Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Tact Filters

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

I saw this post while getting my Masters at NYU’s ITP where I had to collaborate with Engineers and Business people. I was trying to find a way to describe why the interactions between the three types of people were so awkward and why people got upset so quick. I researched the web and found this post from Jeff Bigler, an MIT student, with a theory that I found very helpful. I reposted this below for reference:


All people have a “tact filter”, which applies tact in one direction to everything that passes through it. Most “normal people” have the tact filter positioned to apply tact in the outgoing direction. Thus whatever normal people say gets the appropriate amount of tact applied to it before they say it. This is because when they were growing up, their parents continually drilled into their heads statements like, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!”

“Nerds,” on the other hand, have their tact filter positioned to apply tact in the incoming direction. Thus, whatever anyone says to them gets the appropriate amount of tact added when they hear it. This is because when nerds were growing up, they continually got picked on, and their parents continually drilled into their heads statements like, “They’re just saying those mean things because they’re jealous. They don’t really mean it.”

When normal people talk to each other, both people usually apply the appropriate amount of tact to everything they say, and no one’s feelings get hurt. When nerds talk to each other, both people usually apply the appropriate amount of tact to everything they hear, and no one’s feelings get hurt. However, when normal people talk to nerds, the nerds often get frustrated because the normal people seem to be dodging the real issues and not saying what they really mean. Worse yet, when nerds talk to normal people, the normal people’s feelings often get hurt because the nerds don’t apply tact, assuming the normal person will take their blunt statements and apply whatever tact is necessary.

So, nerds need to understand that normal people have to apply tact to everything they say; they become really uncomfortable if they can’t do this. Normal people need to understand that despite the fact that nerds are usually tactless, things they say are almost never meant personally and shouldn’t be taken that way. Both types of people need to be extra patient when dealing with someone whose tact filter is backwards relative to their own.


The article then has a link to a story about linguistics by ozarque copied below for reference:
Linguistics; Ozark English; “About Cows, and Ozark English Discourse”

About Cows, and Ozark English Discourse

Let’s just suppose that when someone is about to speak they have four broad goals for the language sequence they use: that it be understood; that it be believed; that it give pleasure (or at minimum that it not provoke hostility); and that it be remembered. The way in which these goals are ranked in importance for the speaker is a matter of personal choice, with the most typical order probably being understanding, then believing, then either pleasure or remembrance — depending. A crochety and elitist professor might rank a classroom utterance as RUBP; that is: “I want you to remember this. I hope you understand it. I’d prefer you to believe it, but if you don’t, so be it. And I’m not particularly interested in whether it gives you any pleasure or not.” The politician making a routine political speech might choose BPRU. The Ozark speaker who makes choices that strike the purist as excessively nonstandard usually does so deliberately, based on the ranking given to those four communication goals. Which brings us to those cows. Consider this:

1. “Come get your cows.”

This utterance puts understanding first; it’s in English, it’s an unambiguous command, and it has no extra words in it to interfere with comprehension. It puts belief next; nobody would say such a thing if the cows weren’t really there needing to be retrieved. Remembering follows; any Ozark English speaker knows this utterance is so rude that it’s unforgettable. As for giving pleasure, the speaker is either almost indifferent to this goal or is deliberately working against it. [It wouldn't be true to say that the speaker hasn't considered giving pleasure at all. There are worse things that could have been said, such as "Come get your damfool cows" or "Come get your cows, or else."]

Here are some of the many alternative ways to start letting somebody know that their cows are on your property and should be removed by said somebody — with the stipulation that they’re all said neutrally, not sarcastically or condescendingly or with hostile intonation. Examples 2-9 are Ozark English; example 10 is not.

2. “Guess what I just saw in my front yard?”
3. “You might want to take a look at what’s in my front yard.”
3. “You’ll never believe what I just saw in my front yard.”
4. “Might could be you’d want to take a look out your east window toward my front yard.”
5. “You know, I do believe your cows are out.”
6. “I’m wondering … do you know where your cows have got to?”
7. “Hey, guess where your cows are? [Or "are now?" Or "are this time?"]
8. “I do hate to say it, but I’m about at the end of my tether with your cows.”
9. “I’m truly sorry to have to tell you this, but your cows are in my yard again.”
10. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but your cows are in my yard again. I’m afraid you will have to come get them.”

