Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Challenge to the Masked Legion

Hi all who shall remain anonymous.

I know every has their own projects but surely there must be some way that the talented and the bold cane figure out how to activate the FM radio receiver chips in Canadian cellphones. A free resource is being monetized by keeping the chips disabled so that they can bleed us dry with data charges. Three corporations control our communications, although they transmit on frequencies considered national resources and governed by the CRTC. They control our information. If they didn't demand the ability to have the radio chip disabled, the ability wouldn't exist. Why would manufacturers included a useless part? Working is usually the default state for built-in parts. This can be a literal matter of life and death and ending the control truly means power for the people. In the Fort McMurray fire, cell service was knocked out and all local transmissions disrupted. Only the CBC radio signal from Edmonton, five hours away, remained reliable. The information oligarchs must be stopped!

If I wrote code, I'd take a hack at it myself.

I've seen a lot of inspiring words and images. Is there anything else behind the mask?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Autistic Brain from the Inside

From several Ideas programs on CBC Radio, I’ve learned a lot about myself that makes sense I’m autistic with life-long anxiety and depression disorders. According to current research and theory relating to neural networks in the brain, many mental disorders may be related.

Autism and epilepsy seem to result from a fault in the pruning process of extra connection in the brain. All babies are born with extra neural connections. This is believed to provide redundant connections in case of dame as well as allowing the rapid learning of many complex skills such as talking and walking. As we age, these connections are pruned to prevent problems like overload and crossing signals. Epilepsy seems to be a failure to prune the connections between brain hemispheres causing overloads experienced as seizures. Autism seems to be a general failure in pruning throughout the brain, or at least in areas such as those involved in fine movement, speaking, sensory input, and emotions, particularly anxiety and frustration.

I have been told that I overthink things. That is literally true. I overthink everything, all the time.

We all have one major nerve feeding information from each eye to the brain, which combines the information into an image with depth and detail. Imagine having five nerves for each eye, all sending the exact same information at the same time.  Imagine every sense working this way.  Autistics seem to have good attention to detail, a talent for pattern recognition, and good memories. You would too if every image came in five copies with the force of a freight train. This also happens on the way out, making our speech and movements tangled and awkward. We withdraw from the overload or explode in frustration.

In addition, it seems that the brain has around seventeen neural networks with various functions. One works as a central node and processor, the salience network, coordinating and connecting the other networks with delicate timing and assigning importance and relevance to everything flowing through. Many mental disorders, particularly those involving some form of obsession, seem to involve a disorder of the salience network.  This turns random thoughts into irresistible commanding voices, daydreams into hallucinations, dark thoughts and moods into spiraling depression, worries into unrelenting anxiety, fears into paranoia, and desires and habits into addictions.  The brain assigns false associations and importance that it clings to as if life depends on them. The thought, emotion, or memory gets stuck and repeated without end. You can’t shake it off, get over it, use will power, or forget it.

Autism seems to include both disorders, possible solely due to pruning. In effect, we are in permanent crisis mode, like in combat or an accident. Every second has vital clarity and the body is primed for survival. Fight, flight, or freeze, unable to pick, we meltdown attempting to do all three. I've heard experts say that trauma, especially in childhood, changes the brain to resemble that of an autistic. Once traumatized, the brain becomes vulnerable to more. We seem to be born traumatized.

My brain is like the Internet, overloaded and cluttered with redundant information with little way to tell what is relevant or true and memes and videos that refuse to go away. Sometimes the synthesis produces something amazing. Savants may have connections between normally unconnected areas. Most of the time, it’s just frustrating.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Taking the Panic Out of the Markets

Every investment is becoming high-risk because of the unpredictability and instability created by short-term thinking and fast profit. Investment should be dated and locked in for a year from purchase. Those older than a year should be able to be sold one date per day at most.  This might discourage speculation and gamblers treating the markets like a casino. This might also end the manipulation done through quick computer trades. It would bring some stability and predictability, giving the situation time in many cases to improve before a sell-off can occur. Sell-offs would be staggered. 

Then quarters would be less significant than years and we might get some more long-term financial thinking. Then investments would be investing rather than gambling and companies wouldn’t have to be as terrified of having the rug suddenly yanked out. Bubbles might deflate rather than bursting or collapsing. Short-term fluctuations wouldn’t be crises. 

Stabilize the climate and the storms will lessen in frequency and impact. We might even get some fair weather for a change.

Judge Not... Christian or Antichrist? That’s the Test.

Jesus condemned only two types of people, child abusers and religious hypocrites. Are you “fundamentalists” better or more righteous than him? Is your judgement better? By definition an antichrist preaches and practices hate, domination, condemnation, persecution, and violence. 

