Tag Archives: learning

unfamiliar environment unknown dangers

unfamiliar environment unknown dangers

music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OKQkZJJRkA 

As I finished assembling this blog entry, just before titling and adding the music, I thought that it was about our ability to gaze out into the world, and wandered for a while on search engines thinking about hunter-gathers’ vision, forecasting a post-global existence, and reflecting on the fact that I approach the end of a lifetime writing to a world that has, for the most part, and hopefully, only just begun theirs. 

Somewhere in this long pile of offerings is the idea that a purpose of journalism is so that we might make better decisions about our own small existence in a world that is driven for the most part by others with other values and interests than our own

As you read this, you can ask yourself who is aiding and abetting whom and, as Heinlein warns us in a book he wrote in 1955 about the final exam for a high school course to teach what one should do to survive in an unfamiliar environment with unknown dangers and in the midst of political leadership not unlike the type you find where you live, watch out for the stobor.

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https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/600/1*gI_eeXpeehk-khUT-y83Cw.png 

The phrase data-driven journalism is used by George Webb in his video series.  When I think of data-driven research and journalism, the first example that comes to my mind is the graphic which represented one example of the data research done by Catherine Austin Fitts that used “software, databases and pricing tools to identify and price existing and pro forma geographic flows of private and public income and investment on an integrated basis”

The shorter and more explicit phrase:

“follow the money”.  

“… Her numbers proved that S&L and HUD fraud were perpetrated by the same networks, in the same places, and involved the same use of federal credit.” 

If you are at all familiar with this remarkable woman, you are familiar with the roller-coaster ride she was taken on from there. If you are not, you can start here or go here or read her own online book Dunwalke

It was there where I discovered this:

http://www.dunwalke.com/images/photos/south_central_los_angeles_housing_map.gif 

 I suspect that, even though she probably does not consider herself a journalist (though her kinship with data and her curiosity have been critical in telling investigative research stories), George Webb once encountered this graphic too and understands the tremendous importance that the graphic has in the history of government-watching.  

The fascinating thing is how the same name pops up as both skeins of data-driven yarn get unraveled. 

Equally of interest is that both queries have to do with tracking the transportation, or trafficking, of things.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA_tNh0LMEs 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/48/Data_driven_journalism_process.jpg 

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“According to information architect and multimedia journalist Mirko Lorenz, data-driven journalism is primarily a workflow that consists of the following elements: digging deep into data by scraping, cleansing and structuring it, filtering by mining for specific information, visualizing and making a story.[2] This process can be extended to provide information results that cater to individual interests and the broader public.

Data journalism trainer and writer Paul Bradshaw describes the process of data-driven journalism in a similar manner: data must be found, which may require specialized skills like MySQL or Python, then interrogated, for which understanding of jargon and statistics is necessary, and finally visualized and mashed with the aid of open source tools.[3]

A more results driven definition comes from data reporter and web strategist Henk van Ess (2012).[4]Data-driven journalism enables reporters to tell untold stories, find new angles or complete stories via a workflow of finding, processing and presenting significant amounts of data (in any given form) with or without open source tools.” Van Ess claims that some of the data-driven workflow leads to products that “are not in orbit with the laws of good story telling” because the result emphazes on showing the problem, not explaining the problem. “A good data driven production has different layers. It allows you to find personalized details that are only important for you, by drilling down to relevant details but also enables you to zoom out to get the big picture”.

In 2013, Van Ess came with a shorter definition in [5] that doesn’t involve visualisation per se:

Datajournalism is journalism based on data that has to be processed first with tools before a relevant story is possible.”

[snip]

Based on the perspective of looking deeper into facts and drivers of events, there is a suggested change in media strategies: In this view the idea is to move “from attention to trust”. The creation of attention, which has been a pillar of media business models has lost its relevance because reports of new events are often faster distributed via new platforms such as Twitter than through traditional media channels. On the other hand, trust can be understood as a scarce resource.

much more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data-driven_journalism 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zg-C8AAIGg 

Published on Nov 23, 2012

View full lesson: …

http://ed.ted.com/lessons/david-mccandless-the-beauty-of-data-visualization  

David McCandless turns complex data sets, like worldwide military spending, media buzz, and Facebook status updates, into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.

Talk by David McCandless.

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DataDrivenJournalism.net is a hub for news and resources from the community of journalists, editors, designers and developers who use data to support journalism. The website is part of an European Journalism Centre initiative dedicated to accelerating the diffusion and improving the quality of data journalism around the world. We also run the online course Doing Journalism with Data as well as the School of Data Journalism, and are behind the acclaimed Data Journalism Handbook.

http://datadrivenjournalism.net 

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Data-centric journalism, once the domain of a few computer geeks hunched over in remote corners of the American newsroom, is coming to the forefront. With easier-to-use technology available, more data-savvy journalists are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in their niche. Heartened by social media buzz over such stories and prodded by competition hungry for unique content, news organizations are pouring money into recruiting talent and expanding their menu of stories derived from a mix of sophisticated number crunching, explanatory narratives and interactive graphics that weren’t possible in the old days of print.

“There’s more information now available through more people faster than ever before,” says Almar Latour, executive editor of The Wall Street Journal. “There is a lot more flexibility in displaying and telling stories.”

Data crunchers have been part of newsrooms since the 1980s, as “computer-assisted reporting” gained traction among editors looking to gain an edge. But the lack of computing power, dearth of talent who could handle data and heavy costs kept the endeavor in check….”

More:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/03/16/data-journalism-on-the-rise/6424671/ 

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http://towcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Tow-Center-Data-Driven-Journalism.pdf 

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“… Finally, make sure to share what you’re learning with others. Very often the questions people will ask you show challenges and motivate you to search for the right answers that you hadn’t thought of, increasing your knowledge and encourage you to try different approaches.

What I want to say is: If you want to do data-driven journalism, go ahead and start. Good ways to start learning include online courses, books and tutorials.

If you live in Latin America, you can take advantage of projects like Chicas Poderosas (“Powerful Girls”), which promotes the development of data-driven journalism skills through workshops that connect journalists, developers, designers, animators and storytellers and get them to work together on storytelling projects.

I also recommend global initiatives like Hacks & Hackers, which hosts meetups in many countries in and outside Latin America.

You must also commit to never stop learning. Even after you have developed advanced skills and a deep understanding of the techniques, tools and methodologies of analysis and visualization, there will always be a bigger challenge ahead – bigger datasets, new software to test, new techniques to try and different approaches to generate participation from people for whom your story is important…..”

More here:

https://www.propublica.org/nerds/item/data-driven-journalisms-secrets 

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“… data journalism is the peanut butter to the jelly of open government data releases: Journalists are a crucial component of confirming that the data public officials describe has actually been released in a form and quality that can be consumed….. In the video below, I moderate a Google+ Hangout with several notable practitioners of DDJ. We covered a lot of ground in 53 minutes, discussing what data journalism is, how journalists are applying it, the importance of storytelling, considering ethics, the role of open source software, “showing your work,” and much more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haOc54NmP0k

…. The stories data journalists can tell with these new tools and techniques reach the most aspirational heights available to the profession, revealing the hidden channels of money, power, and influence in society to the public and government, serving as a bulwark to democracy. That does not, however, make it a panacea. Just as data-driven policy can be corrupted by bad data, hidden biases, or mistaken analyses, journalists may also successfully clean and present data but fail to clearly tell a story to readers or wrap it in the necessary context. Skepticism and intellectual rigor becomes more important, not less, if journalists seek to apply a scientific mindset to their work.

