H.I. No. 11: Stream of Irrelevancy

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"Stream of Irrelevancy"
Hello Internet episode
Episode 11 on the podcast YouTube channel
Episode no.11
Presented by
Original release dateApril 30, 2014 (2014-04-30)
Running time2:02:29
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"H.I. #11: Stream of Irrelevancy" is the 11th episode of Hello Internet, released on April 30, 2014.[1]

Official Description[edit | edit source]

We've found the show's subtitle: It's not waffling, it's an amazing amount of content.

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I'm gonna keep turning away because the microphone. So I'm just trying to have something else in front of me. Although actually... Actually hold on, I have a spare computer under the table. Hold on a second, I wanna see if I can make this work. Ah! Oh, f***. Oh man. I wish that was recording. That's a terrible start for season two of Hello Internet. Season two. We're back from another 10 episodes for Hello Internet. This is again, this is a funny thing for us to be recording because we just put the last episode up. And then we're gonna be back. And I know because of some scheduling uncertainties, the next episode will probably not be up until the very end of April. So once again, just like at the beginning, it feels like we have a little secret. Are people aren't sure, people are guessing, are there going to be more episodes? And we know, but obviously you dear listener, at the moment I'm speaking, do not know, but of course, now that you're listening, you do know. So welcome back to the show. I'm gonna be back. And I hope you'll stick with us for another 10 episodes of Two Dudes Talking on Hello Internet. So I was speculating about why you've decided to go for another 10. And I've come up with a few possible sort of reasons. Starting with the least likely options first. I thought maybe you just really enjoy talking to me and you'll sound in my voice. And you underestimate yourself, Brady. I do really like talking to you. All right, well, maybe that's it. Maybe that's the whole reason. Maybe so many people have subscribed to the services that have advertised on the podcast that we just had to do more. Like it was just ridiculous than a number of people going to audible and square space and using the code, the Hello Internet code. And it's just like they demanded another 10 episodes. That is the best way to show support for the show at this time. And yes, I do know from advertisers that they have been happy with the response so far. So that certainly helps. I thought maybe you had more to say you wanted to bring the teaching profession down further with more of your no scathing attacks on the education system. Not really. You know, you were talking about this before. I feel like I feel like I don't want to talk about teaching anymore. But that you are going to be trying to trick me into some things that I might regret. You're going to have to do it today and follow up. But finally, I think the main reason for another 10 episodes is the sudden. And runaway success of plain crash corner and Brady's paper cuts. You have really latched on to this one, my friend. I can tell you are super excited about having these little segments at the beginning. I haven't been this excited about something since the word freebooting took off. Did you see that link the other day where it's like now in the urban dictionary? And I was quoted in quote marks about saying it like I was like a source of information. Not only a source, but you were basically the original source of this use of the word. So I thought that's very well done to get into the urban dictionary like that. Urban dictionary might be the stepping stone to the Oxford English Dictionary. And so this is the start of that quote's illustrious travel through the world of respectable citations. Wow. I mean, obviously the word already exists. I mean, I've appropriated it for other purposes. But if we could make it to that, that would be the proudest thing that has ever happened to me. Other than getting into the Guinness Book of Records, nothing will ever top that. But Oxford English Dictionary would be close second. I mean, they're the two most important books in the world, surely. The Book of Records and the Dictionary. I couldn't possibly think of anything more important than that. Now, what was the Guinness Book of Records? Was it the pie thing? No, it was the world's smallest periodic table. Oh, right. On a hand. On a hand. But that's probably a topic for like a whole episode one day, because it's just such a good story. Okay, okay. We'll save that. We'll save it. Curious listeners can go find that out. I'm sure on one of the many channels. Just go to Brady's channel, search through several thousand videos, and eventually you will find it. Yeah, just watch all of them and you'll come across it eventually. We've got some follow-up. Okay, follow-up. Now, I know you don't want to talk too much more about teaching, but you're going to have to. Okay. So, why do I have to? So, you may remember in episode nine, I mentioned my sister. Is a sort of a teacher and a, she's quite high up in the teaching world these days. She's pretty important. And she had a listen to episode nine, and she has also listened to episode 10 now. Uh-huh. So, I wanted to share some of her thoughts. Okay. I would say she wasn't massively happy with everything you said. Uh-huh. And the funny thing was the day I sent it to her, she had just come back from, I wrote this down, the World Education Summit. She had just been like with all the world's best teachers and all the people who think teaching is really, really important. So, she was, I think she was on a real high and feeling really good about teaching. Is she going to be recommending me as a speaker at one of their future conferences perhaps? So, if anything was, she even said in her email. I can't believe I've even used Grace videos in the classroom. Oh, no. So, she's used your UK one a few times in lessons on that, but I think she might put an end to that now. No, anyway, she was, she was good-spirited about it, but she did feel pretty passionately and sent me a bit of a ranty email. And she agreed with a few things, she disagreed with a few things, and there was one thing she was particularly passionate about. And that was when you kind of said that teachers are sort of scared or it's sort of an unwritten rule that you don't talk about. Students not being bright or not being particularly capable, and beyond being able to attain certain levels. And she said teachers do talk about that, and it's actually very important that they do talk about it. And it's one of the most important things they do, this kind of differentiation. And not only using data, but teachers should always be talking about what they think students are capable of and what their abilities are. So they can ensure that they are not underperforming. Even the ones