Category Archives: 360 Show

I Have Questions

Most of us have long ago said that we believe that Facebook and Twitter (and other Social Media platforms) have the “right” to ban whomever they please, because, “it’s not a First Amendment issue.” In fact, even Trump’s legal team seems to agree with this position.

But solely for the purpose of careful consideration of the ENTIRE issue, let us consider a few things that haven’t gotten much discussion, at least as far as I can find.

Now, again, let us be clear, the Platforms themselves are not the government. I believe that we all agree that given that circumstance, they are free to allow or disallow participation as they see fit. So, banning Alex Jones or Louis Farrakhan or shadow banning Devin’s Cow might be a bad business plan and result in customer blowback, but it is allowable. Whether or not they should do it is another matter.

But… let us consider some things here:

USC §47 section 230 is a law, passed by Congress which exempts Social Media and Web Sites from being held liable for the end user comments (speech).

Two leading Congress Members* (and One Cow**) have recently publically declared that if the platforms will not eliminate speech which they find objectionable they will push for the Congress to pass a law which will repeal section 230 of USC §47, thus removing the exemption for Facebook, Twitter, and other web platforms which allow users to participate in the form of comments and/or posts, and making them responsible for the potential fallout from such comments and/or posts.

Did you hear what I said? Congress shall pass a law which causes the free speech of commenter’s to be “chilled” by punishing the platforms which allow it for whatever the commenters may say or presumably do.

How is that NOT a 1st Amendment issue?


The Bit Rate

What is the difference between something that is “Important” and something that is “Urgent?”

Our own biases, both pattern and cognitive, often prevent us from telling the difference. In a world where pretty much everything is conducted in “HOLY HELL, THIS IS A FIRE!” Mode, it has become even more important to be able to tell the difference. Or at least have an idea of whether or not something requires your complete attention or is just… well… noise.

We humans are experts at recognizing patterns. It’s called “pattern bias” and it is an evolutionary gift that has allowed us to know when to plant crops; when to move to higher ground; when to bundle up and even detect potential danger. The problem with pattern bias is that as often as not, we see patterns that aren’t really there. Instead of investigating and confirming them, we simply accept them as a fact. So in today’s world, when it’s unlikely that a tiger is going to leap out of the foliage and eat you, our natural tendency to look for patterns leads us into other areas. And in our society, the constant bombardment of a cacophony of informational noise serves to fulfill our evolutionary need to look for patterns.

What do I mean? Let’s take a look at my News App* this morning and see what we can learn…

*For the record, I use “SmartNews.” It advertises itself as “unbiased” and for whatever it’s worth, most of the rating places feel it is such. I find it overly busy, requiring a lot of scrolling to get through the stories AND there is almost no mechanism for returning to a story after a push update. I also question the term “unbiased,” although in today’s world that has come to mean “approved news stories.” Overall, as it is free it’s worth what I paid for it, and it is useful to a degree. But I prefer to use my own RSS feeds that I have built through the years.


Myths and Realities

In today’s politically charged atmosphere it is easier to just assume that whenever anybody “on the other side” says something – anything at all – it is automatically 100% wrong. Why? Because they are on the other side and we don’t like them. Therefore, whatever they say, even if it is as simple as “The sky is blue,” it gets spun and presented on our newsfeeds as “How insane is this? They said the sky is blue!”

And like dutiful myrmidons, we repost it and add our two cents worth (not having actually read it, of course, and the next thing you know we are arguing over the presentation rather than the initial issue, whatever it may be.

If all you read is Politically Right-side news, you might think that AOC said that the VA is the reincarnation of M*A*S*H’s “Best Care Anywhere” motto. You might think that she said that the VA’s healthcare system is perfect and that the reported problems with the system as “a myth.” no doubt if you saw that, you reposted it as proof that she is an insane leftist with no clue about anything.

Speaking as someone who is deeply engaged in the VA process right now, I think that if you actually listen to what she said, and not the spun, edited hyped up faux outrage, you might hear something different.

Of course, that would require you to think for yourself and not allow Sean Hannity to tell you what you think…

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