While data journalism massive open online courses (MOOCs) offer bonafide new options for distributed learning, they are not a replacement for the experience of the hands-on workshops available to attendees….”

Alex Howard writes about how shifts in technology are changing government and society. A former fellow at Harvard and Columbia, he is the founder of “E Pluribus Unum,” a blog focused on open government and technology.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/data-driven-journalism-fuels-accountability-and-insight-in-the-21st-century/ 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZuNOeii1rs 

Data-Driven journalism for small newsrooms

90 minutes

International Journalism festival

[note that there is no sound for the first 90 seconds]

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJyjcVVtrQw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJyjcVVtrQw 

Data journalism tools: maps (beginner) (75 minutes)

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HYiV_skkek 

A breathless 25-minute tour of the universe of free software that’s available to help import, summarize, manage, graph and map your data. From statistical analysis in R and Python to geospatial analysis in QGIS, PostGIS, and Spatialite, we’ve got the tools for you.

This session is good for: Journalists held back by a shoestring software budget.

What you need to know: no previous knowledge required.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2zbvmXskSE 

10 minutes

Data-journalists are the new punks:

Simon Rogers at TEDxPantheonSorbonne in Paris the 8/11/12

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY-l9UQpf0Y

10 minutes

Citizen Journalism is Reshaping the World: 

Brian Conley at TEDxMidAtlantic

Brian Conley is director of Small World News and has been involved in media literacy and media democracy work for more than ten years and has trained journalists and citizen media makers in a dozen countries. Brian designed the program and training for IndiaUnheard a national “community news service” comprised of Indian community activists from all over the country, and he led Small World News’ work assisting Pajhwok Afghan News to develop a video service, which expanded the capacity of their provincial journalists to produce quality multimedia journalism. He has designed an array of projects leveraging emerging technologies to develop community media in conflict areas and repressive states.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niJJHZ7cjvo 

Lessons in investigative journalism

Carol Marin at TEDxMidwest (17:46)

Carol Marin, a Veteran Investigative Journalist, taps into her audience’s deeply rooted interest in bad guys and catastrophic events. She is completely captivating as she recounts thrilling tales of organized crime and political corruption in “The Windy City” as well as the fear and chaos of the day she spent rushing toward the falling Twin Towers in New York City.

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http://www.poynter.org/tag/data-driven-journalism/ 

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“Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.”

“Never tell me the odds!” ―C-3PO and Han Solo

Yogi Berra famously threw the fat lady off her stage in 1973 when he said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” With the rise of and reliance upon data-driven modeling of elections and sports we might just as well rephrase it as, “It’s over before it begins.” But we’d be wrong to do so.

Like most oddsmakers going into Super Bowl LI, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com, owned by ESPN, predicted the New England Patriots to win. Going into the half-time as the Falcons were up 28-3, the site gave the Patriots a less than 1 percent chance of winning. FiveThirtyEight tweeted: “That Patriots drive took another 5:07 off the clock and actually dropped their win probability from 1.1% to 0.5%.”

Of course we all know what happened next. In yet another brilliant statistical upset in a year of upsets, the Patriots defied all probability after the half. They scored 25 unanswered points, taking the Super Bowl into an historically uncharted overtime which they then proceeded to win—giving America, and the world at large, a clinic in determination, momentum, and the ability of human beings to surmount even the greatest of statistical odds.

It was a lesson in the value of risk taking and accomplishment; values that were once core elements in the American mythos but that increasingly have fallen out of favor in exchange for the perceived infallibility of data-driven models and analyses.

Since the mainstreaming of data punditry, exemplified by Nate Silver’s meteoric rise and FiveThirtyEight’s hallowed place in the culture, we’ve seen a cultural shift with regard to the use of statistics and data. Big Data, polling, and more specifically, Silver’s predictions, have become the equivalent of a mic-drop in any conversation about sports or politics.

Throughout the election cycle, on TV shows and social media feeds across the country, his pronouncements were treated as sacrosanct papal bulls. His data-driven analysis, whether accurate or not, provided gravitas for those seeking a more commanding way to eviscerate opponents in debate. “Silver gives Hilary a x percent chance to win the election” became the trump card in any conversation.

We’d moved to a point where we seemingly were willing to assign data modeling more value than the possible variances, irrationality and risk-taking inherent in human decision-making. This happened during the Super Bowl just as it happened during the election. In both cases, statistical models were held up as unassailable predictors.

And in both instances, they were wrong.

More here:

https://amgreatness.com/2017/02/07/nate-silver-fetish-data-driven-journalism/ 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYoO2RvZn7Y 

“The Gamma: 

Programming Tools for Data Journalism”

by Tomas Petricek  [38 minutes]

Published on Sep 28, 2015

Computer programming may not be the new literacy, but it is finding its way into many areas of modern society. In this submission, we look at data journalism, which is a discipline combining programming, data analysis and traditional journalism. In short, data journalism turns articles from a mix of text and images into something that is much closer to a computer program.

Most data journalists today use a wide range of tools that involve a number of manual steps. This makes the analysis error prone and hard to reproduce. In this video, we explore the idea of treating a data driven article as an executable program. We look how ideas from programming language research can be used to provide better tools for writing (or programming) such articles, but also to enable novel interactive experience for the reader.

The project also makes data journalism more accountable and reproducible. We let the reader verify how exactly are the visualizations generated, what are the data sources and how are they combined together.

Tomas Petricek

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE

Tomas is a computer scientist, book author and open-source developer. He wrote a popular book called “Real-World Functional Programming” and is a lead developer of several F# open-source libraries, but he also contributed to the design of the F# language as an intern and consultant at Microsoft Research. He is a partner at fsharpWorks (http://fsharpworks.com) where he provides trainings and consulting services. Tomas recently submitted his PhD thesis at the University of Cambridge focused on types for understanding context usage in programming languages, but his most recent work also includes two essays that attempt to understand programming through the perspective of philosophy of science.

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“Before joining CIR in January of 2008 Rosenthal had done pretty much everything that could be done done in a newspaper: copy-boy, reporter, foreign correspondent, investigative reporting and executive editor. He did not have a ring side seat to the collapse of the newspaper business model, he was in the ring, taking some serious shots. At CIR he is in the forefront of creating a new model for high quality, unique journalism, within the crucial niche of investigative reporting. He believes that the new newsroom must be innovative, risk taking, and nimble. The journalists, the story tellers — and story telling is central — must exist in a symbiosis with the technology wizards. Together they can find the answer to sustainability, audience growth and impact at a time when the credibility of news is under assault. Trustworthy organizations will not only have financial value, they are crucial to democracy.”

Recorded April 2, 2011 at The Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, San Francisco, California.

TEDxPresidio – Robert Rosenthal – Investigative journalism in the 21st Century

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgcxYCUmqeo [12 minutes]

 

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The concept of citizen journalism (also known as “public“, “participatory“, “democratic“,[1]guerrilla[2] or “streetjournalism[3]) is based upon public citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information.”[4] Similarly, Courtney C. Radsch defines citizen journalism “as an alternative and activist form of newsgathering and reporting that functions outside mainstream media institutions, often as a response to shortcomings in the professional journalistic field, that uses similar journalistic practices but is driven by different objectives and ideals and relies on alternative sources of legitimacy than traditional or mainstream journalism”.[5] Jay Rosen proposes a simpler definition: “When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another.”[6]

Citizen journalism is not to be confused with community journalism or civic journalism, both of which are practiced by professional journalists. Collaborative journalism is also a separate concept and is the practice of professional and non-professional journalists working together.[7] Similarly, Social Journalism is a separate concept denoting a digital publication with a hybrid of professional and non-professional journalism. Citizen journalism is a specific form of both citizen media and user-generated content. By juxtaposing the term “citizen”, with its attendant qualities of civic-mindedness and social responsibility, with that of “journalism”, which refers to a particular profession, Courtney C. Radsch argues that this term best describes this particular form of online and digital journalism conducted by amateurs, because it underscores the link between the practice of journalism and its relation to the political and public sphere.[8]

New media technology, such as social networking and media-sharing websites, in addition to the increasing prevalence of cellular telephones, have made citizen journalism more accessible to people worldwide. Due to the availability of technology, citizens often can report breaking news more quickly than traditional media reporters. Notable examples of citizen journalism reporting from major world events are, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the Arab Spring, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the 2013 protests in Turkey, the Euromaidan events in Ukraine, and Syrian Civil War and the 2014 Ferguson unrest.

