Monday, July 19, 2010

If it looks like a duck.... well.. is it?

by the way, i zoomed in several times on these quacking rockers in View and they all have pierced beaks! Whoever put this ensemble together is seriously and most charmingly twisted!
“If you work with garbage, you will get dirty.”

Thus sayeth the shrink who monitors the psychological health of hundreds of "content moderators" who work for Behavioral Dynamics in the Phillipines, a company like many in the US and abroad that monitors web content for companies screening for, shall we say, "inappropriateness"? on their sites. It's one of those "It's a dirty job but somebody's gotta do it" things, I guess. This can't be the " new skills training" baloney Oblimey is on about. According to the short piece in today's NY Times, in the US anyway, it appears that the job of content moderator, low paying and too often causing serious psychological side effects in workers' lives, appears to be the new Walmart greeter low level corporate kind of job: low paying, low skilled, and, in this case, really lowdown and dirty. Perfect if you're a perv. Sad to say, I know a few people who should step right up... Even sadder the fact of plenty of unemployed out there looking for the 8 to 12 bucks an hour this will pay them to essentially ruin their souls sitting at a monitor screen all day becoming desensitized while they try to do the impossible, rein in the "beast" that is the Internet. That this is Orwelllian sci-fi at its worst is an understatement. I can't imagine what it is to go to work every day (forget being a cop, this is much worse, at least cops get the odd break for a donut and sardonic remarks) to spend the day observing nonstop the very worst human beings can do to one another.

I mean, can we stop with the bs about free markets creating good jobs?? Free markets create shit jobs. Period. Cause it's a market, i.e., designed to make someone else money, not you. Your job is to make as little money as the market owners can pay you, spend that money in their market, and go into debt to carry on doing that when the market price for stuff bypasses your earnings. Your job, your purpose in life, is to buy, not to live a dignified life. Between the armed services and these porn watching companies being the only folks hiring, jobs requiring little skill, desensitizing of the self, crap pay considering the risks, (that bit about CEOs make the money cause they take the risks? how risky is the golf course?) both jobs resulting in serious PTSD of one kind or another, what kind of society are we living in, are we settling for now? It seems as though every day there's some new flag waving madly to warn us of a new low in our cultural descent.

Where is the good news on the Internet today? Well, let's start with an effort at improving the ability to think more clearly so american workers demand and create better jobs for themselves. When I was teaching, one of the hip phrases folks in that field loved to bandy about was "critical thinking". It didn't take long for me to suss out that a given teacher's understanding of what that phrase meant and their own ability to think critically and to convey that skill to students existed in inverse proportion to how often they touted its importance. I recall feeling rather strongly at the time that few teachers had any clue as to what genuine critical thinking was as they seemed to exhibit so little of it themselves. Teachers whose classrooms I visited or with whom I attended "workshops", (precious little work done there, I tell ya) repeated the phrase like it was a mantra invoking enlightenment, yet they could never explain to the (rare, critically thinking, oh the irony) curious student who asked what exactly the phrase meant.

But Seek and you shall find! Enter The Skeptic's Dictionary , a little gem I found this morning while wandering The Labyrinth (the internet) looking up some healer shaman I read about (sham-an, see that 'sham' in there? not that there aren't genuine healers; this one wasn't) and looking for an explanation of the difference between a D.O. and an M.D. on another fun site, Quackwatch, (you gotta love the name). Read what The Skeptic says about "good communication via good vocabulary" being at the foundation of the understanding required to think critically. To wit:

"The greatest hindrance to thinking critically is ignorance: the lack of essential background knowledge on the subject at hand... Ignorance has to do with lack of knowledge or information... Of all the things people are ignorant of, nothing hinders critical thinking more than lack of adequate vocabulary. ..A good way to build a strong vocabulary is to set aside a block of time every day for learning new words."

YES! I couldn't agree more. So let's all start with A Word A Day and make the world a better place, shall we?

Skeptics also has a good list of "questionable organizations" you might want to keep handy, especially if you're into New Age stuff, Fox News, or checking on the validity of anyone's claims to expertise.

Baby's back,
dressed in black,
silver buttons all down her back..

Time to walk to dog...

Brief aside: A week ago a poster name of "Sally" said hello in the comments area. Who are you, Sally? And thanks for the nice comment! Do you have a URL? Sign in as a follower if you like. Glad to have you here.

And last but not least, check this out. How to get tax money from the stingy, reluctant rich? Pakistan seems to have figured out a way to make the wealthy unscrew their socks. And it's hilarious.You will not beeleeeve this one, folks. Transgender tax collector (esses?) what will they think of next?


  1. Your comments about teachers and teaching are ill-informed and out-dated. Stick to whatever it is you do and leave the heavy lifting to the educators.

  2. Well.. That was Harsh!I am referring, to the anonymous comment above,regarding "critical thinking".. teachers and teaching.. in general.It would seem that the viewpoint expressed by the
    author,...Hit a Nerve! Care to elaborate? What exactly strikes you as ill-informed and out-dated??

  3. Well.. That was Harsh!I am referring, to the anonymous comment above,regarding "critical thinking".. teachers and teaching.. in general.It would seem that the viewpoint expressed by the
    author,...Hit a Nerve! Care to elaborate? What exactly strikes you as ill-informed and out-dated??

  4. TK: thanks for being intelligent. Yes, they don't say exactly what they mean, do they? I will lay you odds this person is a veteran teacher in public schools, maybe retired now? Or are they a neophyte? Who knows? Cause they're too unsure of their position to identify themselves. No worries. I have my suspicions. The thing one notices is the rigidity of the comment. Closed mind = lack of critical thinking. Point made.

    I taught for years in public and private schools since the early nineties, and I guided my two kids through both systems. In addition I spent two years researching american education with an open mind, reading everything I could get my hands on, and writing about it. This person is the one who's out of date.

  5. And to the commenter, Anonymous, "whatever it is you do"? How do you expect anyone to take you seriously leaving nasty little comments like that? If this is a woman commenter, that's just really sad. No sisterhood there, that's for sure.