A couple of days ago I was able get out the Ithaca and shoot some clay pigeons. That is not to say I haven't shot recently, I had a good duck and goose season, but not very often have I gone out and put a couple hundred rounds through my shotguns. There is something clarifying about the ritual of safety and readiness. That something does not occur on a daily basis, clarity of task, being in the moment, an amnesia from what else needs to be done. So rarely during our normal days do we get to have perfect alignment with our purpose, distractions abound.
Often the only place that I achieve this peace of purpose is fishing or hunting. A moment of perfect concentration and oneness with an event. It is not the act of catching or shooting but the instant before the shot or the strike. The time of timelessness, an infinite instance. We all have some activity that brings this simplicity of being to us, an activity we need. Not an activity of blankness of nothingness but one of connectedness to the moment.
To start with, all the candidates for the presidency of the United States of America seem to have more weaknesses then strengths this year. The race has become a situation of choosing the lesser evil depending on your point of view. I will strive to point out silliness on both sides of the campaign but today's silliness is something that is apolitical, it is silliness based on granting way too much power to "the google".
'The Road We've Traveled' With Obamaby Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal today uses a statistic that drives me crazy, a statistic that pundits and lazy reporters use to show that their subject is interesting or that their argument is sound. The statistic is how many hits a search term will have when used in a google search. Here is the example that got me fired up today:
"If you Google "Obama, Blame, Bush" and "Obama, Inherited," you'll get tens of millions of hits."
My first point is, who the hell cares! We all know and have known for sometime that once you get past the first ten results of a google search result set the rest is usually just meaningless drivel. Who in their right mind is going to go to result 10,938,122?
Second point, search terms used as key words and not phrases will yield results regardless of the order. So that a fictitious article title "Blame Obama not Bush" would show up. It gets even worse if the "or" operator is used. For example, imagine that many of the results mentioned had just the word Obama in them and not blame or Bush. President Obama is after all, the leader of the dominant power on the Earth right now, if the internet has any viability as a news and information source there should be lots of results when you search his name. To further make my point, I will speculate many results had just Bush in them but I did not check them for fear of ending up on a Estonian porn site(no link here for many reasons) and having my identity stolen. The search hits are really meaningless without knowing how the search is put together.
My next point is that content is syndicated on the internet, many sites have identical articles and many crappy little blogs (hopefully not this one) have content that is pasted into them. So how many of these results are redundant? I am not sure, but some enterprising media graduate student could have a very good thesis on this topic.
Finally, I searched on the word "the", I got "about" 25,270,000,000 results. That means that the work "the" must be very important in some context, very similar to "42 is the answer, now what is the question". 'nuff said.
The better measure, especially in the context of campaigning, would be to find out how many searches are occurring. That data can come from a tool like google trends.
After years of reading various blogs, it has finally hit me that my ideas and experiences are as valid as the next guy when it comes to throwing some ideas out into memesphere. The fact that I use memesphere in the first sentence of the my first ever blog entry will tell you how I think about the internet. Frankly, it is still an ill defined morass of competing gunk. Is it pure data, is it community, is it commerce, is it a gigantic waste of time, the "is it's" could go on forever (* Warning: linked content is the very first google result of the anchor text unless there is a real reason not to have it, heck I heard linking was good for blogs so I added some). I will occasionally try to ferret an answer out in a post, but it will be infrequent, primarily because there are much more interesting things to blog about then the philosophical underpinnings of a large amorphous blob of data. The more interesting things are not in any particular order: google, fishing, travel, entrepreneurship, business, hunting, mobile computing and bunch of other stuff.
Some more quick points before I get going.
Life isn't fair and neither is this blog. I will moderate all posts and maintain the right to nuke any and all boorish behavior (grammar and spelling trolls I am talking to you). Haters have to hate, but they don't have to be heard.
Please make comments. This is a two way street. My posts will probably be generally illogical ramblings and it will be up to you, the user, to raise the level of discourse above that of a drunken squirrel monkey. I will try to honor comments with rational responses.
You may learn something. This is one thing that I am pretty sure the internet is not for, so be warned.