oh poopy!

//a maxCohen journal //

Ad Dystopia

We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads | Zeynep Tufekci

For many, this talk will be an eye-opener, which in itself is scary. Here are a few points I'll give on the excellent talk.

  • "Now, if authoritarianism is using overt fear to terrorize us, we'll all be scared, but we'll know it, we'll hate it and we'll resist it." - This is not a foregone conclusion as this century's history alone has proven.
  • "I read the many well-intentioned statements that these people put out. But it's not the intent or the statements people in technology make that matter, it's the structures and business models they're building. And that's the core of the problem." - And it's those statements by the companies that are the con.
  • "If you start typing something and change your mind and delete it, Facebook keeps those and analyzes them, too." - I am glad there is evidence of this and not from this talk. This had been a fear of mine for a few years, especially when I might put in a password when creating an account and change my mind. This paranoia would probably serve you well by also not using/relying on virtual keyboards that might appear in desktop operating systems like Tails.

Bottom line: we don't need Facebook, it's an option we choose to use and it's a lie to say otherwise.

The End of (Open) Internet

The time I had hoped would never come has come. Really, it's been here for a while, but admitting it is so hard to do when there was still netrality. Sure, there could be a time that Net Neutrality returns. It's more likely that that will happen than citizens having privacy rights again. After sometime, it all just becomes a huge disappointment and waste of time. The whole system becomes corrupt if one assumes that it was innocent in the beginning. That the point of the Web, at least, was to share information.

Mmmm...hot pop

Soda Machine

Danger of Wrapping

Warning Sign

No Parking?

No parking

Lost Appetite

Pu Pu Platter

Just something about the platter's name than makes me lose my appetite.

The "Fake News" that will kill us all.

Reading The Uninhabitable Earth reminds me of Revelation 7:3.

Peace, Patience, Self-Discipline

Photo Found: Older Couple of People

Older Couple of People

The Way Through the Woods

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods ...
But there is no road through the woods.

— Rudyard Kipling

Photo Found: Lady and Baby

Lady and Baby


Why should it be that anxiety grabs hold of us so tightly? Its grasp is a choke hold but we should be relieved of it if we believe in God. For God loves and provides but that anxiety is still perceived as real to us. Why? Because we lack faith? To have pure faith would be to have no anxiety nor fear and live in love unconditionally. There is an infection in us all, burying us alive in our own creation of despair and hatred and greed. Whether we wax or wane poetic or work hard for our keep, it will not matter. Because that infection will remain with only one path to relieve us. And that is the path not taken because the gate at the end will be narrow. How sad.

Photo Found: Hannah Harwood Girls Club

Hannah Harwood Girls Club

Photo Found: Missle Command 1963

1963 Missles


Comments for blogs and articles allow people to respond with their opinion as if that opinion is equal to all and helps interact with your customer/reader so that conversations can occur. Um, no. For years this and similar blanket statements have perpetuated this. It is a myth because evidence proves otherwise based on how humans act differently than prescribed and planned. Here is a non-comprehensive list of the types of commenters who, generally, do not add to the conversation at all and reasons why this blog does not have a comments area.

