The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It must be true, I got an email about it

I get a lot of my news from the internet. Ok, most of my news. Mostly from Google News. I read a little of this, a little of that. It takes me to the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, the NY Times, L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and so many more. A lot comes through AP and Reuters. A lot. I also wander off to a few of the less well known news sites if I see a headline that piques my interest.

For balance, I watch a little Fox News...

The facts are the same regardless of the source of the news. The difference is one of perspective and emphasis. And the spin. I used to watch CNN back when it was the only game in town for cable network news. I long ago stopped watching CBS, ABC, NBC news on a regular basis. There was very little depth due to time constraints. The cable news networks can devote more time to a story, give you more background. But they still lack quite a bit of detail.

What I have noticed over the last few years is the partisanship surrounding all of them. Many times, news articles from are the best source but are treated with something like disdain and disbelief. I don't understand that. Facts are facts. If you cannot separate the spin from the facts, you're in trouble. There is nowhere you can go to get unadulterated news. If you think there is no spin, no editorial perspective, in the news stories, you are somewhat deluded.

I can understand people not liking the commentary shows on Fox News. Hannity, O'Reilly, Beck certainly present stories with a definite personal perspective and if you disagree with that perspective, you will be foaming at the mouth during these shows. But these are not news shows. They are there to provide commentary and that commentary is solidly infused with their ideological perspective. They use the news. And you, the viewer, should be able to see through that perspective. Just as you should be able to see through the perspectives of Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, and (formerly) Keith Olbermann. Even the Daily Show. They are selling us their point of view... or trying to.

Are we stupid? Can we not figure out what are facts and what is spin? And, if we can, are we unique? Are there so very few of us that can think for ourselves? When I run across people who hate Fox News so much that if it's mentioned in any way as a source, the person citing them, and his argument, is considered to be without any credibility at all.

This, my friends, is extremely dangerous. When we start dismissing verifiable facts because we are opposed to the prevailing ideology that we associate with the source, we are in deep trouble.

I suppose there is a danger of absorbing an ideological perspective from over exposure to one side. But isn't that true regardless of the ideological perspective? And if you dismiss one side out of hand and refuse to listen to them, aren't you engaging in a bit of voluntary brainwashing? Only hearing/seeing what is said by one side and what it says about the other side's position?

One of the things that seems to be true is that you and I know what's real and what is spin. It's those "others" that can be sucked in and misled so easily by the ideologues who run [insert news show or news channel here]. This is a constant...

"I am smart and aware, I am not fooled. It's the masses who can be manipulated that I worry about."

I know people are gullible. Most of them. Maybe all of us about one thing or another. I can't do much about that.

I get emails almost everyday from friends revealing something or telling a heartwarming story or providing advice about health or exposing some secret that "they" have kept from you. Most of it is just internet myth. I know most of it is because I check out whatever was said whenever my "spidey sense" warns me. Which is often.

I used to think, back when it was fashionable not to trust anyone over thirty (and when I was younger than thirty), that only my close friends and I were smart enough to not be fooled. And there were times I wasn't sure of my closest friends. Now I am older... much older... and I no longer care how smart or stupid strangers are. And I know some of my closest friends are borderline blithering idiots about some things. I don't care about that either.

We are all gullible enough to believe what we are inclined toward believing. I put it this way:

We all see what we want to see.
We all hear what we want to hear.
We all believe what we want to believe.

Call them my immutable truths. Remembering them keeps me from being suckered by scams and politicians.

Next, and last, item... It has just come to light that Apple's iPhone and iPad are storing data on where you go using the embedded GPS. I am not paranoid but I really don't like this very much. I am safe because I have neither of these gadgets and what gadgets I do have do not include GPS except for my Nuvi (which better have that!). I question why that data needs to be kept by these devices. marketing data for Apple, perhaps? Marketing data that can be sold to other marketeers without your consent or knowledge, perhaps?


T.C. said...

Being Canadian, I don't get the hate on Fox either. Most of the attacks are smug in nature I've gathered. I have American liberal friends and the best they can do is fall back on Beck to "prove" it's "faux news." But as you point out, they're actually attacking an opinion. It's really not hard to decipher between the two yet it seems it is for some. I guess John Stossel is a "faux" journalist. There's Fox "reporting" and Fox "commentary" just like any network. How people conflate the two is bizarre. The former is no different than any other network except maybe they report on things the others may avoid or overlook.

I listen and read the major networks and I agree, the facts being reported are the same. It's the spin the issue and this is where people get all huffy and crazy on counter-factuals.

A person who sends links lamasting O'Reilly but at the same time believes Maddow is "objective" and not cut from the same cloth, is a fool and a buffoon in my book. I just ignore them. Better to admit your partisan slant and move on but don't try and pass it off as some sort of universal truth wrapped in objectivity. That just pisses me off.

T.C. said...


Oof. I meant lambasting...or lamenting. Maybe I fused the two.

Steven Scott said...

I'm not sure why the devices are storing the location information. Could be for debug purposes. Could be it's never sent to Apple. I'm not sure.

What's more worrisome is that the data isn't encrypted at all. The issues regarding smartphones and the 4th amendment haven't been fully legislated, and cases that have gone to court have had mixed outcomes. Michigan police are searching smartphones at routine traffic stops: It only takes a moment to download, but the data can be examined later for photos, locations, emails, social networking actions, web browsing history, passwords, contacts, etc.

Douglas4517 said...

I suspect the ACLU will win that case fairly quickly, it reeks of a 4th
Amendment violation. The storage should not last longer than the App which
uses it. That is, once the App is exited, the data should be wiped. Apple
claims they aren't being sent the data but that Google does collect it from
their smartphones. I suspect, but do not know, that the data is being sent
to Apple but it may be stripped of certain data (such as names, passwords,
and the like) as it is received. The data would then be used for marketing.

But I am just guessing.