Tag Archives: Current events

Have things gone too far?

I went to look at Pinterest this morning. They won’t let me. They want my birthday.

Why do they need my birthday? It will not, no matter what they claim, help them make my search experience any better since I input directly what I am interested in.

I figure it’s a desire for more advertising revenue. It could help them sell targeted advertising at me…Like I need more of that in my life. I get plenty from other sources.

At least, before, Pinterest had to figure out ads related to sewing, cooking, and photography, not assume that, because I am “une femme d’un certain age”, that I need a barrage of ads for incontinence products or unpronounceable medications. (If I hear “Sometimes I get bladder leaks” one more time I might scream!).

I used to like Pinterest.

They gave me access to posts that weren’t necessarily visible in the Google-y/Bing-y world, where posts are listed first by who is paying them to advertise, followed by who might be induced to pay them for ads, then by the big ticket clickers, after which the listings just fall apart and become random and irrelevant. They are unable, although I suspect that it is really unwilling, to give any visibility to people who are just posting about their own experiences.

Side note: this is one of my greatest concerns about AI. It’s just one more manipulator in this system “optimized” to repeat the messages that are already out there. If it really had any merit you could find interesting material on page two of a search.

In Pinterest it was easy to search on obscure ingredients, like aquafaba or lemon balm, and find out how they can be used; craft ideas, like adding pockets, or cutting out cool snowflakes; and out-of-the-way travel locations.

Drawing a line

How old I am is none of their business, and it is one more point of vulnerability for scammers and hackers to get a hold of information that might endanger me. So I deleted the app from my phone.

Back in the day…

Can you remember when a search took you from your known area of interest out into a world of new ideas? Like when you opened the encyclopedia to look something up and saw a new term linked only by the first few letters that led you on a path of discovery? Internet searches used to be like that.


Now you type in the name of a city and you get an entire page trying to sell you places to stay and/or flights. Expedia, Hotels.com, Trip Adviser….

At the very bottom of the page you might get one Wikipedia or tourist board listing that actually tells you a little about the place. Page two is generally random nonsense derived from the idea that you clearly didn’t know what you wanted to learn about and/or misspelled the name of a more well known place.

Provoking a lack of thought

This post is a response to Fandango of This, That and the Other’s Provocative Question: Whether or not you have a Twitter account, how do you feel about Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the changes he’s made so far. Do you care one way or the other? If you currently are on Twitter, do you plan to continue actively using it?

I’m more than a little sick and tired of hearing about Twitter and Musk, as well as being annoyed that it probably does matter.

I do not now, nor have I ever had, a Twitter account. I cannot foresee any circumstance that would change that.

In the beginning…

When Twitter first started I thought: “what a bad idea! It’s sole purpose is to make people write little provocative blurbs. Way to kill thoughtful discourse!”

A while ago I wrote a post on a similar subject: This is not a Tweet. It was before the takeover. In it I point out that the whole “public square” idea is marketing, not reality. And that decisions would be made to optimize people staring slack jawed at the screen.

Since the takeover…

In a way I was wrong: Mr. Musk hasn’t been very business-like.

Continue reading Provoking a lack of thought

Another thought to add

Last weekend I had a few seemingly discrepant thoughts that my brain connected (Connecting the thoughts). This video came out a few days later and it also connected.

Especially to the foxtail.

Even if you don’t use TikTok the methods used by social media and discussion in this video are worthwhile to watch.

I am neither a Luddite nor a social media master user. I don’t think we shouldn’t use social media…But I think we sometimes need to step back and consider the bigger picture.

To stop and ask ourselves: Am I getting anything from these interactions? How do they make me feel? Who is benefiting from this? and why?

We need to remember that technology should be there to serve us, not serve us up on a platter.

Connecting the thoughts


Close up of the seed with its hook and feathers.

I picked a foxtail seed off of our outside dog bed this morning. If you don’t know, foxtails are a kind of grass. They are dangerous for dogs.

Foxtails travel. Moving relentlessly forward, never back, they can migrate from inside your dog’s nose to its brain. They can dig through skin or be inhaled into — and then perforate — a lung.

Web MD
Continue reading Connecting the thoughts

Nowhere to go

A recent morning’s New York Times newsletter had a piece about homelessness. This is a hot topic these days. We have a local problem with it and I’ve seen a lot of pieces about it here and there over the past few years. so, since our local paper hadn’t arrived yet, I spent a little time cogitating on homelessness.

Sitting on my little deck on a beautiful summer morning, I couldn’t help but feel empathy (I was almost in tears!) for those who don’t have a place to be. Most days I only leave my house and yard to walk the dogs, it is hard to wrap my mind around not having a safe place to be.

