What is Morality? Fact or Opinion?

What is morality? Fact or opinion?What does it mean to be moral?  The topic of morality can easily be dissected from multiple view points among compassionate people of similar societal backgrounds.  Once the variables of divergent culture, religion, and personal circumstance get tossed into the equation the analysis of moral rights and wrongs will produce an infinite list of possible values.  Every moral value will be true in the eye of the beholder, but may be completely incongruent to that of the next contestant.

So who is right?  They all are.  None of them are.  The key is to realize that there is no universally right moral value system.  Broken down to the most basic constructs, morality is simply the system by which living beings treat one another.  Moral beings hold a sense of empathy and consideration toward others, thus forming more successful and steadfast societies with vigorous rates of reproduction and growth. 

Any explanation more complex than this tends to be instilled with ideas of universal morality containing bold judgments on absolute moral rights and wrongs.  These so called universal moral standards usually incorporate numerous baseless declarations often used by organized social circles as justification for whatever agenda they are endorsing at the time.  Outside of a general compassion for fellow peers, moral values are based entirely on opinion.

Of course… this is just my opinion, and that’s a fact.  😉

Dear Old Media (CNBC)… Sincerely, The Ron Paul Faithful

Ron PaulFollowing the Republican debate last week CNBC placed a poll on their website asking visitors to cast their vote on which candidate they thought won the debate.  After a few hours Ron Paul had accumulated 75% of the votes.  CNBC promptly took down the poll and left an “Open Letter to the Ron Paul Faithful”  in its place.

We all know that American journalism and mass media is heavily skewed and censored, but this sort of one-way media manipulation just irritates me… and I’m not even a diehard Ron Paul supporter.  One of my good friends, Nick, is a diehard Ron Paul supporter, so he emailed the following letter directly to CNBC.  Even though this is off-topic for my blog, I feel strongly that Nick’s letter should see the light of day beyond some CNBC executive’s email trash bin.

Dear Old Media,

In response to your “Open Letter to the Ron Paul Faithful,” you only gave half of the story.  While many of the claims you made were not outright false, your analysis of the situation is incomplete.

First, let’s stop with the childish implications of “hacking”.  Nobody is hacking anything and you know it.  Millions of Internet transactions take place securely every day that would be much juicier targets for hackers than a silly Old Media poll for which there is no gain and which is censored as soon as Ron Paul pulls ahead, as many of them have been – this is not the first.  Just admit that several thousand real people took the time to go to your website and vote in your poll.

The Ron Paul Faithful will admit to organizing to vote in your poll.  You claim this amounts to “…a well-organized and committed ‘few’ [throwing] the results of a system meant to reflect the sentiments of ‘the many’…”  Perhaps, though I hope for the future of this great country and its future generations that we are a well-organized majority.  That point aside, your claim is hypocritical because this is exactly what the Old Media and the “legitimate” polling organizations (as you call them) have been doing all along.

The Old Media is itself the well-organized minority that is throwing the results for the majority through censorship, misleading data and half-truths.  Take for example the amount of questions and response time that Ron Paul is granted during these debates.  He is consistently granted the least amount of time out of all the candidates, despite polling higher and raising more funds than many of them.

Let us also examine the “legitimate” polls that you reference to imply that Ron Paul’s support can’t be so high.  As you well know, these phone polls are unscientific and biased.  You are claiming that the opinions of a few hundred Republicans with land-line telephones represent the opinions of the majority.  Furthermore, the polling companies regularly leave candidates like Ron Paul off their list of poll choices, naming only “mainstream” candidates to choose from.  These polls that you swear by and reference so often represent the opinions of the majority no better than the poll that you took down when you didn’t like the results.

So who is the well-organized minority that is trying to sway the majority?  Is it really us, a sincere group of citizens trying to get the word out concerning our candidate?  Or is it you, an Old Media giant and biased polling community who tries to enforce their personal choices of “mainstream” candidates on the citizens of this country?  We were not given equal voice in your format so we organized and took voice in our format, the Internet.  We’d do it again.

The Old Media seems to have forgotten the meaning of, and it’s responsibility to, unbiased journalism.  If you are going to present an editorial as news because it is more entertaining, you must strive to give equal time to all opinions.  Otherwise, just go back to reporting the facts and keep your predictions and opinions to yourselves.  When a well-organized few has such an effect on the opinions of the many and on the outcomes of our political process, I get very worried.  You do the entire nation a great disservice.

The Ron Paul Faithful

Abortion: There are Two Sides to Every Story

Two Sides to AbortionAbortion is one of the touchiest subjects of our time primarily due to widely varying beliefs concerning the exact moment at which “life” actually begins.   The pro-choice community agrees with the point of view that abortion helps prevent young children from being born into unhappy homes.  The pro-life supporters, however, would strongly disagree with this statement, instead taking the stand that abortion can be compared to ripping someone’s life away without giving them a choice or a chance.  In reality there is a vast grey area in between these two extremes.  My best friend once told me, “There are two sides to every story.”

I disagree with the labels of pro-choice and pro-life.  Their strict affiliation with the subject of abortion is nonsensical.  I’ve never met someone who is not in favor of life.  Likewise, most levelheaded people realize the importance of liberty and free choice.  With the exception of certain stubborn radicals, most people have a fundamental value system that trickles over the lines which divide the pro-choice and pro-life ideologies.

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Want a flashback of crappy 1990’s web design? Visit MySpace!

MySpace Web Design SucksI think I’m one of the proud few who can honestly say: “I have never opened a MySpace account and I am darn proud of it!”  The web design and interface of an average MySpace user profile page is atrocious!  Everything that sucked about gaudy 1990’s web design is incorporated whole hardily into every facet of these pages.  And unfortunately for the rest of us, the trend of poor design seems to be spreading like a viral infection from one MySpace profile page to the next.

