Remains of the day

Greek find called earliest

Wow. How bad reporting is that, eh? This is the sort of thing that makes scientists look like morons. The “chunk of skull” becomes a “fossil” and then it just gets worse. Business Insider SA and others call it “a 210,000 year-old skull” when it’s just a piece of one. It’s only when you get into the posts from actual scientists that you see the appropriate caution being used:

“As with any challenging new find, the appropriate initial reaction should be healthy scepticism, even when my own name is on the paper.” – Chris Stringer

What’s missing is corroborating evidence, such as more pieces of bone of the same era. Also there is no accounting for other possible explanations for its presence, such as having been moved to the location at a later date. We had this same problem when a ‘black’ skeleton (a few remains of one) was located further North than it should have been; so many people started declaring it factual that Africans had been in Europe much longer than anyone knew and it was absolute proof of the migration.

Really? Since when does science base its conclusions on a sample size of one?

It’s bad enough we keep getting ‘health reports’ that draw absolute conclusions based on some obviously flawed meta-analysis (the most recent one blamed sugar for cancer), misleading people into changing their life without any actual explanation of why they should (and yet they still ignore making changes that have been proved), but here we corrupt science and history – all because ‘journalists’ can not understand what they’re reporting on. Or maybe they don’t care: “news” these days tends to be sensationalist rubbish designed to grab attention rather than inform. The frequent disassociation between headlines and article content is proof enough of that.

Then when someone points out the mistakes and flaws (such as ridiculously small sample size) they get attacked. After all, it was “in the paper” so it must be true. Well ha, ha. That one has never been true ever since someone invented newspapers. Digital media is simply a faster way to spread lies. (And we can all laugh at the fact the biggest complainer about this is himself the biggest abuser.)

Instead we have people claiming vaccines aren’t safe because of falsified studies and rare instances, ignoring the huge body of positive results. We have people drawing cause-effect conclusions based on coincidence with no proven interactive mechanism. We have people reveling not in ignorance, which is a lack of knowledge, but in stupidity – which is the rejection of knowledge. All exacerbated by media reports constructed by those just as foolish and only marginally better-skilled in writing.

How does the world end? Not with a bang but with a whimper.

And now a word to our sponsors

Shut up.

Okay, that’s two words. And I’m about to add a lot more.

If we take it as a given that the purpose of advertising is to attract customers and get them to buy the product, is it not logical to assume that annoying customers is a bad thing to do? There are many ways to annoy customers; the content of the ad itself is chief among them. But the Internet has given us a much more powerful way to drive away business: the pop-up ad. It’s not limited to just the little block ads either. Perhaps a more accurate term would be the “in-your-face” ad.

When you click a link to read something on a page we want to read what we went looking for. We do not want to see the screen suddenly pirated by another display that insists … well, something. I don’t know exactly what it’s trying to do because there’s nothing that makes me click ‘X’ faster than some smart ass interrupting my endeavors.

It’s bad enough that news articles are accompanied by side bars with annoying attention-grabbing flashes and even automatic video (another horror story), but do you have to interrupt the text paragraph by paragraph with not only links to ‘related’ stories (better left to the end of the current reading) but also promotions for things which it is unlikely anyone will look at merely because you did stick it in the middle of the read. This is not the way to engage your audience: it is the way to drive them away.

“Uh-oh! Looks like you’ve got an ad blocker!” Well no kidding, idiots. That is because your ads are so damn annoying no one wants to see them. Really people do not mind advertisements if they are presented in an acceptable fashion. “HEY STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND BUY THIS CRAP NOW!” is not an acceptable fashion.

Facebook is the champion example of how not to do things, with their ‘sponsored posts’ shoved into your news feed. It’s spam, that’s all. Why do you think FB Purity is so successful? Because Facebook hasn’t got a clue as to how to avoid pissing people off. They seem to take perverse delight in it, and rework their script every so often to circumvent the latest efforts at stopping this nonsense. If their advertisers ever wake up to the fact half of Facebook users don’t exist and the other half don’t look at the ads that company is going to have a sudden problem in the income department. Frankly, they deserve to go bankrupt because they have so horribly and commercially bastardized what is basically a good idea (sort of like what happened to any holiday you care to mention.) And when it comes to FB’s claim of “targeted” advertising, have you ever seen an ad that actually interested you? Probably not, because their analysis algorithms seemed to have been created by elementary school children who can’t even get the hang of the concept of a single selection criterion, never mind the plural form. In fact the businesses are paying for “targeted” ads and getting generic random-hit probability instead. For this they pay a premium.

