The Tao of Questy

Life without an Internet connection is not the end of the world

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For the most part I stay away from questions about politics and religion because the conversations get too emotional and irrational. I am starting to feel the same way about the recent rash of questions about net neutrality

I am not saying that regulations regarding net neutrality are not important, but they are not so important that anyone should consider leaving the country because of them. Any regulations surrounding net neutrality are not life and death issues.

If you are scratching your head right now, wondering what net neutrality is, I have a few links at the end of this that explain the topic. I am interested in net neutrality because I have worked in the fields of technology and telecommunications for many years. I feel pretty confident in saying that the world will not end if the internet shuts down tomorrow. I can live a normal healthy life without a broadband connection to my home.

Maybe I feel this way because I grew up in an era where the commercial internet did not exist. Yea, the internet technically existed in the 1960s and 1970s, but it did not became a commercial entity until the 1990s. Even in the 1990s the internet was so expensive to use, it was a small part of our lives.

What can we do using the computer without an Internet connection?

I can use a computer to do many of the things I did without a computer years ago. I really feel old when I answer questions about life before the internet went commercial.

Playing games

The obvious answer of using a computer not connected to the internet is playing games, but I have never been much of a gamer. I buy an old version of a game that is reduced in price because it has gone out of style or no longer the latest and greatest version.

I love music

I can listen to music all day long that is stored on my computer. I have a cassette player as well as a vinyl record turntable connected to my computer that allow me to take music from old analog sources and convert them to computer files. Yes, most of the songs are available somewhere as digital downloads. But I enjoy taking an occasional Saturday afternoon to convert files.

I love old movies

Just like with my music library, I can take old video files from tapes and DVDs and rip them as files stored on my computer. I have tons of old movies on an external hard drive.

I love restoring old photographs

I have boxes of old photographs, and just like with the movies and the music I get the urge to digitize old photographs from time to time. Not only does digitizing old photos give me a better way to store them, I can take old faded photos and try to restore the color. I can take different photos and edit them together. I currently have three different versions of PaintShop Pro on my computer, I update it to the latest and greatest version every few years.

I love to write

From days before I owned a personal computer I have pages of notes for stories, and various reference books. Over the years I have downloaded many books and movies that are now files on my hard drive that I use as reference material for when I write. I always have notepad open on my computer, and as ideas come to me, I jot them down in notepad. If I really wanted to be lazy, I have a laptop computer set up to take notes that I dictate to it verbally.

Who needs the internet?

As I am writing the draft of this blog post in notepad, and think about all the ways I use my computer, I realize all the many ways I use a computer without needing an internet connection. This answer is off the top of my head, and is just relating to my personal computer at home. I could write another chapter on various business and productivity applications I could use at work without an internet connection.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

If the internet gets shut down tomorrow, I have plenty of things to do on my computer that do not require an internet connection. I guess I am ready for the apocalypse, the end of the internet, or whatever comes my way.

Learn more:

Internet equality and net neutrality explained in simple terms

Internet censorship and net neutrality is not a simple matter

Net Neutrality anxiety high over proposed changes by FCC Chairman
 

 

Debunking the mindless misinformation of the cult of Tesla

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We use the phase "Drinking the Kool-Aid" as we joking talk about a mythical "Cult of Tesla." The phrase "Drinking the Kool-Aid" means to blindly follow someone without asking any questions. Check out the deadly story behind drinking the Kool-Aid, where we go into more detail on the sad circumstances of the origin of that phrase.

It is sad to see people blindly believe every myth about Nikola Tesla without questioning the validity. Tesla was indeed a pioneer and visionary in many areas of technology and science, but he did not invent many of the things the Tesla fanatics claim.

Nikola Tesla has a cult following that gives him credit for inventing just about everything. There are people who object to the phrase "the Cult of Tesla," but the Tesla fanatics are a prime example of a cult. Tesla fanatics have an "us against them" mentality with stories full of conspiracy theories of how the government took all of Tesla's files when he died. When it comes to any attempts to have a rational conversation, they deny any facts that might contradict the group's beliefs.

