Fears Of The Metaverse Are Justified

OPINION: Fears Of The Metaverse Are Justified

A metaverse is a network of 3 D virtual worlds focused on social connection.

OPINION: Fears Of The Metaverse Are Justified

Editor: The world of the future may be at hand. Like other new technologies the potential is great, the threat terrifying. The development of the metaverse should put us all on high alert for the nearly inevitable privacy abuses, misinformation campaigns,  and unprecedented targeting.

By Joseph Wales

A New Name

In late 2021, Mark Zuckerberg introduced Meta as the parent company to Instagram and Facebook. This move left many of us in the dark; not understanding what Meta is and the future direction of the company. Since the announcement it has emerged that the main idea behind Meta is developing a 100% virtual world with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and VR (Virtual Reality) enhancements. A world where our interactions will be more digital than physical. The technology growth rate is at an all-time high. Most believe that the tech gurus have more power than they deserve and legal restrictions are necessary. Before we go into the nitty-gritty details, let’s look at what metaverse is.

What Is The Metaverse?

As mentioned above, think of the metaverse as a virtual universe. The metaverse combines numerous technologies, including Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and eye-tracking. These technologies combine to create the ultimate virtual experience. Now might be a good time to read or watch “Ready Player One.” It is a story set in 2045, where all people turn to VR to escape the real world. The feature could help you get a rough idea of how a metaverse might look.

What Is Inside The Metaverse?

The metaverse is usually digital assets, 3D avatars, games, and businesses. Each metaverse can have their virtual economy. There are endless activities to engage in while in the metaverse. You could meet friends, join virtual events, host business meetings, monetize your creations, and so on. The metaverse closely resembles the real world. Most have their own economies and accept virtual currency. For instance, Cryptoxles, a metaverse, accepts ETH, while Decentraland uses their original currency, MANA. The only significant difference is that you can travel the world, go to the store, climb Mt. Everest, all from your home’s comfort. Access to the metaverse is via an VR headset.

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EDITORIAL: Me and Twitter

EDITORIAL: Me and Twitter

EDITORIAL: Me and Twitter

Its the holidays, can we just lighten up. . .

D. S. Mitchell

Twitter and Tweet

I love Twitter. I hate Twitter. I love Twitter. I hate Twi….I know.  I sound a bit confused in my base emotions surrounding this global social sparring arena, and I am. My relationship with the Twitter platform,  reminds me of a couple bad relationships I’ve had in my life. I hate you, I love you, I apparently, “love to hate you”. There is something to be said about high adrenaline.  However it is usually like placing a pile of papers on a table and turning on a fan.  I forgot who said that, but I think it is applicable.

Commitment

To all of the clear thinking, intelligent, brilliant folks that hope for a more tolerant and inclusive world, I love tossing tweets back and forth, and I love you all. So many caring and committed individuals wanting to do everything they can do, to advance society and humanity.

Conversely

The ‘I hate’ side of me, comes out when somebody in the audience decides to suddenly join in, by launching a vile attack.  Why would someone choose to do that?  Hmmm. Good question.  Not all vicious attacks come from  Nigerian trolls, I have decided. Is it because the offender didn’t get any nookie last night, or did Mom yell at him,  did he get a bad grade, was he passed over for a promotion, did he have a fender bender?

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Memories of a Montana Christmas

Memories of a Montana Christmas

I remember Montana winters with snow and family.

Memories of a Montana Christmas

Christmas Memories. . . Reflections on a Different Time

By Megan Wallin

I  remember many of my childhood Christmases being snow-covered, Kinkade-looking holidays, because we weren’t at home in the dreary and temperate climate of Seattle, Washington, but venturing into the small town on Alberton, Montana.

My mom and her then-boyfriend would take me with them to visit his family in that small town nearly every Christmas or Thanksgiving. There, I would read endless books in their basement, drink an abundance of hot chocolate, build giant snowmen, cut down a Christmas tree near their family cabin, and occasionally wander around finding remains of dead animals—all of which was utterly fascinating for a kid used to life in the city.

