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M Sinclair Stevens has been at 2 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
Google Local Austin356,711*Win a pair of seats to our exclusive evening at Franklin BBQ* – goo.gl/2Sn5jB We're giving you a chance to experience every Austin carnivore's dream: the most mouthwatering brisket, ribs, sausage and salty sides imaginable...without waiting three hours in line! Want access to chow down at Franklin's during our private buy out, complete with live music, ice cold beer, and enough leftovers to last a week? Start writing local reviews on Google. Each high-quality review you write between now and August 7 will increase your chances of landing two coveted spots at our family style table.  1) Make sure you’re signed up for City Experts: g.co/cityexpert 2) Enter the contest: goo.gl/2Sn5jB 3) Get your reviews in by Thurs., August 7. We'll announce the winners here (and via email) on Friday., August 8. _Photo by Franklin Barbecue_Franklin BBQ Takeover2014-08-12 18:30:00145  
Sarah Hill2,788,307Calling all inhabitants of the Ghost Town.   Let's #HIRL in Austin, TX!!!   (Hangout In Real Life). Hear how ★ Plusketeers are using the +Google+  platform to create their own #humanmedia posse and how 2013 could be the year for + Google +.  Our venue only holds 100 so you *must RVSP* early and email googleplus@vu.com if you'd like to join us for lunch. +Veterans United is picking up the tab for free food and drinks but you're ghosts...so you don't eat much right?  ♥♥♥   #SXSWHIRL  HIRL in Austin, TX2013-03-09 12:00:00246  

M Sinclair Stevens has been shared in 258 public circles

You can see here the 50 latest shared circles.
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AuthorFollowersDateUsers in CircleCommentsReshares+1Links
Михаил Пушкарев973#ActiveUsers #Add #AddCircle #AddFriends #AddMeToYour #AddPeople #artcircles #artistcircle #AuthorCircle #AutoFollow #AutoFollowBack #Awesome #AwesomeArt #AwesomeCircle #awesomecircle #awesomecircles #AwesomeDay #AwesomeFace #AwesomePeople #AwesomePublick #AwesomePublickCircle #AwesomeSauce #beautiful #BeautifulPhotographs #BeautifulPictures #belarus #Best #bestcircle #bestengagers #bestgoogleplususers #bestofgoogleplus #bestofgoogleplus #BestShared #BestSharedCircle #BestSnowball #BlackSndwhitePhotography #blogger #bloggers 2015-03-30 16:23:07499000
John Sean13,451This circle contains people who really are interesting and active people on Google Plus.If you would like to be included in the next Circle Share, you only have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles2 - Share the circle (Publicly)3 - Add +1 to the post.4 - Leave a comment if you like.I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!#publiccircle #circleshare #circlesharing #philadelphia #phoenix #san_antonio #san_diego #san_francisco #san_jose #seattle #tampa #washington #american_samoa #american_samoa #pago_pago #fiji #fiji #nadi #fiji #suva #argentina #argentina #buenos_aires #argentina #cordoba #argentina #iguaza #argentina #mendoza #argentina #rosaio #argentina #san_carlos_de_bariloche #bolivia #bolivia #cochabamba 2015-02-20 10:01:55438191842
Maurizio Maraglino120Networking Circle Share Active users on Google+. Circle Share. If you received a notification, please reshare to your circles If you’d like to be added to the next circle share: • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this post*More you share more you get! :)Thanks!*#awesomecircle #circleme #sharedpoint #sharewithyou #ShareYourCircle #epicengagers #davidromaphotography #addcircle #addpeople #affiliate #awesome #awesomecircles #awesomepeople #besocial #bestengagers #bestsharedcircle #circle #circlefriday #circlemonday2015-01-13 15:22:12501536
Christian kaysen2,781↦ follow me (so I can include you)↦ ↦ share the circle (public or to a public community)↦ ↦ if you want, delete the last circle share↦ ↦ no plussing, no comments, no obligation,↦ just share it and circle the profile above#Circle#Sharers#Engagers#Followers#AddCircle#CoolPeople#Influencers#CircleShare#PublicCircle#ShareCircles#CircleSharing#Awesomepeople#CircleOfTheDay#ShareAndBeShared#ConnectingTheWorld#CircleShareExperiment#CoolPeople#Influencers#CircleShare#PublicCircle#ShareCircles#CircleSharing#Awesomepeople#CircleOfTheDay#ShareAndBeShared#ConnectingTheWorld#CircleShareExperiment#круглим #кругляши #обмен   #круги   #crazycircles   #hyperball  2015-01-01 13:23:26233011
Михаил Пушкарев420#ActiveUsers #Add #AddCircle #AddFriends #AddMeToYour #AddPeople #artcircles #artistcircle #AuthorCircle #AutoFollow #AutoFollowBack #Awesome #AwesomeArt #AwesomeCircle #awesomecircle #awesomecircles #AwesomeDay #AwesomeFace #AwesomePeople #AwesomePublick #AwesomePublickCircle #AwesomeSauce #beautiful #BeautifulPhotographs #BeautifulPictures #belarus #Best #bestcircle #bestengagers #bestgoogleplususers #bestofgoogleplus #bestofgoogleplus #BestShared #BestSharedCircle #BestSnowball #BlackSndwhitePhotography #blogger #bloggers 2015-01-01 08:18:41500203
Михаил Пушкарев420#ActiveUsers #Add #AddCircle #AddFriends #AddMeToYour #AddPeople #artcircles #artistcircle #AuthorCircle #AutoFollow #AutoFollowBack #Awesome #AwesomeArt #AwesomeCircle #awesomecircle #awesomecircles #AwesomeDay #AwesomeFace #AwesomePeople #AwesomePublick #AwesomePublickCircle #AwesomeSauce #beautiful #BeautifulPhotographs #BeautifulPictures #belarus #Best #bestcircle #bestengagers #bestgoogleplususers #bestofgoogleplus #bestofgoogleplus #BestShared #BestSharedCircle #BestSnowball #BlackSndwhitePhotography #blogger #bloggers 2015-01-01 08:18:30500005
Neil Bailey5,146If you received the notice you are in this circle, then well done.If you would like to be included in the next Circle Share, you only have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles (If you haven't already)2 - Share the circle (Publicly) - (cc) me in the comments on the share and I can add you to the next circle immediately.  Otherwise I may not notice your activity!3 - Add +1 to the post.4 - Leave a comment if you like.5 - Add the circle or just check it out.Follow your dreams, Share and Be Shared.More you share more you get! :)Thanks!#circles   #circleshare   #sharedcircle #circlesharing #followers #social #sharedcircles  #sharedpubliccircles #circleshared   #sharedcircleoftheday   #addmetoyourcircles #awesomepeople   #circlecount   #newfollowers #googleplus #meetingpeoplecircle2014-12-22 07:02:43494342369
Михаил Пушкарев301#ActiveUsers #Add #AddCircle #AddFriends #AddMeToYour #AddPeople #artcircles #artistcircle #AuthorCircle #AutoFollow #AutoFollowBack #Awesome #AwesomeArt #AwesomeCircle #awesomecircle #awesomecircles #AwesomeDay #AwesomeFace #AwesomePeople #AwesomePublick #AwesomePublickCircle #AwesomeSauce #beautiful #BeautifulPhotographs #BeautifulPictures #belarus #Best #bestcircle #bestengagers #bestgoogleplususers #bestofgoogleplus #bestofgoogleplus #BestShared #BestSharedCircle #BestSnowball #BlackSndwhitePhotography #blogger #bloggers 2014-12-20 08:13:59500103
Михаил Пушкарев0#ActiveUsers #Add #AddCircle #AddFriends #AddMeToYour #AddPeople #artcircles #artistcircle #AuthorCircle #AutoFollow #AutoFollowBack #Awesome #AwesomeArt #AwesomeCircle #awesomecircle #awesomecircles #AwesomeDay #AwesomeFace #AwesomePeople #AwesomePublick #AwesomePublickCircle #AwesomeSauce #beautiful #BeautifulPhotographs #BeautifulPictures #belarus #Best #bestcircle #bestengagers #bestgoogleplususers #bestofgoogleplus #bestofgoogleplus #BestShared #BestSharedCircle #BestSnowball #BlackSndwhitePhotography #blogger #bloggers 2014-12-13 08:06:48496213
Jason Ryckman0 Hey this is jason I'm a follower of your page, I think you might really enjoy my #health    #fitness   and  #weightloss    #review     page, Please head over and check it out, I just added you to one of my circles could you please add me to your circles in returnThese followers are currently active and many will add you back when you add this circle to your circles.#circleshare #circlesharing   #circleshares  SIMPLE STEPS1. Please add me to one of your circles2. Please comment and reshare this post to public3. please comment on the original post or i may miss it4. If you would rather not receive these posts or be in my circle shares please shoot me a message and i will remove you from the List2014-12-12 01:49:47466000
Jason Ryckman0 Hey this is jason I'm a follower of your page, I think you might really enjoy my #health    #fitness   and  #weightloss    #review     page, Please head over and check it out, I just added you to one of my circles could you please add me to your circles in returnThese followers are currently active and many will add you back when you add this circle to your circles.#circleshare  #circlesharing   #circleshares  SIMPLE STEPS1. Please add me to one of your circles2. Please comment and reshare this post to public3. please comment on the original post or i may miss it4. If you would rather not receive these posts or be in my circle shares please shoot me a message and i will remove you from the List2014-12-09 20:12:54467000
Sharon Caroline3,767Hello my friends, good morning/evening for you all!Boost Your visibility On Google+! Add them all!Shared and be shared. :)Thank you for sharing and promoting this. :)Circle by : http://informasidoang.blogspot.com/#circleshare #sharedcircles #sharingcircles #sharedcircleoftheday2014-12-01 08:28:58501436
Becky Collins19,401Advertising circle :Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-12-01 05:03:314922413
Ryan Johnson18,123Active users on Google+. Circle Share If you received a notification, please reshare to your circlesIf you’d like to be added to the next circle share • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this post#sharedpubliccircles #sharedpublicircles  #sharedcircle #AddCircle #FindCircles #addcircle  #circlemeup #circlesdiscovery #circleshare #circlesharing  #publiccircle   #publicsharedcircles2014-11-14 11:49:16496482651
Becky Collins18,305Project Management Interest Circle :Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-10-29 05:09:31430002
Michael Junghans10,859A big thank you. Great to be connected with you :-)Please share | +#sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #circleshare   #circlesharing   #teamelite   #teamelitecircle   #teameliteengagercircle    #sharedcircle #cerchiacondivisa   #condividicerchia   #cerchiadiitaliani   #sharedcircles   #sharedcircle   #circleshare  #bosmol #BosmolCircle   #GrowthCIrcle     #GooglePlus   #CircleShare   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircles   #circlesharing   #circleshared   #publiccirclesproject   #publicsharedcircles   #circleoftheday   #google   #circle #circles #publiccircle #sharedcircles   #sharedcircle #morefollowers #sharingcircles #circleshare 2014-10-26 18:14:54501839
Norman Grant4,973If you want to add some brilliant people to your circles, you are in the right place. #circleshare #publicsharedcircles #SharedCircles #weeklyreview #sharedcircle #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle #trustinme #circlesharingIncrease your following with this Amazing Circle#powercircle #sharedcircle #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle #trustinme #circlesharing #circleshare #circles #circleoftheday #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircles #share #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday #sharewithyou #followme #followers #followback #circle #googleplus #coolpeople #circleshare #sharedcircles #sharedcircle #sharedcircles 2014-09-30 18:27:12449000
Allan watson7,797Grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:If you received the notice you are in this circle, then well done. If you’d like to be added to the next circle share: • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this post#News #BusinessNews #TechNews #Aviation #Flight #Flights #Passengers #Airport #Travel #KLM #Aircraft #AirTravel #Airbus #Flying #AvGeek #Boeing #Chicago #Safety #AmericanAirlines #Canceled #SharedCircles   #weeklyreview #sharedcircle     #topsharedcircle   #circleoftheday   #sharedcircle2014-09-27 12:27:02303283042
George Clark7,103Circle share with new friendsHi friends follow this circle1 - Include me in your circles2 - Share the circle (Publicly)3 - Add +1 to the post.4 - Leave a comment if you like.I will thankful if you plus and share this circle!I don't wish to offend anyone on the internet, so if you would like to be removed from my shared circles, please send me a private message and I won't share your profile in the future. The only way being shared will affect you is that you will get notifications that people have added you. You are under no obligation to add them back to your circles. If you don't add them back, they will most likely remove you from their circles after some time.#topcircle #circleshareoftheday #sharedcircles  #sharedpubliccircles   #fridaycircle   #themecircle   #mediterranean   #addbackspree   #ripplescircle   #addback   #aahanapriyadarsinee   #peoplescircle   #circleoftheday   #followme   #follow4follow  2014-09-27 10:52:53486372240
Jade Turner0Circle of #Graphic   #design  experts & enthusiasts! Add, Plus & Share!!--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #web   #design   #graphic   #print   #graphicdesigner   #graphicdesigning   #marketing   #business   #marketingtips   #marketingonline   #businessintelligence   #businessideas   #businessidentity   #brand   #branding   #promotion  #public #publiccircle #sharedcircles   #sharedcircle #morefollowers #sharingcircles #sharedpubliccircles #sharedpublicircles #sharedcircle #photography #photographer #bestphotographer #topphotographer #AddCircle #FindCircles #awesome #AwesomePeople #AwesomeCircle 2014-08-13 17:49:34414001
Mike Elgan3,464,700Follow the Blogs of August!1. Click "Add people" then circle this shared circle (even if you did it before)2. Share with your circlesThe Blogs of August are bloggers who are either trying or have already decided to blog on Google+ exclusively for the month of August (or permanently). 2014-08-06 12:34:462215525
John Kellden29,637Good Evening Dear Googleverse NetizensBeen ages since I shared a circle. This one is put together by +Lynn Keller which means there's good people in it.Pleased to meet you all.2014-08-05 20:33:40201737
Lynn Keller7,237I've put together this  circle which includes a host of engaging, appealing, interesting people from different communities and ongoing conversations. Best to all! #circlecount #sharedcircles #circleshare 2014-08-05 20:16:01374827
Mike Elgan3,437,756Behold! The new League of Extraordinary Circle Friends!My League of Extraordinary Circle Friends is my hand-picked group of super charming super-sharers! I want you to do three things: 1. Click the "Add people" button below and circle this group (especially if you've circle this group previously -- doing this will update the group without duplicates). 2. Share this post with all your circles. 3. Share this post with people who are looking for awesome people to circle on G+. I've added four new people to the League.+Amira Elgan! Yes: She's my wife. And I've been trying to avoid adding her for a year. But her stream is perfect for the League so I've added her. +Noble Ackerson is a super nice and interesting guy, a super nerd and consummate glasshole -- he uses Google Glass to great effect to bring you into his world. In fact, the only bigger glasshole I know is... +Cecilia Abadie and Noble work at the same company, and Ceclia is another Glass user with a wonderful Google+ stream. +Andreas Katifes gives you a window into Greek scenes and Greek food that's so compelling you might accidentally quit your job and move to Greece. Welcome to the League, everyone! 2014-07-27 23:39:2625111240
Lose Those Poundz1,283Health and Weight loss Circle V 1.0This is a super circle and in it I have put together a group of really interesting and active friends on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the *top Google+ users who share and reshare unique and original contents regarding weight loss and healthy eating.Follow this advice and grow your G+ community with like minded people who share marvelous content:Boost your visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be circled and added  to the next circle, do these simple steps:1 - Add this circle2 - Share the circle (Publicly) 3 - Plus 1 the post 4 - CommentIf you already have me in circle and want to be included in the next circle to be shared, don't be sad, just  leave a comment. Saying you wish to be included. More you share, more you get sharedHave fun! #circles     #circleshare     #circlesharing     #sharedpubliccircles     #addpeople     #addcircle       #weightloss   #healthyeating  2014-07-11 04:13:23483206
Norman Grant2,373#circles #sharedcircles #addcircle #sharedpubliccircles #circleshare #publicsharedcircles #circleoftheday #circleoftheweek #circlesharing #publiccircle #findcircles #circlemeup #circleshared2014-05-29 22:08:20454115
Norman Grant2,139I highly suggest adding each and every person in this #GoogleCircle  as they will b sure to interact with you.#circles #sharedcircles #addcircle #sharedpubliccircles #circleshare #publicsharedcircles #circleoftheday #circleoftheweek #circlesharing #publiccircle #findcircles #circlemeup #circleshared2014-05-21 02:12:03450121
John Nuntiatio36,773#circles #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #bestcircle #news   #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #tech #business #sport #small   #smallcircle #football #tennis #golf #photography #health #weightloss  2014-05-19 21:53:11494136
Rosie Taylor0Google Friends! - You're in this  #Circle   -  #Share   the circle *'"*:•:•* •-::-•:*:•-:¦: Share and Be  #Shared   :¦:-•:*:•.::• •-:•:''''*                                              This is a super  #Circle   and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   #Google + users that share unique and original contents.#Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:#boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 -  #Follow   your dreams and smile to life.More you share more you get! :)Thanks!#circles      #circleshare      #circlesharing      #sharedcircles                #addcircles    #addpeople      #addcircle    #addfriends      2014-05-16 17:12:07458208
Rosie Taylor0Google Friends! - You're in this  #Circle   -  #Share   the circle *'"*:•:•* •-::-•:*:•-:¦: Share and Be  #Shared   :¦:-•:*:•.::• •-:•:''''*                                              This is a super  #Circle   and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.I'm talking about the top   #Google + users that share unique and original contents.#Follow   this advice and grow your G+ community with people that share amazing content that will surprise you:#boost   visibility on Google+ - Share the circle!If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 3 - Share the circle (Publicly) 4 - Add +1 to the post 5 -  #Follow   your dreams and smile to life.More you share more you get! :)Thanks!#circles      #circleshare      #circlesharing      #sharedcircles                #addcircles    #addpeople      #addcircle    #addfriends      2014-05-15 09:08:16458208
Robert Connor8,250My new circle about circle shearing PEOPLE and page who update regular his circlePlus, Comment and Re-share this post in to PUBLIC and to EXTENDED CIRCLES#sharedcircle #publiccircleshare #circleshare #circleoftheday #circleshares  #circlesharing  #circlesshare  #publicsharedcircle #publicsharedcircles  #sharedcircleoftheday2014-05-15 08:17:17457292145
Ryan Johnson4,790Awesome circle with amazing photographers you want to have in your circlesRe-share this circle in your stream Plus and comment#sharedpubliccircles #growfollowers #circleshare #publicsharedcircles #weekendcircle #weekend #weekendfun #holidays #vacation #views #trekking #tourist #tour #honeymoon #cruise #landscape #sea #weekend 2014-05-12 09:51:28465109102134
John Nuntiatio33,831#circles #share #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #bestcircle #news 2014-04-17 06:46:35484348
Jack C Crawford86,096Another cool circle.2014-03-22 17:03:555000517
John Nuntiatio29,804#circles #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #circleoftheday #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #tech #business #sport2014-03-15 09:58:15230002
John Nuntiatio29,804#circles #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #circleoftheday #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #tech #business #sport2014-03-15 09:57:53230022
John Nuntiatio29,804#circles #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #circleoftheday #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #tech #business #sport2014-03-15 09:57:28230003
John Nuntiatio29,804#circles #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #circleoftheday #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #tech #business #sport2014-03-15 09:57:04230022
John Nuntiatio29,804#circles #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #circleoftheday #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #tech #business #sport2014-03-15 09:56:44231305
John Nuntiatio29,572#circles #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #circleoftheday #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #tech #business #sport2014-03-12 06:21:31469006
John Nuntiatio29,572#circles #sharedcircles #circlesharing #circle #circleoftheday #bestofcircles #bestcircleshare #share #tech #business #sport2014-03-12 06:20:51469102
Bob Mulholland20,590Haven't done a  #FollowFriday  in a while. Beam these mofos into your Circles , Scotty!Nothin' but a buncha  #StarTrek  nerds in here.... #SharedCircles  2014-03-07 20:06:14486519
Becky Collins2,634Learning and Knowledge Management Circle - Feb22#circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins2014-02-22 06:31:49991013
Scott Buehler69,427Web Designers of Google+ - These are people that came up in my searches for web design on Google Plus. I'm sure this group has people that may not be actual designers but are people interested in design but nonetheless, I gave it a good effort.Keeping the community aspect alive. Get to know these people.This is a one time release. If you are a designer but I missed you, just leave a comment for others to find you. Rock on Google+Scott's New Community: https://plus.google.com/communities/115253059523607863437 #webdesign   #webdesigner   #circleshare  2014-02-09 22:54:294547829
Larry Chuon74I'm new to Google+.  My circle of PlusOne is for those who are leveraging Google+ to grow their circle and business.2014-02-08 04:36:20236304
Mike Elgan3,022,401Drafting +Renata Sherwin into the League!Click "Add people" below to circle my League of Extraordinary Circle Friends!" (And please SHARE with all your circles!)My Google+ charm offensive continues with the addition of one +Renata Sherwin into the League. Renata was an early Google+ superstar, then mysteriously vanished for awhile. Now she's back, bigger than life, and sharing her world and discoveries. Welcome to the League, Renata!!2014-01-26 18:46:493220625
Gerard van Schip19,561My best maintained circle is my "English speakers living in Japan" circle. In this circle you will find people from all over the world who are now living in Japan . About half of them are Japanese natives.Enjoy.2014-01-19 12:42:05216604
Custom Button Co.119People on Plus to Network with for feeding your Graphic Design NeedsSo we've been carefully curating the best designers, pages, and communities to procure the best logo designs for your business and more.If we were to fill up promotional space on buttons, business cards and other ideas, these are the people we'd look to for inspiration:Some of whom we've recently mentioned in our blog posts+Jake Dugard +Daniel Coelho - Graphic Design +Karl Gookey - Graphic Designer +Aylin Hakova Graphic Design +Chris Metzner Graphic Designer +F5 Graphic Design  #business   #graphicdesigners   #sharedcircles   #customdesign   #custombuttons  2013-12-12 22:00:23169014
Johnny Huntington0#webdesign #sharedcircles #webdevelopment  Here is a great shared circle of Professional Web Designers.2013-11-04 13:45:45501003
Laura Milani1,520Topengagers Laura CircleHappy Saturday People !  May you have a great shopping day !This #sharedcircle has my top engagers for great ripples !Laura2013-09-07 15:57:562946214

