The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Concerned Over Stories Out of Context

We have a problem in social media of information out of context. Often, this takes the form of news stories told more to excite passion than to inform. A dramatic bit of footage is pulled and part of a tale is told. It is something simple, easily told. It is something that makes you angry or excited or whatever else the author intended. It is a detail adrift, without the complexities of "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say.

This has the potential to be extremely dangerous. Out of context, information can become a tool for violence. Compelling images and a short, angry story can incite riots. It is the equivalent (yes, one time worn cliche here) of shouting fire in the theater and watching the ensuing havoc. The problem is, of course, people can be injured or killed when this is done, especially if it is done well. This is definitely true in an age when we rip and read our news from media tailored to our personal biases, media that panders to our personal prejudices and does not try to truly educate us (much harder and less profitable, thank you very much).

Next time you see an inflammatory story, before hitting "share" and passing it along, use that computer for research and find out if there is more to the story than you imagine. That might take us all to some surprising places. Of course, if it's the next cute kitty video ... well, that's different. Please don't send that. I've got plenty.

Have a beautiful and informed day.

Sloggin' Thru Blogging: Useful to Blogger

Hey new bloggers, here's a use for that blog you might not expect. I record a lot of different material here. This is a reflection of my life in some ways. The other day, I needed a reference to wabi-sabi, the idea from Japan that things less than perfect in condition are to be honored rather than trashed. I was delighted to find I had recorded the name and position of the speaker who introduced me to this idea. That information added richness to my public presentation and a connection with two listeners who knew the man personally. It was wonderful to have that recorded.

You never know when the material you put forward might be of use ... even to yourself, friend blogger. Keep writing.

For the Earth. The Five Minute Response

Jane Goodall, primate researcher, asks why we, perhaps the smartest creatures to ever walk the earth, creatures who have trod on the moon and sent robots to every planet and a few planetoids in our solar system, who have one robot outside of that system, can be dumb enough to be destroying earth's habitability for us? It is a wonderful, timely question. Right now we are pumping untold tons of drilling waste into waste water wells. We expect that stuff to stay where we put it. However, our certainty is shaken by earthquakes that have increased markedly from this process. Industry leaders say "we don't have enough data yet to say conclusively that there is a connection." We never will.

When has our garbage ever stayed where we put it in the long run. Time is the most destructive force in the universe. Ninety percent of everything humanity has created in the past 300 years has been destroyed over the passage of time. Lunatic groups with radical ideologies are increasing the rate of destruction for time. But, I digress. We used to think we could simply dump our junk in rivers and oceans ... until it started rolling back on the shores with dead wildlife tangled in the mire. We have a great garbage collection floating in the sea for additional proof of how wrong we were. We hope our landfills will contain and constrain our trash ... but as civilization shifts and moves on, as these burial mounds to consumption are left untended, in time they will deteriorate and future generations will be cursing us as they contend with our mess. The same will certainly happen with fracking's toxic waste water at some point. These dirty lubricants will cause the wrong plate to shift, creating a big enough earthquake to free this junk, and an aquifer will be polluted or worse. We have to do better. We have to use our brains, work together, and actually work to keep our home livable for all life as we know it. Otherwise we will have been the stupidest species ever to walk planet Earth. I would hate to think our obsession with that artificial construct of ours, money, would lead us down that dark path to mass extinction on asteroidal scales ... but it might.

Let's do better.

And that's the five minute response.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Carving Out Time. The Five Minute Response

Go for a walk ...
In this high tech world of ours, it is easy to get swept up in being busy. It is simplicity itself to fill up every waking moment, and many when we should be sleeping, with one task or another, one game of Free Cell (or a million), or one more comment on social media (there, that told 'em). The problem is, that is feeding the old ego and nothing else. It's a diet that never nourishes. It leads to sickness, physical and mental.

We really do need to take some time to unplug, to sit back, to take a deep breath and restore ourselves. Whether it is hobbies, faith, or a walk in the woods or along the shore ... or that most strange of all rituals ... the face to face conversation, we NEED to carve out a short time in each day to rest and recover.

Also, there are times when we need to put a foot down when things are moving too fast. I had first hand experience with this just the other day. When things feel like they are flying out of control, moving forward in an avalanche that is about to consume us (and it is within our power ... unlike the approaching tax deadline), we need to speak up and slow the process down to a manageable, human pace. Listen to those internal alarm bells. It is amazing how fast they quiet when you gain just a little control over the process.

And that's the five minute response.