Monthly Archives: August 2017

“News is Toxic”: News is killing your ability to think clearly #SocialMedia #Propaganda #Media

But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking.

Key points from the column:

  • News misleads.
  • News is irrelevant.
  • News has no explanatory power.
  • News is toxic to your body.
  • News increases cognitive errors.
  • News inhibits thinking.

People who stop following the news are able to think more clearly and lead happier lives.

Source: News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier | Media | The Guardian

The next post – coming soon – looks at the trivial nonsense reporting now coming from the Texas flood disaster as reporters spin the story in multiple and pointless directions.

All of these reports are emotional in nature and designed for sharing on social media. Pointlessness.

Did a Federal law make U.S. Civil War Confederate solidiers the equivalent of U.S. veterans? No.

This past week, my Facebook news feed showed a shared item that claims Confederate soldiers of the U.S. Civil War were declared as “U.S. veterans by an Act of Congress”.

Not exactly. In fact, most of this claims is false.

Snopes.com explains that this is mostly false.

This item works as social media propaganda because it appears to cite what sound like legitimate sources for the information (an appeal to authority). The item also appeals to patriotism (U.S. veterans) and the use of transference (Congress said they are U.S. veterans so therefore, they should be treated the same).

However, the alleged Congressional acts either do not exist or refer to something different. The alleged “last Confederate veteran” who died in 1958, was a fraudster who was not an actual veteran. In reality, the last actual Confederate soldiers died in 1959.

This is just a propaganda meme that is mostly not true, but sounded convincing to many.

Google is a propaganda company that really does spy on you, more than you know

But Google is, first and foremost, an advertising company and its largest product is a targeted advert service, which it sells to the biggest brands in the world.

Billions of annual web searches, location and email data allow it to target the population with specialised marketing – and there is no reason why it couldn’t do the same with your voice data, too.

Source: How Google is secretly recording YOU through your mobile, monitoring millions of conversations every day and storing the creepy audio files

Google’s business is advertising – to persuade you to purchase a product or service, to support someone’s policy choices, to adopt someone else’s agenda.

The business of Google is propaganda, broadly defined.

Google is very effective at this because Google knows nearly everything about you. They store enormous amounts of data about you, including erroneous information – and there is no way to correct the erroneous information they have collected or interpreted.

  • Google scans your emails – Google knows what you’ve bought online (thanks to email confirmations of your purchases). Google knows when you’ve bought or sold a home or stocks (due to email confirmations).
  • Google knows where you have traveled to, where you stayed, what businesses you stopped at – yes, they log all of this. If you have Location services on, on your phone, Google tracks all of your activity. From this, Google can determine, for example, that you have stopped at many espresso coffee shops.
  • Google voice, used to transcribe text messages, stores all of your voice recordings and text messages in the Google cloud. Ostensibly this is used by Artificial Intelligence algorithms to improve their voice recognition capabilities. (Similarly, every time you are tagged in a photo on Facebook, Facebook uses that to improve automatic facial recognition software so that FB can automatically identify you in photos – or perhaps real time surveillance video camera images.)
  • Google stores your entire Chrome web history (even if you delete the history in Chrome it remains stored at Google).
  • Of course, Google also backs up your contact list, calendar, apps and app data from your device.
  • Google logs each time you use an app on your Android phone.
  • Google also stores erroneous information. Because my email address at Google is a simple one, many people with a similar name mistakenly enter my email address rather than their own address which is typically a variation of mine. Consequently, I receive erroneous emails about my alleged purchase of a Mercedes Benz, a BMW, an Apple computer, DISH network services, CenturyLink communication services and so on. I have also received other people’s notice of discontinuation of services due their failure to pay their bills.Google likely thinks I am a deadbeat because they have no way of knowing that those emails are erroneously sent to me due to email address mistakes by others.
  • Google stores vastly more invasive information about you than the NSA.

Google stores all this data and performs extensive data analysis on all aspects of your life in order to target advertising to you. Literally, Google has created a massive and detailed dossier of your life, plus they include erroneous information. There is no way to correct erroneous information in the Google dossier.

You can, should and MUST delete this data log. To delete this data, log in to your Google account and go to this Google page and hack away.

After looking at the history Google has recorded, I will be getting  rid of as much Google as I can. I am no longer comfortable using Google services.

For many of us this is tough – once you have given out your email address to friends and businesses and online web sites and services, we may literally have dozens or hundreds of places we need to change our email address. For many this can be a lot of work.