Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fake Happiness?

I spent some time in the south while traveling around and the people there seem to live like shit a lot. I was hanging out at the low end of the economic scale. Lots of disabled people and the disabled tend to have less wealth. The people seemed to be content though and I had a hard time understanding it. They all complained about the place, nothing to do it was hot and muggy whatever. I wondered how these people didn't kill themselves in this day after day despair and yet most of them seemed to be happy. In a very interesting talk I listened to by Dan Gilbert I was given a bit of explanation. I have been listening to TED talks at their web site and they are fascinating. I enjoy listening to really bright people talking about interesting things. I have a very stunted perspective based on isolation and expanding my outlook is always a good thing I tend to be flexibly rigid in my thinking. Anyway back to fake happiness the brain can make you happy with what you get even when it is not what you want as long as you don't have to think about it too much. This is a simplified version of Gilbert's talk. The mind seems to be set up to keep most people from going crazy and my guess is this evolved because you can't always get what you want. The science bears out the monks, "happiness is wanting what you have". turns out that eventually you will like what you end up with. I am curious as to how this works in the third world as many of the depressed people would medicate with drugs and alcohol. If you are happy why are you stoned or are you happy because you get stoned? The bottom end threshold, at what point do the physical circumstances make a difference. This research was conducted on college students and people in a hospital so how would that translate to the truly poor. The marketing implications are interesting and it fits into the consciousness question how does you know you are happy? This always gets back to the question how did we get from a big blob of cells to a thought? Along that vein look up wether or not anyone is thinking about the communication between bacterium and between neurons.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Solstice nonsense

The rain stopped so I got in some bike time today. It was bitter cold for us and the stamina is gone. I still feel bad but the neck swelling is going down. If the weather holds I will get back to serious training but the start date will be in the spring as I just can't handle the cold. This time of year I am always in a bad mood anyway but this year I am wondering how the drop in exercise is effecting me. I was doing so well and it is hard to know how much of my feeling bummed is from not getting the buzz from the ride. the combo of that and being sick and in pain as opposed to the time of year. It just wears on me to be bombarded with Holiday bullshit. The hypocrisy of the christ hits me at every turn and just pounds the fact that your life is not normal if you don't buy in to this buying. The news is bad on the freedom front as they are pepper spraying people that are trying to save their low income housing trying to out scum bag each other. the republicans just make things up as they go along and the democrats bend over for them. the strategy to try and work with the pigs and get a bigger majority in 08 seems like a disaster as the war is only horrible right now as opposed to titanic disaster and the news has moved on to something else. the tools of the corporate scum have got everyone thinking they will loose their job to a Mexican and that might work for the repugs.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Prophet of doom sort of

The world will not end with a whimper or a bang but will simply collapse under the massive weight of bullshit that is heaped upon it. I am beginning to understand why so many people are willing to believe that they live in the end of days no matter when they were living. There have always been problems no matter when you lived. Most of the worlds history is about one strange group or another coming over the horizon and kicking ass and taking slaves. Today in north America and Europe we are pretty safe but that has only been true for a short period and it is still somewhat dependent on race and class as to how secure your fortunes truly are. All this being said I think we are boned to the scone for real this time and not because Jesus is coming.
The Internet is great for research but if you really want to blow your mind youtube cannot compete with the tube. I was watching democracy now on public access and they were showing Al Gore and the Nobel awards and IPCC scientists talking about the dire state of the climate. then the discussion turns to the Bali conference and the facts that things are far worse than we thought and the reductions that we were supposed to be making have not worked and emissions are growing faster than predicted. In the face of this evidence we have the Moron in Chief saying that we will never agree to any mandatory limit on pollution. This by now has become a buzz kill of the 9 nth order and Anna's cam show does not start for another 20 minutes and I am not ready to start work yet so I flip around the dial to cspan and what are they debating on the floor of the senate but the energy bill. Some Idiot republican is proposing an amendment to cut subsidies for renewable energy that was paltry to begin with to give the money to oil and gas companies.
It was then I knew we were living in the end of times. Not the biblical nonsense but the slow painful death of civilization. We are not going to going to solve this problem without a tremendous amount of suffering, death and misery. It has already started for the poor in Africa, The D. R. Congo, Darfur and Somalia are primarily conflicts caused by drought reducing useable land and millions are suffering horribly. We are fighting wars for oil now but soon we will be fighting for fresh water. The problem stems from the fact that by the time the proof for the green house effect becomes irrefutable to the dumbest segment of the populace it is way too late. I am of the opinion that it is already too late as by the time you get enough evidence together that all can agree on in anything you have by the nature of the thing watered down the extremes and moved to the middle predictions. As the evidence continues to come in it points to the fact that the chicken little doomsayers were actually optimists. The models now show that the melting of glaciers is ahead of predictions as is the melting of permafrost. As a result by the time we get to point that even the greediest republican can no longer deny it it is already game over and until we get to that point the system will keep change from happening. My head did not explode but the bullshit was pilling up as it is pilling up around the world

