Archive for the ‘ Education ’ Category

Something That Works, Meant To Last

Cliches, those trite oversimplifications of complex human conditions, are usually born of a desire to convey some  elemental truth. Perhaps no oversimplification speaks to our circumstances as a civilization better than ‘information is power’.  Economic imperialism, much like territorial imperialism,  requires control not only of information, but also of its shadow – misinformation. Conventional wisdom says that information is the ideological currency of freedom and choice, and that misinformation a tool of totalitarianism, fascism, communism and every other ‘repressive-form-of -government-ism’.  Yet in so much as absolute power corrupts absolutely,  information can become an oppressive shadow, while misinformation becomes pinpoints of truth in the darkness. Where there is substance there is spin; if there is access there is censorship.  Freedom of choice atrophies if not exercised.  And just because there is perception of choice doesn’t mean that there is one.  Truth takes no sides – we do.

Some century and a half ago Karl Marx said that “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” It would be difficult to find another instance in the history of the world where a metaphor would produce such tumultuous impact.  At the turn of the millennium, Rex Taylor Smith said:

“Media is the methamphetamine of the masses.”

Continue reading


Exposing the Census Conspiracy

At a time when millions of Americans are considering how to most effectively resist what seems like government intrusion into most every aspect of their lives, employees of the federal government are knocking at the door to collect personal information.

Citizens and non-citizens alike, ‘the feds’ want the names of each person staying at the address, regardless of whether the individual actually lives there or merely surfs the couch.  To consider a household questionnaire complete, the federal government will walk away from your front door with a profile of each person that includes date of birth, ethnic and racial designations.  They will also ask the way in which each person listed is related to each of the others.  Thus, a skeptic nation raises its collective eyebrow when this stranger at the door, speaking on behalf of The United States of America, gives every assurance that the confidentiality of  the information they collect is under the strict protection of Title 13 of the U.S. Code.  You are not alone if you find these assurances, made on behalf of the federal government, incredulous.  Calling themselves patriots, scores of Americans prepare to stand against this intrusion by the U.S. federal government, which they perceive as indicative of tyranny and repression, by refusing to participate in the 2010 Census.  While this is an idea that certainly resonates with many of the federal government’s detractors, clearly, it is an ill-considered position, an ill-advised action.  As an act of civil defiance, failure to provide basic identifying  information and demography to the U.S. Census Bureau is convenient and risk free,  though a questionable tactic in defense of personal freedom. Continue reading

Its RESPECT, stupid…

Remember when there was a de facto threshold of civil conduct in this country?  I am fairly certain that most of you were raised as I was raised (especially since at least a couple of you reading this actually did raise me!), instilled with the belief that regardless of political ideology or how much one may detest the sitting President of the U.S., there was a line that was not crossed.  Threats, whether explicit or implicit, against the lives of the President (or for that matter any elected official) and/or his family were not just unacceptable, but were outside the perimeter of what even the most incorrigible, felonious element of a civilized, democratic society tolerates.  You just did not go there.  The level of contempt for those who did was on par with that which we reserve exclusively for terrorist, and those who commit treason.  It was categorically not tolerated.  So now consider that there those using Biblical scripture to administer a campaign of dissent suggesting that President Barack Obama be assassinated (follow the link below).  From all appearances,  this is something we are prepared to tolerate.  To do so not only sets a dangerous precedent, but in fact is a  major concession in the  ‘war on terror’, in that it appropriates the type of conduct and tactic favored by the militant forces of Islamic Jihad.  And it is because I do not believe that we should set about legislating conduct or further encroaching on the right to free speech that I am forwarding this to many of you. ‘Back in the day,’ –  to use the colloquial prepositional slang de jour for “back in the days when I was growing up and before the world got really screwed up”  – we didn’t need laws or regulation to check such behavior and attitudes.  It was a critical mass of shared value among the citizenry that kept deplorable behavior in check.  And though it is unlikely that we will change how many adults conduct themselves, we should rise to the challenge of ensuring that the next generation comes of age with the quality of respect for the offices, institutions and Constitution of the United States that you and I did.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

“Christian” Jihadist?

The Spinning Dancer: left brain/right brain optical illusion

The Right Brain vs Left Brain test … do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

I first saw this about a couple two or three years ago.  The ‘spinning dancer’ optical illusion has made its rounds on the internet for a few years.  I would surmise that more of you than not have seen it, pondered it, probably even argued about it.  Most of you probably then forgot about it.  From what I could conclude, it was an unexplained phenomenon.  And believe me when I tell you, I scoured the internet in search of an explanation of the mechanics involved with creating an animation in which a dancer appeared to spin different directions to different people, and different directions to the same person at different times.   I could not stop looking at it, thinking about it, and trying to figure out how it worked.  Clearly, the dancer isn’t moving both directions at once.   Yet different people see it spin in different directions, reverse direction at different times and without appearing to actually change direction.  There was nothing in the animation code that could explain the trick.  I asked the smartest people I knew and read everything I could find on this ‘spinning dancer’.  I read anything I could find remotely pertaining to such visual phenomena .  Nothing or nobody could provide a satisfactory explanation – or even a reasonable hypothesis – of what was really going on . Then one day, while doing and thinking about something entirely unrelated, I had an “ah-a” moment. I am relatively certain that this is how it works…

Continue reading