Why Youtube is in Trouble

time magazine cover

Advertisers are pulling out of Youtube due to poor quality content, some of it linked to hate speech and terrorism. Our culture has moved from gatekeepers and newspapers with journalistic integrity to a free-for-all of “my opinion is as good as yours.” Is Trump a shakedown of the system into something better, or will cold wars give way to hot ones, including another Civil War as the new novel American War postulates? No one knows. Time will tell. As Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz put it in The Great Divide, “equality of opportunity is a national myth.” The rich, unfettered again from regulations, are getting richer at the expense of the lower and middle classes, he says. And poor, uneducated white males on Youtube seem to love it, by all the Flat Earth videos being posted daily in the thousands. Most voted for Trump, and say Trump believes the Earth is flat. He does not. If he ever Tweeted it there would be calls for impeachment rising to the level those on Youtube who believe that whoever shouts the loudest (or is most rich and famous) is right. Alas, science doesn’t work by popular vote. I studied science, and have interviewed one of the engineers that developed the Hubble Space Telescope in person, at an independent of NASA observatory, for my cover article in Sky & Telescope magazine. Also interviewed physicist Brian Greene. Anyone can visit Antarctica on a cruise. Google it. The Weather Channel downloads gigabytes of data hourly from satellites, making predictions that prove correct. But the Flat Earthers and anti-science mob who often tout The History Channel as their source, continue to get louder with talk of lizard people, Illuminati, Pizzagate, Chem trails, 9/11 conspiracy, and the granddaddy of all: flat earth “theory.” They claim there is a great debate on this subject, hidden from you, but there is not. The word “theory” is not understood by them, just as science is not understood. The History Channel (like most media) want viewership, and they don’t care how they get it. Note that they always say, “some scientists believe,” or “some ancient alien theorists say…” So they themselves are not saying it. They don’t believe it. But they are happy with the ratings, just like those on Youtube posting videos with multiple ads attached, often for cartoon movies featuring Superheroes and villains drawn in stark black and white, good versus evil. The truth is always more complex than one can see with their eyes. So the only thing that FE people have are parlor tricks, hyping eyesight, but eyes are the LEAST important tool used by science, and the most easily fooled. Astronomers don’t even look through eyepieces anymore. Empiricism and inductionism and relativism are bad philosophy and bogus science. “The proper method is realism,” says quantum computing pioneer David Deutsch in The Beginning of Infinity, “the belief that the universe is real and can be explained.” No real scientist believes they have all the answers, but they do know some things. One is that the Earth is spherical. Prove otherwise and you would win a Nobel Prize in Physics and be called, “the greatest scientist who ever lived.” Just ONE proof from ANY science. Finally, the purpose of science is to find better explanations for things. Explanations which cannot be varied, and have infinite reach. Progress in science defeats conspiracy theories, everywhere except Youtube. Youtube is losing advertisers because of violence and fake news, and are down billions. What they should do is require better identification to end bogus accounts, police copyright violations of full audiobooks and movies better, and assign a “Believability rating” to channels based on absence of hate speech and validation by a source like Wikipedia, which is editing by everyone who can prove the facts independent of NASA or any single institution. We must support literacy and reading, or the human species may indeed enter a new Dark Age, if not go extinct.    

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The Void


i am a fox with no home
without quarry or hunger

the need receding in time and
until my world is cold
in the vast void of       forever

i will go out now
and make a tent of sticks
walk backward from the dying flame
the furious blaze like passion     ending

yet one ember will still burn
without heat
and return
like a cold moon on my horizon

My Trump Connection

trumpInteresting story. Found this in an article online from 1993 in Caribbean Beat magazine. Caldwell was owner of Palm Island in the Grenadines, West Indies when I arrived around the same time to interview for another magazine, Cruising World (a yacht mag.) He told me about Streisand, but not Trump. Several celebs wanted to buy the place. When I later wrote a novel based on John’s story, I called it FAME ISLAND, detailing a Powerball winner’s battle to save the island from development (and using a Survivor type reality show as cover to fight a corrupt governor on neighboring Union Island.) !  Well, Mark Burnett happened to be producer of Survivor and The Apprentice, so I included a quote by Trump: “People are impressed by fame. Think big and live large.” Imagine my surprise to see the other day Trump liked Palm too! Caldwell died, and his sons sold the island to a private company. The audiobook version is narrated by Emmy winner (and Star Wars gaming voiceover and TV actor/director) Kris Tabori; the ebook version is titled “The Instant Celebrity.” Caldwell had sailed around the world with his family to discover the place, then spent 20 years with a wheelbarrow transforming it into paradise. He always hoped a movie would be made there, so I wrote a fictional version that includes his account of fighting off an attack from renegades. The audiobook was directed by a Grammy winning dramatist, and got accolades from a Disney producer, who said, “it would make a great movie, lots of twists and turns.” Alas, it was an indy press and not in hardcover first, and so didn’t get much press.


Also interviewed pianist Lola Astanova, who Trump admired (and who played in Palm Beach.) The photo below shows her with Trump and Julie Andrews in 2012 at Carnegie Hall in NYC. Astanova reposted it from my Instagram feed. Andrews starred with one of my fav actors, James Garner, in the anti-war classic “The Americanization of Emily,” and read the intro to Garner’s biography. Garner’s daughter liked my review of the biography, AND Tabori (narrator of Fame Island above) was once in The Rockford Files as a guest star! So that’s my Kevin Bacon “6 degrees” moment. (Oh, and I also penned a Kindle ebook “TrumpWorld: Post Election Daymares.” It’s a fantasy on reading in honor of my mentor, Ray Bradbury.)