Depth Perception

I’m not feeling too great, so I’m gonna keep this post short. Today was the day that Jim and his brother were going to the county fair, and he also wanted to drop off the Phil Collins concert ticket that he got me – so I just saved him the extra driving and time and met them at the fair. I wasn’t much fun for the Sweet Corn Festival, and I’m not sure I was a whole lot more fun today, but I did make an appearance. Plus I wanted to get some longer “real-world” footage with the 360 camera and take some “portrait mode” iPhone shots to see what Facebook’s new “3D” algorithm could do with them.

(Wow… vertical video shows up bigger than I expected. Click to make it “screen sized” at bottom of vid.)

It’s a neat little trick that they’ve come up with… something that I wish the phone could do natively… but it’s also something that once everyone and their brother learns how to do it, the motion sickness that it may cause will probably be enough that the peanut gallery starts demanding a button to disable this nerdy new trick entirely. But I’m feeling a little too “off” to fuss with that 360 video right now… not sure when I’ll get around to it, but don’t be surprised if it sits on the back burner for a while.

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Don’t Try To Distract Me With Facts

For someone who likes observing the humans and the way they act and treat each other, Twitter has been quite the place to be recently. And like I mentioned to a couple other people I know… I realize that Twitter isn’t an accurate representation of the entire population of humans, but even with that understanding it’s still difficult for me to see so many people who operate so differently than I think people should.

Mainly what I’m talking about is people’s tendency to find a controversy, pick a side, jump to a conclusion that isn’t based in fact, logic, or critical thinking – and then scream and shout at other people who don’t share the exact same position as they do. Granted, I’m not exactly silent on a lot of issues – but I try to only speak from a position where I’ve educated myself on the topic, and saying things which (I believe) have facts and logic to back it all up. My problem: expecting the humans to function the same way, hoping that they can understand the difference between a fact and opinion or allegation.

Two “situations” where I’ve found myself trying to bring reason to conversations:

  • The allegations against Chris Hardwick by his former girlfriend Chloe Dykstra. She has accused him of psychological and sexual abuse during their relationship, and within days his various television shows have been shelved by AMC, his name was scrubbed from the Nerdist site that he founded, and he has lost future gigs hosting various things at different comic conventions.
  • Atari has started a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo to develop and create a new console called the Atari VCS… and there is a small but extremely vocal group of angry “game nerd” YouTube channels who are absolutely certain that the whole thing is a scam, and keep producing angry videos with all sorts of allegations – all in what seems to be an attempt to sabotage Atari’s console launch.

With Hardwick and Dykstra, I’m of the opinion that nobody knows what happened except for the two parties involved, so the public can’t come to a determination that’s anything more than just opinion or assumption. But on Twitter, there are thousands of posts from people who are loudly cheering that he’s lost his jobs and his reputation, despite the only “proof” being that an ex-girlfriend said some things.

These aren’t people who think that he did what she said. These are people that know, with absolute certainty, and aren’t hesitant to call him a monster and say that he’s getting exactly what he deserved. There’s a smaller group who are outright calling Dykstra a liar, and then there’s an even smaller group of folks like me who simply say that we hope that someone gets to the bottom of the situation based on the facts, and that it’s unfortunate that a man’s life is being destroyed based simply on an allegation.

For the people who are #MeToo activists, people who advocate that people “wait and see what the facts reveal” are the enemy. A majority of them make a comment supporting Dkystra, and then follow it up with “And I should know, because I’ve been through the same thing or something similar – showing that their view might be a little biased. Evidence is already popping up which conflicts with parts of her allegations, but hell… if he’s guilty, get him. But damn… the man has lost almost everything and has been declared a trash human by half of the internet – all because she said it was so.