Christians need to read the New Testament instead of obsessing about Old Testament rules, attitudes, stories, laws, and practices. Jesus said that his coming fulfilled all the old laws, requirements, commandments, rituals, and sacrifices. All were replaced by one.

Love everyone.

Love thy neighbour and thy enemy as thyself. No exceptions. Judgement belongs to god. Self-sacrifice, compassion, charity, forgiveness, generosity, and faith, are the only weapons allowed. Only Jesus can save a soul, not harassment or violence. An antichrist is fundamentally a religious hypocrite and Revelation predicts many, not one. 

Although directed at those who claim to be or represent Christians, this also applies to non-Christians hen Jesus is considered as an archetype. Then it becomes obvious that humanists, rationalists, Buddhists, Muslims, and everyone else can be antichrists. 

We are not expected to be perfect in living up to this ideal. As long as we are trying to progress toward it, it doesn’t matter how far we’ve made it. Just as long as we don’t turn our intentions backward including walking backwards so we look like we’re facing the right way. This is the only orientation that matters to god. 

Worry about your own beam and stop worrying about all the splinters around you. And remember that more camels pass through needles than rich people reach Heaven. Material success is not a sign of divinity. 

God doesn’t inflict curses or punishments upon people, although he may arrange challenges. He doesn’t interfere with natural laws or the consequences of choices. He doesn’t allow evil, he protects free-will. We are here to experience its power, responsibility, and consequences.  We are here to learn to be part of a brutal, uncaring natural world intent on forcing adaptive progress. 

It is up to us to help ourselves. He only steps in when it is beyond our capabilities, as subtly as possible to deny the proof that would eliminate faith and prevent the exercise of true free-will. Doubt puts the choice on us. Good and evil is the foundation of all choice. How we deal with that and what we learn is the point. We are being prepared for adulthood by our elders to determine how much responsibility and power we will be able to handle once we graduate life’s high school.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Blocking the Ad Assault

It’s not clutter, click bait, or relevancy that drives ad-blockers. It’s the intrusive assault on attention and hijacking of computer resources that pisses people off. Pop-up, whether banners, windows, videos, or any other unwanted automatic activated ad is directly invasive. It is force that like torture, achieves the opposite intended effect driving people away rather than planting an interest or curiosity that will lead to purchase. The pop-up may be the most relevant valuable information but if I wasn’t looking for it or intending to access it, it is an annoying distraction. Don’t sell me anything while I’m eating supper. Don’t sit on top of my computer with a megaphone. This is attention spam, not ads, harassment not persuasion. I’m fine with paying for content through ads and data collection, but ads should be essentially passive, drawing you to them, not actively jumping up and down in front of you blocking out all else. Ad blocks shouldn’t be necessary. Right now we’re stuck using one type of predator to scare away another.  An ads success shouldn’t be clicks. The most successful ones don’t immediately get me to click. They get me to do so much later or just consider the ad when making a purchase.  You don’t cut through information clutter by yelling louder, that just generates more clutter.  Feed the most beautiful music not a cacophony and it just becomes more noise. They are trying to solve the wrong problem. You have to reduce the noise so people stop tuning it all out.  And unwanted music is always noise.

In his documentary "Skip This Ad," Ira Basen explores the power struggle between ad-blockers, advertisers, publishers and internet users.
In his documentary "Skip This Ad," Ira Basen explores the power struggle between ad-blockers, advertisers, publishers and internet users. (John D. McHugh/AFP/Getty Images)
Listen 36:09
When the grandees of the global advertising industry met in the south of France earlier this week for the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, they had much to feel good about.
Global ad spending is expected to reach $600 billion US by the end of next year, according to eMarketer, and grow at an annual rate of about five per cent until the end of the decade.  Much of that growth is being fuelled by digital advertising, particularly on mobile devices.
But there was one session in Cannes where some very dark clouds managed to intrude on the sunny forecast. It was a panel devoted to the current scourge of the digital advertising industry — ad blocking.
Given the option to do the right thing or the free thing...consumers will always choose the free thing. - Jess Greenwood
According to a report by PageFair and Adobe, more than 200 million people worldwide have downloaded software that can block virtually all online advertising.
The number of people blocking ads increased by more than 40 per cent last year, and it is estimated that blocking cost cash-starved publishers more than $22 billion last year.
So it's not surprising that just about any time advertisers and publishers get together these days, the question of what to do about ad blocking is usually high on the agenda.
The panel at Cannes was hosted by Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, who has made no secret of his contempt for ad blockers.
At an IAB meeting in January, he described ad blocking as "an old-fashioned extortion racket, gussied up in the flowery but false language of contemporary consumerism."
skip this ad
The number of people blocking ads increased by more than 40 per cent last year.