who aren't going to become brain surgeons, they need to make sure that people are attaining what they're capable of attaining. Whether or not it is academic greatness or just a quite a low level, and teachers are always talking about the abilities of their students and who's good at what? Yeah, there's two little things here. The first is that, again, like we discussed in the previous episode, it's hard. You can't go back and edit what you were saying. I sort of tried to make it clear there, but maybe it didn't come across. When teachers talk amongst themselves, obviously they talk about, you know, boy, that kid is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. That is that is standard kind of teacher talk. What I was trying to get at a little bit is there's sometimes pressure from not the teacher level, but the management level of refusing to acknowledge, shall we say, the limits of some children from the managerial level. And that's kind of the pressure that I was referring to. I mean, my sister is at that management level. But she felt strongly, she felt differently, but she wasn't a manager at the school you were at. Another thing I brought up with her was your PGCE, the conversion to the commutature. PGCE. I mentioned that, and you know, your experience of that, and how kind of, you know, the bride-eyed bushy tailed contenders were often the ones who fell away while the hard ones were. While the hard-bitten cynics like you were the ones who went on to actually become teachers. And she, one of the things she said, a really important part of that course is where you are placed and what mentors you are given. And a lot of those bride-eyed people are thrown into some real lions dens, particularly London schools, or given shoddy mentors. And that is probably the most important thing she said when people are coming up through the ranks to become a teacher. What they're exposed to and who they are given at that important time. Oh, man. Very important. I will agree with that 100%. I did say a little bit on the previous episode, but I have to say, when I went through the PGCE course, there were two mentors in particular that I had, one of the university and then one who was at the first school that I taught at. And I think it is very unlikely that I might have made it through that course without their support. So, yeah, those people mattered quite a lot, the mentors that I was with. So, I'm not going to argue that at all. And obviously, I don't know the schools that everybody else went to. But I was at schools with some of the other students who were on that university course with me as well. Especially once you get to a school and you're teaching for the first time, the person that you're with then is incredibly important because, yes, those first few lessons can be quite crushing. I remember my first chemistry lesson was just incredibly devastating. And my mentor just handled it perfectly by just treating it as, that's the way it always is, right? And the first time, it is just always a disaster and let's talk about the next time. And that's the perfect kind of attitude to take. So, yeah, I owe a lot to my first two mentors and my PGCE program. Another thing we didn't discuss, and my sister reminded me of a couple of funny stories from our family, one in particular I'll share because I already enjoy it. And that's the issue of motivation for students. My sister, my mother, I should say, was a very good student. My her sister, my auntie, was not a very good student and was always bottom of the class. But she was obsessed with horses that she would run around the school yard pretending to be a horse. Or she would put a blanket over the front fence of the house and just sit on the blanket and pretend she was riding a horse and all she... At what age was this? For the sake of the story, I'll say 19 because it'll be funny, but I'm sure she was a little girl. Anyway, she really wanted a horse. You know, what the little girl doesn't want a horse. There was no chance she was going to get one. My, their father, my grandpa, said to her, if you come top of the class, I'll buy you a horse. Confident in the knowledge there was no chance she would ever come top of the class. I think you know what happened next. The only reason you're telling the story is because of what probably happened. She put her head down. She worked for like a Trojan and came top of the class. And my completely flabbergasted grandfather had to buy her a horse. Next year, bottom of the class again. And the rest of her school year's bottom of the class. What would have been great motivation is, I've bought you the horse. But to keep the horse from the glue factory, you need to stay at the top of the class. I bet she wouldn't see. This is also a ill-reasoned contract here because she didn't expect that this was going to ever happen. But I bet maybe if the glue factory was on the horizon, she would have still been top of the class. Let me read what my sister wrote at the end of her email. Just so we've got something on the record in our podcast. She said, I've heard it for 12 years in tough areas in the UK, South London. And I loved it. I love inspiring students to achieve more than others think they can be. As a side note, you know, she pointed out some of them who've just become, you know, pizza delivery people or something. But that's more than what was expected of them. A lot of them have become the first in their family to go into further education. I'm very lucky to get up in the morning and I love my job and I know it will be different every day. Whatever people say about teachers, nothing beats all those fake spoke messages and notes I get all the time from ex-students saying, thank you very much, you believed in me and you've changed my life. So, good. There we go. Now, we've got a few links here. One of them was an article that I think I sent you after seeing it on the BBC News website. Which was about the hours that teachers work. Yes, yes, you sent that to me and I was just looking it over before the show. I was flabbergasted by this. I can't believe that those numbers are accurate. Okay, so do you have the summary there? Do you want to tell the listeners what they were talking about? For secondary head teachers, which I guess is the top of the heap in term. They're the boss aren't they? 63.3 hours per week. And for our American listeners, that's basically the equivalent of the principal of the high school is what they're talking about. A secondary head. Primary classroom teachers, 59.3 hours, secondary school teachers in the classroom, 55.7 hours per week. These are long hours. Is this true? Yes, before we started, you were doubting the veracity of these numbers. Why do you doubt these numbers? Well, because they're very long hours. My mum was a school teacher. I lived with my mum, so it's not like I have not been exposed to working school teachers. And yeah, she did work at home. Sometimes she had to work at night, marking