Finally clicking?

I was skimming through Facebook this morning when I came across this post from Justin Sullivan, shared via the Greater Overbeagle FPA, who stated: “We cannot agree more…”

Me too.

Is the penny finally dropping that people don’t like being lied to by the media (whether that’s “mainstream”, “specialist”, “political” or “social”)? It’s about time, because while one side of most every debate likes to shout about the “fake news” being peddled by the other, it seems clear that neither side is particularly truthful when an image or story suits or supports their narrative. And some individuals (I’m looking at you, Bradyn) seem to think that that approach is completely reasonable.

A quick reminder that we’ve been here before.

Mind you, even Justin made the same error just a couple of days ago:

It is quite hard to exactly pinpoint the source of this image, as it’s been used on thousands of websites. But it was being used on them as far back as 2017, so I think we can assume that the jaguar in question wasn’t diving into the Amazon to escape a fire last week. Unless it was a time-travelling jaguar, in which case surely there would be a much easier escape route for it.
We should also note that wild jaguars are very good swimmers, and would likely rather eat a human than give it a hug.

The thing is that now, every item of news has to be assumed to be fake and  double-checked, and it’s exhausting. We’re (quite reasonably) losing all confidence in our news outlets and what we read on Facebook and Twitter, and while it’s good that we are questioning what we read, it does leave us with the problem of exactly where we do get genuine, verified information from? (And I’m talking factually here, never mind the bias that is then flung into the mix as well.)

There’s going to be a backlash, and we’re getting closer to it every day. It might not be pretty, but neither is the current situation. The lack of trust builds barriers, prevents reasonable communication and further isolates individuals inside their own convenient echo chambers.

It stifles progress and we lose sight of any mutually beneficial common goal. Like preventing the (still) impending death of the planet.
If that is something that you choose to believe is actually a genuine phenomenon, of course.

Rain

We’ve had a lot of rain in the Western Cape this winter. Or so we all thought, but August is only two thirds of the way through and it seems to have stopped falling from the sky. Already, farmers in the Overberg (it’s just along the road from Cape Town) are asking if they might have a little bit more before winter heads off up north, please.

The dam levels are up around the 80% mark, which is far, far better than they have been for the past several (or more) years, and with habits having changed in Cape Town, we’re pretty much safe for the next couple of years, even if it doesn’t rain much more. But that’s not really the situation we want to be in. We want to be swimming (not literally) (wait) (no, actually literally) in the stuff.

And apparently, according the farmers, the rain that has fallen, has fallen at the wrong time and their winter crops are in peril. It does sound a bit like the wrong type of snow excuse from the british railway people back in the 90s.

Is this winter really less rainy (or less rainy at the wrong time) than previous winters? Or are we just a bit more aware, a bit more sensitive, than before, because of the whole drought thing over the past few years (did I ever mention that on here?)?

And then that brings me to another bigger, more important point on the weather. Is climate change being blown out of all proportion, just because it’s the in thing at the moment? OK, I accept that something is happening, sure. But based on all the other nonsense we’re fed by the media, I refuse to believe that everything that they’re reporting on the climate issue is entirely legit. You’d be a fool to think otherwise, although on such an emotive, divisive issue, you’d also have to be pretty brave (or stupid) to publicly question anything that the climate change people are sharing.

They’ll call you nasty names.

Agh. This is for a longer, proper post; one which I have no intention of writing at the moment. But the science that’s being reported just doesn’t add up all the time, and no matter how noble you feel your cause may be, basing your opinions on misreporting and untruths has never worked for me.

The problem is that with all the misinformation and fake news around, you have to take everything with a huge pinch of salt. You have to research everything and you have to research it from reputable sources when you do. Oh, and you have to live your life as well, as if doing that allows time for checking each and every fact you’re constantly bombarded with.

 

Right. A touch of drought, some local agricultural issues, a moan about just how crap the media is and a slight hint of a blast at mankind generally.
What a mess of a post. And yet I bet no-one is surprised. 🙂

Traps I Don’t Fall Into

I learned about the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect yesterday. At least, I knew about it before, I just didn’t know that it had a name.

Of course, it makes sense that it has a name, because now I can refer to it by that name, instead of having to explain exactly what I mean all the time.

In fact, I don’t have to explain what I mean at all, because Michael Crichton (yes, that one) has done it for me in this handy quote (Murray, by the way, is physicist Murray Gell-Mann):

I don’t believe anything I read in the media any more. I don’t believe the stuff that I’m told not to believe, and I don’t believe the people who are telling me not to believe that stuff. An example using popular partisan newsrooms: for me, CNN are not “the good guys”, they’re just “the other guys”; and just because FOX News is spewing out nonsense doesn’t mean that what CNN is telling us is the gospel truth.

I’ve noted and overcome the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect with a million different publications which have shared articles on microbiology. And I’ve done it on here with the… ugh… Daily Mail.
And apparently also with Infowars dot com. I don’t really remember writing that post, but it does describe the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect quite nicely:

…when I find that their version of the stuff I know is incorrect, then why should I believe any of the other articles on the site? For all I know, there are knowledgeable people out there ridiculing infowars’ take on 9/11 or the worldwide economic slowdown.

It’s horrible and it’s time-consuming to have to be so cynical, but it’s also sensible given the amount of information (and misinformation) that we are provided with each and every day. I’m lucky, in that researching stuff is in my nature. I really don’t mind following up on stories I read before I choose whether or not to believe them and I’ve done that for years and years now, before I even knew that it was an actual semi-official thing.

I’m now left wondering which of my other traits and practices have names in the field of theoretical psychology.

Sadly, I’d guess that it’s most of them.