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Good Night, and Good Luck. The final installment of “Deer In Headlines.”

In Dayton Ohio News, Health, Home Improvement, Local News, News Media, Opinion, psychology, sociology, Uncategorized on May 2, 2018 at 12:32 pm

This edition of Deer In Headlines marks if you’ll pardon the dramatics, the end of an era, at least for me. The question I’ve been asked most often since announcing the end of the series is, “So what will you do now?”

Let me start by saying while an important part of my work over the last decade, this column is not all I’ve been doing, not by a longshot. I’ve run an ad agency, written thousands of published pieces on everything from public relations to marketing, and given lectures and workshops about the media and writing all around the region. I’ve covered a lot of ground and struggled with how best to say goodbye and then it occurred to me.

It has always been my goal to have readers to take something useful from my writings and I don’t want this final installment to be any different. Since it represents several hours a week in research and writing, in the hope of having a positive influence on the thoughts and lives of anyone I can reach, leaving this column behind is a big change for me.

For some people, change is the enemy, it throws them off their game and causes chaos and, for much of my life, it was the same for me. But in recent years, change has become more of a companion that walks through life with me, always nudging me in the side to never be complacent or stagnant either in my actions or my convictions.

We may not like it, but change is the natural order of things. Nothing stays the same for very long. As they say, “to everything there is a season,” and rather than fighting those changes, we should embrace them. It’s not easy, but it makes life more interesting and far less stressful.

It’s easy to see how change affects people in simple ways, like when a child graduates from high school or you move to a new town. We get caught up in happiness and sadness all at the same time, it twists our emotions and forces us to face new challenges and differences in our day-to-day lives. Of course, there are negative changes too, and we have to take the good with the bad. That’s just life.

We grow accustomed to how things are in our world and we’re thrown when it alters. We all know that person who has to have a cup of coffee at a certain time of day, with a specific amount of sugar, or just the right drop of cream. If those kinds of things aren’t met with an exacting order, he or she cannot function. The more flexible you are, the more enjoyable your life. Otherwise, you’re in a constant state of stress.

With that, I’ll take you back to the question of what I will be doing next. It is definitely a time of even more change for me. I’ve recently accepted a position as vice president of communications and public relations with a social internet company. That and caring for my father takes up most of my work time, but I have other projects as well.

I’m still doing television and writing for the print and online media from time to time. I’m concentrating my writing time on my fitness blog, The Old Nerd in The Gym (www.oldnerdinthegym.com). I’m hoping my work helps others who are new to fitness and more healthy living.

Life goes on and new challenges await. I’m just getting started. And that’s how you should feel today too. Treat every day as bringing new opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve, regardless of how great or small the accomplishment and embrace that change! Your future isn’t written yet, so get out there and make it a good one!

With that, it’s time for Deer In Headlines to pass into the newspaper archives. Thank you for indulging me every week and, whether you agreed with me or not, I hope you got something useful or insightful from my ramblings. So, I’ll borrow a classic sign off from a news hero of mine, Edward R. Murrow, and simply say Good Night, and Good Luck.

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July 4th Proclaimed “National User Freedom Day,” $1 Million Prize

In Business, Economy, finances, Local News, Media, National News, News Media, Technology, Uncategorized on May 2, 2018 at 9:36 am

50+ Million Users Can Gain from Social Capital – Registration is Free

User Revolution led by meggalife.com, the Social Network that Pays Users.

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio, May 1, 2018 – Independence Day will have even more meaning this July 4th as Megga, Inc. declares it “National User Freedom Day” and offers users the opportunity to win $1 million. All you have to do is register on the social network and invite your friends to join you.

DECLARATION OF USER INDEPENDENCE

The user with the most friends on Meggalife.com by midnight on July 3rd will win the prize or a share of it should there be a tie.  The winner will be announced at 5 p.m. on July 4, 2018. The contest is open to everyone and the prize will be awarded on August first or when meggalife.com has over 1 million users earning points. Click here for full details.

With meggalife.com, everyone is already a winner because 100% of its net advertising revenue is transferred to an independent trust which is later distributed to all participating users. The cash amount you eventually receive is based on the number of meggapoints a user accumulates relative to the aggregate points of all other users. You can redeem when you have 20 million meggapoints.