Critics of the phenomenon, including professional journalists[who?], claim that citizen journalism is unregulated, too subjective, amateur, and haphazard in quality and coverage.

Theory[edit]

Citizen journalism, as a form of alternative media, presents a “radical challenge to the professionalized and institutionalized practices of the mainstream media”.[9]

According to Terry Flew, there have been three elements critical to the rise of citizen journalism: open publishing, collaborative editing, and distributed content.[10] Mark Glaser, a freelance journalist who frequently writes on new media issues, said in 2006:[11]

The idea behind citizen journalism is that people without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others. For example, you might write about a city council meeting on your blog or in an online forum. Or you could fact-check a newspaper article from the mainstream media and point out factual errors or bias on your blog. Or you might snap a digital photo of a newsworthy event happening in your town and post it online. Or you might videotape a similar event and post it on a site such as YouTube.

The accessibility of online media has also enhanced the interest for journalism among youth and many websites, like ‘Far and Wide’ a publication focusing on travel and international culture,[12] as well as WorldWeekly a news blog covering a range of topics from world politics to science,[13] are founded and run by students.

In What is Participatory Journalism?,[14] J. D. Lasica classifies media for citizen journalism into the following types:

1Audience participation (such as user comments attached to news stories, personal blogs, photographs or video footage captured from personal mobile cameras, or local news written by residents of a community)

2Independent news and information Websites (Consumer Reports, the Drudge Report)

3Full-fledged participatory news sites (one:convo, NowPublic, OhmyNews, DigitalJournal.com, GroundReport, ‘Fair Observer’

4Collaborative and contributory media sites (Slashdot, Kuro5hin, Newsvine)

5Other kinds of “thin media” (mailing lists, email newsletters)

6Personal broadcasting sites (video broadcast sites such as KenRadio)

The literature of citizen, alternative, and participatory journalism is most often situated in a democratic context and theorized as a response to corporate news media dominated by an economic logic. Some scholars have sought to extend the study of citizen journalism beyond the Western, developed world, including Sylvia Moretzsohn,[15] Courtney C. Radsch,[16] and Clemencia Rodríguez.[17] Radsch, for example, wrote that “Throughout the Arab world, citizen journalists have emerged as the vanguard of new social movements dedicated to promoting human rights and democratic values.”[18]

Versus “grassroots media”[edit]

One criticism of the term “citizen journalism” to describe this concept is that the word “citizen” has a conterminous relation to the nation-state. The fact that many millions of people are considered stateless and often, are without citizenship (such as refugees or immigrants without papers) limits the concept to those recognised only by governments. Additionally, the global nature of many participatory media initiatives, such as the Independent Media Center, makes talking of journalism in relation to a particular nation-state largely redundant as its production and dissemination do not recognise national boundaries. Some additional names given to the concept based on this analysis are, “grassroots media,” “people’s media,” or “participatory media.”

Relationship to local journalism[edit]

Criticisms have been made against citizen journalism, especially from among professionals in the field. Citizen journalists are often portrayed as unreliable, biased and untrained – as opposed to professionals who have “recognition, paid work, unionized labour and behaviour that is often politically neutral and unaffiliated, at least in the claim if not in the actuality”.[19] Citizen journalists gather material by being on the streets. Their tools can be narrowed down to a camera, social media and an instinct to start recording whenever something seems newsworthy or out of order. Much of their knowledge regarding the issues that are raised are obtained through their experience as a part of the community.

However, some major news reporting agencies, threatened by the speed with which news is reported and delivered by citizen journalism, have launched campaigns to bring in readers and financial support. For example, Bill Johnson, president of Embarcadero Media, which publishes several northern California newspapers, issued an online statement asking readers to subscribe to local newspapers in order to keep them financially solvent. Johnson put special emphasis on the critical role played by local newspapers, which, he argues, “reflect the values of the residents and businesses, challenge assumptions, and shine a light on our imperfections and aspirations.”[20]

History[edit]

The idea that every citizen can engage in acts of journalism has a long history in the United States. The contemporary citizen journalist movement emerged after journalists began to question the predictability of their coverage of events such as the 1988 U.S. presidential election. Those journalists became part of the public, or civic, journalism movement, which sought to counter the erosion of trust in the news media and the widespread disillusionment with politics and civic affairs.[21][22][23]

Initially, discussions of public journalism focused on promoting journalism that was “for the people” by changing the way professional reporters did their work. According to Leonard Witt, however, early public journalism efforts were “often part of ‘special projects’ that were expensive, time-consuming, and episodic. Too often these projects dealt with an issue and moved on. Professional journalists were driving the discussion. They would have the goal of doing a story on welfare-to-work (or the environment, or traffic problems, or the economy), and then they would recruit a cross-section of citizens and chronicle their points of view. Since not all reporters and editors bought into this form of public journalism, and some outright opposed it, reaching out to the people from the newsroom was never an easy task.” By 2003, in fact, the movement seemed to be petering out, with the Pew Center for Civic Journalism closing its doors.

With today’s technology the citizen journalist movement has found new life as the average person can capture news and distribute it globally. As Yochai Benkler has noted, “the capacity to make meaning – to encode and decode humanly meaningful statements – and the capacity to communicate one’s meaning around the world, are held by, or readily available to, at least many hundreds of millions of users around the globe.”[24] Professor Mary-Rose Papandrea, a constitutional law professor at Boston College, notes in her article, Citizen Journalism and the Reporter’s Privilege, that:[25]

[i]n many ways, the definition of “journalist” has now come full circle. When the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was adopted, “freedom of the press” referred quite literally to the freedom to publish using a printing press, rather than the freedom of organized entities engaged in the publishing business. The printers of 1775 did not exclusively publish newspapers; instead, in order to survive financially they dedicated most of their efforts printing materials for paying clients. The newspapers and pamphlets of the American Revolutionary era were predominantly partisan and became even more so through the turn of the century. They engaged in little news gathering and instead were predominantly vehicles for opinion.

The passage of the term “journalism” into common usage in the 1830s occurred at roughly the same time that newspapers, using high speed rotary steam presses, began mass circulation throughout the eastern United States. Using the printing press, newspapers could distribute exact copies to large numbers of readers at a low incremental cost. In addition, the rapidly increasing demand for advertising for brand-name products fueled the creation of publications subsidized, in large part, by advertising revenue. It was not until the late nineteenth century that the concept of the “press” metamorphized into a description of individuals and companies engaged in an often-competitive commercial media enterprise.

