THE Q AND POSSIBLY A…

One of the big trends coming down the Intertubes over the next few years will be the gradual rise of the Semantic Web — the more Intelligent, conversation-oriented web that can create, access and deliver information in a more naturalistic fashion. What I mean by this, in less technologic-sounding language, is that the Semantic Web will be like this: when I ask a question online, such as “How high is the CN Tower?” in a web search, an answer link will come up in the search results that indicates the exact answer. In other words, no more hunting around for an answer.

The first service to make this possible has finally arrived: Wolfram Alpha.

It’s a very promising site that’s not fully active until next month, but a team of experts have allegedly said that it could be as promising as Google.Very interesting stuff.

* Here’s yet another piece of evidence that seems to indicate that the only real and concrete way to measure human behaviour is by understanding the nature of our brains first and social theory second: students may not like or engage in school simply because our brains aren’t designed for the work done in it. Great article.

* David Foster Wallace, one of my favourites, did a commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005. It was his only speech, but it was a very good one.Definitely some words worth heeding.

Oh, and finally: I recently wrote a post for Deb and Ro over at Basket of Kisses — yes, the Mad Men fan site which is more awesome than AMC’s site, dare I say — on the nature of Mad Men viewers outside of the United States. I hope you like it.

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THE MSM: KEEPING THE COSMIC JOKE GOING

Well, aside from this alleged (read: uncertain and overly fear-mongering) leaked report about the financial health of the big 19 banks in America that’s due out on May 4th and now this story — it’s not Avian Flu! It’s Swine Flu! — that’s made front page news on CBC (but, interestingly, nowhere else, which does speak volumes about what CBC News thinks is a top story), you’d be forgiven if you think that the non-stop bad news is actually making people less inclined to watch the MSM.

I’m starting to tune out now, which is really saying something. In fact, this perpetual motion machine of fear known as television news is a toxic influence. I’m shedding it off completely.

Fear is working remarkably well to scare a lot of people who consume the MSM regularly (thankfully, I’m not doing that on a regular basis, because I’m sick of anxiety).

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m done with TV News. I’m not watching it anymore.

Here’s the way I see it: sure, we’re facing some challenges right now. But there’s never been a better time in human history to be alive. We’ve been through some real difficulties in our history, and we’ve still made it through. Some bad shit is going to happen down the road, as it always has. This era is no different.

But in a media environment like ours, where fear drives audiences to watch the “news” and the increasingly desperate MSM amp up the fear to generate more ratings, we’re creating a culture of perpetual anxiety and a nervous populace.

My mental health is worth more than giving CanWest another audience member. I’m glad my age group and younger will be the ones to shrug off TV as a negative influence. There is no turning back now. The tide is turning.

SCALES OF JUSTICE

It’s been a little while since I posted on here.

Not a tremendous lot to say these days, other than it’s been quite chaotic on my end of things. Yesterday I was at a funeral for my grandmother. After nine years of Alzheimer’s, her body could no longer support her. R.I.P., grandma.

I just want to add three points to this post:

* The Pirate Bay founders have been found guilty. The four founders of the site — whom, by the way, are appealing this verdict — are being sent to jail (!) and being ordered to pay $4.5 million in damages. How these guys are being sent to jail while actual criminals get away with their crimes on a daily basis is beyond me. I’m fully behind the founders to appeal this verdict and to fight back.

* I’ve written about the surveillance society before on this blog, but this story shows the U.S. government may be far better at online snooping than you ever imagined.

* After what’s been a very tough few weeks, this performance of Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent will make your whole day, if not whole week. It’s just amazing. Easily the finest version of I Dreamed A Dream I’ve ever heard.

Unfortunately, YouTube embedding has been disabled by request, so here’s a link. I can’t recommend this enough.