Archive | Op-Ed

Why You Should Ignore Politics and Politicians

Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Stephen Mills, writing at the Rat Race Trap:

This article is going to suggest that participating in politics at any level is generally not a good idea.  Many, maybe even most of you are going to disagree with this.  I also know that people will tend to take it as a categorical statement and offer counter-examples. You will notice that I said “generally” because I don’t mean it in a categorical way.  I can think of scenarios or places where I would not apply my general advice, but those are increasingly rare.

I can’t help but absorb a little bit of what goes on in politics through the media (my wife watches the news and the morning shows) or through reading some political satire, but I treat it mostly as a little bit of entertainment.  I’m not participating in any real way.

Here is the basic question you need to ask yourself. 

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The Civil Rights Movement and the Politics of Memory

The Doll Test

The Doll Test

The civil rights movement is being increasingly referenced in our media culture as an example of how to actively seek change in society. But we have to be aware of opinion molders lying about or distorting historical facts.

The most common lies, or false depictions, are those which romanticize the movement. The civil rights movement was made up of people, not prophets nor angels. The most offensive example of this type of lie is the out-of-context quote inscribed on the side of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington DC.

We are also lied to about how people felt about the issues then. Many of the people who supported segregation were themselves black. Worries about the end of segregation stemmed from blacks having to fear their children going to school with violent whites. Others feared the education of their children being controlled by the white man. We are told lies through omission of the white supremacists.… Read the rest

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Students cheat for good grades. Why not make the classroom about learning and not testing?

Wonderlane (CC BY 2.0)

Wonderlane (CC BY 2.0)

Eric Anderman, The Ohio State University

We have been hearing stories about academic cheating: from students caught cheating on homework assignments as well as college entrance exams to teachers being caught in cheating scandals, such as the ones in Atlanta, Georgia, and Columbus, Ohio.

Today, between 75% and 98% of college students surveyed each year report having cheated in high school. So, if cheating is happening at that large a scale, is it just inevitable? And can we even blame our students?

In order to figure out how to answer these questions, it’s important to consider why students cheat in the first place. Although the obvious reason seems to be the desire of students to get ahead (eg, to get a good grade, or to avoid a punishment), the real reason is actually a bit more complicated.

Academic goals matter

When students do their schoolwork (which includes everything from daily homework assignments to major examinations), they usually have certain goals in mind.… Read the rest

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Seymour Hersh, Bin Laden, and Conspiracy Theories

As anyone who watched any kind of news outlet last week already knows, the big story was Seymour Hersh’s article alleging that the Obama administration’s story of the killing of Osama Bin Laden was a calculated lie. The theory has its critics and defenders in the mainstream media – okay, mostly critics.

But to me, the most interesting revelation raised by Hersh’s reporting, which his vociferous critics have written off as a crazy “conspiracy theory,” was not the surface level issues it raised about Middle East policy and torture. It was that the report revealed a fundamental truth about why we as humans, living under the rule of massive and impersonal governmental structures, are so fervently interested in conspiracy theories.

First of all, a bit of a breakdown of Hersh’s report is necessary.… Read the rest

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Collective Transformation Through Deep Explorations of Mind with Christopher Bache – Free Radical Media

Also listen to Free Radical Media via Itunes.

In this episode, Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Dr. Christopher Bache, PhD joins the Free Radical Crew to discuss the implications of healing the collective as well as the individual psyche through the use of transpersonal states of consciousness. Along the way, we converse on Buddhism, Hinduism, the religious experience, entheogens, and what the future holds for our environment and our species. We also focus heavily on Baches’ excellent and informative book, “Dark Night, Early Dawn,” a must have book for anyone studying consciousness.

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Our Caring Stream of Consciousness

Still from Bee People.

Still from Bee People.

Do you enjoy caring? Is it overwhelming? How do you do it when the onslaught of network, and even internet news is always ‘breaking’, and when daily life deals to you a seemingly never-ending flow of drama that results in your attention span being co-opted? Do you need two you’s?

