You Are Not Alone.

#etmooc @audreywatters asks 'Who Owns Your Education Data (and Why Does It Matter?)'Have you found yourself the person who actually reads beyond the links being passed around on social networks and finding the headline misleading?

Have you found yourself the person who notices posted content, by reading it, is actually questionable?

Are you the person who checks the sources and, if interested, does some research on the topic independently in an age where it’s one search engine away?

You are not alone. When the people using their freedom of speech don’t meet the criteria of basic literacy and critical thought, it will seem that you are, but you are not alone.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. - Martin Luther King, Jr. In this week's issue of TL;DR - wiobyrne.com/tldr/ #truth #honesty #fiction #ignorance #education #perspective #identityOf course, it doesn’t mean you’re right – just as people who talk about the Dunning-Kruger effect often ignore the fact that they themselves are as much of an issue for some as they think others are to them. Basically, stupid people don’t know that they’re stupid because they’re too stupid to know… and that holds true for all of us.

Every. Single. One.

You. Me. That smart person you know who you ask advice from. All of us are not as intelligent as we think. That thing you taste in your mouth when you realize that is humility.

Yet all of us know people who find reading troublesome, who, when you post a link, ask you questions about the information in the link that is contained in the link itself, or worse, express an opinion based only on the headline and accompanying image. They haven’t even put forth the effort to find out.

In my mind, they are troglodytes, too afraid to come out of their metaphorical caves and see what is being spoken of. They shout from the safety of their caves because life for them, outside these caves, is a thing to fear. This isn’t always the case, sometimes the effort doesn’t seem worth the reward, sometimes they’re busy – but if they’re busy, why are they commenting on something that they know nothing about? Great question. When you find the answer, get back to us.

In a world where information is algorithmically spoon-fed to us, where our opinions are easily shifted one way or the other using coded psychology thoughts on distant web servers, we should be more collectively literate. It doesn’t seem to be that way. It seems to be that the more information mankind has at it’s disposal, the less mankind collectively wants to read – but maybe it’s the same percentage of the population. I don’t know.

Maybe stories are just data with a soul. - Brené Brown In issue # 122 of TL;DR. Subscribe at wiobyrne.com/tldr/ #dreams #data #stories #truth #fiction #drama #realitySo the question is, how do we change that? We can’t go off explaining everything to other people all the time – we have other things to do and, sometimes, we’re not that good at it. We can’t bang their head against their monitors, either – and if we could, I’m certain that there would be a Law to protect them soon enough, complete with pitchforks and torches.

What’s the call to action? There really is none except this, if you got to this last paragraph: Stay the course while retaining your sanity. Avoid conversations that are likely to go nowhere. Keep reading, keep thinking. It’s apparent that someone has to.

The Gentle Art of Self-Deception

Riverside Park HDRsWhen we write our memories to our brains we write them twice. Yet we remember as we see the event, and how we see that event is subject to all sorts of biases.

First, we lie to ourselves – and we do it for a variety of reasons, most notably self-enhancement. And then we are lied to by our biases and how we receive information, and our biases are based on like-mindedness, on whether we as individuals are in the in-group or the out-group – even when we perceive ourselves to always be in the in-group.

Critical thought is supposed to be a part of all of this, guarding us from biased inputs or at least letting us stamp them as being potentially biased. In the broad strokes it doesn’t seem to, in the broad strokes it seems to fail even when individuals and groups experience cognitive dissonance. In individuals it’s part of life, but in groups it can be downright frightful.

We not only lie to ourselves, we allow ourselves to be lied to. We even encourage it, seeking out things that prop up our biases. This is why many reformed addicts talk about ‘hitting rock bottom’ – where they reach a point that self-deception can no longer be done, when facts rip away the armor of self-deception. Some trade one self-deception with another so that they don’t feel alone.

This is the foundation upon which we build our institutions. Democracy, as great as it is in theory, fails here (as do all other ideologies) not because of some sinister agenda of a group but because of self-deception. Where there could be dissenting opinion from dissenting perspective, we label the ‘other side’ as wrong and paint them with a broad brush. This is why committees rarely come up with anything innovative and are great ways to waste time – because of the commonality required to be a part of the group.

And this is why we fail to live up to the standards we give ourselves. We’re crappy witnesses to our own deeds.

The First Victim Is Truth.

Blue Sky TwitterJournalists, Please – We Have Enough Activists Already‘ is probably the best criticism of today’s journalism that I have seen in a while.

When you get done reading it, understand that the ‘need’ to report fast has replaced the actual need to report accurately, and that what you get immediately is likely not the full story.

A few examples from the link:

On Thursday, Peter Alexander, national correspondent at NBC News, reported (on Twitter, where most reporting happens now) that the U.S. Treasury Department had quietly eased sanctions to allow U.S. companies to do business with the Russian FSB; 40 minutes later, he noted that it was a “technical fix” planned under the Obama administration. The first tweet was retweeted more than 6,200 times, the second a piddling 247.

So the odds are good that you might not have read that it was planned under the Obama Administration.

Last Saturday, following Trump’s controversial executive order on refugees, CNBC’s John Harwood reported that the Department of Justice had no role in evaluating the order (3,000+ retweets); one hour later, he issued a correction (199). Similarly, Raw Story cited American Foreign Policy Council scholar Ilan Berman to suggest that there was “no readout of Trump-Putin call because White House turned off recording.” The tweet linking to that story has 9,700 retweets, and travel blogger Geraldine DeRuiter’s outraged tweet — “They. Turned. Off. The. Recording. When. He. Called. Putin. IF OBAMA HAD DONE THIS THE GOP WOULD HAVE HAD HIM TRIED FOR TREASON.” — has been retweeted nearly 30,000 times. Berman took to Twitter to explain that he didn’t know “for a fact” that the recording had been turned off; it was simply “conjecture.” Twenty-seven retweets.

Seriously, what is wrong with these journalists? Isn’t there some responsibility in reporting?

And it goes beyond the citations in this article, beyond politics, beyond all of that. Indeed, the responsibility has shifted to the reader to get the facts since it would seem that the media itself doesn’t want to be encumbered by the full story.

And people reposting them? They also don’t want to be so encumbered. It’s not as if they actually read what they share.