turning down the noise

One person’s opinion, call it my op ed:
In our social media, twitter sound-bit driven world – it’s more about emotional attention than meaningful content. We are getting bombarded with increasingly meaningless noise – call it a dumbing down.     In electrical engineering there’s a concept called SNR (signal to noise ratio) and I gotta say the noise is drowning out important ‘signals’

We are relying on uninformed peers to inform us. I used to peruse the NYTimes most popular list and find it increasingly meaningless. I used to look at popular magazines + news sources to inform me. I used to listen to NPR to inform me. I’ve changed all that.

There are three new things that I do:

Can’t get enough of this

(a) download specific podcasts, listen to peer reviewed science + opinions

(b) subscribe to online NYTimes to peruse daily articles not picked up by twitter + ‘noise’ harvesting streams + to support them.


(c)  go to the library regularly:

I biked to the public library in Eugene the other day and found things I would not have easily found on-line. Maybe this library is unique, but I think modern libraries have successfully reinvented themselves. In some cities (like South Lake Tahoe) I go to the library at the local community college or university.

My criteria for a good library is simple: Lotsa computer work stations long sections of current magazines + newspapers, and endless array of books and multimedia to choose from.

Here’s a sample of what I found at the Eugene library and three things that have influenced my thinking profoundly. Subsequently, I had a hard time finding these three articles on line (except for the Orion article), and had to dig hard to unearth them. I’ll try to devote a future blog to each of these topics:

(1) Orion: ‘Peak oil Fantasy’
on-line there the first comment was by Richard Heinberg (one of my heros)  Orion: Peak oil Fantasy
(2) FT’s Natural Born Chillers how Japanese cool themselves (and they don’t have central heating).  They cool and heat the body rather than the whole room or house!
(3) Newsweek’s the future of farming. This Newsweek web site itself wouldn’t yield the article, but a general search found it. It was fascinating to read how the dude that sparked the ‘green revolution’ in the 1970’s and fed millions, also ended killing thousands of farmers… was held up as a hero. And that we can ‘rewild’ the world by concentrating our farming with an aquaponics greenhouse style ‘agriculture’.   Newsweek: The future of farming


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