social media, Technology, Uncategorized

Fooling all the people all the time

I’m old. Lets just get that out there right now. I grew up watching Watergate unfold, and each morning brought a new bit of news about the plumbers, the tapes and the cover-up. If nothing else, that experience taught me, in addition to a deep skepticism of the governments ability to function for the common good, to follow the money. Basically, the main motivation in most situations is profit, so to get to the bottom of things, follow the money. So when we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic and  it seems as if many have taken the blue pill, barricading ourselves in our homes, freely accepting the closing of our economy, the destruction of many or our livelihoods, even shunning social and physical contact from one another and believing that a bandanna or simple mask will keep us all safe- not even considering ulterior motives. No please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying here that there is no virus or that it isn’t a matter of concern However, when did we jettison common sense and belief in our own thought process and drink the “government knows all” Kool-aid. There is only one way to survive this and there is no other option or possibility.

Where was and how well served was the trust in government for those sitting on their roofs in the lower 9th ward as Katrina’s water came higher and higher. What about the children in the back seat of the car whose parents have passed out from opiate abuse of prescribed  drugs that our government seemed helpless to stop. Perhaps we can “Just Say No” to Covid like Ron and Nancy Reagan’s response to illegal drugs- remember how well that worked out (not unlike the response to the AIDS crisis but one can go on and on.)

Perhaps the real question is when did we decide it was ok to just suck on the government teat (well, they do give us money after shutting down the economy and our livelihood and a few more sips couldn’t hurt…) or more to the point, have we become so drunk from the fire-hose of 24 hour media that we have lost any sense to think for ourselves.  We blindly accept what ever is fed us and gladly wait for the next post to send us into apoplexy. While you may read this and say “oh no, not me..” just wait till we are all told the only thing that will save us is wearing tinfoil hats and see how fast you fall in line.

covid-19,Trump

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social media, Technology, Uncategorized

Slouching toward Quietus

High school was when I first heard the term Domesday-book- and of course we quickly changed the title to Doomsday book and instead of being a record of survey of William the Conqueror’s holdings in England, it became the foretelling of oblivion- like the book of Revelations, (A prophecy, not a foretelling of doom- indeed the word  Apocalypse means a revelation or unveiling- the end of the world was added later) and it seems this need for despair has become a necessary transition for all great bodies of surveying. As the Domesday book became the dooms day book- so to the internet has gone from being a place of accumulated knowledge to a spreader of doom. This is noted in the recent article in Wired, “Doomscrolling Is Slowly Eroding Your Mental Health” while we can use internet to find the worlds wonder, information and connect to one another, we seem to be dedicated to only seeing the worst of things, passing joy on our way to despair or as Joan Didion wrote “Slouching toward quietus“.  We start our day with the worlds despair from the night before, and news amalgamators are pleased to oblige with the If it bleeds, it leads, point of view. Really, what is so important that we need minute to minute coverage. When I cant find my glasses or don’t know how to cover next months electric bill, I seldom find the neighbors in rapt attention (even if I were to make them aware of the situation) needing moment to moment updates. Perhaps putting things on the screen is the same as putting them on a pedestal. They become important and necessary while our own lives go on as drab and unexciting. Yet what makes their situation so different than ours? As Oscar Wilde once said, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”, perhaps now more than ever we need our eyes to the light.

Covid19, Covid, Trump, Biden,Media

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internet, social media, Technology, Uncategorized

The Internet is Stupid

At first I was offended. An artist friend of mine had started doing a series of sketches called, “is Stupid” which was a loose sketch of one of his friends with their name written out followed by the words- is stupid. As he was a recognized artist, I had hoped that a small bit of immortality might be obtained through being portrayed in his work, alas, that was not to be so. However, while the internet was not immortalized by his work, it never the less, is stupid.

When we educate children we teach them at best to think for themselves, to find answers but more than that to value the question. To look at a situation and find ways for themselves to solve it, to overcome the obstacle and to solve it at least and at best in a graceful and beautiful manner. That is knowledge. Answers are a the doorway to a closet while a true answer presents more questions and greater growth. The simple act of questioning invites growth, makes us look at things differently and see things that are not yet there. The internet is a great tool but unfortunately it can only bring us answers, what already is. It will only bring us fish when what we are need now, more than ever, are more people figuring out how to fish.