things. I don't know, it just seems like a lot of hours. Because eight hours a day would be 40 hours a week. To have to have another 20 hours means you're having to do another four hours every night. And every day of the week, I don't know. I don't want to make the teachers angry at me. You want to make them angry at me. You want me to say the things that I know you might agree with off air. But you want me to say them on air. Look, these numbers have come from a survey that's been run by the department for education. This is where it's come from. I'm sure we'll put a link in the show notes. You were a teacher. How many hours a week were you working? So this is the key question here is partly, who were they surveying? So I will say that my experience beginning as a teacher was that my first year, I would say I was probably working more than 60 hours a week as a teacher my first year. But that's because teaching is a job that comes with a lot of overhead and infrastructure that needs to be set up. So you're going through the lessons for the first time. There's so much more to do. And I would say near almost every waking hour of some sort in those the first academic year was spent working towards teaching at some point. It was just terrible. And I had a little friend at my first school who was also in her first year as a teacher. I forget what the proper term is, it's your new NQT. So you're a newly qualified teacher, but you have this probationary year. And so we were NQTs together. And that was also very helpful for staying in the job to have somebody else who was going through it at the same time as I was. We would sometimes talk about the horrors of you spend all day at school and you spend all evening preparing for stuff. And since I know everybody loves to hear about dreams, this might be the one time in life where these mentioned dreams, the horror of it is when your whole life is obsessed by something, your brain only has one thing to work with for dreams at night. And so I would end up dreaming about teaching and then wake up in the morning and have this awful feeling like I felt like I just worked for eight hours, but I didn't. And now I need to get up and go do it. And it was, it was, it was a very trying time for newly qualified teachers is that that first year. So if I was designing a survey where I want to make sure I get those numbers as high as possible, I would try to survey teachers who were as new as possible. Because that drop off is very quick. It's front loaded. Yeah, it's very front loaded. And subsequent years you start recycling worksheets and lesson plans. So in subsequent years you start recycling. I mean, let's just round it off here. It's let's say it's 55, 60 hours. I would say that this number was more accurate for my second year as a teacher, you know, sort of dropping it down. And then again, I'm trying to try to to live sensor my thoughts here, but then how far do I want to go? Okay, let's just here here's here's here's after your second year, everything is is not brand new. There's two paths, maybe that that that teachers start to take. And this is not necessarily a teacher specific problem. I think this is a kind of knowledge economy problem. Many people, even yourself and myself have jobs where it's hard to pinpoint when something is done. Like what does finished actually look like? And so for your videos, you can always make the editing a little bit tighter. Yeah. Or for my videos, I could always research them a little bit more. And teaching is a job that has an endless amount of boundaries that are like this. You can always mark a paper a little bit more thoroughly. You can always spend a little bit more time preparing the next lesson. You do have a deadline, I don't need, like you have to eventually give the lesson. Yeah. At a set time and a set room and a set. Yeah, there are deadlines, but I think there's there's there's too many decisions with a lot of the kind of work for a teacher that can that can stretch. You are definitely making things better. And this is where there are super dedicated teachers who both mark papers incredibly thoroughly, or I think for example, the thing that I hated the most as a teacher was writing up profiles of students for Americans like the report card. But there would have to be a long comment at the bottom with all sorts of remarks about how the student was doing in the class. And from my perspective as a physics teacher, the only thing I care about is the number on the test. All of the rest of it is sort of irrelevant in a physics class. But so those profiles for example are something that you can spend an enormous amount of time on and you can make profiles very good and very in depth. So because there's a lot of that kind of work, I think there is room to always be legitimately making your stuff better. But it can end up just sucking an enormous amount of time out of your life. And if you... This is a man I wish I could edit this next sentence that I'm going to say, but I'll just try to do my best. If people hear a big blank here, I mean, you edited it out. Yeah. Let's see how to put this. If you think that you are genuinely making a difference in students' lives, it is not an unreasonable calculation to spend an enormous amount of time trying to make everything that relates to your teaching better. Like it's a rational decision to improve things, to spend an extra hour making something 5% better. That's not crazy if you're starting from the proposition that you are genuinely influencing the rest of someone's life. Because that's a huge upside. And so your investment of time now pays dividends over the lifetime of an entire other human being. And so that's why I don't necessarily doubt these numbers. Well, I always... If you ever ask someone how many hours a week they work, I think you should always subtract 5 immediately, just for people inflating their own. Yeah, that's true. If it's a self-survey, you're overestimating just by natural. These numbers don't strike me as wildly, potentially off. They don't strike me as just totally crazy. Because I think as we can kind of see... Well, yeah, the question is, what kinds of people are teachers? Do teachers think they're making differences in students' lives? I would say, if you ask teachers, it seems to be answered generally yes. And so it's not unreasonable to spend a lot of additional voluntary time on that kind of work. Yeah, I mean, I wasn't questioning that kind of motivation from there. I was just more amazed by the number of hours. But then again, you know, when I was a boy playing cricket and computer games all day, I was probably blissfully ignorant to the 10 hours and I, my mum, spent slaving over tests and writing lesson plans. I apologize to her and to all the other teachers because it sounds like they are working those hours. There were a couple of little minor things I had here in the follow-up on the notes that we made before. One was a talk by Brian