VOLUME 15 NO.6
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
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The future is an opaque mirror. Anyone who tries to look into it sees nothing but the dim outlines of an old and worried face. - - -
Jim Bishop, New York Journal-American,
March 14, 1959
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
Cable operators were so concerned about cord cutters, they put a new emphasis on cable broadband services. By offering home high speed internet access, cable companies (who control the last mile of wire) could hold on to customers who want the entertainment streaming from services like NexFlex or Hulu instead of cable's HBO or Showtime. But customers have caught wind of the rising cable broadband costs to start to drop those services as well as basic cable. Many customers, especially Millennials, have decided that they can live with their wi-fi/LTE smart phones for all their entertainment needs. This puts the old telephone companies like AT&T and Verizon back as big players in the communication pipeline from content providers and end users.
Traditional content creators continue to lose ground to YouTube channels, Vine stars and streaming services. Anyone with a digital camcorder and high speed broadband access can be their own production studio. The Internet is like a large junk yard: for every one talented star, there are miles of bad content and trash.
Viewers are being conditioned to accept much of the garbage as valuable content. Clickbait is the new candied spam. This may be tied to the current trend of the lack of an attention span. Two generations ago, the average attention span of a toddler was seven minutes. Today, with the distraction of screens everywhere, a person's attention span has dropped to seven seconds. Advertisers are trying to compress a hook message in the first few seconds of an Internet ad salvage the quick skip ad link.
Augmented reality and virtual reality is still a new, infant medium. Creators are still trying to figure out the mechanics and techniques to film a 360 degree panoramic story with interactive characters. This new industry is at the infancy just like the cinematic stone age of silent movies. Augmented reality tries to put virtual objects into your real world (much like a holodeck). Virtual reality tries to transport your mind and vision into a wild, new, unique digital world environment. VR seems to align itself more toward the cinematic game consumer while AR may tend toward applications that engage a more intellectual or literary bent.
Facebook continues to hold on to concept of self-sustained, crowd sourced news posts. Friends share stories like news editors used to do when laying out daily newspaper columns. But this is not original content, but more another form of aggregation of other people's stories and interests.
What is clear is that the world is slowly turning into the video wasteland depicted in Max Headroom. In that 1980s show, there were television monitors in every corner of daily life, including the slum alleys and homeless boxes. The current battleground for businesses is how to capture and retain viewers. When information is now seen as a disposal commodity, it gets less favor and it is easily dismissed because there are a million other items just around the virtual corner. It creates an information paradox: because we have more access to information at our finger tips, we retain or learn less as a result. So, in this vicious circle, we become more dependent on technology to give us answers than retaining actual knowledge.
The Future holds great promise for augmented viewing choices. Why Google is introducing its Glass 2.0 is still a mystery. But we will soon not be out of sight of a screen flashing content at us. Whether this informational overload will have adverse consequences is yet to be determined by future scientists.
I have preached for decades that our planet only has a finite level of common sense. With the population growth, the average individual level of common sense drops to a form of functional stupidity. The Herd of the Dumb tend to gravitate toward the easy plain of existence, where marketing lies, making deals, printing your own money and having their elitist ego massaged daily in all chambers of government. Many states, especially Illinois, are functionally morally and financially bankrupt. There are no solutions by politicians because it would mean giving back money and benefits which is a cardinal sin in politics. It would also mean giving back power to the non-pol, the citizen-taxpayer, who should be an angry taskmaster but has been distracted by daily paycheck to paycheck living to become apathetic to looting and corruption of the public treasuries.
What feeds the increase in national power is the constant cries of crisis after crisis. A good crisis puts elected officials front and center to put forth expensive solutions which cost individuals more of their liberties. The loudest course in the fight against terrorism is that government needs to take away some of your privacy in the name of security.
Hard line politicians will continue to herd sheepish voters down the path of self-destruction. The Internet has cultivated a culture where a person's opinion is more important than verifiable facts. The net feeds individual personal biases until they become set like concrete in a person's mind. Media outlets no longer even attempt to hide any of their biases. No one fact checks a politician's bold statements because even if there is a challenge or correction, the end viewer really does not care. Their minds are already locked in place to disregard objective information. By promising unattainable free things, sheepish voters continue to re-elect incumbents who create more laws, regulations and problems to the average middle class worker.
The non-territorial State is the functioning terrorist business model. Religions have been hijacked by extremists with non-religious agendas. What true religion has to post teachings on sex slaves and torture methods? While the Western world may consider terrorist organizations a state, in reality they are plain vanilla organized crime units who use terror in order to control other people. In Syria, ISIS has created a non-state black market economy which it takes a large percentage of all trade in and out of its zones of control. In the Middle East, the main problem is that there are hundreds of thousand highly educated men and women who do not have good jobs. Unemployment and poverty are the fuel for terrorist groups to lay siege against sovereign leaders. And these terror cells have found out that even though their mission is to revert the world back to its stone age roots, it is using social media to spread its message and recruit new followers. It continues to use the dark web to funnel criminal activities like arms dealing, drug sales and money laundering to bolster their control over people. Some say terrorist states extract their control and power at gun point, while democratic governments extract their control and power by legislative and executive fiat and self-dealing laws.
