My Idea Lab

Linking my mind to the net.

(Not really) Weekly (Not exactly a) Photo Challenge: Hope

It’s a bit too late to participate in this week’s Photo Challenge, so I thought I’d share an experience related to its theme: hope.

I used to know someone who knew every fact about the Toronto Maple Leafs. Every game played, every player, the history of the team, all of it. Aside from this, I don’t think there was anything especially remarkable about her. She worked an ordinary job, had kids and grandkids, a high school education, and was married. I don’t mean to offend her, but her life seemed very ordinary.

But that mind of hers was extraordinary, that’s why I still remember her. I don’t think the Maple Leafs are the most effective use of her intellect, but the ability to remember all those facts and recall them at will still amazes me. I’ve tried to mould my mind into something as acute and efficient, but haven’t been able to accomplish half of what she did.

Her intelligence is what gives me hope. Not that I might have a great intellect, but that everyone else might have one. If she could accomplish so much in her ordinariness, it makes my skin tingle at what wonders the people around me are capable of.

Let’s Talk About Research…

Not too long ago, I had an English professor who said that when analyzing a text, we had to look at the text itself and observe the concepts and ideas in it. This advice discouraged us from being excessively dependent on frameworks to interpret literature.

If we looked at stories from an exclusively Marxist or Feminist perspective, we could come up with some very elaborate and elegant analyses, but they might not be close to the author’s intentions, and might not help us understand the book as a whole. As my professor said: “Authors write stories, not theories.” (or something to that effect).

Right now, I’m researching PR and the PR industry, and I have taken this advice to heart. I’m trying my best to analyse the books I’m reading as is, instead of through frameworks or assumptions about the subject matter.

I’ve just started, but this method has helped me look at the subject in a new light. Now, it’s a whole world for me to explore. I look forward to studying it because I’m looking and something genuinely new, instead of using it to reinforce of articulate my own conceptions.

Oh God, finally finished…

This past week has been pretty busy. What hasn’t helped was an article I wrote for the U of T newspaper The Mike about the rise and fall of SOPA and PIPA. The extra research I had to do for it was a bit taxing. Then again, I tend to be rather thorough about these things. But, I am satisfied with the final product. I’ll post the article here when the that edition of the paper is published.

I was looking forward to chillaxing for a bit, until I found out about this. SOPA-like legislation is now in Canada. Time to get to work…

SOPA and PIPA dead for now…

Good news is in… the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act are waning.  I can’t tell you how relieved I am that this affair is almost over. It was truly inspiring to see countless internet denizens rise up and act against two pieces of legislation that threatened internet freedom and creativity. But despite this good news, I feel the same sense of foreboding I felt when SOPA and PIPA were at their zenith.

Despite the dedicated hard work against those bills, the lobby groups that wrote them and the bought politicians that pushed them haven’t lost anything.  The issue of vested interests controlling the legislative process hasn’t been resolved, making SOPA-like legislation a certainty in the future.

As long as lobbyists have their incredible sway over Washington, it will take remarkable efforts to keep hazardous legislation from becoming law, but with no guarantee of success.

The only way to break away from this trend is to keep lobbyist’s money out of Washington, making it more likely that their labours will focus on a wider societal benefits.

But how that will happen is beyond me…