Megga, Inc., has arranged to provide a Solo 401k account to hold the meggapoints and the resulting cash and offers 4 plans to choose from. Active users that start early can gain tens of thousands from using the meggalife.com apps and online tools, even as much as $75,000.

HOW MUCH COULD YOU EARN? CLICK TO CHECK OUT OUR POINT CALCULATOR

 Social Networks for People, Not Profit.

We know that people are angry that social media has been hijacked by big corporations who misuse their personal data and compromise privacy. It’s time to take back control of your social networking. Go to meggalife.com right now and register, it’s free and it takes only a few minutes.  Meggalife.com is a public Beta-test version now and it is being enhanced every day with more functions and apps.

We’re not asking that users make any life-long commitment, you don’t even have to delete your current social media accounts.  Just register with meggalife.com, try out the apps and invite your friends to as well.  Users have nothing to lose and a lot to gain, including a possible $1 million prize! See the website for full details. Plus, we want your input! We’re in Beta so you might even suggest ways we can improve.  And remember, we don’t allow third-party access to user data, so your privacy is secured.

Social Capital by Users, For Users

Half of all Americans have less than $5,000 in savings. Are you one of them, or do you know someone who is? Imagine the benefit to Americans if the billions of dollars collected by social media companies went to users instead of owners and shareholders. Together, we can support a solution to this savings crisis.

Sign up now on meggalife.com and encourage friends and family to join you. By registering you’re helping to fund the Trust and to help others, even if the points or the funding don’t matter to you because you’re already financially secure. To make this work we need everyone across the country to sign up.  The Trust is funded by advertising and advertisers are attracted by large groups.  So we really have to work together as a community and as a country to create benefits for all.

42% of people say they want a social network to pay them. 

Click here to see the survey sponsored by the Washington Post.

Yale and Chicago professor and researchers advocate the meggalife.com model of enabling users to monetize their data and gain value from the social internet as described in the article published by the Wall Street Journal, click here for a link to the article.

Invest in Positive Change

Users who want to support the Megga, Inc., mission of creating social capital from the social internet can purchase stock in our parent company, trading under the symbol HUTN. Accredited investors are invited to contact the company to discuss a direct purchase.

About Megga

Meggalife is an online platform that benefits users and protects their data privacy. The platform includes social networks, internet search, Apps and communications services and more.  It is offered by Megga, Inc., a subsidiary of HUTN Inc. Meggalife has been under development for two years and was funded by EF Hutton, an affiliated leader in digital finance and investment services. For more information, visit http://www.meggalife.com.

Can’t we all just get along?

In Health, history, News Media, Opinion, Politics, psychology, sociology, Uncategorized on May 1, 2018 at 12:14 pm

With only two issues of Deer In Headlines remaining, I felt that one of them should be dedicated to a discussion about civility and the destructive nature of hate. In short, we must try to get along better, regardless of political, religious, or socioeconomic differences.

Over the last few years, our country has become severely divided. There is a level of anger, hate, and mistrust out there now, the likes of which haven’t been seen since before the Civil War. Back then the division was primarily focused on slavery and states’ rights, but today Americans are arguing about a laundry list of issues from immigration to gun control.

Not that these topics haven’t caused discourse in the past, but now it’s fueled by an alarmingly, and continually advancing, level of anger and hatred. The radical right has become sickeningly intolerant to the point of disgust and the liberal left has grown increasingly less “liberal.” I mean you simply can’t say, “I’m liberal, and we love everyone, so long as they agree with everything we say.” Doesn’t work that way.

President Donald Trump took advantage of this divide and used it to gain traction in his run for the White House. Now, he waffles back and forth, blustering on Twitter about how great he is, while alienating even his own base at times with his ridiculous rants. Democrats turn their noses up at him and his cronies and their flagrant hypocrisy, all while crying in their soup about how he got this far in American government. Well, Dems, I’ll tell you who put him there, you did.

Political viewpoints have become so foggy that no one can tell who is for what anymore. The reason Trump won the presidential election wasn’t his winning personality, or Russian hacking, or anything else. It was because the Democratic base was so splintered and stubborn over Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders that they couldn’t just get behind one of them and move on.

That’s right Dems, as I have written before, you handed the White House to Donald on a silver platter. Remember that primaries and midterms happen this year and any failure to weaken Trump’s hold in Congress is totally in your hands. All you have to do is get out and vote!

