Friday, August 31, 2012

Media Wars

Many of us are numbed by the media wars - polarizing 24/7 assaults on the "other side."  It is very hard to straighten out the facts.  In a previous blog, I gave you links to various fact checking sites.  In a hard-hitting opinion piece in the Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), Tom Ehrich writes about this.  The article title is "Your best weapon in a war of ideas is information" (Sat., Aug. 18, 2012).  Some important quotes from the article:

1- "I do recognize that being informed takes effort."
2-  "Dueling opinions are the heartbeat of politics.  Dueling facts, however, lead mainly to shouting, bullying and mistrust."
3- [when media outlets] "simply broadcast misinformation, the work of staying informed gets more complicated."

This political season, do your part as a citizen and work at the truth.  Our future depends on it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Book on Knowledge

Highly recommend reading this: Weinberger, David.  Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room is the Room . Perseus Books Group. 2012. 
He says:  Knowledge has been about reducing what we need to know.  Knowledge is now a property of the network, and the network embraces businesses, governments, media, museums, curated collections, and minds in communication.  What has our Web experience revealed so far?  His five factors are:
        Abundance. There is more available to us than we ever imagined back in the days of television and physical libraries.  
        Links.   Ideas can be hyperlinked, and you can go from one to another with a mere click.
        Permission-free. The default is that people can read, post, and build what they want on the Net.
        Public. What you can see, generally others can see. The Net is a vast public space within which the exclusion of visitors or content is the exception.
        Unresolved. The longer you spend on the Net, the more evidence you have that we are never all going to agree on anything.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


When you have a question, what is it?  Is it an inquiry? is it required?  Is it filling in a gap?  Or is it a QUEST -- i.e. discovery, investigation, seeking.  Are you just asking or do you really want to know?  Even when we are seeking information as part of a job -- unless we "own the question" just like we "own the problem," then we will find less than optimal results.

Estimate the time it will take and estimate how much time you are willing to devote to it.  What's the difference?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Cave Story

The Cave Story -- You are on vacation in the mountains.  You like cave hunting so you go to a challenging area to test your skills.  You and a friend go a long way into one and find a large cavern.  Despite it being poorly lit, you see some shiny rocks. This is unusual given the gray and dark tones of everything else you've seen.  Going over to the rocks, they shine with jewel like luster.  Should you haul them out?  Should you document your steps, go some place, and make a claim?

Most of us would assume that it was not worth the effort.  We would leave and have a fun story to tell.  But can you change the story line and make these guys millionaires?  What would have to happen to change the ending?

Hint:  All paths lead through information discovery.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Staying in the Know

It's easy to have too much or too little - isn't it?  Try staying in the know without spending too much time or effort.  Not easy.  Most of us don't like what the media is doing.  But we still need to know.  What we may do is resort to the easy (but harmful) way out.  What I mean is to give up and not try to go after the info we need or we may rest easy with one key outlook (and only one perspective).  It is especially tempting, when that outlet insists it has the truth.  Look up the phrase, "media literacy," sometime.  It gets at the investment in focus and effort at being savvy with regards to our news and our media usage.  There is always a risk to learning.

Friday, July 20, 2012

When it Comes to Decision Time

When it comes to a point in time when you need to decide -- either you make the decision or you let circumstances dictate it.  Take possession.  Decide to decide.  In order to decide you need:

1. Identify and fill in the gaps of what you need to know.
2. Find someone reliable that you can ask for information or at least, you can ask to hear out your thinking process.
3. Determine how much you need to find out for yourself versus how much you can ask others for (and rely on others for).
4. Remember my comments on thinking fast and slow.  Make sure to gear your decision based on its priority and your intuition about it.

Overcoming the Unfamiliar

As the world grows more complicated and complex, we face the unfamiliar more often.  Philosophers postulate that there is growing complexity in the world.  To me it seems true that we have to handle more communications and from more varied platforms.  I do have the following: desk computer; laptop; smartphone; and telephone.  That's just the devices.  Then I have multiple email accounts and multiple other accounts online.  Overcoming the unfamiliar comes down to two key actions.  First is to commit to mastering or learning the new device, task, or area.  Second is to set aside the time to spend on it.  If you cannot tell me your commitment level, I cannot help guide you in your Find & Learn activities.  Gearing your learning has to do with commitment and priorities.