Internet,covid 19

 

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internet, social media, Technology

Sold to the highest bidder

While here at the Universe, we try to keep a Janus face looking forward and backward, we are often shocked by the lack of perspective that we see in current “innovations”. Case in point, when we saw the article in quoted in Wired, about how colleges are now taking bets on the future earnings of their students to leverage their college costs against their potential earnings. In short, investors—including wealthy alumni, a hedge fund, and the Purdue Research Foundation—would front her $50,000 to cover two years of college. In exchange, she’d owe them 14.8 percent of whatever income she earned in the eight years after she graduated. “Bravo for the return to indentured servitude” our illustrious Mr Christian, cried when he heard the news, nothing the 18th century form of slavery wherein someone would work for a number of years at little or no salary for an determined period of time. While under this new system, one would only forfeit a percentage of their wages, in this case, a pittance of 14.8 %,- a bargain at twice the price! Imagine, putting your college education on your credit card- yes you get an education but at what price?  How do we decide what ones potential would be? Why not have an open bidding system with the students with the most perceived potential can receive the money we think they might deserve. A sort of educational future market. We can only hope this is the death rattle of a outmoded educational system that takes all and gives little. How else can we keep the university system propped up to teach skills that are no longer needed in the coming economy? Will we need to tie students to the masts to avoid this sirens song of financial ruin or will they have awakened enough to know that what the new frontier needs is those who dance to a music being sung anew.

SLAVERY

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Uncategorized

Mining for Gold

While driving to work the other morning and listening to Strauss Marches, I was reminded of a conversation with Richard Pearlman, a well know opera director, we were discussed an operetta I was singing at the time. I remember him saying, this is a subtle aria, you need to dig deep and mine for each small emotional change and make the most of each of these moments. With a world of information at our fingertips, perhaps like singing that operetta aria, we need to be like miners. We have a whole world of information at our fingertips and yet we are happy to feast on the low hanging fruit. We are willing to believe what ever we read and not be bothered with digging a bit deeper into the story, the claim or even the photograph. We gnash our teeth in outrage when we think that some foreign power might  be influencing our elections and yet we are reticent to take on the responsibility to investigate these claims. We claim to want gold but are unwilling to dig beneath the surface seeming happy with our treasure trove of fools gold. As we have said before, media is plural but truth is singular. Let us also remember that wisdom is also plural and if we search for truth, we may gather wisdom along the way.

Trump,Gay,Porn

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Uncategorized

2020 Vision

With the advent of a new year and a new decade, it is not unusual to look to the future as a sort of crystal ball to hope to divine what a future may hold. In that spirit, we at the Galaxy have our own hopes for this new decade and the media world that we now live in.
We hope that as our namesake said, Media is an extension of the human body and it is our hope that as we begin to connect with this new media, that we begin to see beyond the things that make us similar and embrace our differences. As in the body, we have two hands, but we don’t detest one for being different than the other. We don’t cast aspersions on our foot for its inability to hold a spoon or write our name and yet, we would not be able to stand or walk long without it. In short, we hope that in this year of hopefully clearer vision, we see that our differences are strengths and this amazing tool of media can be used to show us all the wondrous diversity of our world and its people and not become a tool for beating everyone into a world of vanilla similarity. May this be the year that we stop acting like sheep and realize that we are lions in media and the economy. Companies thrive off our blind compliance, allowing our information to be mined and then sold back to us as a rare jewel, may consumers understand that we are not victims of the economy but the masters and if we want to get peoples attention, just be mindful of what we buy and when. Want to get the worlds attention, stop buying gas one day a week- see how companies react. May this year and this decade be the beginning of a wider vision of ourselves and media, as a tool to see ourselves in all our individual flawed brilliance.

2020, Trump, World War 3

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All our yesterdays

While we used to think death was final but now even James Dean can return from the grave to appear as a third string role in a third rate movie. It seems that in our new electronic age, even death won’t stand in our way. Not only can James Dean return from the grave, Beethoven can return to finish his Tenth symphony with the help of AI and now the silicon elites are looking at ways to if not live forever live even longer than we believe we can now. The thing is, what happens when we no longer have any barriers to push up against. What if there is no end? If we know that tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow is always there, why should we seize the day?

