Tag Archives: facts

LOOK, HEY, SERIOUSLY NOW…!

I don’t do this just to hear the round-pear-shaped tones of my own voice, although I do suppose there must be some kind of egomania deep in there… hey, if I’m reaching your aural canal with sound waves, that’s great, and I would love to hear your variation of worldview from mine… but even if nobody else is listening, I’m still more than happy to have this record of my insane ranting in digital existence.

There are a lot of policy-makers who have been bought and sold like human slaves, our “elected” officials and legislators, passionately fighting and arguing for the beliefs and policies of the highest bidders in this country. Most of the donations given to presidential candidates are in the triple digits.

Intellectuals will argue amongst themselves as to which ones are in charge, why aren’t things run by the super-smart instead of the super-rich, a sort of Ayn Rand fascism of a different kind of elitism, deciding who gets educations and who doesn’t. As if intelligence alone, and not wisdom, confers rights over others. As if those who happen to get an education “win” or “deserved it” and others lose. Distinctions are made all through this… those who bought it and didn’t deserve it, those who are somehow “true intellectuals” but always define the word in such a way that it would always include themselves… so there’s no bias

And of course the rich, who often don’t even realize why they’re reviled, that they may be part of the 1%, that saying repulsive things about minorities or the poor would even matter, their sheltered, insulated lives preventing them from having any connection to the average American plight, let alone anywhere else in the world, nothing could possibly prevent them from using their powers to benefit themselves at everyone else’s expense.

I am a proud pseudo-intellectual. I don’t claim to be an expert, or a researcher, a or a credited journalist, or anyone of any note. We don’t have the power of money, or impressive degrees. But myself and other Americans who try to stay informed, read, converse, immerse in varied opinions and worldviews, and attempt (sometimes with difficulty) to cultivate a conscience, and who are unhappy with the state of affairs as they are, still have an important role. Our criticism, our skepticism, and our questioning are all vital to protecting what shreds of the Republic are left.

Many people will try to invalidate your opinions based on those arbitrary groups they have put you in. These people are fallacious, and can be regarded as such. People will try to argue that your position is invalid if you don’t have all the answers yourself. But that doesn’t logically follow. Our role, and my own as I see it, is to point out what is wrong and vile. We can fight tenaciously with peaceful protest, actions, journalism, social media organization, poetry, civil disobedience of the physical and digital varieties. Our importance is not defined by our volume, but by our basic desperate survival, factual support, common sense, and loyalty to liberty.

We don’t want to disparage individuals for being less privileged economically, or intellectually, or with regards to race, gender, social status, some ridiculous religious or political beliefs, or even their level of common sense or wisdom. Every person has the capability to form valid or invalid opinions at times, and can now more than ever assess a constant stream of information, sometimes including facts. They may end up right or wrong on particular issues, but their voices still matter! The genetic variation of our species alone determines who will be good at math, who will have the nicest hair, the best sense of direction, a mind for legalese or computer skills, who can type the fastest, run the fastest, jump the highest, shoot the most accurate… and all of them need hundreds of hours to be great at any of them, they should all be given the equal opportunity to find out for themselves, to live their life as they choose without hurting others. That combination of genetic prowess and hard work and skillful training need to be fostered in everyone, to bring out our full American potential.

Those  of us humble enough to note that we are merely voices clamoring in the darkness, you may not agree with us or think we’re right, and we may not even ever get our way, but we will have our say, and nothing short of total extermination will silence us.

PLAYLIST
In the Hall of the mountain king – Duke Ellington
When I Get Low I Get High – Ella Fitzgerald With Chick Webb
Sixty Minute Man – Billy Ward & His Dominoes
Stormy Weather – Charles Mingus
Floyd’s Guitar Blues – Muddy Waters
Violent Love – Willie Dixon
Mean To Me – Sarah Vaughan
Southern Can Is Mine – Blind Willie McTell
Over The Hill – R.L. Burnside
Drone Blues – Jimi Hendrix
Fight The Power (Part 1&2) – The Isley Brothers
When I Want to Get Funky – Victor Wooten
Sugar Loaf Mountain – George Duke
Cruisin’ – Smokey Robinson
Love And Happiness – Al Green
Use Me – Bill Withers
Gentle Thoughts – Herbie Hancock
Here Comes The Sun – Nina Simone
We Can Work It Out – Stevie Wonder
Pusherman – Curtis Mayfield
Come On Feet – Melvin Van Peebles
Plumskinzz – MF DOOM
Potholderz (Feat. Count Bass D) – MF DOOM
The People – Common
Things Get a Little Easier – Biz Markie
Outer Spaceways – Sun Ra
Keynote Speaker (feat. Dave Chappelle) – Talib Kweli
Where Do We Go (feat. Res) – Talib Kweli

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-02-04: Black History Month by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

*putting the 1% in a position where they’re paranoid and scared, ready to make mistakes.

