Category Archives: The Internet

Raushet (Om sludder i Teknisk Ukeblad del 3)

Raushet (Om sludder i Teknisk Ukeblad del 3)

Om du ikke har lest del 0, del 1 og del 2, ikke fortvil. Det er denne delen jeg vil promotere som interessant og viktig. I de andre delene har jeg raljert litt over at faglig svake innlegg fra lesere får plass i teknisk ukeblad og plukket noen spesifikke innlegg fra hverandre. Det har jeg gjort med svært lite raushet fordi jeg mener at TU er feil arena for denne typen innlegg og fordi de som har skrevet innleggene burde ha hatt den grunnleggende vitenskapelige innstillingen og kompetansen som gjorde dem i stand til å se feilene selv. Kanskje det var for lite raust, det er menneskelig å feile og kanskje begge disse ville skjønt hvor de tro feil med en klar og enkel redegjørelse. Og hadde det vært et internettforum, en pubdiskusjon, en klasseromsdiskusjon, så hadde slik raushet vært helt på sin plass og også falt de fleste naturlig, i hvert fall ansikt til ansikt.

For mangelen på raushet er en av de store problemene i internettfora og kommentarfeltdiskusjoner. De er fulle av aktører som tar det for gitt at motstanderen er blind, døv og dum. Aktører som skriver, ikke for å opplyse motstanderen og/eller invitere til diskusjon, men for å tilfredsstille sin egen uttrykkstrang, for å latterliggjøre, for å inngå i det fellesskapet det er å inngå i den ene eller andre siden i et slikt sammenstøt. Og her kan jeg selvfølgelig beskyldes for å sitte i glasshus, ut fra de tre foregående delene av denne monster-bloggposten, men jeg unnskylder meg, kanskje litt billig, at de faktisk aldri var ment å invitere til diskusjon om innleggenes innhold, men om de hørte hjemme i TU. I den grad jeg fortsatt deltar i internettdiskusjoner og kommentarfelt så har jeg raushet som ideal.

For mye selvkritikk og kritikk av andre er jo drepende for den kreativiteten som er nødvendig for å føre vitenskap og utvikling videre, og det finnes ingen magisk formel for å se hvem det er som aldri kommer til å bidra med noe av relevans og aldri kommer til å forstå at litt selvkritikk og kunnskap er nyttig for ikke å kaste bort tiden fullstendig, og hvem det er som har noen gullkorn inne, om man bare behandler dem med respekt og som om de er medmennesker med følelser og tanker.

Det er selvfølgelig svært vanskelig å holde på det idealet i alle situasjoner. Men selv om mange motstandere og meddebatanter kommer med bidrag som gir inntrykk av at de anser raushet som en utilgivelig svakhet, så er det viktig å huske at den flommen av edder og galle du strever med å holde tilbake ikke er noe bedre og mer prisverdig bidrag i debatten, og at idioten i den andre enden av ledningen, eller på den andre siden av bordet for den sakens skyld, antagelig sitter med akkurat samme unnskyldning. Selv om akkurat du har vært høflig å konstruktiv betyr ikke det at ikke motstanderen er preget av alt som har gått før. Hvem som eventuelt startet skittkastingen er ganske irrelevant når møkka har gått fram og tilbake noen dusin ganger.

Klarer jeg å leve opp til dette idealet? Selvfølgelig ikke alltid. Og noen diskusjoner er bare for slitsomme. Jeg forlot et forum for ikke lenge siden fordi en klimadiskusjon bare gikk i ring på de samme feilaktige premissene og jeg var helt tom for raushet, og jeg har ikke tatt sjansen på å vende tilbake siden. Noen ting er bare ikke verdt blodtrykksøkningen.

Men raushet er ikke bare mangelvare i internettdiskusjoner. Det er også mangelvare i samfunnsdebatten ellers, og, kanskje verst av alt, i politikernes hoder. En ide lagt fram av feil parti har ikke en sjanse, uansett hvor god den måtte være, fordi politisk debatt svært ofte mangler det viktige elementet debatt. Det er ikke en fremlegging av argumenter med påfølgende evaluering og motargumenter/meningsendring, det er en slitsom presentasjonsform av allerede vedtatte “sannheter”. Men stiftelsen av mitt Ideologisk Pragmatiske Parti (jeg sliter mest med å finne på et godt navn, og at et parti må ha flere medlemmer, det er mitt parti!) får vente til en annen gang.

Gå ut og vær raus!

Smug.com – or “how to show you’re not participating on a topic”

A major problem with the universe we live in is the binary nature of social media participation. Either you’re participating, or you’re not. “I’m not going to post on this topic” is a post on that topic. There’s no way to show you’re not participating, or telling others they shouldn’t spend time on a topic, without becoming part of the problem.

What problem? It might be someone with a controversial opinion that you don’t think should be reaping the economical (all clicks mean ad-money) or promotional (all PR is good PR) benefits of the fifteen minutes of twitterverse fame that you could be contributing to, or it might be a topic you just think is framed wrong or a non-issue and would be better left to more thoughtful deliberation or the silent treatment.