App makers want to kickstart the corporate world by not following the rules and breaking the law until lobbying efforts get them a privileged piece of an old school business. Uber and airbnb have taken the establishment by storm. Those business models reject actual local permit and regulation process required by tax drivers and innkeepers to drive competition out of business. Regulatory compliance AND the corresponding tax collection and reporting process of regulated businesses is disregarded by the independent contractors flooding in the new share economy. But throwing out terms like independent status of drivers does not make it true. The share economy will get rolled into the normal regulatory and tax structure, which makes them no longer profitable or convenient.
The canyon between public sector benefits and private sector taxation has to collapse at some point. There are more public workers getting paid to contribute less than taxpayers can afford in a world of stagnated real wages. The US federal government has a $19 trillion deficit which is more than the GDP of the country. Economists have estimated that the unfunded federal and state benefit obligations are between $40 to $85 trillion. To put that into perspective, every single productive value of the US economy for the next 5.67 years would have to be diverted to pay off these obligations. Every man, woman and child would have to forfeit every penny for the next 5.67 years to off-set the bloated government spending. Of course, that will never happen as this mess continually gets kicked down the road by printing more money and more IOUs. But at some point, this house of cards will collapse.
The globalization myth is about to be shattered in Europe. The EU was a terrible idea to meld historically stubborn and proud nations into one economic and legal community. The Euro may have made trade easier in Europe, but it also created deep divisions between industrial powers and their weak sisters like Greece. EU governments are under increasing pressure to think Homeland first and continent second. The wave of refugees from the Middle East is compounding a new nationalism, especially in open countries like France, who have turned against immigrants due to the terrorist attacks in Paris. Even multinational corporations who pledged the benefits of a global reach to increase shareholder value have found that their operations can be attacked by indignant governments like copper producers in South America and Asia where local officials shut down operations to extract bribes. When a national government cannot control its territories, like in Mexico, there is no national unity or national response to important issues. Pockets of democracy will get quickly surrounded by lawlessness.
People trust their elected officials less and less. In the future, there may come a time where official corruption and mismanagement will cause dramatic change in how countries rule themselves. Whether there will be a decentralized polygamy management system or a stricter centralized bureaucracy is an open question. At a certain point, probably in the near future, people will just get fed up with the whole process and just want to be left alone. And at that point, that is where they are the most vulnerable - - - like a sheep at dusk in wolf country.
Do you know where the old word for money, clams, came from? At one point in society, people traded shells for goods or services; the shells were the form of currency - - - which in turn could be used to make items, including jewelry, for future trade. Today, restaurants may serve oysters on the half shell, but the shell is discarded in the garbage. It has no value once the meal has been finished. Throughout history, high value was place on things we take for granted today. For example, Roman soldiers were paid in grains of salt, because it was a scarce commodity needed to improve the taste of food. Wars were started over the control of valuable items like spices to roses.
It is no different from holding a piece of stamped metal, a printed engraved parchment or a fictional bitcoin. Perception of value is the reality of the species. A ten dollar U.S. bank note will get you two five dollar priced items.
Currency wars may be the next flashpoint as China wants it yuan to rival the US dollar as the means of international exchange. China wants to take over the American dominance in international finance. It is using its consuming power of importing raw materials from the rest of the world to pose its ideology to the rest of the world. The new World War may not be fought between armies, but by currency traders at their computer screens.
The American Dream has been ruptured at its core. The large bank and mortgage industry manipulation of paper securities destroyed middle American's ability to own a home as a safe equity investment. The new work ethic is not to value personal production and profits to individual self-esteem issues favoring personal time. Even overpopulated countries like China realize that without new, young families looking to purchase homes, household goods, and luxury products, a national economy will collapse. In the US, one of the unspoken reasons why officials like to incorporate illegal immigrants into the mainstream economy because once they are here they will spend money at stores (which props up governments thorough sales taxes).
The value of an education is in steep decline. Seventy percent of Illinois high school graduates are illiterate at math and English skill sets so as not being qualified for college or a personal career. That is an indictment of an entire institution which continues to spend record numbers of tax dollars to get lower results. Part of the problem may be cultural malaise; we are now into the fifth generation who have grown up on welfare benefits. There is no drive to get out the cycle of welfare benefits because going out to work is hard. Besides, underground cash economies in those neighborhoods is like double dipping and leveraging the system. In the inner city gang war zones, kids have admitted that they don't expect to live to see their 20th birthday. So why try to get an education to get out of there?
