Get all your Bullshit Observer updates wherever you want them. Put them on your blog, on your MySpace page, your Facebook page, whatever. All you have to do is click the image and go to Widgetbox.
Get all your Bullshit Observer updates wherever you want them. Put them on your blog, on your MySpace page, your Facebook page, whatever. All you have to do is click the image and go to Widgetbox.
Posted by Todd on August 28, 2008 at 02:15 PM in Ad Critique, Advice To Clients, Agency Life, American Lifestyles, Books, Companies Who Lie, Conservative V. Liberal, Corporate-ocracy, Current Affairs, Enemy Combatants, Health, Language, Magazines, Movies, Parenting, Politics, Pop Culture, Products, Radio Ads, Religion, Science, Television, The Environment, The President, The War | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
I get a lot of hits on this blog from people who type "Climate Change Is Bullshit" into the Google search window. As if they're looking for confirmation and rational arguments to support that theory. I'm sure that, this blog notwithstanding, there are places where those things can be found.
But if you really want to know whether it's bullshit, you should start paying attention to people who live or travel in the world's most wild places, talk to a climatologist, or, you know, read the news. If you did that, I'm sure you'd find that there are a suspiciously large number of things happening that have never happened before.
But there's a problem with calling it Global Climate Change when all that's being reported are the isolated effects of individual changes in the environment. Nobody's making the connections necessary to identify what's going on as a massive, worldwide cataclysm in the making. We need those connections before we can overcome inertia. It's much harder to find information linking all of the events together - to really show that what we're starting to witness is the beginning of a chain of events.
EXHIBIT A: THE DRIEST PLACE IS SUDDENLY QUITE WET
For example: Here's a bit from the Huffington Post that sounds like a piece of the puzzle begging to be put into some larger context (some parts edited for length):
Baby Antarctic penguins are freezing to death due to "freak rain storm." Everyone talks about the melting of the glaciers but having day after day of rain in Antarctica is a totally new phenomenon. As a result, penguins are literally freezing to death. The sad truth is there's been a lot of freaky things happening in the Antarctic lately.
If little baby penguins freezing to death isn't enough, a new study out last week from the University of Washington has found that penguin populations are plummeting due to climate change, pollution and other factors like fish stock depletion and loss of breeding habitat.
Despite it still being the winter season in the Antarctic, with temperatures as low as minus 85 Fahrenheit, the massive Wilkins Ice Shelf is collapsing as we speak.
And then there's the "freaky snow."
With all that ice, it might seem kind of backwards to call snow at the South Pole "freaky," but it is. The Antarctic is literally a desert of ice with an average of 1-inch of precipitation each year.
Antarctica is in fact the the coldest, highest, windiest and driest continent on earth.
Last year, when I attempted to become the first American to reach the South Pole, solo and unaided, it was the "freaky snow" that stopped me in my tracks.
At first the snow fell only lightly. Clouds of tiny crystals sank from the sky like plankton to the sea floor. I stood for a while, still hooked to my sled, unbelieving. It was not clear if what I was seeing was real. My mind and body had become so deeply worn from the hundreds of miles of hauling that at first I could not be sure. I was alone, exhausted and doing my best o stay alive and reach the South Pole on a dwindling supply of food and fuel.
Many days before, injury had taken my expedition partner, along with too much of our supplies. The image of the evacuation plane was now a foggy and distant one, and now here I was, standing alone in the middle of Antarctica witnessing something not easily believable - it seemed to be snowing in the driest place on earth.
I spoke by satellite phone from my buried tent to Mike Sharp, the Logistics Veteran who had not missed an Antarctic season since 1977.
He could offer little comfort:
"I've never seen anything like this mate. I don't know what to make of it, but whatever you do, don't move"
Of course I moved, I needed to move, I was running short of food... Struggling over the ice, blinded by fierce white, I began to wonder what had caused this. Could this be an isolated event, or was it part of a bigger system? Could this be part of larger phenomena - like Global Warming?
Last year I was wondering, but now I know for certain that even in the coldest, driest place on earth something just isn't right.
EXHIBIT B: THE WETTEST PLACE IS SUDDENLY DRY:
The town of Cherrapunjee, in north-eastern India, is reputed to be the wettest place in the world. There are times, apparently, when it's like sheets of water are just coming down day after day. This is a place where rainfall is measured in meters, not centimeters. Twenty six meters of rain was recorded in 1974. In 1954, it rained 5 feet in one day.
But according to local weather experts the temperatures are going up dramatically and the amount of rainfall is going down. Furthermore, and perhaps more dramatic, is the pattern of rainfall delivery. It's not showing up on time anymore. In fact, it's something like two months late and it's raining harder within a shorter time period...which kills the crops and erodes the soil and kills the forests.
