News Should Look Like News

Marguerite Higgins

Marguerite Higgins

I want my Newscasters to be grisled and bruised. I want their shirts to be crumpled and their cuffs frayed.

I’m weary of the coiffed, polished and pressed. The tailored suits and the long lashes.

News shouldn’t look like fashion. It should look like news.

The Misinformation Age

boat-storm2This age may not be as good for humanity as is commonly assumed. We are in grave danger of being harmed by too much information.

Information, on its own, is neither good nor bad. Rather it is either valid or invalid.

Signal-to-noise ratio is a measure used in science that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise. In communication theory, this indicates the amount of valid information (the signal) to the amount of invalid information (the noise).

Signal can’t be analyzed apart from noise. An increase in good signal does not automatically mean we are better informed; if there has been an even greater increase in bad noise, we are less informed.

The current presidential campaign is instructive. Turn on any news channel; by the end of the program, you will be left with more questions than answers. This is due to being given more noise than signal. And each day is increasing the noise, and thereby decreasing the signal.

Brandolini’s Law: The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it

News and journalism should increase signal & decrease noise. There can be no doubt news is now increasing noise. In fact, most journalism now revels in noise, because noise can create controversy, and controversy can increase viewers and readers.

It may be that humanity has not evolved in a way that allows us to process information as quickly as it is being presented. We have not been adequately educated to separate signal and noise.

The point is this: we are less informed today than we were yesterday. But, you may respond, what about all the new information we have received!?! It’s true; we’ve been blessed with unprecedented levels of good information in the recent past. But if in that same period we have been flooded with misinformation, the net result is a reduction in knowledge, not an increase. If there is more noise, there is simply less signal.

This is not a small problem. It may very well be the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. And we are losing.

Karmann Ghia

1974 Karmann Ghia…best car I ever owned.

1974 Karmann Ghia


Judging Hillary: They Who Are Without Sin…

hillaryI became angry at a fellow Democrat this weekend…

She’s a solid Hillary Clinton supporter, never a doubt that she was going to vote for her. But over drinks, she said what we all hear over and over again about HRC: “She’s a liar, she’s power-hungry, she’s…” You know the list.
Dear Everybody…Here are some things about Hillary Clinton you have insufficient evidence for:
  • She’s dishonest
  • She’s really in it for the power
  • She doesn’t really care about the issues
  • She doesn’t really love Bill
  • She’s a cold, distant mother
  • She’s a cold, distant grandmother
  • She’s shrill
  • She’s really in it for the money
  • She’s in the pocket of Wall Street
  • She’s really a Republican
  • She’s really a Socialist
We are all free to hold to the “who would you rather have a beer with” trope. We are certainly free to make the judgements I list above. But if you judge Hillary Clinton without acknowledging the systemic and cultural sexism through which we judge her and the relentless nearly three decade campaign of deliberate misinformation that she’s been subjected to, well then…
  • Who’s being dishonest?
Has Hillary Clinton lied? Yes. After years of scrutinizing every charge that has been leveled at her (I know, I need a life), here’s the one thing she’s said that I think was a lie: the incident of “sniper fire” on her 1996 trip to Bosnia.
But rather than implicating her as a “liar” I marvel at how under such scrutiny, recorded in detail far greater than nearly any other human in history (maybe Princess Diana?), how little evidence there actually is for the primary narrative about her. Being honest with myself, I’ve lied and exaggerated stories. Even so, I value honesty and integrity, and would consider any judgement that labeled me “a liar” unfair.
“They who are without sin…”

Proposal for a Fair & Dynamic Market-based Economy

bell_curve_natureThe following is consistent with the principles of capitalism. The economy must match the values of the community in which it resides. Those community values are defined in the Constitution both of the Federal Government and the State Government. The economy must also benefit the community as a whole; the existence of a stable market requires the existence of a stable government and a stable community. This proposal maintains focus on a market economy, rooted in the notion of a fair market.

If the cost of living in a given community is $30,000, the AVERAGE wage in that community would be $1,500,000. Want a raise?