With Atari, they put their crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo, which doesn’t require a working prototype before funding can be solicited. But angry YouTubers are screaming “THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE A PRODUCT!” as if that’s something that should surprise anyone. Why would anyone expect them to have a nearly complete product, when that’s the point of raising the money? And Atari, for whatever reason, delayed the launch of their campaign once last year – which is another thing that the video creators say indicates a scam. As if no other successful products have ever had delays in their design or production.

What the problem actually is, is that these YouTube creators feel slighted by Atari. They feel that Atari owes it to them, to contact them and provide them more information, or answer the questions that they have about the project. Atari eventually got tired of being badmouthed by this small group of angry people and pushed back against what they were saying, which obviously hurt the feelings of these “reviewers” and caused them to make even more outlandish claims. Most of these angry folks haven’t even backed the project, nor do they intend to, but boy are they mad anyway – because how dare Atari not contact them directly and answer every damn question that they have.

Atari’s project already has nearly $3M in backing, so apparently there were plenty of people who felt like the information on the campaign page was enough. As with any hardware, it will obviously go through all sorts of slight changes before finalized, and people understand this. The angry YouTube mob is furious that Atari won’t give them more information, but why should they have to? If they’re already getting plenty of backers, and it’s obvious that speaking with the angry people won’t make a difference, why would they? Are these folks also screaming at Sony and Microsoft, demanding that they be given more about their next consoles in development?

But the more that these people shout “SCAM! DUMPSTER FIRE! FAKE! LIES!” in their videos, the more that their followers start to get nervous, and end up drinking the kool-aid and repeating the same claims that are being made in the angry videos. If the creator has 100k followers on YouTube, and is spouting whatever… there’s a good chance that their followers will start spouting the same thing in the comments and elsewhere, even if just to look like they “think just like a video creator who has 100k followers.” It’s toxic and sad.

So yeah… whether I’m trying to convince people that they should hold their venom for Hardwick until the claims against him have been proven, or if I’m pointing out that all of the “signs” that angry video creators are using against Atari are just normal things that happen in almost every crowdfunding campaign… people just continue to rage. You’re expected to either hate Dykstra or hate Hardwick. No middle ground. You’re supposed to accept that Atari is scamming $3M from people, and shouldn’t dare suggest that it might not be the case. Hardwick might be guilty, Atari’s console might be a flop or a scam… but people’s eagerness to convict others of this or that, with only assumptions or “feelings about it” to back it up… it’s just bizarre, and the amount of people getting caught up in it only seems to be growing.

I know, I shouldn’t bother… but I wanna believe that under the surface, people really are capable of unbiased, critical thinking – and I wanna say or do things that encourage that, or try to bring it out of them. Every now and then I might get one or two of ’em… heh… but not surprisingly, the irate people who claim their passion-filled opinions as fact just don’t seem interested in considering alternate views of a situation. 😏 It’s still my method of escapism though, for when I don’t feel like thinking about anything in my own life, in those moments that I’m sticking my nose into other people’s thoughts… so at least I’m getting a small benefit from it all, eh?

RfD – Reality For Dummies

There is an epidemic in America these days. It’s a damaging combination of ignorance, anger, stubbornness, apathy, gullibility, reluctance, spite, denial, and straight up stupidity. (Among at least a dozen other harmful ways of thinking.) Since this post will revolve mostly around political opinions or beliefs, let me say that I don’t even care what “side” you’re on when it comes to any particular issue… I just want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are false, just as I want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are truthful. Operating within the bounds of reality, to put it simply. Apparently, though, that’s something that can prove to be incredibly difficult for an obscene amount of humans on this planet.

  • Robert Mueller and his team announce 13 new indictments resulting from their investigation. Most of the people are Russian, not linked to Donald Trump in any specific way, and it says the people that the Russians did work with were unwitting participants… unaware that their strings were being pulled by Russians.

Donald Trump and his supporters immediately seized on this news, and either through ignorance or deception – spun it as some sort of huge vindication for Trump. Going on about how the actions of those Russians had no impact on the election, and that it proves that Donald Trump and his campaign “did nothing wrong” and that there was no collusion. All of that, and more, based on these specific indictments on that specific day.

