Friday, 30 January 2015

Day 272: Whiplash the Movie: Opening a can of Whiplash

 

Watch the movie first before reading this, Spoiler Alert.

2222 The first scene that shows us what kind of person the conductor is is when he kicks out one of players. From there we can see this guy is an extreme perfectionist.

When Andrew Neimann sits on the drums for a first practice session with the band, it becomes apparent that the conductor is not your everyday average conductor. Terrence Fletcher (the conductor) first utters the words “That’s not quite my tempo” (still give me chills) and we know that shit is about to hit the fan – and man, did the shit hit the fan.

If you already watched this movie you will agree with me that saying the Conductor is a Motivational Speaker is a gross understatement. The guy is borderline Psychotic, but in the end it did give results.

What I did notice about the drummer is that he has a passion for jazz drumming. You can see his room full of posters of famous drummers and his goal in life is to become “one of the greats”. And as the movie goes on you can see that he will do anything to get there. But there is line here, When does passion become obsession? The Kid was actually obsessed to become the greatest and pushed himself (with help from the psychotic conductor) trying to get there.

imagesAlso looking at all the players in the band – nobody there actually enjoyed themselves. They will fearful and worried and anxious – obviously stressed, because if they make one mistake they are out of the band. The reason why they are there is because playing in that band ( one of the top notch bands) they can get recognized and go places in life.

For me what does it matter if judges and people say you are good. What is the point of being able to play the drums faster than anybody else? Sure, if it is a point of doing it for yourself and not for the approval of others it’s fine. But pushing yourself to the limits just for the approval is really limiting to what Music actually is.

Unfortunately in this world competition comes in the way of that. Often times people have a talent, and the only to make money off that talent is to push yourself to the limits to become better than others so that you can be recognized and make a living off music. And that can take the passion right out of Music. In those cases there is not time passion, but in all the others remember: Music should be an expression of yourself. You do it, because you enjoy doing it.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Day 271:Do we all like what we think we like? Science behind Choice Manipulation

 

images “”If you are doubtful, consider a brilliant study of music downloads. Sociologist Matthew Salganik and his coauthors conclude that there is a lot of serendipity in which music succeeds and which fails, and that small differences in early popularity make a major difference in ultimate success. In business, many people are aware of this point— but not nearly aware enough. They underrate the extent to which success or failure depends on what happens shortly after launch and frequently overrate the contributions of intrinsic merit.

Lev Muchnik, a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and his colleagues carried out an ingenious experiment on a website that displays a diverse array of stories and allows people to post comments, which can in turn be voted up or down. With respect to the posted comments, the website compiles an aggregate score, which comes from subtracting the number of down- votes from the number of up- votes. To put a metric on the effects of social influences, the researchers explored three conditions: (1) “ up- treated,” in which a comment, when it appeared, was automatically and artificially given an immediate up- vote; (2) “ down- treated,” in which a comment, when it appeared, was automatically and artificially given an immediate down- vote; and (3) “control,” in which comments did not receive any artificial initial signal. Millions of site visitors were randomly assigned to one of the three conditions. The question: What would be the ultimate effect of an initial up- vote or down- vote?

You might well think that after so many visitors (and hundreds of thousands of ratings), a single initial vote could not possibly matter. Some comments are good, and some comments are bad, and in the end, quality will win out. It’s a sensible thought, but if you thought it, you would be wrong. After seeing an initial up- vote (and recall that it was entirely artificial), the next viewer became 32 percent more likely also to give an up- vote. What’s more, this effect persisted over time. After five months, a single positive initial vote artificially increased the mean rating of comments by a whopping 25 percent! It also significantly increased turnout (the total number of ratings).””

http://www.salon.com/2015/01/19/you_dont_like_what_you_think_you_like_bad_taste_manipulated_choices_and_the_new_science_of_decision_making/

We like to follow. Since birth we learn how to copy behavior from other humans. We imitate things in our surrounding as we grow up, from learning how to crawl to learning how to walk and talk. And that is still with us till the day we die.

Looking at the research done here we can see what a mayor impact a single upvote can have on a video or an article or even a comment, where an upvote means that the next person will most likely upvote the article or video or comment simply because somebody else did. And funny enough – big business knows this about us and exploits it, yet we ourselves are not even aware of it. How many artists and songs that were and are popular got there based simply on successful early Artificial popularity boost?

This means that the things we like and upvote in life and on the internet is not just because we actually like it, but because somebody ( or something ) else liked it and simply followed. This brings to question just how many of our choices in our lives are truly independent – truly our own? Do I really like this or do I like it because somebody else did?