Each of these utterances demonstrates a speaker’s strategy based upon a particular ranking of the four communication goals. Because come the day your neighbor’s cows are in your yard and you want that neighbor to come get them, you can’t say just any old thing. Cows are a nuisance in a way that’s almost awesome. And if you don’t choose your words with care, you’ll find yourself with one of two outcomes: (a) your neighbor says, “Be damned if I’ll come get ‘em!” and hangs up on you; or (b) your neighbor says, “I’ll get to that, first chance I have.” Either of those responses means you’re in for a bad day, and there is no County Cow Catcher you can call for assistance. The list of good excuses that can be offered for not yet having come to get those cows is as infinite as any formal construct you might care to devise.

Do not think that if you decide you’ll just get rid of the cows yourself it will be easy. It is easier to move a department chairman than it is to move even one cow. Fire a .45 over the head of a department chairman or drive straight at one with a pickup truck, he (or she) will move; a cow will not. I have tried both of those tactics any number of times, and no cow has ever so much as budged. It’s not just a matter of saying, “Shoo, cows!” Trust me.

If I were actually to say to you, “Come get your cows,” one of the two things I want you to understand is that I don’t give a hoot how you feel about that utterance or how you feel about me personally. “I’m afraid you will have to come get them” is almost as bad. I know someone who would say that, because that someone would rather suffer the consequences of cows than stoop to the use of Ozark English. That someone will forever suffer the consequences of cows-in-the-yard, and many other unpleasantries — but it is her conscious and deliberate choice. It is a militant refusal to speak OzE. Publicly, she will blame Providence for the perpetual presence of other people’s cows on her property, but she knows better.

It happens that the best choice on that list, the one least likely to end you up with a chronic cow problem, is the entirely nonstandard #4 with its double modal. That example has as its metamessage: “Now, there’s a problem over here, and I’m not pleased, and we need to talk about it, and you need to fix it. But I want you to know that I am on your side and that I admire the way you look after your cows.” And its ranking is UPRB.

The 1% Have a Net-Worth of $96 Trillion

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

I’m not asking anyone to join anything, but this video has some interesting info.

Some Political Compositions

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

I watched the RNC and the DNC and I was definitely not impressed with the subjects that the candidates decided to address, which explains the bottom image. Following the presidential debate last night, I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth. A lot of the points that the candidates touched where expected, but the one that really made me mad was that Romney wants to cut PBS!

Are you kidding me!? In a world full of Jersey Shore, The Real World and other trashy programming in the tube, there has to be something constructive. We all know that most people do not strive to learn new things and educate themselves. I’m sure more than half of the country could live with out shows like “Nature” or “Nova” but you have to be kidding me! Cutting those shows would stop inspiring bright minds who ponder about the cosmos and who want to believe that the sky is not the limit! Inspiration to learn does not come from shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The O’Reilly Factor or even The Daily Show. All those shows are about opinion, we need to see the grass in the other side. We need science and math. We need Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood; as creepy as it was!

If we cut PBS, you can expect society to go this direction:

I really hope we don’t go that direction.

Enough Is Enough! 2012 Presidential Campaign Finance.

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Today I received an email from Barack Obama aka the democratic party email account at and it was yet another email silently asking for a donation! Really another email from a DMC affiliated group asking for money!? What a surprise . So I decided that I need to unsubscribe from all of these email lists and distance myself from the Dems.

This is the email and my response, unsubscription:

I get that political campaigns need funding but I think fundraising is way out of hand! In the beginning of 2008 when Barak Obama began his campaign, it was a grass-roots type of campaign. Making the best out of the few millions he had gathered to run a campaign to get the democratic nomination. At the time, he use some powerful tools, such as online social channels and email lists, that would eventually become main stream in politics. The power of YouTube and Facebook, gained the candidate a lot of attention. Various groups chipped into create content (User Generated Content) in support of the candidate for free! Fast forward to 2012 and all that human capital has been traded by obama and the Dems for cold hard cash.
Even “Obama Girl” retracted her support for Obama!

The political campaigns for both parties are forgetting that “social capital” matters a lot and that a good campaign can be ran with out spending a billion dollars to pay for media time.

2008 was also the year when a candidate raised a record breaking three quarters of a billion dollars! This year the trajectory of fund raising efforts seems to indicate that Obama may raise a Billion or close to it. Look at this chart from the NY Times:

By July both Obama and Romney have over half a billion in the bank and that does not even include the amounts that will be raised for August, September and October which in the past are the months when the campaigns raise the most money!

