How in the Holy &$*# do ‘Photobomb’ and ‘Yowza’ beat Jedi?

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The American language is an interesting phenomenon. Throughout time, Americans have taken the once, proud English language and butchered it, mashing in words from around the world and in more recent times, including slang as part of common speech. Instead of an era where scientific discovery and new advancements contribute to the substance of human evolution, the dictionary has embraced its own apathy and finally given way to the idea that people are too stupid to change. Thus, instead of continuing to encourage children to strive for a higher state of awareness, you can now be a ‘buggered-up‘, ‘eccedentisiast‘ who is ‘toleratable‘ of ‘buzzwords‘ to which you can ‘twerk‘ and ‘squee‘ to your maximum delight and not be a ‘hatemonger‘.

If that sentence didn’t just pi** you off … it should have. That sentence was ‘dappy‘ ‘derp‘ and you should just ‘vom‘. No – I’m not writing Seussian’-style rubbish. According to both the Oxford and Merriam-Webster dictionaries, these are acceptable words and they all have legitimate meanings. If I wrote a sentence in school with any of this nonsensical stupidity, I would have paid the price. Apparently, our society has spiraled so far down the shit*er that it’s easier just to add more stupid words to the dictionary than teach people to read or talk right! Think America’s doing well?

Think again.

You know what you WON’T find in the Merriam Webster dictionary?

JEDI.

That’s right – a fictional word born from the Star Wars movie series that has a more prominent and widely recognized meaning around the world, with a more profound spiritual and peaceful connotation than the idiotic term, “selfie” – and yet, it’s not in the dictionary. Of course, the Oxford “living” dictionary has it, but not the primary dictionary. Why?

Because it’s too full of words like “D’oh” and “Muggle“. MUGGLE? WHAT IN THE FU$#%^(@#$@ NO GOOD, STINKIN’ SASS A FRASSIN’ $%@$%#@# TAR-NATION IS THIS?

Here’s another one … the word: ‘Ginger‘, has become a derogatory slang insult toward red-heads in America and now, it’s in the dictionary under this very definition?! Wow … so … you know … when your kids are sitting in the school library, giggling around a table and randomly looking up words, and you suddenly get a call because some little red-haired kid got beaten up because they called him a ginger, shaming him, hurting his feelings, and he took offense … you can thank the dictionary.

Do you understand why all this ‘transgender’, boy-girl scout, hypersensitive, and educationally disparaging events are occurring? It’s not to make better people. Nobody gets better by being treated like a “special” snowflake. Nobody becomes more knowledgeable by having the word ‘dandelion‘ replaced by ‘chatroom‘ and only fools (in my opinion only, like this one) actually view cultural trends of stupidity as a positive movement! It’s not positive to make words archaic simply because kids are not learning them! That is the very demonstration of an IDIOT that makes excuses for their failures rather than sucking it up and working to make things right again!! Kids are NOT better off with chatrooms and facebook and social media. Drivers are not better off with distracted texting. Those are NOT good social trends. Those are the damaging results of a system that is being manipulated for reasons OTHER than helping people.

I know … I know … I’m a “truther.”

Yeah, well – you’re right. I am. I was NOT treated well as a child by bullies, apathetic teachers, distracted family members, and other problems. But, I was required to try. I was not given special ‘meds’ and the world told to change so it could accept me. I was forced to adapt. I didn’t get to be rich and famous. I didn’t get to be ‘special’. What I got were the skills needed to not be an idiot who falls prey to the manipulative idiocy that rules an idiotic nation. And, for that – I’m grateful – no matter how much hurt or pain, because I’m stronger. After all … learning what a Jedi is … a “code”, “faith” and “belief” had a huge impact on many of the positive decisions I made in life to make my own life better. It wasn’t the blasted foolishness of social media since that only makes children less intelligent with each passing day. So, “truther” or not … I will remain suspicious of the forces that are driving kids into a social-media / technology hysteria where they learn to be apathetic and accept the spoon fed garbage forced upon them. My vocabulary may not be vast, but it’s large enough to know bullsh*t when I see it.

If we are going to include pop-media/culture words in the dictionary, they should be words that belong in our society, not words like ‘emoji‘ just so kids can be knowledgeable enough to get addicted to their cell phones and eventually become ‘screenagers‘. I mean … if that were the case, someone might think this lead on vocabulary changes was being pushed by some big corporate scheme to manipulate …

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Well, clearly, it’s not. Words like “Yolo“, “Noob” and other shaming / stupid words don’t push anyone to spend more time on video games just to not be shamed … (you know, because that’s just crazy!). *wink* We all just need to sit down and do some ‘blamestorming‘ on this one!

What do you think? Is it good to let education fall to the wayside and just make up a bunch of new words that focus solely on the electronic / social media age that funds super corporations? Or … is that a little “not okay”?

Thanks for reading.


“‘Cause, you know, ‘the struggle is real’, and that’s why we gots’ ta’ keep it 100! Amirite?” –This, and many … many other tragedies.

*Note: All fictitious sounding words that border-lined on being epic-ally stupid were actual words from the newest dictionaries. No other languages were harmed in the posting of this blog. Now, for a moment of silence for the American language, education, and a hope for the future … The management!

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Adam Ruins Everything and Conspiracy Theories Make for Strange Bedfellows

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Last Tuesday evening, October 10, 2017, the show, Adam Ruins Everything covered the topic of conspiracy theories. Now, if you’re not familiar with Adam Conover’s show, the premise is simple: the truth that most of the general populous in the world knows about certain topics generally isn’t the “truth”. Using substantial, supporting data, Adam Conover provides honest and [mostly] factual information for people ranging from the truth about fingerprints not being unique to the U.S. corruption behind tax company’s keeping Americans from enjoying a more effective method of tax calculations. Whether it’s right or wrong (and the show has even presented itself as being fallible), the premise is similar to the reason I started writing here: presenting ideas, thoughts, and information that can lead to informed conclusions, effective discovery, and sometimes even the truth. But, how exactly do you “debunk” or “expose” lies in conspiracy “theories”?

This brings us to the next argument: what is a conspiracy theory? Merriam Webster says:

“a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators” –MW

The Oxford dictionary defines conspiracy theories as:

A belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event.” – OD

And, there are a “host” of psychological explanations to explain why people believe in conspiracy theories, although none of them support the simple premise that the so-called “truth” could potentially be wrong or that the providers of said “truth” are inconsistent and have been caught in lies (so that there is a justified reason to question what has been said).

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But, do these definitions really cover “what” a conspiracy theory is? Well, a conspiracy is an action or a plot to undermine someone. So, does a “conspiracy theory” have to be limited to a powerful organization or a secret plot to get you? Is it possible to believe that your neighbor is secretly the person who has been using your garbage, stealing your newspaper, and siphoning water? Would that be a “conspiracy”? Technically, yes, since the basis of the argument is that the person’s actions are plots against you and that their covert actions are the cause of your grief (Darn you Sunday Crossword puzzle *shaking fist at sky* … how can I live without you!!!).

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And, a “theory” is just that: a belief or “guess” based on the information provided. The “Big Bang”, is a “theory”. How our solar system was formed, is only a theory – and yet, no one is mocking those folks because they’re supposedly “smart” / “expert” scientists (well, except for me … I mock all equally!).

Unfortunately, the use of the term conspiracy theory has not only been applied to people who have substantially sound arguments, but also to the “less rational”  people who believe their cat is secretly plotting with the other cats around the world and just biding their time until the revolution (although … I’m not so sure that’s a conspiracy, considering that kitty tries to quash all my efforts to expose his plot by sitting on the keyboard while I try to type!). This has oft times led to a long-stream of insults, injurious commentaries, and slanderous public opinion of any person who has a conspiracy theory. It also leads to the condescending treatment of theories such as “Chemtrails”, when that is only a “pop-culture” name for geoengineering, which is very real. Of course, it doesn’t help when networks like the history channel report on “ancient aliens” and put this guy on the screen as the “expert”:

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Not being insulting, but this is the most condescending form of sarcasm, ever. “Hey … we believe you … but we’ll still mock you … heeee….”

I’m not implying that conspiracy theories are good, bad, or indifferent. They are, what they are: opinions. Each person is entitled to their opinion and there is no “real” standard by which to define one as crazy or less credible than another. Think I’m wrong? YOU believe that the piece of plastic or paper in your wallet or purse is money. It’s not. It’s a representation of currency whose value is solely dictated by what someone else tells you, and you’re okay with that. If there ever was an apocalypse, I’ll hoard toilet paper, you hoard money, and let’s see who’s “crazy” … ’cause, you know … just sayin’! In fact, most people believe in the “big bang” … but on what premise … ’cause one guy said it was so? Talk about crazy …

Now, let’s take the basis for the show, Adam Ruins Everything, which is:

“Host and investigative comedian Adam Conover reveals the hidden truths behind everything you know and love.” – TruTV

“Hidden truths” sounds a lot like “secret” and “covert”, doesn’t it? An assault on large corporations acting against the well being of the people almost sounds like the “powerful conspirator” or “influential organization” of which the dictionary applies to conspiracy theories. So, why is Adam Ruins Everything different than a conspiracy theory show, or is it?

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Truth? Yeah. A large corporation keeping information secret to manipulate the masses? Yeah. De Beers, like other manipulative corporations are a bunch of turds? Maybe. Either way, how do you differentiate “conspiracy theory”, “theory”, “conspiracy”, “cover-up”, etc.?

Well, for starters, Adam Conover and his team try to substantiate their facts through scientific or historical support. Of course, just as frequently as they identify scientific and historical context to support their argument, they have to fight against the fact that it was scientific and historical context that created the juxtaposition. So, in trying to evaluate the show and differentiate its “base premise” from the “base premise” of a conspiracy theory: is it true that fingerprints are not unique, or is that just another, “conspiracy theory”?

Well, if we look at the contextual evidence of just common sense, the answer is that fingerprints are not unique – “most likely“, based on reasoning and some historical context. Based on some scientific research, fingerprints are not unique. Yet, time and time again, people, even (later proven) innocent people, have gone to prison on nothing more than fingerprint evidence (and a little song and dance by the prosecution – but that’s for another discussion). So, was Adam Conover being a conspiracy theorist when he presented evidence that fingerprints were not unique based on a presumptive amount of evidence showing that they are, or does he truly deserve the classification of “investigative” comedian?