When I told someone that a statement they made regarding Tesla was false, their comeback was, "Do you have a source for it being false?" LMFAO! If I claim to be the king, does that make it so, until someone proves me wrong? The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, proof is provided that gives validity to the claim. Having a meaningful conversation with Tesla fanatics can be frustrating because there is a complete avoidance of critical thinking.

Debunking Nikola Tesla myths on electricity and AC current

Here at the World of Questy, we explore the myths and legends. Over at the GeekHistory website we document the inventions and the inventors.

In addressing all the myths on electricity and AC current we created an entire new GeekHistory section on the history of electricity, and we broke it down into multiple pages starting with a list of scientists and inventors that contributed to our modern understanding of electricity.

Most of Tesla's early inventions fell into the categories of electrical power distribution or motors and generators. Nikola Tesla developed the polyphase alternating current system of generators, motors and transformers.

There are many forgotten geeks who made incredibly important contributions in bringing electricity to our homes. Nikola Tesla did not invent AC power generation. It was theoretically described by other others before him, as were many of the other inventions and discoveries often credited to Tesla. Our next page looks at the European inventors before Edison and Tesla who contributed to the development of electricity and AC power distribution.

It bothers me that so many internet sites talk about the War of Currents as the great battle between Edison and Tesla. Edison eventually lost control of Edison Electric as it merged with another company to become General Electric. Nikola Tesla was not a member of team Westinghouse when the War of Currents started between George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison.

Westinghouse was a systems thinker, he also had a knack for spotting good ideas and people and bringing them into his fold, and he knew AC power distribution was a good idea. Follow this link to learn about the many Westinghouse Electric engineers responsible for electricity and AC power in our homes

Edison does deserve credit for many inventions in a wide variety of areas, and in defending Edison, I have come up with a fair amount of material for the GeekHistory websites. Edison might have been too stubborn to back down on DC power generation as the way to produce electricity, but he does deserve to be respected for launching the modern electric utility industry with the creation of the Pearl Street station in lower Manhattan in 1882. When the War of Currents ended around 1893, Thomas Edison was no longer in control of Edison Electric. But the Edison team (which became part of the General Electric Company) lived on in many ways.

Debunking Tesla Myths Defending Edison

In the World of Questy websites we get a bit cynical and sarcastic at times as we try understand various myths and legends regarding both Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. We really scratch our head wondering why people follow mindless misinformation without searching for the truth.

As I revved up my writing for the GeekHistory website over the last few years I have become active in social media looking for common questions about famous inventors and inventions. In search of information on all the "who invented it" myths of technology history I found a great deal of misinformation giving credit to Nikola Tesla for a variety of inventions. I find myself often defending Thomas Edison because of over the top claims of everything that Nikola Tesla allegedly invented.

When I created the GeekHistory website my main goal was to draw attention to the many scientists and inventors that I call the forgotten geeks. It was not my plan to spend a lot of time defending Thomas Edison, after all he does get mentioned often. Some of the Tesla fans point to crazy things that Edison did to discredit him as an inventor. Don't get me wrong, Thomas Edison was no saint, he was a lunatic at times, but to discredit Edison as a means to glorify Tesla is more than a little humorous.

Nikola Tesla was a brilliant man with many ideas and inventions. Nikola Tesla was a colorful character who gives us much to talk about. Nikola Tesla cornered the market on craziness during his lifetime.

Studying the claims of Tesla fans, searching for the truth, has made me even more passionate about my original goals of drawing attention to the forgotten geeks who deserve to be remembered.

A few more links to learn more:

Nikola Tesla versus Thomas Edison and the search for the truth

George Westinghouse used Tesla power to defeat Edison in Currents War 

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There is a sucker born every minute and they are using Google

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American circus entertainer P. T. Barnum is often credited with the statement "there's a sucker born every minute".  I was talking about another famous deputed phrase of P. T. Barnum a few months ago, "there's no such thing as bad publicity," in reference to Marketing 101 and how Pepsi succeeded. In my remarks about how Pepsi succeeded a photo that appears to show  P. T. Barnum with the quote "There's no such thing as bad publicity"  was attached to my posting.

Being an information geek I was curious to learn the origin of the photo of P. T. Barnum.  Doing a quick search of the image on Google quickly showed that the photo was not P. T. Barnum but famous psychologist Bertram R. Forer.

