Coping: A Study in “Webanoia”

What happens when you cross a high speed internet connection, high resolution video, too much spare time, and a mild case of paranoia?  It’s a phenomena I call “webanoia” and it showed up this morning as a well intended email from a reader:

FYI  ????

“Subject: 57 Vessels/Ships Anchored Off Shore of NJ, MD/VA

I have no idea what this means.  The person whom I consider to be my best friend called this morning and mentioned it, saying “they aren’t friendly.”  That doesn’t deal with why the ships are there – they might have found an excellent fishing hole, for all I know.  I just know they’re there.  This would probably be a good weekend to have the gas tank filled, some extra cash and food around the house, etc.  Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.  “

So this one is making the rounds, is it?  Well, here’s where use of date tools in search engines can be useful in trying to figure out how paranoid to be about things:

The first thing we do is check on Maritime and note that they don’t show anything particularly unusual in the way of traffic off the East Coast.  Then we run though a selection of weather other satellite image sites and nothing pops so we then become a little suspect.  Surely, after all, if there were really 57 ships which weren’t friendly, government would be scrambling. 

No signs of scramble.

So about here we ask “Is this one of those hoaxes/honest mistakes that happens on the net?” 

The story can be traced back to its earliest beginnings, and from there it lands on sides like InvestmentWatchBlog, and Before It’s News, and ibloga and FromThe Trenches.  then we find it on YouTube, LunaticOutput, and even Free North Carolina.blogspot and others.

The point?  A scent of anything that even begins to smell like smoke is fanned up into a solid smolder on  the internet on conspiracy leaning sites in a process that takes about four days to work through the process.

Oh…and what does the original source of the report, which as best we can figure was posted at the Godlike Productions site and there, the original posted an explanation on Tuesday of this week:

“Ok folks..
Here’s the deal. There does seem to be a glitch in the server where the ship info is coming from. The weather reports are coming from a few ships on the move instead of being anchored. But the older reports from some of those ships older locations while on the move are not being removed. Normally it’s one ship giving one report one location at a time. Old ship locations are not being removed from the map!
Sorry for starting this thread. I should of dug further before posting this thread. But Like I said, I been using this program for 5 years and never had a problem. The problem is with the server where the ship info is coming from and it’s a first glitch I ran into in 5 years.
A few members posted simple and to the point debunks without being rude which helped me looked into things a bit further. After all, we all want the truth and so do I, and I like to thank those members. Thanks”

Are there lessons is this and are there some operating practices for bloggers implied?  You bet!

For one thing, I very seldom get sucked in to these kind of mindlessly repeated kinds of story-chains, if I can call them that, because it is easy enough to go back to the original source and see what is out there from the source…

In this morning’s example, hats off to the crowd at Godlike Productions because they very quickly corrected the error (Tuesday) yet the story has continued until eventually hitting my inbox this morning.

It wasn’t particularly hard to run down (only took about 10-minutes of piecing things together) but it’s an example of the kind of repetition/reposting issue that that happen on the net and which, in turn, MIGHT be used as an excuse by government in some future time to try and steal some of the last remnants of the Constitution from us, citing the propagation of stories like this around the net.

The Internet is a marvelous place, but it helps to be aware that many times, sites post information which a few minutes of additional effort can track back to a source, which is what good reporting is all about.  And the original GLP poster who checked his own work is a standup fellow in our view.

The “Constant Christmas” Idea

Long time reader (and ham radio expert, TV station engineer, and more) Hank sent me an email that said “Incoming!” and sure enough, when I fetched the mail Thursday, what do you think was there, fresh from Hawaii?

Macadamia nuts and Kona Roast!  Which means this morning, Ure’s truly is Kona-powered and, since I have been toning life down with [boring] decaf, this is a special treat.  (The BP/pulse has remained steady 120/74/55 all morning, so I may up the dose to something stronger than apple juice color next…)

Since no good turn goes unpunished, I’ve been trying to think of something we could send in return…although Texas ain’t presactly coffee growing country, we do have some mighty fine nuts growing in two areas.  One, which everyone has heard of is out in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) where pecans are shaken on a regular basis.

The other, less often acknowledged, is Austin where the majority of locally produced (and a few imported) nuts can be seen in self-gather events collectively called the Texas State Legislature.

But seriously, or nearly so, this all gets me to thinking about a fine way to improve the world:  It’s a concept I call “Constant Christmas.” 

The idea is simple enough:  People just start to actually do nice things when the mood strikes them.  Instead of saving up all our “nice” for one time of the year, we do it all at year long.

You don’t need to interact with other people, either.  Constant Christmas can be played solo:  Just knock back one too many of your favorite adult self-medication and hop on Amazon.  Then, when you come home, or the UPS guy knocks and says “Hi, George…what’cha got this time?”  you’ll be able to look him in the eye and say “Heck if I know!

Not that such a thing has ever happened in real life, of course.

The number of reasons for the world to observe “Constant Christmas” continue to mount up.  Especially since the National Bank of Dad gets money requests year-round for special loan rates (zero percent) and since the world could use a double-dose of thinking about others for a change any old time now.