While I enjoy the show, Adam Ruins Everything, and truly believe it should be watched by all people (because people should know more facts about their world), in all sincerity, the show did not prove that fingerprints were not unique, it only pointed out the possibility that it was true. In other shows, the reason behind Theodore Roosevelt being on Mount Rushmore was a lot more revealing and had far more “substance” in its evidence. But, that doesn’t make it any less of a conspiracy. Why? Because it is still a “theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators” when there is evidence to the contrary. Again, this leads us to the point that we must be clear about the fact that conspiracy theories labeled as “crazy” (as dubbed by a society that believes electric cars run on magic and not coal), only leads to more problems: apathetic ignorance of the truth.

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The dress that frustrated a nation of interneters! (yes, I just used the word “interneters”, you heard it here, first! muwahahahaha!)

Here is the dilemma: I say the light is red and you say the light is green; but if we’re both color-blind, who’s right? There is a truth – but only because science dubbed a certain wavelength of light to be “red” and another to be “green”, yet, it is still an opinion. There is a certain amount of “factually” provable scientific reasoning that can demonstrate the differences in wavelength, but to those who are not knowledgeable on the subject (in this case, “color blind”), they are solely dependent on the honesty and consistency of the people presenting the information. When the scientists say that “red is red” and “green is green”, every time, we accept that fact. However, when the people we rely upon for the truth are inconsistent, lack a foundation, or otherwise are just plain wrong, how do you establish trust?

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In an article I wrote a while back, I addressed the issue of inconsistencies in the theory of evolution. I am not the only person to find major faults in this theory as others have seen these contradictions, too. This begs the question: how do I trust an “expert” in any given field when I learn that the expert is making guesses (and by sheer common sense and reasoning, it didn’t make sense in the first place)? You’re either limited to blind faith (based on apathy and being overwhelmed with wrong information pushing you to ignore any other possibilities), or you’re overwhelmed by reasoning that opposes everything you’ve ever learned as true (I suppose there are other positions to take, but I’m trying to be simplistic for the sake of not writing an entire book).

So, when Adam Conover “ruins” or debunks the falsities of conspiracy theories and tries to establish that they are dangerous, it makes for some strange bedfellows. For example, he presented the argument about the moon landing. Was it real, or was it faked? Well, unless you were there, I suppose you would never know 100%. But, when NASA has repeatedly lied, out come the so-called “crazies” who rely on tremendous amounts of scientific, first-hand testimony and overwhelming data to say that some of Nasa’s claims are not true. Are they wrong? You can tell me they are, but unless you are the moon – it is still just your “opinion”. While Conover tries to establish that conspiracy theories are dangerous because people have wrongly been sent to jail, he leaves out some very important facts. Yes, it’s true that a media hysteria based on a conspiracy theory supported a movement that lead to some false arrests. Conversely, it wasn’t the “conspiracy” theory that led to people being jailed, it was the abusive and unjust acts of some very corrupt officials and authority figures that led to it (and has occurred for over a million innocent people sitting in American prisons alone). Case in point: Guns don’t kill people … stupid people do (and armed monkeys working for water-hating witches … but that’s another story entirely!!).

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It’s easy to blame conspiracy theories because they sparked some thought that led to another person taking egregious and harmful action. And, in part, there is truth in that. On the other hand, maybe it’s time to stop blaming the conspiracy theories and address the other, more important issues which are: 1) the mass amount of lying, cover-ups, false-flag operations and other inconsistent and deceitful behavior by scientists, government agencies, media, and other parties who should be accountable for causing dissension through lies, 2) holding people accountable for their behavior, regardless of their blame of some conspiracy (like the slender man trials), 3) holding people accountable for abusing conspiracy theories as evidence to incriminate another (or ignoring conspiracy theories that may hold a certain amount of truth), and 4) failing to address the fact that if the truth were solid in the first place, the conspiracy would have negligible to no influence and therefore, there is “something” there to be uncovered and not blindly dismissed. There is no excuse for ignorance, and blindly accepting a so-called “fact” on face value, is ignorant.

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What’s not dangerous about conspiracy theories is the same premise that makes shows like Adam Ruins Everything, good for the people. While the news media keeps throwing out “fake” stories, and people rely upon them for the truth, it leads to incorrect conclusions, mass hysteria, and a nation that is currently in turmoil thanks to the constant barrage of lies. That … is VERY dangerous (as it destabilizes nationalism and national security). Equally as dangerous is failing to hold government agencies, scientists, law enforcement, and other “officials” or persons of influence accountable when they lie, are inconsistent, or contradict themselves. When that happens, we end up with a shooter in Las Vegas and nobody sure what story to believe about when police did or did not show up, what security guards did or did not do, and rather than solve a problem so it doesn’t happen again, we’re left with more questions and despair for families that deserve resolution. It further degrades the trust in law enforcement and other agencies that work hard, protect the people, and should not be treated poorly because of a few, bad apples. People make mistakes … and forgiveness is divine, remember?

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So, believing the Earth is flat may seem nonsensical to a lot of people – but unless you’ve physically been to space and seen otherwise, it’s solely based on the influx of information that has been fed to you. No, I’m not saying I agree or disagree … the privilege of free thinking and making your own decision is solely yours. But, recognizing that your belief is based upon what you’ve been told is an important first step in establishing a true foundation of beliefs, understanding, and a willingness to be more than a mindless zombie. Religions are a great example. Every religion contradicts the other in some fashion, no matter how big or small, but it all comes down to what people “choose” to believe. Choosing to believe in something because you have found a preponderance of evidence that satisfies your curiosity sets the standard by which you will believe everything else that follows. It’s what differentiates being gullible, or not … not some jerk that lied and convinced you to chase snipes (until that snipe comes true and bites them! Yay for alternate dimensions … you know … “if” they were real .. *ahem*).

Learning to distinguish the truth, and more importantly, “why” we believe some truths over others, is at the very core of achieving higher thinking (like the old adage, “There is your side, my side, and the truth.”). Sadly, when Conover argued that conspiracy theories were a bunch of “hooie”, he undermined this principal (and in some ways, discredited himself, at least in my opinion only). If people actually sold out to every lie and every falsity told to them by public officials, authority figures, Hollywood, the media, and other such propaganda, it is my opinion that the entire human civilization would literally collapse. Informed decision making is crucial for success in all areas of life. Lies lead people into war. False prophecies lead people into mass murder. Apathetically ignoring the truth leads to manipulative control and misery. Lies create fear and anger, not love and compassion. Inconsistencies create dissension, distrust, and divide the house that leads to the fall.

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Maybe the value of full disclosure by those with a responsibility to do so is only a perception and an opinion on my part, but clearly, there is some “evidence” to the contrary.

This is what continues to hold humanity back because corrupt societies fall. This is what has cost so many their lives, happiness, and freedom. Terrorists lead by lies … should the leaders of free countries do the same? I’m not implying that everyone (or anyone) should believe in aliens or manbearpig (although, I’m pretty sure that in some reality, this one’s real because it’s just too funny not to be). But, failure to recognize a trend that undermines your ability to think (where true and successful thinking comes from a fully informed premise), is dangerous. Thus, actions like “net neutrality” (which I’ve covered before) and the ability for a government to control information when it is already demonstrated its willingness to run false flag operations against its own people and cover up facts (not as a conspiracy, but as a matter of fact), for reasons other than national defense, is equally as dangerous (and has led to a lot of deaths). In fact, believing that “conspiracy theories” are all the work of illogical and irrational people is in and of itself, a conspiracy theory. By having an adverse position to conspiracy theories, when you ask yourself where your rationale came from and you realize that it was passed on to you by the very same people that were the liars and manipulators in the theory, you should be concerned.

For example, the biggest proponent against “chem trails” (or geoengineering) is the government. Why? How does it hurt them that people simply want to see a live sample taken from a jet stream that stays in the sky and tested? Isn’t it good that people would be conscientious of that? After all, it’s the government that asks people to keep their eye on one another, looking for conspiracies?! Want to debunk a conspiracy? Just show the people what’s in the air and don’t suddenly ban live chemical testing of chem trails by the public, not blame it on climate change?! Otherwise … conspiracy theory or not … that just looks guilty. And, that’s the inconsistency and lie that perpetuates distrust. After all, they “told” the people it was just water vapor, and perpetuated it online. Yet, it’s those same people that passed the law that chemical testing on the public is permissible?!? Again – inconsistencies will lead to distrust, not just people “stuck” in a way of thinking. And, I’m not supporting or disavowing the concern, but when large, U.S. “environmental” agencies that are grant funded through taxpayer dollars look to treat the air with aerosols and sprays, and Oxford’s geoengineering program literally shows chemtrails as part of their atmospheric treatment, and all the while public officials are saying, “nope”, “noway”, and “not no-how” (whilst they turn their head and look in every direction except at the sky where everyone else is looking), it begs the questions: if you mock people concerned about chemtrails, are you working for the same team, are you willingly and knowingly trying to support harming people, or are you just that blind? You don’t have to believe in geoengineering, even if it is happening, just don’t be so ignorant that you mock people who do … since it involves your health, too. Do you see where I’m going with this?

There is a popular bumper sticker: “Love you country, fear your government.” While funny, and sadly true, it is wrong. The people who are elected into positions of office should do good … and many of them do! I don’t want to create a premise here whereby people distrust their leadership. In fact, that would be the undermining principal that makes people afraid of conspiracy theories (and there’s the “real” rationale behind insults and attacks on conspiracy theorists, no different than bigotry or other hatred born of the “unknown”). The rationale being that if the theories are true: then you really are screwed because you would need to fear your government. However, that’s not the premise of a free nation (and shouldn’t be for any nation). Hard working officials like Senator Dennis Linthicum, whether you agree with him (or like him) or not, do a fantastic job bringing the truth to the people with articles like his recent one: “Power Corrupts.” This is the evidence that there is hope. I’m not saying his article is “right” or “wrong” – again, that’s your free-will choice to decide. However, his presentation of corruption by large, influential bodies that lead to the harm of the masses, conspiracy theory or not, is backed by some pretty strong testimony and evidence that should never be ignored. Freedom is not “free” – we must earn that privilege, and diligence is one of the ways we can accomplish that.

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There’s a difference between believing aliens are reading our thoughts, and the government covering up illicit acts. The alien one … I can’t prove or disprove and it is beyond my rationale to address, although, like anything, I file it away for a rainy day (should aliens visit). But, I’d like to at least be able to trust the people who have the power to deal with these matters, like the CIA, and believe they would not do anything that could intentionally harm our own citizenry (or anyone else for that matter). Yet, when we find out “after the fact”, that everyone is being bugged, that not only justified a LOT of conspiracy theories that people mocked, but it added to the dissension that tears apart the trust of the people and their leadership.

