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Mark S
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Hi Brett! I've seen a fair number of news reports of the assembling but not always being so "peaceable". I googled and found this web post with a list of links to articles about various incidents and problems. Scroll down for the list of links. I'd totally support their right to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. I'm not sure in a lot of these cases that is what they're doing. If they're creating hazards, hurling molotov cocktails, destroying private and public property, or creating a nuisance by occupying bridges, then the cops need to do their jobs and enforce the law. No?
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2011 on So, I'm confused... at DadTalk
Add to my list of things I want to accomplish before I die: #234 - Build a cool suspension bridge somewhere.
Toggle Commented Mar 14, 2011 on Suspension bridge at DadTalk
Briefly back to the topic on bias in the newspapers... I just happened across an interesting writeup on it in this week's Washington Post.
I want a monitor that simply detects an elevated pulse, and it sends out a signal to activate the TV, Computers and Video games only after it has detected that their little hearts are beating hard for a minimum of 45m a day. I don't want to have monitors that tell me things that I have to then worry about and act on. My hair is already falling out fast enough. But "set and forget" types of monitors that enforce things for me, that's a real parental helper.
Toggle Commented Sep 28, 2009 on New Ways to Monitor Kids at DadTalk
Thanks Brett. AJ, sometime check out Failure to Connect by Jane Healy. It's kind of an eye opener. She has interesting things to say about what's going on when kids seem transfixed by what they see and how they're assimilating details with rapt interest. Interesting comments from in there about educational software and revealing comments from people in the educational software business as I recall. I had written a brief plug of the book on my blog about 5 years ago.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2009 on My Long-Forgotten Creative Side at DadTalk
Ooops. In my final paragraph on the comment what I meant to say was "Another useless addition to your blog comments by Mark..." I kind of just meander myself. Like you're getting a brain dump of random, tangentially related items. Cheers and have a great weekend.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2009 on My Long-Forgotten Creative Side at DadTalk
There is a bunch of this that resonates with me... Mid-life thing perhaps? I'm having one hell of a time trying to figure out a lot of things myself. I don't have any answers and I'm not getting much advice. Somehow I feel like maybe I have most of the answers inside me but may I'm suppressing them because I'm afraid, or confused, or just not ready to make certain changes. Like you, a lot of changes have gone on in my life, but for me, not all positive. A lot of turmoil. I have shut down all of my creativity as I focus on mostly practical things and have been head down in "the grind" for too long. I really miss the creative stuff to. I love photography and photo manipulation in photoshop. I've done ZIP in the past few years. Nor have I learned anything other new skills. Anyway, the only philosophical thought that pops into my head is something inane like, "Life is not a destination, it's a journey." Which I think represents the idea that it's not like there is some stationary place in life that we have to "get to"... All of your "wandering" *is* living and as long as you're enjoying and experiencing new things, that's good. You're doing great. But ya, that pesky responsible side that wants you to make money now... I know that too. Aw heck... just ignore it and wander some more! That's more fun than the responsible side. ;-) Another addition to your blog comments by Mark. I wish I could be more useful.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2009 on My Long-Forgotten Creative Side at DadTalk
Interesting analogy. Though maybe it's like turning out 4 out of every 5 stoplights in town, and then turning on all the other lights like they have in Las Vegas, so that there is no shortage of light, but it's all flashing and colorful, and most of has nothing to do with traffic control. The future is so bright, I have to wear shades! ;-)
So do you think there is anything good going on out there with the evolution of news and the Internet? Anything positive about blogs that report any kinds of news? Doesn't the internet bring the power of the press to the masses? $100 video recorders, digital cameras, and the ability to publish online to a huge audience... etc etc. In addition to amateur hour, intentionally misleading information, and rehashes of MSM work, aren't there some pretty detailed, accurate, and original things being published? Haven't there been some pretty big scoops that originated on the web with small-time journalists armed with blogging tools? Is it all bad news? Are the newspapers balking at the change rather than figuring out how they're going to ride the new waves and participate in the evolution?
