Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mental Bias

Apple CEO Tim Cook is concerned about the advent of fake news recently and has called for a campaign to deal with it.  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is on board too.  I'm not sure how one would address this topic.  From my experience people gonna believe what they want to believe.  I'm not sure why this part of the human condition is so prevalent, but we are all biased.  It's really hard to see thing with an open mind at times.  Part of it I blame on the media.  I don't think they question authority the way they used to.  I don't know if they are intimidated, which really just plays into a lot politician's desires, ahem, Trump.  But I like it when I feel that things in politics are more transparent, and less muddied. 

For an example,  I don't understand this whole banning of Muslim immigrants from foreign countries by Trump.  I understand the basis of it, which is safety for Americans.  But the 7 countries that he's banning didn't have anything to do with 9/11.  Two countries, Saudi Arabia, from what US intelligence gathered  was one of those countries who hijacked airliners to attack New York and Washington DC on 9/11, the deadliest terrorist episode in history.  The other being Egypt.   I don't understand why reporters don't inquire on that until a satisfactory answer is given.   Could it have something to do with money?   I'd have to guess, perhaps it does.  (Doesn't it always?)  Granted I'm sure all the terrorist move around, but it seems like those two countries would be first on the list and some of the others secondary.

I have quibbles with the Democratic Party as well, just not as many.  Back in 2008 when we had the second depression and our economy was about to tank with the banks and "too big to fail".  Obama made mention of it, and said he was going to do something about it, but launched right into the ACA, health care thing.  It seems to me that our economy would have been first priority rather than health care.  But what do I know?  (Again I assume big money/lobbyist plays into that equation.)  

I digress.  At any rate, mental bias.  I ran across an article in the New Yorker on Why Smart People Are Stupid.  It addresses mental bias, and hey, if smart people are biased, the rest of us are as well.  Perhaps it's just hardwired into us from the dawn of time.

The Expanse started up a couple of weeks ago on the Syfy Channel.  The third episode comes out this week.  For me, it's not a perfect show, but I enjoy it on some level.  It has several characters, and at times it's hard to keep up with them all, but I just watching it and if I don't glean everything from the series, so be it.   It's at least smartly done, and the visual are nice to look at.  

Richard Hatch, one of the stars of Battlestar Galactica that played Captain Apollo died the other day.  I was a latecomer to Battlestar, but the fans of the early show were so diehard, I just had to look into it further.  Then the Syfy show did a reboot of the series, and gathered a bunch more fans.  Call me sentimental, but I prefer the earlier version.  They might be silly fantasy that more closely resembles Star Wars, but I prefer it better, though I have the first season to the reboot as well. 

I ran into a podcast that consist of SF book reviews.  Some of the books are classic, while others I've never heard of.  I thought I'd listen to a few of them as you never know what you'll uncover.  The guys doing the show though can be a little uneven.   You have some that are silly and light, and one of them appears more solemn and serious.   I know stuff like that requires a certain amount of levity, but I prefer the serious guy's outlook. 

The other day I also ran across this link for online sf stories from a bunch of different authors. Lots of links to award winners and other high-quality SF. 

There's also a site called Rocket Stack Rank, which I didn't know about, which takes one to a free source for reading a story, if it's available.
I ran into an odd fantasy movie I was unaware of the other day title, Mio in the Lands of Faraway.  It stars a young Christian Bale (Jum Jum) as the friend of the main character played by Nick Packard as Mio or Bosse.  A young boy named Bosse lives in misery with his cruel old aunt and uncle, until one night, he is whisked away to the magical land of Faraway. He finds that his real father is the king, and he is Prince Mio. Along with his friend Jum Jum, he sets out to defeat the evil knight Kato, and free the children that Kato has enslaved.   I like this sort of thing ever so often it takes me back to childhood and my younger days.  It's not a classic like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or The Neverending Story or Harry Potter, or some of the others, but its worth a watch if you're in the mood.



At 7:29 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

Michael Shermer at “Skeptical Inquirer” long has made much the same point. Intelligent people are capable of stringing together evidence with convoluted reasoning in a manner that dimmer folk just cannot. So, at least to certain categories of weird beliefs, they are more susceptible than average people.

“The Expanse” has good reviews, but I haven’t watched it. If I do, I’d probably start with Season 1 rather than jump in medias res.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yeah, The Expanse you could probably delve right in, and just watch, but starting at the beginning might be more rewarding and make more sense. I'm indifferent to it at times, but it's growing on me. It's certainly a kaleidoscopic view of the future. It might be fun to see them expand and add new characters.

That New Yorker article has several brain teasers that hammer home his point on how one usually goes for the quick answer--I was guilty as well. The more we attempt to know ourselves, the less we actually understand.


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