[snip]

Citizen journalists[edit]

According to Jay Rosen, citizen journalists are “the people formerly known as the audience,” who “were on the receiving end of a media system that ran one way, in a broadcasting pattern, with high entry fees and a few firms competing to speak very loudly while the rest of the population listened in isolation from one another— and who today are not in a situation like that at all. … The people formerly known as the audience are simply the public made realer, less fictional, more able, less predictable.”[37]

Abraham Zapruder, who filmed the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy with a home-movie camera, is sometimes presented as an ancestor to citizen journalists.[38] Egyptian citizen Wael Abbas was awarded several international reporting prizes for his blog Misr Digital (Digital Egypt) and a video he publicized of two policemen beating a bus driver helped lead to their conviction.[39]

Public Journalism is now being explored via new media, such as the use of mobile telephones. Mobile telephones have the potential to transform reporting and places the power of reporting in the hands of the public. Mobile telephony provides low-cost options for people to set up news operations.[citation needed]

During 9/11 many eyewitness accounts of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center came from citizen journalists. Images and stories from citizen journalists close to the World Trade Center offered content that played a major role in the story.[40][41]

In 2004, when the 9.1-magnitude underwater earthquake caused a huge tsunami in Banda Aceh Indonesia and across the Indian Ocean, a weblog-based virtual network of previously unrelated bloggers emerged that covered the news in real-time, and became a vital source for the traditional media for the first week after the tsunami.[42] A large amount of news footage from many people who experienced the tsunami was widely broadcast,[43](subscription required) as well as a good deal of “on the scene” citizen reporting and blogger analysis that was subsequently picked up by the major media outlets worldwide.[42] Subsequent to the citizen journalism coverage of the disaster and aftermath, researchers have suggested that citizen journalists may, in fact, play a critical role in the disaster warning system itself, potentially with higher reliability than the networks of tsunami warning equipment based on technology alone which then require interpretation by disinterested third parties.[44]

The microblog Twitter played an important role during the 2009 Iranian election protests, after foreign journalists had effectively been “barred from reporting”. Twitter delayed scheduled maintenance during the protests that would have shut down coverage in Iran due to the role it played in public communication.[45]

Sometimes citizen journalists are, at the same time, bloggers and after some time they often become professional journalists, just as[when?] Paweł Rogaliński, a prized[by whom?] Polish blogger and journalist did.[citation needed]

Criticisms[edit]

Objectivity[edit]

Citizen journalists also may be activists within the communities they write about. This has drawn some criticism from traditional media institutions such as The New York Times, which have accused proponents of public journalism of abandoning the traditional goal of objectivity. Many traditional journalists view citizen journalism with some skepticism, believing that only trained journalists can understand the exactitude and ethics involved in reporting news. See, e.g., Nicholas Lemann, Vincent Maher, and Tom Grubisich.

An academic paper by Vincent Maher, the head of the New Media Lab at Rhodes University, outlined several weaknesses in the claims made by citizen journalists, in terms of the “three deadly E’s”, referring to ethics, economics, and epistemology. The paper has been criticized in the press and blogosphere.[46]

An analysis by language and linguistics professor, Patricia Bou-Franch, found that some citizen journalists resorted to abuse-sustaining discourses naturalizing violence against women. She found that these discourses were then challenged by others who questioned the gendered ideologies of male violence against women.[47]

Quality[edit]

An article in 2005 by Tom Grubisich reviewed ten new citizen journalism sites and found many of them lacking in quality and content.[48] Grubisich followed up a year later with, “Potemkin Village Redux.”[49] He found that the best sites had improved editorially and were even nearing profitability, but only by not expensing editorial costs. Also according to the article, the sites with the weakest editorial content were able to expand aggressively because they had stronger financial resources.

Another article published on Pressthink examined Backfence, a citizen journalism site with three initial locations in the D.C. area, which reveals that the site has only attracted limited citizen contributions.[50] The author concludes that, “in fact, clicking through Backfence’s pages feels like frontier land -– remote, often lonely, zoned for people but not home to any. The site recently launched for Arlington, Virginia. However, without more settlers, Backfence may wind up creating more ghost towns.”

David Simon, a former Baltimore Sun reporter and writer-producer of the popular television series, “The Wire,” criticized the concept of citizen journalism—claiming that unpaid bloggers who write as a hobby cannot replace trained, professional, seasoned journalists.

“I am offended to think that anyone, anywhere believes American institutions as insulated, self-preserving and self-justifying as police departments, school systems, legislatures and chief executives can be held to gathered facts by amateurs pursuing the task without compensation, training or for that matter, sufficient standing to make public officials even care to whom it is they are lying to.”

An editorial published by The Digital Journalist web magazine expressed a similar position, advocating to abolish the term “citizen journalist”, and replacing it with “citizen news gatherer”.

“Professional journalists cover fires, floods, crime, the legislature, and the White House every day. There is either a fire line or police line, or security, or the Secret Service who allow them to pass upon displaying credentials vetted by the departments or agencies concerned. A citizen journalist, an amateur, will always be on the outside of those lines.

Imagine the White House throwing open its gates to admit everybody with a camera phone to a presidential event.”[51]

While the fact that citizen journalists can report in real time and are not subject to oversight opens them to criticism about the accuracy of their reporting, news stories presented by mainstream media also misreport facts occasionally that are reported correctly by citizen journalists. As low as 32% of the American population have a fair amount of trust in the media.[52]

Legal repercussions[edit]

Edward Greenberg, a New York City litigator,[53] notes higher vulnerability of unprofessional journalists in court compared to the professional ones:

“So-called shield laws, which protect reporters from revealing sources, vary from state to state. On occasion, the protection is dependent on whether the person [who] asserted the claim is in fact a journalist. There are many cases at both the state and federal levels where judges determine just who is/is not a journalist. Cases involving libel often hinge on whether the actor was or was not a member of the “press”.”[51]

The view stated above does not mean that professional journalists are fully protected by shield laws. In the 1972 Branzburg v. Hayes case the Supreme Court of the United States invalidated the use of the First Amendment as a defense for reporters summoned to testify before a grand jury. In 2005, the reporter’s privilege of Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper was rejected by the appellate court.

Proponents and facilitators[edit]

Dan Gillmor, former technology columnist with the San Jose Mercury News, is one of the foremost proponents of citizen journalism, and founded a nonprofit, the Center for Citizen Media,[54] to help promote it. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation‘s French-language television network also has organized a weekly public affairs program called, “5 sur 5”, which has been organizing and promoting citizen-based journalism since 2001. On the program, viewers submit questions on a wide variety of topics, and they, accompanied by staff journalists, get to interview experts to obtain answers to their questions.[citation needed]

Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, was one of public journalism’s earliest proponents. From 1993 to 1997, he directed the Project on Public Life and the Press, funded by the Knight Foundation and housed at NYU. He also currently runs the PressThink weblog.

Professor Charles Nesson, William F. Weld Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, chairs the Advisory Board for Jamaican citizen journalism startup On the Ground News Reports.[55]

One of the leading proponents for citizen journalism in Australia is Margo Kingston, author and former political journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald. Kingston launched one of the world’s first mainstream citizen journalism platforms, Webdiary, in 2000, well before the New York Times, Washington Post and The Guardian. Kingston resigned from Webdiary in 2005 but the site continues and has been preserved in Pandora, Australia’s National Web Archive. After a period of retirement, Kingston returned to citizen journalism in 2013 by co-publishing a new site No Fibs. It was on this site that Kingston published an exclusive story that the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, had inappropriately claimed expenses for promoting his book.[56]

In March 2014, blogger and novelist James Wesley Rawles launched a web site that provides free press credentials for citizen journalists called the Constitution First Amendment Press Association (CFAPA).[57][58] According to David Sheets of the Society for Professional Journalists, Rawles keeps no records on who gets these credentials.[57]

Maurice Ali, a citizen journalist from Canada, founded one of the first international citizen journalist associations called the International Association of Independent Journalists Inc. (IAIJ) in 2003. The association through its President (Maurice Ali) have published studies and articles on citizen journalism, attended and spoken at UNESCO[59] and United Nations events[60][61] as advocates of citizen journalism worldwide.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_journalism 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czLI3oLDe8M 

[85 minutes]

Published on Oct 31, 2014

Deep Learning: Intelligence from Big Data

Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Knight Management Center – Cemex Auditorium

641 Knight Way, Stanford, CA

A machine learning approach inspired by the human brain, Deep Learning is taking many industries by storm. Empowered by the latest generation of commodity computing, Deep Learning begins to derive significant value from Big Data. It has already radically improved the computer’s ability to recognize speech and identify objects in images, two fundamental hallmarks of human intelligence.