 

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Uncategorized

I’m a Victim of Circumstances!

The idea that Facebook was creating its own cryptocurrency intrigues on many fronts. First of all the thought that a private company could take over such a large and public space usually occupied by governments. While I am not suggesting that Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency will replace government issue money but if we think that this may not create a copy economy we deceive ourselves at our own risk. In a world were retail giants have fallen silent in the face of Amazon, why should we think it impossible that the government wouldn’t outsource the responsibility for creating currency. We outsource many aspects of our military to Blackwater, our prisons are outsourced to private companies, why not our economy. Why suffer the slings and arrows of uncertainty when we can gleefully turn that responsibility to a conglomerate. The only thing that may make this run a fowl would be the fact that only 27% of Facebook users believe that “Facebook is committed to protecting the privacy of my personal information.” while one might forgive even offer up for sacrifice our data for the latest photo of someones the first course, when it comes to our money, I like to think we take things a bit more seriously. But perhaps that is mistaken. While one of those large banks repeatedly stole from customers and yet, after a slap on the wrist from regulators and still, people gladly trade their dignity as consumers to work with a bank of established liars and thieves. Perhaps we shouldn’t worry about businesses too big to fail and worry about the cost of ones that succeed
If banks can be thought too big to fail, maybe we need to work that Facebook may be too dangerous to succeed.

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Uncategorized

Do you matter?

It was with a slightly raised eyebrow that I read the definition of privacy as a human right. As we stumble blindly forward into a world of artificial intelligence and robotics all raising questions of rights and responsibilities of (and to) electronic beings, perhaps, we should also re-examine what rights a human should have. For those who have missed the discussion here, there is an ongoing debate in Europe as to the legal and “human” rights that we should extend to the silicon-based forms that we seem to be creating (to call them life forms seems to step into a quagmire we still are unable to admit exists, let alone being a venue for discussion). It seems that one can not turn around without seeing a slogan or sign that Black Lives Matter or Blue Lives matter or that any number of people matter and yet this seems mere lip service. How willing we are to turn a blind eye to the idea that schoolchildren matter and perhaps turning schools into shooting rangers might not be the best way to express that value. We seem to be working to keep drugs out of our country yet can’t seem to react to the fact that our doctors and drug companies are creating prescription addicts to enhance their bottom line.
The only rights we seem to be respecting are, the governments right to act in whatever way it wishes, the right for large businesses to act in whatever way they deem appropriate to make the largest profit with the least responsibility to anyone other than themselves or their shareholders. We allow credit card purchases to be made online, even allow our personal information to be held online but we couldn’t allow voting to occur via computer even though we can not verify the sanctity of those records.
We seem to be falling over ourselves to trample over the cloth of purple that we claim to esteem, all but blind to our hubris as we are lulled in another warm bath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a brilliant mix by Mikestro Music and Eric Thomas

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internet, social media, Technology, Uncategorized

Paul is Dead

There was always that one guy in High School (at least when I was in high school) who would go to the mat to try to make you believe that Paul Mc Cartney was dead. True to form, the urban legend states that in 1967 Paul McCartney had been killed in a traffic accident while driving along the M1 motorway. While there was no real proof, only rumors, and hazy evidence, the rumor persisted and still has its followers today. The insecurity of the past, the idea that we can’t be sure of what really happened can take many forms, from a false memory, where a person recalls something that did not happen or differently from the way it happened but the idea is taken to a whole new level around 2014 when a concept “The Mandella Effect” began to take hold. It seems that some people remembered Nelson Mandela’s tragic death in a South African prison, prior to late 2009. (In this reality, Mandela died in 2013.) The idea being that someone had gone back to tamper with the past and re-set our experience of it. While we have often spoken of cyber truth in this blog, this idea seems to take the idea into a much larger and more terrifying realm. While a computer could easily erase our bank records we like to think that we have some memory of what happened and that other people could confirm our story. However, the more terrifying reality is that we could find ourselves in a George Bailey like fate, alive and remembering a world in which he never existed. As we continue to hear more tales of data being stolen, do we not see that the true goal may not be just our data but the very fact that we ever existed?

Paul Mc Cartney, the Beatles

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