RfD Explanation: 1) Nobody can say with certainty that the actions of the Russians had zero impact on the election results. You can only say that if you know for certain what would have happened without Russian interference, which is impossible. 2) As for the “did nothing wrong” and “no collusion” claims… those claims can both be true for this incident, with these indictments, while still allowing for those claims to be false when it comes to anything else in the investigation. If the FBI is investigating the mob and they arrest some low level shmuck – just because it was “the shmuck” that was picked up, it obviously doesn’t guarantee that the mob leaders are innocent and will never be caught and charged in the future. That shouldn’t even need explanation.

  • President Obama created DACA protections through an executive order, which Donald Trump has since nullified once he came into office.

In the time since then, Donald Trump has been endlessly tweeting about how Democrats don’t want to help DACA, they don’t really want DACA, they only want it as a campaign issue, and how badly DACA recipients have been treated by the Democrats. He also claims that Republicans are the ones who are working hard to save it, that they want to make a deal to save DACA, and that he’s offering DACA as a great deal to Democrats.

RfD Explanation: Donald Trump single-handedly ended DACA. There shouldn’t be a need for elaboration after that, but… not only is Trump responsible for DACA being in the dire position that it’s in, but he and the Republicans will not vote on a clean DACA bill. He wants to use it as a bargaining chip – the exact thing that he has accused the Democrats of wanting to do. Democrats were even willing to deal, to offer requested funding for “The Wall” in a bipartisan deal that would save DACA – but Trump went back on his word and rejected the deal, feeling he wasn’t getting enough from the Democrats to save DACA. Simply put, the GOP controls the senate and the house, so if Trump wanted to save DACA as he claims, the Republicans could do it themselves – with just a few (happily given) votes from Democrats. Every argument he makes on this is nonsense.

  • Rob Goldman, Vice President of Advertising at Facebook, made several tweets about their part in the Mueller investigation – since they’re being looked at due to Russians buying blocks of advertising on the site before and after the election. He wrote today that “I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.”

RfD Explanation: The problem with this statement is that Donald Trump and loads of his followers started retweeting this information as fact. That the Russians were “definitively” not trying to sway the election. However, unless the ad buyers directly told Goldman the goal of their plan – his use of the word “definitively” is a huge issue. He can look at all the ads, he can look at other information, but his conclusion is simply an opinion or impression – not something that should be presented as a fact, and then retweeted by Trump as a fact. It would be like me saying “I read this help wanted ad, and can say definitively that they wouldn’t hire my friend Jim.” It’s not something that can be claimed as fact.


Those are just the three most recent incidents in my mind, where people are being sold a load of horse shit – and they either don’t care or they don’t know any better, so they run with it and repeat it to others as gospel as well. As long as something fits the preferred narrative that someone already has in their head, they’re not going to apply critical thought. Some others… they might actually suspect (or even know) that a piece of information may be partially or completely false, but for some reason they’d rather feel right (with others that think like them) than actually be right.

I’m sure there are some Trump supporters who started out legitimately putting their hope into the guy. Wanting to give him a chance, and believing his words when he’d say how much he was gonna fight for “the little guy” or whatever it was that sold himself to them. Over time though, I’m sure that many of those folks started questioning, and then realizing… that in so many instances, Trump is ridiculously full of shit. But by that point they’re already fully invested – and even just acknowledging the lies and deceptions to themselves is something they aren’t willing to do. Realizing and admitting that you’ve been suckered, even just to yourself, is a difficult thing to do. Nobody likes feeling duped… and many Trump supporters, to me at least, seem like they’d rather angrily defend everything about him and their support for him, rather than allowing anyone else to see that they’ve realized how much they’ve been conned. Their feet are dug in at that point, and nothing will change their mind about how they’re gonna play the rest of the game.