  • Abuser/Harasser - the person who comments with abuse and harassment.
  • Can't Read - the person who comments who clearly can't read critically and/or interprets what is written incorrectly most likely by reading it wrong.
  • Can't Reply - the person who comments to someone and you can't find that someone anywhere in the discussion because they are probably 30 pages in the past but the commenter didn't know they should hit Reply to the original comment they are replying to. (Granted, this could be a software issue too.)
  • Complimenter - the person who comments with a compliment. (Not a pain point but deserves its own entry.)
  • Conspiracy Theorist - the person who comments based on conspiracy theories as they lack any evidence or warp the evidence to their secret findings.
  • Grammar Nazi - the person who comments to tear down the author or other commenter how those said people speled something wrong or used a comma, incorrectly.
  • Jokester - the person who comments with a joke or anecdotal story. (Not a pain point but deserves its own entry.)
  • Old News - the person who comments that whatever the author wrote is old news and that the commenter knew about it and how great they are and how dumb the author is.
  • Opposite - the person who comments the opposite and gives anecdotal evidence for support.
  • Never Read - the person who comments who clearly never read the article and at times bases their comment on the headline alone.
  • Not the Point - the person who comments about the article but missed the whole point of said article. (Really, this isn't that bad, they are usually take being corrected by nice people with no problem.)
  • Read the Manual - the person who comments you should read the manual or search someplace else in the forum for the answer because it's all been answered before and berates the person looking for help.
  • Repeater - the person who re-writes the main point or summarizes the article while sounding like an authority who came up with the idea in the first place.
  • Squirrel! - the person who comments off topic.
  • Squirrel Hunter - the person who comments that the Squirrel! commenter is off topic.
  • That's Why I - the person who comments that they don't use ABC because of the issues in the article and rambles on about why XYZ is better because they use it.
  • Sarcasm Denial - the person who comments in reply to another person's sarcasm because they took it literally.
  • Troll - the person who comments just to make people angry.
  • Trolled - the person who comments to the Troll because they fell into the Troll's trap.
  • Tweet Size - the person who comments with the length of a Tweet with a snide remark or vulgar comment in order to justify their existence and remind people they are alive.
  • I Told You So - the person who comments that they knew it would go that way all along even though there is no prior evidence that they knew it would. This includes commenters who take the moral high ground. (See also "That's Why I".)
  • Commenter - the person who comments something of value which was the original idea behind having comments open to people. The less than 1% of all people who comment. This includes people who politely point out errors to the article by citing evidence, politely help correct typing or grammatical issues, or respectfully disagree by bringing up valid points.

Yes, there are situations that the owners of articles do want to interact with their readers because of a common goal but seriously, that is not common. And no, posting anonymously isn't cowardly. It's a right and some people may have to post that way. (No I'm not talking about free speech cases where people yell "Fire!".)

What about me? It is rare for me to comment but when I do I always endeavor to be a Commenter. Life is too short for the rest. For the most part, I've found writing an email to the author the better route. Then I can have a conversation with them if they choose to talk to me.

Photo(s) Found

Call it strange if you like but there is a lot of fun finding old photos. Imagining what life was like "in the day" and who people were or what they did in the place the photo was taken. What were the stories that we'll never know? Where are the people now? How did their lives affect others'? All this nostalgia wrapped in one object, scanned, and published. Some photos can even be haunting.

In this 1965 kitchen, what was the owners' life like? What were their favorite foods? OK, let's stop with the questions and enjoy the photo with the hopes more will come.

Text on back of photo: Kitchen is very tiny smaller than ours, it is now painted very lite orange


No, of that I’m not quiet.

Yesterday's blog post, No, of that I’m innocent., has been bothering me. First, when your lawyer tells you to keep quiet, you keep quiet. Second, I'm dumbfounded by the interpretation of sexual harassment used in the post. Sexual harassment occurs not just when one person has power over the other in the workplace.

And there I will stop. Nothing more can be said right now because I'm that upset that I don't want to say anything stupid. So I'm taking Robert's lawyer's advice and staying quiet.

The Attention Battle

'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

The battle for attention intrigues me. It has for many years and what intrigues me the most is the battle against mind control. While people say that privacy is dead there can still be a way to achieve it. It's difficult, but not impossible, as long as we continue to have a cash society. The extinction of cash, that one, lonely factor, would make privacy almost impossible. At that point we'd either need a benefactor, someone we could totally trust with our money who would buy everything for us, or live off the land 100%. There is always the alternative to just give in but that will not do; it's something we can't afford.

Beyond the legitimized paranoia of a surveillance society just becoming mindful is hard. Imagine being in the present and totally in focus on what you are doing, in the zone. The two, privacy and mindfulness, are different but related in that both are being stolen by corporate dominance in our lives and necessary for peace of mind and security. Here are a few ways I'm trying to get back the mindfulness and privacy, which have been written about countless times all over the place and go beyond this humble list.