I don’t know about you but I think that anything over $250 million dollars spent on a popularity contest is absurd. I think the right amount of money to get a message out in today’s world to reach the majority of households in the US is about 150 million. Actually, you can even get a massage out with less money if you resort to mobile and online advertising as opposed to the expensive and antiquated traditional media channels. Anything more than that is just a plain waste; preaching to the choir. At the end of the day the people seeing the ads are not the ones choosing the president; it is the electoral collage that needs to be impressed. All the public needs to know, is that the guy in the White House is trust worthy so we don’t have a rebellion and people know the system works.

The question I have now is why the independent party does not get organized and becomes a legitimate political party in the US? Oh yeah, because no politician in their right mind wants to be labeled an independent, unless you have over a billion net-worth. Sigh…

Elections 2012- Fundraising

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

campaign funding 2012

Is it just me or is there is something really funny happening with funds of political campaigns for 2012. I mean Lincoln used $100k for his campaign, Kennedy used 9.7 million, Clinton used $130 million in 1992 and Obama $740 million in 2008 I think this year will be the year we break a billion!!

campaign funding 2012

meanwhile in the hamptons… politicians spend $125,000 for ticket to fundraising parties while people in the city melt down in the heatwave.

Where do we live again? Oh yeah in Capitalism. yay! I only have a hundred dollars in my bank account yay!

Postanalog or Post-Analog

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

So I have decided to start classifying a lot of the new art I see as Postanalog (Post-analog). It is the only way I can describe or categorize things like Art Robotica or projects such as Mortal Engine

Postanalog is similar to the term Postdigital but with a dramatic difference. Postanalog is art that embraces digital technology. This is that art that sees humanity and digital technology as symbiotic. It is when you see a natural element and an algorithmic digital element combine and for a new beautiful form.

Postanalog will revolutionize the world as we see it.

Army Strong … The US Army.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

It is Veterans Day in the United States. A day to remember those who have served in combat in order to protect our state, our home, our freedom. There is not enough thanking in the world to give the US Army Forces. Thank you.

Simultaneously there is big talk surrounding the US Army’s advertising strategy as the Army is looking for its new advertising campaign. The current campaign by the army revolves around the slogan “Army Strong” and the fist thing that I puzzled me was what that line meant? Who is army strong? Is it the soldiers or the machinery they use? Its a vague tag line, but I guess its catchy. The main purpose of a slogan or tag line is important as a tool to influence perception, specially when it involves an icon such as a logo.

Every generation has its collective personality which comes from environmental variables, a zeitgeist that influence behavior. Our biggest identifiable generation begins at the G.I. Generation a generation who’s parents where raised in a world where the USA was only beginning to gain its own national identity. It was the time of The Spanish-American war, a time when there was a persistant remanence of European culture such as Impressionism in art. This was a time when the US Army was still in its infancy as a modern Army.

Targeting the GI Generation was made by using propaganda that included the famous uncle sam poster.

The generation that followed was the Baby Boomer Generation which was a very influential generation which was far more conservative than the current generations. This is the Generation that was heavily divided on the peace and war issue and when the peace sign and smiley face gained popularity.

The interesting part about the symbols of the time, is that they had to co-inhabit the cultural ecosystem of the time. References on the “Duality of man” was made through the use of symbols in the movie “Full Metal Jacket” When a soldier was asked why he was wearing the symbols in the form of a button.


Generation X followed which is currently taking control of society. The awareness level of this generation greatly increased due to an increase in broadcasting capabilities by radio, television and the telephone. Television gained the capability of acquiring video footage outside of a recording studio with portable video cameras that could be purchased by the masses. Essentially, technology began to infiltrate our personal and private living spaces allowing a stream of messages to bombard us in our very own living rooms. We welcomed this new technology the way we have welcomed mobile phone technology. Generation X grew up with a broadcasting network increase information dissemination at a very rapid pace.

The US Army capitalized on this new network to promote enlistments by using the televisions as a medium to get to Generation X. The slogan that the Army was using at the time was “Be All You Can Be” which was a campaign revolving around the characteristics of Generation X.

What where the characteristics of Generation X? Pop culture is, in a way, a reflection of culture. While Babyboomers could be associated to cultural icons such asElvis Presley, Generation X can be described with Madonna, Michael Jackson, The Doors which where bands that “Gen-Xers” grew up with and who’s characteristics manifested in the form of a new genre in musical expression; Nirvana.