The redistribution of wealth in the Welfare State continues to cripple the middle class which now has to support itself, the lower class and the elite public sector golden parachute pension systems. There will be a cripple point where the middle class will find it better to stop working themselves to death to support welfare recipients and government pensioners. Then what happens when the Social Security safety net pyramid scheme falls a part? Just like any other Ponzi scheme, people are left with nothing except anger and betrayal.
Whether the yuan, the Dollar, pieces of gold or an encrypted series of numbers will retain value as a means of future exchange is probably true; but there are elements in the fringe economy who are looking for ways to get around the current banking clearing house system. These same elements also are trying to get around laws and taxation so there may be a movement away from institutional processes of the modern banking world to a digital, barter economy.
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
If exercise is the bounty for the body, reading the exercise of the mind, music the exercise of the subconscious mind, and love is the exercise of the soul, then conversation is the pathway to the heart.
Technology has made communication tools so simple and global that one would think that people would be more connected to each other. But studies have shown that the exact opposite is happening across all economic spectrums. Face-to-face personal communication is a dying art form; the most convenient form of talk now is a text message via smart phones. This includes from friends, parents to children, and between co-workers.
We are in the beginning of the Age of Disposal Relationships.
Japan has an entire generation who has little interest in the opposite sex or procreation. They are happy to live off their parents and wait for the government welfare system to let them squeak by on a bare, minimum existence. Easy poverty is taking root over hard working success stories. The base level of welfare has been raised so high that there is no incentive for takers to get back into the real work force.
Trolls have become their own social disease. It is part of a spoiled, self-centered, narcissistic culture of one's own opinion is the only truth and if you disagree with my opinion, you are wrong. You cannot argue with someone who has no concept of verifiable facts to support truthful statements.
People may become more disconnected with the world. It is also possible that individuals may become more disconnected with themselves. How many times in your adult life have you cursed younger you? Dammit, why didn't you start working out earlier? Or, What was I thinking before I started (this course of behavior)?
Many bad habits occur because you and your future self are not very close. If you want to improve those habits, get closer with that future you. As news site Vox explained, ongoing research into how the human brain perceives long-term habits found that the more you view your future self as you, the more likely you are to engage in better habits.
However, many of us actually view our future selves as strangers. Literally. If you have poor long-term habits, your brain exhibits the same activity when thinking about your future self as it does when it thinks about a completely different person: Researchers have confirmed this with brain imaging. When people are in an fMRI scanner, their rostral anterior cingulate cortex brain region - - - which usually shows a high level of activity when people think about themselves - - - quiets down when people are told to think about themselves in 10 years.
In fact, our brain activity when thinking about our future selves looks surprisingly similar to what happens when participants are asked to think about other people altogether. So, what is the solution? Start by thinking about your self in the long-term, regardless of your habits. You do not have to start with a savings plan or a workout regimen. Just start thinking about how you connect to your own future.
Anne Wilson, a psychologist at Wilfrid Laurier University, suggests using a time line. By drawing out current events in your life and connecting them to events in the near future (like deadlines, or events), she found that students were more likely to feel connected to their future selves, and thus make better decisions. However you choose to make the connection, though, the more you can think of your future self as the same person you are, the easier it will be to internally justify being helpful to them.
Whether the human race will survive will really depend on how gullible the average person is to the rages and fads of the present. No one is thinking about the laws of unintended consequences by proposing expensive global solutions for local problems. If all fossil fuels are banned, most of the planet may freeze to death. If there are not enough carbon dioxide on the planet, trees will die and atmospheric oxygen will be depleted. If there is not enough ozone in the upper atmosphere, the sun's dangerous ultraviolet rays will fry the planet. Besides policy debates, human nature may be the downfall of mankind. We have the means of mass destruction in the size of a suitcase. In a world with instant communication, there appears to be growing gulfs of hatred among various ethnic and religious groups. Fifty years ago, science fiction writers penned many volumes that by this time in our collective history, we would be living in a golden age utopia of no famine, no disease and no wars. That is a still a human dream.
The Internet has spawned a real world paradox. The rise of inconsiderate, mean and terrible trolls negatively commenting on anything and everything has contributed to the equally misguided notion of public safe spaces of political correctness, which are in themselves intolerance and suspension of other people's public free speech rights.
Internet access on the global scale was supposed to allow any person to communicate with another person across the world in real time. These connections were supposed to bring the world together. Instead, it has created the fuel for more violence, terrorism and hatred.
But the net is still the last bastion of individual freedom. And as such, countries are trying to control its access and tax it to obedience. In the get-out-town federal budget approval, legislators put in a new CISA bill which allows for government spying without due process. As more of our personal information is being embedded into our bank cards, our home appliances, our computer work stations and business transactions, hackers and spies become bigger players in a digital world. The boutique dark market place for zero day hacks is becoming a big money bazaar, where governments are paying millions of dollars for back door hack keys to get into enemy and corporate computer data bases. For many, every connected individual is a digital cow to be milked for personal information to exploit in criminal ways.
