Tag Archives: androids

conversational exchange

conversational exchange 



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It’s ‘Digital Heroin’: How Screens Turn Kids Into Psychotic Junkies

December 20th, 2016 by Kevin

My sons, aged 9 and 6, get 30 minutes of video (that I’ve approved) per day and then 1.5 hours of gaming on Saturdays and Sundays, assuming all homeschool lessons are completed.

As little screen time as this is, I’ve found that they have become obsessed with the stuff they encounter in the small windows of time they’re allowed screen access. We’re hearing about diamond swords and Endermen outside of screen time, for example.

Becky was against giving them any screen time at all, but I was worried that they would eventually grow up, encounter screens and become consumed with the whole mess. I met a guy who wasn’t allowed to watch any TV as a child who became really addicted to it as an adult. Also, they know about video games in the first place because they’ve seen my Crysis, Bioshock, Starcraft, etc. boxes on my bookshelf! If you’re a gamer and you don’t want your kids to be gamers: Definitely throw out the boxes and don’t let them know that you do it!

Misha Pemble-Belkin, from Restrepo, is probably the main reason I chose to dose my boys with small amounts of screen time. Raised by “hippy” pacifists, Belkin wasn’t allowed to play with toy guns or watch violent movies as a kid. He grew up, joined the U.S. Army and was happy to be killing people with a MK-19 automatic grenade launcher in Afghanistan. For parents who implement a lot of bans, I think there’s a lesson to be learned from Belkin.

I decided to try giving my boys modest amounts of screen time (as indicated above), but I wonder if it was the right thing to do. My wife still thinks that zero screen time is the way to go. It might be that there’s no good answer and that some options are just less bad than others. I do get a feeling, however, that outright banning would backfire badly.

Via: New York Post:

There’s a reason that the most tech-cautious parents are tech designers and engineers. Steve Jobs was a notoriously low-tech parent. Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page went to no-tech Montessori Schools, as did Amazon creator Jeff Bezos and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Many parents intuitively understand that ubiquitous glowing screens are having a negative effect on kids. We see the aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and the wandering attention spans when children are not perpetually stimulated by their hyper-arousing devices. Worse, we see children who become bored, apathetic, uninteresting and uninterested when not plugged in.

But it’s even worse than we think.


Video games are more addictive than ever. This is what happens when kids can’t turn them off.

Posted in Collapse, Health, Technology




Presence-Based Coaching

Copyright 2008 by Douglas K. Silsbee.

All rights reserved.

Published by Jossey-Bass

A Wiley Imprint

989 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103-1741—www.josseybass.com

Presence-Based Coaching offers coaches a hands-on resource for developing the capacities and skills needed to be reliably present in all situations, and shows how to let go of habitual –and often ineffective–ways of responding. As author and leadership expert Doug Silsbee explains, once a coach has mastered the inner moves of directing their own attention, they can work to develop the same capability in their clients. The ability of a coach to facilitate lasting, sustainable development in leaders rests on the presence a coach offers to the coach-client relationship.

Cultivating Self-Generative Leaders Through Mind, Body and Heart

Chapter 2 pdf: PBC-Ch-2

The full book is available here:


Silsbee’s web site: 


See also: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYhASLxW6tQ (2:32)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOBVTMiTEeM (9:42)

The Mindful Coach: Seven Roles for Helping People Grow






I am presently reading Michael Crichton’s novel Timeline; my wife suggested it because we’d previously watched an indie movie about time travel. I’ll have lots more riffs off of this novel in the future, but one thing that stayed snagged in my mind was the scene of the preparation for the momentous flight from a modern-day high-tech company in the New Mexico desert back to a spot on the Dordogne River in medieval France.

The support staff, operating like a squad prepping astronauts, squirted an organic polymer into the ears of the time traveler so that, after the biodegradable stuff hardened, some other technican could drill it out to implant some electronics.

In Crichton’s tale, at the landing site in 1357, they speak only some strange variants of Old English, Occcitan and Middle French.  But the ear piece, aside from having a built-in microphone, translated those old lost languages for the people that fell back 750 years ….



Today, of course, we have all manner of technical goodies that you can put into your ear, clip onto your ear, slip onto your wrist, or slide into your back pocket.  You can dial up someone at any location on the earth from right where you sit (or stand, or walk, or sit). Smart phones are getting mighty sophisticated; I’m sure they can translate for you at some level, though not as well as in Crichton’s fertile imagination. The age of the super-empowered individual is upon us. I don’t know what Thiel, Cook et al have in store (pardon the pun) for the near future, but I’m sure it’s exciting.