Some bright spots have even come up with a method of making auto-run videos that so far no browser setting or extension can prevent from happening. Not all of us have unlimited data to waste on your not-at-all-important message. And the rest of us don’t want to be interrupted in what we’re doing anyway. Seriously; put your videos where the sun does not shine upon them.

It didn’t used to be like this, of course. In the simpler, better days of the Internet ads came in fixed blocks like ‘banner ads’ that sat quietly at the top and/or bottom of the page until the viewer looked at them. The technology now allows people to be forced to look, whether they want to or not. Net result: one less potential customer for every intrusive ad displayed. The exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

I am reminded of an election for mayor in a town I used to live in a few years ago. The candidate who won was the person with the fewest campaign signs cluttering up the countryside.

Food for thought.

Cathartic Echo Chambers

Let’s us fool no one more than ourselves. Although we fool ourselves fairly completely sometimes.

If you do not rampantly promote your blog all over the Internet screaming louder than anyone else, the chances of anyone seeing it are minuscule. As in you have a better chance of winning the lottery at 14 million to one odds (as opposed to about 7 billion to one).

But if we set aside the absurd notion that we expect anyone to see what we write, much less care about it, we have to face up to why we really do it:

It’s therapy.

Sometimes daily you have to put whatever thoughts ramble around in your head down on paper, at least metaphorically, just as a way to deal with them. You can’t really tell anyone else, not even your therapist, because these are not ordered thoughts – until they are put down in hard copy form. After that, they don’t matter. It isn’t about the result, it’s about the process. There is a secret joy in knowing they won’t be seen, and a secret terror at the possibility they will be – so we still guard our thoughts and are less honest with ourselves than we should be. Or at least more selective about it. Sometimes the caution is a good thing, as truly expressing one’s self is often a good way to earn a ticket to the looney bin. Or at least the slammer.

I saw something good at random about twice on here, and I say more power too them. I even commented. Not for their sake or to encourage this mutual folly we indulge in, but for mine (selfish bastard that I am).

I saw something today and almost every day ‘encouraging’ people to write whole books. That is like suggesting we all be bigger fools than we are.

I won’t even attempt a full-scale novel now, for so many reasons. And while I’m being honest I’ll admit the newest of those is my own mental failing which keeps me from being able to assemble any lengthy coherent writing. It is increasingly difficult to form multiple paragraphs that belong together, never mind chapters.

See how that started to wander?

Never mind, you’re not reading this either. Anyway I’m going to try some new medication soon and see if that helps slow the deterioration. Because it’s got to the point where I’m not sure of events and facts in my own life, never mind fiction.

I shouldn’t have said that. I should not have said that.

Try this simple experiment

If you have the misfortune of being a Facebook user (like so many of us are) take a week out of your life and see if you really need it. It’s easy: just don’t post anything for a week.

See if anyone notices your lack of activity. You may find that many of your so-called ‘friends’ only have you on their list out of social obligation. They don’t really care or notice what or if you post. Indeed many of them will only interact with you if they are specifically tagged in your post and thus can’t easily ignore it.

So many people that you think you have something in common with. But do you have enough in common to make it worth your while? Or theirs for that matter. Maybe you aren’t friends or even acquaintances; maybe you’re just habit.

Possibly the problem isn’t the people either: the structure of social media makes for a kind of false-interactive metric which is a mere facade of real personal relationships. You may really be friends, or would be in ‘real life’, but the method of interface cheapens the reality of it. Whichever, the point is to question whether this system of relating to others is truly viable for you.

Don’t be surprised to find out it’s not.

Fakebookery

More about everyone’s least-favourite web site.