All of that said, we must be able to return to a level of productive, constructive discourse. We should be able to disagree and have informed, intelligent debate on a topic instead of a bickering match. What’s the point of discussion with no purpose except to out-scream everyone else?

Much of the problem comes from the extremist mentalities once relegated to the fringe but which now seem to be in the majority. There is nothing wrong with liberals and conservatives cooperating for a common good. We can disagree yet still work toward the betterment of our society – but that doesn’t seem to be possible right now.

We are dealing with mass shootings made possible by the bizarre need of a tiny few to own military-grade machine guns should be something we can all agree is nuts. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead, our country is overwhelmed by people obsessed with these weapons and backed by a massively powerful gun lobby from the NRA. Clearly, money is more important to these people than our kids.

Execution of warped immigration policies based on ignorance and hate that mistreat productive members of society rather than helping them with a path to proper citizenship. We should be rewarding people for feeling our country is a safe home for their families, not punishing them. It’s all ridiculous.

The long and short of it is that we must find a way to get along better. If we don’t learn to dial back the extremism and let cooler, more diplomatic heads rule, our country is in big trouble. So, for what it’s worth, I think we’re capable of doing better.

But all of that requires that each of us learns to be more compassionate, more tolerant, and more thoughtful. Since I won’t be around to poke you in the side after next week, remember to be good to each other.

Rounding up a decade of Deer In Headlines

In Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, Local News, News Media, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Technology, Uncategorized on April 16, 2018 at 8:12 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

I wasn’t quite sure how to start this week’s edition except to just come out with it. The week of April 30, 2018, will be the final print edition of Deer In Headlines. After 10 years, it’s time for me to focus on something new. I greatly appreciate the loyalty of my readers and the opposing views and letters of praise I’ve received over the years. If just one person each week looked at the world just a little differently and appreciated anything new, I’ve accomplished my goal.

I started this column to offer my readers a look at subjects from all sides, rarely giving a hint of my personal opinion, although it was evident when I chose for it to be.  But today clear, logical viewpoints no longer have value. People seem to listen only to blowhards, the ignorant, and people who would rather spew hate than kindness. That’s why I have decided to focus on more positive projects, out of the public eye.

This is not a decision I’ve come to lightly, in fact, I have waivered numerous times in my deliberations about it. Over the last decade, I’ve offered a look at politics, religion, education, science, family, and even given you a glimpse into my personal life as I cared for my parents.

We live in volatile times and some have argued that now is when we need a clearer, more rational voice in the media. They may be right, but mine is simply not loud enough to be heard above all the noise of anger, fear, and ignorance out there.

There is a lot of negativity out there and I have worked hard to bring you thoughtful content. I’ve always hoped you’d take away something from the effort, even if, especially if, you didn’t agree with me.

I’ve always said I like to surround myself with smart people who disagree with me because it means I am forced to examine my own convictions, and I hope I’ve done that for you from time to time. If you’ve enjoyed my work, thank you. I appreciate your time and loyalty. If you haven’t, then I’m not sure why you’re even reading this, but, thank you anyway.

For more than 500 editions and in some 360,000 words, I have shared my observations of the world around us. I’ve found that most people are good and decent and try to do their best to improve the world around them. I’ve also seen some ugly things in researching these pieces, information I kind of wish I had never learned. As they say, ignorance is bliss, but I’m afraid I don’t operate that way.

I will continue my work quietly, however, in the background, making a difference by other means. I serve on charitable boards of directors, care for my family, and work to affect change in more concrete ways.

The world is a mess and our country is too, but I can’t do anything about it in the rail column of a newspaper because the people who could make a difference simply don’t want to listen. Still, as ugly as it can seem at times, the world is also a beautiful place, one of a kind – a spinning ball of life making its way around the sun, year after year, as our galaxy moves through the vast emptiness of space.

It was here millions of years before us, and it’ll be here millions of years after we’ve gone. We are but renters and if I were the landlord, I wouldn’t give back the deposit. But that’s a discussion for another time.

As you can see, I’m not done with my opinions quite yet and there are two editions to go. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be summing up the last decade in a look back at a few of my predictions for politics, newsmakers, and various other areas I’ve touched on over the years. I hope you’ll join me in these last editions, and thank you again.

