Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A new view of the world

I tend to avoid the news. Every once in a while I will pop over to or the and see if anything important is happening. I don't own a TV, so I don't get interrupted by news commercials. My commute - usually spent listening to NPR - is 3 to 5 minutes long depending on traffic lights. So sometimes I will hear a major news story there. Other times it sneaks into my very selective twitter or reddit feeds.

The reason I try and avoid the news is that it is generally depressing, and always questionable reporting. Many years ago I had a significant other that worked for ABC news in New York, and I learned - or realized - at that time that television news is still television, and driven by ratings and sponsors which affects credibility. Much of the news available today is affected in such manner. I generally take any reporting I see with a large grain of salt. And it is always depressing.

I am really sorry that Leonardo Decaprio is upset he didn't win an Oscar, but it isn't news. The remainder of the web this week is talking about a murder trial, a rickshaw murder, Bill Gates and the like. And oh yes, there was an article floating around - no pun intended - about 25 years later there is still oil in Prince William Sound and talking about specific locations that I will be paddling in a few months.

What is news is the Ukraine. But here is the problem with that. If the person the news source is talking to is Russian, then "85% of the population want the Russian troops there to keep the area safe" and if the speaker is Ukrainian, then it is an act of war. And our news sources aren't telling us which is the truth - because maybe they both are (or they don't know either!)

This isn't me keeping my head in the sand either, I like to think of it as controlling the message. Your mental state is controlled information entering into it. If all you hear is bad news, you are going to be unhappy. If you are surrounded by a puppy every day (as I am currently) you are going to be in much better spirits - even though you are sleep deprived.

Which is why I was pleased to stumble across this video.

This is a drone shooting with a Hero 3, and it is truly stunning footage. Hundreds of dolphins (they say thousands which looks like a slight exaggeration) Grey whales and a humpback or two. Drones are in the news a lot and are generally a source of concern. Are we being spied on? or worse is my car about to be blown up by a hellfire missile! This is a different kind of drone. For $600 or $700 dollars you can have a remote controlled drone shooting video. This is an incredible view of our natural world.

Another interesting piece of video that has been floating around the web is this. It dramatically changes our view of impacts of living creatures on the world around them.

I saw this for the first time a few months ago as a TED talk. But that talk has been turned into this video about the broad reaching affect of reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone National Park. It is fascinating how the wolves create a ripple effect with impacts on all manner of species, and even the ecology of the park.

If you don't believe the humans could effect the planets climate look at the effect that a small number of wolves had on a local ecosystem. They literally changed the course of rivers. What effect do you think several billion people have?

Well, we are going to see the effects. In three months I head to Alaska to see the changes made to glaciers, and the impacts of an oil spill 30 years ago. Follow us here, and then when we return there will be a film about the trip. In the mean time, look for some good news.

1 comment:

  1. Loved these…especially the Yellowstone story. I agree with everything you said about news coverage!