I'm sure that much of that is true Brett, and I sympathize with your plight of being a journalist in this current world. And I do agree with you that "bias" itself is pretty subjective. (it's not bias if I agree with it) But if people are boycotting a product for whatever reasons, the company has to take a long hard look at the situation to see how to fix it. If you assume that, for example, the LATimes is truly unbiased, but people perceive it to be, then something has to be done to address the perceptions. And going back to my earlier comment, I don't think that the problems are just bias and lack of trust issues. I think it's about business models too. I'm not very knowledgeable about this, but content delivery on the internet has exploded and changed the way that people get their news. I've seen stories about advertising on the internet and it seems like nobody has really cracked that nut. Where do papers get their revenues from? Advertising and Subscriptions? How's that working out online? This is probably a bigger issue than the bias and trust, IMHO. You said, "I'm not saying the MSM is perfect, but until something new arises, we're at the mercy of government and business in the meantime." Are we really waiting for something to arise? Aren't online media sites that cover news, politics, entertainment, tech, fashion, and sports available here and now? Are we really at the mercy of government and big business? Personally, I've never felt like I've had so much information and news at my fingertips and I'm probably suffering from overload.
Brett: "...everyone sees bias, even when there is none." Me: Brett, I've come to believe that bias is everywhere and you're rarely, if ever, going to find something that is perfectly objective. Ultimately, reporting involves humans, and they are going to see things through their eyes, and then describe them to us using their words. Even if they try to be objective, I think some amount of bias is going to creep in. And as long as readers can understand this, then they can read the news and adjust for biases. But sometimes the bias that comes through is way too much. Some times objectivity is thrown completely out the window. When I hear people saying, "That's it, I'm calling up and canceling right now!" it's never due to subtle biases. It is usually because an article is written that is so blatantly dishonest that it outrages people. Brett: In this environment, no one is going to trust the press even if it could be proved objective. The hate is too great. Me: That sounds an awful lot like blaming the reader for the newspapers problems. What do you mean by "hate"? If you say, "The mistrust is too great", then I agree with your point, but how did the papers lose the trust in the first place? The newspapers like to blame the blogs for ruining things, but I think they're looking for a scapegoat more than anything. Where was the press on Van Jones? I read that the NYT didn't have a story on him until he resigned. The blogs were all over the story for a month before he resigned. And where has the press been on ACORN? Jon Stewart has some fun with this and asks where the mainstream press was while this was going down. Good question.
Regarding the question raised about the press, and my response, I just came across this elsewhere: Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low Public Evaluations of the News Media: 1985-2009
I'm not an economist, so I'm mostly puzzled by this too, though I try to understand as best as I can. Sure, it may seem that there is economic benefit to keeping construction workers employed, and that ripples throughout the economy (flooring, carpet, lumberyards, plumbing, landscapers, etc) Assuming that people are buying new construction while letting existing homes sit on the market. But like you said, at some point, busy work for the sake of being busy doesn't not produce something of value if glut on the market reduces the overall value of the house. And if housing prices fall as a result of this, we'll probably end up with more people with negative equity in their homes, maybe get some more foreclosures on people who decide to bail out and leave the banks with the houses... No? Or perhaps I don't know what I'm talking about with my poor understanding of how the economy works.
Satire/Sarcasm can be hard sometimes. I always make sure I include a liberal smattering of :-) :-)'s Anyway, about the health care "reform". I seem to hear a lot about it that has me thinking that it really won't be fixed. It will be made worse for many people. As you accurately point out there are a lot of problems with the current system, and nothing is being done to fix those problems. Preventing competition across state lines? Tort reform? How pre-existing conditions are handled? How insurance companies dictate what medications and procedures you can get, rather than letting doctors have more of a say. I've been prescribed drugs only to show up to pick up the prescription and the pharmacy tells me that I can't have it. I have to first try alternative treatments. There is enough bureacracy with private insurance. I certainly don't want more. I don't think that a lot of people are defending the current system as being perfect and that it shouldn't be touched as much as people are saying, "We know you'll screw it up more than it already is, so hands off." That's my take. I have very little faith in government to do the right things most of the time.