Kaplan, which I think you were going to raise. Oh, yeah, yeah. I just wanted to mention it for... To listen to someone, basically, give a better explanation than I gave about the importance of what's called signaling in education. So this is the guy I mentioned. He's an economist who I was talking about, some of his work about predicting graduation rates from university based on what you know about a student going into university. And he, someone in the Reddit flag this up, he was on a podcast called Econ Talk recently. And it's a podcast that is run by an economist who interviews other economists. I'm a subscriber. I do quite like it. And it's an excellent podcast because you get to listen to people who maybe you don't agree with, explain themselves in full, which is rare in the world sometimes. I'm just going to put the link in the show notes. If you want to hear more from the professional economist side about how signaling works and research into what is the intrinsic value of schools, you can follow this link in the show notes, go listen to that episode. I think it's probably about an hour or so long discussion. I just think it's worth following up on. Or if you prefer just to hear two amateurs who have absolutely no qualification and economics do it, keep listening to other internet. Yes, that's exactly right. If you want to hear two dudes, just kind of like talk about whatever. I was a teacher once and here's my anecdotal thoughts. Yeah, my mum was a teacher when I was a little boy, so let me preach to you about what it's like to be a teacher. Yeah, my anecdotal experience, I can't like accounts for nothing in the world of science, but I guess if you want to hear it, this is the place for you. Hello, internet. This episode is brought to you by Squarespace. The All in One platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website portfolio or online store. Squarespace has been around for 10 years and they're constantly improving their platform with new features, new designs, and even better support. They have beautiful designs for you to start with and they have a ton of style options so you can create a unique experience for you or your business. And they've released 20 new customizable templates this past year and every design automatically includes a mobile experience that matches the overall style of your website. So your content looks great on every device every time. 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And I only had my iPhone with me, so I took it out, I installed the Squarespace app, logged in with my regular hello internet credentials, took two seconds, I could see all the blog posts, and while I was on a bus in London, I could fix all the things that I needed to fix. And it was just an amazingly simple and great experience, and I didn't have to have it on the back of my mind all day that I hadn't included what I needed to include. So that little app is definitely a must have under the right circumstances. So Squarespace is good for everyone, whether you need a simple website solution or you're a developer and want to get into the code, there are so many options, and it starts at just $8 a month and includes a free domain name if you sign up for a year. So start a trial with no credit card required and build your website today, and when you decide to use Squarespace for real, which you definitely will, because they're so good, make sure to use the offer code hello internet, all one word, to get 10% off and to show your support for this podcast. Also, there's a link in the description that is at squarespace.com slash hello internet, which can get you that same 10% discount that you can click. So once again, we thank Squarespace for their support, Squarespace, everything you need to create an exceptional website. We've also had an artist at work in the Reddit, I understand. Yes, I just wanted to put together Tao McCrawley, I think is the way to say it, is a fan on the Reddit and also on Twitter. I'm assuming it's a he, but I'm not 100% sure, you never know on the internet has been memifying the podcast in the most recent episode and putting together just some funny pictures with the stick figure, CGP Gray, and then a summary of what I was saying in the episode. So I'll put a link to the one that I liked the most from the last episode, which which just says, it's a summary of my position from last time, it says, the more you want to be a teacher, the more you won't want to be a teacher. Which I thought was a very funny way of summarizing some of the points that was making last time. So yes, thanks to him. What was this in the Reddit about Hunt and Pick? Someone asked if you were a Hunt and Pack typist, is that the case Brady? I'm guessing that they thought so based on that little moment where we could hear you typing. See, I thought they were disgusting aspersions on me that I would just be that type of person, but they were basing it on evidence. And as soon as I saw that question, I thought, you know, it did seem to take him a long time to type whatever he was typing. Are you a Hunt and Pack typist? What do you think? Like from what you know of me? Here's the problem. I always just assume that everyone can touch type, and I'm always surprised to discover people who cannot touch type. So I would just, without even thinking of it, just assume that you could. But I feel a strong moment of doubt here that you are not a touch typist. But you would have to be since you worked in a newspaper and you had to write quickly. So my emotions are thinking maybe you're not a touch typist, but my logical guess would be that you are. So which half of me is wrong here? Grey, you should always trust your feelings and emotions. Oh, is that the lesson I'm learning today? Yeah. That's the lesson. Go with your heart, not your head. I am a Hunt and Packer. I cannot believe that. I cannot believe that. Trust your feelings. They do you just... Oh God, how do you survive in the world? Do you know what? I'm doing alright, aren't I? I mean that. But... You do get what I just find. But now every time we instant message back and forth, I'm going to have to feel sorry for you. Oh, he's there trying to find the letter S on the keyboard. I know where it is. I know where the S is. It's up in the general area. And then once my hands moving in that general direction, light travels very fast. But so you're looking at the keyboard while you're typing? Yes. That's sad. Why are you doing that reading a book or something? I'm looking at the screen while I'm typing. Oh, I know what's on the screen because it's the buttons I'm pressing down on the keyboard. When you say it like that, it's hard to argue with. Thank you. Huh. Huh. Interesting. I know something new about you today. Yeah, you just think that little bit less of me. I'm just gradually eroding. I'm definitely eroding quicker than I'm building. I've noticed that. I am slightly disappointed I must admit. Speaking of pecking and clicking and