Monday, October 30, 2017

The advantage of captive audience in face to face communication versus online

People say that face to face interaction is more meaningful than communication online. This is not always the case, but here's a thought I have about face to face versus online friendships. One is exposed to a lot more people online than in face to face contact. This can create "information overload." Online, there is exposure to so much information that one is likely to keep scrolling, rather than reading in depth. In face to face contact, there is a limited number of people in close proximity. This means interaction with the people can be more in depth. Less other folks to scroll off to.

If one is talking to friends in a room, the friends can be like a "captive audience." This may force a person to listen more and find out something they wouldn't normally be looking for. Online, it's easier to move on to the next. The captive audience effect is both good and bad, I guess. Some people don't wish to be the captive audience; like being stuck in an elevator with the town crazy. Who knows, one might be surprised and learn something from the town crazy. It can be a way to have one's bubble pierced.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Digital janitor


As I was vacuuming the front mat, at work, some lively people came along. They wanted me to pose with them in a picture. I ask them to send it to me and they eventually did. Turned out well. I'm on the left with the wireless headsets I listen to podcasts with. Someone once called me a digital janitor.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

One of the hardest jobs for a president is calling a grieving parent

I would guess, one of the hardest jobs for a president is calling a grieving parent of a solder who has died in service to the country. Different people would react differently to what is said. Words can not replace the loss. It's even hard to know what to say as an ordinary person to someone who is facing a serious loss. I say this not in defense of Trump as I don't like Trump anyway. In someways it's good to see so many people critical of him, but I also realize that death, loss and grieving can be difficult.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Update on HD radio in Bellingham, Vancouver

A while back I got an HD radio. One might ask, what's an HD radio? Also one might ask, why would you need one? Just about anything that's on an HD radio is also on the web anyway. Isn't a smartphone "radio" enough?

True, but I'm kind of a radio geek so I couldn't resist. It only cost around 1/8th of one month's rent in my inexpensive (by Bellingham standards) apartment. That's my way of justifying consumer purchases, tho I don't go shopping often.

Now days, there are some radio stations that broadcast a digital signal along with the regular (analog) signal. Folks with HD radios can get the digital signal which offers more hi fidelity. It also offers 3 channels from the same signal.

One of the digital signals I get is from CKNW in Vancouver. It has great locally produced talk shows. An alternative to NPR that's not something like Rush Limbaugh.

CKNW is on the AM dial. It's at AM 980, but the signal is "fringe area" this far from Vancouver.

I used to listen to long distance AM, but modern homes are so full of computer stuff that there's lots more interference. This makes listening to long distance AM difficult. I now get CKNW on FM HD. I just tune to CMFI FM, at 101.1 and then select the HD2 program. It's CKNW.

It still helps to have a line of sight view to Vancouver as digital FM isn't as forgiving of fringe area as analog. I have line of sight, tho there is a building in the way. I've found that my line of sight location works okay for radio, from Vancouver, but not for digital television.

Yes, CKNW is also on the web, but having it over the air, the old fashioned way, is kind of neat. No need to use bandwidth on the net. No need to use cellphone time. Just turn on the radio.

I get unlimited data at home, but I am a radio geek. I often sleep to talk radio and I feel a bit of guilt if it's using the internet.

There are several other HD stations in this area including some NPR stations.

Bellingham has a few HD stations, but most of the interesting stuff is from Vancouver.

Seattle's KUOW has HD for KUOW2 and KUOW3. One has to have a digital radio, or be on the web, to get KOUW2 and 3 in Seattle, but here in Bellingham, KUOW3 is also on regular (analog) radio. KUOW3 is on a low power translator at 90.7 in Bellingham. HD KUOW2 is a jazz station, but I don't listen to that much jazz. KUOW1 is at 90.3 in Bellingham.

Our other NPR station has some HD channels also. Northwest Public Radio which is based in my home town of Pullman. In Bellingham, it's main station is at 91.7. NWPR has both classical music and news services. One can get both services as HD channels or from various low power translators that regular radios can get.

Bellingham's KISM FM now has an HD "channel 2." It's just KGMI, which we also get on the AM dial.

See article I wrote in 2009.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Values Voter Sumit to bring latchkey children and a furniture future

At the Values Voter Summit, Trump spoke about parents who sacrifice to work 2 or 3 jobs for the furniture and future of their children. Now the meme "furniture future" is going around. That's America for you.

I say, what about spending time with one's children? If people are strapped having to work several jobs, they have less time for their kids. Sacrifice is a virtue, but something is wrong when parents have little time because they have to face long commutes and more than one job just to pay inflated rent and mortgage payments, let alone furniture costs.

A few years ago, I remember the concept of "latchkey children." That was children who would wear their house key around their necks and had to fend for themselves since the parents were seldom around.

When I placed this comment on Facebook, one of my conservative friends commented about her fond memories of coming home from school to her mom who was getting things ready for dinner. She wrote, "a perfect childhood" about that memory from the 1960s and early 70s.

Today, the two income household is more common. America's obsession with wealth and productivity has increased over the years. In Trump's speech before the Values Voter Summit, hard work and sacrifice was seen as a virtue. Work and sacrifice is good, but something is out of balance. Work life balance gets ignored. For instance, property values, in many locations, have gone too high for the average worker to keep up. That and other factors have led to overwork and a rat race society for many people who still work.