That is why world governments want the US to give up its ICANN registry. It is also why governments want computer makers like Apple to give them back door keys to spy on individuals. Under the name of personal security, power brokers want to control the last bastion of global free expression. Once someone in power controls the means of communication, dissenters are usually quickly silenced.
Even in the free USA, agencies such as Federal Election Commission have tried to regulate political speech (usually criticism of candidates by political action committees). It would naive to say that this type of behavior is not going to continue in the future.
The net is going to be the central hub of everyone's life. It will be the connection between work and customers/clients. It will be the connection between family members. It will be how school children will learn their lessons. It will be how we all will consume news, information and entertainment. As it gets its wires tangled into your life, it may soon control it. The greatest number of emergency room cases are distracted people - - - inattentive people looking at their smartphones while crossing streets to driving their cars. Some may say that this is Darwinism culling the human herd, but this new addiction may be permanently re-wiring our brains on how we view, retain and access information. The Internet is the future lazy man's information butler. If you never get off your couch, you cannot accomplish much in your life.
People who do not know the Past are bound to repeat its failures. The American education system is on the verge of collapse from bloated administration, social engineering, political correctness, misinformed new teaching methods, and crushing public debt to the point where high school graduation rates are falling below fifty percent and college graduates are burdened with six figure student loan debts. In a recent news report, seventy percent of Illinois high school graduates are not literate in English or Math to succeed in college or a career. Throwing hundreds of millions of new dollars at the sinking student body caught the quicksand quagmire of the education system will not save it.
NASA and many corporations used to hire people whose sole job was trying to predict the future. They were called futurists. Some may equate them to modern science fiction writers - - - trying to conceive what daily life will be like ten, twenty or thirty years from now - - - so companies can set research and development goals to be the first with needed future products. This has permeated into general daily life as a growing portion of the population are speculators and gamblers in nonproductive endeavors such as fantasy sports gambling or crowdsourcing non-profitable ideas.
But what is The Future?
From an old saying:
PRESENT = FUTURE PAST
From this formula, we can find:
PRESENT/PAST = FUTURE
The Future can be seen as the Present divided by the Past. By applying knowledge and experience from the past, one can project one's present situations to responses and actions in the future. It is said we should learn from our mistakes. We also seek to repeat our successes. Living solely in the Present can mean that one dwells on lost opportunities when such a distraction will cause one to miss a new opportunity. One may not be able to go back in time to correct mistakes in judgment or execution of a plan, but one can make their own reasonable expectations to change their behavior and adapt to the next set of similar circumstances. But one needs an open mind to actually see an opportunity when it presents itself.
We, as a society and culture, tend to view the Future in material terms. But there are aspects of philosophy, art, spirituality, and relationships that follow the same basic formula in personal introspection. One form is shown when people go about their daily routine after getting their daily Pep Talk, in the form of reading their horoscope. Or, when on New Year's Day, people begin to list their New Year's resolutions. Life coaches tend to teach that people should list both their accomplishments and failures in order to get a clearer picture of what happened in the last year. From that analysis, a person then can truly set goals to improve their life.
THE FUTURE IS NOW!
Those who wait, stall.
Those who reach, obtain.
Those who are stubborn, cannot forgive.
Those who cannot forgive, will become bitter and lonely.
One can now set a course in the bleak darkness because our culture now seems to support self-pity as a basic human right. It goes counterintuitive to the human existence: to find productive happiness. A Future without a goal of happiness is a life sentence of sadness and despair.
No matter what bureaucrats and prognosticators say, the Future is an individual choice. We are who we are by being who we are. Hope may be a four-letter word to some who are struggling with relationship issues, economic and job insecurity, marginalized values, freedom and liberties. So long as one does not give on their dreams, any person can achieve their goals. The temptation is to give in and go with the under-motivated, lazy, disenfranchised and perpetually despondent dependent class who are looking for someone else to give them their happiness on a silver platter. Such negative human capital will slowly drain a society of its creative, entrepreneurial spirit which supports the positive aspects of life.
THE WHETHER REPORT
|Question: Whether the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates are the worst possible nominees in the last 50 years?||
* Educated Guess
* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
* Vapor Dream
|Question: Whether the $3.5 trillion demand by second and third world polluting nations to fight global warming will cause world taxpayers to revolt against the alleged science of global warming?||
* Educated Guess
* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
* Vapor Dream
|Question: Whether more mainstream media stories about the consequences of concussions will cause fewer youth athletes from playing contact sports?||
* Educated Guess
* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
* Vapor Dream
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