things like that, I just wanted to quickly clarify. Well, not clarify. I just wanted to round off a point I started making in Brady's paper cuts in the last episode, which was about mouse clicking that I was hearing on radio shows. The reason I wanted to bring it up was partly because this has become a problem with the advent of digital radio, which is something I didn't get across. I do most of my radio listening in the car and I've always had pretty crummy analog radios. I've only got a digital radio in my car for the first time recently. That has opened up this world of distracting noises and mouse clicking. It's not always great. It's not all positives. It's not always good to hear everything. It's the same with HDTV, like everyone's all HDTV is wonderful. But there are a whole bunch of TV shows and problems and things that have come along. As a result of that, like I know the fake blood they were using in TV shows had to be sort of completely changed because all of a sudden blood didn't look real anymore on HDTVs. And a whole bunch of sets for TV shows had to be rebuilt because little joins and seams and things they used to get away with on children's TV shows were suddenly these glaring problems. Sometimes less is more. I don't get it. Well, if you like analog radio so much, can't you still listen to analog radio? Can't you get rid of your fancy digital radio player? That would be cool. People start taking their cars to audio shops and can you get this really expensive accent radio out in Chuck Ena. Is that not a possibility? I have no idea about cars. Of course I'm not going to do that. And you do. Why are you not going to do that because the digital one is better? Because the voice. You hear the voice more clearly. Oh, so it is better. There are pluses and minuses. Oh, no, no. Okay, no. I'm not going to let you get away with this. This drives me crazy. People always go, oh, there's pluses and minuses. Yes. But almost never do the pluses and minuses in any situation balance perfectly. Yeah, but it doesn't mean I can't winj about the minuses. I know that you will winj about the minuses. But when you say, oh, it's not always better, what you really mean is, oh, there's still some negative aspect that I don't like. Yeah, but what's interesting is that it's a new negative aspect. Isn't that interesting? It's not like they didn't quite make it better by enough. It's a whole new problem came along. I find that fascinating. I know we're doing a show here and so I should have something to talk about. But I feel like my brain just has no response to this line of reasoning from you. Well, that's because I'm completely correct. You can't disagree with me. If you disagree, you would certainly say something. No, I feel like of course there's going to be new problems with new technology. So are we? Yes, but your new problems are always better than your old problems. Oh, that's interesting. That's a broad statement. Well, I'm going to say with regards to technology that is generally true. Oh, technological advances are positive is what you're saying. I would say that, you see, no, this is a debating problem because you only need to find one counter example here. Like a nuclear bomb. Well, I know you could argue for a nuclear bomb. Yeah, yeah. What I say is, is the, here's the one I would look at it is that the, you have to look at the sum value of the progress. And so I think at any particular stage, certain elements of progress have negative features. But in general, when you're summing up the pluses and the minuses, the pluses just clearly win out all the time. That's what I would say. So the world is a better place? Yeah. Yeah. It's like, I saw some infographic on Reddit a little while ago. I think it was from the Gates Foundation. It was a graphic showing how people die around the world. Yeah, just globally. And the interesting thing was to see in the first world kind of areas you're talking about death from cancer and heart disease. And the discussion in the comments about this, they go, why is cancer killing so many people in America? And the answer is why does cancer kill so many people is because malaria doesn't kill so many people. Like as you solve certain kinds of problems, you're going to have new problems. That is just the way the world works. But I still say in on balance, your new problems are problems you would much rather have than your old problems. So you think if there was some way to measure the happiness of people or society and you applied that now, it would come out, it would constantly be rising, like someone in the 1800s or the mid 1900s is less happy. No, see this is... I might just add this to be the topic depending on how long we talk about this. This on the drives me crazy. Happiness is so tricky. And I'm always just kind of appalled by people who think backwards in time and imagine how great it was back then, with their outhouses and their cholera, because it was a simpler life. Yeah, but I get annoyed by people like you who say because they went outside to go to the toilet and didn't have an iPad, they're not capable of being as happy as I am. No, it's not what I'm saying. I think humans have a natural bias to think that they used to be happier than they actually were. And this is also just within a single human life time as well. I think there's a bias the other way. You're right, and that's why we have terms like the good old days. But there's also a real bias to think because we live longer and because we have mobile phones we're somehow superior or better than people who are only in black and white photos in a dead now. Well, being alive is superior to being dead. That's hard to argue. It has its plus points. Yeah, it has its plus points. It has pluses of minuses. Yeah, I guess it does. Oh, God. It's a ride. It's like you hurt me with this. But no, I think what did you say? You're a line of reasoning sometimes physically hurts me. And I know you sometimes you do it just to rival me. No, that's what I tell myself. No, people just tend to think that they used to be happier than they currently are. And there's some... Again, this is where running a podcast like this, we weren't intending on talking about this. I can't possibly research all these things. But I have looked at some in the past some interesting research about happiness. And it seems like this is a hot topic in psychology now. I don't know if that's actually the case. There are just some very interesting experiments that show how people's self-assessment of their current happiness can be just weirdly off from how they report their actual level of happiness. And the way I've seen these things are usually with people participating in the study will be text message randomly and they'll have to rate on a scale from one to five, how happy they actually feel at that particular moment. And you compare that with self-reported descriptions of their happiness later about that actual time. And you can see that there's