For context, this was the mid-1990’s, a time when children weren’t glued to the internet, there were no Tik Tok trends, and we had actual breaks from our classmates’ influence during vacations due to the absence of social media. Parents also seemed more at ease with our lack of ties to the outside world, and—perhaps under the misconception that the world was “safer” then—would sometimes let us roam during the day and come back for dinner at evening. One year, that roaming took a particularly dangerous turn.

I was about ten years old, and the snowfall from the previous night had created a white blanket that came up to my knees when I tried to walk. Naturally, this was an invitation to hop and skip through the fields just beyond the house where we were staying.

Once I ventured past the road and began walking through the field alongside it, I became a bit careless, jumping around in the newly fallen snow, enjoying the feeling of falling down into something not quite solid. I hadn’t ventured far, and could still see the house in the distance, with the road nearby barely visible under the fresh blanket of white. The air was cold enough to feel heavy, and the silence of no traveling cars, or other people, seemed to add to that weight.

Moments like these were some of the most peaceful my city-bound senses could take in. Then it happened.

The ground beneath me seemed to completely give way, and that falling sensation lasted for an uncomfortably long time. I think my surprise was so great and the air so cold that I couldn’t even muster a shocked yelp. I just fell dangerously into a narrow pit, previously wholly unnoticed.

What I had discovered was a hole left by the removal of an old telephone pole, and while it didn’t fill completely with snow, it was difficult to see given the current conditions. There was barely enough room for my body, the space was so slim, and it was a wonder I hadn’t broken a limb during descent. But there I was: trapped, standing straight up and down like a soldier, with little room to move or climb my way out of the frozen earth, and nothing to grip.

Snow was still falling. I found my voice, taking in a full inhalation of cold air after breathlessly screaming, “Help!”

I quickly began running through scenarios in my mind of who would discover my body, and when, and how. Would it be Spring? I tried to picture who would attend the funeral at the Presbyterian church we attended in West Seattle. My mind raced with questions about whether I would die from the cold or suffocate from being buried alive. Fortunately, I didn’t have much time alone with my thoughts.

Coincidently, and not at all in 1990’s fashion, an adult was already looking for me. One of the nephews had ventured out to see if the small child who had come to visit was actually wearing a proper coat for the weather. He heard my panicked screams and interceded immediately, perhaps already aware of the gaping hole in the ground.

I spent the next hour drinking hot chocolate and regaling the group with my tale of “near death,” snuggled up in a warm blanket and gazing outside occasionally. I knew it would be a while before my mom let me outside-and out of sight-again.

Now I think back on those times as we all prepare for holidays where we sit in someone’s living room with a large television present and likely no snow outside, and continually micro-manage our children who are either on screens or needing excess supervision because they are otherwise occupied. (Either way, we’re essentially deciding between “more than the recommended amount of screen time” or “potential trip to the E.R.”)

On one hand, our children aren’t in danger of being buried alive in the snow in a remote small town in Montana. On the other hand, holidays have become just another day off work and school, where we provide an excess of toys and entertainment only for it to pale in comparison to one day in a newly formed snowdrift.

For now, I accept that nostalgia may cover a multitude of sins, so to speak. Life wasn’t necessarily better or worse a few decades ago; it was simply different.

 

Cosmo Comes Calling

Cosmo Comes CallingIntroducing Cosmos. The talkative crow from Oregon.

Cosmo Comes Calling

Oregon State Police called in on a foul mouthed crow 

By D. S. Mitchell

Down State Noise
Normally, the goings on in Grant’s Pass, Oregon, never gain the attention of the big city folks of Portland, Seattle, or San Fran.   Last week however, we here on the west coast got a bit of a smile as we learned about the antics of a rogue, rough talking, four letter word tossing, crow.  You read that right.  A crow. As the story goes, out of the blue a friendly, albeit attention seeking crow, showed up in town.  According to reports the first place the crow was spotted was on top of the Planet Fitness building, where he would talk to people entering and exiting the facility. Drawing both laughter and a raised finger or two.
Moving On
Apparently dissatisfied with the Planet Fitness digs our talkative and colorfully articulate bird looked around for friendlier faces.  He seemed to find what he was looking for when he found the Allen Dale Elementary School in late November.  It didn’t take long before he was the resident mascot. The news became public when Naomi Imel, an assistant at the school called in the story to the Oregonian on 12/09/2021. Lizzie  Acker 503-221-8052, lacker@Oregonian.com was the featured reporter who followed up on the feathered friend story.