Industry giants such as Google, Facebook, and Baidu have acquired most of the dominant players in this space to improve their product offerings. At the same time, startup entrepreneurs are creating a new paradigm, Intelligence as a Service, by providing APIs that democratize access to Deep Learning algorithms. Join us on September 16, 2014 to learn more about this exciting new technology and be introduced to some of the new application domains, the business models, and the key players in this emerging field.

Moderator

Steve Jurvetson, Partner, DFJ Ventures

Panelists

Adam Berenzweig, Co-founder and CTO, Clarifai

Naveen Rao, Co-founder and CEO, Nervana Systems

Elliot Turner, Founder and CEO, AlchemyAPI

Ilya Sutskever, Research Scientist, Google Brain

Demo Companies**:

Clarifai | SkyMind | Ersatz Labs | AlchemyAPI

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http://i0.wp.com/www.pollockmarketinggroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/unravelled_yarn_knitting.jpg

One of the fascinating things about the reading I have done for the past twelve years is the continual presence of the term enterprise software; some examples include the whole story, several books, and multiple articles about PROmis, the descriptions by Indira Singh and Richard Andrew Grove relative to 9/11( https://www.corbettreport.com/articles/20100305_911_whistleblowers.htm ) (but read this https://realitybloger.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/spin-job-the-odd-case-of-richard-andrew-grove/ ), and now this (which I do not suggest was involved in either of those yarns). 

 

YARN is the architectural center of Hadoop that allows multiple data processing engines such as interactive SQL, real-time streaming, data science and batch processing to handle data stored in a single platform, unlocking an entirely new approach to analytics.

More here:

http://hortonworks.com/apache/yarn/ 

music: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAoty-WyX0U 

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Friday, 10 February 2017

Political Networking (how social networking is changing politics forever)

Social networking is changing politics, that fact should be clear by now.  A simple proof:  Trump wouldn’t be in the White House without it.

But where is political networking taking us?  That’s the BIG question. I’ve been doing lots of thinking about this (it’s going into my book). Here’s my shorthand for where our political system is headed. We have three political networks to choose from:

1 Insurgency

2 Orthodoxy

3 Participatory

Insurgency

Trump used an open source insurgency (I first wrote about this back in 2004) to become president. This insurgency didn’t just with the election, it:

•blew up both the Republican and Democrat parties

•did it without much organization or advertisement spending

•accomplished it despite vocal and strident opposition from the entire media establishment (from NY to Hollywood), all of academia, and most of Silicon Valley

Trump’s insurgency worked like open source insurgencies in the past (from the Iraq war to Egypt/Tunisia).

•An open source insurgency is a loose network (meshed) that is composed of many individuals and small groups working independently, but united by a single purpose (in this case: electing Trump).

•Open source insurgencies are much more innovative than their bureaucratic counterparts. They constantly coming up with and trying out new ideas. For example: the seventy to one hundred groups in the Iraqi insurgency rolled out new innovations (tactics to weapons) in days, while it took months for the US military to counter them.

•Trump accelerated and directed this insurgency by interacting with it.  For example, he accelerate the innovation of the insurgency by paying attention to it (read Gustavo’s essay for more). Tweets and media mentions incentivised innovation and spread new ideas across the insurgency in minutes (not days/weeks).   Trump also selected targets for the insurgency. In many, many instances, Trump directed the insurgency to silence individuals in the opposition through a torrent of online/offline abuse.

Trump’s currently trying to adapt this insurgency to govern.  Where will it take us? Early results suggest that Trump’s insurgency is better suited for dismantling a large, bureaucratic government and international order than running it. It’s also the type of network that will erode the rule of law over time.

Orthodoxy

The second form of political social networking I’m seeing is found in the opposition to Trump’s presidency.  Right now, it’s known as the #resistance   The orthodoxy wasn’t planned, it:

•arose out of the ashes of the political parties and it is growing without any formal leadership

•is ALREADY firmly in control of nearly all public forums

•enforces opposition to Trump

The orthodoxy is an open source insurgency in reverse.  It uses social networking to crack down on deviation and dissent.

•The orthodoxy is tightly interconnected network that uses social networking to exert pressure on people to accept the orthodox position (in this case: #resistance to Trump).

•Online orthodoxies grow through peer pressure and disconnecting deviants from the network.  It doesn’t innovate.  It rejects, cajoles, and pillories.

•This online orthodoxy is growing at an accelerated pace because Trump feeds the outrage that fuels it.

How will an orthodox network govern?  It will eventually formalize compliance with the orthodoxy. Compliance, evidenced by a long social networking history, will qualify people for positions of authority and power. Any deviation will result in bans, loss of income, etc. until the target repents.  This orthodoxy will work in parallel to the rule of law and likely exceed its coercive power over time.

Participatory

This form of social networking doesn’t have an example in the US yet.

•The Movement 5 Star in Italy is a political party run as a social network.  It is running number one in the polls, has mayor in Rome and Turin, and recently deposed the Prime Minister.

•The political representatives the M5S sends to Rome must vote the way the party tells them to vote.  They aren’t independent.

•The M5S is a participatory political party.  The people in the party debate the issues and vote on how their representatives should vote in Rome.

The participatory party is still young, but it combines the fluidity of the “insurgency” with the solidarity of “orthodoxy.”

•A participatory party could be run as a cell phone app.  This would allow it to scale… to 70 plus million members is possible.

•Unlike current political parties, this party wouldn’t just vote every 2 years to elect candidates.  It would operate continuously.  Voting on all major issues.

•A participatory party could arise independently, growing virally, or it could coopt an existing political party from the inside out.

How would a participatory network govern?  Unlike the other systems, it has the best chance of working within the confines of the current US Constitution.  It also has the strength to tame political distortions caused by globalization without resorting to the extremes of either the orthodoxy or the insurgency.

My bet is on a participatory political system made possible by social networking.  It’s the best chance for a better future.  A system where we put social networking to work for us instead of against us.

Of course, the reality is probably something different: we’re prepping for a civil war.

Sincerely,

John Robb

Posted by John Robb on Friday, 10 February 2017 at 05:13 PM | Permalink

attraction destruction

attraction destruction

Barack Obama ended opium eradication efforts in Afghanistan in 2009, effectively green lighting Afghan opium production and the Afghan heroin trade. By 2010, all US efforts to eradicate Afghan opium ceased. It has been US policy to allow Afghan opium growing and the heroin trade since. US heroin deaths tripled from 3,036 in 2010 to 10,574 in 2014 as a result.

