinished business, it would stand to reason that many others are too.  

Reform: Past, Present, Future, or Somewhere in Between

Once upon a time, we saw progress, particularly technological and medical progress, as both miraculous and uniformly desired.  The romanticized meta-narrative of the the Twentieth Century was that it was the age of startling innovation and that indeed humanity might find its salvation in the latest invention to improve the human condition.  The most common utterance at the time to describe this phenomenon was what will they think of next?  The airplane and the automobile revolutionized travel and with it the spread of information and population dispersal.  Penicillin was considered a wonder drug upon its introduction and indeed many lives were saved when it began being used on a wholesale fashion to combat infectious disease.  The first pesticides were considered miraculous because they greatly increased the yield of crops, with the hopes that their introduction would increase the food supply and in time make widespread hunger a thing of the past.  It was believed that our own ingenuity would be our salvation and in time, there was no telling what long-standing problem would have a easy, understandable solution.

Later, however, we began to cast suspicion on any advance lauded in messianic or wildly optimistic terms.  To our horror we discovered that the drug which took away morning sickness also created tragic, hideous birth defects in babies born to women who took it.  Then we read that the pesticides that, though they meant to increase the food supply, actually created major problems in the ecosystem around them—problems that skewed the natural environmental balance quite unintentionally but quite undeniably.  In attempting to eradicate one pest, we often caused a huge increase in population of another organism, creating a brand new problem in the process.  The system of pest control as set up by Mother Nature then was seen as more desirable as the one shaped by human hands.  And this idea began to take shape in the minds of many to the degree that this belief has many adherents in this age.  Take a stroll down the aisles of your local Whole Foods if you need a visual demonstration.      

But I will say this.  Old ways of doing things are not necessarily better ways of doing things.  Though we may have swung the pendulum from one side to another in the course of half a century or so, we shouldn’t lose sight of the true balance of things.  Anyone who has walked down a street where automobiles are not available and where all traffic directed down a major thoroughfare is pulled by horses knows the filth and the stench that fills the air and collects on either side of the roadway.  It is for that reason, among others, that the horseless carriage was developed in the first place.  We must not ever assume that the motives of those who came before us were summarily evil or distasteful simply because they did not have the ability to measure what they did by the power of hindsight.  Any of us could look like geniuses if we had that in our favor.  We often look for an easy enemy when the true hard work is to work to reach the point where we recognize that there are no easy answers and no easy targets.  Demystifying the past does not imply that we ought to summarily scrap its lessons.  The mythology of past ages needs to be removed, but those who view past behaviors and past events without rosy gloss can find many helpful examples for contemplation, provided, one doesn’t heave it into the trash can in one go, assuming the whole bunch is rotten all the way through.        

The larger point I am making is that it is tempting these days to assume that the advances of the past are purely evil, based on their unforeseen and unintended consequences wrought by best intentions.  We have gotten to the point now that we are reluctant at times to modify the world around us even in the slightest, lest we upset the fragile balance of energy, life, and movement that defines existence as  any being currently alive.  While we are humans, we are also animals, too.  Our will dictates the shape and pace of the world around us, of course, but so also does our very existence.  Global Warming is the buzzword phrase of the moment and while I do believe that human decision making has modified the climate and weather patterns for the worst, I do also know that the environment has a way of being adaptive that we often do not grant it, nor fully understand.  We see things through such selfish, human terms at times, and even our best intentions do not disguise the fact that everything often relates back to us in the end.  We were created selfish.  Self-preservation is what consumes us above any other preoccupation.  Still, this is an impulse we must fight against if we ever wish to live in peace with each other.  We have more in common than we admit, but it’s often the very things we don’t like to admit even to ourselves.  There is a limit to our understanding, and in fifty years from now, perhaps we’ll set aside Global Warming for the latest theory that defines our guilt and gives us a rallying point that demands we be unselfish not towards each other, but towards all living creatures.      