I’m not sure which people are more scary/frustrating to me. The ones who know that Trump (or whoever) is full of shit most of the time, or the folks who really do believe everything that Trump (or whoever) says. I can understand people in the first group, but the second group… how can anyone be so oblivious when they’re being lied to over and over? But hell, in both instances – I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for them. It would suck to put your faith into someone that turned out to be a snake oil salesman, just as it would suck to be so blinded by hope that you can no longer recognize fact from fiction.

The divide between folks like me and folks like them… it’s getting bigger and bigger with each day that passes. On top of that, while I thought that when it comes to politics, that people would start to consider themselves more as independents, as issue based thinkers and voters – but the opposite seems to be true. Democrats/liberals are moving farther to the left just as quickly as Republicans/conservatives are moving farther to the right. Things feel broken and somewhat irreparable, and I don’t see how it’s going to get any better any time soon. That’s what brings me back to the topic of this post. If people could just make more of an effort to find/recognize/admit truths and resist lies and bullshit, and act on those truths and lies accordingly, things would have to get a little better, right?

What’s Wrong

People have far too much access to each other. It’s not that the access is bad, it’s that people don’t know how to properly use such a feature of today’s life. I’ve never seen such a culture of “I’m miserable so I’m going to make everyone else miserable too.” as now. So many humans seem to exist only to be a bane to other humans.

The most recent bit of bullshit that I came across was when a local festival posted a graphic of a sign that essentially said that no animals were allowed on festival grounds unless they were a certified service animal for a disabled person. So of course some jackass had to get butthurt, complaining that people with diabetes can have service animals, but they aren’t disabled 😐 and therefore use of the word was offensive. 😑

The festival quite politely pointed out that the graphic came from somewhere else, and they were simply wanting folks to know that any animals on the property must be service animals, because lots of folks these days try to take advantage of that allowance without a certification for their animals. The same asshole responds with “I don’t know what you mean by ‘these days‘” Oh my God d00d. Are you fucking kidding me? You’re not that dense that you don’t realize that the festival is saying that people try to “fake” service animals quite often these days. (Fact. I’ve seen it online and in person myself.)

But back to access to other humans. I can only speak about the window from which I view the world, and my window is different than it was ten years ago. I’m no longer working, I’m single… so I no longer have a lot of things that would normally take up a person’s time, so I can spend a lot of time online. Researching things that interest me, discussing things with people, debating things… generally a little bit of everything… but that also grants me a ton of time to notice and recognize all of the truly horrible people and things in the world. 😞

And this is cliche, but I do blame the Donald Trump presidency for some of it. He goes out in front of the world and acts like the blustering, politically-uneducated, loud mouthed, ignorant blow-hard that he is… and of course it subliminally encourages others, people like him, to do the same thing. 😣 So now there is a sea of truly ignorant people out there who will run their mouths about almost anything, yet only rarely know of what they’re speaking. Explain to them how wrong they are and it only makes their conviction (in their wrongness) that much stronger. It’s a bizarre and frightening thing to witness day after day after day.

Back when the world was normal, people who were unsure of something would get online to research and learn. But now people live in an echo chamber, where the ignorant people reinforce and invigorate the other ignorant people, so there’s eventually an army of these uninformed and/or misinformed morons. 🤦🏻 People who do know what they’re talking about… they’ll try to educate the moron army, but the moron army will have none of it. In fact, they’ll get mad. Mad that you’re trying to help them understand something that they clearly do not understand. 😒

And so it goes, every day on Twitter… on Facebook… on Reddit… one mass of people against another mass of people. The intelligent people don’t back down because they’re aware that they are right. The ignorant people won’t back down… well… because they’re ignorant. 😏 It’s frustrating to watch the ignorance grow, as these people spread their misinformation and sometimes blatantly made-up “facts” to the gullible. That’s a Trumpian thing to do – discredit good, factual information as being “fake” so you can replace it with whatever bullshit you wish were the facts.