 Innovative Social Network Pays Ad Revenue to Users and Protects Their Data

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, National News, News Media, Technology, Uncategorized on April 3, 2018 at 8:47 am

FACEBOOK ALTERNATIVE DOES NOT ALLOW THIRD-PARTY ACCESS TO USER DATA, HELPS USERS SAVE MONEY

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio, April 2, 2018  – Megga, Inc., a unit of HUTN, Inc. (OTC: HUTN), announced today the launch of meggalifeTM, a digital platform of social media applications and online tools that transfers 100% of net advertising revenue to its users.  Meggalife pays users for activities they already do online while helping to solve America’s long-term savings problem.

The U.S. savings rate is ranked just 136th in the world and without improvement, Americans face a dire future. Realistically, it is hard for most working people to build up long-term savings and retirement funds but by using meggalife’s online applications, which aim to provide comparable functionality to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Search, users accrue points called, “meggapoints.”

Watch the Meggalife (tm) commercial from EF Hutton

Just by online activity, meggapoints accumulate over time and are convertible into a cash distribution through an investment savings account. This new model is a private-sector solution to America’s savings and retirement crisis that all parties can embrace, as it enables people to save and accumulate a long-term asset.

Megga, Inc. Spokesperson Katalina Remusat explained, “Our launch coincides with the growing sentiment of consumers frustrated by big internet companies monetizing personal data on top of the billions in advertising revenue they generate from users online activity. Now, Meggalife.com enables users to benefit from their online activity, accumulating meggapoints, which will help provide a more secure financial future.”

Net advertising revenue generated from meggalife digital platform is invested in an independent trust which is ultimately shared with all participating meggalife users. The cash amount a user receives is based upon the number of meggapoints a user accumulates relative to the aggregate points of all other users.

Users also have a say in how funds are invested.  The trust invests funds based on the preferences of the investment club members – essentially crowdsourcing the portfolio allocation.  Based on anticipated user growth, HUTN expects the Trust to grow into the billions and EF Hutton, HUTN’s investment firm subsidiary, is the advisor to the trust.

To participate and have input on the allocation of funds, users need to join Beanstalk Club, a free investment club.  Then all you need is an investment account to start collecting points. Every user is treated as the owner of their own business and generating value from their online activity.

“One way to think of it is this – imagine getting paid to mow your own lawn – it would be like free money because you’re going to mow it anyway,” Remusat continued.  “In this case, you’re going to go online to use social networks and online services anyway – you may as well get paid for it.”  It is, essentially, a form of crowdfunding where everyone gets paid. There is a catch, however.

Meggalife needs to have a large number of registered users to attract major advertisers.  Given the value it provides users, company officials expect millions of registered during the first year based on partnerships and affiliate programs underway.

“It’s a compelling value proposition,” said Remusat.  “Registration is free and crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe have already proven that everyone wants free money.  We are also confident that advertisers will prefer this platform due to its patriotic mission to enhance the financial security of all Americans and that users will favor our advertisers.”

“Meggalife is a user revolution,” said Chris Daniels, president of Megga Inc. “Users increasingly recognize that their data, time and online activity have significant value, and yet they’re not receiving a dime for their efforts.  Social media applications and online tools generate hundreds of billions annually in advertising revenue and users should expect to receive their fair share.”

Users do not want to give up social networking, they just want a network that benefits them and cares about their needs and online security. Meggalife boldly challenges the current models with a user-centric option, leading an online rebellion and the next iteration of online activity – Web 3.0.  Meggalife’s value is compelling because users can immediately begin accumulating assets with just a few hours per week of online activity.

Meggalife’s initial offering includes social networking, email, search, news and entertainment services.  More than a dozen additional applications are already in development and scheduled for release in the near future, including mobile phone services, music and file sharing, communications, dating and employment tools.  Users can register for free at www.meggalife.com.

As a user-focused platform, meggalife.com takes user interests and concerns to heart and does not allow any third-party direct access to its user data and user accounts. Furthermore, meggalife.com is also combatting the problem of “fake news” by avoiding news filters that other social networks impose on users.  In contrast, meggalife.com allows users to customize their news feed.  See the website for full details on the point system and funds distribution.

In addition to individual savings opportunities, schools, bloggers and other groups have opportunities to earn money just by helping to grow the meggalife user base. A series of challenges have been set up that offer monetary and point rewards based on the number of users added as a result of the organization’s efforts. Currently, there are challenges for colleges, high schools, bloggers, and organizations of faith, non-profits and even families. The desktop version of meggalife is launching in Beta now with mobile apps soon to follow.