{**}  https://www.youtube.com/music audio  {**}

Vanda Felbab-Brown at the Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank that often writes reports supporting the Obama Administration, penned “No Easy Exit: Drugs and Counternarcotics Strategies in Afghanistan” in advance of the April 2016 UN Summit on Drugs (UNGASS). No way out for Uncle Sam is more like it. The report is notable for what it omits, which is any mention of the heroin epidemic, the deadliest illicit drug epidemic in history, or any of the tens of thousands of Americans killed by heroin since Obama took office.

The Bush Administration had an Afghan opium eradication program in effect, carried out by DynCorp. Obama didn’t renew DynCorp’s eradication contracts, effectively ending all US efforts to eradicate opium. (Afghan government eradication efforts in 2014, resulted in 1.1% of the Afghan opium crop being eradicated. The NY Times reported that the Afghan government will no longer eradicate opium crops as of 2016.) Heroin is made from opium.

Ms. Felbab-Brown might as well have said “let them eat cake” to the tens of thousands of Americans killed by heroin since 2009, the millions now hooked on heroin and the tens of millions living in terror because of loved ones now hooked on this deadly poison.

US policy changed to permit opium growing and the heroin trade during Obama’s first year in office, as a way to minimize US troop casualties in Afghanistan. And to maximize US civilian casualties in the US from heroin.

The CIA defines blowback as the ‘consequences at home of operations overseas.’

Since ending eradication efforts, US heroin deaths shot up from 3,036 (2010) to 5,925 (2012) to 10,574 in 2014. The heroin death toll continues to shoot up as does the number of heroin users, from the 1,500,000 US heroin users in 2010 to 4,500,000 users in 2015. As heroin deaths under Obama tripled, so has heroin usage.

There were 7,600 hectares of Afghan opium poppies when the War in Afghanistan began in 2001. (1 hectare = 2.5 US acres.) In 2009, there were 123,000 hectares. By 2014, Afghan poppy fields spread to 224,000 hectares resulting in a bumper crop of 6,400 tons of opium, enough to make 640,000 kilograms of heroin, thanks to Obama. Opium yields far greater profit than foods like wheat or corn, so opium production will continue to rise without serious eradication efforts.

Afghanistan is by far the number one producer of opium and heroin. Total worldwide opium production was 7,554 tons in 2014, of which 85% came from Afghanistan. The remaining 1,154 tons are primarily from Myanmar, Laos, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam.

Mexico produced 162 tons of opium in 2014, enough to make 16,200 kilograms of heroin. An average heroin addict takes 0.15 kg of heroin a year, meaning Mexican heroin could only supply 108,000 heroin addicts. Heroin from Mexico cannot supply even 10% of US heroin demand.

Yet the DEA claims most heroin in the US is from Mexico. I asked Barbara Carreno and Russell Baer at the DEA questions like how such a mathematical impossibility was told by the DEA. They dodged many questions, claiming only 4% of heroin is from Afghanistan and the rest is mostly from Mexico. Carreno and Baer acknowledged 90% of heroin in Canada is from Afghanistan, but wouldn’t acknowledge that the USA has a border with Canada, only with Mexico.

We’re getting hit with the largest ever illicit drug epidemic in American history and the DEA is asleep at the wheel.

USA’s now #1 for heroin use. US heroin demand is 415,000 kilograms a year. The whole world, except Afghanistan, could only produce 115,400 kilograms of heroin (2014), not enough for even a third of the mushrooming US demand. Most heroin in the US is coming from US-occupied Afghanistan, there is no other mathematical possibility. There is no other physical possibility.

Carreno and Baer stated “we are a small press office with many queries to answer, and your line of questioning is expanding. I’m sorry to have to say that we will not able to assist you further.” I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for information about what the DEA has been doing (if anything) about Afghan opium and heroin.

I also asked the DEA people if they know how bad the heroin epidemic’s gotten or have any sense of urgency about it, they dodged these questions too. An American now gets killed every 32 minutes by heroin. Carreno and Baer seemed like they couldn’t care less and they don’t feel like answering most questions asked.

Perhaps the DEA people would answer questions (or plead the 5th) at Congressional Hearings.

Basic math shows that Mexico cannot produce enough heroin for even 1/10th of US demand. Besides 4,500,000 American heroin users (2,500,000 addicts and 2,000,000 casual users) and 10,000+ US heroin deaths a year, are the tens of millions of loved ones and neighbors living through hell because of this biggest ever drug epidemic in history.

One New Yorker summed it up “with heroin addicts on every block now, it’s like a zombie invasion.” One small American town has 190 HIV+ people due to IV narcotics use. The War in Afghanistan is the longest ever war in US history and the “collateral damage” of Americans being killed by Afghan heroin is shooting up.

Afghanistan has been known as the Graveyard of the Empires since Alexander the Great. Afghan heroin may yet destroy the American Empire. Since Obama green lighted Afghan opium and heroin, crime’s been shooting up in many places like Baltimore, considered to be ground zero for the heroin epidemic and the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the nation.

False narratives have proliferated recently about the heroin epidemic. One such narrative is ‘the Mexicans did it.’ Mexico, producing enough opium for 16.2 tons of heroin (2014), has enough for only 4% of current US heroin demand. The Mexicans didn’t do the heroin epidemic. (Colombia produced 2 tons of heroin in 2014, not enough for even 1% of the US heroin market.)

Another false narrative, ‘the doctors did it’ alleges patients got hooked on painkillers then turned to heroin. Not true. Only 3.6% of patients taking narcotic painkillers go on to take heroin.

‘Myanmar did it.’ Myanmar, a distant 2nd for heroin production, produced enough opium for 67 tons of heroin (2014), not enough for even 1/4th of US demand. Plus, Myanmar’s heroin goes to Asia, Australia and Europe. Not US.

“Genetics did it” which says ‘10% of people are prone to addiction, so genetics is the reason for the heroin epidemic.’ Human genetics hasn’t changed much the past 15 years. What has changed is Afghan opium production shot up from 7,600 hectares (2001) to 224,000 hectares (2014), a 29-fold increase.

‘Treatment is the solution.’ Treatment is a few fingers in a dyke that has sprung millions of holes. As Afghan heroin floods in, heroin use shoots up.

In Afghanistan, where heroin’s been as readily available as Coca-Cola since 2009, 8% of the people are addicted to narcotics. Following the footsteps of US policy in Afghanistan would mean 8% of the US population, 25,500,000 Americans, becoming addicted, which would be more like a zombie victory than a zombie invasion and would solidify Obama’s legacy as Heroin Dealer In Chief.

‘Decriminalize’ and “marijuana is like heroin” are additional narratives, about marijuana legalization in some places and Portugal’s decriminalization of personal possession of all drugs in 2001. Heroin’s not marijuana and trafficking tons of heroin is not personal possession. Apples and oranges.

Heroin is physically addictive within 30 days of daily use. Heroin kills 40x more than cocaine does and over 100x more than marijuana. Just as there are vast differences between swallowing a pint-size OJ, a Heineken or 3 liters of rum, so too there are vast differences between drugs. Decriminalizing personal possession of drugs is not comparable to decriminalizing trafficking tons of heroin.

Heroin traffickers no doubt want decriminalization instead of life imprisonment just as the makers of the world’s #1 narco state, Afghanistan, want people confused and distracted away from what they did.

The latest DEA narratives: ‘W-18 did it’ and ‘heroin deaths are over-reported’. Synthetics like W-18 are a drop in the overflowing heroin epidemic bucket. Heroin breaks down to morphine in the body within hours, gets recorded by American coroners as morphine (prescription drug) overdoses, resulting in under-reporting of heroin deaths by as much as 100%. The real US heroin death count in 2014 was closer to 20,000 than to 10,574.