So the question I ask is, how do we put the pieces together and show the overarching patterns?
Together with some friends, I have a new blog creation called The Conceptualist. The topic will be completely fresh ideas and it will feature the same whimsical analysis that you've come to expect from The Bullshit Observer. The idea of The Conceptualist is not just to notice new things, but to celebrate brave thinkers and to marvel at their creations.
How is this different, you ask?
Well, I think it's probably the only blog I've seen that lives entirely in the world of ideas. It's not just about highlighting bizarre new inventions like Geekology. It's not about displaying new products like bazillions of blogs out there. It's about taking the new ideas and turning them over in our minds and seeing how they got that way and what they could become. It's as much about the why as it is about the what. In short, it's about conceptualism - the act of seeing past what is there to what could be and talking about it.
Incidentally, the header image is my friend's daughter, Sophie swimming underwater.
This means, of course, that The Bullshit Observer will need to take a back seat for the time being. That means that my posts will be more sporatic. To any regular reader out there, I am sorry to interrupt your BSO experience.
Posted by Todd on June 22, 2008 at 09:18 PM in Ad Critique, Advice To Clients, Agency Life, American Lifestyles, Books, Companies Who Lie, Conservative V. Liberal, Corporate-ocracy, Current Affairs, Enemy Combatants, Health, Language, Magazines, Movies, Parenting, Politics, Pop Culture, Products, Radio Ads, Religion, Science, Television, The Environment, The President, The War | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Maybe we should ask the animals who they'd vote for. I mean, after all, the President's environmental policy is inextricably tied to both the individual fate of the furry critters and the fate of their entire species. They have as much as stake in this thing as we do. Probably more so, in fact.
I suspect that most of the trillions of beings, sentient or otherwise, that DO NOT have a vote, but DO live within the confines of the United States of America (or just off the coast) are enthusiastically pro-Obama. Just ask the Caribbean Monk Seal for example. Oh wait, hold the phone, we can't ask the Caribbean monk seal for example because the Caribbean monk seal is dead. All of them. Extinct. Done for. Finito. Just heard about that today.
"Humans hunting the docile creatures for research, food, and blubber left the (Carribean monk seal) population unsustainable, say biologists who warn that Hawaiian andcould be the next to go." writes JAYMES SONG of the Associated Press.
The Caribbean monk seal's demise is not unique. In fact, we are now experiencing an extinction rate of 10,000 species a year. That's about 3,000 times higher than it was but a few thousand years ago.
So it's kind of hard to find an animal around here to ask about the race. Maybe we should track down one of those West African black rhinoceros or something.On second thought, I think they're all dead too. Arabian Gazelle is also kaput, fyi. The list goes on and on. and on.
Speaking for the dead and dying monk seals of the world, I think they would be pretty skeptical of someone like McCain. When it comes to environmental protections, McCain doesn't even show up. He was absent from 15 major votes on the environment over the past term. You gotta show up for the oceans to protect the oceans.
"We hope we've learned from the extinction of Caribbean monk seals, and can provide stronger protection for their Hawaiian and Mediterranean relatives," said Kyle Baker, a biologist for NOAA's Fisheries Service southeast region.
Well, Kyle, I don't think you and the seal relatives can pin your hopes on 'ol Johnny McCain. He voted against the Kyoto treaty's big package of protections and against things that would reign in the oil company's never-ending plunder. The Carribean Monk Seal and its relatives would have been pro-Kyoto, pro-environmental protection, don't you think? It's sort of like being pro-home. "Yeah, I'm for a place where I can live. I fully support that idea."
Furthermore, I think the monk seal's ears would have perked up at the news that John "Maverick" McCain, earned a score of ZERO from The League of Conservative Voters on environmental
issues. They actually don't- er - didn't have ears to begin with. But if they did have ears, they would have perked.
In case you're wondering, Obama got a 67. The average in Congress is a 53. And that rating is BY CONSERVATIVES.
According to a recent poll, seven out of ten biologists think we are currently in the throes of a sixth mass extinction. Possibly triggered by human activity. Some say it could wipe out as many as 90 percent of all species living today.
So speaking for all of the remaining animals living within the confines of these here United States (or just off the coast), please vote for them. Which is to say, vote for something other than old dottering white-manism. In fact, I think I can speak for the entire planet outside of the red states when I say, "I'll take door number two there Bob. Wherever it leads."
It's tempting to try and put these seven years behind us. This debacle of a Presidency. To simply pretend it didn't happen or to focus instead on the new presidency and put our hopes into that administration. To hope, as Obama says, that things can be put right again. But to think this way, I think misses an important opportunity.