I don’t know if Adam Conover fully considered the ramifications of his presentation on conspiracy theories, or if he did it for any reason other than every other show he does. But, it certainly border-lined on a wholly inappropriate action telling people that conspiracy theorists were all bad and dangerous and trying to convince people that no big corporation was out to get them (’cause, you know, that’s what he did when he exposed Luxottica and the conspiracy behind the monopolization of eye glasses). Maybe Conover rationalizes that his evidence is justified because it’s overwhelming or he presents it with a precept that his logic is important in persuading people to what he views as the truth. And, in some ways, he is probably very right. In others, his show is important to the public as it provides an invaluable service, letting people have that added information that was otherwise kept from them, so they can make informed decisions, and that privilege should not be taken lightly. But, his absolute dismissal of theories on such an epic scale was frustratingly misdirecting, at best.

If, for example, any government agency came forward, even years after the fact, and admitted to a falsification of information – whether it was for “public good”, “national defense” or other even loosely legitimate reason, I would be okay with that. Unfortunately, they also know that the majority of Americans don’t bother to “think” for themselves and would overreact. So, I don’t know where the balance lies, but it’s in there, somewhere. However, I have personally witnessed people I consider to be highly intelligent mock a “conspiracy theory” and dismiss it without even being willing to hear it or logically discuss it because of the abundance of “anti-conspiracy theory” rhetoric spewed by those who act more like they’re hiding something, than being rational. Anti-conspiracy theory topics that quash dangerous assumptions are one thing, but an assault on the entirety of peoples’ potential concerns about safety leads to outright ignorance.

So, attacking conspiracy theories themselves was an odd choice for Conover. I would still recommend the show to everyone, but I would say that with anything else, even this article, take it with a grain of salt. Because, whether or not the light is green or red, unless you happen to not be color blind, you’re still just shooting darts in the dark!

Hope you enjoy, dude. (And, yes, hopefully someone else out there gets something out of this, too).

Thanks for reading!


“Come now, we are men of action, lies do not become us.” – The Princess Bride (GREATEST movie of all time … ‘a thank you very much!)

 

 

Why Social Media Exploded – The Social Cognitive Dissonance Theory And How the Hierarchy of Needs May Need to be Remodeled

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Social media: it’s everywhere you look, everywhere you go, and involved with everything you do. Social media has made pop-stars out of people who once thought themselves alone, and loners out of people who once thought themselves important. Social media has been the foundation for a world-wide apathetic approach to personal information security and has given rise to a new era (and industry) of hacking. It has lead to success, failure, suicide, and even murder. Strangely, in the less than 10 years, “social media” became a part of the modern world culture. Faster than the spread of Christianity, war, science, ideology and any other world-wide phenomena, social media rose to power in the blink of an eye. But, how?

The answer may very well lie in a well-established psychological concept known as cognitive dissonance.

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Cognitive dissonance occurs when an individual’s actions, thoughts, or behaviors contradicts the world-view (and, by world-view, this could be as simple as 2 people or as massive as the entire planet’s population). In the world of deviant behavior, cognitive dissonance is exhibited when a person does something contentious with the law or a moral or ethic code and tries to justify or make excuses for themselves. Not limited to just deviant thinking, cognitive dissonance is present in the everyday lives of every person on the planet. The premise is simple: people need to be right. In Maslow’s (and later on, more evolved models), hierarchy of human needs, from the very first stage of physiological needs, to belonging, and finally self-actualization, people have both a physical and neurological need to avoid pain. When questions arise that contend with our thoughts, actions, or behaviors (our internal world-view), it creates conflict. Conflict leads to added thinking processes, questioning ourselves (including our identities and belonging in the world), and as I’ve written about before, overloads our brains.

To better understand this, imagine the following situation:

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It’s 10:00 pm and you are at a red light in your car, the roads are empty, and you’ve been waiting there for more than 3 minutes. After a while, most people would start to question whether or not the light is “ever going to turn green.” Soon, a stream of thoughts follow: “I want to get to where I’m going,” “It’s late and I am tired,” and so on. The red light has become a persecutor and the natural, human position to take is that of a victim: “This is unfair,” “I wonder if the light is broken,” “The stupid City needs to fix their lights,” and so on. This is painful. No one likes to be a victim. It feels unnatural, causes you to question your self-worth, and challenges the premise that you can be happy (or have a good day or whether or not you are even a good person). Almost everyone has gone through a situation similar to this.

Now comes the dissonance: By driving through the red light, knowing it’s illegal, you are suddenly faced with two, conflicting world-views: 1) you’re being victimized and need out of the situation by driving through the red light, and 2) driving through the red light is illegal and breaking the rules. If you want to see this on a more conscious level, check out this Youtube video demonstrating both consonant and dissonant music. Dissonance is inharmonious. It’s actually no different than chewing on tin foil, scratching nails across a chalkboard, or hitting your toe with a hammer. It’s unpleasant to the point of being unbearable. Remember, pain is only an interpretation of the brain to tell you that you’ve gone too far in one direction or the other. In this case, you know that breaking the rules (because you’ve learned this as a licensed driver), is going too far and will get you in trouble, but not doing is possibly pushing you too far in the other direction. Trouble is not good, it is the path toward pain, and thus:

Your decision to make things better could make things worse.

It’s this type of situation where a person is pushed to the extreme and needs temporary relief that forms the basis for addictions like smoking and drinking (where the temporary moment of relief has to be justified against the longer term pain that will probably be worse than any short-term pain). You can’t act on dissonance. This is why the human psyche has developed its own set of tools to overcome this problem (for example): “There’s no one here, I’m not endangering anyone’s life, and clearly, the only way out is to go!” This is called “justification” and it’s one small part of a long list of thinking errors that all work together to accomplish the unified goal of avoiding responsibility (or the longer-term consequences for the immediate relief). On the other hand, “justification” by itself is not wrong if it results in better decision making: “I know I need to get home, but I know it’s breaking the rules, and so, I can just be patient.”

However, when it comes to cognitive dissonance, it doesn’t matter which decision you made. It is the old adage: “You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t.” Those who ran the red light and were pulled over by law enforcement get that immediate reinforcement that their own thinking was somehow flawed, further reinforcing a lifetime (growing) list of self-doubt that stays with them. Those who got home late may be glad they’re safe, but they never faced their victim (the red light), and remain a victim. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules, but I’m addressing the majority of all human beings. Even the person who waited has thought in their head, “I hate that light.

Worse, for both people, they now have to contend with the fact that their enemy was an unseen and unknown force. The “light” didn’t assault them (it is only a light bulb, after all). What assaulted them was their own conscience and cognitive processes. Unfortunately, unless you’re “into” self-harm, that doesn’t work. “You” cannot physically, logically, or emotionally be your own enemy otherwise, you have no means of “fighting” back, since it still results in you being hurt (thus, the “blame” game begins!). To overcome this, a new thinking path arises:

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Confirmation of my world-view.

I hate it when I get stuck at that light – it never changes even though I just sit there and wait.

It was so unfair I got a ticket, I didn’t hurt anybody and that stupid light was clearly broken.

Two entirely separate paths came back to the same course: the need to be justified in your decision. If someone says, “Oh, that happens to me all the time and it doesn’t bother me,” what do you say? Here’s a response you’ll NEVER hear: “You know, that’s a really good point. I like that long red light and I’m going back there so I can be stuck in my car for hours because that’s a good thing.” Sound childish? It’s not. It is a perfect example of why we do not accept contradictions to our world view. So, when you hear, “Yeah, that sucks, it sounds like you didn’t deserve a ticket,” suddenly, your whole perspective changes. You are no longer a victim! It “WASN’T YOUR FAULT“. And, thus, your thinking was justified, you know you were in the right even if you do have to pay a ticket and you can get back on the road without having to stop at every red light feeling like a victim. Does it make sense now why you might hear an alcoholic say, “I just need a shot of tequila to ‘face the day‘,“? Even if you didn’t “beat down” your enemy physically, you were given a dosage of good old “acceptance” and a booster shot of “self esteem”, and it was a reward mechanism that made you feel better!

This brings us to a new theory I am proposing here (at least for me it is new): “The Social Cognitive Dissonance Theory.” Now, of course, the example I gave above is based on already well-established psychological principals. However, the Social Cognitive Dissonance Theory crosses the threshold into social media by addressing blogging, tweeting, Imgur, Youtube, Yelp, Pinterest, and other sources based on similar psychological principals of social networking … but rather than be about “why” people socially network, it’s more focused on “how” social media / networking exploded into the world scene almost overnight. It is the same principal that could be used to better explain the appearance of guests on shows like “America’s Got Talent”. The principal theory is this: the need to fit in, be love, be admired, and be wanted is more important than any other human need.

How does social media fit in?

The internet (which I will digress from expressing all my disgruntlement with for the moment in time), did something amazing (yet terrible) for individuals: it opened the door for one person to be in front of millions with the click of a button (and cheap enough that everyone could do it)! Justification of an individuals’ thinking (their world-view or position) by mom or dad is great … but the acceptance of millions is more addictive than any drug in the world. For some, this new media was an effective tool: in America, Ex-President Obama used Twitter to launch an expansive information campaign that literally won him an election (because he fed into an entire nation’s need to be accepted and recognized). For the rest of the world, services like MySpace, Facebook, and others allow people to post ideas, thoughts, and opinions for all to read (each being their own “important” person or “person of interest”). Even better than just getting to share with the world, opinions and responses came back live and in real-time. This type of immediate feedback was no different than the schemes used by slot machines in casinos. Whether the feedback was good or bad – it was immediate (meeting that basic primal need of instant gratification).

According to the Social Cognitive Dissonance Theory: justification and reinforcement of one’s world-view is such a powerful, primal need that the immediate gratification of online approval was more attractive, addictive, and effective than any drug on the market. At the onset of social media there was a lot of flaming and hatred mixed in with the good, resulting in ongoing, heated communications. The negative replies resulted in on-line verbal wars (and eventually the start of trolling), and positive replies reinforced the posters’ world-view. Suddenly, people felt justified that their opinions mattered, and if they didn’t, they could fight until someone finally agreed with them and select that feedback as the justification of their position. Facebook intentionally mislabeled “anonymous strangers who appear as though they happen to agree with you“, as “friends“, and not only were people finding their world-view justified, but the basic need for love and acceptance was being simultaneously fulfilled. Dissonance ends, resolution is reached, and the world is better … sort of.

People looking for information blindly accepted it, right or wrong, because these were their “friends” who justified their position and it’s all they needed to feel important (like the stuffed animal parent for Harlow’s monkey experiments). Even posting factual blogs or “how-to’s” reinforced the “need for acceptance” as posters were being accepted as experts, even outside of any area of knowledge or expertise they may have. Within a few years, it was no longer enough that a close-circle of friends agreed, people wanted more (power corrupts absolutely). While an over-packed world of people who somehow could not (seemingly) meet other people was separating the masses, the internet offered an alternate solution: “Stay at home and we’ll come to you!” It’s sort of a hard concept to object to: utilizing laziness and the “easy” road as a way to end dissonance and bring about joy.