It’s as if the recent media flurry of false narratives and distracting narratives have been to try to confuse and distract people away from the most lethal ever illicit drug epidemic (the heroin epidemic 2009-present), Afghanistan (source of 85% of all heroin) and how the heroin is getting to US. It appears as if certain elements within the US government are afraid of the epidemic of Afghan heroin being discussed and Congressional Hearings, sanctions (or worse) for what they did in making Afghanistan into the deadliest narco state ever in human history.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan until Fall 2001. In mid-2000, the Taliban outlawed opium, within a year it was all but gone, from 91,000 hectares (1999) to 7,600 hectares (2001). Since the Taliban effectively outlawed opium within a year, then why hasn’t the latest US-supported Afghan regime and US Administration done the same?

If serious efforts are not made to eradicate heroin at it’s source, then the heroin epidemic will get worse.

Besides prioritizing eradication first, which will take a year if done in earnest, there are additional solutions.

Second, outlaw precursor chemicals, like acetic anhydride, needed to make heroin from opium. The chemicals to make methaqualone were outlawed in the 1980s. Methaqualone overdoses then stopped.

Third, US government and government-chartered planes can be searched.

Fourth, buying opium for medical morphine in the meantime, until eradication is complete, will alleviate this surge of heroin shocking and awing America.

Fifth, millions of addicts need treatment. There aren’t enough inpatient beds or outpatient seats for even 1/8th of the surge in narcotic users. $25 billion constructs 100,000 inpatient treatment beds and $10 billion annually provides another million seats in outpatient treatment. So far, Obama has ponied up less than 1% of the money needed for treatment, only $0.116 billion, for the heroin disaster he made. Day late, dollar short.

Sixth, decriminalizing personal possession in order to focus on big heroin traffickers would result in lower overall prison costs and fewer non-violent drug users serving expensive lengthy sentences.

US government agencies and departments involved in Afghanistan, 2000 to present, can come clean and tell all about Afghan opium and heroin.

One giant step forward would be Congressional Hearings to determine facts:

1)how did Afghan opium surge from 7,600 hectares to 224,000 hectares, 2) why did annual heroin deaths surge from 1,779 to 10,574 on up,

3)how did the Taliban effectively eradicate Afghan opium within a year, 4) why hasn’t the current Administration done likewise,

5)what exactly have the DEA, CIA and DoD been doing about Afghan opium and heroin, and

6) why did Obama green light the Afghan opium trade and heroin trade leading to the most lethal illicit drug epidemic ever.

The UN has been given the power to hold inquiries focusing on getting honest answers to honest questions and voting on censure or sanctions against the US government and current Afghanistan regime until opium is eradicated as it was under the Taliban in 2001.

Obama green lighted the end of US eradication efforts against Afghan opium in 2009, which green lighted the Afghan opium and heroin trade, which green lighted the deadliest illicit drug epidemic ever. The 10,000+ Americans getting killed every year by heroin, that’s just “collateral damage” to “the little people” from the lingering War in Afghanistan, Mr. President?

Eradicate the Afghan opium crops, stat, the way the Taliban eradicated the Afghan opium crops, within a year. No need to re-invent the wheel on this one.

SOURCE: SUBMITTED BY WILLIAM EDSTROM

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Obama_Green_Lighted_the_Heroin_Epidemic/ 

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What nurtures a natural desire to learn?

Hands-on engagement in an effort to create or accomplish something worthwhile.

Eric Booth, in The Everyday Work of Art

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WEDNESDAY, AUG 19, 2015 03:01 PM EDT

Monsanto has a new pesticide that manipulates genes. What could go wrong?

An “RNA interference” spray avoids regulations on GM crops

NASSIR ISAF

Here are two things that cause a lot of controversy: Genetically modifying organisms and spraying pesticides. So of course some scientists asked, “What if we could do both at the same time?” The scientists in question are Keri San Miguel and Jeffrey G. Scott of Cornell University, who in June published a paper in Pest Management Science, describing how they successfully protected potato plants from the Colorado potato beetle by spraying them with a substance that interferes with the beetle’s DNA, through a process called RNA interference, or RNAi.

RNAi takes advantage of RNA’s essential role in mediating the expression of genes. In 1997, Andrew Fire and Craig Mello discovered that they could use tailored RNA strands to “silence” specific gene expressions, cutting off the process of life at its very roots. This brought them the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2006, but by this time RNAi was already being used to modify plants, and eventually new genes were inserted into crops that would induce RNAi in the insects that eat them.

The idea that plants could be modified to themselves modify other organisms is perhaps one of the unsettling concepts driving the growing backlash against GM crops, particularly in Europe (Scotland recently announced a GM ban.) RNAi sprays theoretically avoid existing GM regulations by skipping the crops and modifying the pests directly. Unsurprisingly, agribusiness giant Monsanto is already on board, hoping to have a product on the market by 2020. They’re even trying to preempt opposition, sending a letter to regulators saying that, “humans have been eating RNA as long as we have been eating.” But according to Technology Review it might not be that easy.

Not everyone is convinced, though, that applying RNA will be commercially feasible or any less controversial than genetic modification. “The public is not accepting GMOs, and this could be more alarming. People are going to say you are taking the RNA and spraying this in the open,” says Kassim Al-Khatib, a plant physiologist at the University of California, Davis. “The acceptance of biotech has to be there before you can deliver another approach. This isn’t a technology for tomorrow. It’s for the day after tomorrow.”

There’s an additional queasy footnote: lots of organisms have gene sequences in common. The Cornell study itself notes that their potato bug spray would also kill the common house fly. What about their effect on humans? “That can be tested,” Professor of Biology Saskia Hogenhout told New Scientist. “With all technologies, there’s always a risk… My opinion is the RNAi approach would be a better option than pesticides that are less specific.” Such less-specific pesticides might include neonicotinoids, a leading killer of honeybees. Let’s just hope we don’t kill ourselves in the process.

https://www.salon.com/2015/08/19/monsanto_has_a_new_pesticide_that_manipulates_genes_what_could_go_wrong/ 

via

https://twitter.com/TrinedayKris 

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http://en.people.cn/NMediaFile/2016/0422/FOREIGN201604222041000489232277510.jpg

The 1.49-meter-tall, 78-kg “AnBot” has a maximum speed of 18 km per hour. It can patrol at a speed of 1 km per hour and has battery capacity of 8 hours.

The security robot is capable of autonomous patrol, intelligent monitoring, emergency calls, auto recharging and has optional modules for environmental monitoring, biochemical detection and clearing explosives.

An electrical anti-riot device can be activated through remote control if a threat is detected. Shouting for help in the patrol area or pushing the robot’s emergency button will alert the police immediately.

Breakthroughs in low-cost autonomous navigation and positioning as well as intelligent video surveillance have contributed to the development of the robot, said Xiao Xiangjiang, director of the Institute of Electromechanical Engineering and Automation of the National University of Defense Technology.

Other highlights of the robot include its ability to react during emergencies, according to Xiao.

Wei Quansheng, an officer from Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, said the robot guard can be used in many public places such as airports, stations and subways to help with police officers’ anti-riot missions.

The robot is jointly developed by the National University of Defense Technology and a robotics company in central China’s Hunan Province.

The university began researching robotics theory and technology in the 1980s. The school is hoping to continue to build up China’s intelligent security service robots to promote development of the robot industry and upgrades to the country’s security industry, according to Xiao.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/China_Unveils_Anti-Riot_Security_Robot_That_Will_Patrol_Public_Places 

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As Brain-Computer Interface is rapidly developed worldwide, mind-controlled drones turn into sports and weapons of today.

