Saturday, July 28, 2012

Key Words + Search Terms = Dumbing Us Down.

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In the interest of Search Engine Optimization and attracting more "Mainstream Readers" from a growing population of abbreviators, texters, phonic spellers, urbanizers, ("Yo! U 'Aight?") hashtag huggers, semi-literate souls, libertine Lingovators, and other denizens of the world's 'audience', bloggers and other writers have had to increasingly limit their formerly extensive vocabularies to reach a steadily declining "lowest common denominator" of practical literacy.

Simplified, this means that if I want to get more hits (and more unique visitors) on my website or blog, I must state my message in terms that are getting simpler and simpler. I must lower my vocabulary skills and writing style to conform to that of the general public.

For example, if I've interviewed a person and want to mention something that he had said, I would not write "The Senator indicated..." I would write "He admitted..." --- not only have I participated in Operation Dumb Down, but I have deliberately added a sensationalizing twist to my word choice. Instead of reporting, I am inferring, accusing, or revealing fresh, secret information. After all, as one in a gazillion authors [gazillion? That's from Forrest Gump], I must be extra persuasive, extra seductive and simple enough in my message that people conducting searches with the simplest terms will be able to find my article.

It hurts not to use words like "atavistic" and "peccadillo," but then I must further my ranking and readership by littering my articles with anchor text and key terms that absolutely interfere with my writing style.

Where we are: We can no longer write as well as we speak.

Where we are headed: The next generation will not be able to speak (to articulate, to express, to verbally emote, to persuade, to argue, to use metaphors) as well as we speak now. There will be no one to teach them.

What to do about this: If you are a Braintenance Bulwark, and a faithful, fanatical follower of the occasionally alliterative Braintenance Blog you must:

1) Upgrade the caliber and character of your speech (you'll help keep the language alive and sound smarter than the petty politics player in the office next to yours who is hoping to get the promotion that you want by sucking up without substance). Experiment with new words culled from the dictionary and thesaurus online;

2) When you write for the public, pull them in with a nice paragraph laden with moronic search terms, anchor text clusters, and pop culture references, and then, when they are on your site, continue the article in your "real" style -- force some substance and allegory and other sophisticated crap down their throats so at least a small percentage of them will try to ascertain the nature of the comparison;

3) Read more about everything. Expand your envelope of relevance and familiarity with the terminology [specialized nomenclature] of other fields, hobbies and professions. Become more eclectic in your vocabulary and your ability to freely associate will increase.

Thank you, one and all. And. by the way, please take a look at The Twitterlinks Hubspot Blog to review at our giant repository [as opposed to our 'suppository,' which is stored elsewhere] of Twitter feeds on a wide variety of fascinating subjects. Please follow any that you'd like.

Douglas E. Castle

(Da dude what am da Prez dis page, keepin' it gangsta 4 U!)




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Monday, July 16, 2012

Randomness And Probability: Different Things? [Chaos And Complexity]

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As some of the more advanced members of our growing Braintenance crowd might have guessed based upon enhanced telepathic powers (or by having read the title), this is indeed a post on probability and uncertainty, and on chaos and complexity. All of these are nouns representing ideas or theories based upon observed behaviors, and upon the inherent limitations of observations.



When we speak of randomness and probability we generally mean two different things. Essentially, probability is the mathematically determined likelihood (expressed as a decimal, a fraction, a percentage or odds) that an event or an outcome will occur, given parameters.

For example, when we toss a coin, the odds are (stop yawning!) 50% that it will land on heads and 50% that it will land on tails. This probability is based upon repeated trials over time. There are two standards -- 1) repeated trials (doing the exercise and observing the result as many times as possible to gain more certainty as to the probability of a given outcome -- this is based upon the belief that history tends to repeat itself), and 2) over time -- which means that the same experiment or test has been run numerous times, and the result has not changed over time.

Probability is something that is not the equivalent of certainty, but it gives us the likelihood of a certain outcome based upon specified parameters, numerous trials and consistency over time.

