July Mind Dump

Monday, July 23, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, so this will be a pretty lengthy post on various topics over the past month.

Police State and Power: with the recent acts of violence, increased police presence and enforcement are becoming more justified. This has all sorts of implications, especially on communication media, censorship, and surveillance. An increased police state means an increased polarization of power: those in power, and those without.

Psychology case studies have proven that humans change when placed in positions of power. For example, in the Stanford prison experiment participants who were assigned the role of acting as prison guards “enforced authoritarian measures and ultimately subjected some of the prisoners to psychological torture”. A sad real-life example: the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

It’s scary to think about what society will become in 20 years, or even 10.

“Free”: nothing is free in life. If it’s free, you are the product. Always ask yourself: “What’s in it for them?” Example: Tim Hortons and their free wifi. The basic functions of a wireless router are to provide services to clients (e.g. DHCP), track bandwidth, throttle if needed, and without a doubt the ability to track what sites are being visited by clients is present. Whether or not it’s enabled is questionable, but most likely it would be.

Skype and Eavesdropping: “Skype Won’t Say Whether It Can Eavesdrop on Your Conversations” It’s pretty safe to assume that Skype can and/or do eavesdrop on conversations. I mean, if they didn’t eavesdrop, then they’d outright answer this question with “no, we don’t eavesdrop”, take pride in it and boast that users’ conversations are private.

Media and Perspective: with framing, cropping, and editing, the media can influence society:

“Let’s make our soldiers look strong against these darn evil-doers”, sure, let’s just pick the picture on the left.
“Let’s make our soldiers look caring to justify our involvement in the war”, pick the picture on the right.

If the picture’s lacking a little much-needed “oomph“, why not Photoshop it like Iran did?

To make things more complex, media can be (or rather, are) influenced by institutions, organizations, and governments to lean towards one of the above statements, leading me to boldly ask: “what can you truly believe in today?”

Reporters and Stupid Questions: one too many times have I watched the news where a reporter is interviewing someone and asked a stupid question. For example, a reporter was interviewing a mother of four after a shooting last week near her housing complex and asked: “Do you care about your children?”

I don’t think any comments are needed on this.

Just to conclude: I want to offer my condolences to all of the victims in the crimes that have occurred, and that my wishes are with their family and friends.