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end,… We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.



So it is with a concern about and a focus on our ability to communicate clearly with one another that I thought the mythical or prototypical electronics in Crichton’s fictional polymer earpiece might be tweaked or upgraded to translate for us when we found ourselves suddenly dropped into conversations at work, at home, when we’re out socially, when our conversational exchanges seemed to be between two people from different centuries, planets, cultures or simply experiences and mindsets.

You know the times.

They occur when people are being passive-aggressive, when they are being sarcastic but forgot to give you the emoji hand-signal, when they became obtuse and started to run on endlessly, when they took a left turn and simply lost you, when they used some local dialogue like “Valley Girl”, or when — quite simply, and without having to be harsh or demeaning of anyone else — the two of you can’t seem to be in the same chapter, let alone on the same page.

Perhaps the other party has difficulty concentrating, is overworked, their mind is elsewhere, or there’s too much technology in the way (PDA’s, texting, TV, interruptions, distractions).  Perhaps they (or you) are anxious, and there’s some underlying medical or psychological reason you have to learn to deal with or accept, or at least navigate gently through or around. Word-finding difficulties are common, as are momentary lapses in memory. Sometimes this can be awkward. Perhaps the subject is too damn difficult for one of you to address. Maybe there’s a combative atmosphere, or not enough respect present.  Maybe one of you is thwarting dialogue by lying, threatening, stonewalling, crying, shouting, going silent, or becoming accusatory, or lapsing into silence, or taking offense.

You’ve had these moments, I’m sure.


But relax…  I’m sure if the high-tech world has already begin to work on robotic sex devices that look like celebrities, all those people at Trump’s recent summit will soon have software for your earpiece that, in addition to translation, will function as conversational coaches.

They’re removeable and biodegradable, so if you have someone you simply don’t want to communicate with at all, you can just take them out and throw them away.


Celebrity sex robots could thrust human intercourse aside, experts predict 


“… “It could be that we are so busy with our lives, we are so embedded in our technological narrative that the idea of engaging in long-distance sex and robot sex is actually a natural process in our evolutionary cycle,” Dr. Trudy Barber from Portsmouth University said at the International Congress of Love and Sex with Robotics on Monday.

The scientist, who is a leading figure in the study of technology’s impact on our sexuality, believes that machines will help us cherish “the real thing” and make our “real-time relationships more valuable and exciting.”

Robots will become an “extra human race” and help humans explore “our sexual pallet,” she added…..”

[Ed.: You may want to do it on a pallet with a robot, but be careful of the splinters. As for palate, you can buy reverse-engineered human pheromones or fruity lubricants in the back of “respectable” magazines. Or maybe you should just invite your potential mate to a smorgasbord.

About Kim Kardashian, Ryan Gosling and Scarlett Johansson…, no thanks.]


scanning the horizon

Scanning The Horizon

I pulled some text out of the archives from my old (now deleted) blog and, stimulated by the DVD lectures on the skills of writing that I’ve been watching in my spare time, decided to use the block of old text as a learning tool, i.e. to edit it and re-write it as an exercise in improving my writing.  

Every sentence is built upon the core of a “proposition”, the setting forth of an idea or philosophy. The question for the reader and the writer is then whether that proposition has been successfully, effectively and perhaps even elegantly argued. 

I have a buddy who’s taking a course in how to write song lyrics, which are like poetry in some ways, or at least sparse prose, but I’d guess the challenge for the individual who wants to write a song (a piece that advances a story, or an idea, or a philosophical approach) is the same task, with perhaps more emphasis on rhythm, harmony and so on.


music audio

Robben Ford, Steve Lukater & Larry Carlton – All Blues


Scanning The Horizon

music audio

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, October 24, 1973

RON CARTER bass and leader, JOE HENDERSON tenor sax,


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbSFOMBPJDU (9:29)




It’s always with a strange anticipatory brew of trepidation, amusement, and astonishment that I snap on the computer to look around and see what the world has done with itself since I last shut it off. (That an online portal is a major source of “world view” is a given, but it doesn’t exclude family, neighbors and others. One can’t help but notice the interpersonal isolation as we all paw our personal androids; Anne Branscomb warned us it would happen 35 years ago, that the new media would re-organize social alignments. Ideally, such scanning would also involve ongoing education, and extensive social interaction.)