When people speak of randomness, they tend to equate it with immeasurability and a complete inability to predict outcomes. Randomness is, however, quite possibly a perceptual term, based upon subjective error, rather than an objective and defining one.


Randomness may be a perceptual error. In fact, randomness, on a macroscopic scale and over a longer time frame may exhibit the patterns of predictability (waves, cycles, percentages) associated with probability. What appears to be chaotic from a limited perspective, may actually be a complex process which has not yet been parametrized or calculated, like the toss of a coin, or the selection of colored marbles from a jar.

Here's the key -- if any event or phenomenon is observed over a long enough period of time and from an adequate distance to incorporate a grander view, that event may prove to be predictable (in terms of cause and effect) and calculable (in terms of probability).

The more that we study complex systems and chains of seemingly unrelated events, the more it appears that they may actually be wave-based, recursive (as are fractals) and predictable within a reasonable margin of error, as are all events or phenomena to which probabilities have been assigned.

Our limited vision and shallow perception might cause us to see tiny, seemingly random parts of a more complex system or chain of events with correlation and causality.

As a last thought: Perhaps there is no randomness, and there is only reason.


Think about it. Expanded perception might give us a look at the entire knitted quilt instead of just one seemingly isolated square...


Douglas E. Castle for The Braintenance Blog


@DouglasECastle1 @Braintenance #Braintenance #IQ #altered states of perception



To find a wonderful list of varied, interesting Twitter feeds to follow, please come and visit us at The Twitterlinks Hubspot Blog. Thank you, one and all.





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Monday, July 2, 2012

Paradoxes Are Wonderful Brainstrainers, Braintrainers!

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The mind secretly craves paradoxes that defy reconciliation. These little pieces of self conflictory speech are to the mind what a painting by M.C. Escher is to the the eye. Some Paradoxes get the mind running iteratively to the point of exhaustion, but not a single revolution of mental turnover is wasted. The mere cycles make the mind more resilient, the imagination more expansive, the ability to visualize keener, and general problem-solving skills more powerful. The mind strives for stability -- a one-root solution -- but is stimulated by the exercise of arriving at the point of stability through its own internal logical machinations.

From a more mysterious and possibly sinister perspective, the mental fatigue caused by repetitive anti-logic and the essential bouncing from wall to wall effect can put the mind into a trance-like or increasingly suggestible state. This is excellent for meditation, but under certain controlled circumstances, it can provide an opening for elements of brainwashing and mind control. Mental fatigue without any rest can be a form of torture. People who never think are blissfully ignorant of this type of pain (sigh...).

Additionally, certain simple perceptual puzzles (usually simple pictures which require that the mind re-examine them from various unconventional perspectives, or re-context them new ways in also exercise the same mental muscles. Some of these puzzles are merely optical illusions which cause a variety of interpretations or of the same data to yield different interpretive results, and some require an added element of conscious mathematics skills or logical thought.

Here are a few things to ponder or play with for our beloved readers of The Braintenance Blog:

1) A person is chronically unreliable. Can he be relied upon to be consistently unreliable?

2) If a person says, "I keep my friends close and my enemies closer," what is your standing with this person when he embraces you, and offers you a seat and some pleasant private conversation, are you his friend or enemy? How can you be certain?

3) If an empty ten-ounce glass is filled with more water, each time as follows: firstly, with 2 ounces; secondly with 1 ounce; and with each fill thereafter comprised of half the amount of the previous fill, how many fills will it take before the glass is exactly 7 ounces full?

4) How many equilateral triangles are there in the picture below? (hint: sometimes a triangle can be made of other triangles)

5) How many squares do you see in the picture below?

6)  What is the maximum number of times that you can fold any piece of paper of any size, of any thickness, in half. [THIS IS MADDENING, THIS 'UN IS].


7) Why?


Enjoy the workout.

Coach Douglas E. Castle




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