Dokter’s Weekly Report #35

Standard

Here is a random list of good reads for you’ll to enjoy this Sunday.

Linkage

25 Greatest Pieces of Wisdom From Hunter S. Thompson — Read it
A good collection of, what you might call, gonzo wisdom. My favourite quote is: Play your own game, be your own man, and never ask for a stamp of approval.
Hunter S. Thompson: 4 essential reads — Read it
Another good list to consider. Again, I will add my own suggestions. Kingdom of Fear. It was relevant when it was published and still relevant, maybe even more so now, if you take a look at what is happening around the world. Hells Angels & Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas are important books, but Kingdom of Fear is my favourite book. Of course, the ingenious column The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved is also a must read.
RT Reporter Resigns Over Coverage of Malaysia Airlines Disaster — Read it
Imagine if more journalists had this kind of self-respect, and maybe more importantly, respect for the public. Journalists would not only be more respected, but also feared.
It Is Idiotic To Hand Out Your Twitter Password To Prove Passwords Are Dead — Read it
A tech writer with such poor understanding of tech is a bit shocking. The password isn’t it, but it’s something that needs to die. All he proved is that a password is still something you need to keep to yourself. Not to mention that as tech writer, you would assume that person to use a more secure password than christophermims. This silly stunt also revealed his phone number, +13013353298, which now he has to change. Let’s not announce the death of something until we know it’s death has been confirmed.
Snowden: Dropbox is hostile to privacy, unlike ‘zero knowledge’ Spideroak — Read it
At this point I only keep Dropbox as it’s connected to my O’Reilly account. I stopped storing stuff there and trust iCloud far more. Hopefully more iOS apps will implement the use of webDAV soon.
The WHO calls for decriminalisation — Read it
As I wrote in last week’s Dokter’s Weekly Report, the war on drugs has failed. Time to sit down and find new ways to reduce harm, as the zero-tolerance approach is doing more damage than good.
Breaking up with Facebook — Read it
A bit of a long read, but worth it. It is time we start to question all these free services. Not just question how they use our data, but if they truly are of any use at all.
Swedish court upholds arrest warrant for Assange — Read it
As would happen to most people who are wanted for questioning.
Journalists will face jail over spy leaks under new security laws — Read it
Yet another reason I’m glad I’m leaving this country. However, I do see a business opportunity with this law. I’ll earmark it for later to write a longer piece how the media can capitalise on it and avoid it.
Australia may have breached key element of refugee convention in return of Sri Lankans intercepted at sea: UNHCR — Read it
It’s 2014 and about time Australia realises that countries need to take into consideration what other countries think of them. The excuse that you shouldn’t have to is of course valid, but then you must also accept the impact that has.
Player one: the gamers who only want to play with themselves — Read it
I guess I fall into this category. As much I would enjoy partaking in online play, it’s far too focused on fighting — basically proving Machiavelli right in his view of humans. As much as I enjoy playing The Last of Us Factions (online part of TLOU), it has only one focus, and that is to rise in the ranks by killing each other. While the single-player part I can take my time, enjoy the scenery without hearing some angry shitcock yelling at me for killing them for the nth time.
Queensland flood victims pin hope on class action — Read it
Good! Every year, during the transition from winter to spring, there is a risk of flooding in Norway. Being in Brisbane during the 2011 Floods I was shocked how poorly managed it was, and knew the outcome was exactly what we witnessed that year.
Man charged with 21 counts of rape over 2012 Alice Springs gunpoint sex attacks on backpackers — Read it
Non-Australians view snakes and spiders good reasons for not visiting Australia. As you see, there are far more dangerous things here. I’ve come across piousness snakes and spiders and they never hurt me, because they don’t attack unless you antagonise them.
Calls to dump Chris Lilley’s ‘racist’ Jonah From Tonga from US TV — Read it
The reactions in the comments are priceless and moronic. The excuse I’m not offended, so why should you be is a common theme that actually highlights why this kind of humour is not outdated but also dated. Time to move on.
There’s Blackface, And Then There’s… Well… This Idiot — Read it
This just shows how out of touch too many Australians are with the world.
It’s rooted: Aussie terms that foreigners just won’t get — Read it
An innocent, and a bit funny, article fuels chest-thumping jingoism and protectionism. A good example of how ingrained imperial ideas are in Australian culture, strengthened by cultural cringe. One of those examples of, don’t read the comments if you don’t want to facepalm yourself.

Tweetage

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Am I responsible for all journalists?