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Blinded!

With science journalism paltry and underfunded in the dying newspaper industry era, and blogs still not the dominant political force of commentary (despite being the dominant social force), it would be insincere to hope that better science education would find its way into the contused field.

Journalism in this country is SHODDY WORN USED LIKE A CHEAP (excuse me *ahem*) and it is a mistake to think that more science in journalism is just for the benefit of science journalism. No, but for the very embiggening of the power of journalism itself, the scientific method must be more rigorously applied.

While even our so-called tech-savvy president seems to only react and respond and capitulate to the center-right to far-right mainstream media or Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and the Wall Street Journal, he seems to be out of touch with progressive fact-finders like TYT and TPM. We cannot count on K Street, Wall Street, and Congress to utilize the internet for better information, indeed, they often do not even let the experts speak to them concerning technical matters for which they are ignorant.

Skepticism and critical thinking has not just historically been scientific or philosophical, but provides important watchdog services to journalistic integrity. As it has become, the fourth estate instead refers to the corporate mouthpieces of myopic agendas. Hard-hitting news has been almost completely replaced with flashy entertainment. Why is it that the most fantastical line of an article is taken out of context and made into the sensational (and misrepresentational) headline?

Though the internet is unimaginably vast, with enough dedicated investigation, a less relativistic definition of truth is soon revealed.

We need that widespread dissemination of information, like viruses, or even better like vaccines against the stupid, memes of novelty wave out and spread, with particularly brilliant, mutated individuals using their unique perspective to build each Hegelian block. At the same time, the massive hive thought MUST utilize critical thinking and skepticism in order to falsify incongruent precepts, since the democratizing forces of social media also allow crazies to discover one another, confirming each other’s biases, regardless of reality. Most of us only hear and accept the voices we already agree with, and deepen our belief systems accordingly. Ethan Zuckerman’s TED talk addresses how to escape these traps.

Brain plasticity has made us the apex species of the planet, and diverse adaptability and resourceful critical thinking and second-guessing has allowed us to survive at all. Thinking outside the box and truly examining ideas and theories should be done by all, as I am truly convinced that good thinking will lead to correct conclusions, but only provided the input data is factual and reliable. Stupidity and ignorance result in hurting the entire herd.

Scientific methods lack in both mainstream and independent (even hacker) journalism, leading to the press quackery of Arianna Huffington, Glenn Beck, and Alex Jones.

Even the once-laudable Ron Paul has extremely questionable theories regarding alternative medicines, homeopathy, and the FDA (as well as race, but that’s another topic). I suppose you have the ability to cherry-pick from the opinions of ‘experts’ and professionals, but no one can logically justify cherry-picking data. And celebrities are terrible judges at this stuff anyway.

Brian Dunning of Skeptoid has recently published his list of the Top 10 Worst Anti-Science sites on the web, and although pathetic examples such as the Daily Mail and any of the various Examiners do not make the list, the internet-renowned Huffington Post does. But how would one know to find such a list unless they were already clued into the skeptical network?

The of-course-brilliant Neal Stephenson has written an article concerning the need for good science fiction writing, as it fosters critical thinking, as well as the lofty fantasy of engineers and futurists. Since none of us exist in a vacuum, if we all want to progress then the best way to facilitate this is with better knowledge on scientific subjects. Sure, Google provides great answers for those researchers who know how to look effectively. For many, this is a daunting task.

How can one know the truth with so many liars and so many internets? The veritable flood of information from our social media sites alone threatens to drown us, with a wealth of news sites and supposed experts spouting often contradictory opinions and personalized “facts” at every turn.

It comes down to trust, and reasonable common sense. Most outlandish claims are just that. And when logic appears fuzzy, it usually is. Erroneous “facts” abound on the web, but so too does the number of resources for checking such facts. Not everyone has the time to do this, and as a result they will be under-served or mis-served bad informations.

Just as it is the responsibility of writers to inspire, and scientists to discover, and politicians to represent constituencies (har har), journalists owe the populace hard facts and realistic conclusions. No justification can be accepted for anything less.

Ultimately, it is only the news agencies that will lose if they do not adapt. They will eventually lose face, faith, and the trust of their flock. Once lost, they will not return, and information consumers such as myself will be happy to aggregate our news from such tailored sources as TED, Wired, ArsTechnica, and NewScientist.