Whether we are kings and queens of the beasts is a matter for debate, but we do have the benefit of higher brain function, and this is what makes us so much more influential than the average mammal.  We seem to confuse at times the fact that we are both animals and also beings beholden to reason, somehow simultaneously separate from the fray.  We exist in our own orbit and while it is wise to understand that the earth does not strictly belong to us, we do modify it by our very presence.  When a butterfly can create a ripple effect just by flapping its wings, imagine what the average person creates by stepping outside on his or her way to work on the morning.  I’m not saying that we ought not be aware of our carbon footprint and we ought not recognize that being less wasteful and more protective of nature is worthwhile, but that one can micromanage one’s degree of social consciousness to an extent that ending up miserable is the inevitable byproduct.    

In a broader context to that, I notice how we lament the slow progress of reform and regulation.  Our split loyalties are often to blame for this as well.  If we were able to reach a happy medium between the supreme authority of old ways and the supreme authority of new ways, then we might actually get something done in a timely fashion.  So much of Liberalism and Progressivism these days is conducted from a defensive posture, with the belief in the back of the mind that no matter what is set in play, it will inevitably blow up in the end and create more problems.  Well, with all due respect, this is merely part of being alive.  Any decision made will create future problems that no one could ever predict at the outset, but this shouldn’t paralyze our needed efforts, either.  

Again, reform is a constant process of refining, re-honing, and revision.  It’s foolish to expect that one bill, one policy statement, or one innovative strategy will come out perfect and never need to be updated to reflect changing times.  Rather than seeing this established fact as frustrating or limiting, we need to modify our expectations.  As President Obama said last week in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, “…[W]e do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected.  We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place.”  We are imperfect.  Our ideas, no matter how immaculately crafted at the time, are imperfect, and the passage of time will render them more imperfect.  

But there is a difference between expecting individual or communal perfection on a case-by-case basis and not striving to improve the lives of those around us.  A century from now, if there is a blogosphere, I’m sure many people will laugh at the nonsensical barbarism of a previous age where every citizen of the Earth did not have health care coverage from cradle to grave.  But in this hypothetical example, it would be easy for them to make this judgment if they made it based on a naive, cavalier understanding of our times.  If they viewed them purely through the lens of their times without understanding the events, beliefs, and myriad of factors which led us to undertake the great struggle before us, then their own perspectives could not be taken seriously.  Again, we might be wise to understand why we always seem to crave an enemy.  Voltaire mentioned that if God didn’t exist, it would be necessary for humanity to invent Him.  Likewise, if enemies didn’t exist, it would be necessary for us to invent them.  That the very same people who speak of unity and can’t understand why we don’t have it are among the first to construct an antagonistic force and project all of their frustrations upon it is the deepest irony of all.  Our most powerful enemy is us.        

The Soft News/Hard News Debate: Internet Edition

Time Magazine, or at least its online edition, seeks to understand why Google seems to love highlighting a particular “news source” in its search results.  The very subtle, but nonetheless evident message implanted within the article is that search engine algorithms might have the same biases and favoritism embedded into them as any other corporation who owns or has partnership with other media companies.  I know that by monitoring IP addresses that visit my site by use of a tracker I frequently notice when Google bot sweeps periodically come through to make a note of and reference recently posted columns I have written.   It isn’t very long after that before I notice that traffic has been directed to my site as a result.   However, let me say that I do make a concerted effort to write something unique and meaningful, qualities which are in short supply when effort is not rewarded by much in the way of money.

If you type the name of a celebrity – say, Angelina Jolie – into Google News, chances are somewhere in the top five results you’ll get a story from Examiner.com. This is particularly true if the celebrity is in the news that day. For early December that means searches for Tiger Woods, Sandra Bullock and Weezer on Google News consistently brought up Examiner.com stories in the topmost results. And in those stories, by the way, comprare viagra generico 50 mg pagamento online a Parma there was very little actual news.

