Even MORE Fake News!

Pyongyang, Democratic [A Few Select] People’s Republic of [North] Korea

Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of the DPRK, held a rare press conference with western journalists today, with surprisingly candid explanations of certain recent events.

“Everything I do, I do for a good reason. You do not understand the position that I have been placed in by various imperialistic powers. It has left me with no choice but to develop nuclear weapons and ever more powerful rockets. I’ve even had to have my own half-brother killed. Do you think these things were done on a whim?

“No doubt it is the CIA, MI-6, or the infamous Buddhist death squads trying to make the DPRK look foolish.

“I’m the Supreme Leader of a nuclear power, I can wipe out half of eastern Asia, have political enemies executed but I still cannot get a decent haircut! Look at me! I look Alfalfa* attacked by a weedeater! And while we’re at it, you don’t want to know what my pedicure looks like. If I ever walked barefoot on the beach 25 million people in the DPRK, alone, would never stop laughing—not in public, mind you, but deep down inside, they’d be laughing.

“I should have known—look at my father’s hair. Neither he nor I ever spoke of it, but it was pretty hard to ignore. Imagine being a normal teenager and trying to keep a respectful straight face at the dinner table looking at a father with such a ridiculous haircut.

“Sorry I cannot stay longer, but I have weapons to develop, missiles to improve, as well as friends and relatives to eliminate. It’s a busy schedule, but that is what is expected of a supreme leader.”

 

 

* Alfalfa was a character in the 1930’s “Our Gang” series of movies.

 

Today’s Fake Breaking News Headlines

RUSSIA

Vladimir Putin, having already mastered everything else, will star as lead dancer for the Bolshoi Ballet next season, but only for roles that require him to be without a shirt. “Every Russian loves culture,” he explained, “so it’s a natural fit. Besides, many of the techniques used in ballet are based almost entirely on the martial arts, in which I am already an expert.”

Putin went on to explain that the recent tensions between the United States and Russia are due to the accumulation of many issues. “I tried to ignore it when Al Gore claimed that he, not I, invented the internet. I tried to be a good sport when Barack Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize because he wasn’t George Bush. Hell! I’m more not George Bush than he’ll ever be! And—–and, to cap it off, my daughter is infinitely hotter than Trump’s.”

Reality

We all grew up hearing about the early settlers. They cleared the land, plowed the ground, planted crops, and built this nation.

Back then they also raised their own chickens and cattle, but when the time was right, our great grandparents slaughtered and ate them. The cow or sheep that won the blue ribbon was not headed for a life of luxury; they were headed to dinner—but not as a guest. Some historical memories are best if we ignore certain facts.

Memories aside, I like beef, pork, chicken, and almost anything that comes out of the sea—but I don’t need to see the activities in the slaughter house. Mind you, I’ve seen plenty of death, but watching the conversion of an animal to dinner is like watching someone plastering. It needs to be done, I enjoy the outcome, but don’t care about the process.

So why do I bring this up?

My neighborhood experiences a lot of new development. New houses! New Neighbors! How nice!

However, what really happens is, “See that lovely little plot of trees over there? Get rid of it! Because of the sea level rise (not caused by global warming, of course) the land needs about three feet of additional fill dirt, which will kill all the existing trees, anyway, so cutting them down is immaterial.”

Just get rid of all the trees, add dirt, concrete, a model home to encourage others to buy, and voila—a new neighborhood!

It’s almost like when great grandad first came to this country, cleared the land, and started farming. But not exactly.

A Free Business Analysis to Benefit the Publishing Industry

  1. Subscriptions contribute only a small amount of money to your bottom line. Advertisements generate far more revenue, but the price you can charge for advertisements is based on the number of subscribers. Therefore, subscribers are more important than subscriptions.
  2. Baby boomers still subscribe to newspapers and magazines; they also purchase books. While some content—including books—are purchased in digital format, many of us prefer cellulose based analog formats (paper) for a variety of reason. If a book is particularly important or enjoyable to me, owning the book is as important as having read it.
  3. Books, in particular, can be passed along to others. Electronic media cannot. You probably see this as an advantage, but passing a book along is an endorsement that may lead to other purchases. Over the years, for example, I have purchased, and passed along to others, dozens of copies of Robert Townsend’s Up the Organization—in my opinion the best management book ever written; many of these people have then also purchased multiple copies of the book to pass along. Telling someone about the e-book you read is less effective—with a few exceptions, such as Andy Weir’s The Martian. Science fiction can get away with that while most other topics cannot.
  4. Reference materials are still best in analog format. Highlighting real paper and adding post-it-notes® works better in technical manuals than the electronic equivalents or even the find or search function.
  5. For the news, print is still pretty much held to a higher standard of accuracy and lack-of-bias. There are still a few—far too few—real journalists in print while the electronic media focuses on sensationalism, commentary, opinion, and conjecture.

So how do you treat your loyal customers?