like a big difference between the reported happiness and then the measured happiness. And the biggest difference I saw on this one is against making people just like me a lot. It's talking about new parents. So parents of new babies. And that... As opposed to parents of old babies. I guess what I mean is first time parents is what I was trying to say. I was like, yeah. You've had your first kid. The reported happiness later just does not match at all the data at the time. So if you randomly ask in the first year new parents how happy they are, you always get a like, oh god, I'm so tired. And then my whole life it just seems like it's falling apart and everything is miserable. And then but six months later if you ask someone, oh how happy where you are, they're like, oh, it was a magical time. And they're all new experiences. All these new experiences. And everybody does this with all kinds of things. I think this is also why people remember past periods in their life as happier than they currently are. And an interesting thing as well is that people's level of happiness doesn't really change very much over the course of their life. And so their self-description is weirdly out of whack with what we sort of know about people's levels of happiness. It's that they don't change all that much. But people have a real perception that they're very full. So I think that history on this whole scale kind of follows the same way that people imagine how amazingly happy people were in the past. And the answer is like people in the past probably actually weren't that differently happy from people now. But they had just worse problems to deal with. They were dying of color, whereas I'm complaining about mouse clicks on that. That's a picture. Oh, the audio fidelity on my digital radio is too high. It's just terrible. Perfection, what's right? Yeah. And meanwhile, you know, 200 years ago you have people needing to give birth to 10 children so that two of them will live. But the actual random happiness of individuals might not have been wildly different. I don't know if there's any, or if it could even be done any kind of guesstimating about people's happiness in the past. I don't know if you could try to do an analysis of letters or literature or anything like that. Anyway, I'm always technology. Give me more faster sooner. This one's just for you, Gra. You ready? This is for you. What? There you go. It's done. That's the end of follow up. Oh, I went and did something. Oh, you would have hated my Easter. Because we spent two solid days going through antique shops, which is like one of my favourite things in the world to do. Just like just looking at old stuff and little knick-knacks and treasures and old furniture and old maps and I love all that stuff. I know you do. And you misunderstand. Under certain circumstances, I could find that sort of activity enjoyable. But the question is, were you going into these shops looking to purchase items to bring back to the mausoleum of your life? Yes, they were shops. They weren't museums. They were antique shops. I mean, there is a lot of just looking and isn't that wonderful. But you've got to buy a few things. You don't. You don't actually have to buy a few things. I have been in shops many a time and not bought a few things. It's remarkably easy to do. Well, you have been a discipline to me. If I see something lovely, I'm like, oh, that would just be lovely just to have. Just to have near me. Just to have. Yeah. Just to have. Yeah. As a burden. Stop burden. How many square feet is your house if you want to say that? The main thing stopping me is the fact I have absolutely no idea. That's okay. I have no idea. I have no idea either. If I just feel like this is a thing that some people... So if I had said a number, what would it have meant to you? It would have meant nothing, but I felt like maybe the listeners could have some estimate of how much stuff could possibly fit in the house that is that big. You could probably fit a lot of stuff in my house at the moment, but yeah. Well, you have fit a lot of stuff in your house at the moment. You sent me that picture and I could see all the antlers on your wall and things like that. And again, I want to once again just be super clear. I have no problem with someone having antlers in their home because your home should be a place that you like. And I want you to have a place that you like, Brady. It's hard to like though when you're making little jokes about it. No, you... It's okay. If you ever tell you what, all will be forgiven if you ever actually agree just to come over for the day and hang out. I totally will. It's just a question of getting up there. We've already said we're going to go to the tip together and throw stuff out. And apparently you have plans to make a video for our exciting day to the tip. No, I haven't. No, someone suggested it, but... Oh, okay, okay. I'm happy to do it. I'm happy to make a video. I think it would be nice. Maybe we could do a podcast from the tip. Yeah, that would be great. Some people would love that. I'd be well up for that. That'd be fun. But, okay. But I just want to be clear. I do not judge other people's design aesthetics. If you're asking me questions about... You so do. You did a whole thing with a picture where you put circles around all the things that you thought were rubbish in their house. No, but the context of that was, boy, look at this beautiful house that they ruined with all of these things. Okay, so you don't judge, but you say they ruined their house. But the presumption is, it's ruined for me. If I were to live here, all of those circles are the things that I would just get rid of. But, I feel like I'm a very easygoing, live-and-let-live kind of guy. If you're doing something and that thing makes you happy, if it's decorating your house with stuff from all of your trips, who's going to argue with that? If you're happy? If you're happy, it's your house? That's awesome. That's great. I'll visit your house and tell me about your stuff. What's the story behind these antlers? What's the deal with these little statues on the fireplace? That's all great. It's just a different question of if I were to buy your house and you left all that stuff there, how much of it would I keep? I don't think it's not criticizing to couch it in the terms you just couched in. I still think it is criticizing. People have a difference of opinion. Plus, I don't go into people's homes and start pointing at all the things that go in like, oh man, I'd get rid of all this stuff. This has only come up on the podcast because I think you asked about it. I don't even remember how it came up. This is a topic of discussion here. But I don't go into someone's house and start down-voting all of their personal possessions. That's not the way it works. Would you come to an antique shop? Do you ever go into antique shops? Yeah. I treat them like little museums. I treat them like little museums. I've done a