So if the image I think is P. T. Barnum is actually Bertram R. Forer, I ask Google for an image of P. T. Barnum. But now  I am confused, as I use Google to search on a photo of P. T. Barnum they look an awful lot like the same photos identified as Bertram R. Forer.

Bertram R. Forer's connection to P. T. Barnum

In 1948 psychologist Bertram R. Forer gave a psychology test to 39 of his psychology students. Similar to the P. T. Barnum statement "there's a sucker born every minute" Forer was looking to prove that when assessment statements are vague people read their own meaning into the statements. Basically Forer was trying to show that people are easily tricked or manipulated into believing vague things.
 

But Forer did not connect his theories to circus showman Phineas Taylor Barnum. The term "Barnum effect" referring to the the work of Forer was coined in 1956 by American psychologist Paul Meehl in his essay "Wanted A Good Cookbook".


Truth by consensus lies

In the world of Questy websites we have been critical of Google claims that "Democracy on the web works." The phrase "truth by consensus" describes the philosophical theory of taking statements to be true simply because people generally agree upon them.

I am cynical about the artificial intelligence of the internet, as I find examples of where truth by consensus is really a lie. Should I be reasonably certain that most of the photos Google identified as P. T. Barnum are accurate? If that is true, at this point I am not sure that I have found an accurate photo of famous psychologist Bertram R. Forer.

The more examples I find of truth by consensus like this mis-attributed photo of P. T. Barnum to Bertram R. Forer illustrates that there is a sucker born every minute and they are using Google to find the answers to their questions.

 


Truth by consensus and the myths and legends created by the internet | http://questy.com/content/truth-consensus-and-myths-and-legends-created-...

We've Got Something for Everyone: The Barnum Effect | https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201411/weve-got-somet...

F is for Bertram Forer | http://shootingparrots.co.uk/2017/02/15/f-is-for-bertram-forer/

P. T. Barnum | http://www.nndb.com/people/121/000056950/

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Privacy on the Internet is just wishful thinking

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It wasn't all that long ago that former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden was making news accusing the US government of accessing the web servers of some of the biggest internet services for the purpose of data mining, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was becoming a cult hero for exposing government secrets.

Right now there are many arguments over net neutrality that stir up privacy issues into the mix, but they are another area in the fight to control the internet.

Recruiters research prospective candidates on social networking sites as part of pre-hire screening. Social media users have not all learned that the delete key is an illusion. The curse of the digital age is once information is accessed on the internet and passed on to others, there is no way to take it back.

Over at the Guru 42 Universe we talk about the great power comes great responsibility of the internet and the brave new online world. In spite of the fact that their use is increasing everyday, there is a growing distrust of social networking sites. Privacy and personal security concerns become hot topics as websites gather personal information for profiling users to enable advertisers to target them more productively. Ethical and legal concerns are raised as websites make money by selling our digital footprints.

Is privacy a thing of the past?

Back in 1999, Scott McNealy CEO and co-founder of Sun Microsystems uttered the famous quote, "You already have zero privacy. Get over it." Do you think things are any better nearly two decades later?

I know from a long career in telecommunications and computer networking, you have zero privacy.  I don't post my every move on Facebook, and I don't tweet from every restaurant I visit. But I don't go out of my way to run and hide either. I would rather you hear me pitch my view of who I am, instead of visiting one of the many websites offering to sell you anything you want to know about me. Even a simple search can turn up previous addresses and unlisted phone numbers.

I have been accused of blatant self promotion from time to time on social media. I admit to it. I feed the internet with information about me. I believe that a strong defense is to lead with a strong offense. That's not a football strategy, that's my view of dealing with social media.

I write about technology and politics, things like net neutrality, privacy issues, and attempts to regulate the internet. There are no easy answers to the issues. Many issues will involve understanding common ground and compromise.

Do you know who is watching you?

Are you using an email provider like Gmail? Did you know email stored on a third party's servers for over 180 days is considered to be abandoned, and law enforcement agencies only need to provide a written statement certifying that the information is relevant to an investigation in order to obtain the content of such emails. - See more at: Will the Email Privacy Act Become Law?

