“Like it or not, people will have to acquire their own news to a certain extent and must therefore learn journalistic techniques and various tricks of the trade”
In the current era of “fake news” and a general mood of “alternate fact” inaccuracies and slights of hand, many of us who truly seek the positive in life—“Good” and “Truth”, for instance—we sometimes can feel overwhelmed by a lack of reliable sources of information about the world. Bruce Bartlett has written a book—The Truth Matters–to partially address this situation.
the truth will set you free…
Is it true? Whatever “it” is, can we be certain “it” represents truth? How do we know? When we act in the world, when we make choices and, perhaps most important, when we establish relationships between ourselves and others, are we sure that “truth” we use as a basis of that relationship is trustworthy? “There’s a sucker born every minute.” While American showperson P.T. Barnum might not have made such a statement as is often assumed, he certainly could have. In her book, The Death of Truth, Michiko Kakutani describes Mr. Barnum and his orientation to manipulation this way:
…a self-proclaimed ‘prince of humbugs’ whose ‘great discovery was not how easy it was to deceive the public but rather how much the public enjoyed being deceived’ as long as it was being entertained.’ And as verisimilitude replaced truth as a measurement, ‘the socially rewarded art’ became that of making things seem true’; no wonder that the new masters of the universe in the early 1960s were the Mad Men of Madison Avenue. (p.83)
How do we ever know if we are proceeding through EveryDayLife based on genuine truth or when we, like puppets, are being controlled by the serendipity of others? Where is the anchor point from which we leverage our understanding of the world?
Vixra: A potentially valuable source of stimulating ideas
Continuing the “decentralization” theme that was largely the focus of a recent post, consider Vixra.org as a resource you might find useful (or at least entertaining). Vixra is “an e-print archive set up as an alternative to the popular arXiv.org service owned by Cornell University. Vixra was founded and is maintained by scientists who found they were unable to submit their articles to arXiv.org because of Cornell University’s policy of endorsements and moderation designed to filter articles considered by the editorial staff as “inappropriate.”
Vixra provides free access to well over 20,000 electronic documents which can be read online or downloaded as PDFs. Access is free, with no subscription required. Available articles cover a wide range of topics falling under the general categories: physics, mathematics, computational science, biology, chemistry, humanities, and academics. While the general idea is to present articles on “science and mathematics”, you might be surprised by the wide range of topics that appear. Each of these major categories contains multiple subcategories such as Mind Science, Religion and Spirituality, Quantitative Biology, Education & Didactics, Condensed Matter, Mathematical Physics and Relativity & Cosmology, and many others. (more…)
We believe in the power of stories to help us learn from and better understand one another and serve as a reminder that there is more that unites us than divides us.
Last week, we posted a “feel good” story about free medical tuition. If you could use another dose of feel good, maybe even on a regular basis, check out 500 Pens which describes itself as an “anti hate news project”. Organized around the values of inclusion, opportunity and respect, 500 pens seeks “to produce honest and compelling content that encourages readers to care, connect and act”.
To get a better sense of who is behind 500 pens, read through their About page. Even better, if you really want to know what they have to offer, read through some of their articles. Perhaps you might discover a place of continued rejuvenation.
Introduction to Part II
We began this journey with the Sophia Burns article on the movie, The Last Jedi. Uncharacteristic for the Star Wars series, the general message was curiously populist—that people cannot rely on leaders or grand heroic figures to “fix things”. We must rely on ourselves. In this second segment of Inside-Outside, we consider the driving forces within us and our collective experience as these forces impact our ability to choose. Toward the end of the article, a simple exercise is presented—an exercise which, if employed diligently, could revolutionize our daily lives. (more…)
Remember the post from last summer when we highlighted Timothy Snyder’s book On Tyranny? He has begun a YouTube series called “Timothy Snyder Speaks”. Take a look at episode 7, in which Professor Snyder talks about “The Evil of ‘America First’”.
Prof. Snyder describes the series as informal talks that fall between “the 90 seconds” afforded during a TV interview and a 45 minute class lecture. Each is a five to fifteen minute treat of a learned person concerned about the current political climate in America. Agree or disagree, his gentle, almost offhanded style should allow you the opportunity to debate with yourself in an open, civilized manner. While your there, check out other episodes in the series.
Remember Dan Rather? Most of us who are even “just a little bit older” certainly do. Mr. Rather, a former anchor of the CBS Evening News, was one of the most well-known broadcast news journalists during a time when the news gave the appearance of being “truer” than many broadcasts manage these days. Some of us might find comfort in knowing such a persons is still at it.
Apparently, Mr. Rather has teamed up with the Young Turks on their YouTube channel to present a weekly news broadcast. Take a look at the first one. Sober, direct, calm, seemingly non-partisan, the broadcast feels trustworthy enough. You might like it enough to subscribe.
The endeavor, which Mr. Rather describes as “an answer to what TV news has become” is streamed on YouTube every Monday at 5:30 EST. You might at least get a bit of comfort, a brief respite from these troubled days of “fakenews”.
You might also want to check out the post “State of the Union Address” broadcast from the end of January.