Category Archives: Philosophy & Religion

News: Is it Bad for Your Health?

Here is some potentially bad news for you news lovers:

  1. Lifehack: Five Reasons Why Consuming News Excessively is Bad for your Health.
  2. The Guardian : News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier.
  3.  The Cheat Sheet: Is Reading the News Bad for You?

Question to readers: What do you think? Maybe there is both responsible news, and responsible reading.

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This is a part of a series of posts on News, see the index here.

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News: Where do you get your news?

The Pew Research Center in 2016 found Americans got their news largely like this:

  • 57% TV (Local & Cable)
  • 38% Online
    • On-line Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube …
    • On-line Professional Writing: New sites, Blogs, many YouTube,
  • 25% Radio
  • 20% Printed Newspapers

The Pew Research Center, in 2017, found 67% get at least some news on social media. These include Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat (these are the top growing three) followed by Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Tublr etc… Of these, only 1 in 4 get their news from multiple social media sites — most stick to their favorite. Meanwhile, use of social media by those over 50, Nonwhite and less education is rising.

Question to readers: Where do you get your news?

As for me, it is on-line and radio.  No TV.

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This is a part of a series of posts on News, see the index here.

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News: Headline Contradictions

With so much news to be digested, most of us merely scan headlines to get a feel for the world, but depending on sources, the headlines can actually put different bias spins or outright contradictions.

These two headlines below describe the same recent NEJM article.

1. CBS News
Eating more fish or taking omega-3 fish oil supplements can cut heart attack risk, studies find

2. The New York Times
Vitamin D and Fish Oils Are Ineffective for Preventing Cancer and Heart Disease

The News Articles are based on the following to studies which used the same data from 25,871 people from the VITAL Clinical Studies, based in Harvard.

A.  NEJM: Vitamin D Supplements and Prevention of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease (“VITAL Clinical Studies”) n=25,871. Nov. 10, 2018

B. NEJM: Marine N-3 Fatty Acids and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer.  Nov. 18,2018

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This is a part of a series of posts on News, see the index here.

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News: Media Political Bias

Media-Bias-Chart_Version-3.1Reading from a few different media sources is the best way to get a broad perspective of how others see their political worlds. That broad perspective can have any or all of the following benefits:

  • Give you information you would not get otherwise.
  • Change your opinions
  • Help you sympathetically understand others
  • Understanding those you disagree with can help you to dialogue with them and/or persuade.

Above is a chart I like to help you see the biases in some American media sources.  The author has put out an even newer version but it is a bit more cluttered — go see her stuff here.

Question to readers: What do you read to open the windows in your echo chamber?

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This is a part of a series of posts on News, see the index here.

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News: Index Post

OdinsEyeThis is an index page to post I will address about how we learn about news in our world.

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Holiday Feelings

Decoration FeelingsMy sweetheart and I are slowly transitioning to an empty nest home life.  Today, as we decorated for the Halloween season, I laughed thinking about how parents and kids view the wonderfulness of decorations.  The above chart shows some of the funny phenomena that can happen for some families.  I realize, of course, that everyone is different, but I hope this captures at least the following, all to common phenomena in order of the graph:

  • kids become adults become parents
  • For the first year or so, the infants are oblivious to decorations but the parents are very happy, and imagine their child loving it too, of course.
  • parents love it with the kids until sometime in adolescent when kids loose interests first and then parents follow
  • Kids become adults, and when they get married, parents, hoping for grandkids get back into the seasons.
  • The adult kids have kids and it all starts over again, with grandparents ecstatic.

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The Chinese Won’t Hesitate

Aphid-giving-birthThe good news is that when the press tells us to fear actions taken by our own government, by our own military or by our own corporations, we can be pretty sure they are also giving us a heads up to the bad news that the Chinese have already been taking these exact same actions minus any moral constraint for years.

So, should we try to restrain American research, experiments or social interventions because we know they are potentially dangerous or outright wrong, or should we instead beef up these actions to counter the possible unpredictable actions of others like the Chinese?

Sounds like the arms race debate that filled the newspapers of my childhood.  Should we forsake nuclear proliferation or arm ourselves to avoid defeat and intimidate others to give up their weapons.

The above paragraph was inspired by this NYT science article telling us the the US military is researching having millions of insects carrying viruses descend upon crops and then genetically modify them to withstand droughts, floods and foreign attacks, ensuring a permanently secure food supply.  This NYT article is about Chinese country-wide genetic screening of pregnant women.  This wiki article is about the Chinese social credit system — grading your value to society — to be fully implemented by 2020.

Can you imagine the benefits? Can you imagine the weapons? Can you imagine the unintended consequences?  When an action is morally ambiguous, but other countries or corporations are unhesitantly ignoring moral restraints in order to focus on prosperity over the individual, what should we do?

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