Friday, 16 January 2015

Bestseller “ Boy who came from heaven” – admits he made it all up…

 

images Alex Malarkey was in a car accident that left him paralyzed and in a 2 month long coma when he was 6 years old. The book he wrote with his father is the “true story” of events that unfolded during that time where he went to heaven.

In an open letter for the Pulpit and Pen blog, the now teenaged Alex stated, “I did not die. I did not go to Heaven. I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.” I will not go into the fact that the bible was also written by man.

A great deal of profit was made from this book and others like it – what Alex experienced is something called “heavenly tourism” and the Christian industry is cashing it in. People find this very interesting and with good reason, because nobody knows what happens when we die and to read about brings comfort. But even if you did believe this account of Alex’s story to be the absolute truth – it should not be a surprise that it was a lie. Alex was a 6 years old kid and suffered major brain trauma.

From salon article:

“…Pulpit and Pen has posted emails suggesting that LifeWay president Thom Rainer received direct information months ago that “Alex does not support this book.” Note that Alex’s mother Beth – who is now divorced from his father — wrote last April that “Alex was a kid with major brain trauma which alone should raise questions as to validity,” and that “Alex’s name and identity are being used against his wishes (I have spoken before and posted about it that Alex has tried to publicly speak out against the book), on something that he is opposed to and knows to be in error according to the Bible.”” –

http://www.salon.com/2015/01/16/boy_who_came_back_from_heaven_he_didnt_go_to_heaven_after_all/

I am not going to go into the delusion of religion – my main point here in this blog is that here you have a Christian publishing industry exploiting a child and then trying to keep the poor kid from coming clean – all for the profit motive. People made allot of money using this child by exploiting people’s beliefs even though they knew the book was a lie. As long as the book sells it’s all that matters.

The writer of the salon article ended with a very cool question:

“And if heaven were real, I’d question today who, in the very lucrative and dubious world of Christian celestial tourism, would actually deserve a ticket to it — and who would be turned away.”

Saturday, 10 January 2015

2015 “Sia – Elastic Heart” Video is NOT perverted – no need to apologize

 

sia_video While I was browsing the web I came across a post titled “Sia has nothing to apologize for: Her “Elastic Heart” video isn’t perverted”.  What I found when I finally watched the video was something I did not expect.

It seems the Internet did what the Internet does (blow things out of proportion) and people complained that Sia’s new music video is about pedophilia. I watched the video and it has absolutely nothing to do with pedophilia. Sia took to twitter and apologized for “those who felt triggered” to the video. I agree with article above – she has nothing to apologize for.

The Music video actually has a good message. Let’s compare it with the usual popular videos of today – for example Anaconda. I did not see the Internet go crazy and complaining about half naked women shaking their asses to a song about a Penis and an Ass.

Sia’s Music video is one of the good ones. I'm not really into the “arty fartsy” stuff, but when I watched this video I was truly surprised. In the Video you have the scruffy and adult and the child in a big cage. This cage represents the Limitations we place within ourselves. You can say that this cage, the adult and the child are in one person’s mind.

The child represents the freedom and innocence, the limitless childlike expression. In the video the child is not bound by the cage, she is free to leave the cage. What is interesting is that the adult is also easily able to leave the cage, but believes he is forever stuck in this cage. And that is what the child is trying to show the adult.

There is sad part in the end (yes, spoiler) where the kid takes the hand of the adult and leads him to leave this self-created cage of limitation – showing the potential of change, but he then gives up and chooses to stay trapped in this cage.

How many of us go through a similar experience? We are at a point of change within ourselves but then at the last moment decide to give up and not change? Or how many of us have been at a point that required just a little more pushing to get through it, but then stayed trapped in the cage we created. This cage is not real – that part of ourselves – the childlike expression that is free of limitation is still within us.

Don’t get stuck in this cage – realize the potential of change and that you do have the power to push through and realize that this cage of limitation within us that keeps us from changing – it’s not real.

Don’t give up – Break the limitations

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Day 268 - Are Fireworks Really worth All of this:

 

Statistics from the RSPCA* show that, in addition to the huge number of pets given sedatives to control their fear of firework bangs and flashes across England and Wales, every year up to 5,000 pets are treated for firework-related injuries. - See more at: http://bank.marksandspencer.com/explore/media-centre/press-release/2003/10/remember,-remember,-your-pets-this-november/PR100011/#sthash.rONNSgo7.dpuf

  • In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of 2012 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 31% were to the head.
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 15-24, followed by children under 10.
  • On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
  • http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/holidays/fireworks

indexWhen I was a kid I absolutely loved fireworks. Load bangs and rockets and different colors – what kid wouldn’t like to set off some fireworks? I was never allowed to light them without supervision and on the rare occasions that we did light them we had to do it in an open field far away from animals. Looking back at it now, even though we did it far away from houses, it would still have been load for animals.