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 58

posted image

2015-01-22 19:00:53 (58 comments, 8 reshares, 365 +1s)Open 

Humor: Christian Love
"...I look forward to observing from my post in heaven the exquisite tortures you will suffer at the hands of the just and loving god..."

#hatemail #loveletters #ridiculous  

Most reshares: 8

posted image

2015-01-22 19:00:53 (58 comments, 8 reshares, 365 +1s)Open 

Humor: Christian Love
"...I look forward to observing from my post in heaven the exquisite tortures you will suffer at the hands of the just and loving god..."

#hatemail #loveletters #ridiculous  

Most plusones: 365

posted image

2015-01-22 19:00:53 (58 comments, 8 reshares, 365 +1s)Open 

Humor: Christian Love
"...I look forward to observing from my post in heaven the exquisite tortures you will suffer at the hands of the just and loving god..."

#hatemail #loveletters #ridiculous  

Latest 50 posts

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2015-03-30 16:58:27 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Travel Patagonia: Grey Glacier
From a boat on Lago Grey.

#patagonia #lagogrey #greyglacier  

Travel Patagonia: Grey Glacier
From a boat on Lago Grey.

#patagonia #lagogrey #greyglacier  ___

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2015-03-29 22:10:30 (13 comments, 0 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

Travel Patagonia: Journey or Destination
...thoughts on two scenes on Ruta 9 headed toward Puerta Natales, Chile.

We are frequently counseled to focus on the journey, not just the destination. Point taken. I understand that it's important to focus on the doing, on the present, not be obsessed always with the end result. However, I also believe that some people look upon the destination as just another finish line to cross. They don't pay enough attention to the destination once they arrive. They don't pause and look around and explore the place they've made all the effort getting to. They see the arrival as the termination, the end point of the journey rather the beginning of being there.

When I was growing up, it was fashionable to mock the stereotype of Japanese tourists who would travel long distances together in a bus, arrive at some point of interest,... more »

Travel Patagonia: Journey or Destination
...thoughts on two scenes on Ruta 9 headed toward Puerta Natales, Chile.

We are frequently counseled to focus on the journey, not just the destination. Point taken. I understand that it's important to focus on the doing, on the present, not be obsessed always with the end result. However, I also believe that some people look upon the destination as just another finish line to cross. They don't pay enough attention to the destination once they arrive. They don't pause and look around and explore the place they've made all the effort getting to. They see the arrival as the termination, the end point of the journey rather the beginning of being there.

When I was growing up, it was fashionable to mock the stereotype of Japanese tourists who would travel long distances together in a bus, arrive at some point of interest, jump out and snap a lot of group photos of themselves in front of said sight, then jump back in the bus and repeat.

On this trip, I found myself in similar circumstances. I could see that I was different than my fellow travellers but this difference was not explained away neatly by nationality, gender, age, or race.

Technology was partially a factor. This was mostly a group of Facebook-savvy people, people entirely used to taking a selfie (unembarrassed to use a selfie-stick) and immediately checking it before sharing it. On our first long bus ride, they spent most of the time checking their photos from the previous day and feeling frustrated that there was no wifi to upload them to Facebook. Then someone discovered that they could airdrop and they spent hours swapping selfies with each other.

I spent most of my time looking out the window.

I think the Japanese tourist was similarly excited about technology; postwar Japan was turning out great cameras for the avid amateur: Nikon, Canon, Minolta. Taking a snapshot reflected the ubiquitousness of that technology. The two years I lived in Japan, I got very use to posing with my students for snapshots on every occasion and for formal group photos with my colleagues for any school event.

When I lived as an ex-pat in Japan, my consciousness was focused on being there, not getting there. That's one reason I chose to live there rather than just visit as a tourist. I wonder if I would behave differently if I were also a long-distance runner as were my companions on this trip. I come from a family of runners and am married to one. The finish line is just an end marker to the run itself. They spend all their time running with no interest of getting anywhere. Their focus is on running faster, stronger, better—beating some previously set record. I've been told if a runner cares only about the finish, then all the hours of running and running and running would be miserable. They have to love the running itself.

In sharp contrast, I enjoy most simply being there. In some ways, every photograph is a mini-destination, a momentary stopping point frozen in time.

What kind of traveller are you: are you more interested in the journey or the destination? or do you manage to balance an interest in both?


#patagonia #a6000  ___

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2015-03-29 00:05:30 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 18 +1s)Open 

Travel Patagonia: Torres del Paine
To the theme of Hokusai's One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji.

Monday, March 23, 2015  Our final day In the Parque National Torres del Paine, we made the requisite pilgrimage to the Torres themselves. One cannot imagine a more perfect day. Earlier in the week, snow had closed the trail. But this day was the warmest of the trip. The skies were cloudless. The wind still.

We started out at 7:40, directly after breakfast and an hour and a half ahead of the rest of our group. (This because I, as the non-runner, was always the last to arrive anywhere. Even the woman who had sprained her ankle was faster than I.) The skies were lighting up but the valley floor was still dark. Rabbits dashed everywhere.

We made good time and did not see a single other person coming or going until Refugio Chileno. By then, the sun had lit up the Torres... more »

Travel Patagonia: Torres del Paine
To the theme of Hokusai's One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji.

Monday, March 23, 2015  Our final day In the Parque National Torres del Paine, we made the requisite pilgrimage to the Torres themselves. One cannot imagine a more perfect day. Earlier in the week, snow had closed the trail. But this day was the warmest of the trip. The skies were cloudless. The wind still.

