Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Social platforms

Short attention span and serving silver bullet solutions that cure diseases? Who should we blame?

Is It  the culture that pushes for readily packaged success stories?

Mirvat El-Sibai posted on FB. August 28, 2016 

When i was doing my PhD i used to start my day in lab around 10 a.m. and on many days stay till 3 or 4 in the morning with a couple of hours break during the day..

i routinely sat on the microscope 8 hours straight throughout the night till I developed a permanent slouch.. and still couldn’t wait to go home to analyze the data..

If I came home early it was to catch up on some papers or to prepare a presentation write a paper or my thesis etc..

We used to work weekend, holidays, and we were always in the business of learning and never questioned our advisors and were happy to pay our dues..

Our students today ask for more grades even if they don’t deserve it and i find that lack of self worth very troubling..

it is a sweep under the rug mentality that aims for cheap lazy results

Students today learn a technique and produce a figure and start asking about publications..

They teach a lab and start asking about a permanent position..

They read a paper and start questioning models..

Ambition is great but humility and patience are paramount to actual learning, particularly in science..

I don’t blame it all on our students though..

It is the culture that pushes for readily packaged success stories and quick short attention span, serving silver bullet solutions that cure diseases..

It is also social media

Note 1: For reasons, Not all of them fully justifiable, the medical students undergo harsh schedule and procedure that punish the students more than other fields of study. For example, focusing on a microscope for hours on would turn me blind. And this habit of waking up earlier than birds, as if everyone of them is going to opt to become a surgeon.

Note 2: I suffered immensely during my PhD program, particularly how to pay the tuition and trying to circumvent a few rules by auditing courses.

You may read my uneasiness in my Autobiography category “Not of a famous person”.

In my teaching experience in Lebanon I was very disappointed: I had to invent and change my teaching methods, even during a semester, to excite and give incentives for university students to study, read and do meaningful research. You may discover my methods in my Human Factors in Engineering category on wordpress.com

Note 3: Social platforms may contribute to laziness in students Not motivated in the first place. But these platforms are wonderful resources for reflective minds. This trend of copy/pasting “research papers” that are Not even peer-reviewed, pressured me to demand that all submitted homework be handwritten. Kind at least they had to read something.

Many secret service agencies monitor and alter social platforms: Including Zionist Hasbara. Part 4

How Israel and its partisans work to censor the Internet

By Alison Weir 

Israel and partisans of Israel have long had a significant presence on the Internet, working to promote the Israel narrative and block facts about Palestine, the Israel lobby, and other subject matter they wish covered up.

Opinionated proponents of Israel post comments, flag content, accuse critics of “antisemitism,” and disseminate misinformation about Palestine and Palestine solidarity activists.

The Forward calls Act.IL a new entry into the “online propaganda war” that “has thousands of mostly U.S.-based volunteers who can be directed from Israel into a social media swarm.”

According to the Forward, “Its work so far offers a startling glimpse of how it could shape the online conversations about Israel without ever showing its hand.”

In 2015 Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced that she had visited Silicon Valley and met with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Google’s Director of Public Policy (it is unclear whether this was was Jennifer Oztzistzki or Juniper Downs; Hotovely’s announcement referred to “Jennifer Downs”).

“At the end of the meeting,” Israeli media reported, “it was agreed that Google would strengthen bilateral relations with the Foreign Ministry and build a collaborative work apparatus.”

Another Israeli news report about the meeting states: “…it was agreed that the companies would strengthen ties with the Foreign Ministry and build a regular mechanism of control to prevent the distribution of those incendiary materials on the network.”

Google, which owns YouTube, denied the Foreign Ministry’s report. The Ministry accordingly “clarified” its statement somewhat, but continued to say that Israeli officials would be in “regular contact with Google’s employees in Israel who deal with the problematic materials.”

Such officials often have close ties to Israel. For example, Facebook’s Head of Policy in Israel, Jordana Cutler, had previously been employed for many years by the Israeli government. (More about Facebook can be found here.)

The Linkedin page for Facebook’s Jordana Cutler

The meetings seem to have had a significant effect.

In 2016 Fortune magazine reported: “Facebook, Google, and YouTube are complying with up to 95% of Israeli requests to delete content that the government says incites Palestinian violence, Israel’s Justice Minister said on Monday.”