I do not have answers. Also, I look upon those who have answers, especially simple ones, with suspicion. This post is just an exploration, a reflection on experiences and things I have learned.

My rambling thoughts on homelessness

They started with this quote from the New York Times piece:

“Housing researchers use the example of musical chairs: Imagine there are 10 people for nine chairs. One person, weighed down by poor health, does not make it to a chair. Is the problem the person’s health or the lack of chairs?”

That struck me, because my first thought was both. But, upon further reflection, I realized someone would always be out of a seat, and there would always be a reason to rationalize that. The game is rigged to keep someone out. Even if everyone is healthy and wealthy, someone winds up without a house.

Continue reading Nowhere to go

This is not a Tweet.

I shouldn’t have to care about Twits and Musk.

I don’t have a Twitter account and barely knew that Mr. Musk had some involvement with Tesla, had the brilliant (?) idea of launching a car into space, and periodically says something stupid that causes the stock markets to react.

Over the last few days I have felt bombarded with references to them. This morning’s paper had two articles about it in the business section, Mr. Maher’s New Rule was about how we should up our BS meters to learn to live with a lack of censorship. I agree, in a way.

We do need to tune up our BS meters. No question about that.

Let us start with the BS that Twitter is either a town square or about “free speech”.

Continue reading This is not a Tweet.

I need a reprieve from the crazy

A week ago, or, the way things go, maybe it was actually two…or even three weeks, there was yet another kerfuffle. Some pert young guest, I think she was one of the infinite pool of “journalists” who actually are opinionators (a made up word), on the Bill Maher show said she was “done with the pandemic”. Not without reason, an older medical professional called her out on it: Medical professionals can’t just say “I’m done with the pandemic”…or if they do, a whole lot more people will be a whole lot sicker than necessary and there will be unnecessary deaths.

Continue reading I need a reprieve from the crazy

Random Reflection: We are being played.

Two things triggered this post.

First, we keep hearing about inflation. So yesterday, when we went to Fred Meyer (a Kroger store) to grocery shop on Senior Discount Day, we paid attention to the prices of things we usually buy more than usual. They are mostly about the same as they were last year and many the same as the year before (my husband is kind of anal about keeping records). We don’t drive much so gas prices don’t figure into our calculations much. The only empty shelves we’ve seen were a couple of weeks ago during a really good sale on Progresso soup.

Second, a couple of days ago, my husband read me a bit of a newspaper article that said that “red” states (I really don’t like this notation, I’d prefer to use rural dominated or something less us/them) are experiencing higher inflation. The inflation rate is greater than wage increases, so that doesn’t explain it.

What does explain it? Those areas tend to be information silos, places where the “news” is dominated by two, extremely biased, corporations: Fox and Sinclair.

So what’s going on?

Fox has been caught using false images reporting empty shelves. They even used misleading footage in their “apology”. The corrections aren’t actually reaching the people who were misled in the first place. Sinclair is also banging away on this narrative (my dad watches it and I spent a few days over there when he was ill–my head is still aching).

Here’s the thing: while there are some real inflationary pressures, a significant part of inflation is psychological. If you go to the store expecting to pay more, then the store will happily raise prices to satisfy your expectations. I really think that one should question the (boy, do I hate this word) narrative being pumped out by these people…and the mainstream media follows along like little sheep. Even the “late night” comedy crew is leaning into this story.

Gas prices are high-ish, not the highest they have ever been even (I paid more than this a decade or so ago), though they are getting close. Again, the oil and gas industry has a lot to gain by making you believe that prices are going up. You go to the pump expecting to spend a bunch and they are happy to take it. The industry is milking us for what they can get, and it’s worth a bundle to them.

There is no practical reason why prices should be higher in “red” states than they are in “blue” ones. It’s just that people are being bombarded with melodramatic, and inaccurate, stories of how bad things are. They are being played by people with financial, and political interest in them being poor and unhappy.

What to do

Don’t play ball.

Turn off the “news”, and other program that yaks about this blarney, so that ratings drop and they need to move on.

Also, only buy things that you think are worth the price (you should always be doing this, it’s how the market is supposed to work). Yes, if wages go up significantly, there will be some inflation, but, in the short term, it will soon be offset as the oil and gas industry gets back up to more normal production levels. In the longer term, moving to electrical vehicles will reduce demand and bring down prices.

Getting tired of “it”

I read the paper, old school I know. But Seattle is one of the few places that has an old-school, independent, local newspaper, which makes it worthwhile on several levels, and I like to do the crosswords on paper.

A local columnist named Danny Westneat wrote early this week about how we might be done with covid, but it isn’t done with us. He said we blew it by not getting enough people vaccinated quickly enough. I had a strong reaction to that:

WE didn’t blow it. A bunch of jerks did.

Continue reading Getting tired of “it”