couple of road trips across America. There's always just quirky, weird local shops or antique stuff like that. I have no problem going and visiting that stuff and taking a look around. I think it's super interesting. But I'm the guy in the store with no intention to actually purchase anything. Have you ever bought something crazy like some weird object, even if you're a Greta afterwards? Any more context for this? What do you mean? Have you ever bought what you would describe as a knick-knack or a novelty item or an old tattoo item? I guess I was a kid and did stuff like that. You have stuff that's just totally worthless. But you're also a kid. You don't know anything as a kid. But I think in my adult life, I'm just trying to look around the room that I'm in. Have you ever bought something as an adult that, to borrow a term from last time, you regretted? Have you ever made a bad purchase? No, never. I can't feel like there's any regret that I've had over purchases. Really? You've never regretted a purchase? Well, this is going to get quickly back into our weird definition of regrets. I like the data available at the time. It's like I have bought stuff that doesn't work out, but I don't know, filled with regret and sit down and feel all sad about it. I was like, well, that didn't work and now I'm going to get rid of this thing because it doesn't work. Yeah. But I'm looking around. I don't know. I mean, if you feel like you're this bothers you and then... No more than you're bothered by my hunting and pecking typing. That's just surprise mixed with disappointment, I guess. I just feel like maybe you're missing out on some of the texture of love. I am very happy with my life, Brady. I'm the... Well, as long as you're happy and it's good for you. Yeah, see, that's exactly it. Live and let live. I'm a very happy guy. You're a very happy guy. I presume. We're both very happy guys. If for some crazy reason we were renting a house together, we would then have to have some disagreements over how that house would be decorated. Man. Actually, no, that'd be really easy. You can decorate your room the way you want and all the common areas are decorated the way I want. I think that would settle it. That'd be great. You sound like a whiff. Are you ready for Brady's paper cuts? Am I ever... The digital radio thing wasn't your paper cut. Oh, that was last week's paper cut. Oh, God. It's expanding. Paper cuts has its own follow-up now. It's going to be a breakaway podcast. You know it. So, here is my paper cut this week. Yeah. It is when you unfollow someone on Twitter and they have whatever software or gimmicks that people have to know that you've done this. They then contact you and confront you about why you unfollowed them. Really? Have you had this happen to you? Yes. How do you deal with that? I can play it about it on a podcast. This is your solution. Well, I don't know if it depends on the reason I unfollowed them. There are many reasons on Twitter to unfollow us. I know. Sometimes it's not personal. Sometimes it's just managing certain things. I mean, one of the ones I unfollowed recently was simply a case of dismanagement. I was unfollowing them from one account. But I still followed them from a different account. And I just didn't want them clogging multiple streams. But you know, sometimes you unfollow someone because they're a bit too active and they're crowding out. Crowding out your Twitter stream. But anyway, I don't think one should be confronted about it. This is the Twitter versus Facebook topic. This is the reason I love Twitter is because it is not Facebook. It doesn't come with any of the, or at least I don't think it should, but apparently some people do. It doesn't come with the kind of social obligations that Facebook does. Excuse me. None of this expectations that you, people you know in real life for your work colleagues or everybody uses you on Facebook. Whereas with Twitter, it's your following people who you think are interesting to follow for whatever reason. But it's not a list of your friends on Twitter. That's one of the reasons why I really like it. There you go. So. There's not Facebook up. Yeah. I'd be pretty baffled if I unfollowed someone and they got mad about it. I'd be like, why would I be mad if you unfollowed me? Yeah, but see that here's one of the also the great things about Twitter is that for those kinds of relationships, I could just mute you on Twitter as well if I wanted to make it look like I was still following you. You could type ethically mute me. Hypothetically I could mute you. That's entirely true. I would not be upset if you unfollowed me, Gray. I know it wouldn't be personal. Yeah, but that is... Your robots don't have feelings. But that is the essence of Twitter. And I think... I'm particularly on Twitter. I think I have more people I don't know who I follow on Twitter than people I do know that I follow on Twitter. And there's no way I would make Twitter just a list of my friends. That just ruins the whole use of it. That's not what it's for. So, yeah, if I guess for future notice, if I ever unfollowed someone and they start talking to me about it, it's not Facebook. Go cry about this on Facebook, but not here. This is not what this thing is for. Plane crash corner. Do you want to play crash corner? I deliberately have to pause this so you can start easy if you edit this app. Do you honestly have to talk about playing crash wise? Well, I just want to keep it going. So I was actually going to delve into the vote of playing crashes. No, it doesn't have to be a weekly thing. It can be a semi-regulant thing. I want to tell you about the worst playing crash ever. Oh, yeah? Yeah. Do you know what the worst playing crash ever was? I have no idea. No. Really? This is where you're super into a topic and you over-assume other people's knowledge about it. Yeah. I wouldn't have the slightest idea of the whole world. I just assume this is like one everybody knows. I don't think I could name a single plane crash in an identifying way, where people say, oh, flight AA165. I can't do that for a single plane crash. Well, if you say the word tenor reef to any plane crash enthusiast, they're going to know what you're talking about straight away. I have never heard of this. Well, this was the worst playing crash ever. I'll give you mine as well. You might as well. I mean, you can cap this. Just send me the audio for my personal pleasure, listening pleasure. Like, all plane crashes, it's a terrible thing. And 583 people died, which is the most in a single plane crash. But it was two 747s that hit each other on the runway. And you'd actually quite like it, because it was one of these perfect storms of things going wrong. And it was a lot of it was also to do with psychology and human interaction, because basically this guy flying a KLM plane at the end of the runway was quite misty. He misheard some communication, and he thought he was clear to take off, and he was impatient