We started out at 7:40, directly after breakfast and an hour and a half ahead of the rest of our group. (This because I, as the non-runner, was always the last to arrive anywhere. Even the woman who had sprained her ankle was faster than I.) The skies were lighting up but the valley floor was still dark. Rabbits dashed everywhere.

We made good time and did not see a single other person coming or going until Refugio Chileno. By then, the sun had lit up the Torres and I asked a young woman if she had seen the sunrise. She smiled and said, "Yes! ...from my tent."

The last kilometer was a steep hike and then finally a clamber over midsized boulders. Just as you think you finally made it to the rim, the trail takes a discouraging detour down and around. Ten minutes more and we arrive.

The day is warm enough for us to strip down to T-shirts and dip our feet in the water. And I just lie there for almost two hours watching groups come, pose for a photo, eat lunch and go. I decide to experiment with every whacky setting on my new Sony a6000 camera.

The main photo in this set is the closest to actual color (as I remember it) although the water did often have a creamy emerald cast. I played with the "Ansel Adams" black and white, and in the last added a little "golden" warmth to the rocks.

The rest of our group arrived and we did our tourist snapshots. At 2PM we all headed back down the mountain. By this time the trail was quite crowded...rather like hiking to Half Dome in Yosemite. Four hours up and (for me) a bit longer going down because I didn't bring my walking poles. Spousal unit found me a handy stick to use as a cane.

A quick shower and then to the bar for Pisco sours. This night I had a calafate sour, made with the calafate berry that legend promises if you eat it you will return to Patagonia.

#TorresdelPaine #patagonia #sonya6000  ___

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2015-03-28 15:16:41 (5 comments, 1 reshares, 21 +1s)Open 

Travel Patagonia: Monte Almirante Nieto
Early snowfall on Almirante Nieto. We are just about to enter the Parque Nacional Torres del Paine after a long, bumpy, dusty bus ride.

If I post a random photo from my trip to Patagonia every day, it will take four years to get through them all. After which, I may be able to afford another vacation.

#patagonia #TorresdelPaine  

Travel Patagonia: Monte Almirante Nieto
Early snowfall on Almirante Nieto. We are just about to enter the Parque Nacional Torres del Paine after a long, bumpy, dusty bus ride.

If I post a random photo from my trip to Patagonia every day, it will take four years to get through them all. After which, I may be able to afford another vacation.

#patagonia #TorresdelPaine  ___

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2015-03-27 21:50:00 (7 comments, 2 reshares, 26 +1s)Open 

Travel Patagonia: Parque National Torres del Paine
First let me say that I did not auto-enhance or HDR these photos: Lake Pehoé is really that shade of turquoise and the autumnal light in Patagonia cast a golden glow on the land, making the landscape look, at times, like a badly done CGI movie. However, this isn't other-worldly at all but very real-worldly—a landscape that outstrips imagination.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to tag along with group of runners for ten days to run around in Chilean Patagonia, specifically Tierra del Fuego and Torres del Paine. I'm more an ambler myself but I was confident I could cover the distance if I was allowed to do so at my own pace. This hike from the administration trail head to the Refugio Paine Grande was a little over 11 miles. The runners darted off and I was left almost completely alone, although almost always withinth... more »

Travel Patagonia: Parque National Torres del Paine
First let me say that I did not auto-enhance or HDR these photos: Lake Pehoé is really that shade of turquoise and the autumnal light in Patagonia cast a golden glow on the land, making the landscape look, at times, like a badly done CGI movie. However, this isn't other-worldly at all but very real-worldly—a landscape that outstrips imagination.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to tag along with group of runners for ten days to run around in Chilean Patagonia, specifically Tierra del Fuego and Torres del Paine. I'm more an ambler myself but I was confident I could cover the distance if I was allowed to do so at my own pace. This hike from the administration trail head to the Refugio Paine Grande was a little over 11 miles. The runners darted off and I was left almost completely alone, although almost always within the line-of-sight of someone. Unlike our hikes in England's the Lake District or in Yosemite and other US national parks, I really did feel as if I had reached the Fin del Mundo, the end of the earth.

The day was fine and temperatures were mountain brisk but not cold. However, the Patagonian wind was fierce and never let up. This was hard on the runners who had to run the distance with a head wind. The wind was so strong, I found it difficult at times to keep my balance and once didn't. I learned literally what "two steps forward, one step back" feels like.

Eventually, spousal unit finished running and came back for me. We walked to the Lake Pehoé mirador (lookout) together. The wind sent up huge gusts of water from the surface of Lake Pehoé and with the sun behind us we could see rainbows shimmer momentarily in the resulting mist.

#patagonia #torresdelpaine #lagopehoe  ___

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2015-03-27 17:36:53 (0 comments, 4 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

Science: Gender is not Binary
"The science is indeed clear that biological sex exists on a continuum; a sport divided into two categories is, in contrast, unavoidably binary. There is no possible rule that will make that tension go away. “I have said repeatedly—and I don’t think this is an opinion, but a fact—that there’s never going to be a satisfying biological dividing line,” Alice Dreger, a professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, told me. “Nature doesn’t care that we want neat categories.”

#genderdeterminism #reductionism  

Science: Gender is not Binary
"The science is indeed clear that biological sex exists on a continuum; a sport divided into two categories is, in contrast, unavoidably binary. There is no possible rule that will make that tension go away. “I have said repeatedly—and I don’t think this is an opinion, but a fact—that there’s never going to be a satisfying biological dividing line,” Alice Dreger, a professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, told me. “Nature doesn’t care that we want neat categories.”

#genderdeterminism #reductionism  ___

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2015-03-26 16:01:55 (2 comments, 3 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

UX: Chatelaines: Utility for the Pocketless
As a child, I viewed Batman's utility belt with envy: what could be more wonderful than to always have the correct tool ready-to-hand, rather than fumbling for it in a bag or wandering from room to room wondering where I left it.

Follow the link to a well-researched article and many more photos.

#wearabletechnology  

UX: Chatelaines: Utility for the Pocketless
As a child, I viewed Batman's utility belt with envy: what could be more wonderful than to always have the correct tool ready-to-hand, rather than fumbling for it in a bag or wandering from room to room wondering where I left it.

Follow the link to a well-researched article and many more photos.

#wearabletechnology  ___

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2015-03-19 10:40:25 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 18 +1s)Open 

Travel Patagonia: Parry Fjord
Tierra del Fuego. Glacier in Bahia Parry, Cueves Arm.

Travel Patagonia: Parry Fjord
Tierra del Fuego. Glacier in Bahia Parry, Cueves Arm.___

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2015-03-13 12:29:56 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Travel: The View from the Middle of the Journey
From Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet, “Depict your sorrows and desires, your passing thoughts and beliefs in some kind of beauty—depict all that with heartfelt, quiet, humble sincerity; and use to express yourself the things that surround you, the images of your dreams and the objects of your memory. If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor or unimportant place.”

Travel: The View from the Middle of the Journey
From Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet, “Depict your sorrows and desires, your passing thoughts and beliefs in some kind of beauty—depict all that with heartfelt, quiet, humble sincerity; and use to express yourself the things that surround you, the images of your dreams and the objects of your memory. If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor or unimportant place.”___

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2015-03-11 19:29:56 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

___

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2015-03-09 01:52:11 (12 comments, 1 reshares, 15 +1s)Open 

Travel: Preparing to be Unprepared
Humans notice change. If we treated all the sensory material we receive equally, we would be too overwhelmed with information to identify what is important. A movement in the landscape can be a threat (if a predator) or an opportunity (if prey). So we learn to notice and pay closer attention to differences.

Familiarity ossifies experience. The things we see around us day in and day out fade out of focus into the background of ordinariness. We stop paying attention to them. We no longer really see them. One of the great benefits of traveling for pleasure, is that it forces us to see everything with new eyes.

When we travel we must recalibrate our instruments of perception. We cannot perceive strange new landscapes with the same eyes with which we half-absently perform our daily chores.

Before a trip into the unknown, I spend a... more »

Travel: Preparing to be Unprepared
Humans notice change. If we treated all the sensory material we receive equally, we would be too overwhelmed with information to identify what is important. A movement in the landscape can be a threat (if a predator) or an opportunity (if prey). So we learn to notice and pay closer attention to differences.

Familiarity ossifies experience. The things we see around us day in and day out fade out of focus into the background of ordinariness. We stop paying attention to them. We no longer really see them. One of the great benefits of traveling for pleasure, is that it forces us to see everything with new eyes.

When we travel we must recalibrate our instruments of perception. We cannot perceive strange new landscapes with the same eyes with which we half-absently perform our daily chores.

Before a trip into the unknown, I spend a lot of time researching, reading, and otherwise preparing to see it. Some people feel that this spoils the surprise of a new place, takes away the sense of discovery and wonder.

However, for me, envisioning my journey beforehand enables me to deal with all the insignificant aspects of travel, the minor irritations and discomforts, to better focus on the experience at hand. If I have a good feel for the parameters, then I can pay attention to what is most significant. If I don't do this, then I'm overwhelmed with sensation and not really meaningfully present.

I do not expect the experience to unfold as I've imagined it. I simply prepare myself to be unprepared.___

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2015-03-08 21:04:32 (0 comments, 4 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Science: You Can't Prove Me Wrong If the Facts Don't Matter
"...when people’s beliefs are threatened, they often take flight to a land where facts do not matter. In scientific terms, their beliefs become less “falsifiable” because they can no longer be tested scientifically for verification or refutation."
...
"With the disease of bias, then, societal immunity is better achieved when we encourage people to accept ambiguity, engage in critical thinking, and reject strict ideology."

via +Dan Ariely 

Science: You Can't Prove Me Wrong If the Facts Don't Matter
"...when people’s beliefs are threatened, they often take flight to a land where facts do not matter. In scientific terms, their beliefs become less “falsifiable” because they can no longer be tested scientifically for verification or refutation."
...
"With the disease of bias, then, societal immunity is better achieved when we encourage people to accept ambiguity, engage in critical thinking, and reject strict ideology."

via +Dan Ariely ___

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2015-03-08 14:44:32 (7 comments, 3 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Economy: Can Young White Guys Save the World (Again)
While the rest of the world today is paying various types of lip-service to the concept of women's participation in life as fully-realized human beings, +The Guardian manages to publish an article which seems oblivious to any form of human being unless they come in the  young, white, and male model (preferably bearded and tattooed).

On the surface, the article is about a new kind of economy, the flat white economy, driven by a new set of life goals, redefining the measure of success.

One quote even explains how diversity powers it all. 'According to McWilliams, the capital’s talent pool, continually refreshed by immigration, is what sets it apart. “People do seem to be more creative in London,” he told me. “The mix of races, genders and backgrounds seems to generate a flow of ideas. Other parts of theeconomy ... more »

Economy: Can Young White Guys Save the World (Again)
While the rest of the world today is paying various types of lip-service to the concept of women's participation in life as fully-realized human beings, +The Guardian manages to publish an article which seems oblivious to any form of human being unless they come in the  young, white, and male model (preferably bearded and tattooed).

On the surface, the article is about a new kind of economy, the flat white economy, driven by a new set of life goals, redefining the measure of success.

One quote even explains how diversity powers it all. 'According to McWilliams, the capital’s talent pool, continually refreshed by immigration, is what sets it apart. “People do seem to be more creative in London,” he told me. “The mix of races, genders and backgrounds seems to generate a flow of ideas. Other parts of the economy might move out of London, but anything that depends on creativity will remain London-based.” While other jobs are increasingly replaced by machines, those that demand a constant stream of creative thinking will endure.'

However, the article then blithely reduces any observations about a plurality of people by reducing the subject to a single, representative model, the hipster. From that point on, it is white males talking to white males about white males. The new revolution is about the clothes the wear, the gadgets they buy, the drinks they drink, and the machines they ride. And, of course, the jobs they take to power their lifestyles.

There is nothing inherently wrong in that. What becomes problematic is when the discussion creates an artificial environment where the inhabitants are unable to perceive anything that doesn't look or act exactly like themselves. They narrow the parameters of the world until they are the norm and everything else is other. They think they are the world.

No wonder these guys are so confused and hostile when the rest of the world presses in and pops their social bubble.___

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2015-03-06 13:31:26 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Politics: Universal Healthcare
From the article, "Arguably, race and gender anxieties are the reasons that healthcare reform, which would otherwise be a dry economic issue, has been such an ugly fight in this country. Healthcare is about bodies, after all. Racism and sexism are about a lot of things, but bodies are a big part of it, and whether or not people should have unequal status based on what bodies they have. Granting white and male bodies better care, on average, that female bodies and bodies of people of color get is a major way to preserve these kind of racial and gender hierarchies. Of course legislation that might equal out the kinds of care we receive is going to be a threat. But you don’t usually see people like Carvin spell it out so plainly."

#determinism  

Politics: Universal Healthcare
From the article, "Arguably, race and gender anxieties are the reasons that healthcare reform, which would otherwise be a dry economic issue, has been such an ugly fight in this country. Healthcare is about bodies, after all. Racism and sexism are about a lot of things, but bodies are a big part of it, and whether or not people should have unequal status based on what bodies they have. Granting white and male bodies better care, on average, that female bodies and bodies of people of color get is a major way to preserve these kind of racial and gender hierarchies. Of course legislation that might equal out the kinds of care we receive is going to be a threat. But you don’t usually see people like Carvin spell it out so plainly."

#determinism  ___

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2015-03-05 23:58:36 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

ATX: Cold Light of Day

ATX: Cold Light of Day___

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2015-03-05 12:39:00 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Science: Judging Reality
How social pressure can make innocent people admit to wrongdoing.

