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Monday, December 5, 2016

5 ways I want to help #makeamericasmartagain

I firmly believe that it's time to Make America Smart Again.  That is, it's time for us, as individuals and groups living in his great nation, to do everything we can to use reason, to think, and to cut though the noise that exists in our lives. 

I will be embracing the idea in my corner of the world, and I encourage you to do the same. 

Here is my mantra, the five things I will be doing to make myself better.  I admit that some of these are affirmations of things I already do, but I wanted to share them and clarify my position.   

1. First up: TV.  I will not watch reality shows, or any network news. On the former, it's dullness offends the senses and encourages one not to think.  And likewise, I won't be following the lives of any celebrity and their absurd behavior.  It serves no purpose. Regarding the latter, it is clear that 24 hour news outlets are motivated by profit and are not in the "news" business; they are businesses that are in it for money - and ratings are directly tied to that revenue. It's as pointless as reality tv.

There are still things to watch: educational programming, some sports, and the occasional movie or tv series are reasonable choices that educate and entertain.

2. Before repeating anything, I will seek to learn if it is true. I will not regurgitate any talking points, or mis-represent facts. In short, I will not accept lies, half-truths, or spout any nonsense. It's counter-productive and shows a lack of intelligence to do otherwise. I won't speculate wildly about anything, either, because the truth matters. If you say something to me, I will ask for your sources and will reject what you are saying if you give me the "inflammatory headline" that isn't supported.

3. I pledge to read more.  My goal is a minimum of 6 novels, or "good books" a year. There can be fiction and non-fiction among the works I'll read, and I will get to the actual library regularly because it's a tremendous resource we have available.  I won't, however, let any one book (however good I think it is) dictate how I think or live; the most it can be is a component of enriching myself.

I will also read more science journals and articles, and will post a link to at least one interesting article a week. On this point, science is the one thing we can look to for meaningful, observable behavior.  It has no agenda, it is the absolute truth and it doesn't care if you believe in it or not.

4. Stop the insanity! Social media is out of control.  It's a part of the bigger problem. I will use it to let you know about things that are going on at Disney, and to occasionally pass on interesting facts.  But I won't be using social media to engage in meaningless banter, or to simply pass judgement.  I also can not accept memes as a way of exchanging information.  It dumbs us all down, and you won't see them from me. And where it's appropriate I'll reject what you are saying here too.

5.  And finally, I will continue to exercise my mind through various activities.  Personally, I will look at new entrepreneurial ideas, app development on a more regular basis, and explore my roots as an engineer to remind myself why I got this education. You may have some other things that you are good at and passionate about - I encourage you to pursue them.

Doing these things will make me a better person, and helps me stay sharp and smart. I hope some of you will take a similar view and help to do your part. 

Do what you can to use your mind. Make yourself smart, continue your education if that's on your list, and share what you learn.  Only then, can we Make America Smart Again.

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The lame list

Stupidity is something I can not tolerate. Here is my current list of dopey attitudes that chafe me. Don’t be stupid. Don’t be one of these:

  • Anti-science
  • Flat earther
  • Faux patriot
  • Blind supporter of anything, or anyone
  • conspiracy theorist
  • Doubt the Moon landing, or call it a hoax
  • Anti-vaxxer
  • Believe in a deep state
  • Pretending to understand something that is enormously complicated, and just oversimplifying it
  • Blog Archive