Meh… those are just a few examples. Then you have fake people on Facebook, creating a bullshit image of what they want people to believe their life is like. They’ll call someone a friend one minute, then talk shit about them as soon as they leave the room. People who will see someone’s enthusiasm for something, and will then laugh or otherwise berate that person and their thing, simply because they don’t share that same enthusiasm.

Then there are the folks who couldn’t give two shits about anyone but themselves. Their entire motivation exists around their own gratification at whatever cost to those around them. Then there are the sad people who seem to require “likes” or “clicks” or whatever, as if that sort of thing validates their life and makes it “good enough” or maybe even better than someone else’s. 😢 “Oh look, she’s talking shit but she only has 72 followers. *laugh*” And then the things that a lot of people would look at and consider to be worth noticing, discussing, or debating… it’s like those things don’t exist to a huge segment of the population. 😧 Some things you want people to notice and be shocked or outraged, but the shock and outrage is always saved up for some bullshit like “Did you see that Microsoft included an emoji of a hand “flipping the bird” in their latest update? Can you believe it?”

Granted, again, I know that this is because of the window that I have, to observe the digital humans and actual humans, because of my own choices and otherwise… but I sit here and wonder why, of all the people I know, that I’m one of the very few who are concerned with what’s going on in our government? Steve Bannon said that their intention was to get into office and totally fuck things up (I’m paraphrasing) and boy is that what they’re doing. 😳 Many decades from now, our grandchildren are going to read about this time in their history books and wonder why more people didn’t say or do something.

Our President is an ignorant, narcissistic, bumbling man-child. He installs his daughter and son-in-law in top positions in the White House, despite them having equal political experience. (Meaning ZERO) Sebastian Gorka was a former Breitbart contributor with a penchant for racist hyperbole. Betsy DeVos was named Secretary of Education, despite having no experience in public schools, while lobbying for privatization. Dan Scavino is a conspiracy theorist who posts fake news, including allegations that Michelle Obama is actually a man. Scott Pruitt is a climate change denier who was named to head the EPA, despite suing the agency more than a dozen times previously. And then there’s Rick Perry, who heads the Department of Energy, while not even realizing what the department did until after he took the job. And Pruitt, he’s doing his best to eliminate transparency in the office, so much so that he’s already being legally challenged. Ugh… I could go on and on, because for nearly every Trump appointee there’s some “JFC” fact that goes along with them.

Whether by ignorance, inaction, or purposeful action – our government is literally filled with people who are doing a amazing job of destroying it from the inside, just like Bannon said they wanted. In their delusional bubble, I’m sure they think things are swell. Meanwhile, the more observant of us see that hardly anyone knows what’s going on, and the world sees that hardly anyone knows what’s going on… we’re losing even more respect, and it doesn’t help when our loud-mouthed President keeps making bizarre, almost dementia-tainted tweets and empty threats of war on Twitter. Oh, and did I mention that Trump hasn’t even nominated people for hundreds of vacant positions in his administration? Yeah… it would be nice if we had an Ambassador to South Korea, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, etc. (Especially since we’ve already bombed Syria with dozens of missiles.) But rather than listing a bunch of other shocking holes in our government, just follow this link and see for yourself. People should be bothered by this.

But no. You used the word “disabled” when talking about service animals and not all people that need service animals are disabled and I find that offensive. It makes my fucking brain hurt sometimes, no lie. 😖 And try to point out all of Trump’s documented failings and shortcomings to a Trump supporter… yeah… see how that works for ya. More than ever, the ignorant masses are digging in their heels and are simply not going to stand for any of these “so-called facts” anymore. What do you do with people like that? I mean, how do you communicate with them? Reason with them? It’s like this huge chunk of the population has chosen to remove itself from reality, so how is a thinking person supposed to process and deal with that – without getting so frustrated that they have to bust out ridiculously long, multi-paragraph blog posts in the middle of the damn night? 😏

But yeah, that’s part of “what’s wrong with me” right now…