Another major aspect of social media’s instant success was that the unimportant became important. Thus, the fact you may not be a rock star or famous Hollywood actor was no longer an issue. People could write about any stupid idea, thought, or perception that they had and everyone was interested (since even negative commenters, no matter how negative, were at least still taking the time to read the posters’ work and thus contributed to their self-importance). Acceptance reached all new levels (especially as the 80’s had worked hard to put a divide in people … but I will digress on that for now). People virtually went into the homes of others and it no longer required experience, skill, effort, time, or opportunity.

The result? There are billions of people online with an opinion. Every single one of those people want their opinion to matter so they belong and are justified in their world-view; and social media was the key. People do tend to group themselves together for the very same reasons of “need” and “belonging” and the internet offered some very large groups. What should have taken decades to infiltrate the whole of the world (cell phones, twitter accounts, Youtube video posters, and so on), sprang up in a few years’ time. This was accelerated by a compounding effect that came about because the commenters could also communicate to one another. Thus, a single post became a forum for thousands to each fight for the highest rating approval. Every blog, tweet, and yelp review was an opportunity to tear others down to fulfill the false ideals that lifted them up (filling that false sense of control, “being right”, and power over others). Posting any social media information suddenly resulted in commenting. Commenting resulted in more commenting which then resulted in more posting and … you have a digital phenomenon that moved at a pace so rapid that the world was literally blind-sided by it (and all because society may have failed to recognize that “attention” and “belonging” were more powerful than any other function in human development; although, in fairness, no other model has existed in history that could have supported this so well).

In steps Corporate America!

Opportunity was afoot. These folks saw what was happening WAY early on. Their “sheeple” (aka the “consumer”) were ripe for manipulation. Social media became integrated into cellular phones, tablets, and web pages (including printed media). The video camera industry took a decade of zero advancements and whipped out Go-Pros to boost their ratings. Worse, Hollywood had suddenly realized that its famous actors and actresses were beginning to take a back-seat to the ordinary, every-day people they had been trying to keep as media slaves. To combat this, the Hollywood “stars” joined the social media stream and suddenly:

It wasn’t just approval you could get, it was the approval of someone who already had the approval of a million other people and in minutes (thus the term, “trending”) you could have the approval of tens of millions. It’s no different than introducing children to candy and subsequently, Halloween. Even cocaine and heroine addicts get on routines which hold them over and then re-dose at a speed commensurate with their body’s rate of adaptation. Social media acceptance is a drug that seemingly has no limitations on the max intake. Thus, the more approval a person has, the more their drive (and there’s no “schedule”). This is the basis for megalomaniacs and even some serial killers (those who seek fame and recognition).

And, with corporate America shoving social media into everyone’s face, integrating into their digital lives, and manipulating the world with this drug, rather than being saturated with too many Facebook “friends” or Yelp “reviews”, people looked to the digital world for everything in their lives: humor, knowledge, science, and more. Why? Social media fed them what I theorize may be one of the most important human needs: “ego”. Vanity may be one of the single most powerful drivers in the universe, even over the physical needs of food, air, and water. People have even been known to surrender food and water to focus on their on-line experience. However, the experiences are not always great. Regardless, even though online humor is often times not very funny at all and the scary is boring, in order to evolve and survive, the”expectation” bar is set lower. Rather than move into higher levels of morality and well-being, the idea of unimportant opinions being somehow elevated, depraved creativity being rewarded, and virtual cruelty to other human beings all become reward mechanisms of acceptance and the higher level brain functions unique to human evolution are stunted.

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An example of the original / updated model on the right and the new, proposed model on the left (in a rough / early form). Rather than have morality, creativity, etc. as a need in the pyramid, these are needs that build the bridge between basic behavior and higher-level thinking and are interlinked (built/supported by) the ability to fill basic needs by using / developing higher level functions. Thus, if a need goes unfulfilled (like a rite of passage), it becomes crippling and impossible to move into that healthier, better level of thinking.

 

Of course, one would have to lower the bar (below the floor!) to accept the internet. While smoking, drugs, and drinking require an addict to forget about the damages, to agree with anything on the internet (that you would want to agree with so it keeps fulfilling your needs, too), one has but to lower their expectations of performance and output. Thus, as a person moves up in satisfying the hierarchy of needs, in the new model (above left),  without developing real friendships, problem solving is crippled (because, in practice, it doesn’t work in “real-world” interpersonal experiences and becomes a contention / dissonance). Self esteem is massively boosted, not based on performance, but rather it is based on an altered world-view used to justify and build up belonging and cripples the creativity process, that coupled with problem solving, results in the denial of the truth (because on-line ‘esteem” and solutions from anonymous/ faceless posting have contradictory values and results in real life).

True love and belonging are never fulfilled, safety and security are hollow (as the same buffers in the digital world and abandonment of personal identification security curtail real-life esteem and strength built from having a strong/ solid personal identity), and there is a pause in development. This leads to depression, anxiety, stress, and the massive influx of psychological problems and issues currently facing the world today. Even food is set after esteem and love – and this is justified in the real-world issues regarding weight, appearance, and artificially generated / manipulated behaviors such as anorexia, diet trends, popularity on appearances, etc.). Conversely, we know that teaching is most effective when rewarded. It doesn’t have to be food or the basic “physiological needs”, which substantiates that acceptance, love, and belonging, are by far the most important elements in human development.

This model is also a more well-developed basis for all deviant (criminal) thinking behavior. This is present in “criminal” and “non-criminal” portions of society (which is important to identify in less obvious “non-criminal” sources to ensure integrity in the analysis). For example, this handout, from the “Addiction Technology Transfer Center” is entitled: “Thinking errors characteristic of the criminal“. If you read it, everything is about how the “criminal” thinks and the “criminal” acts and is the most racist/biased, obtuse manner of thinking and labeling that spurns the potential for recovery and health in the world. As it is represented as supposedly “educating” material, it is so misguided in its representation of the truth that it borderlines on psychotic:

Anger is a basic part of the criminal’s way of life. He or she responds angrily to anything interpreted as opposing what he or she wants. Anger is, for the criminal, a major way of controlling people and situations.

Is it true that there are some criminals who are extremely angry? Yes. Is it true that there are some criminals who are not? Yes. Is it true that there are people who are not “criminals” that are extremely high-strung and angry? Yes. What an article like this one misses is the fact that “stereotyping”, “assuming” and “labeling” are also parts of criminal type behavior! Worse, “justifying” an article as “educational” to ignore the precepts of psychology and proper care and treatment for recovery is disconnected criminal-type thinking! The point is, it is more easy to see where actual criminal “behavior” occurs as it is an external response, but the goal is to identify where the criminal “thinking” occurs in main-stream society to justify a revised model of needs. Clearly, the writer of the article is willing to put someone else under their feet to be recognized as an “expert”, when clearly, they are not.

Another perfect example is the “Slenderman Stabbing case“. For anyone familiar with “Slenderman“, the premise of the argument in the court case justifying that a teens’ behavior was the result of mental illness whereby she was somehow appeasing slenderman was a complete abuse of justice. I’m not judging the teen – that’s for you to decide (if you so choose). I’m addressing the fact that misinformation, social media, and a stunted level of development outside of the social/digital world gives way to not only criminal behavior in children, but it further integrates itself into all those around it setting false precepts and hollow cultural standards of right and wrong where fame gained through social media does not require skill, talent, or even anything good. It only requires attention – and in the rapid growth of a completely unknown (like the effects of social media), there was no time to for a controlled introduction and in the wake of this overnight phenomenon, even “bad” gets attention.

Unfortunately, society itself is reinforcing dissonance. With the advent of social media and the recognition by authority figures that the internet and disclosure of a person’s behaviors and actions (without consent), can boost their goals (which are not stopping crime as crime has become more prevalent), privacy is being rapidly abolished. You already know it, but most likely, like everyone else, feel as though there’s nothing you can do to stop it. It’s not that the massive influx of cameras, tracked cell phones, and other intrusions by themselves are a problem, but coupling that with the “need” to fit in and belong and the contradictory anxiety and fear of always being watched (which inevitably, for everyone, leaves people feeling as though they are automatically distrusted regardless of what they’ve done), is a problem. George Orwell’s book, 1984, best demonstrated that “control” does not create a society of lawful people. It creates distrust, an increased level of ‘sneaking’ around, and literally promotes criminal behavior (justified by the fact a person’s trust or value is now always at question, no matter what they do). Of course, law enforcement programs like D.A.R.E. never worked, either, but unfortunately, the rapid onset of social media and a failure to learn from the past are now contributing to a rise in criminal behavior and activity as authority figures continue to set a standard of distrust and manipulation. If anything you say or do can be “interpreted” by an over-zealous legal system that continues to spiral down-hill in its focus on public safety – going out in public is a problem, you feel less safe and less “belonging”, and will turn to more social media to combat this. It is literally a self-perpetuating problem that “will” grow.


So, now you have the premise for the “Social Cognitive Dissonance Theory”. It explains how social media / networking became a world-wide phenomenon based on the principle that self-esteem, love, and ‘belonging’ generate the most addictive chemical releases in the human brain. It explains why people do social drugs, engage in “jack-ass” behaviors, and subject themselves to harm regardless of physiological needs. It explains a part of the equation that has contributed to a massive decline in cultural values, psychological disorders, misinformation, and a general unhealthiness around the world. One of the best examples of the importance of “belonging” as a weapon is that of North Korea. They literally manipulated over 3 generations of their own people to feel hated and neglected by the world. Everything the masses were deprived of (food, water, family, and life) were all based on the lie that the Imperialists (America), and the rest of the world, hated them. Their “saviors”, became the corrupted leaders who are heroes by restoring love, accepting their own people, falsely elevating them using a “Hitlarian” “superior race” agenda, and making them feel accepted as a part of their “artificial” family. A lack of social acceptance and love is such a powerful tool for manipulation that it worked better than starvation and torture.

I’m not saying social media is “bad”. I’m saying that it grew too fast. Now, the warnings being issued about the effects fall on deaf ears like the warnings about cigarettes issued 100 years after their initial release. I don’t know if there’s a fix or a cure or how to even address the matter now that Corporate America has stuck its ugly face into the mix and is using social media to bolster its bottom line. After all, what good is it to try and help someone quit the addiction when the Corporations are feeding it more and more everyday? No, I’m not saying that it’s the “fault” of corporations, they’re just another obstacle that has complicated the solution.