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Digital Revolution: Kinda Awesome

Digital Revolution: Kinda Awesome     

Trevor K. McNeil

 

Going Digital

Everything is going online, the so-called “Digital Revolution” generally considered to be as significant as the Industrial Revolution. For good or ill, more things are moving online from correspondence to media. The terms “old media” and “new media” going from cultural terms to more significant distinctions.

On the Bright Side

One of the positive impacts of the shift to New Media, and the general reduction in production costs, is the opening up of popular media to traditionally marginalized groups. People are more able to make their own media, free of the censorship, stigma and traditionalist bullshit still rife in the studio system. The sort of attitudes that would have female nominees banned from the red carpet for not wearing high heels.

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Former (R) Governor Ridge Takes To Twitter

Former Gov. Tom Ridge calls out Donald Trump on his refusal to concede the 2020 presidential election after losing by more than 7 million votes

Former (R) Gov Tom Ridge Takes To Twitter

D. S. Mitchell

“Thomas Joseph Ridge is a Republican politician and author who served as the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security from 2001 to 2003, and the first United States Secretary of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005.”-Wikipedia. Mr. Ridge also served as governor of the sate of Pennsylvania. Mr. Ridge tweeted the following in reference to the corruption of Donald Trump and his disgusting efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

@GovRidge Twitter:
“History will record the shameful irony that a president who lied to avoid military service staged a bogus event on the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg in a brazen attempt to undermine the Republic for which scores of real patriots had fought & died to preserve since its founding.”

https://www.calamitypolitics.com/2020/05/27/time-for-twitter-to-take-action-14270/

Time For Twitter To Take Action

When Is Enough, Enough?

By D. S. Mitchell

Hello, Jack Dorsey

I understand that Twitter is a private company. I presume that you are afraid of Donald Trump. He has a lot of people quivering and quaking in fear. You need not look any further than the Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives. He is after all, a man with enormous power. Being the president of the United States however, does not mean that he is above the law, or above basic restraints.

Rules For Everybody

Twitter has posted community rules that clearly describe unacceptable behaviors. Those rules are designed to apply to everyone that uses the Twitter platform. Trump has been misusing Twitter for many years, and sadly Twitter has been complicit. Until yesterday’s institution of “fact check alerts” on some of Trump’s tweets, Twitter has done nothing. Trump and several other politicians, have been allowed to get away with reprehensible and abhorrent behavior, and Twitter has taken no disciplinary action.

@Windsor Mann

Windsor Mann reminded us, “So far today, the president has accused someone of murder, accused Democrats of rigging the election, bragged about 100,000+ deaths, called a congressman a fraud, called the Speaker of the House crazy, and misspelled “too.” And that’s just on Twitter.”

Misuse Of His Office

Trump has demonized his perceived enemies from behind the Resolute Desk. The Oval Office has become the center of false grievances and smear campaigns. Donald Trump has slandered families of veterans and war heroes from the Rose Garden. But his platform of choice is Twitter, where he lies, smears, insults and bullies people everyday. He is an out of control bully. He has been a bully since childhood. His conduct is shameful, and at some point his conduct must be censured.

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Don’t Write Off The Postal Service

The post office is in big financial trouble.

The United States Postal Service is in big financial trouble partly related to coronavirus country wide stay home orders and other economic issues.

Don’t Write Off The Postal Service

By Wes Hessel

Laying Post Office

The United States Postal Service (USPS) roots are so deep, they predate the country itself.  Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the British Crown in 1737 as Postmaster of Philadelphia. In 1753 he was promoted to one of two Joint Postmasters General for the American colonies.  On July 26th, 1775, the Second Continental Congress confirmed Ben Franklin as the first Postmaster General of the United States. In 1792 the congress created the United States Post Office through the Postal Service Act.