There are many things to be learned by looking back at the past seven years.
So I ask you, dear reader, what have you learned?
The Bullshit Observer
I started this blog back in 2005 after slogging through five long years of Bush without a place to put my discontent. A sentient being can only withstand so much crap before they either crack, explode or begin to wither. This was, and still is, my way to rage against the machine and institute a small degree of sanity over in my own little tiny nook of the virtual universe.
In short, it's therapy.
As therapy, it has been a huge success. I feel good about these 500 posts. As legitimate opposition to the enormous and omnipresent bullshit producing machines in the world, I will say that it has probably had very little impact. I've only had something like 65,000 page views. But, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Slaughterhouse Five, "So it goes."
I am happy that it's out there and that's really all that matters. In fact, from what I've found, I would have had more media popularity if my name was something that media outlets could mention. But that's completely fine with me.
For this 500th post, I wanted to point out ten of my more meaningful (to me) posts.
The Movies Critics Are Raving About: Is about the Hollywood crap machine.
Genders: Man-tradiction?: Is about the changing roles of men today.
I'll make you famous: Is about America's fascination with fame and the industries that it has spawned.
Parents Less Upwardly Mobile These Days: Is about the challenge of a modern workplace for people who put parenting first.
America Needs More Springfields: Is about suburban sprawl and the forces that spawn it.
Advertising Needs A New Agency: Is about how the traditional agency flops around in the digital world.
Enjoy.If you want to comment, feel free. It's nice to know there are people out there sometimes. I'd be writing here either way though. As I said above, this blog is really more for my sanity than anything else.
Thanks for reading!
The Bullshit Observer
Posted by Todd on April 02, 2008 at 12:16 PM in Ad Critique, Advice To Clients, Agency Life, American Lifestyles, Books, Companies Who Lie, Conservative V. Liberal, Corporate-ocracy, Current Affairs, Enemy Combatants, Health, Language, Magazines, Movies, Parenting, Politics, Pop Culture, Products, Radio Ads, Religion, Science, Television, The Environment, The President, The War | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
I'm teaching my five year old son about how lying is bad and I'm starting to wonder whether I should just let him do it. Society at large doesn't appear to care about that kind of thing anymore.
The Bush administration made apparently false and misleading statements in court about the White House e-mail controversy, according to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.
The US Army confirms that thousands of soldiers are cheating on online tests for promotions.
At an PR industry event in London, in a poll of the audience of over 260 PR executives, the majority (138) voted against the motion that "PR has a duty to tell the truth."
A new scanning program has identified 76 cases of outright plagiarism among professors (not students) of biomedicine.
Top PR firm, Edelman, was recently outted as having a media training course for execs that states, ""Sometimes, you just have to stand up there and lie. Make the audience or the reporter believe that everything is ok."
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom noted that during the run up to the 2006 election, his blackberry buzzed almost daily with threat level notifications from the Department of Homeland Security. When the election was over, they stopped.
Maybe it's a result of having two equally passionate sides on both sides of the political spectrum for the past seven years. Or maybe it's because the educational system has broken down to such a degree that it's just too easy and tempting to manipulate the masses for our own gains. Whatever the reason, it seems that American culture has reached a worrying threshold where the constant whirring of our spin cycle completely drowns out the sober voices of truth.
If those voices are even speaking anymore.
There used to be a time when truth mattered to people. It wasn't simply because of the sentimental notion that truth is honerable. No, it's because truth served a function. In fact, it was one of the lynchpins of our social structure. I would argue that if our society continues to see truth as quaint, or merely preferable to lies, then it will go into decline. Some might say that it's already happening.
It's as if our society has termites. The spin masters get into everything and, with every lie they tell, slowly eat away at the structure. It's gotten to the point where these pests are everywhere we turn. Every news outlet, every politician's speech, every commercial break, every single place you rest your eyeballs there is someone telling you something that ain't exactly true. I'd call an exterminator if I thought they could actually handle a problem of this magnitude.
Furthermore, it's really starting to get in the way of our ability to make decisions and navigate the world. For example, we needed truth in order to make the right decisions about Iraq. Instead we got lies and half-truths which led us to the incorrect decision. Let's invade! Whoops. Now America and Britain are stuck in a bog. Tons of people dead.
Truth iis also vital to our well-being as individuals.
We need to know what to eat, what to drink, where to live, how to dress for the weather, and how close they are to the nearest fault line. Without truth about these matters, we might be drinking water from contaminated springs, eating beef with mad cow disease, dressing for summer on a rainy day and living in a house that's about to slide down a mountain. Wherever there's a buck to be made, it seems, there's someone willing to lie their ass off in order to make it.