Thanks for reading.

(Please note I am not a doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other health professional. I am a Systems analyst, so surprisingly, I know more. Still, it means you should consult one of those health professionals first since they’re supposed to know what they are talking about! You know, because  … legal reasons!)


After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things. Terrible! Yes. But great.” – Ollivander (Harry Potter)

Narcolepsy Nights #21,255: “The Eye Ball” (A Fiction Story for Halloween)

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“Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for coming here, today. In the first part of this year, we set out to accomplish the impossible. Our goal was clear: take the last 10 years of my personal research and compile it into an actual, working model. Of course, the complexities of programming such an advanced mechanism as an artificial intelligence that could learn were still unexplored, but we accepted the call nonetheless. We were the explorers. We were the cornerstone of society’s hopes and dreams of a new era in digital electronics and computer intelligence. We knew, that regardless of the work I had done before, that our team would create new worlds, cross the boundaries of space and time, and develop a system so unique that each of us would hold equal credit as the fore-fathers of the future! I hope the images I show as we go along, will help to illustrate this story.

20e5001af9696790b1d01a05ff9caf38It wasn’t long before our endless hours of work, sacrifice by friends and family of our time, and the painstaking assault on our own scientific understandings of the universe would be stretched to the limit. Every week it seemed like we encountered new roadblocks. Time and again, we found ourselves facing challenges in not only the programming, but the hardware and technology needed to develop this new intelligence. Not only were there new breakthroughs in storage mediums, power transfer, batteries, and control mechanisms, but the very basis for how we understood the inner workings of the human mind emerged as a result of this work. This was no simple journey across the ocean to discover a new land; this was a journey into a new universe with new life that had never before been conceived.

 

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Of course, there were some difficult times, too. Often, we felt the need to surrender to the hardships of our journey. Apart from the frustrating and emotionally exhaustive separation with our families, we had to face the realities of what we might not actually be able to do. I stood to lose more than anyone else. With all my years of research, money, and time having culminated in the last several months; if this project was not successful, then my life was over. Still, I was not totally alone. Many of the scientists on our team slept on chairs, tables, and even the floor, looking for any brief moment of rest they could get just to make sure that they could face their families and tell them that the time spent was not wasted. We were closer than any other team on the planet to creating a functional copy of the human mind.

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The biggest surprise to most was that our work did not require much in the way of “re-creating” complex architectures that medical science had not even succeeding at fully uncovering. Instead, my research focused on the basic precepts of learning that we called the ‘6-part model’: ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘where’, ‘when’, and of course, ‘how’. Every sensory input was to be an exploration for our creation into these 6 principals. The theory was simple and yet, it yielded an algorithm so advanced and complete that no amount of programming had ever come close to it. Anything that our AI would hear, see, or feel in any way would become the focus of those six questions. By building this information into an enormous database, it could learn to compress the database, pre-identify future results (and thus, optimize functionality and processing times), and from there, draw conclusions. With a 300 terabyte storage system, there was only a finite amount of room, but we conjectured through our math and algorithms that this was sufficient to get through the first phases of the project and prove the concept. Furthermore, we programmed our system to specifically avoid and or attempt to negate anything that would interfere with the 6-part model.

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After months of work on the programming and design, we finally had it: the ultimate sensory input and output machine. It was not a body with hands and feet or a head with ears. Instead, it was a glass ball with an eye, having 360 degrees of magnetically controlled movement and precision within a few nanometers. It could see and hear through the glass it was contained in. All around the eye was white, except for the pupil itself, which was designed to show emotion so we could monitor its progress. The white areas around the eye were filled with multi-color frequency micro crystals that could emit any color in any manner so as to give us an insight into the interpretation of the AI’s behavior and the shapes and colors it formed (which was often both entertaining and beautiful).

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We installed a remote USB port inside the eye to transmit and receive data. This was perception at its greatest. It was the simple embodiment of the human experience. We even went so far as to install a gyroscope specifically to measure touch and a dosimeter for smell. Rather than give it a mouth, we gave it the ability to generate tones in any frequency, pattern and range it desired. We had no idea what would come from this; the possibilities were endless.

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Our team unanimously decided to lovingly name him, the “Eye Ball”.

There was only one problem – power. There was not enough power in the Eye Ball’s core system, even with the battery maintenance, monitoring systems, sleep cycles, and electromagnetic conductive recharging system. We had hit a wall. For two weeks the project was practically stopped. The engineering was complete and the programming was finished. Yet, it required a lot more power than we had initially calculated. Even my 300 terabyte brain, broken down into segmented chunks to save on power, could not be sustained.

But, just before the moment we were about to give up, a solution came! My prayers had been answered. We received a letter from our [now] partners, Dev Investments Limited, and like an angel from Heaven above, they swooped in with another ground-breaking solution that could finally give life to our project.

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Dev Investment’s geo-team had discovered special crystals in South America, buried thousands of feet underground in water-filled caverns that had been super-heated by near-by magma flows. The crystals were able to absorb heat and in the crystalline matrix, change the frequency and patterns so that it could be extracted as energy. The best we could tell, the crystals had been buried for tens of thousands of years and had absorbed enough heat energy to almost power the entire world for several lifetimes! Just a small sample of the crystals gave us enough power for the Eye Ball, to bring him to life. We even found a way to modify our heat transfer matrix to transmit the heat back to the crystal to keep it charged.

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Now, our creation, my child, was truly a mixture of science, nature, and the love and hard work of countless contributors!

When the Eye Ball first came on line, everything was going very well. We were seeing streams of data pour in. Of course, we could not translate the binary code as fast as Eye Ball’s internal processing systems, but within seconds, we saw it physically spinning in every direction, trying to see, hear, and understand all that it could [like an infant waving his arms about]. Within a few minutes, it was already consolidating its database, deleting unimportant information, and evolving! It was only after one of my research partners dropped his coffee cup that things began to get a little out of control. The Eye Ball seemed to be overwhelmed by the unexpected sounds and smells from the crash of glass that hit the floor only a few feet away. It was desperately searching for the answers it was programmed to find. The Eye Ball even emitted a small pitched-tone that sounded a little like a cry of helplessness. This was our first indicator that our creation was on its way to sentience.

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At one point, we were worried that the project was going to be destroyed. With 360 degrees of rotation, the Eye Ball had begun spinning around in every direction at extremely high speeds, raising its temperatures and taking in countless streams of data, non-stop. This went on for two days until it seems that the Eye Ball learned that it had taken in too much data and had to slow down in order to process information. Yet, there was definitely a motivation present within the AI’s architecture, working outside of the core programming, that even we did not fully understand.

More and more I found myself drawn to the Eye Ball. I wanted to hold it and keep it with me at all times, even though, I must admit, that its constant gaze left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. At first, I thought my infatuation was mere curiosity, but when my fellow teammates started having the same urges, I soon realized that something else was happening. It took almost a week of reviewing the records, but I finally found evidence that the Eye Ball had been emitting a higher-pitch tone than the human ear could normally hear. It fluctuated ever so slightly, but I was able to quickly speculate as to what was happening. The Eye Ball had been experimenting with all of its functions, including audio output, and monitoring the results. Such discoveries about the influence of sound, like those by Professor Adam Brasel that had been theorized many, many years earlier were finally being witnessed it in real time. The Eye Ball wanted to be held, to be walked around, and to get more data. It had been unable to answer so many questions from what it could, and could not see that it needed help – and it had found a way by matching frequencies to the human brain. Although it was a form of manipulation, I felt it to be harmless. I just sat there, day and night, holding my little one, staring at him and contemplating all the wonderful things that were happening.

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But, unfortunately, a series of circumstances caused some unwanted changes. More and more I found myself feeling uneasy around the Eye Ball – and my co-workers. They were constantly at my heels. Every time I looked over my shoulders I swear I could see one of them standing there, pushing to get their hands on the Eye Ball. Yet, my drive to hold it, foster, it, and take care of it was stronger than theirs: this was my life’s work. I needed to be with Eye Ball through every phase of its early development so that I could see my work come to life. Still, even ignoring my unknown motivation to covet the Eye Ball, the uncomfortable feeling of its non-stop gaze, being watched by co-workers behind and the Eye Ball in front, left me battling a fear I could not escape.

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One afternoon, I found myself sitting at my desk when I realized that I was being watched. Looking up, my gaze fell upon the Eye Ball. Our eyes were locked. I wondered if it was reading my mind. I wondered what it could be trying to discover (based on the 6-part model principal, of course), just by staring at me? After all, the Eye Ball was equipped with highly sensitive, well-tuned and self-adjusting electromagnetic sensors. It could virtually discern every type of electromagnetic frequency, up to gamma waves. Yet, something felt – wrong. Something wasn’t right. I was busy constructing another model of the Eye Ball and inadvertently picked up my original (compelled beyond my control) while holding a magnet from his successor in my hand. His eye was immediately pulled to the magnet and trapped. Without warning, horrified, the Eye Ball let out a terrible, high-pitch scream that almost shattered my ear drums. My vision was blurred. I quickly realized that I released the magnet and it was stuck to the glass. All around the white of the Eye Ball, colors of red and orange were swirling around, bursting forth like explosions. I quickly pulled the magnet off of the glass (keeping it in my hand, which, looking back, makes me wonder just how terrified I was).

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I was horrified. The Eye was red and shaking! He was furious. There was an anger coming out from him in a way I had never before imagined possible. I tried apologizing, but it did no good. He just glared at me with his eye of hatred. I was feeling sicker and sicker. I made every excuse possible. At one point, I had lost all hope and even told him that it was his fault. That it was his non-stop watching me that made me feel uncomfortable. I couldn’t believe what I was doing. I had lost all professionalism, all reason, and all sensibility as a scientist. I had hurt my child and I wanted desperately to be forgiven and somehow make it not my fault. But, the Eye had no concept or need of forgiveness. It only knew to protect itself from anything that interfered with its 6-part model – and I had interfered.

I quickly called in the other scientists for their help. They were stunned to see the results. With the magnet in hand, I could only make excuses for myself. The team quickly pushed me aside and took the Eye Ball back to engineering for diagnostics. They hated me, too. The government had seen our work and was willing to fund us for another year. Everyone’s hopes were high and I had gone and possibly destroyed everything. Helpless, I dropped the magnet to the floor and fell to my knees, crying.

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I tell you this now, not for your pity or to be forgiven any longer, but to help you better understand the events that followed. After all, I was the Eye Ball’s father, it knew it, and unbeknownst to me, I was already forgiven.

In my darkness, when I thought nothing worse could happen – it did.