Standard

In film and TV series journalists are often depicted as either ethical heroes or devious bastards. Mostly it is the latter that seems to be popular. Because that’s how most of us are, right? We only think about ourselves, have no regard for laws or ethics — we just want to write the story and get our fame via the byline. The more nasty it is, the better.

Which makes me think about the good old saying, life imitating art. Because that is what seems to be happening in some countries. Not that these journalists are praised for what they do, except for their editors asking them for more, but what they produce is lapped up by the masses — then, for some reason, the masses spits it out back at them, accusing them for being bad journalists.

Ironic isn’t it. We seem to want hard-hitting, investigative journalism, but secretly many seem to love the drama these bastard journalists and reporters create.

So am I responsible for these bastard journalists? What more can I do, other than working ethically and criticising their unethical ways. Should I hunt them down like animals? Then what?

I can of course also say that not all journalists are like that, but then I’ve suddenly used, what has become, the most hated phrase at the moment. A phrase that, when used, suddenly means admission that you’re not only part of the problem and don’t understand the issue, but also guilty of the acts committed by these bastards.

So logical, right?

Suddenly the idea of not painting everyone with the same brush isn’t valid anymore. It’s actually rather ironic, as we live in an age where we are very focused on not generalising and labelling each other, we suddenly admire the power of painting everyone with the same brush.

I see four logical fallacies emerge here.

The first is known as tu quoque, where if you try to argue that it’s wrong to paint everyone with the same brush, you will be told you’re wrong for claiming it’s wrong to generalise.

The second is known as bandwagoning, where the validation of painting everyone with the same brush is that it’s how the majority views it, therefor the majority is right and you’re wrong.

The third is known as no true scotsman, where you are accused of being part of the problem because no true journalist would never use the phrase not all journalists are like that.

The fourth is known as appeal to emotion, where you are accused of being emotionally detached for not wanting to paint everyone with the same brush.

Basically these four fallacies legitimises the use of strawman arguments and especially ad hominem attacks.

What is important to understand, and even accept, is that in some situations it is fair and valid to retort with not all X are like that. It might be difficult to accept in some situations, and more so difficult to accept that reality, but in the long run it can be extremely damning for a large group of people to be painted with the same brush.

Even worse, it can hurt a cause far greater than those whom’ve been painted with the same brush.

It’s not something that exclusively happens to journalists. This happens to police officers, politicians, bankers, companies, doctors, hipsters, musicians and even citizens of certain countries (I could go on in ad nauseum).

Not everything is black or white. Sometimes there are more shades in between these two colours.

Unfortunately it’s easier to view the world in black and white, because trying to understand something, removing the chaff from the wheat, takes time, patience and understanding — sometimes even a bit of humility.

If you are going to ~~generalise~~ be passionate about a cause, at least see to it you don’t end up as a hypocrite. To quote Friedrich Nietzsche, He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

So no, not all journalists are bastards. And by saying that doesn’t mean or validate I am one of those bastards. I do my best at adhering to good journalistic ethics and criticise poor journalism when I see it. If that’s not good enough for you, that’s your problem, not mine. Especially if you want me to support your cause for improving journalism.

Dokter’s Weekly Report #34

Standard

As I am writing the draft, and obviously the intro, to this week’s report I am listening to Shpongle while enjoying a cup of steeped damiana and California poppy (legal herbs).

I have a feeling the effects of my concoction is kicking in. The music is more hypnotising and I feel a very comfortable calmness. Both herbs are relaxing, yet I feel extremely focused. As if I have control of time — I can stop it at will and change the course of its flow.

Exhilarating.

And as you will notice, this week’s report is focused on the lovely world of drugs.

We humans like to deny it, but as a species we seem to enjoy and go to great lengths to alter our perception of reality. In simple terms, we are a species that loves to get high.

Too bad we ban the good stuff and make the bad stuff legal.