There is a fallacy known widely as a free market; free markets do not and cannot exist; they are theoretical. Absent regulation, a market will tend to favor the powerful and diminish the weak; over time, this will destabilize both the community and the economy. If free markets were to exist, they would naturally approximate what I have outlined below. The degree to which an economy veers from what I have outlined below is the degree it differs from a theoretical free market. Contrary to popular belief, the approximation of a free market requires rather than abhors regulation. Put another way, Libertarianism is the opposite of a free market.

The primary goal in the following economic model is to produce a bell-curve distribution of wealth and income. If a free market were to exist, it would naturally produce this bell-curve distribution. Read more

The Seven Social Sins…

  1. stormy-night-1920Wealth without work.
  2. Pleasure without conscience.
  3. Knowledge without character.
  4. Commerce without morality.
  5. Science without humanity.
  6. Worship without sacrifice.
  7. Politics without principle.

Attributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

The Beginning of Life…

tVqNo1pDdutC5mdV9mqhUWfuAs for when “life” begins: The gametes that join to form the zygote that becomes the embryo are all alive. Life is no longer something that “begins.” It is something that is transferred from one living thing to another. You carry within your cells a genetic code that connects you with every other living thing on the planet—as well as every other dead thing that was once alive. Plants, trees, bacteria, human embryos, etc., they carry remnants of the same genetic markers that you do because you are all related by a common ancestor (or several). Life began on this planet over a billion years ago—it hasn’t begun since.”

— from an internet post by BreakerBaker (Andrew).

No More War?


We’ve all seen the picture. Heartbreaking.

A Washington State Delegate for Bernie Sanders posted this picture on Facebook and then stated “This is why we chant “No More War”. Because NO child anywhere should have to have these experiences. I don’t care who pulls the trigger, and I don’t care who has to give the order. Humans should be working together to make our world a paradise, not fighting about money, food, water, oil or lines on a piece of paper.”

In other words, he’s using this picture to justify disrupting the DNC with chants of “No More War.” He’s using this picture to justify labeling Hillary Clinton a “War Monger.”

Let’s analyze that. This boy was just bombed by the Russian-backed Syrian Air Force. It may have been Russian Planes.

The overly simplistic chant of ‘No More War’ says that there’s nothing to be done to come to the aid of this child and his family. It says that the U.S. should always stay out of such conflicts around the world.

How, exactly, would this approach help this child?

And this…

“Fifteen of the last 35 doctors in rebel-held eastern Aleppo have written a letter to Barack Obama with an urgent plea for intervention to stop the bombardment of hospitals in the besieged city by the Russian-backed Syrian air force.”

Would the ‘No More War’ crowd simply shout down these doctors with that chant?

Radical leftists claim a moral high ground through simply ignoring reality. By staying out of the complex problems that exist in the World, they pretend to be unsullied. By lobbing opinions from the peanut gallery, they pretend to be offering solutions. In reality, they offer nothing.

The world is complex. War and peace are complex. Anyone who tells you otherwise has nothing meaningful to offer to the conversation.

The irony of this Facebook post is that he is using this picture to justify actions that would do nothing to help this child.

Tolerating the intolerant? No.

extreme-weather-climate-link-6-new-zealandTolerance of intolerance violates the law of noncontradiction.

It’s common to hear the intolerant attempt to paint the tolerant as hypocrites for not tolerating their intolerance. This is a cheap rhetorical trick that while it convinces nobody, can often confuse an argument. And there’s a strong logical foundation for intolerance of intolerance, especially for a philosophy of tolerance. It’s called the law of noncontradiction; simply stated, it says that you can’t have both “A” and “Not A” at the same time.

Definition of Intelligence

tumblr_m55842uPRO1qjwbbvo1_500Intelligence: being able to adapt our behavior to challenges.” –Neil Degrasse Tyson in Cosmos.

The Primacy of Trust

Ftrust_in_me_ii_by_isacg-d4owx38irst, trust. Absent trust, nothing. With trust, the possibility of everything.

The Opportunity & Danger of New Faith

Key & keyhole with lightOne identifying mark of young faith is the idea that those who possess it have found universal truth; that their ideas are equally applicable to and required of all.

