Just Because It’s Your Hypothesis, Doesn’t Mean It’s The Correct One

I love these thoughts from Carl Sagan:

Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will.

It comes from a longer piece about challenging “facts” and “authorities” in the search for something closer to truth. You can read more here: Carl Sagan’s tools for critical thinking and detecting bullshit.

The case against Facebook

But Googlers can also make a strong case that Google makes valuable contributions to the information climate. I learn useful, real information via Google every day. And while web search is far from a perfect technology, Google really does usually surface accurate, reliable information on the topics you search for. Facebook’s imperative to maximize engagement, by contrast, lands it in an endless cycle of sensationalism and nonsense.

I’m not sure I’d give Google as much of a moral edge over Facebook. Both are focused on optimising engagement. That’s pretty much a necessity given their business models. At the same time, Facebook does seem to turn engagement into an art form.

Courtesy of Vox in “The case against Facebook“.

What Palestinians ultimately want from Israel?

Israel is a complicated place. The perennial question is how to achieve peace with our neighbours? That question begs another question: what Palestinians ultimately want from Israel? Alwyn Lau answered that question in his article “What do Palestinians want from Israel?” in MalayMail Online recently:

From my conversations with people who support Palestine, the answers usually remain non-specific. It would appear the only precise “demand” which would satisfy their notions of justice would be for Israel to give back ALL the land to the Palestinians.

In other words, the only solution on the table would be for Israel to cease existing as a state in Palestine.

I didn’t know that former Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians such broad terms in exchange for peace back in 2000. The proposal was probably accompanied by a requirement that the Palestinians acknowledge the State of Israel and commit to peace, both of which were probably deal breakers for Arafat.

Israel’s critics focus so heavily on the distorted narrative created by the BDS and its allies, that they completely ignore the efforts made to achieve peace in the last 70+ years.

The thing is, we aren’t going to just throw our hands up in the air, admit defeat, and sacrifice ourselves and our homeland.  We will continue to raise our families, build our communities, and preserve our connection to our home (unless, of course, we destroy ourselves from within).

In the meantime, peace will continue to elude us. But we can live with that. Literally.

Source: Shoshanna Jaskoll

Shoshanna Jaskoll's tweet linking to the article
“Three rarest of all things on Twitter: accuracy, honesty, and integrity when discussing Israel and the Palestinians.”

Om Malik: showing us how it’s done

Dave Winer paid tribute to Om Malik on Twitter. I shared my perspective in reply and it seemed wrong to leave my response just as a tweet so I thought I’d re-post my response here too:

@Om is an inspirational blogger/writer. One of a very small group of people who represent what makes a blog such a wonderful medium (you too, sir). When I think about how to be a better blogger and writer, Om is usually the first person I look to for inspiration.

Here is the Twitter thread:

Photo credit: Om Malik by Christopher Michel, licensed CC BY 2.0

“They sold out our country.”

Donald Trump Jr speaking at at event
Donald Trump, Jr. speaking with supporters of his father, Donald Trump, at a campaign rally at the Sun Devil Fitness Center at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona – Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Reading Dave Winer’s post, I can’t help but think that this quote could just as easily be about what has happened to South Africa (like this, for example).

Now you have to connect the dots. Find more meetings later in the summer and into the fall. Collusion is hardly the issue. Whether they broke the law, not the issue. They sold out our country. That should piss everyone off.

Such blatant corruption at the top doesn’t seem to be limited to so-called “Third World Countries” anymore.

America is still wading through misdirection and denials from its leadership. At some point it will find itself at a crossroads: either accept this blatant corruption or hold its leaders to account.

I am just as doubtful that the ANC will take real steps to remove the rot that has eaten away at South Africa as I am that Trump and his administration will be held accountable for their actions.

Suddenly Jacob Zuma just seems like a pioneer …

Postscript: For good measure, watch this Vox video titled “Why Donald Trump Jr.’s emails change everything“:

Postscript 2:

This discussion on Fox News towards the end of the week of 10 July 2017 is not what I expected from Fox News based on what I’ve read about the network’s apparent bias towards Trump and his administration:

Via Dave Winer.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore, licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

How much you are like your parents

The more I think about this, the more this realisation feels like a big part of being a parent. Like our parents before us, we’re just figuring this stuff out as we go.

That thing when you realize how much you are like your parents, and rather than cringing as a teen, you can say that in love and honor.

Source: Measuring Dad Time

Lives of quiet desperation and debt

I came across this quote by Nigel Marsh in Adam Baker’s TEDx talk and I had to share the quote:

There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.

Marsh also wrote a book titled “Fat, Forty, and Fired: One man’s frank, funny, and inspiring account of losing his job and finding his life” that, aside from the “fat” bit, seems like an appropriate read for me while I search for a new job or build another business.

You can find the full transcript of Marsh’s talk on the TED site and watch him speak here:

In Baker’s TEDx talk, he talks about freedom and the financial treadmills we buy into and run on for much of our lives. His video is worth watching too:

The things we do to ourselves …

Image credit: Mikael Kristenson

Having standards and doing great work

I love Seth Godin’s post titled ‘“Nothing wrong with having standards”‘ and his conclusion in particular.

The thing is, if you begin with standards and stick with them, you don’t have to become a jackal to make ends meet. Not only is there nothing wrong with having standards, it turns out to be a shortcut to doing great work and making an impact.

This has come up for me so many times in both of my careers that it quickly seems to be the “way things are done”. Sure, the people who cut corners do seem to get ahead often but at what cost and how long before it comes back to bite them (often in the form of a bigger jackal)?

Standing by your standards can be a tougher road to walk but doing so is often a pretty good representation of the kind of person you are.

Read the full post: Seth’s Blog: “Nothing wrong with having standards”

Image credit: Pixabay