Do you want a MySpace page that is guaranteed to help you fit in with the majority?  Allow me enlighten you:

The more flashing graphics you have on your profile page, the better!  Add at least 100 digital photos, cropped in all different sizes, all over your homepage.  Organization is of no concern.  Have a loud rock or rap mp3 queued for auto-launch as soon as a visitor hits your page, and make sure the media player’s stop button is hidden amongst the clutter of random photos and flashing graphics.

Then, tile the background with a really bright, high contrast image… Or better yet, use a large, high contrast, fixed background image right in the center of your page.  No worries, your fellow MySpacer’s will be happy to scroll around your flashy fixed background image in order to read the insightful content squeezed into your two sentence “About Me” blurb.  Oh, and don’t concern yourself with populating that optional blog thingy with intelligent content.  Your MySpace friends just want you to mesmerize them upon a single glance, so continue to concentrate all your efforts on uploading more photos and animations.

Sorry for the sarcastic negativity… but, I just pray that this 90’s web design virus stays contained within the MySpace domain.  I understand MySpace uses sophisticated Web 2.0 technologies on the backend, but gosh, the front end is an open wound of bad taste.

What if Google DID Buy Yahoo?

Google buys YahooWould Google buy Yahoo?  Could Google buy Yahoo?  Who really cares?  A better question is:  What would happen if Google did buy Yahoo, and how would it affect the end user?  I’ve seen so many bloggers and journalists dance around with the “Should Google”, “Could Google”, and “Would Google” questions.  I find this sort of pragmatic speculation to be somewhat uninteresting.  The reality may very well be that Google will never buy Yahoo, but it’s more fun to wonder what might happen if they did.  Sometimes curiosity can be so much more entertaining than reality.

So, what would happen if Google bought Yahoo?  Here are a few of my thoughts:

World Wide Web Domination – Google currently holds roughly 48% of the web based search market.  Yahoo holds another 28%.  Combine those numbers with the overall importance of web searching and you begin to appreciate the possibility of the big G’s World Wide Web domination! Google would command about 76% of the search market.  For the end user this could actually be a good thing.  Just think… no more frustrated grandmas wastefully struggling to find relevance in Yahoo’s search engine results.

Gmail Becomes King – Inferior or not, Yahoo Mail still holds the #1 position for being the most popular webmail service on the Internet.  Combine the shear volume of Yahoo Mail users with the masterful design of Gmail and the world is bound to experience an explosion of productive emailing ecstasy.

Welcome to Google MessengerYahoo Messenger holds a solid 2nd place in the race for worldwide Instant Messaging market share.  Google Talk is still the new kid on the block… growing rapidly, but not quite hitting mass market popularity just yet.  However, the Google Talk client is exceptionally agile and feature rich.  It uses minimal system resources and flawlessly integrates with Gmail by gracefully bridging the gap between email and instant messaging.  Yahoo has attempted to follow Google’s lead (as they usually do), but they ultimately fall short of Google’s refined touch.  Uniting the user volume of Yahoo Messenger with the elite craft of Google Talk could be a positive experience for everyone involved.  This would really open up the pipeline of communication!

Google Answers… The Best of Both Worlds – Yahoo triumphed in the war of user driven Web 2.0 question and answer sites.  Google took a shot at it with Google Answers, but it never caught on with the masses.  Yahoo Answers, on the other hand, is still thriving.  Yahoo won the battle because its service was free.  It also didn’t hurt that Yahoo already commanded a massive user base from its Yahoo Mail and Messenger services.  Yahoo users didn’t have to sign up for anything new.  They could instantly start asking and answering questions with their current Yahoo accounts. 

Google was actually trying to attract a totally different crowd.  They were matching up qualified subject matter experts with people who had questions.  The people asking questions would pay a small fee for receiving the guidance of an expert.  Although this model had slight flaws, it created a searchable online database of questions and related expert advice.  This searchable pool of advice is far more refined than most of the juvenile question and answer sessions cataloged on Yahoo Answers.

Imagine if they combined the two ideas, added Yahoo’s massive user base, and mix it up with some of Google’s creativity.  The outcome would be enlightening!

Yahoo Finance Content with a Google Finance TouchYahoo Finance is based on the philosophy that “content is king”.  It provides a great wealth of original content that easily rivals some of the biggest financial sites in the game (CNN Money, TheStreet.com, etc.). Google Finance attracts users with a set of refined Web 2.0 market analysis graphs/tools and associated relevant third-party content.  These two worlds combined would be ideal for the thousands of investors that constantly jump back and forth.  Think about it, expert financial advice combined with cutting edge Web 2.0 analysis tools.  Toss in Google’s imaginative edge and you have a winner.  We could all be making money more efficiently together!

Creative Minds UniteFlickr and YouTube are two of the most prominent Web 2.0 communities in existence.  Although they attract slightly different user demographics, they both rely heavily on the creativity and expression of their users.  One deals with photos, the other deals with video.  One is owned by Yahoo, the other by Google.  If Google acquired Yahoo, Flickr and YouTube would become brothers.  Would they play well together?  If done right, I think they would.  Combine Google’s inventive influence with the creative minds inhabiting two of the most popular Web 2.0 communities and I believe something remarkable could transpire.

Conclusion – Uniting elite technological genius (Google) with the kings of content (Yahoo) really would be an amazing merger from a technical, industry, and cultural standpoint.  Call me crazy, but I’m a believer.  Functionally, I think it would work pretty well.