My point? Well, just that we, as a people, should care more about the truth. Really really care about it. Put it up on a pedestal and worship the truth. Celebrate the truth. Write songs about the truth.
We cannot survive without it.
With that in mind, we SIMPLY MUST hold the liars accountable for their transgressions. They are assaulting our sense of reality and hindering our ability to operate. Without this accountability, we will lose our bearings as a society and as individuals.
Posted by Todd on March 08, 2008 at 10:22 PM in Ad Critique, Advice To Clients, Agency Life, American Lifestyles, Books, Companies Who Lie, Conservative V. Liberal, Corporate-ocracy, Current Affairs, Enemy Combatants, Health, Language, Magazines, Movies, Parenting, Politics, Pop Culture, Products, Radio Ads, Religion, Science, Television, The Environment, The President, The War | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Here are the facts, and they are irrefutable:
Earth isn't expanding and neither are Earth's resources. The materials we use to make the things we buy are finite. However, we do have an infinitely expanding pattern of population growth, of goods production, of human consumption, and of need generation.
Someday this will end. That's a fact, Jack.
Whether it ends because we wisely switch to a sustainable economy or just because we use everything up and die off is exactly what's at stake these days. Our species is at a crossroads. It's that simple.
As this video, entitled "The Story of Stuff: Consumerism" points out, 99% of all the things we buy are in the trash heap six months later. That level of materials throughput is simply not sustainable - given the inconvenient truth about the planet.
What does a Federal agency charged with environmental protection do while being overseen by a pro-business Texas oilman? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind...
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson rejected California's request for a waiver from the federal government to impose its tough tailpipe emissions standards. The other states were poised to adopt similar rules if California's request was granted.
Mr. Johnson's claim is that California does not have a compelling need to curb greenhouse gas emissions and that the California law was redundant with a new Federal law. The two laws are, in fact, radically different. The Federal Law will require automobiles to get at least 35 miles to the gallon by 2020. The California plan was to cut emissions by 23% by 2013 and 30% by 2016. The 30% would go into effect four years before the Federal standards got there and would require an MPG approaching 40.
The automotive industry was understandably thrilled with the decision
"We commend EPA for protecting a national, 50-state program," said Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "It's nice to know that campaign contributions do have some say in the matter," he did not add.
Veep Dick Cheney met with automakers to discuss the policy last fall. Those automakers have been meeting with the White House on said policy "regularly." Documents revealed that the administration's Transportation Secretary had led a lobbying effort to rebuff the California law.
I was under the impression that one of the Republican pillars was giving power back to the states. I guess that's just when there's a Democrat sitting in the oval office.
It's not like the citizens of California are completely powerless though. We could vote more often with our wallets than we currently do.
Stop driving so much. Walk your neighborhood. Travel closer to home.
Dump your Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler and buy a Toyota Hybrid.
Quit your commuter job and get one nearby.
OK, these are just suggestions. But you get the idea. The dollar is the ultimate power and with 38 million people and the sixth largest economy in the world, there's plenty we can still do without our government.
So I thought I'd simplify the path on my typepad url. Took out a few characters. That, in turn, broke every single link on the entire Internet to my site. Thousands of links....broken. I have *sort of* fixed the domain version: www.bullshitobserver.com still works. Needless to say, I have a help ticket in. So for the 3 of you who have stumbled here from Google and are reading this, I give you the only thing that I have to give: My Prized Hot Sauce recipe. It took me months to get to this. I give it to you for nothing.
Bullshit Observer’s Official Hot Sauce Recipe
½ white onion
1 Box Chopped Pomi Tomatoes
2 Teaspoons Sugar
3 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
10 Dried Chiles – fire roasted
4 Tablespoons Toasted Pumkin Seeds
2 Cups Water
Almost ½ cup white vinegar
4 Roasted Haneneros
2 Roasted Red Jelepeno
1 Roasted Passilla Pepper
3 Teaspoons Tomato paste
1 Lime Squeezed
1 Small orange or a tangerine
Two pinches of toasted, ground cumin seeds
1 Roasted tomitillo (optional)
Blender. Let simmer in a skillet for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. For extra smoothness, blender again. Chill and serve.
Posted by Todd on September 05, 2007 at 08:54 PM in Ad Critique, Advice To Clients, Agency Life, American Lifestyles, Books, Companies Who Lie, Conservative V. Liberal, Corporate-ocracy, Current Affairs, Enemy Combatants, Health, Language, Magazines, Movies, Parenting, Politics, Pop Culture, Products, Radio Ads, Religion, Science, Television, The Environment, The President, The War | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)