Showing posts with label Mass Media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mass Media. Show all posts

Friday, April 30, 2010

California Drone

There is this photo going around of a supposed UFO that was flying over Capitola, California in May 2008. There's an AOL News article which discusses this photo.

California Drone

There is a likelihood that this photo is a hoax. According to the AOL article, "someone using the name Raji posted images on the Web site Craigslist, answered a few questions from UFO hunters around the world, and then just disappeared into cyberspace."

I have found alternative sources for the photos on In fact, there are a ton of photos uploaded as of March 28, 2008 on the TCorp account. TCorp has sixteen photos of the California Drone, including what appears to be two versions of the craft. The interesting thing about is that it gives you the information about the camera used to take the photo. The original version of the photo above was taken with Konica Minolta DiMAGE X. Those who are searching for this "Raji" should keep this in mind. Several other accounts also have photos, including hoax debunkers that have some interesting perspectives.

My impression of the California Drone photos is that they are hoaxes. Problems with the photo above? Although the angle of the sun/shades is similar across view of the photo, the angle is different in its depth. The light source between the object and the power lines is from the right side of the photo, but the light sources' height from the presumed ground is different. Also, the light intensity between direct sunlight on the object and the power line pole is much different. Another problem is focus. Both objects are in focus, but differently. It is almost as though they where taken with two different cameras.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Tuesday Two: Anti-gravity Battery paper

Tuesday Two

Ink on paper
There's something crazy about Professor Yi Cui and his research team at Stanford University. No, it's not their lab coats. They are using a nanotechnology to develop an ink to make paper batteries that you may fold into an origami crane, crumple into a ball or simply lie flat on a toilet seat.

The Alter-G G-Trainer is called the anti-gravity treadmill. To me, it's g-rated ("g" as in "great") for giving patients a new lighter than air physical therapy tool that uses goal-directed action to get them back on their feet sooner. It's been successfully employed at military hospitals for orthopedic and neurological uses.



Again another Epoch-Fail award goes to Toyota for continued unresolved problems with their accelators. This is a PR nightmare that they just don't seem to know how to handle. So far, in my opinion, they have taken the approach of burying their head in the sand and pretending nothing is going on. That is already costing them dearly. I would use the metaphor of a "train wreck", except that is somewhat literal in this case. The disaster isn't over. More recalls might be likely as Toyota is forced to deal with issues beyond the current scope. Here's one example of problems not being addressed on CBS 5 San Francisco.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cell phones and illegal telemarketer calls

It is illegal for telemarketer to call your cell phone. This is per the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. That law prohibits solicitation calls where the recipient is charged for the call. This act has no expiration, so the protection of cell phones from telemarketers will remain intact until the law is changed (which is not likely).

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is not the "Do Not Call" list. You do not need to submit your cell number to the "Do Not Call" list to have protection. "Do Not Call" list is legit, of course, that that is mostly for landlines, not cell phones.

The is an urban legend going right now right now online that is trying to scare people into submitting their cell numbers to a scam website. If you receive that email, do not go to the email's link. Do not forward that email on. It is an attempt to steal information.

The FCC wants anyone who has received a telemarketer call on their cell to report it to them here:

Monday, March 31, 2008

Drug Pushers

I used to be in favor of allowing drug companies the right to directly advertise their products to consumers. However, the more time that goes by, the more I realize the misguided ideology of this line of thinking. History now bares witness to the facts that reveal several truths about this matter.

Pharmaceutical companies do not do nearly the research that they need to in order to determine the effectiveness of their drugs before they start selling them to customers. Also, when such research is not favorable, they delay the release of the information to the public in order to drive more sales. The most recent example of this is Vytorin (and its component Zetia). These drugs were proven to reduce bad cholesterol. However, a dangerous assumption was made that this inherently also reduced the risk of heart attacks. The fact is that the drug does not reduce the risk of heart attacks. The drug companies of Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co. marketed this nearly useless drug for two years after they knew it did not work for the purpose it was intended, according to AP in their article.

Pharmaceutical companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns. This is taking money way from research and development. In my opinion, it is also likely the major reason that drug costs are raising drastically since the band on drug advertisements was lifted.

Advertising drugs directly to the public encourages self-diagnosis. People are trying to be their own doctors. Advertising, along with the establishment of the Internet has given hypochondriacism new life and even legitimacy. Self-diagnosis is very dangerous.

Given these reasons, I am now in favor of re-establishing the restrictions on advertising for proscription drugs. This will help reduce the chances that corporate greed will take advantage of Americans. It will help reduce the cost of drugs. It will help provide for more R&D funding into new treatments. And, it will help reduce dangerous hypochondriacism and self-diagnosis.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Herostratic fame of Mass Murders

I’m not expert on suicide. My life has been touched by it only vaguely (though I do have one direct encounter with a person committing suicide). I do know it goes on all the time for various reasons. Given this is a touchy subject; I will focus my comments on the fame seekers, particularly those who commit mass killings and then take their own life.

As morbid as it is, there are people who seek posthumous fame. Sometimes this happens by copycats in certain social circles (such as schools) after the suicide of one person gets a lot of attention. Other times there is an act to get back at society for some perceived wrong. These people see herostratic fame (fame by doing something horror).

The first great example recorded in history was committed by Herostratus the Ephesian in B.C. 356 when he burned down the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. His name is where the term herostratic fame comes from. When tortured, he confessed he did the deed to immortalize himself. The Ephesians then passed a decree condemning his name to oblivion in order to discourage further such fame seeking attempts. We only know of Herostratus because an ancient historian did mention his name.

Of course in modern times, we have what are called mass murders. These are individuals or groups that typically kill a lot of people in a suicidal attack. There is usually some sort of fame being sought by such people in one fashion or another. In the case of the recent attack by a shooter in Omaha, the killer wrote a suicide letter that specifically expressed his expectation to be famous after committing his heinous deed.

With this incident, mass media is finally questioning the action of publishing the names of these mass murders. A recent AP article sited a media analyst who stated that the media enabled the mass murderer to get his fame posthumously. Additionally, recent articles also have talked about the fact that the new generation growing up right now places much more importance on fame than any previous generation in America.

I personally think it is time for the media to show restraint. It is important to report horrendous events. However, I don’t know the killer. Knowing his name doesn’t change what the killer did, nor does it help me to come to terms with the event. So, why give that person the attention they crave? Why encourage further acts by other persons who are borderline. Right now, someone contemplating a similar act is emboldened by the reporting by the press about the Omaha killer.

Don’t get immortality to individuals who think it can be achieved by committing horrible deeds. One more advantage is that denying immortality to such individuals actual shows respect for the victims and their families. Giving fame to the killer is a bit like dancing on the grave of their victims.

Now, there a disadvantages to keep the name from the public. We live in the Information Age. Speculation would run rampant if names were withheld from the general public. Also, this wouldn’t discourage killers who are more interested in the act of killing rather than fame from it. So, I’m not suggesting mass murders should be completely nameless in the public forum. I suggest that the mass media itself should not name them. I think it is foolish to try to completely expunge a person’s name from the record. If someone wishes, they could look at public records for the name. If a blogger wishes, they can publish the name themself. Either way, only someone who is interested need find the information. There is no sense in feeding the information to everyone, to which knowing the name is pretty pointless. I think this would be enough to discourage people from seeking herostratic fame by the committing of suicidal mass murders or other gruesome deeds.