My Daughter

My Daughter
Remember when you learned how to do this?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The influence of Bias & Media on Peak Oil believability

With the growth of online media in the last fifteen years, newspapers are becoming obsolete, with their demise comes a larger problem; misinformation. This problem is not new, however most authors have been rather ambiguous in their conclusions. A closer look on how unconscious human behavior impacts this issue should be given, especially with the news regarding Peak Oil--Spectators caused the oil price spike of 2008 vs. demand of oil was higher then supply rings a bell. Unfortunately, no large government agency has confirmed or denied these claims in midst of smaller entities giving alternative stories. The reason for this unequilibrium is explained here.

Confirmation Bias is a human condition that causes a person to seek out only information that matches their preconceived notions. It also can be in the form of interpreting data to reaffirm a given truth a person holds. This was the subject of an experiment held by Charles Lord, Lee Ross, and Mark Lepper. They gave subjects two studies on the death penalty—one for each side of the argument, Regardless of being pro or anti death penalty, the subjects chose the study most reliable to be the one that shared their viewpoint, even though the latter was more detailed. This illustrates two key things; the human conscience does not like contradictions, humans are irrational.

Another bias is looped with Confirmation Bias called Blind-Spot Bias. This often rears its ugly head during debate on the very subject of being bias. Dr. Emily Prolin discovered that when asked to rate ones level of bias compared to their fellow peers, humans will certainly assume the position they are less susceptible to bias and stereotyping. Blind-Spot Bias would ultimately prevent a person from realizing their confirmation bias. The question then becomes, how do I really know what heck is going on?

Thanks to the trusty—insofar—Internet, a simple Google News search shows a real life example of contradictions in the reporting of Peak Oil. The first story in the results claims “Peak Oil Period” to Be Attained By 2014, Alarm Scientists.” The fifth exclaims “there never was such a thing as "Peak Oil" or "Peak Hydrocarbons".. Economic success is balanced on how...” One gives you a feeling of panic, the other of ease. The contradictions in media today are of course in all subjects. The size of the Internet also allows an endless number of fictitious realities created simultaneously. As our perceptions become more divided, the effect has yet to be determined—depending on the severity of division will ultimately conclude the answer.

Many may be asking themselves if print media has any reliability? My answer is undecided. Every writer is prone to bias because they must create a voice in which to report the news. Also newspapers are littered with stories promoting new products and businesses while advertisements’ scatter in between. (The words conflict of interest comes to mind) However historically journalists were affriended with the common folk. I would like to think the historical significance of journalism should weigh on a few authors’ consciences.

As gas prices scamper to three dollars a gallon, I expect peak oil to finally gain some traction. Although because of theNormalcy Bias—the refusal to plan for an event because it has not happened before—should do us in regardless, or perhaps the argument that technology will save us all will come to suffice.

- Kristen Mcgreagor; Chanhassen, MN

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Over 30 Crowd

If you are 30, or older, you might think this is hilarious!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning....
Uphill... Barefoot...BOTH ways… yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay
a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!


But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia!

And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!


I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!


There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a
freakingletter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! Nowhere was safe!


There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!


Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby! Dig?


We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it!


There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a damn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOD !!! Think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! You kids have no idea how annoying you are.


And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We
had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!! Oh, no, what's the world coming to?!?!


There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait
ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-finks!

And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that!


And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside... you were doing chores!

And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place!

See! That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or any time before!

Regards,
The Over 30 Crowd