White lists

The source of the ad industry's outrage is the ad blockers' practice of "white listing."  Publishers and advertisers can pay an ad blocking company to have their ads appear on a user's page, even if the user has paid to have ads blocked.
The ad blockers defend the practice by arguing they only allow ads they deem to be "acceptable," but Kate Kaye, who writes about digital marketing for AdAge, isn't buying it.
"If I'm a consumer and I've downloaded that thing I might be a little bit off-put by the fact that someone can pay to have the technology that I downloaded actually not work," Kaye said in a recent interview.
"I think it's analogous somewhat to mafia protection pay. It's like we're going to create a threat and then we're going to ask you to pay us to not threaten you."
Almost everyone in the ad industry acknowledges that most of the wounds that have led to the rise in ad blocking are self-inflicted.
Advertisers got greedy by assaulting users with too many low quality, untargeted ads, too many auto play videos, too much click bait.
Last fall, the IAB launched an initiative called L.E.A.N. Ads (light, encrypted, ad choice supported, non-invasive).
The IAB hopes that by following the L.E.A.N. guidelines, advertisers will create ads that consumers will be happy to see.
apple laptop
Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, describes ad-blocking as "an old-fashioned extortion racket, gussied up in the flowery but false language of contemporary consumerism." (CBC)

Playing hardball

But improving the user experience is not the only weapon in the arsenal. Some high-end publishers are playing hardball with readers who have installed ad blockers.
Sites like Forbes and GQ won't allow access to their content unless users turn them off. At Cannes, Mark Thompson, the president and CEO of the New York Times, announced that his newspaper would soon be offering an ad-free edition to subscribers at a premium price.
Other publishers are appealing to their readers' sense of fairness and justice, asking them to turn off their blockers and reminding them they are a critical part of the ecosystem that has powered the internet for the past 20 years. Without ads, there would be no free content online.
But Jess Greenwood of the New York ad agency R/GA doubts the effectiveness of appealing to users' better nature.
"Given the option to do the right thing or the free thing," Greenwood told the panel at Cannes, "consumers will always choose the free thing."
Johnny Ryan, author of The History of the Internet and the Digital Future, argues that the web is more fragile than we think — and that if we don't support it, it may disappear. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Native advertising

But the most effective strategy to counter the ad blocking surge might be to produce ads that don't look like ads at all.
So-called "native advertising" has been growing in popularity over the past several years. Also known as "sponsored content," it looks and feels like editorial content, but it comes from advertisers rather than journalists.
Native advertisements can often pass through ad blocking filters because the filters don't  recognize it as advertising. Many readers seem to be prefer this kind of content over traditional advertising, provided it's properly labeled, although there's no consensus on what constitutes proper labeling.

"The web can go"

But the real victims of the ad blocking surge may not be advertisers and publishers, but the "free" web itself.
The money to pay for content has to come from somewhere, and if you take advertising revenue out of the equation, readers will have to pick up the slack themselves, something they have historically been reluctant to do.  Without ads, the web may be a poorer and less interesting place.
It's hard to blame anyone for wanting to opt out of the increasingly unpleasant experience of surfing an over-commercialized web, the consequences of those actions have perhaps not been fully realized.
"Things like the web can go," argues Johnny Ryan, author of the book, The History of the Internet and the Digital Future.
"It came from somewhere. It's a fragile thing. It's supported by advertising and if we don't fix it, it won't be around for that much longer."
Click the button above to hear Ira Basen's documentary, "Skip This Ad."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Social Capitalism and the True Sharing Economy

Below are perfect examples of social capitalism and the true sharing economy. The first is a business model designed to generate half its profits for charity. Te second is an information sharing service giving strength and independence to traditional small farmers. They say the farmers provide answers for altruism but the sharing economy is based ion the idea that when these farmers do need information, they will find it in the same way in which they gave it. Paying it forward. What goes around comes around. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours when it gets itchy, or someone else will. A circular sharing web.

The Entrepreneurs

Making a mark

0:00:02 / 0:29:10
Cover art for The Entrepreneurs

8 June 2016
29 minutes
Tucked in a narrow alleyway in Jerusalem is the city’s oldest tattoo shop, a family-run firm that’s been inking everyone from bikers to priests and pilgrims for hundreds of years. We meet the latest in a long line of family members to take on the business. Plus: we talk social entrepreneurship with the founder of Livoos, a new online luxury store that donates 50 per cent of its revenue to charity, and the founder of WeFarm, an innovative knowledge-sharing service for the world’s 500 million small-scale farmers.