Absolutely.   The only currently existing model available to those who blog for pay is centered around advertising revenue as the most important variable of all.   Instead of providing a unique perspective on the news, instead one gets a bare minimum of original content and a whole e-farm’s worth of hyper-linking and search engine keyword baiting.   It needs to be noted, of course, that Examiner.com is not the only site out there using a similar strategy to press a similar agenda.   But in that regard, it is not much different to any kind of freelance work which promises sporadic assignments, minimal pay, few benefits, and no real job security.   The signer of the paychecks or distributor of funds to the PayPal account still holds most of the cards at the table.   In a field where so many are fighting to be heard and where competition is fierce and often cutthroat, employers get utterly inundated with prospective writers and many of them have the ego and the swagger but none of the talent to back it up.   Proceeding directly for the easy sell and the low hanging fruit has padded profits but has rarely advanced a civic discourse or issue evolution.    

They also have very little news value. Generally, an Examiner.com news story is a compendium of tidbits culled from other websites, neither advancing the story nor bringing any insight (a description, it should be noted, that can be just as fairly applied to many offerings of more mainstream media). Most Examiners are not journalists, and their prose is not edited. CEO Rick Blair, who helped launch AOL’s Digital Cities, an earlier attempt at a local-news network, calls them “pro-am” – more professional than bloggers, but more amateur than most reporters. You might also call them traffic hounds: because their remuneration is set by, among other things, the number of people who click on their stories, Examiners will often piggyback on hot news, or oft-searched people. The Angelina Jolie story, from a celebrity-fitness and -health Examiner, discussed Jolie and husband Brad Pitt’s recent night out at a movie premiere and assessed their health by their appearance.

Put this way, here is a decent enough description of most collaborative blogs.   However, before one buys into this description hook, line, and sinker without taking into account the underlying intent it must be added that Daily Kos was described by Time as one of its “Most Overrated Blogs of 2009” in very searing language.

It wrote,

Markos Moulitsas – alias “Kos” – created Daily Kos in 2002, a time he describes as “dark days when an oppressive and war-crazed administration suppressed all dissent as unpatriotic and treasonous.” Be careful what you wish for. With the Bush years now just a memory, Kos’s blog has lost its mission, and its increasingly rudderless posts read like talking points from the Democratic National Committee.

Easy for you to say, Time.   Dear pot, kindly meet kettle.

Returning to my original point, at the beginning of this post, I referenced an article written to encourage a spirit of full disclosure, no matter how stealthy proposed.   I would be similarly remiss if I did not state that I, too, am a reporter for Examiner.com.   Yet, I note, however, that in nearly a month of writing for it I have made under $20 for my efforts, even though my pieces usually attract a respectable audience that frequently exceeds the average number of hits which typify the typical DC Politics Examiner.  I don’t run away from controversy in that which I write, but neither do I seek to provoke without backing up my points, buttressing my argument, and taking into account the inevitable counter-arguments of my opponents.   Still, one simply can’t keep up with those who dispense romance advice, bicycle repair, child rearing tricks, and pet psychic services.   Nor can I keep up with the barrage of ultimately meaningless drivel that might be the opiate of the masses but tends to put me into an opium-based sleep.   I do not expect to make much out of any of what I do but I will say that I seek to strategically position and my postings to get maximum exposure.   I am no different from many of you reading this, I daresay.  

So why does Examiner.com’s fairly superficial posts on the big stories of the day end up so often near the front of Google’s news queue? “It’s not a trick,” says Blair. “We have almost 25,000 writers posting 3,000 original articles per day.” Examiners take seminars on writing headlines, writing in the third person and making full use of social media, all of which are Google manna. But Blair thinks it’s mostly the scale of the operation that makes Examiner.com articles so attractive to search engines, from which more than half of the site’s traffic comes. That is, by stocking the lake with so many fish every day Examiner.com increases the chances the Google trawlers will haul one of theirs up.

And here we have a perfect example of why an unholy combination of made up celebrities, made up drama, and manufactured crises for the sake of readership threaten to choke out everything wholly decent.   Weeds are on the verge of taking over the garden.   Or, as Howard Beale would say, “And woe is us! We’re in a lot of trouble!”   Speak softly, though, because to some extent we’ve already been handcuffed by the almighty dollar and may always be.   Some realities go well beyond our poor power to add or detract.