Science: Judging Reality
How social pressure can make innocent people admit to wrongdoing.___

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2015-03-05 01:17:24 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Science: The Limit of Quantitative Measures
"In his book “Our Present Complaint,” the Harvard historian Charles Rosenberg argues that, ever since the nineteenth century, when cholera pandemics swept the globe and germ theory came of age, medicine has increasingly put its faith in the measurable—temperature and blood-pressure readings, X-rays, microscopy, laboratory analyses, and so forth. This way of thinking, which has usually produced excellent results, has had the unintended effect of making us skeptical of diseases whose etiologies are poorly understood—those, like ME/CFS, for which there isn’t a clear single cause. When this happens, we may blame the mind of the patient, as Brea’s neurologist did. Before we understood what multiple sclerosis was, for instance, we called it hysterical paralysis, and for decades we thought that ulcers were caused primarily by stress, when infact bacter... more »

Science: The Limit of Quantitative Measures
"In his book “Our Present Complaint,” the Harvard historian Charles Rosenberg argues that, ever since the nineteenth century, when cholera pandemics swept the globe and germ theory came of age, medicine has increasingly put its faith in the measurable—temperature and blood-pressure readings, X-rays, microscopy, laboratory analyses, and so forth. This way of thinking, which has usually produced excellent results, has had the unintended effect of making us skeptical of diseases whose etiologies are poorly understood—those, like ME/CFS, for which there isn’t a clear single cause. When this happens, we may blame the mind of the patient, as Brea’s neurologist did. Before we understood what multiple sclerosis was, for instance, we called it hysterical paralysis, and for decades we thought that ulcers were caused primarily by stress, when in fact bacteria are more often responsible."___

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2015-03-04 20:15:20 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Politics: Judging Reality
From the article, "Increasingly, the conservatives’ view seems to be that every crackpot idea—if developed by right-thinking crackpots—deserves its day in court, especially the nation’s highest court."

And, on those occasions when the court rules against them, they rail against activist judges and brag how they will flaunt the law.

Jeff Shesol on #KingvBurwell: “Increasingly, the conservatives’ view seems to be that every crackpot idea—if developed by right-thinking crackpots—deserves its day in court.”___Politics: Judging Reality
From the article, "Increasingly, the conservatives’ view seems to be that every crackpot idea—if developed by right-thinking crackpots—deserves its day in court, especially the nation’s highest court."

And, on those occasions when the court rules against them, they rail against activist judges and brag how they will flaunt the law.

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2015-03-03 11:18:03 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

Women Work: Game Designer
Lizzie Magie designed and patented the original version of Monopoly in 1904, two decades before Charles Darrow ripped off her work and took the credit.

Women Work: Game Designer
Lizzie Magie designed and patented the original version of Monopoly in 1904, two decades before Charles Darrow ripped off her work and took the credit.___

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2015-03-03 00:53:01 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Prunus mexicana
This year the flowers of one of my Mexican plum trees are distinctly pink. Usually (and on the other three trees) they are white with either a pink or light green blush center. This may be the effect of the sudden cold temperatures.

#atx #prunus  

Prunus mexicana
This year the flowers of one of my Mexican plum trees are distinctly pink. Usually (and on the other three trees) they are white with either a pink or light green blush center. This may be the effect of the sudden cold temperatures.

#atx #prunus  ___

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2015-02-27 19:10:40 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

ATX: Wintry Mix
Spring sprang last week. Today Austin is bleak and near freezing. I know. We have it tough down south. The only white stuff falling here is blossoms from the Mexican plum trees.

ATX: Wintry Mix
Spring sprang last week. Today Austin is bleak and near freezing. I know. We have it tough down south. The only white stuff falling here is blossoms from the Mexican plum trees.___

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2015-02-23 19:55:05 (5 comments, 1 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

ATX: Lady Bird Lake
Last week, when the rest of the US was snowed in, here in Austin the daffodils were blooming and the redbuds and Mexican plums were blossoming. Runners packed the trail wearing jog bras and shorts.

Today, winter is making a comeback. The mist is rising off the water which is much warmer than the cold air blowing in. And not a person in sight.

ATX: Lady Bird Lake
Last week, when the rest of the US was snowed in, here in Austin the daffodils were blooming and the redbuds and Mexican plums were blossoming. Runners packed the trail wearing jog bras and shorts.

Today, winter is making a comeback. The mist is rising off the water which is much warmer than the cold air blowing in. And not a person in sight.___

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2015-02-22 16:07:18 (29 comments, 4 reshares, 95 +1s)Open 

Film: Edge of Tomorrow
Starship Troopers meets Groundhogs Day with a bit of Aliens thrown in.

This movie was recommended to me by a friend and so going in my expectations were set slightly higher than normal for a Tom Cruise flick and, I'm happy to report, exceeded at every level.

The movie was both fun and funny, while at the same time tightly-paced, full of action, and a bit of suspense. The violence was only PG-13, so those with more sensitive natures can revel in the action without the constant threat of being grossed out, without having to think too much of the "real" consequences of war or death. This is action fantasy not biting drama.

This older Tom Cruise, who is more willing to laugh at himself as an action hero, is much more enjoyable to watch than when he was less humble. And Emily Blunt was a complete surprise and absolute delight.... more »

Film: Edge of Tomorrow
Starship Troopers meets Groundhogs Day with a bit of Aliens thrown in.

This movie was recommended to me by a friend and so going in my expectations were set slightly higher than normal for a Tom Cruise flick and, I'm happy to report, exceeded at every level.

The movie was both fun and funny, while at the same time tightly-paced, full of action, and a bit of suspense. The violence was only PG-13, so those with more sensitive natures can revel in the action without the constant threat of being grossed out, without having to think too much of the "real" consequences of war or death. This is action fantasy not biting drama.

This older Tom Cruise, who is more willing to laugh at himself as an action hero, is much more enjoyable to watch than when he was less humble. And Emily Blunt was a complete surprise and absolute delight. I'd only ever seen her before in The Devil Wears Prada and I'd never have thought to cast her in an action movie. But her deadpan, impatient seriousness crosses over to this role nicely, and it's wonderful to see her as the trainer not just the trainee. I'm glad that they skipped gratuitous  sentimentality, or fake character development via a back-story of past trauma.

Instead the film stays very focused on experiencing the present moment in a way that is imperative when dealing with an altered experience of time.
----------------------------
Spoilers.

The movie plays out like a video game, as the tagline says, "Live. Die. Repeat." Game over simply means restart and run through the game levels with the knowledge, experience, and skill gained from previous iterations.  The structure is a given but the player has a certain amount of agency in navigating it.

I was very interested in the concept of repeatedly dying. The movie shows each death as a quick (and seemingly painless) obliteration, followed by being startled awake as if out of a nightmare. It suggests that if you know your death is just a reset of the day, that dying itself is no big deal. But I think it must be just the opposite. If you remember everything, doesn't that make it more difficult to put yourself in the position to experience the same the pain and suffering?

The middle section of the film, where the day is reset over and over again while Tom Cruise adapts and trains, seemed analogous to the nightmares people with PTSD experience. But the film does not enter that dark territory; it's not intended to be that kind of movie. Death is painless and immediate. When you hit Game Over, you just restart.

The other concept that interested me was how the person who relived the day dealt with being forced into the role of Cassandra, foreseeing doom but unable to convince anyone else.

There was a poignancy, too, in remembering when no one else did. It's like loving someone with Alzheimer's, someone who does not remember when you first met or how many times you've had a certain conversation...getting to know someone over the course of months or years, only to wake to a new day where they see you as a stranger.___

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2015-02-22 02:02:23 (4 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Language: The Examined Life
改 KAI: examine, ameliorate
Perhaps my fondness for this kanji stems in part from my Catholic upbringing and the cyclical and ongoing practice of examining one's conscience and making amends for one's faults.

The verb 改める"aratameru" means roughly: revise, alter, rectify, correct, redo, renew, over again, and anew. In short, in order to improve, you must both examine and change.

Composition of 改
On the left side is the one of the characters for oneself, 己 「おのれ」"onore".

On the right side the radical for to beat/strike. So, as a mnemonic, you could imagine a kind of self-flagellating course of improvement.

To my disappointment, Henshall* points out that while this mnemonic is useful, it's not historically correct, as the left-hand side of the character isactually a simplified... more »

Language: The Examined Life
改 KAI: examine, ameliorate
Perhaps my fondness for this kanji stems in part from my Catholic upbringing and the cyclical and ongoing practice of examining one's conscience and making amends for one's faults.

The verb 改める"aratameru" means roughly: revise, alter, rectify, correct, redo, renew, over again, and anew. In short, in order to improve, you must both examine and change.

Composition of 改
On the left side is the one of the characters for oneself, 己 「おのれ」"onore".

On the right side the radical for to beat/strike. So, as a mnemonic, you could imagine a kind of self-flagellating course of improvement.

To my disappointment, Henshall* points out that while this mnemonic is useful, it's not historically correct, as the left-hand side of the character is actually a simplified form of snake. So the original pictograph was driving off snakes. However, if we imagine either St. Patrick driving the snakes (pagans) from Ireland or an Old Testament symbol of the snake which tempts one to evil, then the visualization of striking at the root of error remains a useful mnemonic for improvement.

改札口 「かいさつぐち」"kaisatsuguchi": Ticket Inspection
if you've ever visited Japan, you have likely encountered this kanji in a subway or train station. It's the first character in "kai+satsu+guchi", literally the inspect-ticket-gate (the wicket). Tickets are inspected both upon entering and exiting the platforms. In the place and time I lived in Japan, this inspection was still done by hand. Now it's mostly automated.

改善 「かいぜん」”kaizen”: Ameliorate
Many non-Japanese speaking business people will be familiar with a compound using this character: KAI+ZEN, the "business philosophy" translated as incremental improvement. (The ZEN in this compound meaning "better".)

Sometimes kaizen is misrepresented as a call for continuous change: change for the sake of change. Literally, however, it is closer to "examine and alter for the better".

The reason for the business focus on change is that kaizen was promoted as an antidote to the "leave well enough alone/if it ain't broke don't fix it" style of management.  Kaizen supposes that there is no such thing as "well enough". Examine. Figure out if things can be improved. Improve. Repeat.

However, kaizen is not change for the sake of change, for novelty, for simply doing something to appear to be doing something, anything. For example, so many people discussing changes to the Google+ user experience become defensive when asked whether a change actually betters the experience for the user. "You Luddites are just against change." No. We are asking how does this change improve the user experience? If it doesn't, don't make it.

That is the heart of kaizen: examine, look for ways to improve; then make any appropriate changes. The better translation of kaizen is probably, ameliorate: to improve over time, from the French melior meaning "to better"...The opposite, deteriorate, is to worsen over time. The implication of  a process taking place "over time" is probably where we attach the sense of "incremental" improvement.

Alter
Another useful synonym is "alter": especially if you imagine a ship's skipper, constantly checking position and then making the fine adjustments necessary to stay or alter course.

Amend
You can also translate this kanji as amend. Mend refers to the fault, not the fix. So to "amend" is to remove the fault; in contemporary usage, the prefix got dropped. So now we mend clothes and fences, by way of fixing.

The "mend" is the tear, not the repair. To amend is to put right. Make amends.

Reform, Reshape, Restore
I often erroneously conceive of the idea of reform as progressive change. However reform conveys the perspective that the current situation is deteriorated or corrupted. Things are falling apart and must be re-formed...taken back to the original, more basic and pure form. Think Protestant Reformation. Reformers want to end corruption and restore the real to the ideal.

A slightly different mindset exists between people who want to fix a system because they see it as broken and falling apart and people who want to change a system because they can imagine something better.

Reformers assess the current situation as bad and bad because it isn't the way things used to be.  They are focused on restoring an idealized purity of a system. They quibble about fundamentals and focus on defining and defending core values. They cannot entertain the idea that perhaps the system itself might be fundamentally flawed or that with the knowledge gleaned from one failure and destruction of an untenable system, that we might figure out a better approach. Reformers see the ideal behind them rather than in front of them.

Revise
As such, "revise" is probably closer to the  core meaning than "reform".
  • 改訂「かいてい」 "kaitei" revised (edition of a book)
  • 改心する「かいしんする」"kaishin suru" alter+ heart: to change one's heart, revise one's position
  •  改正する「かいせいする」"kaisei suru" alter + correct: to revise, amend
  • 改変する「かいへんする」"kaihen suru" alter + change: innovate
-----------------------------
* Kenneth G. Henshall: A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters
http://amzn.com/0804815321

Note 1: The photograph is of the 2013 Boston Marathon, mile 26...in sight of the finish line and where the second bomb would detonate an hour later. Marathon runners, like Catholics, are obsessed with self-examination with the goal of incremental improvement. Let's look and see how we can make this better.

Note 2: This "kanji meditation is the third in a series.
https://plus.google.com/+MSinclairStevens/posts/aXturajvkbn___

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2015-02-20 15:40:54 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Searching for Metanoia
"...moments at which all our assumptions break down and need re-examination." A fundamental change in one's thinking.

THE CASE FOR PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS

Convincing people stuck in bipolar ‘either or’ paradigms of anything is almost an insurmountable challenge. And why would you try?

Because they make up the majority that determine how the entire planetary population gets to live out its collective and individual lives.

Why do so many people think that that there are simple yes/no answers, and fixed truths to which we can cleave?

Because it’s easy.

Traditionally this has been the refuge of scoundrels using religion and ideology (same thing?) as the vehicle.

But in today’s fractured world even the people notionally championing rationality are prone to distorting life as being an artifact of their own obsessions with numerical truths.

Missing in all conceptions along this reductionist determinist path is everything that matters immediately. The existential grant or denial of whether we will eat today, or not. Sleep safely and comfortably, or not. Receive medical care or not. Be shot and killed by people sworn to protect us, or not.

What we get instead is an increasingly echoing vault of absolutists who seek to reduce all purpose and striving to live to ever more precisely defined abstracts (the reductionists), and who then find from such prescriptions ever more precisely defined ‘righteous’ paths or resolutions (the determinists).

You can just picture this as a vast grotto of yelling and screaming five-year-olds.

‘My brother took my dolly, and now I hate him and everything about him.’

‘It’s not true. She lies. She always lies.’

Partisan positions indeed.

In reality they will have both forgotten the cause and objects of the argument in minutes. Sadly, as adults, that is no longer true. And I wouldn’t care if the imbeciles pursuing this pathology were not so influential in my life as well as that of everything on the planet.