There are those who will tell you how you can hide your identity on the internet. I must really be cynical, because I wouldn't trust my life on that assumption, as explained in this Washington Post article: The NSA is trying to crack Tor. The State Department is helping pay for it. 

Is privacy just wishful thinking?

The technology generally exists to allow network managers to monitor all aspects of their computer system, including, monitoring sites visited by employees on the Internet, monitoring chat groups and news groups, reviewing material downloaded or uploaded by employees, and reviewing e-mail sent and received by employees.

Most Americans agree that the government should not infringe the individual’s right to privacy, property, and right to speak. But they also agree that law enforcement and national security are important governmental functions.  Interestingly enough, the word “privacy” does not appear in the Constitution.

Some follow up thoughts:

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Protecting your assets balancing better security versus big brother

And a few more articles to get you thinking...

If You Think You're Anonymous Online, Think Again 

Most people don’t realize they are leaving behind digital footprints 

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Marketing 101 and how Pepsi succeeded

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With everything going on in the world it is amazing that the social media crowd is all wound up over a Pepsi advertisement. While there are those who rant just how stupid the Pepsi advertisement was, "How did Pepsi's ad even get off the drawing board?"(1) there are others who understand the nature of marketing stating that "Pepsi's New Ad Is a Total Success"(2)

Why all the outrage?


In a world at war, with so many problems, there are more worse things happening that need discussion than a television commercial.

I doubt that any one single television advertisement is going to make me switch political parties, likewise with my favorite sports teams, I won't switch.

I hate political labels, does it really matter if Republicans and Democrats started the debate, as long as there is a solution to the problem? Next to who is my favorite sports team and what political party I claim as my own, the next most polarizing topic in America might be, do I prefer Pepsi over Coke.

As far as Coke or Pepsi, I have my mind made up. But to a certain extent, whether I drink Coke or Pepsi is somewhat determined by where I eat. Most restaurants serve Coke or Pepsi, very few sell both.

Go ahead boycott Pepsi

There are a few rants on social media proclaiming, "PepsiCo has made its last dollar off of me."

The people who never liked Pepsi, and the haters that hate capitalism and blame it for all our evils will now tell us all how we need to boycott this evil company.

PepsiCo, Inc. is an American multinational food, snack and beverage company. If you feel the need to boycott Pepsi make sure you add Fritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, and Doritos, to your list of things to boycott.

If you are eating out, avoid Pepsi spinoffs KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. At breakfast time you will need to avoid Tropicana, Quaker Oats, Life cereal, and Captain Crunch as well if you really want to show Pepsi who is boss!

Pepsi succeeded!


If Pepsi had produced a silly commercial and everyone ignored it, another day passes and no one notices it. But Pepsi has received a tremendous amount of attention, and chatter on the internet because of this controversy.

According to Google Trends, on average the internet interest for Coke is twice as much as Pepsi, that is until the last few days when people talking and posting about Pepsi has skyrocketed. Pepsi's mentions on social media were up more than 7,000% the day the Kendall Jenner ad debuted, according to Brandwatch, a social media analytics company. Brilliant marketing move by Pepsi!


"There's no such thing as bad publicity." - P. T. Barnum

 

(1) How did Pepsi's ad even get off the drawing board?  https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/04/06/pepsis-ad-diversity/100133470/


(2) Pepsi's New Ad Is a Total Success https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/04/pepsi-ad-success/522021/

 

 

 

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Wayne Gretzky or Babe Ruth then again maybe it was Albert Einstein

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As someone who writes a lot about great inventors and forgotten geeks I get endless questions asking to compare Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.

Recently I have been asked to answer questions comparing Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein to Nikola Tesla.

There is an obsession with "who was smarter" questions, and comparing one successful person to another. The problem with these compare person x to person y questions is that they often ask to compare two totally different people. Do we really need to keep score?

This material in this blog post has been rolling around in my brain for a few weeks. With a few additional questions added to my list, the time has come to address fascination with comparing people.

There is a fascination with comparing people with Einstein. As I amused myself reading some recent questions, I wondered how silly can it get, will people start comparing Albert Einstein to Wayne Gretzky or Babe Ruth?

