Break from the news

Every so often I have to take a little break from the news.  I get so frustrated listening to talking heads and news anchors that have no idea what they are talking about. I just have to shut it down.  It doesn’t matter what station your watching either.  They are all in such a hurry to get something, anything out that rumors and random opinion are substitutes for news. With experts that are not actually experts used to fill time. 

The Navy Yard shooting was a great example of how bad the networks and cable news are.  Nearly all of the information the first day was wrong.  It wasn’t just a little bit wrong but off the mark by miles in some cases.  Now the anchors tell us that the information is breaking and could be wrong.  Well here’s and idea, don’t report it till it’s verified and double sources.  Wasn’t that the standard at one time? 

I’m not a John Stewart fan but sometimes he hits the mark.  Below is an example.

In reality there is very little real news these days. What I mean is news where just facts are presented and you the viewer / reader can decide what you make of it.  Today you have to sift through tons of opinionated and biased (all sides) reporting then double check every line for information only to find that there are no facts at all in the report.

Is this by accident or plan.  There is the need to fill time and this invariably leads to anchors saying many dumb things.  But is it really bad to go on with other news until there is something new to report?

Then there is the idea that maybe this is part of “The plan”, to keep the people out of the loop and confused.  Unable to discern the truth and make decisions, thus requiring political operatives to tell us what to think.  That is never good.

In depth fact based reports are few and far between.  It’s all sound bite news, with short little segments of guests pushing agendas for 3 minutes then on to the next issue. We need to slow it down.

I think I’ll read some good books the next few days.  I already have The Devil we Don’t Know by Nonie Darwish and George Washington a biography in his own words lined up. 

devil we don't know   george-washington-a-biography-in-


6 thoughts on “Break from the news

  1. JB, in reality there is a record amount of real and important news happening. But the vast majority of the global media covers little of it; mostly focusing on gossip and sensationalism.

    If you want news, read specialized blogs and media sources that focus on specific types of new. For example Java programming, the semiconductor industry, wireless industry, natural gas industry, Afghanistan, the gold mining industry, the copper mining industry, turboprop aircraft, Venture capital, basketball etc.

    For example Apple just introduced a truly revolutionary System of Chip (powered by a custom designed A7 cyclone application processor and rogue PowerVR 6 GPU) in its latest iPhone5S.

    This chip is far better quality than expected, with stunning performance per watt of electricity. In some ways comparable performance to current laptops at a small fraction the power usage.

    There is stunning progress being made on artificial intelligence, machine self learning, pattern recognition and parallel processing. We are very close to artificial intelligence that is orders of magnitude too complex for us to understand (meaning “how it works” or “what it will do given external stimulus” is a black box beyond our ability to fathom).

    We are having simply mind blowing advances in biotechnology:
    –it will soon be possible for sensors to accurately read our thoughts making keyboards irrelevant
    –being able to grow custom organs such as livers/kidneys/hearts that we can surgically plug into our bodies
    –being able to transform our very DNA throughout our bodies through custom bio-engineered viruses,

    There is revolutionary progress being made in robotics and natural gas fracking.

    I am a basketball stats hound. And by any measure the quality of NBA basketball has improved enormously over the past few decades. In other words many players today play better than Jordan/Magic/Bird/Kareem did in the 1980s. Obviously if these greats played today with today’s medical advances and today’s far superior competition, they would also play orders of magnitude better than they played back in the 1980s. Making direct comparisons difficult.

    Look at how three point shooting, long two point shooting and mid range jumper shooting has improved in the NBA over time. Look at how much faster paced and more athletic today’s NBA is. And how much more stamina today’s NBA players have.

    Today basketball is the undisputed second most popular sport in the world, which has lead to dramatically higher incomes for basketball players today versus the 1990s.

    We are very close to a world where all laptops, notebooks, notebooks with detachable screens (that can be used as tablets), all TV monitors, all all-in-ones, all computer monitors are touchscreen.

    We are very close to a world where every display devices is super high resolution and 3D capable.

    We are very close to a world where every TV is a de-facto all-in-one massive touch-screen supercomputer. Where every cell phone is a de-facto supercomputer that can run artificially intelligent programs and applications (such as massively improved Siri and can joke with and entertain us).

    We are close to a world where all 7 billion of us can access high end information and free classes on demand.

