Good idea

Social media doesn’t have to be destructive and horrible.

It’s not social media’s fault that it’s destructive and horrible, though.
It’s the people on social media that are the problem.

I think that’s why most everyone on Twitter decided to share this thought from Roger Cooper. Very much the written version of this infamous comic that I’ve upset several (or more) people on Facebook with.

And yes, he spelled ‘Avocado’ incorrectly, and messed up the past participle of ‘to manage’, but if you were one of the thousands of people who messaged him to point that out, you’re part of the problem.

Instagram breaks flower farm

Humans are weird things. We get carried away in the weirdest way about the weirdest things. Canadian sunflower farms, for example.

The Canadian sunflower farm in question belongs to Marlene Bogle and her family. They open up their farm to the public for a few days every now and again. This year, things went bad.

It started mildly enough. The Bogles opened up their farm to photographers on July 20, charging $7.50 an adult. They had done the same thing three years ago, with a few hundred visitors providing a modest boost to their main business of farming sunflower, corn, millet, oats and barley, as well as selling various kinds of birdseed from their big red barn, which remains open for business.

I’ve never been to the Bogle’s sunflower farm, but I’m finding it easy to imagine the scene: Peaceful, tranquil, sunlight filtering through the trees, the gentle sound of children’s laughter echoing across fields of beautiful sunflowers.

“Everyone was laughing and having fun,” says Barry Bogle, of that first week. “Then all of Toronto showed up.”

Oops.

The apocalypse arrived on Saturday, the 28th. A few pictures of people posing among the roughly 1.4 million sunflowers had gone viral on Instagram. Cars began rolling up the driveway at 5:45 a.m. “We knew then something was up,” says Barry, who called Hamilton police for help.

I can’t do justice to the carnage that followed, save by copying and pasting the Globe and Mail’s description from the link above (oh, ok… or here, if you can’t be arsed to scroll back up) which I’m not going to do.

The sunflower is a notoriously fragile crop. If the lower leaves are damaged, the plant becomes far less resistant to drought and disease. The Bogles won’t know the extent of the damage until they harvest the plants in late September or early October.

“I used to love these flowers,” says Marlene, waving a Tesla away from the driveway. “Now I can’t stand ’em.”

Our (their?) obsession with Instagram has broken a sunflower farm. It’s ruined a good, healthy, educational family day out simply because we are narcissists and are desperate for instant gratification, more LIKES than the next person and some sort of transient security through affirmation of our petty content.

Humans are weird things. Really weird.

My Instagram

I get quite a few requests for details of my Instagram account, despite it being linked to just over there on the right.

Anyway, here it is, along with a few other of my accounts you might want to follow:

My Instagram
My Flickr
My Twitter
My Facebook
My Youtube

And a couple of my Spotify playlists:

inspired by 6
just another indie/britpop playlist

I look forward to record (no pun intended) numbers of listeners.

 

Please feel free to add me on your social network(s) of choice.
Unless you’ve had enough of me already; in which case, why are you still reading this?

Dam Mischief

I was a bit naughty yesterday, but I’m not sorry. Everyone should be a bit naughty every now and again. I’m not advocating murder or anything. Nothing illegal. Just a bit of mischief, which harms no-one and which keeps your heart young.

As ever with a big news story in the modern era, everyone wants to be the first to share the latest developments and fresh angles. There’s a certain gratification to be found in being the one to tell your friends about the breaking news you have just read. They didn’t know. You informed them. You’re the man (or woman). Noddy badge of honour time.

The water crisis is dominating the news here at the moment, as it has monotonously for several months now. There are no new angles anymore. Even Helen Zille’s tweets are only generating transient, short-lived outrage.

Still, when I put out this tweet yesterday, I was rather surprised when people quickly shared it.

Several people remarked on it and shared it, often with a sad emoji, because it clearly doesn’t look like a major reservoir feeding a city of 4 million people should.

Of course, that’s because it’s actually a picture of Mars.

This composite image looking toward the higher regions of Mount Sharp was taken on September 9, 2015, by NASA’s Curiosity rover. In the foreground — about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the rover — is a long ridge teeming with hematite, an iron oxide. Just beyond is an undulating plain rich in clay minerals. And just beyond that are a multitude of rounded buttes, all high in sulfate minerals.

So, no. This isn’t Theewaterskloof dam “from the Villiersdorp road”. It’s another planet about 55 million kilometres away.

Still, there are some similarities:

The changing mineralogy in these layers of Mount Sharp suggests a changing environment in early Mars, though all involve exposure to water billions of years ago. Further back in the image are striking, light-toned cliffs in rock that may have formed in drier times and now is heavily eroded by winds.

This was never meant to be a social experiment. I lobbed it up there as a bit of a joke. Perhaps naively, I expected everyone to see it exactly for what it was. Instead, there were only a couple of engagements which suggested that*. The remainder simply clicked the Retweet button apparently without even thinking.

I’ve learned something from this, but I suspect I might be just about alone in that.

 

* One of them was from Jonathan Meyer**
** He’s very anxious for me to point that out to you

Monday

South African Twitter was a nice place to be today* as some of the country’s farmers took to the streets to protest about “alleged” farm murders.
I say “alleged” because that’s (primarily) the matter over which there is a degree of disagreement, with the protest protagonists claiming a “white genocide”, and their critics claiming that there is no specific problem. It’s entirely likely that neither party is correct, and rather that the truth lies somewhere in between the two, but you try finding some independent commentary on the subject. It’s like fracking, but with human lives. (Or, I suppose, not, depending on your point of view.)
Even the usually reasonable and reliable Africa Check seems to have ducked this thorny apple, with their convenient “look, it’s really difficult to calculate” response.

It’s all been spiced up with a healthy degree of racism (this being a predominantly white protest and the old SA flag on display here and there) and sharing of fake news (this being 2017 and the old SA flag having been previously on display at other places). It’s certainly brought plenty of previously hidden opinions and feelings to light; as one individual pointed out “This is a good day to work out who to unfriend on Facebook”. Oh, and there have been some PRIZE candidates on either side. But were we all to do that here today, SA social media would be a barren, empty place tomorrow, instead of just the normal tense, bitter powder keg that we all know and love.
Better then just to observe and make mental notes. Or just use the MUTE button. Although each to their own, of course. Heaven help me if I don’t make that abundantly clear.

Elsewhere, our government continues to take the piss on an unprecedented scale, but we’re too busy fighting amongst ourselves to pay any attention to any of that.

Brilliant.

 

* This is sarcasm. Deep, deep sarcasm, thick like treacle. Thick, thick treacle.