Bowie tried to save us.

I’m officially convinced that it was, in fact, David Bowie that was keeping all of the goodness in the world.  He took all of the bad and evil in the world and channeled it all to good and happy and wonder and curiosity.  And that’s why he was amazing.

See, for decades Bowie was able to take all of the evil and negative, absorb it, and turn it into, well…

Image result for david bowie albums

Yeah, all of that and so much more.

I believe that he tried his very hardest to do his best for human kind.  He absorbed what he bad and hate that he could.  But there was clearly too much. And it turned to cancer.  He couldn’t control it anymore.  And, yeah.

I mean, look at the world since he passed.  I don’t understand w. I’m not saying that Bowie was the last string holding shit together, I’m just saying.  We have lost his amazing glow.

We lost his beautiful metaphors and story telling about saving the world.  His many lyrical warnings and worries, that he refused to explain (See: Valentine’s Day).  Many times he tried to tell us that he had come here to save worlds and make things okay again (All the Young Dudes, StarMan, all of The Man Who Fell to Earth), but the world just wouldn’t let him.  He did everything he could to soak up the negativity and replace it with wonder.

We failed Bowie.  And now we have to suffer the consequences.  For not respecting all that Bowie did for us, that beautiful orange-haired space man was taken back to where ever he came from.  We are left with some other sort of orange-faced, hate-filled monster…It won’t end well.

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Journalists really need to be better trained in interpreting research & statistics.

I suppose I could also have added they need to be less biased while reporting research, but the title was getting really long.

I had a major facepalm moment while reading an article the other day.  It was covering some cognitive research about how people with differing political ideologies view the world differently.  A decent article by itself.  It showed that Conservatives generally have a more strongly negative reaction to negative information while Liberals have a more positive reaction to more positive information.  Essentially they hooked people up to eye tracking devices and showed them 4 pictures at once.  The pictures were a positive/happy/touching pic, a negative/scary/anger-inducing pic, and 2 neutral pics.  They measured how much time people of various ideologies (I can’t remember if they were self-identified or if they actually used a measure on this, I would think they used a measure of some sort) spent looking at the various pictures.  They found Conservatives looked at the negative images longer, while Liberals looked at the positive ones.

So, insert media.  Apparently to a journalist this means that Conservatives are fearful and angry people.  I’m no fan of Republicans.  I’m also no fan of Democrats.  But what I really hate is when research is willfully misinterpreted and/or when people write about things they don’t fully understand.  I read through the article and really could not figure out if this was some crazed reporter who had zero ability to read or write objectively–at which point they should be fired.  And we wonder why people are so ill-informed and dumb.

Just now, I was reading another article.  This one also covered a research study in Social Psych.  It reported that Conservatives are of lower intelligence than liberals and are less informed.  Another facepalm.  Unfortunately, I also read this article.  It actually was really really badly written and researched.  Their definition of Conservative showed a really really obvious lack of understanding for the values behind it; their variables were social conservativism and racism, really? That’s your research definition?  They matched IQ from age 10/11 with ideology at age 33.   They made the same willful misinterpretation of the previously mentioned article in the lit review.  The entire writing was obviously bias, to the point I don’t understand how it got published–oh wait, because the field and the organizing bodies are super bias too.  So anyway, a published, peer-reviewed research article found that people on the right wing are dumb and racist.

But then I went back to reading the actual online news article that covered this.  It reported this as “empirical fact” that conservatives are dumb and racist.   Can we please put together a brief info session on social science research and facts? Correlations?  Everything else?

New Rules for Political Debates

I get really really annoyed when I watch political debates.  Politicians are super adept at avoiding questions and playing on sympathies and traditional thinking.  I’ve gathered that the key to successful political debating is making people feel good rather than saying anything that is true or makes sense.  No wonder we end up with such shitty candidates.  Watching the GOP debate, I though John Huntsman was the only person who actually gave real answers and no one took him serious for a second.  Mitt Romney is excellent at this.  I don’t think he has ever directly answered a question with facts.  When he does try to talk, he says things like “I like firing people” and “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”  Why do people like this man?