Of particular concern here is the fact that this kind of silliness is not confined to known children and adult cretins: the religious zealots, conspiracy theorists, political absolutists, and all their offspring.

Today it actually includes many people who label themselves as rational and sane. Scientists. Mathematicians. IT professionals. Administrators. Managers. People who don’t understand that when they confuse their tools and artifacts with human truths and fixed paths they become totalitarians.

What is left, then, in a world gone completely insane?

In order to limit this discussion to some manageable time-frame, let’s just say these thoughts began with a self-promoting essay by n+1 publisher Mark Greif in the Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/Whats-Wrong-With-Public/189921/).

Greif used a generous word count to pay homage to an overtly communist American publication of the 1930s, Partisan Review. That publication was able to survive and morph into a dissenting fixture until it ceased publication in 2003. Its defining feature always was content with a view for an America different from that imposed by people whose only religion and ideology is their own profit. Today we see its influence mainly as its antithesis: Fox News and News Corporation, or all their emulators.

Greif used his editorial space to promote his own venture in an almost tastelessly artless fashion, meaning that n+1 probably can’t marshall the same intellectual power of Partisan Review in its worst issues. Nevertheless, he made a few points that elude self-professed rationalists today.

Public intellectuals,” as Russell Jacoby defined them near the start of this culture war, in 1987, are simply “writers and thinkers who address a general and educated audience.” … undamaged by specialization and professionalism, pretension and ideology!



The idea of the public intellectual in the 21st century should be less about the intellectuals and how, or where, they ought to come from vocationally, than about restoring the highest estimation of the public. Public intellect is most valuable if you don’t accept the construction of the public handed to us by current media. Intellectuals: You-we-are the public. It’s us now, us when we were children, before the orgy of learning, or us when we will be retired; you can choose the exemplary moment you like. But the public must not be anyone less smart and striving than you are, right now. It’s probably best that the imagined public even resemble the person you would like to be rather than who you are. (And it would be wise for intellectuals to stop being so ashamed of ties to universities, however tight or loose; it’s cowardly, and often irrelevant.)

What I think Greif is reaching for is the contempt that partisans in one or another meaningless bipolar opposition have for their counterpoints. The idea that there can be none but a sole answer to any position, issue, and problem. The idea that we should all chop off our left hands because our right does the only meaningful work, or the other way around, if we don’t ‘agree’ with the first option for retarded nihilism.

Personally, the biggest obstacles to a rationalist renaissance I can see in the USA and Europe is the clannish elitism inherent in gathering together ‘acolytes’ in the private discussions of Reddit, under Wikipedia’s skirts, and on Google Plus itself (among many other other umbrellas) which seek to determine terms and conditions on which others will be admitted, or their arguments considered valid. This is a rearguard action by people admitting they have already lost. Lost to the overt ideologists/theologists.

Such frat-boy efforts aren’t going to change things. They will just fold into broader movements determined by accountants about how to channel the angst and impotent rage so that it profits someone at the end of the stream.

Imagine the preposterous idea that I would ever accept as valid the imposition of some white knight's interpretation of what I can or cannot say about women, blacks, refugees, or my own dietary preferences. Precisely the kind of demands being made of me lately by even my own compatriots. My reward for compliance? Acceptance and affirmation as 'one of us'.

How can any of us refuse that hemlock cup?

Like this.

When I use the term intellectual, I tend to exclude merely vocationally trained specialists, particularly programmers and other IT technicians, who have nothing much to say about anything else.

Along with many others, I see an intellectual being someone able to apply critical thinking across a range of ideas and issues.

The public intellectual does this more than just idly or passingly. For a public intellectual it is daily business to consider how we live our lives, and how that might be hindered or improved by a variety of means.

If the intellectual is an academic, that might include connecting academic ideas about the arts, economics, politics, and the sciences to immediately practical ends, but in a language that isn’t bogged down in the faux neutrality and frigid ‘scientism’ of the academy. It is not a paper to be peer reviewed by dullards looking only for validation by research or experiment to suit faculty requirements. It is a comment attempting to connect with people outside the academy in terms they can reach for from the breakfast table, the street, or the workplace.

If the intellectual is not an academic, public comment might instead be based on a professional or vocational insight. An architect might have interesting things to say about urban planning. A concert pianist might say insightful things about designing an opera house or an orphanage. A metal fabricator might have proposals for changing how we measure labour productivity or national income statistics. And so on.

The common thread in public intellectuals is that they bring their insights into a public forum as a stimulant for thought and discussion. That implies the existence of a public forum, which used to be mainly newspapers and journals, but is many other things beside today.

Public intellectuals, as I see them, are not merely engaged with issues, but are capable of a literary level of prose or speech, meaning they don’t fumble with words or degenerate into ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’. They can address their points clearly, and more than that, with eloquence that makes them literary rather than pedestrian or merely vernacular.

How are such public intellectuals different from, say, Paul Krugman writing in the New York Times, or Lewis Black doing an angry stand-up satire about social inequality?

Well, they probably share many features, but public intellectuals usually don’t make a living from their commentaries on public issues. They pursue careers that might have little to do with their public statements. Noam Chomsky has been described as America’s greatest public intellectual. He is notionally a linguist, but his political comments probably don’t relate to his original academic discipline at all. Bertrand Russell was an academic philosophy instructor, but won a Nobel Prize for literature, and became synonymous with Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Tom Paine’s corset-making days had nothing to do with his aspiration for people as free individuals.

A final defining feature of public intellectuals, in my view, is that they deal with questions and answers in which absolutes have no place. These are all ‘wicked’ problems in that they relate to choosing one or more of many possible paths to address some problem or issue seen as of contemporary relevance across society.

The ‘wicked’ problem was thus defined in the 1970s to acknowledge the difficulty in social policy of addressing competing demands with a limited toolkit and resource base, possibly also at the risk of choosing a path that creates unanticipated new problems. For example, by constructing cheap, affordable housing for the poor today, are we creating the ghetto of tomorrow?

So, public intellectuals are educated or knowledgeable people capable of articulate, even literary, prose and rhetoric, discussing issues of public interest in public forums, and without having vested interests in the outcomes.

There is a secondary point made by Mark Greif in the Chronicle of Higher Education: public intellectuals don’t talk down to their audiences. They grapple with words and language to deal with difficult problems, and they don’t pretend this is bubble gum territory, or that audiences get a pass when it comes to trying to understand difficult ideas. This isn’t quite the same as supposing that all people understand jargon and acronyms, which they undoubtedly don’t. It is more about not using euphemisms to describe the real: ‘lady parts’ refers to the idiocy of the user of such a tern, not to ‘pussy’, ‘ass’, tits’. Let alone to vagina and mammaries. Such euphemisms should not be allowed to stand. ‘Pacification’ to describe legally sanctioned murder is just a lie to excuse elitist murder. ‘Security’ used as an excuse to deprive liberty is Soviet-Nazi bastardry, nothing in any way more meaningful than that.

Patronising audiences by reducing complex problems to meaningless simplicities serves no one but demagogues. The attempt at understanding difficult issues ought to reflect the difficulty of the issue itself. Reducing everything to models and examples stripped of complexity annihilates the intellectual content of any discussion, and likely misses the original point.

If that were not bad enough, we now have a crop of hipster rationalists who argue: ‘This is wrong because science.’ Quite apart from the aphasia involved in trying to decipher such statements, it is simply a religious argument restated along the new lines of a fashion catalogue.

Science and know-how tell us nothing about what to do with scientific research findings or the many toolkits we have available to us. Human judgement in the context of social environments are the only mechanisms for working out what we do, why we do it (the ends we are trying to achieve), and which options we favour.

That is the point of public discussions, and this is where public intellectuals come in to question, advocate, oppose, and encourage public engagement with decision-making processes.

My perception is that quality of debate has declined sharply since the 1980s, being edged out by a radicalised anti-intellectualism favouring solely materialist, utilitarian conceptions of education, intellect, discussion, and social ends altogether. No room in there for the ‘limp-wristed’ literary critiques of which I’m so fond as fodder for thought. Just suspicion about all things that cannot be reduced to formula or money. And that works both sides of the religious divide in the USA, meaning there isn’t really any divide at all.

As a parting note, many people complain about TLDR. This is a danger in itself. Some ideas require more than abstracts to convey, and the increasing trend to reduce all things to pithy headlines, illiterate tweets, or semi-literate summary is intensely anti-intellectual in itself. Traditional public intellectuals have never bowed to ‘popular demand’ that only abbreviated snippets cater to an ‘attention deficit’ public. An illustration of this problem taken to absurd lengths is the idea that E=mc², can be abbreviated meaningfully as E=?

If and when you are a parent, consider how you will frame an argument or rebuttal. Will you surrender to the immediate demand to annihilate one of your progeny in favour of the other, or will you exercise judgement?

How much of the contemporary bipolar debate requires that you obliterate things that don’t need to be? How much of that insane commandment do you follow by trying to pin down sole and immutable answers? What sort of parent would you be if you imposed this logic on your children?

In a world devoid of adults, are public intellectuals possible, I wonder.___Searching for Metanoia
"...moments at which all our assumptions break down and need re-examination." A fundamental change in one's thinking.

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2015-02-18 22:15:43 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Language: Speakin' Texan
W.F. Strong sounds so comfortingly down-homey to my ears.

Language: Speakin' Texan
W.F. Strong sounds so comfortingly down-homey to my ears.___

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2015-02-18 22:08:44 (4 comments, 1 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Positive Pessimism

Positive Pessimism___

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2015-02-16 18:10:55 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Censure and Censor
From the article, "...better to let those who deny well-documented facts expose themselves to ridicule than pose as martyrs."

I've been in several discussion lately on the topic of speech where it is clear that some people confuse the ability to speak freely with some imagined right to be listened to or even revered. By all means spout nonsense but fully expect to be rebuked, laughed at, and challenged to defend your points.

via +Cara Evangelista 

#ridicule  

Censure and Censor
From the article, "...better to let those who deny well-documented facts expose themselves to ridicule than pose as martyrs."

I've been in several discussion lately on the topic of speech where it is clear that some people confuse the ability to speak freely with some imagined right to be listened to or even revered. By all means spout nonsense but fully expect to be rebuked, laughed at, and challenged to defend your points.

via +Cara Evangelista 

#ridicule  ___

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2015-02-16 00:28:32 (8 comments, 2 reshares, 96 +1s)Open 

You'd Be Prettier if You Smiled
Let me introduce you to my friends...

You'd Be Prettier if You Smiled
Let me introduce you to my friends...___

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2015-02-14 21:25:08 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Art: Cat on a Balustrade: Summer 1896
I was rummaging through a box of old postcards and discovered this one. Evidence that grumpy cat predates the Internet.

Artist. Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen. In the Art Institute of Chicago.

#caturday  

Art: Cat on a Balustrade: Summer 1896
I was rummaging through a box of old postcards and discovered this one. Evidence that grumpy cat predates the Internet.

Artist. Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen. In the Art Institute of Chicago.

#caturday  ___

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2015-02-13 23:23:09 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

Education: Thinking is Critical
Two of my friends wrote posts today on learning to think for yourself.

+Peter Strempel Journalism: Only You Can Fool Yourself!

+Kimberly Chapman Using Cleopatra Documentaries
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KimberlyChapman/posts/e5eGHfFjyTG

Both these posts—although quite different in subject matter, style, and intended audience—provide a great introduction into looking beyond the surface of what you are told and asked to believe. You'd think we'd learn these skills in school. Democracy requires an educated populace because we are responsible for governing ourselves.

The desirability for people to question, examine, and form their own judgments might seem obvious, except that I live in Texas, a state ruled by the GOP which in 2012 specifically called for critical thinking skills to be removed from the school curriculum. Why?Bec... more »

JOURNALISM: ONLY YOU CAN FOOL YOURSELF!

In recent weeks there has been a veritable tsunami of information media commentary to the effect that voters in a democracy cannot be trusted to make the ‘correct’ choices, and social media posts to the effect that information media cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

That journalists and other public commentators unmask themselves as totalitarian idiots by either misunderstanding democracy or actively opposing it is an obvious, easy conclusion to reach. Voters may be misguided, or ill-informed, but they are never wrong in exercising their right to cast a vote at an election. That is (still) democracy – for better or worse.

But just how misguided social media commentators are about decrying information media is not as easy to unmask as the laziness or ignorance it really is. I wonder how many of those complaining most bitterly on social media realise that they are themselves now part of the information media they decry, and as guilty as the journalists and other commentators they accuse of lying or distorting truth.

The path I propose for demonstrating the laziness or ignorance of those who demand from the information media a reflection of their own Weltanschauungen is to look at very brief sketches of:

The history of journalism, to illustrate it is not, and never has been what most people demand it was or should be;

Political economy as the one framework of reference that permits a systematic explanation of all human activity;

Critical analysis as too often misunderstood and not applied in either journalism or its audiences; and

Intellectual integrity that recognises uncomfortable truths.

Journalism
In the Western world journalism is preceded by pamphleteering, and specifically the highly political kind of British pamphleteering that arose in the 18th century. There was no question of striving for objective truth in these self-funded, cheaply printed, but eagerly read opinion pieces. The best of them were invectives seeking to tell truth to power, or satires poking fun at the abuses of power.

Pamphleteering was eventually replaced by gazettes, or journals (hence journalist), and then newspapers (hence the press and news media).

The original European gazettes sometimes restricted their scope solely to ‘intelligences’ about the movement of ships and cargoes, armies and battles, and the doings of monarchs and aristocrats. But many also included letters from observers in foreign parts (hence the name correspondent) about matters of general or popular interest. These came to include celebrity gossip about aristocrats and prominent people, but also genuine reportage, moving into investigative journalism to present the facts on issues and events as best as they could be uncovered, and not run afoul of censorship.

But there was no suggestion in the earlier journals or newspapers of unbiased views. In fact, quite the opposite: most took a definite stance on social and political issues of the day.

I assert here that nothing much has changed, except perhaps a notable concentration of ownership leading to fewer differing points of view. I don’t argue that scandal mongering and overt propaganda deserves to be called news, just that some of this has always been called news.

