What is YOUR pick for worst? Here’s mine:
UFO, the TV series. Not only is it a 70s strip tease, with men in charge while the women all wear tight silver stripper outfits with purple hair, but the great US Military defeats more “highly advanced” civilizations every week, with explosions heard in space, and no higher purpose than gun battles. Feel sick? MeToo.
This image went viral in the last summer Olympics. It is now a meme.
Have we become a static society, as described by David Deutsch in The Beginning of Infinity? Can we really go backward to the dumb Dark Ages? He thinks not, but there is evidence of culture rejecting science, and turning everything from politics to religion into a spectator sport. White vs black, women vs men, Democrat vs Republican, military vs military. Everyone wants to see ego parades of head-butting concussions, violence without meaning or connection, like in the movie A Clockwork Orange. Will we all become jaded and cynical as the Tom Cruise character in Collateral? We are spied on and tracked, and don’t seem to care. Like lemmings, we follow the Kardashians in hope of escaping the world, as they have. That hope is thin, though. Onion skin thin, and getting thinner every day. Listen to this…
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Astronomy, Sampler, iTunes, Final Plot, Review Blog.
Sports satire, Music, Goodreads. Transcendence 2. Judge Jury.
This is the Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham in Arizona. Did a few articles on it, and also on Kitt Peak National Observatory. Funny story about the Kitt Peak experience. Got a room for the night on their viewing program, when most visitors are banned from the mountain due to light pollution from cars. It was bitter cold and windy that night. They knew I was there for an article, and gave me a key in addition to my room key…the wrong key. When I met an astronomer I showed him the key, and he told me it was a universal key: opens all buildings. So I figured I had access to all astronomers on the mountain, and told the one who informed me about the key that I’d come visit him later, after dinner in the cafeteria used by astronomers and overnight guests. When in the cafe, I met two other grad assistants who told me they were working at the main 4 meter telescope, the largest on the mountain. I told them I hoped to interview them as well, and see them later. So after dinner I went to the first observatory and let myself in with the key. The astronomer and his student help showed me what they were working on, and I took notes to questions. After that I went to the 4 meter scope, and used the key to get in there, too. No one was inside, so I went to the elevator, thinking they were upstairs in the control room. The elevator door opened, and two security men were there. They asked me who I was, why I was there, and how I’d gotten in! I showed them the key, which they seized. Then we went up in the elevator to the control room, where the grad assistants confirmed they had talked to me. They called the head of security, who cussed me out on the phone, saying I was supposed to stay with the night viewing (tourist) group. He said he would now escort me off the mountain. I told him I had paid to stay there overnight, was a journalist, and if he wanted to do that there would be no article. So I was escorted to the tourist group viewing, instead. They were using a amateur telescope and talking basic astronomy, which I already knew. So I went to my room and left in the morning. Later, the LBT director drove me personally from the University of Arizona to Mt. Graham for a tour and interview. We were alone in the car for three hours, and when I mentioned the Kitt Peak incident, he chuckled and said, “I heard about that.” He used to be the director of Kitt Peak. He also was on the Hubble Space telescope development panel. Small world, big universe.
In December 2009, Google began customizing its search results for each user. Instead of giving you the most broadly popular result, Google now tries to predict what you are most likely to click on. According to MoveOn.org board president Eli Pariser, Google’s change in policy is symptomatic of the most significant shift to take place on the Web in recent years-the rise of personalization. In The Filter Bubble, Pariser uncovers how this growing trend threatens to control how we consume and share information as a society–and reveals what we can do about it. Personalized filters are sweeping the Web, creating individual universes of information for each of us. Facebook–the primary news source for an increasing number of Americans–prioritizes the links it believes will appeal to you so that if you are a liberal or conservative, you can expect to see different links. Even an old-media bastion like The Washington Post devotes the top of its home page to a news feed with the links your Facebook friends are sharing. Behind the scenes, a burgeoning industry of data companies is tracking your personal information to sell to advertisers, from your political leanings to the color you painted your living room to the hiking boots you just browsed on Zappos. In a personalized world, we will increasingly be typed and fed only news that is pleasant, familiar, and confirms our beliefs-and because these filters are invisible, we won’t know what is being hidden from us. Our past interests will determine what we are exposed to in the future, leaving less room for the unexpected encounters that spark creativity, innovation, and the democratic exchange of ideas. While we all worry that the Internet is eroding privacy or shrinking our attention spans, Pariser uncovers a more pernicious and far-reaching trend and shows how we can-and must-change course. With vivid detail and remarkable scope, The Filter Bubble reveals how personalization undermines the Internet’s original purpose as an open platform for the spread of ideas and could leave us all in an isolated, echoing world.