So, here is my proposal of new rules of political debates.  In my head, these rules will help force candidate to actually answer questions, thus telling us something about their plans for the office they are running for.
1. Candidates have only 150 words to answer each question.
Justification:   By giving them a word limit, candidates will be forced to get to the point, rather than talking around the issue.  Using less flowery, more straightforward language will also make their statements more understandable.  They have to say what they mean, which means we, the people, will understand what they mean.

2. The moderator may ask for further evidence for their claims.  In this case, they will receive another 150 words to cite evidence.
Justification:  Sometimes, with bigger issues, you need more evidence.  Evidence! Facts! Yay!

3. Points will be awarded for answers based on how comprehensible and logical they are.
Justification:  People should be able to detangle what politicians actually mean and their responses should be based on fact and reason.  Robert Heinlein believed that governments and people fail together when they get too caught up in ideological and value-based thinking, rather than looking at various possibilities that actually work.  Emotions block logical thinking.  Politicians play on emotion on purpose, because it stops people from thinking about actual issues.

4.  The winner of the debate will get some kind of special boost in the primary. (I don’t know what this would be yet)
Justification:  Candidates have to be motivated to win the debate and to be logical and comprehensible, or else they will continue to talk in circles and lie and act all gung ho about things that make no sense.

5.  Who will judge this you ask?  Why Spock of course!
Justification: Cold, logical, emotion-shaming Spock.  He’s badass.

6.  Spock is allowed to phaser those who give shitty answers.
Justification:  They deserve it

7.  A “dashboard” will be shown below candidates for whose watching on TV/Internet and on the big screen behind candidates for those in the audience.  The dashboard will include the word ticker, the Politi-Fact Truth-O-Meter, and will scroll the actual statistics of what they are talking about along the bottom.
Justification:  I realized there are issues with the Truth-O-Meter.  I disagree with it often; I think they give certain politicians a little more leeway in their judgement than others.  However, it is a good general tool.  It confronts the public on straight-out lies and, in this case, would keep politicians honest.  How awesome would it be to hear Gingrich talking about “blah blah, poor people are lazy, blah” and see the Truth-O-Meter on the big screen behind him being like “PANTS ON FIRE!” It’s a beautiful moment in my head.  Now, I don’t think this should be so damn difficult to get the meter and the stats, because we have the internet.  Hire a bunch of undergrad, or even grad, poly-sci majors and make them google their asses of during the debate!  

8.  Candidates will be held to a “5 God Limit.”
Justification:  I would prefer a “0 God Limit,” but I realize this is straight up no possible with out politicians.  They bring god into everything.   So, they will now be held to mentioning “God” 5 times.  Every time after that they get phasered.  Politicians justify everything using religion, even if it has nothing to do with religion.  This is yet another example of depending on emotion and tradition that makes me crazy.  Completely nonsensical legislation is passed every goddamn damn day with the justification of religion and tradition.  I’m sick of this.

That’s all I can think of right now.  Maybe I’ll think of more later.
Addendum:
I have this theory.  (I am a conspiracy theorist and proud of it.)  The US Government has made a deal to let our feel good prez have another term, for whatever reason.  So, they gathered the most un-electable gaggle of freaks in the Republican Party.  There is no possible way that Obama will lose the upcoming election. And, btws, I’m really not a big Obam fan.  But really?  Just look at the other options! Pa. The. Tic.

ACTA-An International movement against free speech.

http://www.stopacta.info/about

Here is a copy of the legislation.  http://www.laquadrature.net/files/201001_acta.pdf

Essentially, this is an even more far reaching version of SOPA.  An international agreement that allows the shut down of websites believed to be violating copyright laws.  Essentially, this would apply to nearly any website.

Now, generally we think about movie and music downloading sites.  This legit, considering that we download and use these things often.  However, think more deeply and complexly about what people download or access that is actually copyrighted.  News?  Research articles?  Opinion posts?  Even using a quick picture of Mickey Mouse on a blog or a website, just as a picture to maintain interest would mean that News or opinion website would be shut down.  Passing along information about research programs, books, articles, and such would leave you open to lawsuit.

Criticizing this as an end to free speech is entirely accurate.  Any use or reference to copyrighted material will be made illegal with the passage of this law–which is happening behind closed doors.  This means discussing books, ideas, news, people would be illegal.  The law is written vaguely enough to obscure the true extent.

Please, spread the word.  Let others know this is happening.  The defeat of SOPA didn’t stop anything.