First up we have the laughable claim that they’re interested in protecting your privacy: Facebook Privacy

Since they’ve claimed this repeatedly and done basically Face-all about it (even under threat from various governments) there’s no reason to expect anything to happen this time. The article does indicate that FB wants to move away from being in the public eye, something that has got them into a lot of trouble, and concentrate on selling the content of your private conversations to whoever can afford the price.

Second we have this equally laughable claim that they’re going to do something about “vaccine misinformation”: Vaccine misinformation

Since they can’t even man-up enough to call it “lies” it is doubtful and real effort will be made to reduce the number of those lies. Remember that FB makes its money by pretending it has billions of members who can be individually targeted by very expensive ads which have a totally unproven effectiveness but hey, let’s pretend it’s 100%. Ever lying Page, every group of idiots, every hate-mongering user equates to money in the bank for FB so they have zero incentive to cut out any one of them. As it is now something only gets taken down based on the number of complaints (i.e. weighing the thumbs up against the thumbs down), not by analysis of content using a functioning human brain.

Facebook is crap. It always has been and it always will be. The true crime is that it has the potential to be something positive in society, but profit gets in the way every time.

Hell just throw some more useless ‘features’ at them and they’ll think it’s better, right Suckerborg? That’s all you ever do, you greedy useless waste of space.

Give us this day our daily struggle

Just thought I’d mention a few things you may not know about.

First of all, the most accurate information about Autism is buried on a hard drive somewhere. You see, they asked an Autistic person who was high functioning (Asperger’s) and also happened to be an electrical engineer and psychologist to look into the matter. So he studied a lot of Autistics, analyzed the results, theorized against known medical knowledge, and came up with the most extensive understanding of the condition that there is. It included symptoms and coping strategies.

Everyone immediately rejected this because it didn’t pander to their favoured theories and prior prejudices even though it “worked out” in absolutely 100% of cases subjected to analysis. But since it wouldn’t allow thousands of people who do not understand it to go on writing as if they did based on their tiny, singular experiences the information has never been published. It probably has evaporated off magnetic storage by now. So keep on with your thousands of different sects of Autism as Religion, because science is dead now anyway.

WordPress is utter garbage, existing only to try and dupe people into giving them money for nothing. It’s Facebook Fallacy; where users are led to believe that giving the host company money will somehow improve their coverage and potential return. Pay to feed your egos if you like, but understand that “up to” starts and ends at zero.

I’m just trying to get through today. That’s my plan for the foreseeable future, which isn’t far ahead. Having a helluva time fighting depression right now. It’s true depression: there’s not much wrong in my life at the moment, yet at the same time I’d prefer to be dead.

The Saab model 99 was not named for Agent 99 from the Get Smart! TV show of the 1960s.

People who make jokes a lot are often the most seriously depressed. Robin Williams.

I need a massive government grant to study something. I want to create two identical Facebook Pages, one advocating the summary execution of all Democrats and another identical but for Republicans. Load them up with the same content, only altering the subject where needed, and then see what happens. My guess is the one demanding the death of Dems would be heralded as an expression of free speech whereas its mirror image for Reps would be taken down ASAP as hate speech. Why? Because the most vocal opponents would be Reps who revel in violence – except if it is applied to them. So you would have members of both parties calling for the removal of the anti-Rep Page but only Dems demanding the anti-Dem Page go.

It’s sunny and bright and cold and getting through today is difficult. I know tomorrow will be too, then it will become slightly easier for a little while.

So this guy I know got a great deal on a box full of diecast and I offered to buy 3 I was interested in from him. You need to know I’d sent him like $200+ worth of goodies last year utterly free, and he only paid $35 for this box of dozens of cars. Right. So he wants $80 for 3. He can get stuffed. I could have reimbursed for the whole cost of what he got plus shipping, but no he had to be greedy. What he doesn’t know is I was about to send him some more free stuff. Not sure I will now.

Have I mentioned I’d like to be dead?

There is no joy in life. Marie Kondo is an self-important ass who needs to shut up.

Just a few things I thought I’d mention. I don’t care what you think about any of it, because none of you care what I think about it.