Breaking News – Sometimes Waiting Is Best

Ever since being in high school, I have been very focused on the world around me. When most people look at the news around the world in kind of a secondary sort of way (their lives and therefore local news (if they seek any news at all) comes first, and the rest of the world news comes 2ed), I am reversed. I like to stay informed on news and information from around the world (mainly US news, for obvious reasons. They are the superpower), on top of local, provincial and even national news.
In fact, this has more then once caused me to be bitten in  the ass by such local, provincial and national  events as elections, as I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to them. To me, they seem unimpotant (with the exception of national elections), in comparison to whats going on in other areas of the planet.

Don’t get me wrong, I vote, and have voted in every single election that was held since I reached voting age at 18. And I make as informed a decision as I can. But local and regional issues, just aren’t as important. Healthcare has its problems here, but its still better then even Obamacare. Oh, I know that Obamacare IS a  step in the right direction, but its still not all inclusive , and still enriches the broken system around it.
Our state of healthcare (and any number of other local and regional systems) is still better then many of our friends south of the boarder, even if people here think otherwise. I would rather have a heart attack or break a leg here in Brandon MB, and anywhere else in Canada, then anywhere in the US.

But I have gone a bit off topic to my original subject. If you have a problem with my Obamacare stance, take it up in the comment section.

In any case, twitter has become an important tool in my quest for news. I still use  TV, newsletters and facebook (amongst other web sources), but twitter is great because its a steady stream of information (in fact sometimes the stream is a torrent, depending on if its a fast news day). I just follow as many news organizations as I can find  (from all over the world), and let the information come.  Info from sources of all colors, stripes, and backgrounds, I like to sort though it all, and to even comment on some VIA a reply if I have an opinion. I love it.

And one of the great things about twitter, is when breaking news occurs, it can be transmitted in almost real time. And unlike conventional journalism, anyone with a smart phone and a  social media account on, or near the scene can add to the flow of information. Which on one hand, is great.

BUT this also comes with its limitations, because not all information coming out of a situation that is in its infancy, is CORRECT information. People in the situation are paniced, fearful, and otherwise disturbed. They may not even realize that their information is wrong, or flawed, which is why its up to the media to sort out the trash, from the good stuff.  A task that takes time.

Unfortunately, today with everyone scanning social media and wanting steady information, no news organization wants to be the last to report something. So as such, many will grab on anything that they can get their digital hands on and facebook, tweet and otherwise spread it far and wide. And the people repost, retweet and otherwise spread it even further and wider. Which is a great way to inform the public, without much cost or effort. So long as the information is GOOD information.

The problem is, there have been more then a few cases in which a big, seemingly “credible” news organization, has run with a tidbit, only to have to retract it later. But meanwhile, the info is already out their, and with attention spans the way they are today, the false info might not reach everyone.

This is why, when it comes to breaking news situations, I will no longer retweet or otherwise spread “up to the minute” information. Though having access to information from an event early in the game is great, its still better to wait a bit for a clearer image to appear, later on.

Lots of information is great. But not if its inaccurate.

Also see Memes and Misinformation

Amazing Rant On The State Of America

Here we have a TV news anchor, who is clearly fed up with the actions and impotence continually displayed by his nations government. Judging by the workers in the background turning around, you can see that this clearly does not happen every day. But that is why I like this video.

We need more Americans to just, flip out. Until that starts happening, the politicians will not think twice about walking over the majority, in their quest to kiss the ass of the minority. All at the expense of the the people, the nation, and in the broader picture, the biosphere.

Psychics

Image

I’ve been busy with odd shifts at work and navigating through this ole life of mine, so I hadn’t realized it had been almost 10 days since my previous entry (April fools day). But today I’m back, with a topic that you will hopefully deem interesting.

I’m sure we all have heard about psychics at some point in our lives. They also go by mediums, card readers, crystal ball gazers, and have all sorts of other ways to gaze into the future, the past, or to talk to our deceased loved ones. They often charge horrendous rates for demonstrations of their “special” gifts.

Now, I have heard about such people in the past, but not for a very long time.

Until a few days ago, when a family member shocked the rest of us, by announcing (via a status update) that she had been in contact with her father, my grandfather (who passed away in 2004). Browsing through Facebook on my phone at a coffee shop with a family member, my face must have registered my surprise because the person I was with asked what was happening lol. And so I showed him, who too, was initially surprised.

I then re-read the status update, and realized that it said that grandpa had dropped by during a visit to “Susan“. Of course, I initially didn’t put 2 and 2 together, and was wondering who on earth “Susan” was (was it a dream that she was reliving? Entirely possible. Though she forgot to add THAT part into the status update). And so I commented “Susan?”,  curiosity peaked.