Chapter 2
11 minutes


Livoos launches this week with a range of luxury fashion and accessories labels, and claims to be the first lifestyle company in the world to donate 50 per cent of its revenue to charitable causes. We meet the company’s founder and CEO Flavio Amorelli.
Chapter 3
8 minutes


We talk social entrepreneurship with Kenny Ewan, founder of WeFarm, an innovative peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing platform for small-scale farmers.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Marketing of Everything: manipulation is not persuasion.

This guy is bang-on. Arguments aren't defined by enemies yelling personal insults and inflammatory language at each other, but by opposite points of view debating the validity of ideas and the  potential mistakes in the reasoning involved. The attack upon the debater as a person is the lowest form of argument with no intelligence required. You can literally fling mud. We're living in a world of manipulation not persuasion. Popularity doesn't make things right. The base instincts are the easiest buttons to push.

The following comes from CBC radio's The Current.

Persuasion has replaced reasoned argument, says philosopher

Philosopher James Garvey points to a classic Gruen Transfer, where storefronts are designed to make a buyer slowdown and spend more.
Philosopher James Garvey points to a classic Gruen Transfer, where storefronts are designed to make a buyer slowdown and spend more. (James Garvey)
Listen 24:44
Read story transcript
Philosopher James Garvey is worried about the effect manipulation is having on democracy and happiness. He thinks the influence of reason as tool for persuasion in debate is being overshadowed by marketing tricks that leave voters unaware of genuine intentions or ideas.
Consider the Canadian campaign trail last fall: Conservative Leader Stephen Harper relies on his favourite prop, the ding of a cash register,  while then Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau invites reporters to watch him in the boxing ring - yet refuses to answer their questions.
These political stunts were designed to persuade Canadians to vote for their party, but clearly have no tie to healthy debate or platform ideas.

'When we lose that ability to argue, we lose democracy itself.' - James Garvey
Philosopher James Garvey argues the use of shallow marketing strategies among our country's leaders are only growing more prevalent, informing all life decisions, from how we shop,  to whether a country goes to war.

This segment was produced by The Current's Karin Marley

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bullying is Rape, Rape is Bullying

Bullying and rape will never be ended by general education programs alone. These are violent acts of domination, degradation, and gratification. They are committed by predators who, in the proper circumstances, become brutal tyrannical dictators like Assad. These are evil acts committed by those who don't care about education, civility, respect, rights, or the law. Predators live for the hunt and the kill using these restrictions as tools and cover, often doing it their damage precisely because it is unacceptable and they can get away with it.

You need a lot more than a few education programs and media campaigns appealing to people's better natures. Once evil roots and starts to grow, especially if water and fertilized with praise and privileged, it sneers at the better nature as the weakness of prey. You have to dig up the roots and cleanse the soil.

Some predators are born with psychopathy, others develop or learn it, but many choose it.

Bullying is not only a form of rape and rape a form of bullying, they are the same, as demonstrated perfectly in pedophilia, prison, and war. Often committed by those held up as heroic or leaders, this predation damages and destroys lives for pleasure. Be it subtle or gross, it's textbook evil.

I don't say this as a privileged white man, but as an autistic with personal experience of these things.  Abuse is abuse.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Trump-ism - a repetitive fusion-reaction to massacre, slavery, and corruption.

The colonization of America by European immigrants was accomplished through the massacre of the native population and the economic exploitation of slavery. Originally the party of emancipation, Goldwater's massive defeat triggered Nixon to put in place his Southern  Strategy, effectively allowing the former slave-masters to return to power, along with their ideologies. Then, money from those like the Koch's entered the system with the intent to paralyze it and succeeding. This enabled the policies of the 1980s that used capitalism to exhaust the Soviet Union to fossilize causing the economic meltdowns and inequality of today. And then the Supreme Court sold free-speech to the highest bidder, along with elections.

It's no wonder that many American are terrified of immigrants. Karma's a bitch. Now defined by what they hate (abortion, gay marriage, taxes, government, etc.), it's no wonder that racist trolls have flocked to the party. And those trying to change things for the better keep hitting a roadblock of donations and wealthy interest groups.

The pressure of the frustration, fear, and hate, creates the fusion of Trump-ism. He's their most powerful bomb. The more danger he seems capable of, the better. 

Canada's Dawn

The Senate is starting to function like it should. The government is becoming willing to reconsider its decisions, actions, and bills for improvement. The PM has apologized frequently and sincerely. Reason has dawned again in Canada, pushing back the darkness of willful ignorance. Even the Conservatives have found a talent for good humor. Sunny ways indeed. I doubted them, but you can't deny the progress growing with the light, the healthy fruit of a democratic tree.