To those of you who only vaguely know their names, let us take a brief look at the careers of sports legends Wayne Gretzky and Babe Ruth.

Wayne Gretzky played in the National Hockey League from 1978 through 1999. During his career as a hockey player he dominated the sport, he was the NHL's season points leader 10 times and named the NHL most valuable player award nine times.

George Herman "Babe" Ruth was an professional baseball player whose career in Major League Baseball (MLB) spanned 22 seasons from 1914 through 1935. Ruth lead the league in home runs in twelve seasons. At the time of his retirement Babe Ruth held dozens of MLB records.

In sports there are various statistics kept to evaluate the performance of a player. Statistically Babe Ruth was the greatest Major League Baseball player of his generation. Statistically Wayne Gretzky was the greatest National Hockey League player of his generation.



They were very successful in their professional lives, but the sports they played required very different skills. How can we compare Wayne Gretzky to Babe Ruth?

Now let us compare Wayne Gretzky and Babe Ruth to Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein was the most influential physicist of the 20th century, Babe Ruth was the most influential Major League Baseball player of the 20th century, so I should be able to compare them?

Have I gone crazy? This is all sounding absurd, but is it any more absurd than the endless questions of comparison?

I have no idea what the IQ was of any of the successful people I have studied over the years, nor do I care. Some of the most successful people have been looked at as being stupid when they were growing up. On a personal level, some of the "smartest" people I have known were not very successful. They might have been considered a genius on an IQ test, but they never achieved much in life.

The success of famous people has a lot to do with making the most of their opportunities and being a master of their time and circumstances How do you compare complex individuals living in different times working in similar but different professions. I have studied many successful people over the years, in business and technology. A common theme in all successful people is a strong passion for their area of interest. Many had an compulsion, perhaps you could call it an obsession, for success.

It is often said that there is a fine line between genius and insanity. Many successful people operated on that fine line.

Who is the greatest? Who was the smartest? Who was the funniest? Wayne Gretzky or Babe Ruth then again maybe it was Albert Einstein?

Why does it matter?

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In sports and politics sore losers dominate the news

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I try to live by a simple motto: when evaluating your outcomes, look for reasons to succeed, not excuses to fail.

As part of my inspiration to write this blog post, I just updated one of my websites by restoring a story on Thomas Edison and the mythical quote on his 10,000 failures to invent the electric light bulb. You'll find the link to that story at the end of this blog post, and you can read about Thomas Edison as one of the best examples of a successful state of mind

I have stayed away from social media more than usual lately because of all the negativity. The news have been dominated in recent days about people wishing for the failure of the incoming presidential administration.  The world seems to be super charged with negativity. All the "not my president" memes and cartoons are getting way out of hand.

For all the years I have been eligible to vote, going back to the days of Gerald Ford, more often than not, the person who I thought was the best candidate to become president never made it out of the primaries. Along the way I have voted for many losing candidates in the general election. For all my discomfort and frustration, I have always accepted the results of the election, and supported the president in respect for our country. When a candidate I dislike has won, I have asked myself, and others, is there something I could have done to change things?

In the world of the Tao of Questy, the goal is not to take sides in an "us versus them" argument, but to stretch your brain to see things in a different perspective.  To all the sore losers in politics, stop and think about this, when you lose, don’t lose the lesson. On social media I don't see many people asking the question, "Is there something I could have done to change things?"  But I do see a lot of people looking for ways for the new president to fail, hoping he will fail.  So much for good sportsmanship.



Turning to sports

I enjoy sports. I hope it would be a good escape from all the political rhetoric. But today the big story on the sports talk shows is the ranting by Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce who spent his entire postgame media session ripping the referee and the rest of his crew. Worse than the crazy rant by Travis Kelce is the fact that the sports shows keep showing it, and keep talking about it. 

I watched the game. Like most close games there are many things that could have been called that were missed. Yes, it was the heat of the moment, and yes, he was emotional. But this was the same Travis Kelce that was penalized during the game for shoving a player to the ground out of frustration. Another negative example in sportsmanship, and another reason to illustrate why athletes shouldn't be our heroes.

