Showing posts with label the Goog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the Goog. Show all posts

Saturday, February 10, 2024

History Paused

A Random Randomnesses Column
Image by 995645 from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now, haunt them after I'm deleted.

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC-65: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring {Dana}Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device 

"If you can't make it good, at least make it look good." -Bill Gates

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),  

If you've been waiting with bated breath for Chapter Six of my condensed history of the world, I apologize.

{You know, I've always wondered...}

It's a transitive verb from Middle English that means to reduce the force or intensity of (Merriam-Webster) and has nothing to do with fishing. 

If you're new here, this will give you a chance to catch up. If you're a regular reader this will build anticipation... All right, I admit it, I just decided to take a break for no special reason.  

- If Bill Gates is so smart, why is my Hotmail account always choked with spam and my Gmail account virtually spam-free? Why can't Willy take Sundar to lunch at one of those fancy places rich people eat, like Olive Garden, and ask for help?

Word on the street is that the Goog is running behind Microsoft in the race to unleash artificial intelligence on those of us who think lunch at Chick-fil-A constitutes a memorable day. Perhaps they could trade info and fix Hotmail for the little people?

After all, Willy fancies himself a philanthropist. 

{I'll bite, what's a Sundar?}

Dana, you are, um... What's the opposite of cosmopolitan? 

{Parochial? Narrow-minded? Rustic?}

Exactly, and likely racist, and probably some sort of ____phobe as well. He's the chief Googler. 

{Huh. I'm surprised you don't call him Sunday, or Sundae. What are you whining about anyway? Hotmail is free, and so is the software you're using, even as we speak, to write what you call a column and what normal people call a blog.} 

Free? I think that if more people realized just how minutely and carefully everything they do online is being tracked, recorded, and sold they would realize that there is still no such thing as a free lunch. 

{Oh please, everybody knows there's no such thing as privacy anymore. What can you do?}

Click here, then scroll down and follow through. 

- Although I hate to admit it, I find that my attention span has slowly but steadily diminished since the worldwide web of all knowledge has become ubiquitous, and I'm not even a social media maniac.

I've entertained thoughts of self-harm while enduring the interminable wait for my toast to pop up.  

{Speaking of which, it's the World Wide Web, not the worldwide web and as far as I know, you're the only one that tosses in "of all knowledge."}

Well, as I've long suspected, worldwide web it turns out (I recently got around to finally looking this up) is grammatically correct, world wide web ain't, but that's not my point. 

It's just a dash of attention-seeking behavior on my part that also subtly implies that it's a web of contradictory, missing, manipulated, and frequently incorrect knowledge.

Not that knowing this keeps me from indulging in extended periods of web surfing from which I  suddenly regain consciousness and ask myself, where have I been? 

Look, a squirrel! 

- For the record, The Wall Street Journal officially and enthusiastically embraced the ongoing decline of journalistic standards on 01/06/24. Granted, this is a somewhat arbitrary date given that my personal paper of record (for now) has been declining in quality slowly (but steadily) for a while now.  

However, Emma Tucker, named editor-in-chief in December of '22 by King Rupert (who has since abdicated the throne to his son, at least officially) published a sleazy, speculation-filled front-page hit piece — A Tony Stark (Elon Musk) takedown. 

{Wait-wait-wait. Mr. Musk has no shortage of critics loose in the world.}

Absabalutely, and I'm sure it's a coinkydink that WSJ reporter Tim Higgins, who's been writing almost exclusively about Musk for quite some time, has recently written several articles that read more like editorials than hard news stories. 

When Rupert Murdoch folded the WSJ into his media empire he assured the world he wouldn't lower the paper's famously high standards. In fact, he expanded the Op-Ed section, which was/is separated from the news division by a Chinese wall.

{Wait-wait-wait. Isn't Chinese wall a racist term?}

Nah, it's just culturally insensitive, according to Wikipedia anyway. The Wikipedia entry mentions an unintentionally hil-LAR-ious suggested replacement, cone of silence, a technical term that also happens to be the name of a device used in a formerly famous TV show.

This column was sitting in a drawer, as you can tell by the date of the referenced hit piece (1/6), but the Journal has since published another hit piece about Mr. Musk. It's basically the same as the first one: mostly unidentified sources say Elon does, or at least did, a lot of drugs.

I find it interesting that both major articles' comment sections overwhelmingly supported Musk. I'd love to know what the strategery is, perhaps controversy for its own sake?

I refuse to post any links to this blatant purple journalism but in the Journal's defense, they recently published an in-depth piece about the fact Taylor Swift's dad played college football for a year.

The Other Football Player in Taylor Swift's Life 

Now that's world-class journalism. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Scroll down if you wish to share my work or access my golden oldies.   