The Army targeted these characteristics in Generation X with their “Be All You Can Be” campaign, which revolved about making the individual a better individual.

In 2006 there was a change in the slogan of the US Army. A reflection on the decrease of people that where enlisting to service. The Army’s new branding hoped to attract a new generation of people that where very unpredictable… at the time.

Generation Y is a very complex generation. It is driven by community and group interaction. They are a generation that revolves around strong family connections and interpersonal relationships. This is the generation that grew up with video games, mobile devices, and the internet. Television has become a very fragmented entity that lacks the ability to connect and interact. The Millennials are those who have realized that television is based on fantasy on specific views that isolates people. They are the ones, that even-though still watch the TV, the TV is not the main source of entertainment. Youtube, Vimeo, The Cheezburger Network, Twitter, and the thousands of news sources that exists in the cloud are the main source of entertainment for the new generations. But by far the most important innovation that has influenced the new generation is the ability to gather data and analyze that data in a casual manner, specifically with the addition of location and emotional connections. Any company, organization or institution that is targeting Millennials needs to understand collaboration, ubiquity, sustainability, memes and filters. The new generations are a generation that has increased awareness and masters of, as Linda Stone put it, Constant Partial Attention. They are the generation that, as Clay Shirky put it, decided to do something with their cognitive surplus. We are in a time of drastic change, and it is making sense to Millenials more than other generations. A time where adopting others as part of our own, is a necessity and not a luxury.

First Sikh Enlisted Soldier:

The new generations are not looking to become “drones” that are in the control of some other person. There is a big misunderstanding that you stop being an individual when you become a soldier. I think the opposite is true. Becoming a soldier makes you part of a big group of people. You actually become an individual in a big group of people that have a similar goal in mind; to protect what matters most, other people. Soldiers in today’s army are not drones, they are the ones controlling the drones literary. Physical computing is the next level of innovation. It is when the computer goes out into the real world and does something. Do something! Literary. How would you like to control a robot from your mobile phone? Well, that is not science fiction any more. Its the reality. Willow Garage is mass producing telepresence devices that are similar in concept, to the ones being deployed by the army. Sooner than later we will see a squad of soldiers be accompanied by a hundred is not thousands of swarm-bots all guided by a couple of soldiers. We currently have the technology that is being widely explored by hackers and artists:

These networked robots will soon have the capability to self organize to accomplish complex tasks. When you have a swarm of thousands of tiny little robots, dealing with them would be like dealing with a beehive that was just attacked or a swarm of locusts. You may be able to fend off against a few hundred before being over ran by the group. Here are some projects in their research stage which will become more familiar as time goes by.

And then there are the bots that the army and institutions are exploring:

These are the things that Millenials are interested in doing. Becoming part of something bigger. Something that they have the ability to make a big contribution to, with out endangering them selves in the process. They are the new tribes that have risen from digital connections, metaverses, LOLz, Hacking video games, and then telling their friends about it. And their world is like being inside “Tron” or “The Matrix”

…but the only difference, is that you can talk to everyone there. Including your enemies.

Now here is a peek at out awesome Armed forces!

One of the things that technology has done to our society is to increase the “small town effect” which means that everyone and their mom knows what everyone is doing. We are all interconnected, including the army and our “enemies.” We are all aware of what the other is doing and this effect is only bound to become more apparent. It would be silly to say that Millennials clearly understand the complexities that our new communication systems have created. But they are definitely more aware of our inter-connectivity than any other generation.

Elections 2008 – Political Media Strategy for 2012

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

I wrote this paper for a class in 2008 and thought it would be nice to post on my blog since I have not been posting as much as I would like. Keep in mind that this paper was written in 2008 and much has change in the Metaverse, Also I have added images for those who like to see pretty pictures in articles ;) The “Cloud” has exponentially become more complex, yet easier to understand with the addition of a very simple variable; Location.

Location based technologies such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook and Google will become very important as we move closer to 2012. The other important variable that is not as prominent today as it will be tomorrow is semantic data gathering and accessing. With that said, here is the paper I wrote right after Obama’s win in 2008.

NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP)
Class: Elections 2008
Professor: Clay Shirky
Author: Oscar G. Torres

Political Media Strategy for Elections of 2012
November 14, 2008

The Presidential elections of 2008, was the culmination of a major shift in political campaign strategies in the United States. How did a democratic “underdog” gain steam and come in as the leading candidate in the general election of 2008?