But if you post anything, all who read your thoughts will be informed of, or reminded of the topic you’re trying to quash, and your words might just have the opposite effect of what you intended. And worst of all, unless you’re an idiot, you can’t feel smug about not participating in the discussion when you’ve actually posted, and where’s the fun in just not posting at all and sitting there being the only one knowing you have a reason to feel smug?

Enter Smug.com*, the website for registering your non-participation on unworthy topics. Say the ailing health of someone odious is causing a buzz and you think that wishing death and torment on anyone is horrible and/or this odious person doesn’t deserve even negative attention and/or everyone is just being idiots for posting about this when there’s a new Game of Thrones-trailer out. Log into your smug.com account, see if the topic already exists and click the “smug”-button if it does, or create it if it doesn’t. See if your friends have beat you to feeling smug about this, or if you’re the first one in. And then don’t comment, because there is no comment function, don’t “share on facebook”, because there is no “share on facebook”-function, just know that if your friends do the right thing and registered their smugness when they notice the topic, they’ll know you did so first. There will be no “new topics” promotion, no “What are your friends smug about?”-function, just a “search for topic”-function, a “create topic”-function and a “feel smug about topic”-button.

“That doesn’t sound like fun,” I can hear some of you say. But you’ll have to agree it’s an improvement over the hollow feeling of being smug all by yourself and any sharing feature or other function that allowed you to easily learn about additional topics to feel smug about would defeat the purpose of the site: Giving you the option to be semi-publically smug about not promoting a topic, without promoting the topic what so ever.

Okay, one other feature is required. What to do if you notice someone being smug about something while still posting about it? You press the “liar, liar, pants of fire”-button and attatch a link to the post in question, and that someone gets a notice they’ve been caught out.

Oh, and although you can’t have a profile with lists of what you’re smug about, for obvious reasons, you can have one with how many things you’re smug about, how many pant-conflagrations you’ve discovered, and how many times you’ve been caught with your underwear ablaze. And you can search on topics you think do deserve attention, find out who’s smug about not paying attention to them, and publicly shame them for their smugness.

*domain for sale as of today. If you have the required know-how and the inclination to make this site a reality, I’m willing to be the sleeping partner.

Books ( Goodreads)

Books are great! Sure, there are books that are horrible in content or style. But the general concept of a book is one of the greatest things there is. And one of the best things is sharing your favourites with others or calmly and rationally discussing how your favourite book is a literary masterpiece and anyone disagreeing or liking a book you find unimpressive is a dimwitted poo-poo-head.

One site facilitating such discourse is Goodreads. You can register the books you own, or read, or plan on reading. Rate them, comment on them or discuss them. My main use of the site is as the (lessee one, two, …) fourth incarnation of a system for keeping track of books I’ve read so I don’t get disappointed halfway through chapter three when I realise it’s not just that the author is predictable, I have actually read the book before.

It’s also good for showing off that I own well over a hundred books and have read more than 1500.

MadArtLab presents QI presenting wonderful illusion

This is why MadArtLab is a great blog and QI is the best program on television:

http://madartlab.com/2011/09/25/sunday-morning-illusion/

How to read blogs and how to write them

There are multiple ways to write a blog and multiple ways to read them. You can write meaningless trivia from your everyday life and have a blog that’s updated constantly, but unless you’re some sort of celebrity or get lucky acquiring a following of sheep that’s more suited for facebook these days. Or you can write rare and high quality posts like I do, in which case the blog won’t be updated constantly.

If you read the first kind of blog you can just check it every day, and possibly several times a day, and there will be something new and inane for you to waste your time with. Just be careful so you don’t get obsessed with reading new posts as soon as they’re posted and check it more often than you check your work email.

If you read the second kind of blog you also can check it every day, but you’ll have a high rate of unnecessary visits, which is a waste and an affront to the deities  of efficiency. You can check it more rarely, which will reduce the number of unnecessary visits, but increase your risk of getting to a new post rather late, which is an affront to the deities of sharing cool stuff before any of your friends find it themselves.

Now you could be lucky and just have notifications about new posts appearing in your facebook feed or some other similar place, but that requires you to be “friendly” with the blogger or the blogger being internet-important enough to have a facebook page that you can connect to, and at the current rate of facebook notifications it might escape your notice or not appear in  your feed due to facebook’s secret algorithm for deciding what’s a top news item, at least if you’re an important person like me and you have multiple friends.

The solution to this problem is the RSS-reader. RSS is a standard for publishing content or content summaries that most blog-software supports. This means you can get yourself an RSS-reader, set it up to check your favorite blogs, and it will tell you whether any of them have something new to offer, and even let you read all or part of those offerings in one easy to access location. RSS can also be used in other ways, but they’re not important right now. Of course, if you only read one, rarely updated, but incredibly high quality blog you have gained nothing, but that just means you need to find a couple more.

Personally I use google reader. Why? Because I already had a google account and found it convenient. It has improved my blog reading experience 2.5 fold and it could do so for you as well.