More recently, the Israeli Ministry of Justice said that its cyber unit handled 2,241 cases of online content and succeeded in getting 70 percent of it removed.

According to a 2017 report, Google, in its capacity as the operator of Youtube, announced that it was updating the steps it was already taking on this score.

Among other things, Google said it would increase the number of members of the “Trusted Flagger program,” which enables certain organizations and government agencies to report content. It also said it would “increase support for NGOs and organizations working to present a ‘corrective voice.’”

Given the record of infiltration and orchestrated activities described above—many financed by a combination of certain influential billionaires and the Israeli government itself—it’s hard to imagine that Israeli organizations and partisans are not thoroughly embedded in this program.

In fact, one of the NGOs already working with YouTube as a “trusted flagger” is the Anti-Defamation League, whose mission includes ‘standing up for Israel.’

Anti-Defamation League celebrates Israel at 2017 New York City parade.

A leaked secret January 2017 ADL strategy paper detailed how to counter the pro-Palestine movement. Among its many strategies were some focused on the importance of efforts in cyber space.

The paper was produced in collaboration with the Reut Institute, an Israeli think tank, and included an endorsement by Sima Vaknin-Gil, who stated that “the correlation between the Ministry’s mode of operation and what comes out of this document is very high, and has already proven effective… ”

Strategy paper about how to counter the Palestine solidarity movement. (Full document posted here.)

The document’s executive summary noted: “Cyberspace, broadly defined, stands out as a crucially important arena (for monitoring and counter and pro-active strategies) which requires more resources and attention due to its current influence, rapid growth and growing complexity.”

The paper called for “a mix of policy advocacy and industry engagement with corporations such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter in a manner consistent with the ADL Center for Technology and Society and its Anti-Cyberhate Working Group.”

An illustration in the ADL-Reut working paper on improving Israel advocacy. It noted: “While the pro-Israel network increasingly is active in this domain, much more can be done.”

The paper also recommended: “‘Bottom-up efforts’ of crowd-sourcing to enhance the adaptive capacity of the pro-Israel network.”

At the same time, it urged:

“Strengthening pro-Israel organizations that mobilize and coordinate a network of ‘nodes’ e.g. Jewish Community Public Affairs (JCPA) and its network of Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRCs) in the USA; Hillel, which is present in nearly 500 locations in the U.S. and globally; the Israel Action Network (IAN) that reaches nearly 160 federations in the U.S.; or the Jewish Congress (WJC) that represents dozens of Jewish communities around the world.”

The detailed, 32-page document reported that in recent years “a massive investment of resources and talent” had been directed against the pro-Palestine movement.

One of the results, the paper said, was to create a “world-wide pro-Israel network.” It was this network that the report wished to mobilize. One of the paper’s concerns was that since Israel’s 2014  attack on Gaza “a growing number of Jews have become more critical of Israel.”

The document recommended a degree of stealth, noting: “high-visibility response by the pro-Israel side can be counterproductive.”

What this means

Nevertheless, despite all these forces arrayed against information about Palestine reaching the American public, our channel is back up on YouTube. In fact, we’ve just uploaded a new video:

This one is about the death of a 9-year-old boy. [Perhaps the Israeli government would consider this incitement to Palestinians to rebel against occupation; we see it as incitement to the world in general, and Americans in particular, to care.]

Israel’s efforts at censorship don’t always succeed. But sometimes they do, and other YouTube users have not always been so fortunate. For example, YouTube has terminated several Palestinian news organizations.

One was the al-Quds network, which, according to a report in Middle East Eye, “relies on young reporters and volunteers using phones and other digital devices to cover local news across the Palestinian territories.” They would often report Israeli soldiers committing various human rights violations.

Its YouTube channel was terminated in 2011, and its editor says they had to “to create a new channel from scratch.”

By 2017 its new channel had gained almost 10 million views before it was suddenly suspended without warning again last October. It now, however, appears to have a YouTube channel in operation.

According to the MEE report, YouTube also suspended the Filisten al-Youm TV channel last August, and in 2013, apparently following complaints by the Anti-Defamation League, YouTube closed down Iran’s PressTV channel. (A Press TV YouTube channel now also appears to be available again.)

Palestinian social media users risk even greater consequences.