The Dallas Cowboys lost a close game on Sunday. I am not a Cowboys fan, but I was impressed by their interviews after the game.  There was a lot of talk about what they achieved, and how they looked forward to next year. Comparing the two scenarios, it sure gives meaning to the thought that winners have reasons, losers have excuses.

The real heroes in our world

If you are looking for the real heroes in our world you need to read about The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. Created in 1904 by Andrew Carnegie, the commission awards the Carnegie Medal to individuals who risk their lives saving or attempting to save others.

I recently saw a CBS News Sunday Morning segment cover the Carnegie Hero Fund. There are some pretty amazing stories, like the 19-year-old mother of two in Auburn, Illinois, who saved a 75-year-old man who had gotten his wheel chair stuck on the train tracks.

Check out the CBS News Sunday Morning segment, Carnegie Heroes: A definition of selfless humanity.

Check out the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission

Take time to reflect

It's pretty sad that in recent days in sports and politics that sore losers dominate the news. To all the folks in politics who proudly proclaim "not my president" and all the sports stars and fans that blame the loss on the officials, take a moment to step back and reflect.

Winning is not the magnitude of the outcome, it is the perspective of the outcome. Failure is an attitude, not an outcome.

Winners have reasons, losers have excuses.

 

Need some inspiration to succeed? Read about Thomas Edison and why some people never fail

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If American Democracy fails it is all your fault

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A recent question on social media was posed, "Why is American democracy so deeply flawed?"

It is one of those questions that deserves a quick comeback like, "Why are you so stupid?"  I could think of a few more one line responses to this question, but in an effort of being nice, and respectful, I took the time to explain why this question is flawed. If you have read this blog, the Tao of Questy, this post contains themes we rant about often. In this era of post election crying, they are important themes worth repeating.

One of the remarks to the question stated, "Although American citizens have an opportunity to engage in free speech, they choose to spend their time on frivolous activities."  So how does reflect as a flaw of democracy?  Yes, that is exactly why democracy does not work, because people do not take the time, do not invest the effort to make it work.

From studying history in school I remember names and dates on a timeline. History is more than just memorizing a date.  Throughout my life I have visited many historic sites with my family to learn more about the events associated with the famous names and dates.

What do we celebrate on the 4th of July?

What often gets lost in the celebration of the Independence Day holiday is that the battle for Independence was much more that a one day event.

Congress had voted on July 2, 1776 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War.   It would not be until the Battle of Yorktown in 1781 that it appeared the states would actually gain independence as a free nation under the Articles of Confederation of 1781. The states wound not truly be united until The United States Constitution was ratified in 1788.

What does the Star-Spangled Banner celebrate?

In recent weeks people have been protesting Star-Spangled Banner.

If I asked 10 people the significance of September 14th, 1814, I would be surprised if more than one person could answer correctly. That would be the victory in the second war of independence.

What is our commitment to democracy?

You may remember how the Declaration of Independence begins:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another..."

But do you remember how it ends?

"... with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

The Declaration of Independence is more than just a formal statement, it is a commitment to each other. It is that commitment we celebrate on Independence Day. 

The founding fathers of the United States paid a high price to establish this society. They paid a high price for something we often take for granted, they paid a high price for our freedoms.

How many people even use the phrase Independence Day for the name of the holiday. I wish people all the people using the phrase 4th of July for just another excuse to drink and eat took some time to understand the reasons for celebrating Independence Day.

Simple answers don't solve complex problems

So many social issues that deserve attention. Why are there so many crazy people that want to kill their neighbor? Are we spending enough resources on mental health issues? Are people turning to social and political cults because they have some void in their life that needs filled? These questions deserve more than thirty second sound bites, 140 character answers, and cute cartoon memes.

Has the internet and television decreased our attention span to where all the answers need to be thirty seconds or less? I really wish all the problem in life were as simple as they seem to be on social media. They're not.

American democracy is not deeply flawed, it is "We the People" who are flawed. "We the People" in a collective sense, who do not take the time, who do not invest the effort to make it work.

 

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Election over civil war in America not likely democracy is safe

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In the days leading up to the election I avoided social media. I was really tired of hearing about Clinton and Trump. Even watching sporting events became an endless barrage of political commercials that had me turning off the television.