About Megga
Meggalife is an online platform that benefits users and protects their data privacy.  It is offered by Megga, Inc., a subsidiary of HUTN Inc. Meggalife has been under development for two years and funded by EF Hutton, an affiliate and leader in digital finance and investment services. For a more information, visit www.meggalife.com.

 

 

In Entertainment, history, National News, News Media, Opinion, Politics, Religion, sociology on November 20, 2017 at 9:10 am

Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks was just honored with the National Archives Foundation Records of Achievement award. During the presentation event, he commented on the current state of American politics.

“People are upset about what’s going on today. They’re furious, they’re frustrated, they’re worked up,” Hanks said. “If you’re concerned about what’s going on today, read history and figure out what to do because it’s all right there,” Hanks spoke with hope for our country’s future and noted that what is needed today is dialogue, not destruction.

It’s unlikely anyone to the right will ever listen to a “Hollywood” type, but what Hanks said is absolutely accurate. The solutions to today’s problems may very well be found in the conflicts of the past. Often, history simply repeats itself in a different time and location. Every situation that has every arisen throughout human history has one common denominator – people.

Most social, religious and political conflicts in America are caused by a lack of knowledge, an ignorance that is either innate or self-imposed. Without an understanding of the person standing next to you, his trials and tribulations, his background and motivation, it is impossible to identify with him and that leads to conflict.

Taking the time to compare today’s issues with similar situations in the past might help better manage current conflicts and find possible solutions because we know how they were finally resolved. Obviously, we should be investigating any negative outcomes, like war or civil unrest, to see how they can be avoided.

How many times do people say, “Wow, if I’d only known then what I know now?” An insight apparently lacking in President Donald Trump’s character. If he would look backward he’d learn that there were several other presidents that faced the same kinds of situations and resistance. Herbert Hoover, for example, was, like Trump, a terrible communicator.

A closeup of the word HISTORY engraved on a war memorial.

President on the eve of the Great Depression, Hoover was seen by many as mean and uncaring as the economy collapsed because of his rigid adherence to conservative principals. While he made efforts to lower taxes and create public works projects that would help with jobs, he refused any sort of outright relief programs.

As a result, the economy sank even deeper into depression and the shanty towns where people were forced to live after losing everything were nicknamed Hoovervilles, in his “honor.” Hoover is largely regarded, though often not by his conservative disciples, as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history. And Trump is on the road to the same end if he doesn’t learn from the past. Then again, it doesn’t seem like anyone who leans to the right these days is interested in facts unless they directly refute a democrat.

Trying to enact policy just because it defies the opposition seems to be how politics on both sides of the aisle runs today. At this point, no one at the legislative level cares about those of us down here in the real world, this kind of historical ignorance is simply ego and one-upsmanship.

You hear it every day in the news media. Some politician on the left will say something and everyone on the right refutes it, just because it came from the other side.

Imagine this exchange one sunny afternoon on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. “The sky is blue,” declares a Republican senator one day, stating a fact – something kind of new to him. While across the aisle, his Democrat opponent pops up from her seat and defiantly exclaims, “That’s a lie! It’s green!”

And it continues indefinitely, back and forth, with charts, graphs, testimony from non-blue-sky believers, and on and on. But neither will ever back down because to do so is weak, and the ego must remain intact, regardless of how idiotic they sound. Just resisting any other ideas but your party line is not only ignorant but potentially destructive.

The point is that we could solve a great many problems in modern politics if we just consider how history shows we dealt with some of the same kinds of people and issues. As poet and philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. More at gerydeer.com.

Ignoring the reality of climate change

In Economy, Education, Environment, Health, history, National News, News Media, Opinion, Politics, Science, Technology, Uncategorized, World News on September 12, 2017 at 10:27 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

As another devastating hurricane blasts its way across the southeast sections of the United States, I am still amazed at how many people continue to believe that climate change isn’t a real thing, with real consequences. Yes, logically, there is a reasonable debate as to how much mankind has affected the changes in the Earth’s climate and weather. If you want to argue that point, it is valid. But to dispute the facts of the matter, that’s just sheer ignorance.

Before getting into more of this debate, let me say that climate and weather have been an interest of mine going back to my early days. My background in physics, chemistry, and engineering gives me a more fact-based view of scientific subjects. Facts can be trusted, but the interpretation of those facts is when things get shaky.