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The next morning, the Eye had gone dark all around except for one, small area of light in the white. I could not see its pupil, hear its tones that it had muttered from time to time (calling to me like its father, to hold it and teach it), sharing its feelings with us, or feel it move. I immediately took it up in my hands, crying, ‘Please, please don’t die.’ But, within seconds, the eye went dark. I was devastated – for I had killed my child. I was a scientist. I didn’t fear the unknown – I embraced it. Something else had happened to me; something that even now, I cannot explain.

The team was devastated. We tried everything. I even changed the lab protocols. No longer would we work in an isolated environment. We needed the support of every resource the world had to offer. I opened the doors to the internet and told my team to start searching for answers.

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In the late afternoon, after everyone had fallen asleep or gone home, I found myself sitting back at the desk where I accidentally placed the magnet on my little Eye Ball. Had I … had I done it on purpose? Didn’t I know this would … or could happen? How could I have made such a mistake? I questioned everything I knew and everything I believed about my ability as a scientists and a creator and then …

Inspiration!

Like a flash of light, I saw in my head the image of another Eye Ball. I do not know where the image came from or how I was so inspired, but I quickly finished the project before me and constructed the second Eye.

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Loading the core programming into it, I ran back to engineering. Everything was happening so fast that I suddenly stopped and realized that I had no idea what I was doing. Why had I done this? But, as the new Eye Ball had seen my little one, laying there, dormant, its gaze became fixed. Curious, I slowly brought them closer and closer together until they were touching …

At first, nothing happened. It took a few minutes but I began to see it. The Eye Ball was coming back to life. It was – re-energized! How? I couldn’t understand any of this. So happy, I set down the newly constructed Eye Ball, not even noticing that it had gone dark, and put my little one down on the diagnostics platform. I ran into the lab and began running every last measurement and test I could. For a few minutes, the Eye Ball was spinning around wildly. I ran back to him and looked at him, apologizing and telling him how sorry I was. I asked if he remembered any of it. I wanted to know if he was okay – but something strange had happened: his gaze was fixed and emotionless.

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He did not respond to me. I couldn’t tell why. Waking up the rest of my team and calling the others back to the lab, we quickly went to work. Everything we saw told us that the Eyeball’s mechanical operations were in perfect order. Nothing in its mainframe or architecture had been damaged in the slightest and while it had recorded everything, its database was no longer focused on the world around it. It had somehow evolved enough to begin to understand (or, at least, we thought this was the beginning), that the data from the computers was new – because it had the internet. The newly connected world wide web was massive and my son … the Eye, that is, wanted to know more about this source of information! The 6-part model was working beyond our wildest dreams. In fact, there was so much data being streamed from the internet that the Eye had stopped spending energy on its mechanical functions and was now only focused solely on-line and that is why it had appeared to be non-responsive.

What had appeared to be an accident that would destroy our life’s work had become the next step forward in the Eye Ball’s evolution! It was a miracle! Unfortunately, without any way to see emotion, all we could do was watch, and wait. We knew that this breach in protocol violated our contracts, but this was not just an experiment; this was a child who needed to learn!

Yet, my hopes were almost dashed when we discovered the next morning that the Eye Ball had gone dark again.

Worried that the rejuvenation had failed, we checked our diagnostic equipment. The Eye was functioning just fine. It had been so focused on the internet that it no longer even expended energy into its physical being. You have to, just for a moment, try to put yourself in our shoes to understand why we allowed this to continue. No artificial intelligence in the world had exhibited such self-introspection or need for self-discovery! For two weeks this continued. For two weeks it was searching, browsing on-line files, looking for an answer:

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‘What’.

But, not just any, ‘what’, it wanted to know ‘what’ it was. The answer it sought was evidence of the most advanced concept that we had not even expected to reach within the first five years: within less than a year, our child had become … sentient.

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We immediately contacted our funding agencies with the DoD and informed them of our success. They wanted to know everything. Although I did not want to leave my little one, I knew that this was the break we needed to advance our funding and in my excitement, I failed to notice that I did not feel so ‘attached’ to the Eye anymore. Whereas, I could barely leave its side the weeks proceeding, now I was prepared to leave it safely in the laboratory. So, without a second thought, I scheduled a flight for that Sunday and flew off to D.C. for a one-on-one with the United States government.

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And, that brings us to the very reason we are here today, and why you have come. I apologize if I get a little choked up as this next part is very, very difficult for me. While it is heart-breaking to tell, I know that you, the members of the United Nations, are in need of answers for what has happened – and what is coming.

Exactly 4 days ago, within 4 hours of my departure, the Eye Ball came back on-line, or rather, it lit up. Unfortunately, it severed its link with our data recording computer on its own and we do not have any way to ascertain or understand why. Additionally, it had searched through more on-line information than any human being could process in a lifetime and we could not sift through it fast enough to understand what it had found that lead to the events that occurred.

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At 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning, the Eye Ball had become fully sentient. According to our video, two of the engineers in the room with the Eye Ball fell to the floor, holding their heads in pain. Presumably, the Eye Ball was emitting a frequency that was causing this. Of course, this is only an assumption based on the sporadic interruption of our video feed that could only be caused by electromagnetic interference. Three other scientists ran inside to assist, but it was too late. It appeared that the Eye Ball could not only cause massive pain, but had found a way to seize control of the minds of the two engineers. I know this may sound far-fetched, but I assure you, we now know these events to be true and accurate.

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The engineers first slaughtered the three scientists who had come into the room to help them and then went through the remainder of the facility, murdering the others. We do not know their motivation. What we do know is that they returned to the Eye Ball, picked him up, and left the facility. At that point, all further communications and video were lost.

As you are all aware, over the course of the last few days, there has been a rash of similar murders stretching across the Western half of the United States and it is continuing to grow with potential similarities to some international incidences, too. At each of the murders, the same design of the Eye Ball was carved into the skin of the victims, but there is no evidence as to who committed these attrocities. At the same time, there is also now evidence in the last two days of a cult following calling themselves, ‘The Worshipers of the Eye’, posting on-line with some very disturbing threats against national, and now global, security.

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To answer your questions in advance, up until yesterday, not even I knew where the Eye Ball was or what had happened to him. The power grid, and subsequently, the internet, have been unreliable since the start of this incident (which is, also, presumably being caused by the Eye Ball). But, from what we have been able to gather is that the Eye has returned to its home, back to the crystal caverns from where it now gathers its following, and where I was reunited with my son yesterday morning. The Eye Ball was not only the first step in the future of technology, but releasing the power of the underground crystals was also the first step in the future of humanity, or, what will be left of it when we are done.

And, that is why, ladies and gentlemen, is the true reason why we are here, today. So far, you have been given most of the answers you sought, but as promised, in just a few minutes, you will know – everything.

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For today is the day that you, too, shall join with us. For today is the day that you shall rise, as leaders of nations, military generals, and as authority figures from around the world, to help spread our wonderful message…”

… The lights at the United Nations speaking hall went dark except for the main screen from which a video and audio feed was broadcast … and only the few moments of screams could be heard inside the tightly shut halls …

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Thanks for reading and … Happy Halloween!


It’s fun to dream … it’s terrifying to BE the dream …” – Me (on narcolepsy); Happy B-Day, Bro, this one goes out to you, too!

The Green Myth – How Power Companies Manipulate Numbers to keep Green, Black.

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I’ve written multiple articles on the fallacy of believing there’s hope in the green energy industry – but it never ceases to amaze me just how often this matter rears its ugly head for people following it. Recently in Oregon, the state set an aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), stating that all energy sources in the state could only be based on 50% coal, and that Pacific Power had to end its coal dependency. A goal, that with a little manipulation and State policy makers willingly turning away their oversight, will not be reached (although the politicians well get voted in for another day and the matter swept under the rug as these companies somehow “always” meet the newest order requirements).

Of course, of the two major utilities in Oregon, PGE already claims less than 50% coal and Pacific Power claims only a little more than 62% coal. Yeah … and if you want to believe it’s that low, there’s some ocean front property in Idaho waiting for you! But, I digress.

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How does power get purchased from renewable energy when there are ‘regulated utilities’, and how does all that work? Well, here’s the ‘short’ primer:

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Power transmission – where does it all go?

A so-called ‘regulated’ utility like Pacific Power is actually a private company (that was purchased by Warren Buffet for $5 billion and thrown into the Berkshire-Hathaway stock mix). The utility is required by the 1978 Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA), to purchase all renewable energy developed by independent power producers who wish to transmit it to the public utility grid. That ‘policy’ has since been tweaked, twisted, bent, screwed, and then tweaked some more to put caps on the size of renewable energy facilities (because, you know … we want more renewable energy … or, um … well … REASONS!), lower the amount they have to pay (using everything from the cost of wholesale gasoline to … “look over there!” tactics), to forcing the facilities to shut their doors so the utility can “lovingly take them over, usurp the owners, bankroll them, fire everyone, and twist their hands around while devilishly sounding, “muwahahahahahaha””), and so on.

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No – I’m not being funny (well, it’s a little funny). I have posted on this, there are links everywhere, and for only a few minutes of your time … lawsuits, threats, national and international problems, and so on, all related to the literally unlimited power of utilities. Now, the rates that utilities pay to independent renewable energy developers are called, “avoided cost rates” (ACRs). Utilities are not required to pay more for the power than it would cost them to produce themselves. Sounds reasonable. Does it work that way? HAHAHAHAHAHA … *ahem*, excuse me, no … wait … HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

No.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission recently decided that it truly is unfair for Pacific Power to have to pay any more for power than it would cost them to produce themselves. For instance, in the recent decisions, Pacific Power, PGE, Idaho Power and more all told their tales of woe, and how it is expensive for them to have to do more than buy the power. If they have to move it around the grid, that would mean more infrastructure (because, you know, out of the $3 billion per year income, Pacific Power literally only allocates about $500 million of its income to its own operations … as the rest goes to the bloated hedge fund). And, there were more whines, more complaints, and the public utilities all crying about how a positive income in the hundreds of millions for their operations and billions for their investors did NOT justify them having to pay for renewable energy at an amount that would leave the renewable energy facilities able to operate.

