Category Archives: technology

Just Because You Post It On Facebook Doesn’t Make It True

Social Media and the Democratization of Truth

I am quite fond of social media. I love the connection, the sharing of information, and the ease of interchange. With all of its benefits, however, come a number of drawbacks. With the election season in full swing, I am reminded how the equal playing field of the world wide web has negatively impacted an ability for honest dialogue.

In theory, it seems nice that niche news services no longer have exclusive access to “the facts” (if there are such things). We have seen numerous examples where non-official sources have provided better information than traditional news outlets. However, more often than not ideology trumps truth and punditry trumps accurate sources. Say what you will about traditional news outlets (and much negative can be said) but the idea that “facts” must be vetted and checked is important. It seems that news agencies are getting themselves in trouble when they try to compete with bloggers or try to push an ideological agenda.

One quick glance at Facebook provides me with numerous opinions and quotes concerning politics, economics, religion, and more. Some are inspiring, clever, and quite persuasive. However, often the powerful and untrue statements are given equal weight with the mundane yet accurate. I mean, where else can the ramblings of an unemployed college student be on par with a trained economist on the topic of rising gas prices. The same is true for theologians, teachers, and more. While education does not guarantee truth it is important to recognize that some sources are more reliable and more qualified than others.

Why Scholarship is Better than Punditry

This is precisely why scholarship, at least in its best iterations, is so enlivening.

  1. Scholarship values disagreement without being disagreeable.
  2. Scholarship relies on peer review for accuracy of information and strength of argument.
  3. Scholarship prioritizes truth over ideology.

Now scholarship can fall into the same ideological traps as anything else but it hopefully has the necessary safeguards to avoid a never ending spiral into meaningless bickering.

I suppose there is little recourse to the current state of dialogue in the public arena. Hopefully, more people will take the quest for truth and honesty seriously and learn that every opinion is not equally valid.

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Amazon MP3 vs. iTunes

As my friends will tell you, I am quite the “mac-vangelist.”  When it comes to design, functionality, and overall coolness all other computer companies are trying to keep up with Apple.  If there was ever a flaw in the Apple plan to take over the computer world, it would be there attempt to control everything from hardware to software.  This sort of control provides unparalleled integration but also leads to problems when one’s personal creative endeavors hit an Apple imposed roadblock.

Apple controls apps for iphone/ipad and much of the content released in iTunes.  As a result, when it comes to buying music online I almost exclusively turn to Amazon.com’s mp3 service.

First, Amazon allows you to purchase music in a DRM free (unrestricted) mp3 format.  I don’t have to worry about how I will use my music on various computers and media devices.

Second, Amazon has seamlessly integrated purchasing with my iTunes player.  As soon as I purchase music it is immediately downloaded and moved to my iTunes folder.

Third, Amazon is almost always cheaper per album and often has sales of entire albums for less than $5.  The other day they had almost 20 albums they were giving away!

Finally, despite the expected seamlessness of the iTunes music store with iTunes, I find Amazon’s more traditional website easier to navigate.