This leads me to state categorically that you are just wrong if you assume:

Journalists should report facts in an unbiased manner without ever acting as human beings, rather than becoming automatons;

Objectivity is possible by sticking to incontrovertible facts, and by fact checking; and

Objective truth exists in human affairs that is not actually the untruth of either ideology or religion.

Journalists are people, and therefore fallible. They are constrained by their own subjectivities and limits on resources as well as intellectual capacity in selecting facts to report. They are often obliged to apply to the facts they report their own interpretation, or an imposed one.

Journalists or editors who claim objectivity are liars. The best they can do is give coverage to many diverging points of view, but usually this just ends up in a simple bipolar oppositional partisanship that excludes all other views (for example, running Labor and Tory opinion pieces, but not ideas from Marxists, fascists, anarchists, environmentalists, and so on).

The best journalists explicitly acknowledge their subjectivities and invite you thereby to form your own opinions. The worst ones are just scribes for propagandists.

The next time you argue for objective truth in journalism, have a long look in the mirror to examine just how much of that you are capable of, or are known for.

While you stand there, also ponder the simple truth that in some people subject matter expertise and experience counts for something. In others it may just cause entrenched, rigid prejudice. In that vein, also contemplate another simple truth: almost everyone thinks no one else is smarter or better informed, and they are invariably wrong.

Political economy
Most people who have not studied it are easily confused by that term. Because it is confusing, and there are many schools of political economy. The main two are political scientists looking at economics, and economists looking at political science. Others inject varying flavours of the social sciences, and all the ideologies known to us, including theology (Iran and other Islamic states operate partly Shariah law-driven economic regulations).

However, in its most simple terms, political economy is the interplay between the exercise of political power and the economic structure to which that power is applied.

This simple definition allows us to understand any event or phenomenon in human history in terms of political economy.

Let me use as an example the ancient Greek Oracle of Delphi. Greeks from all over their known world came to consult the Oracle for omens on the success or failure of ventures, or the truth or falsehood of big questions.

They paid a caste of male priests with valuables for oracular sooth-saying. The priests would then summon one or more of a caste of female oracles to sequester themselves, and inhale fumes or vapours that may have been neurotoxins to induce trances or fugue states in which they were thought to speak with the voices of the gods. The male priests would then interpret what the oracles said and relay that interpretation back to the paying customers.

In this way, the Oracle of Delphi became a hugely influential political and economic player in Greece, with the priests determining whether ventures should proceed or not, including wars and feuds. They also became an early bank by lending, at interest rates or profit sharing, some of their profits to favoured individuals or causes.

Now let me tell the same story in a contemporary setting.

A gaggle of economists, paid by varying sources with varying agenda, produce reams if impenetrable jargon and gibberish. Journalists paid by varying sources with varying agenda interpret the gibberish into the vernacular for paying consumers of journalism.

In that process the biases of the economists should be obvious by examining both who pays them, and what they say consistently over time. The biases of journalists can be thought of as being bought and paid for by information media owners, frequently via editors and editorial policy.

We, the consumers of it all, just get to pay for everything with our taxes and direct payment to access the ‘news’. In return we get the political economy that governs our lives, and all the lies or truths that emanate from it.

In that last story, too, lies the political economy of information media: owners throw money about to make more money, which used to come from advertising, but now seems to rely increasingly on patronage, which is the sale of editorial support, either to an owner’s own interests, or to some other capitalist. I think the repetitive nonsense about newspaper political economy in textbooks doesn’t enlighten much of what is occuring in information media today. I recommend instead to those interested in greater insights reading one prescribed university text, and Manufacturing Consent by Edward S Herman and Noam Chomsky.

The principle here is to follow the money: who benefits from a particular point of view, and how. Most of the time this is simple enough to figure out, and without needing a university degree in anything, including economics. But simple in this context does not mean it might not require time-consuming spade work. It just means any plodder can do it.

Critical analysis
Critical faculty is the most misunderstood concept I have observed as it applies to all discussion and debate – not just about journalism and information media.

Let’s look at what it is not: reductionist determinism. In fact that is an opposite of critical analysis because it operates by reducing some meaning to a single aspect of it, and then applying that single aspect deterministically to be the sole meaning, if not also the objective ‘truth’ of the matter.

Reductionist determinism arises most commonly from people turning to reference works, like dictionaries or encyclopaediae, choosing a single definition, and then insisting doggedly on its objective truth, and therefore on the falsehood of all other definitions or interpretations. Most good reference works include many definitions and perspectives. Hardly any online reference works are in that league.

Reductionist determinism is the most common error in judgement and logic made by scientists and IT professionals because they are used to working according to absolute rules. It is nevertheless a serious error of judgement. Even in the sciences it is acknowledged axiomatically that any theory or supposed law must be open to challenge. If it is not contestable, it is not science.

So, critical analysis is more than semantics and ‘lawyering’ of cited sources.

Another thing that is not critical analysis is gleefully trashing some argument from a position of malice or self-righteous superiority. Critique seeks to find flaws, not destruction or ridicule. That said, however, sometimes it is just not true to argue that there is more than one point of view to every argument, and this may involve legitimate ad hominem: ‘The Earth is not flat, and you are a moron to argue that against all available evidence!’ And there can be legitimate reasons for malicious destruction of an argument.

Critical analysis can be thought of as a mixture of critique aimed at exposing flaws, suggesting improvements, and ‘appreciation’ of an argument or position by pointing to its likely credibility in those areas where it exists.

With that in mind, my own simplification of the concept of critical analysis is based on the idea of questioning every assertion and citation according to the importance it holds for the entire argument or position.

What do we question?

Who is saying it? Is that person presented as an expert, and does that imply or aim at credibility? Is that credibility deserved or just asserted? What evidence can we uncover about that expert’s history of expertness? If the person is not presented as an expert, how do we judge credibility? What is that person’s profile? The tone, literacy, and readability can tell us about likely experience in the subject matter area, and with speaking or writing. Bad grammar and many typos are always a warning sign of at least carelessness.

What is being said? Are we reading opinion or reportage? Are sources cited? Are sources given as anonymous? Are more than one or two points of view being represented? What are the agenda being pursued? What are some of the alternative viewpoints? What is the intended response from us? How vested in a specific outcome is the author or speaker?

Where is it being said? Is it ‘news’ media, a blog, another kind of web site, a social media platform? Does the medium have credibility for what is being said? If you don’t know whether it has credibility, is it being said elsewhere as an independent piece of information? If the same sources are cited everywhere, warning bells should be ringing about uncritical diffusion of a potential fabrication.

Are there gaps in a position or argument? Can you identify something obvious that was left unaddressed? Does it matter that gaps exist, or are these critical for the argument or position? What are the arguments or positions that could fill these gaps?

Is credibility being presented as a function of popularity? This is almost always a signal to pay careful attention. It is the Google syndrome of applying higher scores to popular search results. It is the social media fallacy that trending ‘stuff’ must be good. Popularity usually means unimaginative dull-wittedness, not credibility or commendability.

Are you making a judgement based on appeal to you personally? This is an absolute killer of logic, judgement, and any kind of analysis. To agree with something that plays to one’s own prejudices and Weltanschauung, without extra care to ensure it is valid, is the most frequent stupidity I see committed by smart people.

If you know what you are doing you don’t need the above list, and you realise it’s at best incomplete.

Critical analysis is not easy. No shortcuts or formulae can substitute. It must be conducted repeatedly for every circumstance where just one variable has changed. This means it’s not critical analysis to think about one issue once and then forever declare that judgement to be sound for every other instance of a similar discussion. In fact, doing that is ideological rigidity, which is one opposite to critical analysis.

Your judgement
There is no a priori rule in the universe outside religion and ideology. Everything ever said and written has been said and written by people who are as fallible or infallible as you or me. That means nothing should ever be believed without applying judgement.

In practice this probably devolves into a ‘trust but verify’ policy for a small number of information sources and people, and a much larger ‘always verify’ policy for all other things.

Knowing what we do about public commentators, and the information media, if it is not obvious to you that you should not credulously trust what they transmit to you, I think you are foolish. Anyone who guarantees you can trust them to represent your interests rather than their own is lying through their teeth.

To defer your own responsibility for judgement to someone else is either laziness or ignorance. You get to decide for yourself which of these applies to you.

Judgement is always your responsibility. Looking to make this easier by seeking to rate information sources is a recipe for disaster; it will merely bring you back to the social media nonsense of popular=relevant or credible. Every single information item has to be judged, and not merely by defaulting to trust previously established in the respectability of a source. That trust can only ever play some part in evaluation.

Intellectual integrity
In defending free speech during the controversial Faurrison Affair, Noam Chomsky was breathtakingly accused of being a Holocaust-denier. Subsequently he made a simple and elegant point that seems lost on a lot of people, including, disappointingly, many scientists and IT professionals:

Faurisson’s conclusions are diametrically opposed to views I hold and have frequently expressed in print (for example, in my book Peace in the Middle East?, where I describe the holocaust as “the most fantastic outburst of collective insanity in human history”). But it is elementary that freedom of expression (including academic freedom) is not to be restricted to views of which one approves, and that it is precisely in the case of views that are almost universally despised and condemned that this right must be most vigorously defended. It is easy enough to defend those who need no defense or to join in unanimous (and often justified) condemnation of a violation of civil rights by some official enemy.

http://www.chomsky.info/articles/19810228.htm

Restating this position slightly and we arrive at one of my most strongly held principles of intellectual integrity: no defence of someone to say something is a defence of that position, and the more we are all taught the legitimacy of only one point of view about something, the more we should support the right of anyone to say the contrary, no matter how outrageous that may seem.

This principle has direct application to the critical evaluation of information: the more outrageous some statement or position might seem, the more carefully it must be analysed before being dismissed. Conversely, the more sympathetic and true a statement or position might seem, the more carefully we must analyse it before endorsing it.

If that strikes you as too much hard work, I think you are right. But why do you think it should be easier? Why do you think you should be able to rely on someone else to do your thinking for you, and then insist on righteous indignation when you discover you were misled? Misled by whom? I would say to you that you misled yourself. Lazy or ignorant?

Postscript
Normally I don’t add postnominal fruit to my essays, but I think it might be relevant here.

My first degree is a Bachelor of Arts in English with majors in journalism, literary theory, and politics.

My second degree is a Master of Business Administration with concentrations in economics and electronic commerce.

My third degree (in progress) will be a Master of Arts in IT. Graduation expected in July 2015.

I have worked as a journalist, including editing a business magazine. I have developed and drafted economic policies with others, including proselytising for them.

I don’t claim to be an expert in anything, but I do claim significant exposure to the academy, the requirement for critical analysis, the rules of journalism as it is practiced, the construction of politically economic policy, and the professional pursuit of rhetoric and persuasion.


[From Minority Reports at http://peterstrempel.com/2015/02/13/journalism-only-you-can-fool-yourself/#more-4100]___Education: Thinking is Critical
Two of my friends wrote posts today on learning to think for yourself.

+Peter Strempel Journalism: Only You Can Fool Yourself!

+Kimberly Chapman Using Cleopatra Documentaries
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KimberlyChapman/posts/e5eGHfFjyTG

Both these posts—although quite different in subject matter, style, and intended audience—provide a great introduction into looking beyond the surface of what you are told and asked to believe. You'd think we'd learn these skills in school. Democracy requires an educated populace because we are responsible for governing ourselves.

The desirability for people to question, examine, and form their own judgments might seem obvious, except that I live in Texas, a state ruled by the GOP which in 2012 specifically called for critical thinking skills to be removed from the school curriculum. Why? Because people who have learned to think for themselves are less likely to take on faith everything you tell them.

"We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."
   -- http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/texas-gop-rejects-critical-thinking-skills-really/2012/07/08/gJQAHNpFXW_blog.html

What about you? How did you learn to think for yourself? Or were you taught to rely on other people's judgments, and if so, whose?

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2015-02-10 20:01:47 (0 comments, 4 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

Language: Assigning Attributes by Gender
From the article...“When we use these reviews and evaluations to assess people, we need to keep in mind that the way people write them is really culturally conditioned," Mr. Schmidt said...[the data] suggests that people tend to think more highly of men than women in professional settings, praise men for the same things they criticize women for, and are more likely to focus on a woman’s appearance or personality and on a man’s skills and intelligence.

#stereotypes  

Language: Assigning Attributes by Gender
From the article...“When we use these reviews and evaluations to assess people, we need to keep in mind that the way people write them is really culturally conditioned," Mr. Schmidt said...[the data] suggests that people tend to think more highly of men than women in professional settings, praise men for the same things they criticize women for, and are more likely to focus on a woman’s appearance or personality and on a man’s skills and intelligence.

#stereotypes  ___

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2015-02-07 14:30:22 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Economy: Real Tax Reform
In an interview with the Guardian, Miliband said he wanted to focus attention on the issue of tax. “The time has finally come to put an end to a society in which one group of people can play by different rules to the rest...There is nothing pro-business about defending tax avoidance. Millions of British people and businesses pay their taxes and they are damaged by this behaviour.”

#taxavoidance  

Economy: Real Tax Reform
In an interview with the Guardian, Miliband said he wanted to focus attention on the issue of tax. “The time has finally come to put an end to a society in which one group of people can play by different rules to the rest...There is nothing pro-business about defending tax avoidance. Millions of British people and businesses pay their taxes and they are damaged by this behaviour.”

#taxavoidance  ___

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2015-02-07 00:21:44 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

Science: Opening the Mind by Subduing the Ego
"...with the ego temporarily out of commission, the boundaries between self and world, subject and object, all dissolve...Is psychedic therapy simply foisting a comforting delusion on the sick and dying?" And why would this be wrong? What virtue is there in prolonging pain and suffering just to insist on our own straight-jacketed, purely materialistic, view of reality?

Why not explore the idea that "...the conscious mind is less a window on reality than a furious editor of it."

