Monday, September 12, 2011

Reflections on 9/11

A lot has been written with the passing of the 10th annivesary of 9/11/2001.

However, the best on 9/11 I’ve read to date in terms of matching my feelings about what’s happened was this post on SlashDot (warning, lots of righteous use of profanity)

My version of things is based on that, with some reflection and a different perspective.

9/11 CAN’T HAPPEN AGAIN… it couldn’t have happened on 9/12/2001 even with no changes other that the knowledge now carried by every passenger as to the real threat posed by hijackers.

The only really good money spent since 9/11 was on better cockpit doors.

We should have responded to the Crimes of 9/11 using the International Police, and the Intelligence agencies of the world.

ALL of the warfare in response to 9/11 was wasted and wrong.

We faced down the USSR, and didn’t give up our rights, why did we let 19 guys do to us what decades of cold war couldn’t?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Watching the fireworks for 30 seconds

I've been criticized for not fully understanding the power of a Nikon D40 and a tripod for taking night photos... here is one example of the photos you can take with it.
I bought the D40 instead of the D40x because of it's lower "resolution" and thus much better night photos, I've never regretted the decision.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

The post with the most important idea I have to tell you today - told very poorly - verbose version #1

I have an idea I need you to understand. It is the most important, deep, powerful, realization I've had in the last 24 hours. Please bear with me, and forgive my wandering...  here goes.

The internet changes nothing.... just like Dave Rogers always says....

So I go to look him up, because it's been a while, I've been drinking RSS fed Koolaid for a bit too long...and of course...

Holy shit, it seems that Dave Rogers did it again... writes about what I'm about to say, before I say it... here... take a look.

Now I'll read that... and get back in a minute..... (time passes)...

Ok... he was almost about to say the same thing, but he too was triggered by something else on the internet... in this case it was this post at Akma's random thought.

Dave's post points out that a lot of blogging and commenting and "content" on social media is just a need to vent, rant, and express a bit of hostility in a safe manner... a manner not harmful to others.

Akma points out that when you do express something positive, it gets nowhere near the coverage that something tuned to provoke emotion gets, and it's far too easy to miss getting "credit" for things. It's also easy to slip into the "see, I was right" mode of being a cranky old man (which so far we ALL claim to be vulnerable to).

My triggering realization that brings me here was in watching this 10 minutes worth of Max Keiser, who I follow regularly, get into a carefully orchestrated shouting match with some of the "mainstream" media. It occurred to me that not only did Max correctly counter every argument thrown at him, it is very likely that nobody will learn anything new from the time spent. All that will happen is that whatever the viewers world view, it will be confirmed. 

The problem is that when you have point - counterpoint, you eventually end up talking about Nazis.. (Godwin's law)...  

No... that's not quite it..

When you have a conversational style that is all about responding to someone, in order to prove them wrong, you never get anywhere...   that's a bit closer.

Conversation is too much like warfare these days. Yeah... that's the thread...

The 10 minutes of Max Keiser in a shouting match is like watching a boxing match, and the comments, links, etc.. are all about venting steam, with almost no exceptions (I'm hoping this is the rare one).

Sporting events are breads and circuses, at least in my mind.

Now blogging has devolved into the same thing, and I think RSS makes it worse.

I'd like to figure out why, and how to avoid it.  I do have a pet theory, and I'd like to know if it's right or wrong, but most of all I'd like to tweak it to make it a more accurate theory, and more useful in fighting the crude devolution of things.

Here's my pet theory, which is certainly way off the mark, and quite possibly wrong.

There is NO good way to mark up someone else's text on the internet. This forces us to reply to whole articles, posts, videos, etc.  We need better tools. HTML doesn't allow markup of hypertext.

Here's another pet theory, from long ago...

We've tuned the things we listen to incorrectly, instead of being informed by others who expand our views, we're feeding our own biases... we're in a positive feedback loop, like the squeal when a PA system feeds back into itself.

.... time passes...

If we had ways to link our documents like Ted Nelson wanted to in the 1960s, we'd automatically get informed of their usage when others used them and expanded on them. I think that this was a cool idea, but actually won't help much, because as we've seen, tons of links make things hard to sort through.

The need to be able to categorize things, tag them, mark them up, and write in a mode that doesn't emulate a teletype with good editing features is still unsatisfied. Our tools still such (oops... back to my pet theory, from a different angle).

If it were easy to watch every place that one of my blog posts got referenced, it would make it slightly more practical to use it as a conversational medium.

If it were easier to remix what other people said, without having to resort to tons of quotes, copy and paste, and paraphrasing, it might be a bit better as well.

The more things we can do to allow time for reflection, and bias AGAINST the need to quickly reply to a topic before it dies out, the better.


We need editors, I've known that I need one for a very, very long time. The tools we've built for ourselves are all about publishing our thoughts NOW...   we're all shouting without taking time to ponder, or at least that's what I do far, far to often.


We need ways to gather up the pro and con sides of commentary, not as a means of building up an argument, but as a way of finding out the odd comment that is neither, and might be valuable to a lot of people.

We need ways to curate

A lot of this isn't technical, but if we figure out the ways we want to do something, someone will eventually automate it if enough people find it valuable.

The tools we need are not technical, just as a haiku doesn't need a compiler... it's just a set of rules.

Rules are tools

automation saves time
but what about reflection?
I love Saturday

Taking apart a problem as a means of solving it is good,
but we have to avoid pointing fingers and skipping the learning part...

I propose that we should all go back and re-examine one of our old arguments, find references to it that have something to add, and merge all of it into a new post, with proper back links.