Florida University hosted a sporting event that might give a start to a new generation of high-technology sport involving latest trademark inventions of 21st century — drones and consumer-grade brain-computer interface (BCI).

Drones have become a trademark of 21st century, since development of low-weight, high-capacity batteries and small sophisticated electronic controllers allowed to construct fairly cheap yet very easy to control flying device.

[snip]

It turned out that brain can be taught to reproduce many specific states of mind — or thoughts — that can be repeatedly interpreted into digital commands. By changing their state of mind, operators can control virtually every device. The limits of such ability to control is yet to be determined.

The technology is already a matter of interest of military R&D across the globe, with both US and Russian military institutions developing tele-operated (read mind-controlled) drones for troops assistance. The idea of a mind-controlled strike drone hovering along an armed exo-skeleton-packed trooper  might change the shape of battlefield so dramatically, it was even made a basis of a story of a AAA-class computer video game a couple of years ago. What is important is that it might not be as much of a fantasy, but of a reality.

Watch mind-controlled drone in action in “Voennaya Priyomka” show from Zvezda TV channel, published on March, 2015.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VxZ0rwOcZQ

http://sputniknews.com/science/20160424/1038510301/Mind-Controlled-Drones-Sports-Warfare.html 

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Japan’s Next Generation of Farmers Could Be Robots

April 23rd, 2016 by Kevin

Via: Bloomberg:

As the average age of farmers globally creeps higher and retirement looms, Japan has a solution: robots and driver-less tractors.

The Group-of-Seven agriculture ministers meet in Japan’s northern prefecture of Niigata this weekend for the first time in seven years to discuss how to meet increasing food demand as aging farmers retire without successors. With the average age of Japanese farmers now 67, Agriculture Minister Hiroshi Moriyama will outline his idea of replacing retiring growers with Japanese-developed autonomous tractors and backpack-carried robots.

Posted in Collapse, Economy, Food, Rise of the Machines, Technology

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What motivates people to take action?

by Jon Rappoport

April 23, 2016

First, what kind of motivation am I talking about?

I’m talking about the urge to pursue a goal to change things for the better. An urge that goes beyond the simple desire to belong to a group; that goes beyond the desire to reflect the pronouncements of authority; that goes beyond a need to bolster the status quo.

Eliminating those motivations, we are left with something that involves an individual taking a stand—and making his position public.

His position, his beliefs, his principles, his ideas.

The problem centers on his family, friends, colleagues, co-workers. To some degree, he feels enmeshed in a group, and that group would take a dim view of his ideas and actions. In the territory of his thoughts, he’s emerged from the shadows of conformity; but in the world? That’s a different story.

What would “they” think of him? What would they say? What would they do?

Is he willing to risk fracturing his relationships?

Is he willing to risk “being misunderstood?”

Most people stop at this point, reconsider, and fall back into line. They see The Group as the final arbiter of what they’re permitted to do.

But they’re missing something.

Some far more basic. Something that comes earlier.

As individuals, do they see that they have individual power?

Or not?

Do they understand they have the capacity to act independently in the world? And that these actions have strength?

Or not?

Because if they don’t see that, then where would they stand?

And next, do they realize they can form a vision of what they want to do—and do they sense this vision has power?

What I’m talking about here has nothing to do with making an assessment of the likelihood of success or victory versus the numbers of people who are asleep or who defend the status quo. That calculation is, at bottom, an excuse for doing nothing.

If sheer numbers were the deciding factor, all action would be rejected.

Boiling down the basis of motivation comes to this: does the individual realize he is an individual? Does he realize it in greater and greater degrees?

If not, he’ll root around in the forest and never form an independent vision.

A vast overemphasis on his “interdependence with others” will sentence him to grinding out his days.

The “individual who is first and foremost a part of the group” is a fiction. It becomes a convenient fiction for many. It rationalizes avoiding uncomfortable circumstances.

There is the old saw: with great power comes great responsibility. There is some truth in that, but in most cases people are urged to consider responsibility in a way that chokes off their power. The responsibility is directed toward group-duties.

The individual’s responsibility is toward himself. Then, assuming his own power, he can act. Then he can think about his connection to others—but even so, how much is there to think about, if he is forwarding a vision to make things better?

Critics will drag up examples of individuals who enacted destructive visions. But what do these criticisms add up to? The discovery that there are bad apples in the bunch? This is no revelation. Is the crazy dictator a justification for damning all individual action? Of course not.

Where does individual power come from? It comes from the creative urge, the creative impulse. This is deeper than the notion of solving problems. It’s deeper than mechanical resolutions.

If the major part of the last 10,000 years of human history has been dedicated to submerging the individual, then turning the formula right side up is not going to be a Sunday picnic.

Understood. But the reversal has to start somewhere. It certainly isn’t going to start from the program of a group. That would be a root contradiction.

The longer a person waits for a spark of inspiration to jolt him into action, the less likely it is that he’ll cross the threshold into a new life.

Placing a “we” before an “I” may at first appear to be a strategy for exiting an old life, but it soon fades in the glaze of conformity that groups insist on.

Powerful groups can exist—when they are composed of powerful independent individuals, but the group does not give birth to the individual.

It never has.

https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/what-motivates-people-to-take-action/ 

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Individuals do not sacrifice their personal interests to the larger team vision; rather, the shared vision becomes an extension of their personal visions. In fact, alignment is the necessary condition before empowering individuals can empower the whole team.

The discipline of team learning involves mastering dialogue and discussion, the two distinct ways that teams converse. In dialogue , there is the free and creative exploration of complex and subtle issues, a deep “listening” to one another, suspending one’s own views. By contrast, in discussion , different views are presented and defended; there is only a search for the best decision that must be made at this time. Dialogue and discussion are potentially complementary, but most teams lack the ability to distinguish between the two and move consciously between them.

Team learning also involves learning how to deal creatively with the powerful forces opposing productive dialogue and discussion on working teams.  For example, when faced with conflict, team members frequently either “smooth over” differences or “speak out” in a “no-holds-barred”, “winner-takeall” free-for-all. Yet the very defensive routines that thwart learning also hold great potential for fostering learning, if we can only learn how to unlock the energy they contain. Inquiry and reflection skills begin to release this energy, which can then be focused in dialogue and discussion.

Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline

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“… Without a highly inquisitive mind motivated to find the solutions to unanswered or seemingly unanswerable questions, and the proper analytical methods to pick apart your adversary, your analysis of information of intelligence value will be found wanting….. keep in mind that your adversaries may be building a pattern of life for you, too.  Do a SPACE Analysis on yourself and identify the patterns you set and how they could be exploited.  Humans are creatures of habit, so be sure to identify the habits or patterns you exhibit. SPACE Analysis can be used to find patterns and associations for a multitude of things, not just gang activities.  Put it in your analytic toolbox and apply it to real world situations that affect your community.”

https://www.oathkeepers.org/community-security-toolkit-space-analysis/ 

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http://www.launchleads.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/teamwork.png 

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The Future of Browser-based 3D – No Additional Plugins Needed!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z15hG0F3EO8&list=PL35A62A2A9699B788 

It’s a series…

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Revolutionizing Small Group Training

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_Ejpofv_mo&list=PL35A62A2A9699B788&index=23 

the last in the series

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Regaining Control – Through Training

Jason Van Tatenhove

https://www.oathkeepers.org/regaining-control-through-training/ 

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“The highest level of awareness is precisely what is necessary to accelerate personal change, growth and toughening.”

James E. Loehr, Ed.D.

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“… in which the Other is dead.”