I post links to my columns (and other stuff) on Facebook so that you can love me, hate me, or lobby to have me publically flogged.  


Saturday, December 30, 2023

Nothing Is True (Anymore)

 Information Age or the Age of Anxiety?

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now, haunt them after I'm deleted.

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC-65: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring {Dana}Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device 

"The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible." -Arthur C. Clarke

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),  

I've written about truth before. 

{So where are all the links?}

Links? What links, Dana?

{Do you think that your memory problems might be the result of some form of dementia?} 

I hope not, but what are you...

{You've looked into this. The Goog loves links, the more links you post to something that has something to do with truth, the better the chance the Goog will offer up your column when some "user" out there in cyberspace types in the word truth or a phrase that includes the word truth.}

Oh that, no I remember that. I just don't care anymore. I think there's something wrong with your memory. I've made it clear that company policy is to only link to stuff that is absolutely necessary and fundamentally purely factual.

You know what? Company policy has just changed, right this second. Going forward the only things I'm linking to are my charming personal glossary and things I think a given gentlereader might be interested in checking out. 

No more linking to stuff that's common knowledge (or should be in my semi-humble opinion)...

...or that can be investigated by a given gentlereader if they're truly interested. Until relatively recently, the world has gotten by with information delivered via the dead trees format. No links.

My biggest fan reads my stuff on paper, doesn't own a computer, and uses his cell phone as a phone. He's led a decent life, is enjoying his retirement, and compared to the average H. sapien these days is quite well adjusted thank you very much. 

{But this is the Information Age! Links link information to information that links to...}

Yup, and that's why nothing is true anymore. Sister Mary McGillicuddy taught me (60 years ago!) that mankind's personkind's collective wisdom lags far behind personkind's technical achievements. 

{Hoo-boy. Here we go. Let the ranting at clouds commence!}

Abasabalutely! But let us remain relatively calm, and logical, and not forget to smile. 

Permit me to sum up the point I was trying to make, in one form or another, in all of the columns I wrote about truth that I'm not linking to: All truth is provisional but that doesn't mean truth can't be true enough.

That is to say, a well-adjusted, fully mature H. sapien should cultivate pragmatism (but with an open mind) right up to the very day he/she/they are deleted. Everything we know is true is potentially subject to changes, major or minor — but what works, works.

As I write this the sun has not come up yet, but it will shortly. I know that it will rise in the east and several hours from now will set in the west. 

I take this for granted even though I know that however unlikely it might be, some maladjusted, nihilistic teenagers from an ancient space-faring species could pass through our solar system today on a joyride in a stolen spaceship and decide to extinguish our sun for the sheer fun of it.  

{You're nuts... But that would explain why we seem to be alone in the universe.}

My Mum told me that technically anything is possible but many things are highly unlikely.

I also know that the sun doesn't actually rise or set, that this is an illusion created by the fact the Earth (which is round, by the way) orbits the Sun. But until 1543 this illusion was considered common sense. it took another century or so before most people knew it wasn't. 

And we still say sunrise and sunset — close enough.

"Given that Twitter [X] serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy." -Elon Musk 

Failing to adhere to free speech principles does fundamentally undermine democracy, but Twitter, or X if you prefer, is not the de facto public town square.

The town square metaphor Mr. Musk uses refers to any sort of public meeting in which the locals get together to hash things out. (Hey, Dana, here's a link to a Wikipedia entry about the Norman Rockwell painting illustrating free speech that many of us geezers and geezerettes carry around in our heads).

{What about that ancient Luddite you print your columns out for?}

Fear not, no link is necessary.

A real public square, or more likely something akin to a public meeting of the Hooterville School Board, is a radically different venue/experience than Musk's concept of a virtual public square. The planet Earth doesn't have a public square, not even a virtual one.

When the Hooterville School Board holds a meeting the members of the board have been chosen by the citizens of Hooterville. Everyone knows who they are and where they live. Any given citizen who attends is an easily identified Homo sapien, especially that pain in arse Mr... never mind.

Anything that anyone says and/or claims is witnessed and verifiable (or debunkable), and minutes are kept.

Most of social media, and much of the worldwide web of all knowledge, consists of anonymous people (or bots, or trolls, or troll farms, or my-truthers, or hackers, or hustlers, etc.) tossing Uh-huhs! or Nuh-uhs! at each other.

Everything is true, and nothing is true.

{So what do we...}

Same as always, the best you can, one day at a time. Take a deep breath, and then take another, and then do what needs to be done. I find watching sunrises and sunsets helpful.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Scroll down to leave a comment, share my work, or access my golden oldies.   

I post links to my columns on both Facebook and the site everyone still calls Twitter so you can love me, hate me, or lobby to have me canceled or publicly flogged on either site. Cranky don't tweet (X-claim?).