Our planet is not some static ball of water and dirt spinning aimlessly through space. It’s a living, breathing, ever-changing construct made up of moving water, moving land masses, and billions of different types of life forms. The measurements we make of the planet’s climate – air quality, water temperatures, polar cap conditions, and so on – are really its “vital signs.”

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 10.25.30 AM

Photo courtesy, NASA.gov

You can check on how our world is doing right on the website of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The direct link is https://climate.nasa.gov. There you can read non-political facts about how climate changes affect our world and our societies around the globe. From the warming oceans, which contribute to the recent volatile hurricane seasons, to increased intense rainfall events – it’s all there, with no political slant, just the facts.

For the moment, we’re going to ignore the stupidity of politically-charged, or religiously-motivated people who pick and choose to accept facts as it pleases them and falls in line with their “beliefs.” Facts don’t choose sides and you don’t have to believe in them – they are real, they are measurable, and they can be verified.

But to that point, there are people who totally deny even the very concept of climate change, alleging that it’s, “fake news,” or whatever the terms are now, so they’d never go look at that data on NASA’s website. And yet, they’re the same people who probably went there to learn about the recent solar eclipse and watch it happen via live stream.

Interpreting the cause is another matter, but to deny that it exists just demonstrates a level of glaring ignorance in American society today. As I mentioned before, scientifically speaking, it’s my contention that after an estimated 4.5 billion years of existence, we really have no idea what is “normal” for our planet, especially since mankind has only been here for a tiny fraction of that time and keeping records for far lesser of a period.

If you’re one of those who simply likes to ignore facts for political reasons, or just because you need to think you’re “right,” then here is a suggestion. Stop looking at the thermometer altogether, any thermometer. Why? Because that’s what this all comes down to, the fact of a changing number on a non-partisan, inanimate piece of scientific equipment. All the scientists did was write it down and show it to us.

And our leaders and the current administration in the White House are going to be no help at all. As the Huffington Post pointed out a while back, “If you’re trying to wrap your head around climate change, don’t ask Donald Trump.” This was in response to the following statements he made on a radio show last September.

Candidate Trump said, “I am not a believer. Unless somebody can prove something to me, I believe there’s weather.” And his blathering on the subject hasn’t got much better since. If anything, it’s worse.

People interpret facts rather than taking them at face value. We evaluate them based on how they fit into and confirm our pre-existing beliefs. That internal bias is a constant issue whenever you’re trying to win someone over with facts and statistics, there’s just not enough emotion involved to help move ideas forward. Until people stop ignoring any fact that doesn’t fit their bias, our country will continue to be ineffective in protecting our environment.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. More online at deerinheadlines.com

 

Resisting the scientific ignorance of the GOP

In Education, history, National News, News Media, Opinion, Politics, Technology, Uncategorized on May 15, 2017 at 6:44 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

I am the product of science. Well, the fact is, we are each a product of biological and chemical chain reactions that create human life. But, in my case, I was far more dependent on science than most people. I was born with myriad congenital defects that, without scientific research, would have otherwise left me, at best, hopelessly disabled, and at worst a lifespan of maybe 2 years.

While I do credit the faith of my doctor and family for their determination to see me through it all, I am far more grateful to the men and women who did the research and applied the science to my situation that saved my life and gave me a hopeful and healthy future.

Science is responsible for most things that we take for granted in modern, 21st Century first-world life. From penicillin and the electric light to computers and advanced cancer treatment, without science fact, our lives would be incomprehensibly different.

It’s for this reason that I cannot seem to grasp why so many Americans today turn a deaf ear to the scientific facts placed before them. Various representatives of the current presidential administration are continually making statements ignorant to known scientific facts, followed blindly by their supporters. None of this makes any sense.

So why do some people today seem to ignore scientific fact? That’s a very good question and one worth exploring. I have a hard time believing that people are just, well, stupid. It’s far more likely that a certain ignorance of scientific fact is a personal choice, based, I believe, on the following.

Trump and other Republican ignorance of science remind us of a child who doesn’t want to hear something a parent is telling them so he covers his ears.

First, I think that the average person just doesn’t understand most of the scientific information to which they are exposed. I’m not suggesting that people are stupid, but that most people simply aren’t trained or educated to understand the scientific jargon.