After cruising some online forums and reading Facebook rants,  I offer some thoughts of my own on the aftermath of election 2016.

People protesting democracy?

On one forum someone asked, "Why people are protesting democracy?"  I answered by asking my own questions. "Are people protesting democracy?  Or are people protesting because of democracy?"

Then I offered this quote by Hubert Humphrey, 38th Vice President of the United States, Address to the National Student Council, 1965:   "I wish to suggest that ample opportunity does exist for dissent, for protest, and for nonconformity. But I must also say that the right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously."

Protests will lead to civil war?

Another comment I saw a few times is that the protests would lead to civil war. Protests seldom do much in the long run because real change takes work. Look around at all the Facebook memes, this is a world of quick and easy answers.

I hear a lot of people making noise today about how the system is broken. The same arguments were made after Bush v. Gore in 2000. Ask your average American who is upset today what they remember about Bush v. Gore in 2000.

How many people complaining have ever been to a town council meeting?  Have asked for a meeting with their state representative to share their views? Have gone to a committee meeting of their local Democratic or Republic party to ask how they can make change happen?

If you think something is broken, you need to do more than complain about it. You need to find the answers to how can you fix it.

Giving the finger to the elite?

Another post bashed Trump supporters by stating "how are you giving the finger to the elite when electing a billionaire?"  I don't always see the political elite lining up with the so called 1% elite. Entertainers, movie stars and rock stars are part of top 1% financially and they definitely do not always line up on one side of the political elite.

I'm not here to split hairs on defining elite, but Trump is the first president to not have a background in politics or the military. He was not someone groomed for the job by his party. In that respect the Dems would have had a much greater chance of winning, and IMHO, would have won with Bernie, because he was not seen as a member of the political elite.

When this election cycle started, I thought, please no one named Clinton or Bush. I have nothing personal against the Bush family, but when there was a time that perhaps Jeb Bush was a possible nomination, I thought, please, time for someone not a member of the political elite.

Hillary Clinton was another matter. I held on to hope that someone would beat her, anyone would beat her. I saw her as another member of a political royal family, the Clintons. When it came down to Bernie versus Hillary, I was pulling for Bernie.  His political stance is far too liberal for my liking, but I liked Bernie for a reason I could never like Hillary, I trusted him.  I did not see Bernie as a member of a political royal family, and as much as I might disagree with his views, I trusted him.

For all the wrong reasons

The losers are protesting because they are angry. The winners voted for Trump because they are angry. When Hillary declared that Donald Trump's supporters are deplorables it made a lot of people angry. So angry that people would rather take their chances with a billionaire celebrity television host.

In analyzing the reasons for Trump's victory I saw long lists of reasons in different posts.  Just a perspective from the people I know, the single most important point for the support for Trump from the long list of reasons was that people were angry and wanted to change everything regardless of the consequences.

Hillary lost, Donald won, for all the wrong reasons, and everyone is angry. That's not cool.

Democracy is safe!

The election is over, it's time to move forward. Go beyond the Facebook memes and find the answers to how can you fix the things that bother you.  Civil war in America not likely, let go of the anger, make a new friend.  Democracy will be fine if we all work through this together.

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Many memories to share from Pittsburgh to Detroit Road Trip 2016

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As I began planning a weekend excursion to a Pittsburgh Steelers football game, it slowly morphed into a Pittsburgh to Detroit road trip. It was fun to tell people, yes, I am going on vacation to two great American cities, Pittsburgh and Detroit. Some people gave me a surprised look, as they asked, you want to go to Pittsburgh and Detroit?  Hell yea! They are my two favorite American Cities!

Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I have been going to Pittsburgh on a regular basis for sporting events and concerts for decades. We usually take in some local attraction there while in the area.  To those who ask me, what the heck is there to do in Pittsburgh, I can say every time we go to "the 'Burgh" we always find something to do, and often visit something we have never seen before.

The Frick history complex

Back in March, on our way to see the Penguins play, we embraced a little geek history with a visit the Westinghouse Castle in Wilmerding.  On this visit, we stopped to visit the Frick Art and Historical Center.  Henry Clay Frick was a rich industrialist from the early twentieth century hanging out with the powers of his day like Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon. Walking through the Frick history complex gives you an understanding of just how rich these guys were.