So if you’d like to run off and start a new public service organization called Constant Christmas, that’d be a fine thing to do.  And best of all, it would create a fresh round of hiring for overweight 60-something males, many of whom have worked their asses off looking for the Golden Years.

Another decade like the one we’ve just had, which mugged millions out of life savings,  and we’ll all be busted and broken.

Already the idea is catching on, too, if you know where to look.

Why “Constant Christmas” is already a longstanding proposition in Washington, D.C.

Ure Un-Henged

OK, I got sidetracked on Stonehenge this week, but only because of a lack of fresh WuJo reports.  This morning reader Susan sent this:

George, I always enjoy your columns.  Being more than a bit of a history buff, and having cut several infant teeth on Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Venerable Bede, I seemed to recall several earlier items regarding Stonehenge.  This article reprises a good many, and includes an etching done by Inigo Jones of how the area looked during his era:

The link is here, but if you take time to read it, there’s a woo-woo cross over down in the Geoffrey of Monmouth part where they get into thinks like Merlin bringing the Giant’s Round from Ireland to England.

Yeah, sure, you bet’cha.  See?  The line between fantasy blurs with this old stuff.   On the other hand, reader Michael’s take on it is much more to my liking…

George, These may not be the best sources, but my point is that the Danes and other (later called) Scandinavian rulers (aka Vikings, the Kalmar Union, Danish King, etc.) controlled various parts of what we now call Britain, off and on, for a number of centuries….Sure the Brits changed the story once they got in the “writer’s seat.”  Denmark got its royal a** kicked in front of the whole nation in 1801 by England and, subsequently, literally became a bankrupt, second-rate country by 1813.  If any of these Norse peoples or others “associated” with them had anything to do with Stonehenge, of course the Brits would have changed the story.

Oh, and likely trashed its layout, which circles back to where I started from this week. 

For now, I’m gonna hang up my Texiana George bullwhip and abandon desktop archeology.  Desktop finance is a lot more profitable and there are other meanings to stoned which come to mind…

Release the Chickens!

What’s the worst part about chickens?  Well, let me tell you from raising them that about the worst part about ‘em is getting up every morning and going up to the coup and releasing them from their penned up safety overnight.  And then, when you’ve settled in watching a movie and are about ready for bed… “Damn!  I forgot to close up the chickens.”

Reader Wayne up in Montana has come up with an answer to this one…

Hi George,
Ran into an EE and ham  when asking for info on my new chicken coop door.  (Naturally, I want it to do more then simply open and close.)

His chicken door company is Adorstore  in The Woodlands, south of you by about 80 mi.  His parent company is Allogic, Inc;   embedded firmware design and electronic hardware design consulting, including conception, prototyping, manufacturing. CAD Printed Circuit artwork. (from Bing search)

I saw the listing of stuff he does, and thought all y’all might be a mutual resource.

Darn useful information to have! At $200-bucks, it isn’t cheap, but since they are running a one week backlog, they must be doing OK.  We haven’t been running chickens for about two years now.  The chickens aren’t a bother, but the coons, chicken snakes and regular feed and watering and such gets to be a bother.    For low, local “yard eggs” are running about $E2-bucks a dozen while somewhere around twice that if found, scrubbed, and packaged up in a store.   But nothing like fresh eggs….so yeah, has me thinking about that.

For the folks up north, I wonder if the door makers have figured out to turn on a light to boost laying in the winter?

Duh: Area 51 is Real

Not that it wasn’t before, but CNN reports that it’s now being officially acknowledged.  Of course piloting out West everyone knows what those ‘restricted” areas mean…”Don’t fly here unless you are bored and your idea of a good time is a long interview…”

Even  those places on aeronautical charts that say “Notice” For reasons of national welfare….” are mostly intriguing places.

New Nova

It’s in the vicinity of Delphinus and was visible earlier this week…don’t know about tonight, but if you’re a backyard star gazer, it’s something to look at (besides that apartment across the way…)

With the Weekend Here

imageThere is so much to do around here I can’t keep it all on a list.  But I did spend three hours with my groundskeeper hat on Thursday so the old “trailer in the woods” looks all proper and respectable-like going into the weekend.

A good part of Thursday was spent with the string trimmer doing fence line work.  But the result pays off. 

There are just some parts of house maintenance that are really rewarding:  mowing to reveal a golf-course grade lawn that just begs for some putting, a crisp looking fence line, sharp paint edges.

Pappy always wondered why people fertilize lawns, but if he’d taken up golf, he would have known the answer.  To him it was just making more work for yourself and that point isn’t entirely lost around here.

It’s the fine points that turn an average bit of work into quality…and with the weekend to do it it and no one but ourselves to please, doing an outstanding job on the things that reflect our core values is about as good as it gets.

A reader sent me a note with a video to watch “just in case you run out of things to do…” and I sent him back a note saying “I dream of the day when I will run out of things to do, but wonder what being dead will be like…”

As the old saying goes among those who work for themselves in the end:  “Only two more working days after today till Monday!”

More for Peoplenomics readers tomorrow in the meantime…