Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The immigration issue is about population as far as I am concerned

The debate about immigration often focuses on fear of crime coming into USA. Fear that may, or may not be legitimate. To me, that's not the main issue. The big issue is accommodating population.

We can accommodate more. It could even have benefits for work that needs workers, prosperity that needs consumers and culture than needs vitality.

Problem is, we have to make changes in the way we live, here in USA. Acres of free parking may have to go. Housing density needs to increase in some areas. The Southwest states are on the verge of running out of fresh water.

In some ways, we could live more fulfilling lives than we live now with the isolation and alienation of today's culture, but we have to be willing to make some big changes.

Population does have it's limits depending on how we live.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Censorship on media and social media, or just trying to prevent irrational panic.

There is news that one person, here in Washington State, has died due to the rare blood clot complications related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Apparently her obituary was censored on Twitter so now people are saying censorship.

Nothing is perfect and with 0% risk, but the vaccines are still safe, compared to being in a car or even riding a bicycle. Much, much safer than the risk of catching the virus, itself.

It's like playing the odds. What's the lowest risk, realizing that there's never totally no risk.

In an ideal world, all the news would be available, including the rare and freak incidents, but I can also see why media is under pressure to cool discussion a bit due to problems with public reaction.

Odd and rare stories, like a commercial airline crash, will make the news and be remembered, but something far more common, like everyday automobile crashes, gets less attention.

Due to this problem in public reaction, some types of news can feed people's distorted views of risk and cause reactions that lead to more deaths.

The news is out there, but I'm sure some editors are trying to cool things as so much of the public does tend to go off on distorted tangents.

I have heard about that situation with the J&J vaccine from several sources, so the news is out there.

Part of what makes this controversial is that the person didn't want to be vaccinated, but had to comply with a mandate related to being with a child at school.

Too bad she got the J&J as the Pizer or the Moderna are even safer and don't have that rare blood clot issue with pre menopausal women. I can only guess, but maybe she did the J&J because she was up against a deadline for the mandate and it's only a one shot vaccine. The Pfizer and Moderna are two shot vaccines which would take more time. That's only my guess.

A real good response to my post on Facebook

This is exactly the problem. The rare event gets lots of news coverage because it's rare, and then people see all that news coverage and get an exaggerated sense of the risk the rare event poses to their own lives and the lives of people in general. It's what's happening with the battery fires in Bolt EVs (electric vehicles). Some Bolt owners are panicking and selling their cars, saying they're going back to gasoline-powered vehicles and will never again buy an EV. There are far more fires in gasoline-powered vehicles than in EVs, but it's difficult to convince people of that.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Too many Third World Countries aspire to the bad, from USA life, without the good.

Today is National Coming Out Day, which I remember going back to my college days of the mid 1970s.

Since then, it seems like gay rights is one of the only social movements to make significant progress in USA. From coming out of the closet to legalized gay marriage. Meanwhile, other ideals haven't made such progress. Our carbon footprint is higher, income inequality is worse.

Unfortunately gay rights is still scorned in some Third World nations, yet it's one thing we have done right, here in USA. We've done good, though admittedly not as good in all parts of USA.

Basically Western Nations have made lots of progress on LGBTQA rights yet those rights are still scorned in much of the world. That is kind of ironic and unfortunate.

As for social justice, we in the west; especially in USA, have not done so good in reducing greed, resource consumption and carbon emissions. Things that I had also hoped for during my college years. Income inequality continues to grow and homelessness persists.

Seems like much of the Third World aspires to be more like us, materialistically, but not necessarily in terms of our human rights. Our greed and materialism has lead to the consequences of climate change and income inequality. It's like Third World nations want the bad without the good.

As for things that reduce global warming, one of western nation's greatest contributions is reducing our birthrates. Human rights plays a role here.

Other things, such as reducing our consumption, have not been as significant.

We have great technological innovations that hold promise, but they haven't been gaining traction as significantly as needed.

Meanwhile, energy prices are going up, worldwide, as the economy picks up speed. To put this in context, energy prices have been even higher, before; especially compared to other prices in the economy.

Still, green energy is not taking the load quick enough and / or our consumption habits are still too pervasive.

My vision of a low consumption, high technology future. Goes back to my college days.

I would like to see a world that, for the most part, embraces the abundance provided by technology. Smartphones, for instance.

At the same time, voluntary simplicity in terms of space used and resources consumed.

There are recent trends in electronic technology that use less energy and space. Microchips versus vacuum tubes, heat pumps versus woodstoves.

I would like to see less cultural pressure to work long hours and consume. Having more free time and work life balance would be good.

I would like to see less use of the private automobile due to the space and resources it consumes. Also the safety / accident problem. My ideal world would see more use of public transit and bicycles. Bicycles for health and the beauty of what can be seen at a slower pace.

High tech transit, like the Skytrain in Vancouver, BC. (actually started in 1986!) is good, but the simple city bus works also. We already have, at hand, much of what my future world would use.

Life could generally be at a slower and at a less stressful pace, but technology would be available and used wisely.

Most people would live in urban settings for transit, walking, bicycling and to protect farmlands from sprawl. Some folks would live in rural settings; especially if engaged in resource production such as farming, forestry and tourism.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Sensationalism might be a good concept to think about in terms of the Facebook algorithm issues.

Now comes the difficult task of trying to figure out how to regulate, or what to do about Facebook's algorithms. I think much of the problem isn't new, but just takes on new forms in new media. In journalism, it's called the problem of "sensationalism."

In the past, I've learned about the concept of "Yellow Journalism." There's the phrase, "if it bleeds, it leads." There's also the concept of "tabloid journalism."

Interesting that, so far, I haven't heard that terminology used; in terms of this Facebook issue. We keep having to reinvent the wheel, I guess.

Thinking of this in terms of sensationalism could be useful. How do we reduce it? Can it be regulated? Is it mostly just the fault of what people react to? Is it mostly the result of media businesses, including social media, pushing it as a business model?

On Facebook and other social media, it's artificial intelligence pushing things. AI that can still be programmed. In the past days of regular media, it was the likes of editors, journalists and headline writers.

On a personal note, I notice the things that I write about don't usually generate lots of emotional response.

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Both Infrastructure Bill #1 and Infrastructure Bill #2 might pass. They might still pull it off.

Maybe #2 will be somewhat smaller, but they still might pull something off.

If not, they should still pass #1. Ideally, they can do a lot of what's in the spirit of the law for #2 on down the road. Ideally, if the Democrats had stronger backing from the voters, they could pull things off with more comfortable margins in the House and Senate. The real thin margin is nerve wracking.