Musing

“Change is absolute; the one truly essential thing to be done in life is to fill your soul with all that is timeless.”

-Me

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Blaarrrgh


2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 49 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 63 posts. There were 23 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was November 3rd with 57 views. The most popular post that day was About the Internet, Decible Level, and High School.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were alm9.wordpress.com, mail.live.com, WordPress Dashboard, rozamonde.wordpress.com, and bejabbersquack.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for jbird.wordpress.com, huge baritone sax, contra saxophone, funny emotions pics, and edward cullen old virgin.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

About the Internet, Decible Level, and High School October 2010
2 comments

2

Quote October 2010
9 comments

3

Mad Skillz(and the best thing you will watch for a good long while) December 2009
3 comments

4

So God Was All April 2010
3 comments

5

Good. January 2010
1 comment

Aha

If life gives you melons, you may be dyslexic.

Privacy and Identity

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/technology/17privacy.html?_r=1&ref=privacy

If you met a stranger in public, would you hand over your name, email, and social security number without a fuss? Probably not. This article supports the idea that on the internet your identity is anything but private. Sites like Facebook possess a ridiculous amount of personal minutiae; everything is posted, from where you’re going, to who’s done what. Your interests and dislikes, it’s all there. The seemingly innocuous self-revelation makes a fairly good depiction of your identity, occasionally right down to your social security number. “Technology has rendered the conventional definition of personally identifiable information obsolete. …You can find out who an individual is without it.” During a class project MIT over 4,000 Facebook profiles were analyzed and the students were able to predict information about the users with 78% accuracy. Thankfully, the article states, so far this sort of data mining relies on “sophisticated statistical correlations” and has yet to be used heavily by identity thieves and the like. Privacy has not kept up with the technology. Personal privacy settings are rarely enough to protect one from the connected world of the internet. Patterns of social behaviour are revealing. Plus, someone else can always give away your information. “Personal privacy is no longer an individual thing. In today’s online world, what your mother told you is true, only more so: people really can judge you by your friends.” Generally, people worry because data collection is so unregulated. The article finishes with the advice, “When you’re doing stuff online, you should behave as if you’re doing it in public — because increasingly, it is.” I think the article is right to encourage an examination of what is truly private on the internet. It certainly doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that not much is. Also, it appears that people either really don’t care about or simply fail to recognize what should constitute as private information. People post everything and anything about themselves if only because they can, and hey what the hell, everyone else is doing it. The repercussions of such a mentality effectively blasted any semblance of privacy into oblivion. And privacy in the digital age? What privacy? At this point the only thing that is private is something that isn’t posted anywhere online. Even then, if you didn’t personally post it and it’s worth knowing, rest assured someone probably has your back and posted it for you. Accessibility is up, and allows for absolutely everything to be witnessed. Plus, what do privacy settings stand for when someone else can just give away the information?

New Quote

“If you want truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between “for” and “against” is the mind’s worst disease.”

 — Sent-ts’an

In Bias’ Favour (And Out)

My musings about random article bias.

_____

Bias Demonstrated Through Exaggerating the Severity of the Situation

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/11/17/new-threat-stuxnet-worm-experts-warn/

Got to hand it to Fox, they only produce the very best. The masters of “fair and balanced”. Regarding what… well, evidently not the news. (Unsurprisingly, during the hunt of bias, I came across an article asking who will “smack down the lies” of Fox News because they’re, get this, “hornswoggling mainstream media”. It featured the double whammy of hoarding bias to the bursting point and, well, being about Fox.)

This article sports the king of bias’: fear (…political bias taking a close second, of course). Whether it’s inspired by fear or causing it, this bias could writes articles for the authors. It certainly appears to be, if we can judge this article (and honestly, every other on the site) on quality alone. Bias aside, their lucrative and often non-existent sources and references lend a professionalism to their site that is only rivaled by their admirable and impressive word choice. (“Definitive accounts of [his] life come from arrest accounts. Even some of those are sketchy.” Sketchy? That’s damn reliable reporting if I ever saw it.) The copy-and-paste skills demonstrated on the site are frequent and chuckle-worthy, as well. The vague, round-about quality of their articles and their personally influenced opinions surface consistently. Did I mention the plagiarism? Bears repeating. But seriously, back to the bias.

The article above illustrates the ever astounding lack of worthwhile facts, sources and really anything that a quality article could be based upon. It is yet another example of fear and conspiracy propaganda encouraging the readers to believe the worst. It encourages them to maintain the mindset that potential for destruction will always, -always-, result in the worst case scenario. God forbid we renounce prejudices and back discussions; that would detract from all the attention grabbers vying for your fearful, undivided attention. The main sign of bias in this article is the language and phrasing used. It’s vague, and gives no conclusive facts or information. The very first sentence says, “A malicious computer attack that appears to target… nuclear plants can be modified to wreak havoc on industrial systems around the world.” So, it “appears” to target plants? It “can” be modified to wreak havoc? Not, it “did” target or “was” modified? In fact, there is no indication of present threats, only hypothetical ones. The article opens with nothing near definitive facts and proceeds to base the remainder of the article on conspiracy with a constant undertone of fear potential. It warns that the the computer attacks (potentially, of course) anything from industry to baby formula manufacturers. Not the baby formula! “The implications are… beyond anything we’ve seen in the past.” The… implications are? Sure, Windows is more susceptible to cyber attacks, but if you’ve got security, you’re fine. I’m sure we could find more worrisome things to worry about than implications.

Now, PC the magazine takes the same issue under discussion and use more professional phrasing and tailor it less to a fear factor. At most, they’re mildly concerned. They’re also more concerned about the government risk involved, rather than the baby formula and industry. Both articles mention Iran as a primary target for this virus, though PC makes it very clear that it’s speculation at best.

Companies like Norton, on the other hand, turn back to fear and ask you kindly to buy their product to ward of the threat that in reality won’t affect you.

And, as crummy as some news sources are, finding respectably objective sources seems a thing of nostalgia. There’s always a certain bias presented through media, even if it’s only a personal bias, it’s there lining the stories. “There is no subject about which people are less objective than objectivity.” But sources are willing to try.

Less Bias Facing Facts

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/world/asia/19beijing.html?hpw

Articles with a bit more bite, ones that are fact and source driven, tend to get my vote for neutral and objective. The articles is presented logically, but… there’s just nothing to rip apart. No fun fallacies to claw at. But hey, politically-correct information! The presence of quotations, and the bonus of having something actually -happen-, lend the article a respectable professionalism. The outlooks regarding Ms. Cheng’s punishment strongly renounce China’s repression don’t have a hugely biased tone and are justified at least because it was so extreme. It concerns human rights more than nonsensical bias. A year in a labour camp for re-tweeting a satirical observation. Aol and other sources where similar articles were published regarding this story have a similar tone. Also, there is minimal slamming of China for the actions taken. It is mentioned, as it’s a part of the story, but no one goes out of their way to elaborate or rant. The articles focus on the issue at hand also displays the professionalism used in objective articles.