In a coy final note, the Time article concludes,

The goal of all these companies, eventually, is to snare local advertising, a $141 billion market that, according to Blair, has been left largely untapped by the Internet.  Examiner.com will start rolling out ad packages in the next few months, and will hit up its network for leads.

In the meantime, these pro-am armies are giving the big media companies plenty to worry about. The mainstream media’s news-harvesting machines are no match for a swarm of local locusts buzzing over the same crop. simplicef 100 mg and prednisone 5mg And Big Media is starting to take notice. CNN, which already uses a lot of crowdsourced material with its ireport arm, just invested in another local outfit, outside.in. Perhaps the news giant figures that if everybody’s going to be a reporter, they might as well work for CNN.

The note is winking and coy because Time is, after all, owned by CNN.   I, too, have been an iReporter for CNN, for the same reasons I write at Examiner.com.   I don’t make a dime out of it, but I do get my name out in the hope that someone, somewhere, is listening, reading, and contemplating.   My hope, of course, is that at least with my post there will be an alternative, thought-provoking voice in the middle of all the fluff and unsubstantial content.   Perhaps that is what we all wish for when we put our fingers to our keyboards and begin typing or begin synching up our digital cameras.  We want to be better than that which we just finished reading or want to be provide a better analysis than a pundit who makes thousands upon thousands of dollars a year to sound supremely ignorant.   Yet, we might also need to contemplate our current realities before we get caught up on our own narratives.  Recall Network once more.

You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.

We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality — one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.  

 

Who Are You? Really? Or The Fallacy In Causality

The video runs for 50 minutes… but it all happens at the same time.



follow Alan Watts – Time and The More It Changes

Bright And Shiny Objects

“Psychology 101 ain’t working. It’s just not working. I understand the issues, I clearly see the problems, and I’m going to use the NIE to continue to rally the international community for the sake of peace.”

And with that he gave an unconvincing little jump and stalked off.

I recognize that speech having given it many times myself.  It’s the Ghostbuster speech-

Venkman: Egon.  You said crossing the streams was bad.

Spengler: There’s definitely a very slim chance we’ll survive.

Venkman: I like this plan.  I’m excited to be a part of it.  Let’s do it.

See you on the other side Ray.

Slate Trumps Time: Publishes Response To Saletan On Race And IQ

Unlike Time, which blocked all responses to Joe Klein’s factually challenged column on FISA, via Matt Yglesias, Slate has published a response by Stephen Metclaf to Will Saletan on race and IQ. The nuts:

Much of Saletan’s prĂ©cis of the rest of the research surveyed in “Thirty Years of Research Into Race Differences on Cognitive Abilities” is highly questionable. His takeaway regarding the “admixture” studies is precisely the opposite of what an American Psychological Association task force concluded the studies show-that more “European” blood in a black American does not make him smarter. Saletan points up the problems with a favorite study of the environmentalists, into the IQ outcomes of children fathered by foreign soldiers and raised by (white) German mothers. This study showed that kids with African fathers scored the same as those with white fathers. But, Saletan says, it suffers from a fatal flaw: Blacks in the military had been screened for IQ. Saletan concludes, “Even environmentalists (scholars who advocate nongenetic explanations) concede that this filter radically distorted the numbers.” But this is flatly untrue. The two most prominent environmentalists, Richard Nisbett and James Flynn, have dismissed this very objection. Both have pointed out that white soldiers were also screened, and so had higher IQs than the general white population. James Flynn has argued extensively that the black-white gap in the military was the same as in the population at large.

In essence, Metcalf demonstrates that Saletan, like Joe Klein on FISA, simply did not know what he was writing about. It is to Slate’s credit that it was willing to publish such a demolition of one of its regular writers. Score another one for honesty for Washington Post Company, which allowed Krauthammer to be demolished today.