The Frick complex includes the restored  mansion known as Clayton, The Frick Art Museum, The Café, the Greenhouse, and The Car and Carriage Museum.  The Café looked pretty nice, but we did not go into it. We arrived in the area late in the day and I wanted to check out The Car and Carriage Museum, not very large but a nice collection of very rare vehicles. Worth stopping by if you are in the Burgh.

One of the reasons I wanted to check out The Car and Carriage Museum at the Frick was to get some automotive technology photos for another new project, a geek history site focusing on automotive invention and innovation.

Love the Steelers but not Heinz field

Watching Kevin Greene get his Hall of Fame ring at half time, while rock band Styx sang Renegade in the pouring rain was pretty awesome. Having the Steelers build up a 29-0 half time lead was pretty cool as well.

I've been a 'Burgh sports fan since the days of Three Rivers Stadium and the Civic Arena (aka The Igloo). PNC Park and Consol Energy Arena were upgrades, but Heinz Field, not so much.

Maybe someone could do a study, how many restaurants per person in attendance at Heinz Field versus PNC Park or Consol Energy Arena? The Steelers store is so freaking busy before the game you can't move in it and not really shop. Football stadiums hold at least twice as much as baseball stadiums or hockey arenas, so why is there less room to move around and stand inside Heinz Field. Would it really be such a burden to allow people in more than an hour before game time to look around the store and grab a bite from one of the food stands.

PNC Park is one of the best baseball parks in the country. Likewise, we love Consol Energy Arena to visit Penguins games. We love the Steelers but just don't feel the love for Heinz Field.

The road trip to Detroit

We returned to the Henry Ford and Greenfield Village history complex. I wrote about it last year, it is an amazing place. Many places I visit I look at with the attitude of been there, done that. The Henry Ford complex is like the Smithsonian complex in Washington, no matter how much you take in, you can always return and realize what you missed on your last visit. We also toured the Ford River Rouge Complex where the F-150 pickup trucks are made.

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit is one of the coolest automotive museums you will find, taking you back to the early twentieth century, and learning about the manufacturing of the Model T Ford.  The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is not far from many deserted buildings that were abandoned due to a declining auto industry. I did not take pictures of the deserted buildings, and dwell on the failures of the past. I was happy to take pictures inside of the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, and appreciate the volunteers who help run the museum. Our tour guide at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant was a walking encyclopedia of automotive history.

Another great place we visited, also staffed by great volunteers, was the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing, Michigan. We learned a lot about automotive pioneer Ransom Eli Olds, and his two different companies, Oldsmobile and REO. Between the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, and the  R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing, I learned so much more about automotive history. I'll be busy for awhile sorting through all the pictures, and my thoughts, adding to my geek history websites.

Pittsburgh and Detroit?

In recent years I have said that Pittsburgh and Detroit seem to be more alike than different.  As a stats geek, it is interesting to note that the cities themselves have had very similar growth and declines over the years. Both cities were at their population peak in the 1950s, and both cities are now at less than half the size now than they were in the 1950s.  But numbers like that are true of many mid-western cities, where manufacturing has left, urban areas have shrunk, and many people have moved to the suburbs.

You hear stories about all the economic issues with Michigan in general, and Detroit in particular. There are many people who post pictures of Detroit making it look like a deserted desolate city, like something from a Mad Max movie. I know these neighborhoods exist, but they do not represent all of Detroit. This is the third year we have traveled through Michigan, and the second time we have visited the Detroit area. I have not found the Detroit area to be any more frightening than many other cities on the east coast.

Over the years Pittsburgh has done a good job of going from a steel town to a more diversified city that has embraced many industries. Detroit is a bit behind, but I see the slowly happening there. Recovery isn't easy, and doesn't happen overnight. After another fun filled road trip to learn about the rich history of the Detroit area, and speaking to the many people along the way, I wish them well, and hope for their recovery.

Pittsburgh and Detroit? Hell yea! They are my two favorite American cities!

Photo by Tom Peracchio taken at Henry Ford Greenfield Village Dearborn Michigan October 2016.

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