Linkage

I Made Marijuana Edibles at Hunter S. Thompson’s Ranch — Read it
A story about Marijuana and the good doctor, what else do I need to say to make you want to read it?
The war on drugs killed my daughter — Read it
The war has gone on for almost half a decade. For most that should be an indicator that not only has the war been lost, but the tactics are not working. If you can’t beat’em, join ’em.
What You Never Knew About Caffeine Consumption (Until Now) — Read it
An interesting and balanced article. Looking at both the good and bad about caffeine.
Antidepressant drugs may not be best treatment: Robert Whitaker — Read it
Short-term use of antidepressants and as a complimentary to therapy I have no issue with antidepressants. But as stated in the article, it’s when they are prescribed as the only cure and long-term it’s prudent that is based on evidenced researched — which it seems to not be.
Four more New York Times columnists and Malcolm Gladwell get really high: what could possibly go wrong? — Read it
A funny, short article. Loved it!
Rising tobacco taxes ‘will encourage cigarette smuggling’, say Qld experts — Read it
What?! Tougher laws might increase smuggling?! Who would’ve thunk that?
How to drink all night without getting drunk — Read it
Neat trick. Haven’t tried it myself, but I will sure try it one day. You never know how something really works until you’ve tried it on yourself.
Let’s talk about drugs, not demonise them — Read it
A bit old, but still important, as it is a talk we really need to have.
Lawyer: ‘I’ve used drugs’ — Read it
Also a bit old, but not all drug users are dodgy youngster up to no good. In the same way that not all consumers of alcohol drink alcohol because of alcoholism.
Hash fans slam Norway’s half-baked hypocrisy — Read it
At the moment there is a debate going on in Norway regarding legalisation of cannabis because the war on drugs has obviously failed. Drugs are illegal, but still used everyday.
LSD is good for you, say Norway researchers — Read it
Legalise it?
Jummy’s Infinite Stash — Read it
Cool story, bro.
Psychedelic drug use linked to fewer mental health problems — Read it
Just legalise it and let me have some, okay?
Magic mushrooms expand your mind and amplify your brain’s dreaming areas – here’s how — Read it
Sounds far safer than alcohol. Why is alcohol legal and this stuff illegal?
Molly: Pure, but Not So Simple — Read it
If I had the choice to try it, I would much rather have MDMA than Ecstacy.
Open Your Mind to the New Psychedelic Science — Read it
Another good read about psychedelics.

Tweetage

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

You don’t have to use Facebook

Standard

When Facebook users complain about Facebook it is very easy to tell them to quit the service. But it is one of those situations where it is apt to say it is easier said than done.

What Facebook has managed, and deserves to receive some credit for, is that it has made it easy for everyone and anyone to stay in touch.

Unfortunately this comes with a massive cost to the user — giving away their data to Facebook.

I know it is getting bit tiresome to hear, but if you are not paying for a service, you are the product. Get over it, and deal with it. It is not based on a conspiracy theory, it is a fact.

Users should be allowed to complain tho. The data they abandon for the sake of using Facebook for free has made Facebook a wealthy company, so there is obviously some kind of transaction going on.

When that happens a user presumably has some right to voice their concern if a service changes or does not operate as advertised (openly).

Claiming that if you are unhappy with its service you can just leave it is juvenile and helps no-one, in any situation.

The worst part with Facebook is not how it wants users to not have any privacy setting activated. It is how it has made users collectively think that it is the only way to stay in touch with friends and family.

It is so bad, that you can strike up a long conversation with someone whenever you feel like it on Facebook, but if you send the same person an email you are lucky to receive a response.

This is what Facebook relies on, that users exclusively communicate using Facebook, forgoing all other forms of communication.

When it comes to privacy I would prefer not to be on Facebook, but knowing that many of my friends and contacts can only be reached on Facebook makes it harder to delete my account.

Without that said, I have not been on Facebook for a while, so at the end of the year when I will sit down and make my decision, I might actually leave Facebook for good.

Because end of the day, if you really want to stay in touch with someone, it should not really matter how you do it.

I can be found on Twitter, I have this website with additional contact information for ADN, Wickr and Confide — even iMessage.

In other words, it is pretty easy to get in touch with me — as in, no one can claim I am difficult to reach.

I am willing to be reachable via six different communication services. That some of you limit yourself to one should not be my problem — it is in fact your problem.

Dokter’s Weekly Report #33

Standard

This weeks report focuses mainly on privacy. Ever heard about that? If not, maybe you should look it up. Not just in a dictionary, but read up on the history of it. What it truly means and, more importantly, have meant. Some of that old notion of privacy luckily still exist in Europe — can’t wait to move back there.

Also, check out my latest project, Dokter’s Notes. It’s one of those things that can’t really be explained, and will evolve on its own. I was going to use Tumblr, but I found out that WordPress doesn’t mind if you don’t use a title in a post, so, I’m able to use my favourite blogging platform. ~~I will eventually add it to dokterw.me with a subdomain — maybe next week.~~

Next weeks report might be focused on drugs, haven’t decided yet.

Stay frosty,
and stay private.