  2. ANAN, I agree and will continue to follow the sites I find interesting and useful. Specialty sites with real experts rather than blabbering idiots. I also agree the technology field continues to innovate and expand. I’m not so sure that’s always a good thing though. But as you say there are tons of news stories to be told and it’s frustrating the common media don’t get out of the DC beltway and live with the rest of the world.

    I try to check out foreign media often and find their coverage of nearly any subject quite a bit better then the US news.

  3. It no longer seems to matter much what country a writer is from. Foreign versus domestic is increasingly irrelevant.

    It more specialized experts versus uninformed misinformed talking heads.

    The world is a very interesting place. Many fields are advancing rapidly. Didn’t even get into how mining technologies continue to improve, or how gps has dramatically lowered global fuel and transportation costs.

    How how LNG is dramatically lowering energy costs and transportation costs all over the world.

    Many poor developing countries are experiencing rapid progress. Global poverty is falling fast. Security in Mexico is improving.

    New supply chain and procurement software is dramatically increasing the purchasing power of consumers. More competition makes it harder for market makers to rip off regular joes who buy stocks, bonds, derivatives, futures and other financial products.

    A stunning amount of innovation is taking place in global nonprofits and NGOs that benefits lower income people around the planet.

    The job market for young Americans is improving (while deteriorating for old Americans.)

    The world continues to change at blazing speed even if not always for the best.

  4. BTW, the latest from Afghanistan is that the ANSF has had sole security responsibility for all of Afghanistan for some time.

    They seem to be losing 700 KIA a month, or 8400 KIA per year. Plus several times as many wounded. They are rapidly chewing through their vehicles, APCs, Arty, mortars, helicopters, fixed wing, communication equipment and spares through heavy usage and combat losses. Elevated fuel, spares, ammunition use from their high tempo of operations are unsustainable for a country as poor as Afghanistan.

    And these losses are with ISAF combat enablers (CAS, medivac, advisers.) Without these ISAF combat enablers, ANSF losses and operating costs are expected to be much higher.

    The flip side is that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are also taking record losses. So far the Pakistani Army and Gulf seem to be surging to offset these losses. One result of this is that the number of foreign fighters in Afghanistan is the highest since 2001.

    Obama’s approach is perceived to be coercing and bullying the Afghans into a peace agreement with Pakistan and the Taliban (and de facto Al Qaeda linked terrorists.) The problem with Obama’s approach is that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are more hated among Afghans now than ever before, making any real negotiations between the Afghan Government and the Taliban/Pakistan political suicide ahead of the 2014 election.

    The Afghans don’t have a chance against the Deep State and Gulf Establishment over the long term without massive international funding for the ANSF. Afghanistan has traditionally lost her wars with her neighbors to the South (Pakistan/India) and East (Iran) and North (Mongols, Seljik Turks) over the last 6 millenia; except when she had international backing.

    Obama still seems to oppose equipping the ANSF (and seems to be opposing Indian and Russian arming of the ANSF), probably in an effort to placate Pakistan and the Gulf and to save money.

    Obama overruled the McChrystal/Petraeus/Caldwell ANSF surge in 2010; which greatly undermined the ISAF surge in operations in 2010-2012.

  5. ANAN, thanks for the AFG update. I haven’t been able to follow it as much as I’d like in the last year. As to Obama’s plan, I don’t know if he truly has one on any foreign policy front. The mixed signals in AFG the last four years have left Afghans, US military scratching their heads as far as I can see. We had a great opportunity in the beginning and squandered it. The Bush admin didn’t do a great job their either. Too many outside influences in the Administration (s) I think.

  6. Bush and Obama until November 2009, had a weak ANSF policy (pressuring Karzai not to accept equipment and training from Russia, India; limiting the specs of weapons in the ANSF) because Bush and Obama believed in trying to convince Pakistanis and the Gulf to turn fully against the extremists.

    A strong ANA was and remains a red line for the Pakistani Army and strongly opposed by the Gulf.

    Obama has had slight success in turning the Gulf against extremism (but not nearly enough success) and been a complete flop in Pakistan.

    But things in Afghanistan are not that bad. The ANSF can now fight and win their war with only money and limited combat enablers. This means victory is easily achievable. Plus a lot of the burden in Afghanistan can be shared with Europe, Russia, India, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada and other countries. There is still unanimous UN support for the Afghan mission.

    Fortunately international combat troops are no longer necessary in Afghanistan.

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