In this blog I write about things like better planning and urban density for shorter commutes, trying to tame house value inflation and rents so they come back into balance with the rest of the economy, healthier living and lower medical costs, work life balance. Goals that mainstream American culture needs to place more emphasis on.

One of my liberal, and I will also say gay, friends on Facebook wrote, "The Values Voter Summit is everything that is wrong with America in one place."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Living in the forest can be a bad idea

Devastating fires keep raging in the north part of San Francisco Bay area. A problem of living on the urban / rural fringe around trees and vegetation. Could be an argument for denser "urban style" development rather than the semi urban / semi rural "country style" living that's so popular in this country. Cluster the people and development in certain areas and then protect the rural and forested areas.

Planners often try to do this. Here in Washington, we have the Growth Management Law which tries to contain development into urban growth areas. I'm sure California has similar plans, but it's hard to apply these ideals. People in this country often crave semi urban semi rural settings. The economics of housing costs push a lot of people to the urban fringe as well. Folks who can't afford urban living given the current circumstances.

If we created more areas of urban density, rather than the growing sprawl, our urban areas would be more affordable. Zone more areas for higher density; assuming population growth keeps happening. Envision lifestyles around apartments and condos, smaller footprints, shorter commutes, less wildfire hazard. I think a lot more people would like to live in urban settings if there was more of it available.

Locally, I know of people who would rather live in Bellingham than facing long commutes from county areas with no sidewalks and so forth. They just can't afford it. If more areas were built like the central city, more people could live in urban settings. Some folks do prefer rural settings, but there are others who are out there just because they can't afford the cities. We should build more areas like cities.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trump tossed the paper towels and the crowd soaked it up

Maybe he should have autographed each roll of paper towels he tossed out. Anything the president, or any celebrity does draws a crowd. Like a baseball player tossing out balls to the fans. Most people never get a chance to see the president in person. If nothing else, it lifted the spirits of people in that room, tho that's probably not the best way to deal with the hurricane aftermath. Celebrity worship; a form of graveling. In the video I saw, it looks like he didn't even toss out all the towels on that table. Just a few token rolls that the crowd relished. Soaked up so to speak. Then he left. He didn't even finish that job, but that crowd at the church bought it; hook line and sinker.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Help yourself should be about more than just getting rich

In USA, people are often told to be resourceful and self reliant. That's good, but the model is usually some poor person who pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps and got rich financially. Should getting rich be the only model of success? It's good to make enough money to survive, but as a measure of success, there are many other things to strive for. Health and longevity, for instance. I know that non monetary measures can be harder to quantify, but health is a little easier to measure than some other things.

One can strive for success in lots of ways such as having good rapport with neighbors and one's community, peace of mind with less conflict in life, having plenty time to spend with one's kids, if one wishes to have a family, time for friends, conversation, contemplation and so forth. Also the feeling that one is making a valuable contribution to the world whether in their work or volunteer efforts.

I think these values need to be emphasized more as the bottom line for a good society. Better than having to be a workaholic, being stressed out with things like a long commute or making lots of enemies while scrambling to get to the corporate top. Money is only one measure, but it's overemphasized for sure.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Iran holds most of the cards if we scrap the nuclear deal

I say if we kill the deal, Iran holds more cards than we do. They could just go back to developing their nuclear program as new sanctions wouldn't necessarily work any better than they are now working with North Korea.

Meanwhile I think we can acknowledge that the current president of Iran is, I think, trying to reform things in Iran a bit. He should get some credit as he is in a precarious situation.

From this article it says: The international body overseeing the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said Iran remains in compliance, as have Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.

Administration officials in favor of keeping the deal in place have been looking for a way to split the difference between saving the deal and saving face related to Trump's campaign rhetoric.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Overpopulated Egypt still threatened by rainbow flag. Doesn't make sense.


Photo source: BBC News.

It makes no sense. In Egypt, just raising a rainbow flag at a concert can get one arrested. I guess anything that deviates from mainstream heterosexual lifestyle is considered a threat in Egyptian society. What's really a threat is overpopulation; or maybe too much heterosexuality.

I tend to connect issues that others don't connect. Coincidentally, another article has recently come out about Egypt's growing population being threatened by water shortage. That population is around 93 million by now. Turns out this new dam is nearing completion on a tributary of the Nile River. The new dam, called Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, is upstream in Ethiopia. There's worry about more use and diversions of precious water.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Lack of needed gun legislation is mostly the fault of Congress

We do need better gun control laws. More curbs on assault weapons and a bit more registration at least. Congress is to blame for lack of legislation here. It doesn't seem to matter, as much, who the president is. Obama favored this kind of legislation, but Congress was the bottleneck. Trump, of course, wouldn't even try to make these changes, but that's kind of a moot point I guess with this Congress.

During Obama's term, I heard that even with Democrats controlling Congress, by a slim margin, bills couldn't be passed due to filibuster in the Senate. The problem is mostly from Republicans, but also some from Democrats. We can change the nature of Congress when we vote in 2018.

Some folks are cynical enough to say we can't make a difference and voting doesn't matter. I know, one person's vote is just a drop in the bucket so it's hard to feel that it makes a difference, but when the population votes, I still believe it does make a difference.

Laws don't, of course, magically solve the problem of violence and gun violence. Much of it is cultural. Culture needs to change also. Laws may not be the panacea, but they can help. From what I hear, Australia has had some great success in curbing gun violence.