I got my answer the next day when I was told that she was a psychic/card reader/spiritualist type of person. This person is a friend of the family member of which this happened to. And it was during her “free” card reading session, that the visit had occurred. Yep, my grandpa just decided to drop by, and tell her how great it was on the “other” side, and that everything was going to be ok.

 This was followed a day or so later by another 2 family members (a cousin, daughter of the one who had the “experience” (my aunt), and another cousin) posting about how they had gone in for some sort of session where all the negative memories were  “removed” from there bodies. And after that, my one cousin said that she had been in a session, where they went through some of the things she was in “past” lives, in great detail.

I’m hoping that all of that was also “free” friendship readings. But I did find out that they had apparently purchased some sort of spiritual “rocks” from this person. Though I have not a clue what their purpose could possibly be (frankly, it took much willpower not to introject my atheistic rationality into any of the conversations).

In any case, the lady is not from around here but is travelling around my province for the next month or so (even coming to my city for a few days). And she has a fairly wide range of “services”. I’m unaware of all her prices, but I know that a card reading is $40 and a full-on psychic reading is $100. And as far as I can tell, one has to book in advance (make an appointment), which is interesting.

When it came to this aunt of mine, whether or not she is aware, being someone’s friend on Facebook gives a person access to a whole treasure trove of information. Quite possibly a boatload of useless stuff, but you may post little clues here and there, and then forget. Clues that one could later find, and when put together, build a profile of you as a person.

Clues, such as information on your parents. Which, may lead to other sources you may not think of. For example, the presence of a Facebook group dedicated to “uniting” all of our family members worldwide, which contains all sorts of details of our family tree. Here (or though one of the other related family members that have parents listed openly), is a good bet to where the name of my grandpa could have been picked up.

So I then decided to plug my grandpa’s name into a google search. Something I (and others) would never have even thought of doing before, for good reason (he never used the internet, so why would he be out there on it?).

But imagine my surprise, when I start finding little bits and pieces here and there. Obituaries from newspapers. Trails posted by family members on websites like ancestry.com. I even found a trail that led back to ME, a listing on an ancestry website that I had never come across before (as it used my full 4-word name). This I found interesting because I have been googling myself for YEARS, just to check what I (and possibly others) have put out there (and cleaning up old digital breadcrumbs as I find them, if possible).

I am not a pro at finding out info about people using the public domain, but I’m sure if your livelihood depends on it, you will have expert methods.

But that brings me to something I mentioned earlier, digital breadcrumbs.

Anyone who grew up in the age of broadband, likely grew up using a variety of past social networking websites that are no longer “the in thing” due to modern facebook dominance.

Nexopia. Hi5. Beebo. Myspace. Friendster. And likely hundreds, if not thousands, of other websites of which we once used to share photos and other posts. Then there could be forums we once participated in. All sorts of sites, with all sorts of purposes, once used, but now forgotten.

 But even if YOU forget about your accounts in all of the above, do they forget YOU? More often than not,  no.

All the information that you added just sits there. To be logged by search engine crawlers. Until the day that someone decides to throw your name into a search engine, and all of this forgotten past digital chatter (attached to your name), could be on display for them to see.

I know it can happen, because about 2 years after high school, just for the hell of it, I threw my name into a search engine (not expecting to find anything, as my real name is uncommon). I was surprised when my past activities on websites popped up right before my eyes.  I even found a posting I had made in grade 9 on a website guestbook (thanking them for the info, as it helped me with a project lol). And the posting is still up to this day.

After finding this, and realizing that I am not the only one who could stumble onto this stuff, I went into cleanup mode, attempting to gain access to each and everyone, and taking down the profiles (since I no longer use them). I was successful, sparing 1 site, which I’m not overly worried about anyway.

If there is a lesson here, it’s that with modern technology today, there are many ways to learn about a person’s background. And that we each may inadvertently give away all SORTS of information that one could use to build a profile on us. And though in this case, we’re talking about psychics, they are not the only entities that may have a vested interest in your past (current, or potential employers?).

And even if the “psychic” seemingly does not have time to build a profile of her clients, there are methodologies that many employ to give you the illusion they are indeed “connected” to the other side, but in reality, they are reading you like a book. South Park did a whole episode, mocking it lol. And if you dig online, you will likely find more about it.

As for my family, it is my hope that they will eventually grow out of this “phase”, or come to their senses about this “Susan”. Frankly, I’m an agnostic in many areas. Anything is possible.

But with the tools available today, it’s easier than ever to be a cheat psychic.

So if you ever find yourself in a situation where your about to spend ANY amount of money in order to contact those deceased, or to gaze into the past or future, remember. . . . . . 99% of the time, things that seem to good to be true, ARE.

And the psychic isn’t reading from the cards, ball, or the “other” side . . . . . . . they are reading YOU.