One approach is to attempt to separate the personal and global issues within your caring stream of consciousness. Take the things you care about and break them down into two buckets for streaming purposes. The very personal ones that impact daily living go into one stream, and the broader global issues that you care about into another.

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For the former; what’s going on with your friends, family, job, health, neighborhood, etc. are very pertinent to daily life and must be thought of and cared about on the highest level. However, making room for more universal subjects is also important.… Read the rest

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The Scent of a Cabbie

Bluury Streets of SF

Tuesday

5:05am:
The sun’s been coming up early. (Ok. And I’ve been “sleeping in.”) Regardless, I do feel the unrelenting compulsion to race in to work, to beat its rise, like a vampire trying to make his casket before turning to ash. Hopefully, mine will be full of coffee grounds. I need a buzz.

5:30am:
I’m finished greasing Tony’s palms back in the Citizen’s Cab office, and I head out to the lot.

Aside: Yeah, I chanced a $5 bribe on Tony for an airport this morning. I don’t actually expect to see one come my way from dispatch. But I gotta check-in now and then, if only to keep Tony on his toes.

5:31am:
I’m in new ‘ol 137 and I’m immediately overcome with a strong wave of fruity… Well, just strong, fruity. I look around hard, but I cannot find the offending Christmas Tree air freshener, however hard I try.

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Wiki War Ingredients: Wiki Noise, Digital Wildfires, And Social Propaganda

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In a wiki war, a number of online forces appear to converge, sometimes erupting in a ‘perfect storm’ of miscommunication, mistrust, and misinformation. Three forces that can be witnessed to emerge are digital wildfires, wiki noise, and social propaganda.

What are Digital Wildfires?

In 2014, the World Economic Forum declared ‘digital wildfires’ a leading global threat for stability. According to the Macmillian online dictionary – a digital wildfire is ‘false or suspicious information’ that spreads virally online.  A ‘dark meme’ that is collaboratively constructed by a mob type mind set. A false rumor that uses online social networks to spread at ‘breakneck’ speed.

A timely example of a digital wildfire is the father in Australia who was playing with a Darth Vader mask in a kids playground and then accused of being a pedophile across social media networks within 24 hours. This digital wildfire was a rumor that the woman who started it apologized profusely over.… Read the rest

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Ganny & the Stormtroopers

SFO CAbbie Underworld

Monday

4:05am:
I wake before my alarm today, relaxed.

OoOooMMmmMmm.

And this time, it’s a good “OM”! My last shift, I was way busy with a bunch of locals (in-town runs). But the real red meat was a ride I took to Redwood City. That’s meter and a half!

(If the ride takes you more than 15 miles from San Francisco’s City Hall, MTA rules sees the driver charging meter and a half. The logic being that the driver and passenger should split the gas and time down due to the return trip.)

Anyway, I walked away with $285! Tony Jr. was working check-out at the bullet-proof glass in the afternoon, and there’s a new deal where drivers can pay gate (cab rental) out of their day’s Cabulous take. Needless to say, Tony Jr. was pretty impressed after he saw that I still had around $210 set to hit my bank account (via direct deposit) AFTER paying gate!… Read the rest

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What Is A Wiki War?

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This article originally appeared on “Wikipedia, We Have a Problem.”

Essentially a wiki war is an ‘edit war’ that occurs on Wikipedia. It happens when editors disagree on article content. The ‘war’ is when many points of view engage in three dimensional chess strategies with each other using Wikipedia policies or admin support to block editing permissions to those with opposing viewpoints, or how veteran Wikipedia contributor David Gerard puts it – “battles to the death for insanely low stakes”.  It can be a seriously nasty business, and I’m skeptical that the stakes are so small.

The general public is not aware what sort of serious business it can be, because these activities are ‘buried out in the open’ in WikiMedia’s software system. Wikipedia is horribly complex and horribly time consuming. One of the hurdles in producing this site was actually detailing the full arc of events in a Wiki War, it’s a very complex argument to follow and often requires 8 – 16 hour work days in heated consensus or research.… Read the rest

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