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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.

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 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.

 

 

Remote work builds community, grows revenue

In Business, Economy, Education, finances, Jobs, Local News, National News, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on February 26, 2018 at 10:22 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

As an entrepreneur, I have founded and grown three businesses over the last two decades. Each of them was started from my home office and eventually moved to another building, but still on my home properly.

When I first became an independent professional and started my own company, there was a stigma attached to “working from home.” For some reason, what we now refer to as remote workers were seen as less professional than our cubicle-bound counterparts.

Today, remote work, whether it’s from home or your favorite café, is becoming more common and better accepted by the business world. Remote workers are found in a variety of industries from journalism and finance to business coaching to insurance.

For all of that, however, there are essentially just two categories of remote worker. The first type, we used to call “telecommuters,” or people who are employed by a company which allows them to work from home or other off-site location.

According to a recent Gallup survey, 43 percent of all American employees work remotely at least some of the time. The survey found that workers who spent up to 80 percent of time outside the office had the highest rates of engagement. They were more productive and reported greater job satisfaction.

The remote work support informational website, Remote.com, noted also that remote workers exhibit lower stress and better morale. It also noted a lower rate of absenteeism.

The second type of remote worker is the independent professional, or what most people would commonly refer to as a freelancer. Many freelancers, like myself and other writers or consultants, are almost totally nomadic, needing only a computer and a Wi-Fi connection to be productive.

In the past, most “freelancers” were expected to be writers, photographers, artists, and the like. But today, independent, remote workers come from a variety of market sectors. Coding, for example, is more commonly a remote job. Coders develop websites, create apps, and work in areas like cybersecurity.

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of remote work, either to a corporate employer or a freelancer, is significantly reduced overhead. For a freelancer, setting up an office could be impractical, operationally and financially. Large companies with off-site staff can save millions of dollars a year in real estate, utilities, and other overhead costs.

Another benefit to working outside the corporate maze is potential interaction with a larger business community and the collaboration that can result from those connections. Many independents and corporate remotes are getting together at co-working meetup events, giving them the opportunity to network and collaborate.

As much social as it is professional, the experience allows those workers who might spend a great deal of the time working alone to build a community. Plus, there are also opportunities for a more formalized co-working environment.

Co-share workspaces have cropped up around the country offering remote workers a member-based workspace and the chance to exchange ideas and projects with others. These spaces charge memberships that come with various amenities that could be as little as a desk space or multi-employee workspaces, with many different types of independent professional under one roof.

If you’re a business owner with jobs to fill that don’t necessarily require the employee to be on-site all the time, consider hiring a remote worker. Remote and independent professionals are the ideal self-starter, typically efficient time managers, and are less likely to contribute to high turnover.

You won’t be sorry, and it’s the future of work. Embracing it now and developing policies and procedures will put your business light-years ahead of everyone else. Flexibility can greatly encourage productivity and increase profits.

For remote professionals looking for a co-working community, just visit Meetup.com and search on “Dayton co-working.” Most of the activities are free of charge, except for whatever refreshments you might purchase on your own. Or visit deerinheadlines.com for some links to local co-working activities scheduled throughout the area.

 

REMOTE WORK RESOURCES:

Co-Working Meetup / Yellow Springs: https://www.meetup.com/Creative-Pros-Collaborative/

Job Postings: https://weworkremotely.com/

Working Remotely (Twitter): https://twitter.com/workingrem

Resources for Full-Time Freelancers: https://www.themuse.com/advice/every-resource-a-fulltime-freelancer-could-ever-need-plus-some

Business Consulting / Coaching for Remote Workers & Freelancers: http://www.gldenterprises.net

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

Living Longer vs. Living Better

In Children and Family, Health, Local News, Opinion, psychology, Science, Senior Lifestyle, State News, Technology, Uncategorized on December 26, 2017 at 8:07 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

Modern medicine is an incredible thing, with breakthroughs almost daily that range from simple treatments for common ailments to advanced organ transplants. Through those great medical innovations, the lifespan of the average person is now well into the 80s, with better living through chemistry, or so they want us to believe.

But while we treat one area of illness another continues to progress making it seem like we’re falling apart in little pieces. Where we once just dropped dead from something simple like a heart attack, now it seems we deteriorate bit by bit, with each component of our bodies being held together by a separate roll of medical duct tape.

Think of it this way. We take a pill for blood thinning so we don’t have a clot and get a stroke or heart attack. We take a pill for diabetes to keep our glucose levels down. But at the same time, our mind is intact, with virtually no deterioration. Or maybe it’s the opposite, Alzheimer’s shreds the mind while the body is still healthy. Eventually, the body follows in decay since the Alzheimer’s begins to affect how the nervous system functions.

Thanks to modern science, we’re living longer than ever, but I wouldn’t call it healthier or with much of a quality of life. There’s something to be said for just having the lights go out all at once. One of the most horrific things I have had to endure is watching my mother’s mind go as her body still functioned reasonably well. Or what might be worse, having an active, clear mind trapped in a degenerating body that refuses to follow the brain’s instructions any longer.