Monday, December 10, 2007

The torture question

Today we are watching the mainstream media talking about the CIA destroying some tapes that were taken during some torture sessions. The debate is not about when we are going to bring these men into a court of law and prosecute them for crimes against humanity but about whom they told before they destroyed the evidence. In the weekend news cycle there was a story about a large cash award to settle a case in which 4 men were tortured to confess to a crime in Ohio. The reason these stories bother me so much is the lack of outrage. Bush stands up and says “we don’t torture” and all the while he has videotapes of us torturing. The lie is bad the cover up will be worse and the consequences will be disaster and the saddest thing of all was that it was apparently unnecessary. We feel bad when the wrong guy goes to prison and we ring our hands and give them a few dollars but the cops are coercing confessions everyday playing one poor man against another in a rigged system that allows the police to abuse people at their whim. We don’t like to admit that we are scared little sheep but would we allow such atrocities if we were not. We find out that members of congress were aware that we were roughing people up in questionable ways and they were pretty much ok with it. The Spin factory is trying to make this the story that Nancy Pelosi new and so that made it ok for the Whitehouse to lie about this. They have used this we briefed the gang of four so what we did was cool bull in the past and the moron democrats have let it go by. This time they may get out and point out what a bunch of crap it is but do not count on it.
In the end the coup has worked because of the war on terror. Once they got the long war freedom had lost and the truth could no longer win. We are never going to impeach with troops in the field. No matter how criminal they get we will not have the trial until the war is over and that is why the war will never end. Again I posit that the need is not there for all this subterfuge. It is in our nature to turn on the week when we get authority over them Millgram and Stanford prison showed that so you don’t even have to give the specific order. All you have to do is set up the situation and let nature do the dirty work presto changeo Abu Graib. In the end the problem is that we don’t care that a bad guy gets screwed even if it turns out he was not a bad guy. We hear all the right wing nutbags talk about 24 and how that shows America approves of torture and unfortunately they are right.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

No politics today

I have been ranting about politics a lot rather than the ride as I have been sick since the ride to Camel Rock. This has concerned me a lot as I honestly believed I had gotten myself into a better state of health. I am still unable to get out and ride any distance and if a little bug can whip me this hard inside with heat and plumbing I am for the first time questioning the wisdom of the project for real. I always knew it was a long odds kind of thing but was confident I was up to the start. Anyway I have not punked out yet and hope to be back on the road soon. I am giving serious thought to pushing back the departure to spring though.

Monday, December 3, 2007

When they are out to get you its hard to know when your just being paranoid.

