Friday, October 28, 2011

Where are the Ebooks?

In case you've been wondering (as I have) while browsing the stacks: where are the Ebooks?, you'll be glad to learn:
 Kindle Ebooks Coming to 11,000 U.S. Libraries
You can buy a Kindle for only $79 (click below and support when you buy!)

Now if we can just get the libraries to start checking out online....
I wonder... what you think.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What do you call a grown-up boyfriend?

A friend was talking about her thrice-divorced, forty-something sister's new boyfriend, and at the time, it didn't strike me as odd. But later, as I was reading a novel about a self-professed middle-aged woman, referring (at 47) to her "sort-of boyfriend," I thought: what a stupid term to have to cling to.

Clearly this is a case of vocabulary not keeping pace with the times. In the days when boyfriend was an adequate term, the people who had them were girls. It was an age-appropriate word.

Now, although mating practices have evolved, we nonetheless retain this biased and inadequate terminology. Today's women need a new expression, indeed a whole new category, for the mutually-connective quasi-sexual attraction a mature single woman feels for a potential-but-not-yet-seriously-committed coupleship candidate.

Certainly both "guy" and "man" (as in my guy or my man) are too concretely possessive for the more chancy but hopeful ephemeral longing implied, however subtly, by the term "boyfriend." "Companion" seems too nebulous, inexact, and vaguely distant; "partner" lacks the necessary uncertainty of outcome while being too legalistic and clinical anyway. "Beau," "suitor," and "gentleman caller" sound too quaint and imply pursuit, whereas "sweetheart," "dear," and other pet names of endearment are too cutesy and coy. "Date" and "escort" are too temporary (and too often euphemistic); "lover," "fiancé," "consort," and "mate" register way too far down the relational continuum; and that online promise of "potential match" just doesn't cut it.

Surely all the clever, smart, articulate women out there can come up with a better word to describe the potential-but-not-yet-serious coupleship candidates they interact with and assess for ongoing relational connection.

Women today don't need "boyfriends;" boyfriends need to grow up.
I wonder... what you think.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How do you conceive a better world?

When I was young, I had absolutely no inclination to be a parent. I thought the world was cruel and unlikely to become the sort of place I'd like to leave my child in. The logic of this decision was crystal clear, and changing my mind seemed no more likely than leaving as my legacy a world worthy of heirs.

I did change my mind about having a child. It wasn't that I viewed the world as improved but that I conceived a child I just knew would be wonderful, the sort of person who makes the world a better place just by being part of it. (And indeed she is; happy birthday, sweetheart.)

Yet, still, I don't feel the urge to expect my child to perpetuate my change of heart about that sort of parenthood. With all the idiot politicians setting course for our global future, I still consider the world too cruel and unlikely to become the sort of place I'd like to leave a child in. Now, though, I'm reconceiving the effect of my doubtful conclusions.

Today, I'm turning my creative focus to nurturing a world more worthy of heirs. Just as I helped guide my child to grow into the thoughtful, compassionate, and conscientious humanitarian she has become, my intention today is to help those with concerns about our world learn one baby step at a time to foster the growth of a better one into existence.

For any person who wants to conceive a legacy worthy of heirs , the process is as easy as better everyday choices:
  • Question what is and how you can help improve what's wrong.
  • Open your heart to connect with those in difficult times and places.
  • Follow through on what you can do now to make things better.
  • Keep advancing toward what you can't yet accomplish.
If only we each initiate one baby step forward today, we would birth a better world tomorrow. That's a legacy everyone, parent or not, could be comfortable aspiring to conceive.
I wonder... what you think.

Friday, October 7, 2011

When do we change our minds?

Truth isn't so much validated fact as information about a topic that is generally accepted by your peer group community. Just as GAAP fiscal reporting has its basis of agreed upon financial assumptions, the truth of our own Generally Accepted Agreed-upon Point-Of-View ignores reality's surrounding discrepancies.

This isn't to say that we will never recognize our GAAP's gaps and identify new ideas that more accurately reflect the actuality of real life. Nor is it to discourage those with a minority viewpoint from presenting the world as they understand it. Today's generally accepted facts of life were once renegade heresy to yesterday's established point of view.

The only way the truth will out is when we who recognize it keep acknowledging its existence and pointing it out to those who can be persuaded to trust us enough to consider the possibility.
I wonder... what you think.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What truth is trustworthy?

We tend to gravitate to "trusted sources" – not the ones with qualitative credentials but the ones whose viewpoints most closely reflect our own prejudices. If we have no preconceived notion about an unfamiliar topic, we turn to the experts we rely on in other areas to direct us to new answers, no matter how unrelated to the original subject.

Whole networks of misinformation abound online, tying one prejudiced website to others of its ilk. As Google learns your preferences, its search engine algorithms sort out the most likely matches for your choices, and you are unlikely to sift down the results to a contradictory site. But should that happen, your inner defenses will discount, demean, and ignore any discrepant, invalidating, or objectionable content, no matter how objectively it is presented.

Fight or flight reactions shut down the conscious thinking mind to fuel self-protective resistance, rationalization, and justification. Without intentional conscious consideration, we continue to think what has always been true
I wonder... what you think.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How do we recognize truth?

Once we've seen something in writing, whether its source is attributed as just a vague organization or a name with a title is cited, we tend to believe it must be factual. Even documentation with no attribution gains credibility with repetition and widespread distribution.

In an era when corporations with an agenda – or any of their myriad lobbying arms – can produce thick white papers that prove their position, every piece of information should be suspect. But the opposite is true: when someone in an official capacity presents intuitively questionable conclusions, we've been taught to believe the expert over our own instinctive wonder.

In these open source days of Wikipedia, it's not easy to keep from being duped. We can look up authoritative sources respected by online users (as confirmed by voluminous links counted by Google!), but we really have no way of knowing who came up with the data or how or what interpretation slanted the presentation.

Every sentence has a bias. Every writer has both an opinion and an agenda. And each of us, depending on our foundational point of view, reads truth – one way or the other – into every word.
I wonder... what you think.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why do we believe statistics?

  • 93% of all statistics cited have no basis in reality whatsoever.
  • 86% of experts quoted have no more knowledge about their fields than a competent novice.
  • 100% of experts started out as novices.
  • Anecdotal evidence is disparaged in 96% of all research studies.
None of these facts are based in bonafide research, but in the information age of email and internet postings, they are probably as true as most scientific hypotheses prove to be.

Words are vague and ephemeral concepts; numbers are concrete.
I wonder... what you think.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What is the source of disparity in the world?

In a society that reveres left-brain logic, "I think, therefore I am" is literally believed. Without verbal cognition of one's status, you might as well be some unthinking animal – or more accurately you are considered to be some unthinking animal if you don't claim superiority for yourself over the rest of the natural world.

To this way of thinking, those with a wholistic sense of the world – who share the planet equally with animals of all sorts (including people considered socioeconomically deficient) – have an illogical sense of self and are therefore inferior beings, too.

As long as who we verbally think we should be is our operational point of view, who we are at heart is too immaterial to matter.
I wonder... what you think.