At what point are we living too long for our own good and quality of life? Can medical science develop a plan to help the entire body and mind maintain the same or reasonably similar level of health for as long as possible? I don’t think that’s really possible.

So, here we are, a pill for this and a potion for that, all in the name of better living through chemistry. Granted, much of what’s wrong with us is their our doing – smoking, drinking, sugar, fat, it goes on and on. Personal responsibility as one ages should at least be taken into account here. We are what we eat, and boy, it’s a mess.

Formaldehyde and chemicals in our water, the carcinogenic material in our meat, pesticides in our vegetables, super-sized everything at the fast food counter, vaping (yeah, like that’s not smoking, whatever). It’s all killing us. But don’t worry, there’s a pill to counteract the effects of all that, so don’t worry about it.

Isn’t it idiotic, though, how much of what happens to us as we age is our own fault? We’re getting older, but we’re sicker when we live longer. When we won’t take care of ourselves even in the short term, someone else has to pay for that later on.

Last year, for example, obesity-related illness cost Americans nearly $200 billion and treating sickness related to smoking cost more than $300 billion. But wait, there’s more! Excessive use of alcohol costs Americans $249 billion.

Fighting obesity is sadly not as simple as trading a cheeseburger for a celery stick. It takes a full and complete lifestyle overhaul that may require generations to affect a family line. But you can totally prevent alcohol and tobacco illness by never lighting up or popping open that cold one.

Addiction may be a disease, but even that is 100-percent preventable because that first drink or smoke is a choice. A penny toward prevention is worth billions toward a cure.

Well, some of this we have control over, some we don’t. It’s so hard to imagine how people can just not care about their own well-being and how that affects those around them. As we age, we need more help from others. Wouldn’t it be great if that burden were just a little easier on our loved ones?

Yes, we’re living longer. But, despite what the big pharmaceutical company advertisements tell you, the quality of that long life is not measured in milligram doses.

 

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

Coping with the Big “C”

In Economy, Health, Opinion, psychology, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on November 20, 2017 at 9:06 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

According to the statistics, more than 14 million people are living with cancer today in the United States. Something like 39 percent of all men and women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call “cancer,” on the whole, an epidemic.

Every day we’re flooded with “awareness” messages and celebrity pleas for donations to this cancer group or the other. But will there ever be a cure? And how do victims, and families, cope with the stress that comes with the realization of a cancer diagnosis?

First, let’s discuss the possibilities of a cure. For any organization to state, emphatically, that they’re working on a cure for “cancer” is a bit misleading. Cancer comes in many forms. Every research group must focus its attention on one specific type to formulate treatment and potential cures. And research is expensive.

There are countless organizations dedicated to raising funds for research but, unfortunately, that’s probably all it will be. Without sounding like the dark heart in the room, cancer is a huge cash cow to research labs and big pharma. There’s far more money in treating the disease than there ever would be a cure. It might sound cynical, but it would be naive to think there wasn’t some of that kind of thinking at play here.

But what of those who are already affected, how are patients coping with it? Each stage of the journey through cancer care brings about its own set of emotional responses. Granted, a great deal of the initial response depends on how serious the cancer is – not that there is a kind that isn’t. A good prognosis will make the impact a bit less difficult to handle.

Most patients are angry at first, experiencing a level of, “why me?” There’s some denial, more anger, and finally acceptance in some fashion. Dealing with that emotional roller coaster can be incredibly difficult for people, not just the patient but family and friends as well.

What we are told to do by the experts is to look for ways to cope with it in our own way. They first suggest you try to learn as much as you can about the diagnosis, what type of cancer it is and how it is treated. But be aware – it might seem frightening because the information is often provided out of context for the individual situation.

It’s also suggested that you express your feelings about it. Too many times we try to put on a brave face for family or friends and never really let it all out. It’s not only healthy, emotionally, to exercise those feelings, it can help the healing process.

Taking care of yourself through proper diet, exercise, maintaining your regular routines as much as possible can also help. As human beings, we need normality to function. Try to keep as much of it in your day-to-day life as possible as you move through your treatment.

Participating in support groups and talking with others who have shared your experience can be beneficial as well. There’s nothing more frightening than the unknown. When someone shares their experience with you, and knowledge can help ease fear.

We’re also directed to do our best to focus on what we can control in the situation, rather than worrying about what we can’t. Worrying only wastes energy and creates its own stress.

I recently met a woman who, during her treatment for breast cancer, a professional artist who painted stones from the hospital parking lot. Each stone represented how she felt after each treatment, all 33 of them. She made a full recovery but insists the practice helped her focus and have something within her control that also allowed her to deal with her feelings.

No one can say how they’d react to a cancer diagnosis. But, knowing you’re not alone can really help. If you or someone you know is dealing with cancer, no matter what the prognosis, be as positive as you can, and don’t miss out on a minute of life in the process.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is syndicated by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. 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

 

Film scores make the movie, enhance the imagery

In Education, Movies, Music, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on August 8, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Music gives us a common language. Images give us a common vision. Together we gain understanding … and peace. Who knew that in the 21st Century, film score composers would become rock stars? They fill arenas with people of all ages and ethnicities who come together for a few hours to be one people, one music, one heart and one spirit.