I often see things in media that make me think somebody had to have made that up. The proposition is simply unsupported by fact. I am well aware that large portions of what are presented as news is created by companies to promote one product or another. If the media companies own the movie and the news than promoting the movie becomes news. The new discovery in science that will lead to something and that something is a drug and so we drive up the speculation on this or that stock. The TV reason d’etre is to sell us crap we don’t need to fill up a hole we do not have so I expect that but at some point the news began trying to shape the political debate with the same style of fraud and that is scary.
It scares me because it is almost impossible to know as it is happening. I am thinking like Bill Mahr in that the crazies can drive out the reasoned. When you make everything a conspiracy the real ones get by while you sort out the nonsense. If you spend all your time trying to make people believe that the neoclowns blew up the buildings you miss them taking away the right of privacy and assembly in the aftermath. But I digest; Naomi Wolff has a great book Disaster Capitalism that makes the point much better than I.
I am asking a different question when the media spends so much time talking about nonsense how do we know when they just made the whole thing up. I have an example and I would love to get some help from the blogosphere on how to proceed.
The constant Dobbs anti immigrant harangue and the Republican effort to try to turn brown into the new gay to win elections got me to question this and the more I looked the more it sent my bullshit detector into the brown. A couple of days ago the media both mainstream TV and the internet were awash in stories about a new reality TV show that was going to get a citizen to date a bunch of noncitizens and see if they could spark a romance. I admit that what they call reality TV does not appeal tome for the most part but that is taste and it is a large nation in that respect. I don’t get off on humiliation but that is a huge fetish out there so I won’t go there. People like to watch people being berated by chefs with accents and CEOs with bad combovers I don’t get it but entertainment is the only thing I think the free market can effectively not destroy so I have revealed my bias lets move on.
On its face “Who wants to marry a citizen”, is no dumber than a shot at love with the myspace bi or the bachelor so you sort of accept the story at face value and go straight to the reaction they seem to be trying to evoke distaste for immigrants. I said above that I look at what are they selling with all news but especially entertainment so who is the audience for this show Is it likely to court the 18 to 34 cool money spending demo? I don’t think so and this is why. The people that watch these identify with the participants. They want to see self-degradation not other. If you think maybe you are expanding the brand again I don’t see that working as it is my experience that people that are given real shit in their lives to deal with seek out different styles of entertainment. I may be wrong on this one as having spent time in the south I am familiar with the spread the misery around mentality of the blues and country music. So now I have reason to wonder what kind of company pitches this and so I do what everyone tries first I Google the production company and see what happens. The only things I find are hits about this crappy TV show. For an alterative media the net is obsessed with the mainstream so many were sites reporting canned press release news. Then there were the issue blogs about what this would mean for western civilization. These are people like fox news that stirs up a nonexistent war on Christmas each year by taking an incident and distorting the facts to create a news story about something completely different. This is the type of story they live for and they had indeed gone batshit for the story and generated a huge volume of stories. Eventually I found a link to a record company that was in fact an internet radio station with very little else they did have a story about a free internet pope tribute song and a benefit concert they were involved with promoting. The company also has a relationship to Mandalay entertainment the Las Vegas casino group but I will come back to that. I am not a TV industry worker so I don’t know maybe companies that have no history pop up and sell shows, everyone starts from somewhere and the fact that I see this as total crap doesn’t prove they were not genuinely try to make this into a program. It just raises some questions that no one in any of the stories being written about it was asking. Then I found a link to a short promo for the show and after watching it I am convinced that this is a propaganda piece created for the sole purpose of giving media a story to reinforce their anti immigration agenda. It is of course possible that these people are just really bad at making media those of you that have seen my youtube channel know that I have a lot of nerve mentioning quality but I am a malcontent not a professional in media of any type and this was overwhelmingly bad. It had that fake feel of the bad infomercial.
Now what to do? This is a question I need the web help with. If they are just bad at what they do and not malicious then they will loose their investment when the idea flames out and the market will speak. But if they are just generating propaganda how do you get that message out and how does one individual find the proof? I will be revisiting this when I find out a bit more. This is a link that you can view the video I refer to. look closely at the disclaimers.