Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Does the digital world reduce our ability to read the emotions of others?

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/08/26/study-digital-media-erodes-ability-to-read-emotional-cues.aspx

"For the study, researchers looked at two groups of students from the same school. The first group, comprising 51 students, attended outdoor school at the Pali Institute, a science and nature camp that doesn't allow student use of electronic devices. The second group, with 54 students, was allowed to use their devices as usual and did not attend the Pali Institute until the study was completed.
Both groups were shown 48 pictures of happy, sad, angry or scared people and asked to identify their emotions, both at the beginning and end of the study. "They also watched videos of actors interacting with one another and were instructed to describe the characters' emotions," according to a news release. "In one scene, students take a test and submit it to their teacher; one of the students is confident and excited, the other is anxious. In another scene, one student is saddened after being excluded from a conversation."
Students who had gone without digital media averaged 14.02 mistakes in the picture test before attending camp. After five days without screens, their scores improved to an average of just 9.41 errors per student. Camping students showed similar improvements on the video test. Students who had not yet attended camp showed a much smaller average improvement on the image test and no change on the video test."

Think of the old days when there were no phones, telegraphs, or fast transportation. What did people do to keep in touch?  Letters.  Sometimes you might get a photo of your loved one included, but usually that was with a stiff non-emotional face because cameras needed you to stay still for a while.  How did people manage to read the emotions of others back then?

I think the better measure would be time spent with actual people, rather than time spent with digital things.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Micro house action in Portland

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/22/portland-oregon-tiny-homes_n_5698214.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

"The city of Portland, Oregon, is nearing approval of construction for tiny home communities on public land in order to house homeless and low-income residents, the Oregonian reported. Josh Alpert, the city's director of strategic initiatives under Mayor Charlie Hales, said it's not so much a question of if, but rather, when the homes will be built in partnership with Multnomah County, according to the news source. The city will ask various public branches in the area -- including Portland Public Schools -- to provide surplus land for the homes."

Less than 200 square feet is a bit small I think.  400 square feet would provide space for your "stuff" as well as a bit more comfort.

I also like the comment "Looks good but perhaps adding a community garden would aid in feeding the residents, build skills, community and confidence."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

the militarization of the police

Ferguson, Missouri shows what can go wrong when the police get military equipment and are trained for military type actions.  They forget that citizens are not the enemy and protesters are not criminals.  I blame the Battle in Seattle for part of this, where the police had to deal with Black Block vandalism and retardedness.  But definitely police need to go back to working for the citizens not having and us vs. them attitude.


Friday, July 25, 2014

War will never be the same; the Gerasimov Doctrine

http://inmoscowsshadows.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/the-gerasimov-doctrine-and-russian-non-linear-war/

"In the 21st century we have seen a tendency toward blurring the lines between the states of war and peace. Wars are no longer declared and, having begun, proceed according to an unfamiliar template.
The experience of military conflicts — including those connected with the so-called coloured revolutions in north Africa and the Middle East — confirm that a perfectly thriving state can, in a matter of months and even days, be transformed into an arena of fierce armed conflict, become a victim of foreign intervention, and sink into a web of chaos, humanitarian catastrophe, and civil war."

No more one side lining up and another side lining up to oppose.  The distinction of what is war and what is not gets blurred, like in Ukraine right now.  Won't be pretty.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The jobless future; then what?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/07/21/were-heading-into-a-jobless-future-no-matter-what-the-government-does/?wpisrc=nl_wonk

"The only solution that I see is a shrinking work week. We may perhaps be working for 10 to 20 hours a week instead of the 40 for which we do today. And with the prices of necessities and of what we today consider luxury goods dropping exponentially, we may not need the entire population to be working. There is surely a possibility for social unrest because of this; but we could also create the utopian future we have long dreamed of, with a large part of humanity focused on creativity and enlightenment.
Regardless, at best we have another 10 to 15 years in which there is a role for humans. The number of available jobs will actually increase in the U.S. and Europe before it decreases. China is out of time because it has a manufacturing-based economy, and those jobs are already disappearing."

I'm starting to lean toward the idea of a guaranteed minimum income for everybody.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

This sounds bad; economic problems ahead?

http://boingboing.net/2014/07/08/oecd-predicts-collapse-of-capi.html

"The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- a pro-establishment, rock-ribbed bastion of pro-market thinking -- has released a report predicting a collapse in global economic growth rates, a rise in feudal wealth disparity, collapsing tax revenue and huge, migrating bands of migrant laborers roaming from country to country, seeking crumbs of work. They prescribe 'flexible' workforces, austerity, and mass privatization.
The report, Policy Challenges for the Next 50 Years , makes a number of assumptions about the impact of automation on skilled jobs in the workforce, the end the recent growth in the developing world (especially the BRIC nations), and a series of worsening environmental catastrophes."

I think this is more a call for change then prediction. It's obvious that we are moving currently toward a time when there are only serfs and lords.  The rich accumulate all the wealth, and dole it out as needed to those below.  I thought we had already grown out of this system, but apparently not.