The Israeli government has arrested Palestinians for videos, poems, and other posts it dislikes.

2016 report estimated that “more than 150 arrests took place between October and February 2016 based on Facebook posts expressing opinions on the uprising. A recent video posted on social media led to the imprisonment of a 16 year old girl, her mother and cousin.

In addition, Palestinian access to social media is somewhat controlled by Israel.

As a Huffington Post article reports, ”Palestinians’ digital rights and access to the Internet are compromised in very basic ways, because Israel controls the infrastructure and services of Palestinian telecommunication companies in the West Bank.”

While the situation has greatly improved in recent years – the Israeli government finally announced in 2016 that it would allow Palestinians in the West Bank to access 3G wireless networks, making this one of the last regions in the world with such access after years of Israeli restrictions – it is important to remember the enormous power Israel wields over this largely captive population.

While Israel is able to organize entire campaigns to filter and flood social media, its immense control over Palestinians impedes their access to the same media.

Given these facts, it is extremely important for people to search out information for themselves, go directly to our websites and others, subscribe to diverse email lists, and not rely on social media for information. [Please subscribe to our news posts here.]

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and others are private companies. In the end, they have the power to censor information, and they periodically do so.

For a few days, we felt acutely what that was like. If Facebook had joined the ban, as has happened with others, we would have been even more cut off from what is essentially today’s “public square.”

The Internet and social media give us far more access to information and tools for communication and activism than ever before, but they, too, can be controlled—and they are.

It is up to us, as always, to overcome.

#

Our videos are also being uploaded to Daily Motion, Vimeo, and BitChute, and many are already on ournews blog, Timeline, and main website, where all of them will eventually be available.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of “Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.” 

The section on the ADL was expanded on March 9. The ADL-Reut is posted here.

“What did I learn from blogging?” The blurred line between writing and publishing?

I read a post a week ago http://malindaessex.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/3-things-ive-learned-from-a-month-of-blogging/ and it reminded me to rethink why I am at it, after 2,200 articles published.  The post read:

“Today marks one month since I started this blog, so I decided to take a minute and reflect on what I’ve learned in the past month.  I’ve posted every week day since I started, which I find amazing.  Quite a few people read what I write, which I find even more amazing.  And some even share what I write with their friends, which I find amazingly amazing.  Mostly, I’m shocked at how easily I’ve fallen into this process and how much I value it. But I’ll try to narrow it down to three specific observations I’ve made about the past month.

1.  Writing has become an important part of my day

I look forward to the time I set aside to sit and write down my thoughts.  I’ve journaled on and off over the years, but this is different.  Journaling doesn’t really require coherent thoughts.  It’s more like emptying the contents of my brain onto paper.  That’s part of this process, but now I have to make sure it makes sense.  And that’s important (for you and for me.)  It helps me organize the thoughts that swirl around in my head and gives me a feeling of peace when I’m done.  I can say to myself, “Whew, now I get it.”  Or, “Hmmm, I haven’t quite figured this out yet, but that’s ok, because I’ve put my questions into questions.”

2.  I haven’t run out of things to say

For some of you, this is a surprise, because I can be very quiet at times.  For others, it’s no surprise, because you know that when I get started, I have a lot to say.  I’m sure there will be a day when I find myself thinking, “What should I write about today?”  But I’m not there yet.  I find myself looking at the world and my thoughts as opportunities to say something.  This might be a result of turning off my “inner evaluator.”  (Well, it’s not turned off completely, but it’s much quieter than it used to be.)  You know that voice that says,  ”You can’t say that, it might make someone mad.”  Or, “Are you sure you want to say that?  What will people think?”  Or the ever popular, ”You don’t want to say that, people might not like you.”

I love what Jon Acuff has to say about getting past this feeling.  I read it on his blog a couple of months ago and it’s stayed with me ever since.

90% perfect and published always changes more lives than 100% perfect and stuck in your head.

The things you create and actually share will always out perform the things that stay stuck in your head or your desk or your laptop. You might love the ideas you have inside you. You might be blown away by how awesome they are, but if you don’t share them, it doesn’t matter.