The Republican Party is scratching their head wondering how John McCain lost the election. They will look back at the campaign trails and realize that they lacked a very important element that proved to be a vital player in gaining people’s vote. The Republican Party did not embrace amateur political campaigns and their effect on the general population.

Amateur political media is not a new concept in the campaign process. Picket signs, homemade t-shirts, printing newsletters or flyers with personal printers are all examples of media created by “average Joes” in the past. In the election of 2008 we saw a new and powerful medium take center stage. This new medium is not your traditional broadcasting system, its actually more that just a way to send messages to a large audience. Social media is the new player in politics and quickly became a major component in winning the trust of people. What makes a “YouTube” video different than a hand drawn sign, a flyer or t-shirt? The answer lies in the comment section of web sites like YouTube, Facebook and the thousands of blogs out there.

“5th Grade Reporter Interviews Vice-President Joe Biden” by CanalPointKECTV is a video where, as the title describes, a 5th grade kid interviews the Vice-Presidential candidate. Normally a traditional broadcasted video would be seen and probably talked about by people and their close friends, perhaps some co-workers as well. The conversation has now moved to YouTube where viewers have the ability to leave a comment on videos or respond to someone else’s comment. A new form of communication has been set in place. Since these web videos can be seen any time and anywhere (with internet access), it makes it convenient for a person to access them and add their thoughts.

The comments left on the specific videos are a rich source of information about people’s thoughts and intentions. You can even see the commenter’s profile and content they have personally contributed, videos they liked/ added as their favorite, and comments others made about the particular person. With all this data you can make pretty good assumption about the person or “user’s” state of mind and can make educated guesses about what their position will be when they are standing inside the voting booth.

Blogs are another form of communication that is making an impact on the campaigns of potential candidates. People can write articles for or against candidates. Those articles are then available for anyone to find, via search engine, email1311 link and/or word of mouth. A group of videos, images and links can form a pretty good argument about why someone should favor a particular candidate. Although blogs are not as popular as other news sources or publications, they reach a niche audience that has potential to be influenced by the content. Blogs are part of the new digital landscape that needs to be considered when running a campaign. Blogs and video content are being viewed in increasing numbers through the use of new devices such as cell phones and iPods. The ability to carry around the information with you has enabled people to scrutinize the data being viewed during their commute, lunch break or random times that lend themselves to a quick browse at the web content. The question is weather this information can be used to sway people to choose differently. And the answer, as we have seen from Obama’s campaign results, is yes.

Mobile communication will become major contributor to media distribution to the masses. Cell phones have become a hub that allows people not only to view web data, but also to contribute data to the “cloud”. Minutes after the announcement of Obama’s projected win, a mass celebration was captured and shared via mobile phone by my close circle of friends. I received text messages accompanied by cell phone pictures and videos from fiends at various locations such as Fort Green-Brooklyn, Times Square, Union Square and even California. Everyone was cheering physically and virtually as they posted images to and along with status updates to twitter and Facebook.

Sharing real time events is becoming a very popular trend. On the morning of November 4, as I was just beginning to undergo my morning routine, I received a text message with an image from a friend. The text read “yay!” and the picture was a voting booth. Although it is illegal in some states to take pictures of the voting booth when you are voting, there is no way so far to enforce this rule and prevent people from doing it. The result is people disregarding the rules out of excitement in most cases. If the uploading of data is happening while or with-in seconds of voting, what is happening while people are waiting in line to the voting booth?

They are uploading information to the web, downloading information or having conversations with others. This precious time is vital if you want to make a difference on the result. And the only way to get there is through the use of mobile technology.

Advice for the new presidential candidates is very simple, put together a teams of individuals whose sole task is to monitor and respond to amateur media content. These two groups of people should have access to technology that will allow them to listen to a large amount of data sources at the same time and quickly formulate a response to counter any attacks and to praise compliments. This system should automatically highlight and arrange content by subject, popularity and by the size, type and location of the group generating the content. An example of this can be an application that can scrape the information on major social sites such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. that can then analyze and organize the content by a list of desired variables. The application should look for information revolving around key words, such as the candidate’s name and topics in his/her agenda. Data that matches the key words can then be organized by popularity, relevance, time, location, network, etc. as well as the time it was added to the web site or origin. Perhaps image analysis can be done to the thumbnails or images associated with the data. This way in YouTube’s case, you can consolidate redundant content and group content that indicates similarities among image content. This algorithm would allow the identification of a popular piece of media that exists in various contexts and who’s meaning may be different according to the context it is presented. One example of a media that is placed out of context to incite different messages is a YouTube video titled “Obama Youth – Junior Fraternity”.