Much of the satire fell flat on me. Some of the items that you are being sarcastic about sounds like reasonable things that we need to consider. To be fair, I think that you're oversimplifications that support your views and your satire are not helpful. Nor are some of the oversimplifications that show up on the signs at the mass protests, either for or against current policies. If I'm reading your sarcasm/satire correctly, you believe that government is the answer to all of our problems, that the free market can't be relied upon? Are you suggesting that the government is capable of doing things that individuals and private entities are incapable of? Really? Do people in government descend from a superior race of people who are far more capable and intelligent than individuals? If so (and we know it's not so, but just for argument's sake), how's that been working out so far? I just do not get how a taxpayer funded, guaranteed retirement, health insurance plan, housing, and protection from every real or perceived threat, whether from food, toys, chemicals, drugs has to come from out government as if they are "rights". I'm not saying that all have to be done away with, but the sense of entitlement coupled with the lack of understanding of how this stuff is going to be paid for astounds me. Anyway, I have to get going because I have to email my daughter's history teacher (public school) as to why he's taking multiple class periods to show Michael Moore movies and is passing them off as "documentaries" to the students. Somehow, "Roger and Me" is being tied into the lesson on the Industrial Revolution and I'm baffled. Maybe I'm just assuming the worse.
Well, at least tequila comes in glass bottles, so it should be safe for you to make some margaritas or pour some shots to help relax you and get you mind onto other things. ;-)
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2009 on Ants and a Scorpion … Oh My at DadTalk
Was this a SIGG commissioned study? Or is SIGG just presenting information from a completely independent study?
I wasn't expecting you to take that one so seriously. I agree that people selling products and misleading, especially in the extreme fashion that the Swiss company did with their bottles should be punishable by severe caning. You don't sell market a product to people who are fearful of chemicals leaching into their water and then line the metal bottles with plastic that could potentially leach BPA.
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2009 on Ants and a Scorpion … Oh My at DadTalk
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" Ronald Reagan
...and you're worried about trace amounts of chemicals leaching out of water bottles? Meanwhile, a half of dozen ants just injected you with a powerful toxin. Just sayin'!! :-)
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2009 on Ants and a Scorpion … Oh My at DadTalk
That's one way to put it... very diplomatically. ;-)
Toggle Commented Sep 8, 2009 on What Should I Do Next? at DadTalk
Brett: I think we all do that. On one hand you do need to make a decision and commit without giving up too easily (because it takes time for something being the right decision or not to become apparent, and you need to work at making things a success). On the other hand, you have to make sure that once it becomes apparent that something isn't working out, after you've given it a go, that you're not afraid to pull out and try something else. How do you make the switch to being engaged trying to make something happen, to being disengaged because you have finally gotten to the point of knowing well enough that what you're doing isn't bearing fruit and likely will not? Well, hopefully, you don't have to go to that second stage. You hope that you will have success (as do we!) and won't have to worry about that part. But if you do, I'm not sure. Listening to others whom you trust. Me, AJ, and well... I guess Anne. ;-) Just kidding Anne!! They say that it's good to have a small "board of advisors" who are in the business that you can call upon every once in a while to review what you're doing and to get some opinions on your business plans and who can give you advice on how and if to move forward. Just a few people at most, who don't have a vested interest in your success/failure, that you might be able to sit down with for lunch. I gather that Anne is smart and supportive. That's a big plus. I didn't have that in my relationship with my wife (now my ex). When I ventured into starting up my first business on my own, she didn't like it and was terribly fearful of it. So while everybody else was being really supportive of me giving it a go, she was actively fighting me. It wasn't logical, legitimate concern. It was emotional fear that was driving her, and then I found out that her family was also irrationally fearful too. Not only is that where she got her fear, but they were actively amplifying the fear by saying that I was foolish, and selfish, and that I was going to fail; they said this before I even quit the old job and gave it a try. I received a card from far-away friends that consisted of a "Yay! Go for it! We know you can do it! We always knew you would do something like this and we think you're the one who can make it happen!" The ex looked at it, put it down, and put on such a sour-puss face that I'm not sure if she didn't want to hide it, or just couldn't hide it. She subsequently did everything in her power to tear down my effort and when she couldn't succeed in that, her and her family decided to tear down the marriage as best as they could. That much they succeeded in. So I really envy you for having Anne to be supportive, but it would be good to get some external sources of opinion on how you're doing that you can trust to be level headed as well.
