Debates with Grandpa

Debating with Grandpa is one of our primary activities whenever we get together. These debates usually end up with Grandpa telling me that you can’t trust anything you find online or elsewhere unless it agrees with his already existing beliefs. Not sure how you can ever change your mind if you don’t believe anything that doesn’t agree with your already existing beliefs!

Hiring a new service

Whenever I hire a new service, whether it be a doctor or lawyer or plumber, I always do thorough research on the service offerings, the pricing, and the reviews of the organization at hand. I usually like to set up a spreadsheet and enter all the important information in for comparison sake to help me find the best.

Invention Assignment

I had an interesting conversation with an employee today about invention assignment. Invention assignment is a standard employment contract clause for most companies that do work on the web as all of the work product created is intellectual property and the client usually wants to own it free and clear when we are done. Most larger companies have this contract clause anyways even if they don’t do stuff like we do. The employee was surprised to hear that they needed to disclose their own stuff so it was protected from this. The employee thought I was somehow trying to claim it… when the opposite is true, I want to make sure they own their own stuff.

Yellow Journalism Leading to WW3

In the days prior to WW1, newspapers fought to sell more copies by trying to one up each other with increasingly outrageous claims. Many of the headlines and articles in the biggest newspapers in the world were either misleading or outright false. They took small incidents and blew them up far larger than they needed to be. The more outrageous a headline or article, the more it sold. Eventually, the abuse of yellow journalism led to the building of popular rage that boiled over and was a major societal driving cause of WW1.

After the world wars, newspapers became much more responsible and did not try to one up each other with outrage nearly as much as they did in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  People still had an appetite for it, but they only bought silly stuff like the National Enquirer that had crazy stories about aliens and celebrities not many truly believed.

Bloggers and Facebook and Twitter users have rediscovered the incredibly power over people minds exerted by outrageous (even if untrue) news. Yellow journalism has made a full and powerful comeback. Huge amounts of near lies and outright lies are peddled to get more viewers. Outrage is pushed and pushed.

The outrageousness is getting more ad revenue for blogs and social media… but at a deep cost. Huge populations in each country worldwide are having rising levels of anger. The rage is often over blatantly untrue or exaggerated news items, but the rage is very real and very true.  The rage is leading to the election of throwback populists the likes we haven’t seen since prior to the last two world wars.

The “most powerful country in the world”, America, now has a populist president who can’t handle comedians making jokes at his expense and lashes out every time. Germany is seeing a far right party rise quickly to power. The UK is leaving the Eurozone.

I think continued yellow journalism is going to lead to extreme rage in large enough populations to spark WW3.


Family Time

I have been trying to make more time for family lately, so I was very happy to spend the weekend with Laurel, Kevin, Aunt Anne, Uncle Jim, and Jimmy in Palm Springs this weekend. I still did an hour or two of work a day, but it was good to have good quality family time.