A second strategy is to crowd-source the gathering of data revolving the candidate. Getting supporters involved in the acquisition, contribution and distribution of information that benefits the candidate is very important because the people that find the information can make it more semantic to the presidential campaign context. If there is a system that allows the general public to easily share information they stumble upon, with their favored candidate’s party, it will dramatically increase the awareness of the candidate about their campaign. This will allow for better decision-making on the direction of particular parts of the campaign. This system could take form in a website.

A web site that gathers data specific to a campaign and a candidate that is generated by people and allows everyone to see what others have contributed is a good experiment that has the potential to be a great source of information that affects the candidate’s campaign. The website should be set up to make it very easy for users to upload data, such as, images, videos, links, audio and text data. It is also very important to have a tagging system that will put all the data into context. The website’s database should be set up to allow information to be added via mobil phone, email1311, or text message. This way there can be supporting software that makes the process easy for anyone to use. All the information that is tagged, as it is gathered in a database, can then be accessed, processed and displayed in a comprehensive way that lists the information in order of importance to the candidate.

My main advice for the candidates of 2012 is to crowd source as much of the campaign as possible. Empower people to help you gain aware of what they are experiencing in their worlds. The substantial increase of digital media generation and distribution is too large for a candidate’s personal team to analyze all the data that is circulating the web. So why not lean on your supporters to be your eyes, ears and brains to help you analyze the data and report their findings back to you, free of charge. This awareness will allow your team to formulate a strategic response that will steer the votes in your direction and preventing an underdog to trample all over you. Unless of course that underdog has a better system to identify with everyone and gain trust, in which case no digital technology will be
able to help.

Who cares about what you think.

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Last week I conducted a mini experiment on the NYU social network.
I wanted to see how much traffic I could drive to my site by writing about Clay Shirky’s rant about women. It was not a very strong argument, but it was one that was aimed at opposing Clay’s point (which I am apposed to, but normally would never write about). The variable in question (which I actually learned about in Clay’s class); the piggy back effect in youtube videos. I was testing this effect with blog content.

From this post I was expecting to draw at least 30% more traffic just by piggybacking from Clay’s popularity. Which is a little more than 45 hundred site hits a day.

Its been six days since I wrote a response to his post and noticed a 15% increase in traffic to my blog which was not anything impressive. I assumed that it was all traffic relating to the post, to my surprise I took a look at the my web site page views and as it turns out, my Shakespeare sonnet post got (which I spent no energy on creating) got the same amount of hits! This came as a surprise to me.

Pie chart

So what did cause the increase in traffic to my site? A combination of interest in my Art Robotica Project, and Damien Hirst from a global audience. 25% of my viewers are from other countries. That’s around 200 people a day. Which is pretty interesting.

As you can see, the piggy back effect did not work. The person I targeted to piggy back from, gained my site very small traffic results. What can be said about this experiment, that people actually care about context. A rant is mere thoughts by a person that don’t have heavy research behind them. This is a very good way to start a dialogue. Playing devils advocate is a good past time of Clay’s he mainly does this to make points or in this case, agitate people enough to begin a discussion. The rant was crafted in such a way that he was instigating a group enough to get a response. And the results, although his web traffic does not reflect the effect, where successful. 415 responses out of roughly 4,500 viewers, that’s roughly 10% participation rate! Very good results in my opinion.

“Hitler Finds Out Scott Brown Won Massachusetts Senate Seat” the most popular youtube video this week has around 2.4 million views and around 10 thousand comments. That’s around .00416% participation.

Even though my blog is linked from Clay’s blog via the site “Responses.” The amount of people that actually cared about my point of view towards Clay are less that those who care about my point of view towards the arts and artists. This was good experiment to find out who is actually ready my blog. It seems that people interested in art are reading this right now =)

I guess an other interesting thing a lot of people are starting to realize, is how to make use of the data available on the web. It took me a total of 10 minutes to do all this research and about 30 minutes to write this post. The mount of information available on the web is incredible. If 10 years ago, you asked the Author of a book, how many people bought and/or read their book that same day, they would laugh. Daily information was not available on things like that for people like Authors. If you asked them to publish an article in one hour so that 100 people around the world can see it with in minutes of publishing, it would probably seem like an impossible task.