  • Meditation - it's amazing. It's a great way to relax, come into focus, and de-stress. All those things you hear in the advertisements are actually true. The app Headspace is a great way to start. The basic sessions are free. I haven't tried the subscription service so I can't comment on that, yet.
  • Social media - it's gotten boring and everyone does it so I've left it. Getting rid of it freed up the nervousness of wanting and actually continually checking for updates. And I don't mean reduce social media, I mean remove it, completely.
  • Music - tames the savage beast I've been told. Don't care if that's true, but it does help with mood. Everyone is different so find the perfect playlists for yourself. And yes, you need more than one playlist depending on mood and so you don't get tired of the same songs. If you can afford it, get a subscription service. Then you don't have to been jarred back from your zone of peace by commercials. Don't forget to try nature sounds too. If that's your thing, you might want to get the White Noise app (mobile or desktop). It's a one time cost to add onto the free sounds and there is a good library of items to choose from that even community members can add to.

Remember, it's your life, not a government's or corporation's, and you can keep it that way. There's plenty of people to bring you down and convince you otherwise. For me, I will continue my steps and seek God to help keep my sanity.

Looking Down the Past

We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.
— Marshall McLuhan

Humans romanticize the past. We do. We think about how much easier life used to be. No matter what time period we are in, the past is better. Then we go retro. There are retro game consoles, retro computing, brutalist web design (retro web design), retro cars. Companies, eBay for one, make stacks of cash from our past and our desire to relive it by buying something from it. In reality, the past wasn't perfect and always good to us.

There is something in the human make-up that makes us live the present looking at the past. I was once told that if we looked forward we'd be a scientist or poet. Even they look back. When we look back we're looking through a rear-view mirror which allows us to see some of the past and still easily look forward. Or do we turn all the way around and forget to look where we're headed? Perhaps we change between the two.

McLuhan talked about society using new tools for yesterday's problems. This holds us back but our perspective is made from the past; we're afraid of looking forward. The industrial revolution scared people that their way of life, their existence, would end with industrialization. Now it's robots that will rid us of ourselves. Robots do seem more likely to move millions of workers to permanent unemployment because we can foresee the ability to do millions of jobs with AI. The industrial revolution couldn't offer that. What jobs have been taken from us by progress and industry? The elevator operator and...oh, that's it for now. AI is different.

Not that in-and-of-itself is AI bad. Like all tools, it can be used for good or evil. The problem arises that the emotional well-being of the human race can be greatly damaged. This is not a view of a luddite. AI has such great potential, but because of apathy of the masses and greed of the corporate entities, the human race has much to fear. Ethics is dying. The dollar is the control of decisions. Shareholder value dictates all.

Yes, people can choose retraining but to what? Where is the person's self-value if they fail? And do we need millions of robotic technicians? For that matter, could AI become so good that no one will need a job? At that point, there may be a level playing field for humanity and economics of society drastically changes to something we don't even know what yet.

And what of basic income given from the government? That idea exists so that millions that don't have a job will have money to buy all the products that are bought now and keep the corporate bottom line growing. If all of humanity is out of work do we all get a basic income? And would that result in a new Renaissance because everyone has leisure time and the income to do what they want? No, because AI could do it all for us, or so we predict. Perhaps I should read some Asimov now; he was more optimistic.

Updated 19 October 2017: Welcoming Our New Robot Overlords

A Conspiring Podcast

Secret knowledge, or at least the thought of having secret knowledge, seems to infect people. The idea that you know something others don't gives a rush of excitement and power. And there is the opposite group; there is fun for those who don't believe the conspiracies because you feel smart enough to know that the whole thing is stupid. And because you know that lack of evidence is not evidence.

In my life I've believed in one conspiracy theory because of the evidence and it turned out that I was right. I wish I had been wrong. And if we take into account that in such theories, stories, and myths there is a kernel of truth in them, that something occurred and it was turned into a story that was greatly embellished, then do we really have a conspiracy theory or imagination? Is it something we can't full grasp so we make something up to explain it? Enter the The Polybius Conspiracy podcast. This is a conspiracy I'd only heard of recently and appears to be a where a crime was committed but was turned into something grander. It's a great listen. I don't buy the conspiracy of "men-in-black" but something traumatizing happened to the protagonist and I feel bad for whatever he went through.

yes, it's another journal

I don't know how many times I've started over with a blog. More times than DC or Marvel does with their line of comics I'm sure. This time thought it's different (again). It's going to be more down-to-earth, whatever that means. It's going to be just me, being me. That's accurate. Yes, that will do.

It's all done in a hand-coded "brutalist" design.


I love you!