A moment of honesty here – there have been occasions in my life where I’ve said to my husband, “Can you believe how smart I am?”  Granted, I’m always brought back down to earth quickly, but the thought crosses my mind.  And I know the world doesn’t usually think I’m awesome, but take my word for it, it feels great to write down an awesome thought and put it out here for people to read.  Even if you don’t think it’s as awesome as I do (which you probably don’t), leaving it stuck in my head is just frustrating.

So, as long as I have thoughts in my head, I’m going to have something to write about.  Because now I know the power of putting them on paper (or a computer screen) and sharing them. Thanks, Jon, for helping me realize this!

3.  I DO care if you read

When I started this blog, I said it was about taking action.  The action being the writing of blog posts.  I said it would be okay if nobody read them because I wanted to concentrate on the action of expressing myself.  Well, I still value the process of expressing myself (see numbers 1 and 2 above) but I also care if you read what I write.  I love the feeling that something I wrote spoke to someone – made them think about something in a new way, helped them know that someone else feels the same way, or made them laugh.  It’s a form of connection.  And I like it.  I especially like it when you let me know what you think.  So leave comments.  Share links.  Tweet links.  Write them in paint across the side of your car.  Writing is solitary.  It’s great when you know someone else is at the other end to receive your words.

So thank you for spending the last month with me.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for sharing with your friends.  Thank you for your comments and feedback.  I’m not sure if this blog has met your expectations.  I’m not sure if it’s met mine.  But that’s another lesson in itself, isn’t it?  Why would this need to meet anyone’s expectations?  It can grow in whatever direction it wants to – just like the trees that are my inspiration.”

This section is for my reply and comments.

Social platforms, particularly specialized in publishing the written texts, offer vast and quick opportunities to publishing for free and freely and thus, encouraging writing.   The new medium have blurred the lines between the need to write and the purpuse of publishing.

Writing is the ultimate form for consolidating personal awareness and conscious individual reflection on life, the universe, and earth survival.  As we go on adentures, the experience of the trip does not gel into consciousness if we fail to note down our diary of the experience and document the adventure.

Publishing what we write carries public responsibilies.  It is important to realize that, once your writing goes into print, your moral liberty is restricted: It entered the domain of others’ moral values and ethics, and you have to take responsibility of what you published.

Thus, there is a difference between writing for your own pleasure and publishing.  Publishing your work carries a public function that you are doomed to shoulder. There is no such thing as publishing for “Art sake” or for style sake: If you have to publish, at least, have a political position that has germinated.   Most of the times, every thought, idea, or action disseminated to the public connote a political undertone. There is always an implicit mission that permeates the published work.

If we have to publish it better be worthier than silence.  The need to commune with the reader presumes a good level of honesty and a will to care. The ultimate mission is to communicate personal struggles; how you overcame shortcomings, the attempts and challenges that obstructed your journey to personal discoveries, and the many ways to succumb to our frailties and limitations: There is an implicit purpose to express and describe the journey, since we don’t need to reach the goal as long as we are on the journey’s track.

The reasons and topics for writing are limitless.  There are subjects that agree with your reflection and need to be disseminated; they need to be read; and the more frequently they are published in different medium the better; thus, it is your duty to re-edit and comment on these articles, translate them to other languages.  If the article does not match your view, after good reflection, it must be commented and replied.

The more you write, the closer you are to taking the decision for serious introspection:  What you believe in, agree with, disagree with, constitute the reality:  Reality is your own model of the world, the universe, society, values, ethics…

Unconsciously, I started publishing early short poems, expressing emotions and feelings.  I upgraded by publishing my diaries, and followed it with as serious attempt of introspection (autobiography) as the best means to put into context my current positions and views. 

As I did my due diligence of expressing frankly and candidly my shortcomings and the context of my life, upbringing and personal experiences, I felt ready to comments, reply, and publish all kinds of articles, giving preference to views out of my comfort zone and “controversial”.  I had this urge to constantly be curious about all topics and get acquainted with various point of views.  I had to keep up my due diligence in upgrading my knowledge and reflecting deeper on the problems and difficulties facing people around the world and within my own community.

It is your right to disseminate your conviction and fight for what is right: Just be aware that you have the responsibility to do your due diligence.  Do not be afraid of exposing your dreams, plans, and programs that you conceived in your sleepless nights:  Get them in writing!

Note: You may refer to https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/do-you-publish-on-wordpress-then-you-are-a-public-figure/


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