Linkage

How dare you call my phone — Read it
It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing that I’m not the only one on this planet that has ended up loathing the phone and being available 24/7.
Why Andrew Denton takes pleasure in missing out — Read it
Do you suffer from FOMO? Embrace JOMO instead. Seriously, you’re reallynot missing out as the idea of missing out is a social construct.
How to Completely Delete Facebook From Your Life — Read it
I did this on my old, abandoned Facebook account. AWSM! Might do it end of the year on my current Facebook account. I’m rarely on there and I don’t want them to have my data as it’s MINE!
6 online identity safety tips from the most private woman on the Internet — Read it
I have a lot of respect to anyone able to pull this off. Even more respect for those of you who use Wickr (my wickr id is: journalist).
Everything We Know About Facebook’s Secret Mood Manipulation Experiment — Read it
This is so extremely creepy. Not to mention, it’s bordering on being very questionable when it comes it ethical research. Then again, if you ask a behaviour psychologist, they’ll just say, yeah, so what, this proves nothing other than humans react this way, nothing new.
Google reveals its real face: unfocused, unoriginal and a little bit evil — Read it
Google is a little bit Evil? Who would’ve thunk that?
How over-sharenting can harm your kids — Read it
Do you really need to share that much about a person unable to give consent? Want to share with the family? Email, private albums or just bloody visit them!
Google Apps for Education mining data to develop targeted ads, experts warn — Read it
The university I’m at uses Google for their email service… Not too happy about that.
UK intelligence forced to reveal secret policy for mass surveillance of residents’ Facebook and Google use — Read it
The more you share, the more you hand over data you thought was private. Only share what you are comfortable with the whole world knowing.
Journalists’ sources are no longer safe in Australia — Read it
Glad my email is located outside of Australia.
We are too blase about our online data — Read it
Privacy might be dead, because GenY has grown accustom that privacy doesn’t exist.
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel ‘mortified and embarrassed’ by sexist, derogatory emails — Read it
I guess he wish he had Snapchat back then.
Australia asked Americans for more help to spy on Australian citizens — Read it
Am I surprised? Not one bit.
Police defend filming nightclub patrons on dance floor — Read it
Got to love pre-crime tactics.
DO WE REALLY NEED TO LEARN TO CODE? — Read it
I haven’t read much about this lately, so hopefully this bloody fad has died, rotting away in a corner.
Don’t Believe Anyone Who Tells You Learning To Code Is Easy — Read it
They only say it because they enjoy it and have something to sell you. A skill is only useful if you’re going to use it and improve it years to come.

Tweetage

Monday

https://twitter.com/lukebuckmaster/status/483450777038381056

https://twitter.com/JohnBirmingham/status/483444501814317056

Tuesday

https://twitter.com/davpope/status/483036079709118464

https://twitter.com/StringStory/status/483765752667729920

https://twitter.com/AndrewBartlett/status/483824727698313218

Wednesday

https://twitter.com/kevinmitnick/status/484112409372528641

https://twitter.com/good/status/484245369745080320

Thursday

https://twitter.com/warrenellis/status/484321496563601408

https://twitter.com/tdh/status/484612739839827968

Friday

https://twitter.com/pressfreedom/status/484755591894540289

https://twitter.com/kevinmitnick/status/484766775947849728

https://twitter.com/amuir_netecol/status/484871202033262592

Saturday

https://twitter.com/MikeCarlton01/status/485252106299789312

https://twitter.com/mashable/status/485298402541203456

https://twitter.com/tdh/status/485320975136067584

Sunday

https://twitter.com/washingtonpost/status/485588138912677889

Too busy, Too perfect, Too sick

Standard

You have probably read about it numerous times before. Hell, you probably know a few people that it has happened to. They either work too many hours and have far too many balls in the air. Then one day, shit hits the fan — they are burned out in one way or the other.

I wouldn’t say I’m burned out, but I guess I’m seeing some faint warning signals in the distance. Like when a captain of a ship, out on the open see, notices that beyond the horizon a storm is brewing. Left with two options. Either hope for the best and fight that monster of a storm, or avoid it as much as he can, but still having to battle through some rough sea.

Still, ending up on penicillin due to a throat infection that has been going on strong for about a month and has made me contract a second cold within the same period is probably an indicator to actually holiday during my holiday.

Even when at academia my schedule is pretty flexible. Same with Westender — flexible schedule. Flexible on the other hand often means I will be busy through the week, Monday to Sunday. And when I’m not busy with these two obligations, I keep myself busy without a myriad of other tasks.

Which is similar to what is discussed in the article I shared in Dokter’s Weekly Report last Sunday.

We’ve become obsessed with being busy. Having to do things because we tell ourselves they need to be done. An obsession I just realised I’ve become a victim to. An obsession I never thought I would be capable of acquiring.

As I mentioned a few paragraphs above, it’s time I have a holiday during my holiday. Maybe I’ll finally find the time to crack open one of my books. Or just doing nothing — without feeling bad about it.