Related
Locating the Human Soul via +Peter Strempel 
https://plus.google.com/+PeterStrempel/posts/KsavAmziagL

#psychedelic #hallucinogens  

Science: Opening the Mind by Subduing the Ego
"...with the ego temporarily out of commission, the boundaries between self and world, subject and object, all dissolve...Is psychedic therapy simply foisting a comforting delusion on the sick and dying?" And why would this be wrong? What virtue is there in prolonging pain and suffering just to insist on our own straight-jacketed, purely materialistic, view of reality?

Why not explore the idea that "...the conscious mind is less a window on reality than a furious editor of it."

Related
Locating the Human Soul via +Peter Strempel 
https://plus.google.com/+PeterStrempel/posts/KsavAmziagL

#psychedelic #hallucinogens  ___

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2015-02-02 13:48:17 (11 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Language: Icons, Symbols, and Terror Threats
Be careful not to roll your eyes.

Language: Icons, Symbols, and Terror Threats
Be careful not to roll your eyes.___

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2015-02-01 12:50:23 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Politics and Religion: Pope Francis Unsettles the GOP
From the article, "In recent decades, liberal Catholic politicians were the ones with a papal problem; both Mario Cuomo and John Kerry had to reckon with the prospect of excommunication for their support of abortion-rights laws. John Paul II, meanwhile, was a favorite of conservatives; despite his often subtle views, he became at times little more than a symbol of anti-Communism and a certain set of social strictures. He cemented an alliance, in the political realm, between conservative Catholics and evangelicals. (Rubio also attends an evangelical church.) Abortion was a significant part of that story. By contrast, the Franciscan moment will push some Republican candidates to make decisions and to have conversations that they would rather avoid."

#sacredsunday  

Politics and Religion: Pope Francis Unsettles the GOP
From the article, "In recent decades, liberal Catholic politicians were the ones with a papal problem; both Mario Cuomo and John Kerry had to reckon with the prospect of excommunication for their support of abortion-rights laws. John Paul II, meanwhile, was a favorite of conservatives; despite his often subtle views, he became at times little more than a symbol of anti-Communism and a certain set of social strictures. He cemented an alliance, in the political realm, between conservative Catholics and evangelicals. (Rubio also attends an evangelical church.) Abortion was a significant part of that story. By contrast, the Franciscan moment will push some Republican candidates to make decisions and to have conversations that they would rather avoid."

#sacredsunday  ___

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2015-01-31 14:50:40 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Politics: Remembering Molly Ivins
Molly, you left us too soon. Now eight years later, we need your insight and humor more than ever. Whenever I feel sickened by politics and need to reinvigorate my will to stand up for what is just, it's nice to know that all your columns are archived and available for the reading.

Some Quotes
"What stuns me most about contemporary politics is not even that the system has been so badly corrupted by money. It is that so few people get the connection between their lives and what the bozos do in Washington and our state capitols. Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don't much care for."

"There's far too much unthinking respect given to authority."

"Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous."

"There are... more »

Politics: Remembering Molly Ivins
Molly, you left us too soon. Now eight years later, we need your insight and humor more than ever. Whenever I feel sickened by politics and need to reinvigorate my will to stand up for what is just, it's nice to know that all your columns are archived and available for the reading.

Some Quotes
"What stuns me most about contemporary politics is not even that the system has been so badly corrupted by money. It is that so few people get the connection between their lives and what the bozos do in Washington and our state capitols. Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don't much care for."

"There's far too much unthinking respect given to authority."

"Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous."

"There are two kinds of humor. One kind that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity -- like what Garrison Keillor does. The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule -- that's what I do. Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful."

#ridiculous  ___

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2015-01-29 23:01:16 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Human Experience: Face-to-Face
From the article "...Jane and I had already given our feedback. We had thanked the excellent doctor who witnessed our anguished hope, who entered into that space with us at the start of a long night in A&E and held our hands when our nightmare became reality. I can’t speak highly enough of her, and I say that knowing full well that we probably weren’t the last people whose lives she saw being shattered that night. That’s the place for feedback: face to face, sincere thoughts and feelings expressed from one human to another. '

"To the faceless bureaucrat who thought those text messages were a good idea, I would make the following plea: we come to you in the darkest moments of our lives. You see us through them, whatever the outcome, and then you move on to the next patient. You do this because that’s what the NHS is for,and it’... more »

Human Experience: Face-to-Face
From the article "...Jane and I had already given our feedback. We had thanked the excellent doctor who witnessed our anguished hope, who entered into that space with us at the start of a long night in A&E and held our hands when our nightmare became reality. I can’t speak highly enough of her, and I say that knowing full well that we probably weren’t the last people whose lives she saw being shattered that night. That’s the place for feedback: face to face, sincere thoughts and feelings expressed from one human to another. '

"To the faceless bureaucrat who thought those text messages were a good idea, I would make the following plea: we come to you in the darkest moments of our lives. You see us through them, whatever the outcome, and then you move on to the next patient. You do this because that’s what the NHS is for, and it’s a beautiful institution. In the vast majority of cases we go to the nearest and most convenient hospital, which renders utterly redundant the notion of “recommending” your facility as if it were a restaurant or a B&B."

Please, get rid of the gimmicks – the faux-concerned and impersonal feedback loop and the specious “choice” paradigm designed to soften us up for privatisation  – and listen to your frontline staff. They know what’s really going on, and they’re the remarkable people who really care enough to face broken humans every single day."___

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2015-01-26 01:01:35 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Economics: Small Making a Comeback
In this sense, I never left the 1970s and I'm lucky to live in a city which has so many independently-owned, unique small businesses.

Waiting for the rest of you to catch up.

"The economic wedge created by true differentiation is a cause for great optimism, even if you don’t hold Brandeis’s view that big business inherently threatens democracy. It helps to realize the true promise of a free market, in which people have dozens of genuine choices among products that differ in more than just their marketing. There is also something to be said for a country where things like food or drink actually differ by region. Most profoundly, the trend creates an industrial upheaval important to the long-term strength of the economy. It suggests an economy that is alive and reinventing itself, that is mutating from within, that is engaged in theneve... more »

“Where getting big begins to hurt the product, small can be bountiful,” Tim Wu writes.___Economics: Small Making a Comeback
In this sense, I never left the 1970s and I'm lucky to live in a city which has so many independently-owned, unique small businesses.

Waiting for the rest of you to catch up.

"The economic wedge created by true differentiation is a cause for great optimism, even if you don’t hold Brandeis’s view that big business inherently threatens democracy. It helps to realize the true promise of a free market, in which people have dozens of genuine choices among products that differ in more than just their marketing. There is also something to be said for a country where things like food or drink actually differ by region. Most profoundly, the trend creates an industrial upheaval important to the long-term strength of the economy. It suggests an economy that is alive and reinventing itself, that is mutating from within, that is engaged in the never-ending process of creative destruction."

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2015-01-22 19:00:53 (58 comments, 8 reshares, 365 +1s)Open 

Humor: Christian Love
"...I look forward to observing from my post in heaven the exquisite tortures you will suffer at the hands of the just and loving god..."

#hatemail #loveletters #ridiculous  

Humor: Christian Love
"...I look forward to observing from my post in heaven the exquisite tortures you will suffer at the hands of the just and loving god..."

#hatemail #loveletters #ridiculous  ___

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2015-01-22 14:40:08 (0 comments, 4 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

We Will Not Be Silenced
"People seem more interested in the hyperbole of righteous indignation than the skill of debate, perhaps because rationality, clear thinking, and even basic literacy have fallen out of fashion.
...
In an environment in which taking offense is a method for avoiding responsibility for gratuitous stupidity and laziness, it seems peculiarly appropriate to respond: ‘Kiss my arse!’"
----------------
Comments closed here to encourage you to engage in lively discussion on the original post.


OFFENDED? KISS MY ARSE!

Yesterday the Russian state sponsored TV channel RT posted to Google Plus on Noam Chomsky. The internationally renowned academic, philosopher, and public commentator pointed out a degree of hypocrisy in the outrage expressed about the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Chomsky’s point was about the absence of such outrage about American drone strikes, or the 1999 NATO bombing of a media organisation in Yugoslavia.

The very first comment in that thread was by Ishmael Finn whose profile suggests he is an American Ranger:

Fuck Noam Chomsky! Let him take up residence with Edward Snowden in Moscow if he doesn’t like it here.

I suspect Finn didn’t read the reportage, just the headline, and doesn’t really know who Chomsky is, or why he deserves at least some respectful attention, even if strong disagreement is the outcome.

That little Google Plus moment sparked memories of the Faurisson affair in the later 1970s and throughout the 1980s.

In the late 1970s Chomsky had defended the idea that freedom of speech should trump ideological demands to silence even potentially odious ideas. Chomsky’s essay, ‘Some Elementary Comments on the Rights of Freedom of Expression’ became a foreword of sorts in a book by French literary scholar Robert Faurrison, against Chomsky’s wishes, but without later repentance for his views about freedom of speech.

The thing is, Faurrison is a holocaust denier, and was widely branded a neo-Nazi anti-Semite. A characterisation of his orientation that Chomsky never agreed with.

But, as a consequence, Chomsky was widely condemned for the illusory act of endorsing neo-Naziism and anti-Semitism, all with the same lack of self-reflection that applied in the 1960s, when Hannah Arendt was vilified for not echoing a doctrinaire view of the Nazis as inexplicably evil rather than just 'banal' after observing the Eichmann trial.

What giants these thinkers are to transcend their own Jewishness, focusing on the intellectual content of their analyses, and finding a humanity lacking in both the (neo) Nazis and their opponents.

Chomsky said on his website some years after the eye of the Faurisson hurricane had passed:

A professor of French literature was suspended from teaching on grounds that he could not be protected from violence, after privately printing pamphlets questioning the existence of gas chambers. He was then brought to trial for “falsification of History,” and later condemned for this crime, the first time that a modern Western state openly affirmed the Stalinist-Nazi doctrine that the state will determine historical truth and punish deviation from it. Later he was beaten practically to death by Jewish terrorists. As of now, the European and other intellectuals have not expressed any opposition to these scandals; rather, they have sought to disguise their profound commitment to Stalinist-Nazi doctrine by following the same models, trying to divert attention with a flood of outrageous lies. So, the issue has not been settled, or even addressed.

It suddenly occurred to me why I was engaged in this train of thought. It was my own subconscious processing of other, far more trivial Google Plus moments in recent days.

I have come across many online discussions in which a pernicious kind of totalitarianism has led to astonishing refutations of rationality, and a snarky kind of persecution by self-appointed crusaders against others who do not meet some imagined standard of political correctness.

In most cases of these crusades by the self-righteous, what is really going on is character assassination as a means of avoiding engagement with an argument. Don’t get me wrong: character assassination, or ad hominem, is sometimes a logical and even necessary adjunct to destroying a false premiss. For example, a gun-toting religious fundamentalist who argues that women seeking abortions should be shot, as should be their doctors, in the name of saving the life of a foetus, has opened himself to attacks not just on his ideas, but on his very character for being quite such a barbarian.

Politically correct crusading is in fact a form of the Chomskian Stalinist-Nazi absolutism. Particularly when you keep in mind Arendt’s conclusions that Eichmann (and probably many other Nazis) was not so much evil as crushingly ordinary and simple-minded. A technocrat cum bureaucrat without the education or imagination to understand that his pursuit of efficient mass murder was the most vile of crimes rather than a servile act of ‘following orders’ with the greatest ‘effectiveness’ and ‘efficiency’ that he knew how to strive for.

In other words, there are potential monsters hidden in billions of outwardly ordinary, perhaps even meek men and women. People without the education, moral fibre, or imagination to act with ethics not imposed on them.

That insight suggested then, as it does now, that layers of technocrats, possibly leading subsidiary layers of bureaucrats, are capable of the most horrifying, nauseating perversions of humanity and decency. All in the name of technological efficiency and orderly process, and not at all comprehensible as some distinguishable category of evil.

♔♔♔

In contemporary Western societies it is legitimate to regard algorithmic determinism and the cult of technological efficiency as blanking out moral questions around the application of technology, and its human consequences.

This idea was taken up quite recently in a thread by Jake Weisz on the public warning by Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk about the potential dangers of developing artificial intelligence.

In that thread, Jordan Schnaidt, using as an avatar a Matt Groening cartoon character, asserted, as a matter of opinion, and without further qualification, that Hawking and Musk did not have credibility to warn against AI research.

I suggested to Schnaidt that it was he, representing himself as a cartoon character, and without argument to back his assertion, who was lacking credibility to discredit two men with highly visible public personas, and impressive résumés.

My comment resulted immediately in a small example of Chomsky’s 'Stalinazi' absolutism, albeit in the flavour of the contemporaneously popular, and archly politically correct fetish of being offended. My argument was not to be answered because it was invalidated solely by mentioning an avatar, and because mentioning an avatar is apparently sound cause for thumb-sucking sulking instead of engaging with proposed arguments.

I removed myself from all further discussion on that thread, despite thinking that the argument was about the credibility of publicly expressed opinions based on the credibility of the people expressing the opinions. Schnaidt has the credibility of a cartoon character, while Hawking and Musk are eminent international figures. How could that have been missed by the crusaders?

I found it irresistible to conclude that regardless of demands to the contrary, only the Google Plus ‘public profiles’ could guide me in assessing Google Plus commentators. So, in looking at Schnaidt’s profile, I discovered that in addition to likening himself to a cartoon character, he is a college kid who likes ‘decent’ Christian music, and posts mostly techno pr0n, with some gamer and popcorn culture asides. That’s how he represents himself to the world on his public profile and in his public posts. His words and posts, not my fabrications.

The next logical question was whether I would be happy to be judged on my Google profile and posts? Yes, I think I would. The categorical imperative, or golden rule, is satisfied.

This Google Plus moment led me to reflect on how similar, melodramatically staged incidents of being offended seem to have become popular pastimes in recent years. People seem more interested in the hyperbole of righteous indignation than the skill of debate, perhaps because rationality, clear thinking, and even basic literacy have fallen out of fashion.