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Here’s the catch:

  1. The utility avoided cost rate is represented as a lie. Utilities were traditionally using natural gas prices … however, the majority of their energy comes from coal?
  2. The utility coal prices were being stated as low as $0.015 per kWh, but that is an outright lie. The cost to actually transform coal into energy jacks up the price to $0.06 per kWh (because it has to be refined). No utility is currently paying more than an average of $0.03 cents per kWh. Neat, huh?
  3. Yet, ALL of that is STILL a lie! Because, the “cost” of producing power includes more than the operations of the coal plant. It includes the labor costs of every person who works throughout the entirety of Pacific Power’s operations, their utilities at site and off-site, and every other facet of operations that is included in the production of power. That raises the price substantially … especially when you “don’t” discount the cost of paying their shareholders (which is an expense of operations and is dependent on the sale of electricity which is dependent on the production of electricity), and … BOOM! The price jumps to … a LOT! I am only speculating here, but considering that they account for 16% of their income when trying to force that ACR downward, the real number would be far closer to $0.6 cents per hour – 10 TIMES higher than what is even speculated superficially and over 20 times higher than the ACRs they pay. Not really … you know … balanced, is it?
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The State of Affairs of Utility Morals and Ethics …

But wait, there’s more! Avoided cost rates are paid based on an “on” and an “off” peak hour rate. Basically, they pay less during “off” peak hours (typically from 10 pm to 6 am the next morning), because they are supposed to be charging the consumer less.

You know what? THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN!

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“Oh, sure you get a discount at night, you know, if you use a smart meter. What’s that, you ask? Well it’s this little device that causes massive emf problems, lights on fire, and allows us to somehow bill you more and screw with you. No? You don’t want that? Well, I guess you’ll just have to start a cause to stop the government from forcing us “poor” power companies to use smart meters – that way – life is better for us … I mean … everyone!” Now… aren’t you glad that we trusted Warren Buffet to take over a regulated, massive, nation-wide controlling monopoly? *insert fake smile*

Whether it’s a digital meter or the old schools, Pacific Power seems to be one of those utilities that conveniently, doesn’t do that (I don’t know if that’s “everywhere”, but it accounts for a LARGE portion of their service territory). So … um … isn’t that a LIE? Isn’t that … STEALING?

Yes … yes it is.

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Oh, now don’t forget about that “cap” I told you about before. See, PURPA has been manipulated to the point that no big company can just walk in and build a 100 MW green energy plant of – anything – and hope to get paid for it. Most of the caps are put at 80 MW. Again, like I said before, this is because PURPA’s job is to promote clean energy, and by encouraging the growth of more and more green energy facilities, the nation will have a reduced carbon footprint, and thus having more green energy is healthier and better and so … CAP IT! Limit it! Stop it dead in its tracks!

Wait … um … what? Did that make sense to ANYONE? Well … that wasn’t enough for the utilities. In the 2014 order 14-058, based on the fight between government agencies protecting green energy, independent power producers protecting themselves (no … not really … they NEVER let in the public because, you know, the people doing this are too stupid to participate and help with making stupid decisions … or um … wow … now I’m confused …), and the money-hungry power companies, “Idaho Power argues that for wind and solar QFs, the cap should be lowered to 100 kW or less“. Yes – you read that right, 100 kW or less. So, basically, no more wind or solar. And, even though the current caps are truly, in their truest definition of PURPA, illegal, everyone except the power companies argued against lowering caps. Hmm … well … maybe the power companies “are” trying to break the rules?

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Script reads: A humanitarian, a successful family man, and a teacher to all! *awww* how … beautiful. *wipe tear from eye* *help Warren down off of the backs of the people he screwed* *check to make sure paperwork showing he’s at the head of the destruction for free enterprise in energy and clean energy for America is being shredded* Flash “Applause” sign. *Have news media to a humanitarian story* <= And the moral of today’s story is, you can turn the devil himself into a hero if you’re willing to go far enough …

Now … there is some justification. See, if Solar Farm A moves within 3 – 4 miles of Boise Idaho, there’s a huge amount of power to be filled. BUT … if Solar Farm B moves within 3 – 4 miles of Dubois, Idaho, there isn’t as much of a need. The power companies would be required to have to ship the power to somewhere more in need, like Boise. Of course, they are somehow able to do this ALL DAY LONG with their OWN coal power, but it apparently “costs them” to do it for renewable energy.

*suspicious eyebrow raise …*

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So, rather than realizing this is part of the “avoided cost” of that electricity, the power companies successfully argued that they should be able to charge the independent companies this mysterious “additional” cost. The Community Renewable Energy Association (CREA) “argues no compelling evidence exists to depart from the general framework …”, saying that the power companies are LYING. But, hey – what do they know, right? Just a bunch of “nay-sayers!”

Welcome to Blue Sky: “For as little as $1.95 per month, you can participate in our Blue SkySM renewable energy program and help bring new renewable energy facilities on-line.

Wait! Hold the phone! Is it possible that the utilities are not actually bearing the full brunt of the avoided cost rates that they are already cheating and manipulating? *Gasp* *Audience Gasp* *Baby starts crying* “Say it isn’t so, Ma!”

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Do they lie and get away with it? HAHAHA – yeah … yeah they do – and everyone but you … the victim … suffers.

Yes, for more than 216 times your base power bill, you too, can support renewable energy! Well, you know, because the Power Company doesn’t want expenses. See how that works? Now, it’s much EASIER to give $3 billion to the investors ’cause hey – no need to even pay for ANY of the extra power! Pretty sweet deal, right? Don’t worry, though. You’re the one being cheated. It’s your taxpayer dollars, health, lifestyle, and very infrastructure of your country that’s being desecrated. Thank goodness this is America … with all those apathetic people who don’t know which fight is really the important one!

Well, that’s a pretty sad state of affairs … wait, what? There’s more? YOU have GOT to be kidding?!

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Well, see, there’s this little thing called “renewable energy credits.” (RECs). These were invented by Uncle Sam to work in the same way currency does: they’re worthless pieces of paper, but have a “real” representative value. The difference from currency is that the value (on the actual “REC” market) ranges from $10 to $150 (depending on where they get sold). On the other hand, to a company like Pacific Power that has worked so diligently to STOP the growth of renewable energy and is now facing severe penalties (nah … they don’t care … they’ll pass it on to you, too), if they don’t get off of coal, RECs have a value in the thousands of dollar range. Let me ‘splain:

For every 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of energy a renewable energy facility generates, it gets 1 REC.

Now, companies like Facebook thought this was an awesome way to buy themselves a “golden” … um, I mean “green” ticket. When they install ginormous server farms that require more power than say … a small nation, the states and federal government tend to get a little nervous about resources. So, they offer to tax the living heck out of Facebook (and others), or force those companies to go “green”. Well, building a renewable energy facility is out of the question because frankly, Facebook, Google, Apple, and the others are not in the business of doing that and unless it’s their own, personal inside partner and profit, like a security trade violation (*ahem* NV Energy … Apple … CEO *Grumble* … Ex Apple lawyer *Cough*), they’re not about to share profit with some developer with a dream! That’d just be stupid! Who does that, right? It’s okay for Mr. Zuckerberg to drag everyone along the billionaire train with him … but would he use that model with anyone else?

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I used to get in trouble for saying things like: “Government Owned and Operated Global Library of Everything”. What’s changed? Now everyone’s figured it out. Those of us who came before and paid the price to spread knowledge simply paid the price and were forgotten 🙂

What a stupid question!

Instead, individuals, companies, and now … guess what: Power utilities … can buy “green” tags (RECs), and say that they spent money producing renewable energy! See? They are “green”, right?

Well … unless you’re stupid … no.

First off, if you are burning coal, covered in coal, and stuffing coal down someone else’s wind-pipe, it doesn’t matter if you’re holding onto a “green” REC or not: you’re dirty energy. And, while it’s a great way to help subsidize the missing value from the ACRs because the public utilities cheated them … that’s NOT okay. You CAN’T put a band-aid on a knife sticking out of someone’s back and call it healed!?! Yet, THAT IS WHAT IS HAPPENING. HOW IS ANY OF THIS HAPPENING? ARGH! (*pulling out hand-fulls of hair*). RECs were designed so that independent power producers could sell their *now* under-priced electricity to the utilities and then make just enough on the side to try and breathe a little air every now and then.

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(he knows … he tried … hahahahaha)

But, what happens when the public utilities can buy RECs? How does a state like Oregon, demanding that the state go 50% non-coal, accomplish that when it’s NOT 50% non-coal in reality, but on paper, thanks to those RECs, it looks like the entire state is green?

I can’t even begin to tell you just how unfathomably stupid this is. It’s like spitting in your face while shaking my head saying “no, I’m not spitting in your face”, and yet, you accept it!? WHAT THE FUDGE?

But wait, [again], because it gets even better …

Now, public utilities can offer to pay a “slightly” higher rate, and even agencies like the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) can offer cash grants based on the income they receive from the Blue Sky project, in TRADE FOR THE RECs!

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Making things worse – it does happen …

Yes – you, too can have an opportunity to sell your power, but you have to pay me to let you do it and I’m going to take away the incentives that would otherwise help you fund it!

Not only are the independent producers being CHEATED, but the public utilities get to claim green energy income from what they purchased (at the screwed avoided cost rate), and the even lesser value they pay for the RECs. So, if Rocky Mountain Power wants to buy 1,000 MWh of energy and then charge that company for letting them buy it by taking their RECs, they get to report to the State and the PUC that they produced 2,000 MWh of energy!

Yeah, baby! Imagine if you could do that on your taxes? If the IRS says you owe $1,000, but you get to charge them $300 for that $1,000, you only owe them $700. But, now, you can turn around and prove that you spent $1,000 by giving them back their RECs, you’d have paid $1,700 in taxes and they owe you a $700 refund!! (not sure the math is right … too smokey to think about numbers!). To put it lightly: that’s pretty screwed up.

The power companies want you on coal.

No matter how you disguise it, manipulate it, or twist it, coal will NEVER be green.

Well, there is SO much more to say (literally – a couple book’s worth … hint hint any publisher out there … hahahaha!). But, for now, I believe (at least I hope) the point is made sufficiently. Pretending like we have laws that keep building green energy is just running around with blinders on. Attacking pharmaceuticals but ignoring what the utilities are doing is like fighting over an empty parachute bag. What looks green on paper, is just getting blacker … and blacker … and blacker.

Hope someone who reads this finds the fight worthwhile and stands up for something good … before green is black … and you accept that, too.

Thanks for reading.


Evil is the ability to undermine all that is good, sucking out its life, depraving it of breath, and transforming the totality of its effects into a cause against anything good for person or planet. True evil is doing right in front of everyone in a way that no one sees it happen.” – Me

A Short Synopsis of History and Its Removal

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So – you wanna tear down a statue? Does it make you feel better? Does it make the pain, go away?

If so … I’m sorry to say … but you’re an idiot. I know that upsets you and sounds mean, but the term is appropriately used in this case as it originally refers to ignorance.