Toggle Commented Sep 8, 2009 on What Should I Do Next? at DadTalk
Brett, Are you using "web mail" or are you using a mail client running on your PC? In my case -- either using Comcast or 1and1's servers -- there are SPAM filters that are used and I can turn on/off in the "web mail" systems that they have. If SPAM comes in, it goes into their "Junk" folders instead of the webmail inbox. Then when my PC email client (Thunderbird in my case) downloads mail, it takes what's in the inbox on the server and brings it to the PC. If I turn off the webmail spam filtering on ISP, then all mail goes into my inbox on the server, and then my Thunderbird email client can apply it's filters to all of my email and store the junk in it's junk folder instead. Just a suggestion for to you look into (though you probably already have.) Some ISPs will also implement black lists based on IP addresses of "known" mail servers that have been found to be passing a lot of SPAM through. This works at the connection level, AFAIK, and won't let the mail even be transferred to your ISP. This isn't really a SPAM filter since it's just refusing to accept the connections to transfer the mail. The joy of this is that at times in years past, I've seen my host ( or's email servers get onto these black lists some people would just stop getting my emails for a few days. That was a real joy to deal with. I think I read somewhere that something like 85% of the SPAM in the world is perpetrated by about a dozen people? It's time to admit that Osama Bin Laden is dead, and to move on to hunting down the SPAMmers. They are definitely part of the axis of evil.
Toggle Commented Sep 7, 2009 on Spam Filters Run Amok at DadTalk
Sorry, I should have put a smiley next to that "Obama, the alien shape-shifter" thing. Just my exaggeration though of how outlandish people are with their crazy talk. You apparently see lots of crazy stuff like I do. People are nuts. Not sure what you mean about "dismantling of the press". My overall impression of the press is that it's been letting itself fall apart for many years. Two things come to mind: Business Models and Objectivity of Reporting. Regarding objectivity, there seems to be a lot of trust issues that people have with the MSM. The bias that many of our major newspapers exhibit is pretty serious. At some point, you start to question everything that is written by the papers. Am I getting the truth? Am I getting the whole story? They have been behaving more like partisan arms of the various parties. They may describe themselves as non-partisan and objective. Give me a break. If I want subjective, opinionated, partisan news, I can find that in plenty of other places for free. Blogs, for example. At least with them wearing their biases on their sleeve, I know what to expect. Take Rathergate as an example: The press really did themselves some damage and lost respect. That's a great example of our "press" actually manufacturing and promoting bad information (and possibly knowing it was bad information from the start), they put it out there because it fit the agenda they wanted to push. If people can't trust the press, they'll assume the worse case scenarios about politics and might believe some of the ridiculous stuff that goes around in chain emails. I think a solid, relatively unbiased, objective press could squelch some of the nonsense, assuming that it could pick up readers that it has lost. But that's a pipe dream, IMHO, because I don't believe that the press as we've known it will every be solid, relatively unbiased or objective. [ I kind of mix the press and major network news all in one bundle of "the MSM" when I talk about it above. ]
Brett says: "I just hope I make the right decision." A lot of people will delay or avoid making a decision for fear that they might not make the right decision. Think about how rare it is that people actually know ahead of time what the right decision actually is, until after they make the decision and commit to it for a while. Also, don't count on only having one chance at making the right decision which puts a lot of pressure on you as well. You can change course in life a LOT of times. So what's the best strategy? I'm not sure, but how about: Don't overthink them. Make decisions quickly. Don't make a decision that will lock you in to something for too long. Make decisions that give you multiple paths down the road. If you see a decision leading in the wrong direction, don't hesitate to make course corrections and don't let pride get in the way of backing out. ... What other suggestions do people have on decision making?
Toggle Commented Sep 6, 2009 on What Should I Do Next? at DadTalk