This is as predictable in the newly blessed as it is dangerous to them.

The faith of such individuals can cause them to cling so tightly to their knowledge they fail to recognize it as a key. This key, depending on which side of the door they choose to use it in, can seal them into a small box, or open them to an ever expanding world of wonder.

Human Dignity Requires Equality of Economic Opportunity

Are you a supporter of basic Human Rights? Do you bristle at racial or sexual inequality? Do you believe in the basic principles of human dignity? If so, great! But, do you also realize that human dignity and basic rights include equality of economic opportunity? Economic Equality is as fundamental to human dignity as is racial or sexual equality. Are you fully onboard to fight for this basic human right?

Read more about this here: Makers, Takers, and the Future of American Economics

Destroying Plato’s Theory of Forms

This short video succeeds in destroying Plato’s Theory of Forms, Christianity’s idea of the perfect man, and Mormonism’s Proclamation On The Family. All in under 5 minutes.

Rilke On The Nature of Two Distinct Beings

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other … – Rainer Maria Rilke

On Transcience by Sigmund Freud

Note from Timothy: As a child in the mormon religion, it was drilled into me that absent that faith, life would be meaningless. Again and again I was told that only the eternity of life, immortality, would imbue the existence of this life, my life, with importance. That only the hope of heaven could assuage the pain of death and loss. For many years, I accepted this notion, simply because everyone I knew and loved told me it was so.

Later, however, upon leaving my religion, I found a different formulation of value. I found that the lack of certainty in my own immortality gave increase to the value of each day, each new friend, and each new experience. I had found that my joy had been amplified.

As I look back upon that time, as I have fewer and fewer conversations with those who are still within the faith of my childhood, it strikes me that they have yet to allow themselves to mourn for the losses that have and will occur in their lives; and absent that mourning, they are unable to accept anew and fully the emergence of new beauty, new love, new truth. By refusing to let that which we love perish, we miss the opportunity to experience it as it is, in its true nature. And in this way, we lose the value of everything. Freud had found the same idea.


Not long ago I went on a summer walk through a smiling countryside in the company of a taciturn friend and of a young but already famous poet. The poet admired the beauty of the scene around us but felt no joy in it. He was disturbed by the thought that all this beauty was fated to extinction, that it would vanish when winter came, like all human beauty and all the beauty and splendour that men have created or may create. All that he would otherwise have loved and admired seemed to him to be shorn of its worth by the transience which was its doom.

Read more

Dan Savage in Conversation with Andrew Sullivan

This is an amazing conversation; perhaps the pinnacle of modern sexual morality presented by seasoned voices of reason.

Black Ace. Red Lady.

Vegas is a cold mistress. Loss expected, we sit at the table anyway. Whiskey and ice. Confident in our stack of chips, built slowly over time. We hold them close, tempting others to draw us in.

Check. Check. Fold. Fold. Check. Fold. Fold.

Bet small and lose on a weak hand. Just to show we’re willing to play. Just to be in the game.

Fold. Fold. Check. Fold. Waiting for anything worth the risk. Drinking. Playing. Tempting. Patience.

The cards come, eventually, but without guarantee.

Black Ace. Red Lady.

This. Temptation. The game begins. A big bet up front, just to see who stays, who leaves.

Cards flipped. Some help. Some hurt. Small bets. Fake confidence. Feign weakness. Push. Pull.

“All in,” she says. Question called.

You sat at the table. You ordered the free drinks. You traded sarcasm and banter. Tipped the dealer for luck. But, you didn’t sit at the table for these things.

All in? In a flash, you decide. You’re here to play. Risk.

“All in.”

Poker can be lost to greed or boredom. Sometimes we play because we’re tired of waiting. Sometimes we reach for too much too soon. Sometimes we sit at the table out of loneliness, letting our chips dwindle in small, predictable donations.

But, sometimes, knowing the odds, we choose to play.

“All in” I hear the words echo in my head. I feel myself push the chips. Time slows, cards revealed.

Win? Lose? Neither matters. Eventually, you’ll experience both and more.

What matters is that you sat at the table.

You played the game.