As I tap this out on the tiny screen of my iPhone, I am sitting in the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, surrounded by thousands of people who have come to listen to a kind of music that penetrates our pop culture. All over the country, Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer not only conducts but performs alongside a group of incredibly talented musicians to bring his film music to life for crowds of thousands.

An incredible concert of pieces from films like Crimson Tide, The Lion King and Batman Begins, plus an amazing tribute to Wonder Woman with all-female lead musicians. The crowd is totally enthralled with this presentation and I cannot help but be moved and the thought of, “Finally, people get it.” What do I mean by that?

If you follow my writings at all, you know that I am a musician. Scratch that, I’m not as much a musician as an entertainer. Musicians spend years of their lives studying and working and perfecting their craft. I literally woke up one morning and could play the piano. Not exaggerating, that’s how it felt. One day I couldn’t, the next I could.

    Film becomes more alive with the right orchestrated score. (Photo Courtesy TheHustle.co)

I mention this because the most influential music in my life was that of film – John Williams (Jaws, Star Wars), Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek), John Barry (Dances with Wolves, Somewhere In Time), James Horner (Titanic, The Mask of Zorro), and, most importantly to me, Stu Phillips (Battlestar Galactica ’78). These composers shaped the music I would eventually play because theirs was the first to come to life at my piano.

I am an auditory learner, I play by ear, not by sheet music, so the combination of an image to go with the music was particularly powerful. I could see the images from the films in my head as the music came out and the first one was the theme to the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series. An elaborate piece of music that layered two themes on top of one another seems an unlikely choice for a 12-year-old budding pianist, but that’s what fell out.

And as I grew up, film music always kept a hold on my ear far more than any other genre. And my ear was drawn to scores, not soundtracks. The difference being that a soundtrack generally included vocal pop songs and such while the score was the more “classical” sounding background music and themes. In any case, sitting in this concern made me realize that what I’d always thought was cool had finally actually become popular.

Films bring people together. Music brings people together. A huge part of what makes a great movie is the music. Imagine Jaws without the “duh dum … duh dum …” of John Williams’ famous theme? It would just be water… and a mechanical shark.

As a Star Trek fan, I can close my eyes, listen to a score from one of the films and tell you exactly when the Starship Enterprise appears on screen just by the tone and use of various themes. It’s emotional, heart-pounding, drama-inducing sound that carries us along with the characters. Music makes the movie and it is part of what ties us together as fans of those films.

Like the movies themselves, film scores reach across political, social, ethnic and economic boundaries, allowing us to have a common ground in a way that nothing else can. Movies take us on trips to the stars, beneath the sea, into battle, and through the perils of international intrigue. But none of it would happen without the amazing music created by great and incredibly under appreciated (until now) composers like Hans Zimmer and company.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer and the producer of The Brothers & Co. music and variety show. More at thebrothersvarietyshow.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

 

 

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.

Deer In Headlines takes to the online airways in new podcast

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, Local News, Print Media, Technology, Uncategorized on October 21, 2016 at 9:22 am

Xenia, OH – Sept. 26, 2016 – Jamestown columnist, Gery L. Deer, has just moved his long running op-ed newspapers series, “Deer In Headlines,” into the 21st Century. As of September 27th, 2016, fans of the popular series can listen to the audio version on their computer, tablet or smartphone at MyGreeneRadio.com.

Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer

A 25-year veteran of freelance journalism, the origins of Deer’s column, which first hit the pages of the Xenia Daily Gazette in 2008, began with an editorial in protest of a required college class having been cancelled (his efforts got the class reinstated). But this was only the beginning.

In 1993, he wrote a couple of letters to the editor and was soon asked to do a few guest columns for the Gazette, followed by a monthly technology series that lasted into the early 2000s. “Deer In Headlines” came in 2008 while working as a features editor with the Brown Publishing chain. In fact, it was one of his fellow editors who inspired the column’s quirky name.

Although the column made the leap in 2014 from the printed page to the small screen as a monthly feature on the WDTN-TV2 program, “Living Dayton,” this is Deer’s first venture into the podcast world.

MyGreeneRadio.com is an online radio station that launched in February of 2016 by long-time broadcast professional, Todd Hollst, to provide locally produced content along with music and area information. The format offers listeners a variety of music and a menu of podcasts featuring locally focused topics from philanthropy to sports.

“When Todd suggested he would like to have a podcast version of Deer In Headlines for his radio site, I was honored, for sure, and it seemed a logical progression.” Deer said. The syndicated print version reaches about 50,000 readers per week, with significant and growing digital following. So what can fans expect from the podcast version?

“At first I’ll just be doing an audio version of the printed column, with a few alterations here and there for the podcast,” Deer said. “Eventually, however, I’ll have some original segments especially for this medium.” You can listen to Deer In Headlines along with its other podcast counterparts, free, online at MyGreeneRadio.com and download it on iTunes.

Deer In Headlines is a product of and distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More information is available at gldenterprises.net.