When one speaks of amusement, of course one must keep in mind the proclamation of Charles II in October 1688 that “all bold and irreverent Speeches touching matters of high nature, and all malicious and false Reports tending to Sedition, or to the Amusement of Our People, are punishable…”, hence the internal angry trumpet of alarum of trepidation and the astonishment in the stunning thunder from afar.

This mix of internal and external psycho-neurological stimuli and noise derives from a series of categories: 

  • whether it is seeing what immoral war crime has been committed, or 
  • what “game” or “op” has been invented (or reconfigured or trotted out in new clothing in an attempt to hide its nature and the identities of its progenitors), or 
  • what new “toy” has been created by Q [DARPA], or 
  • what politically hilarious maneuver or statement has been made to manipulate something or someone’s opinion, or 
  • what signal has been sent to those in higher unseen positions of authority of their fealty to a greater objective of which they do not speak and we are not supposed to know.  

A 4-6 hour foray to produce the entries at http://www.occurrencesforeigndomestic.com from across the usual spray of outlets, starting with e-mail and RSS feeds, Comcast and Google News (the former heavy with entertainment-oriented schlock, the latter with predictable and limited sources), those few places I spend any time that have discussion threads, those locales where I made recent comment, or the usual lengthy parade of places on my list of “favorites” that could be characterized in great part as “the alternative media”.  

I stay away from places like Huffington Post and DU, or Free Republic, unless someone else of note and merit has noted something from such a place. 

The state and quality of online discussion and dialogue, moderated or not, has degraded much, like the culture itself or the roadways and three-dimensional agorae in these parts (where rules, decorum and common sense have given way to exceptionalism, vitriol, narcissim, etc.).  

I’ve made comments in the past on the process of rating blogs and web sites, and I’ve been saying for years (at CommonGroundCommonSense, the Deep Politics Forum, in my old-and-now-disappeared blog, and here) that it is possible technically and otherwise to establish a software-based system of rating and ranking web sites for their political leanings, their accuracy, the quality of their writing, the degree to which they engage in creative independent research, journalism, art or in other ways of contributing to the global online dialogue. I’ve also promised to say more about how bloggers can collaborate more, and more effectively. 

As people dabbling in political culture and commentary, we surely judge another site on the basis of its alignment with our own political self-identity. The obvious corners of Republican, conservative, Democratic, liberal, progressive, Green/environmental, libertarian, socialist, communist, pro-Zionist, anti-Zionist, and support for our favorite personal cause, etc. become involved. 

It is more difficult to judge one another, and we may get farther faster, if we actually engage in purposeful, functional conversation instead of looking for a vehicle on which we can pin (like a bulletin board in a college hallway) our own urls and tags in hopes that someone will throw some money in our direction. 

Lately, people seemed to be judged by others on the degree (on a spectrum of energy and force) to which they speak on such issues as global warming, apartheid, war, and the other sub-components of foreign and domestic policy. If someone isn’t angry enough, loud enough, or outrageous enough, they soon lose favor with readers, or get voted down in terms of return visits. Are we all Hare Krishna beggars in the airport passageways of the world?

We are, each of us, unique individuals. We grew up in unique places, with unique circumstances, were schooled in specific and often unknown or unstated ways, were altered on the basis of who are spouses or friends were, etc.  Moreover, and much more importantly, we have changed, and are subject to change again.  The current statist phrase is that we got “radicalized” on the Internet but — at least in my case — some deep and prolonged reading of books that are not put front and center in our culture can actually change an opinion, an awareness.  

Moreover, and equally importantly, we are people of “place”; we live with others in a community or region or culture which itself may have been a focal point in terms of the topic at hand. Some of us are more “experienced” than others in war, hatreds, religious influences, etc.  Some of us have accessed more valid and important areas of information. Each of us has some skill or awareness that can and ought to be shared. Some are more able to hold the deeply-held beliefs and natures of our “surround” than others. 

But when I turn on my computer for my intentional act of standing up straight among the grasses of the plains to look for movement, there are places I can glance, sometimes for some time, to ascertain the direction of the wind, the threats on the horizon… 

There are certain “shamans” on the Internet whose word and explanation add perspective and flavor and which I trust — at least for the next little while. And I make up my own mind — for the moment — until someone or something brings me to question a prior conclusion, however temporary or permanent.  

And tomorrow is another day.