American Elephants

Are You a Committed Reader? by The Elephant's Child
October 15, 2022, 7:44 pm
Filed under: Politics

My most popular post seems to be from 2013, about 13,000 abandoned wind turbines. I suspect it is the picture of the abandoned wind turbines that attracts attention. The photo was dramatic and apparently circulated widely. The turbines were at the southern end of the Hawaiian chain, and abandoned because of their disrepair due to years, storms and normal weather. Undoubtedly long gone by now. How old the picture was when I posted it, I don’t know.

That’s one of the problems with the Internet. Stuff sticks around, and we don’t pay enough attention to the date it was posted, so we may be getting misinformation. There’s plenty of misinformation out there in any case but old posts stick around too, and time moves on, and we may not even notice the time gap.

Odd, isn’t it. With computers to connect us to world news instantly, so we can find out instantly what we want to know, they are equally there to misdirect us. Do our schools teach the kids the nature of the internet and what it can and cannot do and how to use the internet? I suspect not, but I don’t know. Remembering back to when I was a kid in school, there was a large percentage of small boys who were determined NOT to learn how to read. They thought it was uninteresting, hard, and they didn’t want to do it. Is that still a part of kids in primary school? Do they ever catch up? Or are they adults who don’t actually read much of anything? Does television for some, preclude the need to learn to read? And are the non-readers just ill-informed, or does it cause greater problems?

As a voluminous reader, I can hardly imagine how anyone gets along without reading a lot, yet a lot of people don’t read much. We have excellent libraries here in King County, partly because we have a lot of colleges beside the University of Washington. Do college graduates read more than those who do not have a degree, or are degrees unrelated entirely? Has anybody ever done a survey to see to what extent Americans read widely? Probably wouldn’t work anyway, who’s going to admit that they don’t read much of anything?

Is something read more retained, or more informative than something that appears on a TV screen? Does something read purposely in a book have more staying power than something seen on a screen or for that matter, heard on the radio or on the TV screen? As a committed and purposeful reader do I over estimate or under estimate the importance of reading and reading a lot?

Forest Fires and Air Quality: by The Elephant's Child
October 15, 2022, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Politics

Still smoky outdoors. Not particularly noticeable in the air, except when looking off into the distance. For me, it’s looking off to the South. Can’t see anything to the North. When the woods as far as I can see look smoky, I can assume there are still forest fires in the Cascade range. Finding out just where is more complicated, but tackling the U.S. Forest Service website will usually turn up good information. Specify what you are looking for. Whenever you can, go directly to the source, rather than looking for some reporter to get it straight.

Reporters, or news photographers are usually looking for “boob shots” because in the lack of a “celebrity” to make their story attention-grabbing, boob shots seem to work.

What is a “celebrity”? Someone whose name is recognizable. More useful if both name and face are recognizable. Unfortunately recognize-ability doesn’t necessarily go along with usefulness, truthfulness or anything like that. You are on your own for assembling a group of good sources for learning what is going on in the world.

I suspect that learning where and how to gather accurate news is not taught anywhere. Probably deeply affected by your political leanings. There are a lot of major “Think-Tanks” starting with the Hoover Institution and the Manhattan Institute or the Claremont Institute who gather together the best minds they can find to try to sort things out.

Make an effort to find out good sources, and take note of their sources. You’ll gradually come up with a dependable list, and refine it over time, and know who you want to consult regally.

Because I grew up in the mountains and bordering National Forest, I’m probably far more sensitive to distant forest fires than most people. And far more interested in consulting the Forest Service. From my home office 2nd story window I can see far to the South, but not in any other direction. Can’t see the mountains from here at all, so have to rely on my computer.

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