This did not go on for too long, eventually the danger of fireworks became clear and my parents chose to not do it anymore. This was the right thing to do and still is.

Currently I live in an environment where there are lots of different animals ranging from dogs and cats to various other wildlife, and fireworks would be absolutely devastating to these animals. So even though It would be cool and fun to set some off I simply cannot, because we have to consider those we share this living space with.

In the Cities this is a big problem for animal lovers. When the fireworks go off the pets are terrified. I have seen and heard horrific stories of pets running away never to return. Some pets actually run through glass doors or get stuck trying to push through fences. Some even rip their nails off trying to get away by digging through concrete.

Horror stories aside, we should all consider whether it’s worth it to light fireworks for the sake of personal enjoyment when it has such unfortunate consequences. Maybe it would be better to have a designated area where there are no animals around where people can go light fireworks – that would be far more beneficial than having these poor animals in terror in the festive seasons.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015 Happy New year OR Crappy new year?

 

images  Is it a Happy New Year? It really depends who you are and where you are and what you are. New Year’s is no special day for me, it’s simply another day, but let’s look at some stats regarding 2014:

· 1020 Rhino Poached in 2014, compared to 333 in 2010. Despite Millions thus far spent on charity organizations the number of rhinos poached tripled in 4 years. Not a Happy New Year ahead for them.

· Half the world still lives in poverty.

· Nearly 1 Billion people suffer from “chronic undernourishment “ aka hunger.

· 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day.

· An average of 3.5million people experienced homelessness in the U.S., despite the fact that there are enough empty housing for them all.

The tradition of wishing somebody a happy new year has many complications, sure we can want for other to have a good year, or maybe you are glad that you made it through another year, but for me a happy new year will be finding ways make the statistics above less.

How great would it be if humanity was able to completely eradicate poverty? Bring the amount of hungry people down to zero? Or even have the rhino poaching at a big round zero for a whole year? We certainly have the capacity and resources to do so. For example to put every child in the world through education all we need is 1% of the military budget of the U.S. We have the means to do so.

The Living Income Guaranteed will also be a solution for all the problems above. If it’s implemented it will bring the number of people in poverty down to zero. Money will no longer be a factor for whether or not a child gets an education . People will also have enough to actually live and buy the food they need. There will also be no more homeless people, because they would be able to afford a home.

That would make a truly Happy New Year.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Day 266: How to stick to this New Year’s Resolutions

 

 

index It's that time of years again and many are in the tradition to every New Year write down things they would like to change about themselves and many don't manage to actually stick to them. Some would like to kick habits like smoking or biting nails, other might want to quit drinking or simply become a better person, maybe not be so angry or sad or stubborn.

Unfortunately it is not so easy to change oneself. It is very easy to say you are going to do it, but when it comes right to it – more often than not – we fall back into our same old patterns. That is what it actually is – patterns and behaviors that we created over time and seem to be stuck in it.

When changing something like for example biting nails – there is usually a reason why you started biting nails in the first place. You could be an anxious person and whenever the anxiety comes up you bite nails. So it’s important to first find the reason for the anxiety or frustration in order to stop the nail biting. We need to find the source of these habits and patterns we would like to change.

Once the source is found the next step is self –discipline and commitment. This is where most fall, because to stop a habit or pattern is not an easy thing, but if you are committed and have self-discipline to do what you said you will then you will be able to stick to the New Year’s resolutions you created.

Thing that come up while stopping habits is all kind of excuses and justifications – you will subconsciously try every sneaky thing to go back to the habit and not stick to stopping it. A cool way to look at this is when you make the decision to stop a habit – everything that comes up after you made the choice that will make you “fall of the wagon is simply an excuse or a justification. It could be a thought or a feeling and would make so much sense, but all it is is a trap.

To recap as to what you will require to actually sticking to your New year’s resolutions:

1. Make a list and make sure its practical.

2. Make the Decision and stand by it.

3. Find the source of the problem.

4. Don’t give into the thoughts and feelings that will make you go back to the habit.

5. Don’t give into the excuses and justifications.

6. Be self-disciplined and committed.

The best thing to do is not wait for every new year before making changes, but to realize that change can be made in every moment. For more info on changing self go here.