♔♔♔

Conservative commentators like Roger Kimball (USA) and Roger Scruton (UK) have traced this kind of petulant, politically correct ‘culture of complaint’ to what they see as a debasement of intellectual rigour, arising from the 1960s counter-culture (I recommend Roger Kimball’s sharply argued invective The Long March as a potent antidote to too much nostalgic longing for hippie self-indulgence).

Personally I suspect many Google crusaders are both too young and ignorant to remember counter-culture, or to have absorbed any of it, save the ensuing formula for political correctness. Instead I see a contemporary amalgam of Chomsky’s ‘Stalinaziism’, political correctness, and ignorance as being reflected nowhere more strongly than in America’s sociopathic religious right. That lunatic fringe has re-fashioned itself into the most menacing, dominant political force by pursuing the relentless argument that its members are offended every time someone does not precisely echo their insane economic, political, and social prescriptions.

I think it most likely that witnessing such lunatics getting airtime and apparently being taken seriously is what fuels the contemporary idea in youngsters like Schnaidt that you can behave like a socially awkward, ignorant but entitled loud-mouth. One who identifies himself as a nerdy gamer auto-masturbator, but who insists that he should not be judged according to that image. And, apparently, someone who should not be held accountable for his opinions at all if that means calling him out as lacking the credibility of intellect or profile.

♔♔♔

That line of thought was re-awakened not six hours after I’d put it to bed, when I had another Google moment, this time on Eli Fennell’s thread, decrying the publication of some Google Plus user statistics in Business Insider (and then BoingBoing ), because the originator of the statistical analysis was using a pseudonym: Edward Morbius.

There were at least two people active in Fennell’s thread who had keelhauled me earlier for deriding the credibility of Schnaidt as a Matt Groening puppet. Yet in this new thread, there was absolute silence following the proposition that statistics originating from someone using a pseudonym were not credible entirely because of the pseudonym.

Moreover, for a little while, I was castigated for daring to suggest that the credibility of the source data and method for arriving at the statistics did not rely on the identity of the number cruncher. I maintain that if you release the source and describe both methods and assumptions for statistical analysis, your identity is not necessary to confirm or reject the figures or the method.

It was a bizarre sequence of posts to witness. I was compelled to wonder whether Walt Disney ever produced a sanitised version of Lord of the Flies, which is probably the only way some of Google’s crusaders would ever absorb any part of William Golding’s message.

♔♔♔

The lesson for me is that it didn’t really matter what I’d said in either case. What mattered was the opportunity for others to pose as one of the perpetually offended. Righteously indignant. Appalled that anyone could dare to disagree with … irrational or unstated assumptions.

Why do I regard all of this as worth thinking about?

Because in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, and the earlier Sydney café siege, there had been a lot of talk about empathy, understanding, and most particularly tolerance. And yet the most visibly absent quality in those calling for these indulgences is tolerance. For anyone and any argument that doesn’t agree with their own version of history, and with their own interpretations of current events.

Chomsky's Stalinaziism again.

In that light I have terminated a pre-Christmas internal conversation in which I was debating with myself whether I should work to ‘soften’ my own essays. To strive to be more ‘inclusive’, as I have been admonished to be from time to time, presumably by catering to the less well-read, and even to the poor idiots who prefer using the internet to absorb nonsense rather than the mountains of knowledge it makes available. And to be less trenchant in calling cretinism what it is when I see it.

Back to square one, though. It seems to me that the only way to survive Stalinist Nazis parading as politically correct crusaders, affecting a fey, sniffling victimhood by being permanently offended, is to laugh at them and speak my mind the way I see things.

I have no doubt that the impact and intention of deliberately offensive language has been dulled by a habitual overuse. But I think the impact of claims about being offended have now reached a similar status.

In an environment in which taking offense is a method for avoiding responsibility for gratuitous stupidity and laziness, it seems peculiarly appropriate to respond: ‘Kiss my arse!’

[From Minority Reports at http://peterstrempel.com/2015/01/22/offended-kiss-my-arse/]___We Will Not Be Silenced
"People seem more interested in the hyperbole of righteous indignation than the skill of debate, perhaps because rationality, clear thinking, and even basic literacy have fallen out of fashion.
...
In an environment in which taking offense is a method for avoiding responsibility for gratuitous stupidity and laziness, it seems peculiarly appropriate to respond: ‘Kiss my arse!’"
----------------
Comments closed here to encourage you to engage in lively discussion on the original post.

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2015-01-21 02:56:25 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

ATX: Inaugural Parade 2015
At the end of any political event, it's wise to have a plan for cleaning up the shit.

HT +Joe Phelps 

#inauguration #parade #texas  

ATX: Inaugural Parade 2015
At the end of any political event, it's wise to have a plan for cleaning up the shit.

HT +Joe Phelps 

#inauguration #parade #texas  ___

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2015-01-21 02:07:19 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

ATX: Inaugural Parade 2015
Aggies on horseback. Girl on skateboard. Billboard in Spanish: Viva la cerveza de Mexico. Texas: land of contrasts.

#keepaustinweird #inauguration #texas  

ATX: Inaugural Parade 2015
Aggies on horseback. Girl on skateboard. Billboard in Spanish: Viva la cerveza de Mexico. Texas: land of contrasts.

#keepaustinweird #inauguration #texas  ___

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2015-01-20 22:55:12 (7 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

ATX: Inauguration Day 2015: Texas State Capitol
"I'm an American first. A Texan second. And a servant of the people, third."

Sorry. Just wishful thinking on my part. What newly-elected Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick actually said (to thunderous applause) was, "I'm a Christian first. A conservative second. And a Republican third."

#danpatrick #inauguration #texas  

ATX: Inauguration Day 2015: Texas State Capitol
"I'm an American first. A Texan second. And a servant of the people, third."

Sorry. Just wishful thinking on my part. What newly-elected Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick actually said (to thunderous applause) was, "I'm a Christian first. A conservative second. And a Republican third."

#danpatrick #inauguration #texas  ___

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2015-01-18 03:39:38 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 15 +1s)Open 

ATX: Austin City Blues
After two weeks of gray skies, a sunny day. I like the new blue buildings of this decade more than the pink granite-colored glass period of the 1980s.

From left to right: the Austonian, the W, and the new Colorado Tower (with the Frost Bank building in its reflection).

#sonya6000

ATX: Austin City Blues
After two weeks of gray skies, a sunny day. I like the new blue buildings of this decade more than the pink granite-colored glass period of the 1980s.

From left to right: the Austonian, the W, and the new Colorado Tower (with the Frost Bank building in its reflection).

#sonya6000___

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2015-01-15 02:37:33 (10 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Artifacts: One Man's Treasure
As one season ends and a new one begins, I mark the transition by assessing what to keep and what to discard. I have an archivist's fascination for ephemera so I have many odd scraps of no value except my own amusement. Those are the things I keep.

Now in the December 15, 2014 New Yorker, I read an article (which I clipped and saved until I got around to writing about it here a month later), which suggest I might have a problem.

"…in 2013 the American Psychiatric Association declared [these] storage habits a diagnostic feature of a mental illness called "hoarding disorder"…[defined as] a persistent difficulty in discarding possessions, regardless of their actual value, to the point where the person's accumulated goods congest living areas and impede their intended use."

The APA's ever-expandingman... more »

Artifacts: One Man's Treasure
As one season ends and a new one begins, I mark the transition by assessing what to keep and what to discard. I have an archivist's fascination for ephemera so I have many odd scraps of no value except my own amusement. Those are the things I keep.

Now in the December 15, 2014 New Yorker, I read an article (which I clipped and saved until I got around to writing about it here a month later), which suggest I might have a problem.

"…in 2013 the American Psychiatric Association declared [these] storage habits a diagnostic feature of a mental illness called "hoarding disorder"…[defined as] a persistent difficulty in discarding possessions, regardless of their actual value, to the point where the person's accumulated goods congest living areas and impede their intended use."

The APA's ever-expanding manual of mental disorders has broadened its scope to the extent that almost any behavior can be pathologized. If something is defined as an illness, then cures can be developed and sold. It's all a matter of degrees. Deviate too far from the ever-tightening social norm, and you will be branded a deviant. Here we have psychiatry being used to covertly attack nonconformity, insinuating that there is something wrong in not being exactly like everyone else.

Feeling the fear and guilt? Well, help is on the way. It's not just the psychiatrists who can make a buck off pathologizing our eccentricities. The Container Store is doing very well, as is the National Association of Professional Organizers. And, in America, we can always make a religion out of any paranoia and line the pockets of armies of self-help gurus, like the pop psychiatry writer, Sandra Felton, who founded Messies Anonymous.  If cleanliness is next to godliness, then clutter must be akin to sin and addiction.

I'd counter that the true sickness lies in our disposable consumerist culture, one where well-meaning children can sweep away the accumulated mementos and aspirations of their elders. Saying, literally and metaphorically, your life is nothing but trash.

Aococella describes doing just that to her mother, "…the clear-outs were hard for her. Soon, she knew, she was going to lose everything she had, because she was going to lose her life. Until that happened, she was making sure that she had plenty of things. And here I came year after year, throwing them away."

When people lose everything to fire and flood, to war or fleeing war, we feel the tragedy of their loss. The loss is more than the material value of their goods; it's the years, maybe generations of work and sacrifice, that those things represent. How then should we feel when the next generation disposes of us? Just so much trash.

Acocella ends her article saying that there is a well-established link between hoarding and aging. Hoarding is symptomatic of dementia.

I can't take her seriously when I look around at younger people taking photos of their lunch and collecting data on every mundane aspect of their lives. How many videotapes, selfies, tweets, and Facebook posts accumulate over a lifetime. Have you gotten through your email yet? The current generation is drowning in digital detritus. Perhaps, someday, their children will come along and press delete.
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The New Yorker: Let It Go
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/12/15/let-go

The photo is of "Narcissus, after Caravaggio" by Vik Muniz which I saw at MoMA in 2004. It is constructed industrial rubble.
#artifacts #whatwekeep  ___

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2015-01-14 14:12:52 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

Seedpod: Devil's claw
Harpagophytum procumbens

Seedpod: Devil's claw
Harpagophytum procumbens___

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2015-01-13 21:56:13 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

Balls

Balls___

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2015-01-12 20:08:06 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

No Respect for the Ridiculous
The British reaction to self-proclaimed "terrorism expert" Steven Emerson saying that the entire city  Birmingham is a no-go zone for non-Muslims is classic. And classy. Rather than play offended or enraged, the Brits find that laughter is the best antidote for dealing with preposterous lies. They spin a few jokes of their own and even the Prime Minister is not above calling him a "complete idiot".

My favorite response on Twitter is @Rabeb_Othmani co-opting the #illridewithyou hashtag to allay the fears stoked by Fox News of any non-Muslims who might be headed to Birmingham.

#foxnewsfacts   #ridiculous  

No Respect for the Ridiculous
The British reaction to self-proclaimed "terrorism expert" Steven Emerson saying that the entire city  Birmingham is a no-go zone for non-Muslims is classic. And classy. Rather than play offended or enraged, the Brits find that laughter is the best antidote for dealing with preposterous lies. They spin a few jokes of their own and even the Prime Minister is not above calling him a "complete idiot".

My favorite response on Twitter is @Rabeb_Othmani co-opting the #illridewithyou hashtag to allay the fears stoked by Fox News of any non-Muslims who might be headed to Birmingham.

#foxnewsfacts   #ridiculous  ___

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2015-01-12 15:07:14 (5 comments, 5 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

User Design: Complexity as a Feature
Over the weekend, I bought a new camera, the Sony a6000. So far I'm amazed and delighted with what it can do but I also know that this is a tool that I will have to study up on and practice with quite a bit in order to get the most out of it.

The Sony a6000 is very feature rich and like most complex systems, knowing what each feature does is not enough. You have to understand how they work together to get the most out of it. In other words, you have to examine features from the changing perspectives of what you want to achieve in any given case, not just a static list of what the camera does. This is design that trusts its users to know what they want and that respects that they don't all want the same thing.

Intuitiveness in design has become somewhat of a sacred cow. While it's certainly true that successful acceptance of... more »

User Design: Complexity as a Feature
Over the weekend, I bought a new camera, the Sony a6000. So far I'm amazed and delighted with what it can do but I also know that this is a tool that I will have to study up on and practice with quite a bit in order to get the most out of it.

The Sony a6000 is very feature rich and like most complex systems, knowing what each feature does is not enough. You have to understand how they work together to get the most out of it. In other words, you have to examine features from the changing perspectives of what you want to achieve in any given case, not just a static list of what the camera does. This is design that trusts its users to know what they want and that respects that they don't all want the same thing.

Intuitiveness in design has become somewhat of a sacred cow. While it's certainly true that successful acceptance of new systems is sometimes stymied by a learning curve that users refuse to broach, the other extreme also causes problems: creating systems so simplistic that they aren't very useful, especially when they rely too heavily on a one-size-fits-all approach. Simplistic is not the same as intuitive.

Intuitiveness mostly draws what knowledge we've internalized from previous experiences. However conscious effort—to think, to be—is our human birthright, what sets us apart and what what enables us progress. We oughtn't just operate the world on a gut feeling; we have brains, after all. Most of our best work is when we are forced out of our mindless, unthinking behavior and we interrogate the world around us, when we question our own assumptions. Yes, it's hard work to see things with new eyes.

The best systems do not simply provide better solutions (faster, more efficient, more automated), they rethink the problem. They try to understand what the user really needs. Users frequently can't tell you themselves as they are as constrained by the existing solutions as the designer is. That is, they have adapted themselves to the system and can no longer think outside it.

Sometimes, that means the solution isn't intuitive. Rethinking a problem, changing habits can be a bit uncomfortable, initially. But make that effort and when you get it. Wow. Then you'll think, "It's so obvious." It will seem intuitive.
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That prelude was an introduction to this bit of very well-written procedural documentation I found by someone who understands that it is better to think of machines in terms of functions, not features. It's not enough to describe the parts, we have to learn how the parts work together.

#sonya6000 #uxdesign #intuitiveinterfaces  ___

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