  • Newspapers get smaller, shorter, and with type that is nearly impossible to read. The public announcements in the Virginian-Pilot, for example, cannot be read even with reading glasses—they require a magnifying glass.
  • On the other hand, the advertisements USE LARGE TYPE AND ARE EASY TO READ.
  • The type in some magazines is very trendy, which often means the type is only subtly different than the background.
  • Stories are continued on page 96 or 104, but too few pages have numbers, or the page numbers are in a trendy font and cannot be deciphered.

So where does that leave us? If the printed media doesn’t clean up its act, the baby boomers—the last vestige of critical thinkers—will have no choice but to get their information from AM talk radio, unattributed sources on 24-hour news feeds in which everything is BREAKING NEWS! Then we too shall base our decisions on sound bites without proof or explanation. We’ll believe what we’re told to believe and act (and vote) accordingly.

You think things are bad now? Just wait.

Where’s My Computer?

We have about seven laptop and three desktop computers in this house, three tablets (that I know of), and one smartphone per person (not counting the older versions that people refuse to part with). Current residency is two adults, one high schooler, two cats, one dog, a parrot, and from time to time a college student—who brings his own computer(s) and smartphone.

I haven’t written in the last few days because my daughter is doing one part of her drivers’ education class online, therefore she’s using my laptop. Why? There are several possibilities:

  1. My karma is transmitted through my computer so my daughter can take advantage of my successes, and blame any failures on me.
  2. She couldn’t find her computer in her bedroom, which is apparently like every other teenagers’ dystopian, chaotic, toxic environmental disaster.
  3. This is how 21st century teenagers bond with their parents.
  4. Or, most likely, it was the closest and easiest to grab when she needed a computer.

Parenting prepares one for a spiritual existence unbound by material possessions—perfecting the ability to let go of possessions and power and to realize that one’s interests and desires are of no consequence in the giant scheme of things. Therefore I am writing on a different computer which requires me to cut and paste my material into WordPress.

Excuse me—it’s time to cut and paste.

A Bite out of the Future

We stopped at a candy store the other day with the express purpose of buying sugar-free chocolate covered coffee beans. Don’t ask—it is what it is.

Excuse the pun, but I felt like a kid in a candy shop and had to look around, but as usual, I was looking for something different.

I found it.

Crick-ettes®–I chose the Salt N’ Vinegar version over bacon and cheddar or sour cream and onion. And yes, they were actual crickets. Before you get too uppity, if you use red lipstick, eat red candies, etc. it’s color is most likely created by using ground cochineal bugs. According to National Geographic (Feb 2017) back in the 19th century, chemists figured out how to make a substitute, but with today’s emphasis on organic and all-natural ingredients, it’s back to the bugs.

Various scientists have predicted that insects are such a great source of protein that it is only logical to use them to feed a hungry world. They’re even mentioned several times in the Bible, most notably with regard to John the Baptist who ate locusts and wild honey.

So, here’s my report:

They’re expensive—but it is pretty much a novelty item, in a package with a wry sense of humor. The box shows the various “cuts” of a cricket, just as a butcher’s shop would show a chart of the cuts of beef.

One gram of Crick-ettes cost $2.59 (about seven dried crickets) and provides 4.3 calories, 4 mg sodium, .014 g of sugar, and .67 g of protein. I suspect most of the salt and sugar is due to the flavoring, and, yes, they were salty—as salty as potato chips. They were about as crunchy as potato chips, as well.

I don’t usually watch the Superbowl, but it’s just as well. Buying enough Crick-ettes® to fill a serving bowl would be cost prohibitive—at least if purchased through a candy store.

In case you’re interested in Crick-ettes® are distributed by HOTLIX® Inc, http://www.hotlix.com.

A Recent Study Found . . .

I recently wrote about fake news. Interestingly, one of the areas where news has been routinely faked is in scientific journals. It’s a PhD professional version of the “sink test” many of us saw back in college. In the sink test, students conduct the assigned experiment and when it doesn’t produce the expected results, they pour the chemicals down the sink and write a paper claiming that it worked. Now the sink test has gone pro.

WIRED magazine has a great article about it.

It turns out that the media likes to print the results of scientific studies that are bold, shocking, surprising, interesting, or titillating. Instead of the professional journals providing a forum for peers to review the information and attempt to duplicate the outcomes, it instead is a feeder for the mainstream media and—THIS JUST IN—A new study finds that the media is interested in BREAKING NEWS rather than fact. Here to express his personal opinion about this is—sorry, I got carried away.

The result? Instead of studies being proven by peers who perform the experiment and get the same results, about 40 percent of the published studies are not reproducible*. That is a corruption of the scientific method and casts legitimate doubt on findings that were supposedly obtained through systematic, unbiased study and analysis; doubt is cast on the legitimate as well as the fudged. I know the traditional wisdom is “publish or perish,” but publishing fiction—either overt or covert doesn’t count.

So, it is up to us plain, ordinary folks—the unwashed masses, the uncertified hicks, so to speak—to be more disciplined than the scientists. It is up to us to question, test, analyze, hypothesize, and then share the results with others for testing.

 

 

*There actually is a publication called The Journal of Irreproducible Results, which is best described as a humor magazine for scientists. The journal is, to the best of my knowledge, in no way responsible for the current perversion of science—although if they were, the punchline would, no doubt, be hilarious.