Service Oriented

In 1970, postal workers went on strike. They became the first federal employees to engage in collective bargaining. In 1971, the Post Office was reorganized into an independent federal agency and was renamed the United States Postal Service. By 1983, USPS received no public service funding, except as noted by Wikipedia, “subsidies for costs associated with disabled and overseas voters”.

Times Change

with so many business closing, postal delivery has been reduced, along with income.

The closure of so many businesses and colleges has reduced post office income.

The United States Postal Service had surpluses in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  However, first-class mail income peaked in 2001.  The agency faced intense competition from FedEx and UPS for parcel and express shipping.  Furthermore, email and social media, dramatically reduced Postal income.  One national crises followed by another also hurt the Postal Service income. First, 9/11, then the Great Recession and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Facebook, AI, yi, yi

Facebook, AI, yi,yi

Facebook

Facebook would rather cover up, deny, and deflect than fix inherent problems.

Facebook AI, yi, yi

By Wes Hessel

Facing IT

One of the largest trends in technology today is that of “Artificial Intelligence” or AI. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines AI as “a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers.”

Predictive Models

Facebook intends to connect with our brain waves

Facebook intends to literally connect with our brain waves.

The idea of bringing technological “thought processes” closer to human thought pattern isn’t a surprising goal. In particular, to aid companies in  handling repetitive tasks. But, more deeply, companies want to use a predictive modeling approach, to statistically glean an anticipated decision, occurrence, or reaction. Imagine a virtual coin toss. Statistically, how many times out of 100, 1000, 10,000 or ten million will a flip result in a heads or tails outcome? Or, that you will order a Marguerita, not a Tequila Sunrise.

Fuzzy Logic

A “fuzzy logic” algorithm evaluates the truth values of variables. It is employed to handle the concept of partial truth, where the truth value is measured across a range. Standard logic indicates completely true to completely false. Such “fuzzy logic” and other similar algorithmic programming methods are being used in many aspects of our life.  It is used from traffic management (be it vehicle, data, or human) to security (physical and virtual) to that “smart speaker” sitting on your table.  One place most of us (at least it seems) encounter such “machine intelligence” is with the king of social media, Facebook.

Book ‘Em, Mano A Mano…

Often simple thinks like posting and sharing are made difficult due to FB AI procedures.

Simple procedures like post and share are complicated by FB artificial intelligence platforms.

Parts of our interaction with others through Facebook are “one-on-one” connections – Messenger and so on; others are more like broadcasting, such as the classic “Post” and “Share”.  But behind those various communicative methods are multiple “back office”-type operations. Artificial intelligence systems and similar procedures are used more and more to do things as “easy” as suggesting your friends “Tag” up to these complex structures. For example, such structures are designed to help security people keep social medias safe, monitoring for prohibited language, identifying illicit bots, hacking, or illegal enterprises.

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OPINION: COVID-19 Threatens Populism

OPINION:

COVID-19 Threatens Populism

By Sonnet Gomes

Capitalist vs Communist

After the end of the Second World War, the world experienced a new political polarization. New alliances were established. Capitalist and Communist propaganda divided the entire world into two camps. This polarization also influenced the global economy. Over the last decade the world has watched as a large number of populist political leaders have ascended to power, changing dynamics in a new way.

Two Powerhouses

Despite the existence of a few non-alliance movements, the US and USSR have been the dominating military powerhouses for six decades. Economically, Russia is a third world country and has never challenged the United States in that realm. In the 1980’s through the 1990’s it was the U.S. facing off against ally Japan for economic dominance.

Challenging The U.S.

Over the last two decades it has been China that has challenged the U.S. for world economic dominance.  The world has seen a lot over the last couple years, as power shifts, both militarily and economically.  A devastating trade war between the US and China has shaken up the accepted.  With Brexit, the economic difficulties in Greece and Italy the European Union is showing signs of unraveling. There has been an ongoing shadow war among the Middle Eastern states, resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Yemen, Syria and Iran. Additionally, economic polarization is rearing its ugly head among Latin American nations.

Change On The Way

It can be easily imagined that the post-coronavirus era will be even more complicated. In fact, all the fundamental existing alliances and collaborations are likely to fade away. Eventually, a new world with modified political beliefs and economic strategies are predicted to evolve.

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