I wouldn’t expect the average person to have any clear understanding of factual climate change data. And once that data is encapsulated and truncated, even “translated” for use in a news broadcast, some of the information could be lost or distorted in some way.
Scientific data also lends itself to some degree of interpretation by the observer. If someone hasn’t the background to interpret the information being shown to them, it’s unlikely that an educated conclusion will result.

Next, comes politics, and a concept I find completely insane. What I can’t understand here is the staggering number of intelligent, educated people who follow the party line so blindly as to completely ignore facts in favor of rhetoric.

Just going along with what party leaders are doing, whether right or wrong, is certainly one of the main causes most of the trouble in America’s political system. Where are the intelligent, educated, GOP members on the inside who could stand up for scientific fact and be the voice of reason in an otherwise incomprehensibly ignorant administration?

It’s as if they were all whisked off to some bunker to be kept quiet until properly brainwashed to be the robotic mouthpieces of the administration defending whatever destructive policy is next proposed.

Finally, and again this is my own observation of people rather than an official survey, it’s my opinion that science too often conflicts with religious beliefs. Many people choose to what I have come to think of as pick and choose what science they decide to believe in.
Try to keep in mind that all science is the search for fact, not truth. Truth should be left to religious studies and philosophy. Scientific fact is not something you get to “believe in.” It either is or it is not, there’s no middle.

Why would we, the most powerful, supposedly the most technologically and socially advanced country on the planet, completely ignore an area of study that has saved the lives of millions of people throughout history in favor of political ideology?

Makes one wonder, if the White House and Congress can ignore scientific fact on things like climate change and health care, then what other important facts are they ignoring in something like national security?
Yes, the interpretation of scientific data can be inaccurate sometimes because fallible humans are involved. But flat-out ignorance of that information is inconceivable.

 

Gery Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Greene Co, Ohio. More at deerinheadlines.com

 

 

A matter of alternative fact

In history, Media, National News, News Media, Opinion, Politics, Uncategorized, World News on January 30, 2017 at 9:24 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOThere has been a great deal of discussion in the media of late about “facts” and the incomprehensible notion of “alternative facts.” Considering such dialogue, it’s only fitting to review what constitutes a “fact” and if, indeed, there can be any possibility an alternative to any fact. Confused yet? We’re just getting started.

First, we need to define the word, “fact.” What does it mean? Where does it come from? Is a fact out of context still a fact? Is a fact the same thing as the truth?

Well, according to merriam-webster.com, the definition of the word “fact” is listed as follows.  Pronounced, “fakt,” it is a noun meaning: 1. A thing done 2. Archaic 3. The quality of being actual 4. Something that has actual existence or an actual occurrence and 5. A piece of information presented as having objective reality. OK, that’s a lot of material, so let’s focus on definitions 4 and 5 from our list.

Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway spins the "alternative facts" from the White House.  Photo courtesy NBC News

Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway spins the “alternative facts” from the White House. Photo courtesy NBC News

Starting with number 4, “Something that has actual existence or an actual occurrence,” we might best illustrate this in the following phrases. “It is a fact that water is vital to life,” or “prove the fact of damage to the house after the storm.”
If you stop watering your plants, they die. Stop drinking water and you die too. These notions are “facts” because we know them to be impartial. If a house is destroyed by a storm, the wreckage is visual and cannot be disputed. These things are all “facts.”

Moving on to definition number 5, “A piece of information presented as having objective reality,” the key word to focus on is, “objective.” To be objective something must be taken impartially and without bias.

For example, two people could easily agree on the color of a house, in this case without worrying about a specific shade. Bob says the house is green. Mary says the house is green. Bob and Mary aren’t looking at the location, style or anything else that may prejudice their judgment of the structure, only that it is green. That’s what it means to be objective. Therefore, for information to be factual, it must be viewed objectively.

Somewhat confusing, however, is that a fact can be argued for its validity of context, but not as to whether it is a fact. A great example of this is the idea of global warming.

Politically, there’s a good deal of disagreement between liberals and conservatives about this concept. Scientists have factual evidence that the earth is, “in fact,” growing hotter, over all. But the context of the facts is where the disagreement lies.

Is the fact of global warming a direct result of man’s poor energy choices and pollution? Or, is global warming the natural result of the planet’s life cycle and nothing we do will have the slightest effect one way or another? This is where the argument takes the facts and places them in opposing context.