A Rant About Women by Clay Shirky?

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010


I guess I’m just trying to figure out why clay called me an “behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerk” All I wanted was a letter of recommendation. And then his next thought is clearly a con artist! Really! Me! And what does jail have to do with it? Is clay trying to gain a bad-ass persona, or does he just want to tell us that he likes to twist words to gain power?

With all jokes aside (me being a former student of clay’s and joking about he writing about my non existent recommendation) WTF! “women in general” what percentage is he talking about!? That’s kind of like saying that men in general don’t like to have sex, they just like orgasms! Talk about Polarization!

I truly disagree with Clay Shirky’s “A Rant About Women” maybe I owe my way of thinking to my mother, but Women should act as they do; like Women, like people! I think that penis and vagina is not an issue anymore. Its the culture and the all boys club way of thinking that’s the issue. In this world we need to form alliances with people to gain a bit more power, this is the general theory behind politics. The problem that women used to have and still do sometimes, is that there are many circumstance causing women to not pursue professional careers in specific fields (like engineering, programming and garbage collecting to name a few). Because of that, women that do get higher educations and choose to go into those careers with smaller female to male ratios, have a smaller chance of forming their own “all girls” club to gain power. But in this modern world is this really a good move? is having a little girls club or a little boys club a good thing? No. You cannot look at sex anymore unless you are crazy. I mean look at Richard Branson or Hilary Clinton for instance. Branson tends to get people together, regardless of sex, to work together for the better good (or profit) Good things happen when you get a mix of people engaging in dialogue. Hilary was close to getting the democratic the nomination in 2008 and that was not due to her “acting like a man”. The popularity she gained was due to her acting like her self and doing what she thought was best politically. We all know why Obama won, but Hilary is a good example when it comes to politics and power. I mean she went to Wellesley college! You don’t learn to “act like a man”, at an all girls school. You can argue that she would not have done it with out Bill’s help, so why did the Republican Party go with Palin?

The reason Shirky’s female students are not jerks (“women whose educations I am responsible for in particular, are often lousy at those kinds of behaviors, even when the situation calls for it.”) is most likely because he is of the opposite sex and people tend to be politically correct towards the opposite sex in environments like classrooms (well same sex and gender, age, etc. too, people in classrooms I like to think are well behaved). The possibility of a bad grade and offending a “good” professor are enough to keep anyone quiet, this is all an assumption though. Rivalries occur more frequently among people of the same sex because that gender gap is not present. The gender gap often represents either an obstacle or a lack of, depending on your point of view.

“asking women to behave more like men” is completely wrong. Women should behave like Women, gender has nothing with doing a job right (unless is like breast feeding or something?). If a female wants to be a football player, that’s awesome. If she wants to be a Ganitor that’s cool, but not really, but its cool! if she wants to be a chef or the president of the US that’s fine, we need more like that. If they mess up, big deal everyone messes up. Raising your hand to get attention and “risk public failure” has more to do with character and patience than knowledge and sex. As a matter of fact there is something more powerful than raising your hand, and that is talking with an assertive tone to address an answer or response. This happens very often now a days, and its good. You can definitely distinguish alpha males and females.

Bottom line is that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and “forceful and self-confident without being arrogant or jerky” is not the only way to gain power. Its more often that those who don’t need to yell that have the most power. As for “women wait for someone else to recommend them.” Apparently Clay never heard of Women like Cornelia Sullfrank or Rachel Carson two of my row models.

I get that Clay is trying to encourage a conversation (in his mind) that will get women inspired to go on. But indications that you may be a perpetrator of the sexist ideology is not the right way. Maybe Clay did not realize that this point would have as easily been made, with a bit more “Umph” and a less degrading tone by other means. Rants always polarize people. So if the goal was to toss wood in the fire, then we will not go cold any time soon.

My wish is that people (Men/ Women) would deal with other people with grace and stern conduct if any lines are crossed. You will never beat fire with fire (Well maybe in a Savannah with steady winds, but thats not the point) you will beat the fire with water or dirt and there lies the answer. An eye for an eye is part of an “all male” ideology. I’m glad that this era is gone because there just something not fully comforting about that thought.