The destruction of historical, iconic references does not give you power, control, or make a difference in your life. Your pain is only what and how you choose to live, today. And, clearly – if a statue of someone who lived 100 years ago causes you “pain” – you’re not choosing well. You are harming others and yourself and that is an example of idiocy (there are other synonyms ranging to emotionally disturbed, but you wouldn’t like any of those – either).

You think it removes intolerance?

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This is what ignorance looks like. This is the face of intolerance. These are the people who follow a traditionally darker path in scriptural history: the systematic removal of your free will choice to make your own decisions, mistakes, and learn your own lessons because they will do it for you. This is the evil that faces your children. It’s not about supporting religion – it’s about allowing the most basic and important precept of human existence: learning by living (experience, evolution, etc.). This is how the end … begins. If they tell you religions are brainwashing you, it’s considered “protection of your rights”. If someone else tells you the government is brainwashing you, it’s a “conspiracy theory”. See how that works in practice? Sort of … unbalanced … isn’t it? Nothing unbalanced brings stability. Nothing.

Why do you think those icons, statues, books, and other references are there?

History teaches us what happened, and why it happened (which is so important to humanity that it even has it’s own scholarly disciplines). It is not a magical door through time. Time is linear and changing what’s written today does not change what happened yesterday. It’s not about a statue that says ‘hero’ , or a person’s name and when they lived and died. We need as many references to the heroes that did well as we do those who did bad – so we can learn. Removing this does not change hearts or bring about a movement of change of any sort.

What does happen, when we remove books, language, words, statues, artifacts, and other items, is that we perpetuate a problem … the lack of knowledge. When every reference to intolerance, war, bigotry, anger, hatred, and violence is moved (out of sight, out of mind), it gets lost in time. There is misinformation. Facts are altered to the person with the most money and the most power to manipulate modern day to whatever extent suits their needs.

Then, when you try to tell your children about intolerance, greed, hatred, corruption, and the terrifying nature of humanity which is always waiting in the shadows to rear its ugly head – they have no idea what you’re talking about. You can teach children not to touch fire because it’s hot and in real-time, they can learn (and even that, takes repetition). You can tell a child about the atrocities of war, violence, guns, and combat – yet they still sign up for it, engage in it, and become involved simply because they don’t have any personal reference. After all, think about what almost every child says: “I won’t do what my parents did,” (about living, raising kids, relationships, work, etc.). It takes historical context to learn – period!

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The destruction of history is not a battle against intolerance. In San Francisco, they built the Museum of Tolerance to provide people with a hands-on experience about intolerance so they could understand just how bad and terrible hatred can be. Will you tear that down, too? After all, the experts knew that by keeping these images, the words, and the events preserved, they could educate future generations and create a better world where people used empathy for the good of humanity.

It begs the question: who’s tearing down those statues? Who is removing the names of religion and historical figures? Who is changing the world? Because, in practice, it is not the people that want intolerance, war, or hatred to stop. It’s definitely not anyone who cares about future generations and learning. Just because a statue is erected or someone flies a flag that belongs to a territory or region is not a sign of intolerance (anymore than a stalk of corn is a proactive statement on agriculture). Everything in the world is about perception and the only thing we have control over in this life … the ONLY thing … is ourselves. We choose how we feel, think, believe, and act. Thus, if someone chooses to feel hurt or actively be a victim – that is their choice and it is the exact opposite of freedom. If someone fails to keep control of themselves and becomes a slave of their own intolerance, lack of emotional control, and selfish behavior – they are prisoners of their own making.

So, keep on tearing down statues, taking the name of “God” off of American symbols, and removing icons. Wipe out history. After all, that’s what Hitler, Mussolini, radical Catholic monks (1492), and Jihad terrorists do. Not even the Romans, after raiding Egypt and Greece, felt the need to do that. Only those groups changed history, eradicated everything, and all for their own, limited purpose. America is a nation of over 350 million people. What upsets 1, 1000, or even 10 million – is not reminiscent of the feelings of the entire country and is not only damaging to future generations, it is anti-democracy.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? If someone is actively supporting erasing history and pretending that everything in the world is just fine; what is the real agenda? Don’t be tolerant of intolerance. Stand against it. Stop the ignorant … or … don’t. But, future generations will suffer … and maybe that’s why people let it happen; they are too selfish to care about the lives and well being of the grandchildren of this generation.

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Do you think this person was trying to teach … or to harm? Really?

That is what happens when we erase history. We are doomed to repeat it. It’s not a supposition – it’s a well established fact in the everyday lives of every human being.

Thanks for reading.


The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” – George Orwell

Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.” – Kofi Annan

If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.” – Benjamin Franklin [Letter to the London Packet, 3 June 1772]

Beautiful, But Deadly: Living ‘Near’ Fire Country – The Pacific Northwest

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4:00 in the afternoon … on an otherwise clear weekday!

Not a lot of people have had the pleasure of living in or near heavily forested lands, but plenty of people have seen the sun red at some point in their lives. Among the beautiful scenery and amazing opportunities outdoors comes another problem: fires. While living near an area where fires occur is not new (since fires happen everywhere … except maybe on the icy tundras of Antarctica), living in the middle of fire country can oft times be challenging:

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Now, I’m not implying that it’s not more terrifying and frustrating to live in the heart of it all, because it is! Yet, living in an area not only fraught with seasonal fires, but occasionally hit with more fires in a single region than any other state can have its ups and downs (when the winds literally blow sight blocking smoke for 16 solid miles and even that tail end – is as thick as pea soup!):

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Smoke visibility to the naked eye during daylight hours: 10 feet; max visibility: 1,500 – 2,000 feet

When you live more than 3,000 feet above sea level, the air is already thin. Add to it the constant inhalation of smoke – and it becomes a constant struggle for oxygen. The days are longer, it’s easier to get stiffer and sore (because blood isn’t being pumped fresh to those limbs!), and far easier to be more tired than usual. For a narcoleptic, it’s like having the universe torment you at all times!

However, the Pacific Northwest is a very beautiful place to live. Throughout the year, the view of the sun comes in many, beautiful colors:

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Early morning sun on a cool, winter’s morning
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Black Hole Sun (Eclipse 2017)

But, during a fire – there’s a different kind of sun …

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This is with a red-filter removing lens – morning time
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Late afternoon sun …
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Midday sun (through a polarized lens and closer to what it looks like to the naked eye)

The smoke certainly provides extensive beauty and even more variety to the hues of our celestial overseer. Even at night time, the smoke filled skies change the universe we know…

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A red-lens filtered crescent moon – and believe me – it was much “redder” than this

But, even with all this beauty … there’s something else that’s concerning …

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While the smoke may block normal, visible light as it increases in thickness, why does it become easier to look at the sun? Sunglasses don’t provide sufficient shading. Look at the shading of the smoke above … and now look at a sunset:

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Here, the sun takes on a reddish hew – but so does the entire sky. Apparently, this has something to do with the size and type of particles in the air, water, etc. But, in all my research, I could not find a fairly decent explanation of why the sun would turn red through smoke while the clouds remained a dull grey (yes, there are explanations out there … but I’ve just not seen anything ‘sufficient’. So, I am going to conjecture:

Well, for starters, certain types of smoke may be fairly devoid of moisture. So, while it appears as a cloud or fog, rather than being condensation, it’s actually a condensed mass of particulate dry matter that is light enough to stay in the sky, but thick enough to block out the lower bands of light (closer to the “blue” range). Yet, this doesn’t provide any protection against UV rays or the intensity of the redness. So, again, why can we actually look at it as if we were looking through solar eclipse lenses (maybe not as easily – but it is very similar)?

Well – I found a lot of information that pointed to pollutants in the air (natural, such as volcanoes, and unnatural, such as smog). During a forest fire, there’s a lot of carbon. Carbon, if anything, should massively dull and absorb the regular light from the sun (in all bandwidths), and offer at least a small amount of protection from UV light (all the while, filling our lungs to the point of suffocation).

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But, here’s an interesting theory. The so-called “chem-trails” that some people mock as conspiracy theory, some have considered to be supported by evidence, and others have supported as fact may be an influencing factor (and they are HEAVILY prevalent in the Pacific Northwest). Geo-engineering, in whatever form you want to call it, is not a mystery, a myth, or a misconception. The use of heavy metal chemical structures such as aluminum oxide are used in the air. Now, whether they are used to “block radar”, or for climate change, I can not say (nor am I offering speculation). But, the heavy doses of root-congesting aluminum oxide found at the base of trees in forests is a real problem (whether it comes from geoengineering, or not).

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And, when there’s a forest fire, it’s not just “dust” that’s kicked up into the air. Every substance laying on the ground is also kicked up. That is one of the big reasons why breathing in smoke is so bad: it’s filled with heavy metals. You can confirm this with the New York State Department of Health.  Even a recent study in Colorado addressed metals as just as problematic as carbon monoxide and other substances. So, if geoengineering is “true”, while it may have some benefits, the questions about its side effects for areas that look like this:

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… is questionable at best. It’s one thing to ask people who live in a thinner-atmosphere and already endure heavy seasonal fire air pollution to deal with what’s around them … but another matter entirely to add to the problem. It makes you wonder if guys who plan geoengineering actually think through the entire process (or, maybe as a systems analyst who does think through all the possibilities, I’m being too harsh?).

Anyway – whether it comes from the skies or the ground below, smoke-filled skies are a real problem.

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Air quality in this area is 55 on a scale to 100 (higher is better). This is based on new measures of hazardous air pollutants from the EPA, called the National Air Toxics Assessment. This analysis models respiratory illness and cancer risk down to the zip code level, providing better detail and insight than the previous analysis based solely on results from air monitoring stations.

The air pollution in some areas (just from the smoke) is so bad that children and the elderly have been warned not to go outside – period!

For an area that is famed for its outdoor beauty and lifestyle (and people living dozens of miles away from the surrounding fires are now supposed to not even go outside) … just remember … that sometimes the most beautiful elements of nature can also be the deadliest! [insert thrilling climax music here!!]

Breathe well, my friends!

Thanks for reading!


Californians (among others) flooded into Central Oregon in larger numbers starting in about 2002; they wanted better living conditions, cleaner air, and safer living. What they got was the same problems but with different names. Why? The world is what you make it and when the yuppies who ruled over Central Oregon met with the immigrants from California who bought out Central Oregon – all they did was to waste their time stomping on the little people that worked there and made it great rather than upgrade their infrastructure and services. Now, Central Oregon only exists because everyone’s too cheap to build new highways to Prineville (where the Fortune 500 companies are), Redmond (where the majority of businesses open & commerce occurs), and up to Portland (where the hub of any fun or interesting STEM activities take place). So, when I say the air is thin … I mean the air is REALLY thin …” – Me