Where does “truth” come into all of this? Most people make decisions about politics, religion, and just about every other emotionally-charged concept, based on what they believe to be the truth, with little thought to what might be factual. That’s where this all gets a bit murky.

Indiana Jones may have offered the best explanation of this idea, from a scientific perspective. In “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” he said to his class, “Archaeology is the search for ‘fact,’ not ‘truth.’ If it’s truth you’re interested in, (the) philosophy class is right down the hall.”

What he meant was that in something like philosophy, as in religion and politics, “truth” is largely dependent on your point of view (a subjective belief). While archaeology, and other sciences – physics, meteorology, chemistry, etc. – are based on objective, factual study, unemotional and unbiased.

What all of this objectively leads to is the conclusion that a “fact” cannot have an alternative – it either exists or it doesn’t. It’s logical then to deduce that an ‘alternative fact’ can likely be only one other thing – a lie.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at gerydeer.com.

 

 

 

 

Users must moderate fake news on social media

In Media, National News, News Media, Opinion, Print Media, Technology, Uncategorized on November 23, 2016 at 8:08 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOIn the fallout of the presidential election, one topic that seems to surface a lot is the spread of fake news online and on social media. During the campaign cycle, people were constantly posting and sharing fake news all over social media, often more than real stories.

Here are a couple of examples of headlines that turned out to be completely fake: “Terrorists are funding 20-percent of Hillary Clinton’s campaign;” “Tim Kaine will ban the Catholic Church from the US if they don’t change their stance on same-sex marriage;” and “Bus loads of paid Trump protestors arrive in Austin, Texas.”

The protestor story was reportedly shared more than 350,000 times in the first day, including a high-profile Twitter share by Donald Trump. Again, none of these stories were real or had any level of truth to them.

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For decades, alleged “fake” news has earned millions of dollars from a public more than willing to pay for it!

Some false stories are merely satirical and shared out of humor or irony. Unfortunately, they may continue to be shared by some who take them as the real thing and never confirm the content, fueled by unqualified commentary.

Whether from laziness or apathy, most people never look at a story closely enough to see if the stories they share online are factual or phony. Some people never look past the headlines before they start commenting and circulating junk news. And, once shared, the cork has been removed from the bottle and the genie on her way,

People tend to share stories on social media based on political and religious views. Stories are passed along through a digital chain of telephone where no one really looks at the basis of the story nor do they take a moment to consider the logic behind even the most outrageous headline.

Those with a propensity for fake news believe either the liberal left or the fanatical right controls the mainstream media. So, combating the spread of this nonsense is virtually impossible, because even fact checking is ignored.

Additionally, the fact is that fake news has been around far longer than the Internet has even existed. Print media like the National Enquirer, the Globe and other checkout rags have long been accused of publishing stories with no factual basis.

Many of these tabloid publications have been sued for the alleged fabrication of stories. Before the Internet, these publications had circulation in the hundreds of millions but that has dropped considerably over the years. Why wait for sensational stuff at the grocery store checkout when it’s immediately available on Facebook?

There’s also something ironic about the fact that people who seem so upset at the slanted reporting of mainstream media will spend so much time circulating nonsense stories everywhere else. So what can be done? Most of that is up to the reader.

Much of the blame for the proliferation of nonsense news has been focused on the social media outlets. Facebook has come under fire recently for not doing more to limit the distribution of false news during the election cycle. Unfortunately, it’s not the responsibility of social media operators to ensure the accuracy of content generated and propagated by its users.

The real culprits are the folks on the other side of the computer and smart phone screens. Social media operates because of people and if they stop circulating this junk it’ll dissipate. It really is that simple.

Forwarding some outlandish tale simply because it degrades an opposing view benefits no one. And, commenting on a news story without checking out its validity just makes people look ignorant. Sorry, there’s no nice way to say that.

But just imagine if people read beyond the headline and checked out a story from a couple of different resources before passing it along as “fact?” The level of garbage flowing around social media would be immediately cut in half.

Before reposting something, check it out and make sure it’s a real story. They get it wrong sometimes too, but generally, if it didn’t come from a mainstream news outlet, it’s probably not been verified by anyone. There’s nothing new about sensationalism in news, but responsibility for the constant viral circulation of fake or outrageous stories must rest, at least in part, with the users.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at gerydeer.com.