and wanted to take off, because he wanted to get home. He was late. And his second officer, his inferior, was probably the first officer, actually. But his inferior knew he was doing the wrong thing, but was too shy almost. He didn't say it. He didn't speak up. Anyway, you can guess the rest. The plane went hurtling down the runway through the mist, and there was another pan-amplane crossing the runway at the time. And the KLM plane took off, and the two collided, and all this devastation happened. Not only is it interesting, because it's the worst plane crash, but it's interesting because of some of the factors, especially this human factor side of things. And this was the crash that really, really started getting people interested in human factors and the psychology of the cockpit. Yeah, if it's a huge disaster, it's almost always a human's fault. There were lots of factors, but if you were going to put the blame on one human, you'd put it on the pilot of this KLM plane. And the thing that was interesting was that he was like the chief flight instructor and the top dog pilot of the whole airline. And he'd recently been in their advertising campaign as a face of the airline. And when the crash happened, the first thing all the airline executives said was, we've got to get Jacob on the phone, he's going to head the investigation before they realized that he was the pilot that caused the crash. So anyway, interesting one, plane crash corner, look it up. And like I always say, every plane crash has lots of interesting little stories and bits of trivia. And one of my favorites is this particular plane, the Pan Am plane, that kind of was the sitting duck that got hit by the KLM as it came down the runway, was also the first ever 747 to fly a commercial flight. And it was the first ever 747 to be hijacked. And it then was one of the participants in the worst air disaster still that has ever happened. So it's a busy airplane then. That's a cursed plane. Plane crash corner. There we go. You can just send me that audio if it doesn't make the final cut. If the worst plane crash disaster ever doesn't make it, nothing from this point on will make you. This episode of Hello Internet has been brought to you by Harries.com. And for those of you who don't know what Harries is, it's basically an online way to take care of your sort of shaving and razor needs. You can buy razors and you can buy the replacement blades. Now the business was born out of a personal experience. One of the founders went along to what he calls a drugstore, but I guess what I would call the pharmacy or a chemist, to buy replacement blades for his razor. And he had to wait for ages while they unlocked a case and then paid a fortune for the blades. And he basically thought, there's got to be a better way than this. So they started this website, Harries.com, where you buy razors and then you get the replacement blades like everyone does. But at a much fair price than what you get from some of the more famous companies. Now you're probably wondering why I'm doing this at a not gray. And that's because I've actually been sent one of the kits from Harries to use. So I can tell you about it. I've got it here in my hand. That's what it sounds like. You'll have to go to the website to see what it looks like. I was actually really impressed by the whole thing. It comes in a really sort of impressive looking box, really classy. And then I'll open it up. The razor itself's really nice. The one I've got's got this nice silver metal handle. It feels expensive, although it's not. And it looks expensive. It's quite a classy looking razor. It also comes with shaving cream and a first batch of blades, which is pretty important. I gave it a test run in the bathroom and I was really impressed with the shave as well. It's really pretty smooth. Everything you'd want from a really top-notch razor. But the key thing here is the ability to order new blades at a fair price. They've got really good blades made in Germany. And you can order them when you like. And it won't cost you an arm and a leg. They're not following that printer ink business model of getting you on board to start with. And then ripping you off later. They're really fair. If you don't believe me again, have a look at the website harries.com. I think one of the things I like best, they were sort of the look of the product, the font and the text. It's all kind of really classy. I like the colours and I don't know, they've got a bit of a sense of humour. If you look closely and read what's written on some of the products as well, this kind of a dry wit. I think they've done well. I think they've really got the tone of the product right. Only $15 gets you the starting kit, which seems like a really good price to me. And besides being something you could buy for yourself, which is probably what I'd do. The other thing that did occur to me when it arrived was this would make a really good gift for kind of like your dad or your brother or boy. Or something like that. It's sort of, it looks like an expensive present, although it doesn't cost a fortune. So go and have a look at the website and you'll see what I mean. So if you want to check it out, go to harries.com. Now I should say at the moment, they're only delivering to the US and Canada. I was a bit lucky they sent one to me here in the UK. And I think they do want to get international shipping happening at some stage, but they haven't done that yet. Go to harries.com and enter the promo code HI when you're checking out. Now if you do that, you'll get $5 off your first order, which is good for you. And they'll know that you came to the website from our podcast, which is good for us. Harries.com, promo code HI as in Hello Internet. And thanks again to them for supporting Hello Internet in the podcast. Back to the show. Can't we've wuffled on today? Are we going for like an hour or almost? Well, I guess what this is is the Hello Internet season two opening extravaganza. Excellent marketing. I've got a lot to learn from you. It's not waffling. It's an amazing amount of content. This could be like feature length episode. Yeah, yeah. We were going to talk about the news. Yes. This is a big topic and this is going to be difficult because you are a consumer of news. But I worked in news for a very long time. Yes. Which really makes me worry that I could be very, very boring here. I will. I will. I will edit you out as much as is necessary. This is a topic that we had alluded to talking about at some point in season one. And so we'll talk about it in season two. But I guess the focus for this discussion is a little bit like the news, Colin. Why is it so awful? Question mark. That's kind of the headline in my mind of the discussion to have around this particular topic. Because the news is such a big, all-encompassing thing. I think that we want to set the guidelines that I want to talk mostly about the big newspapers and the big TV news channels as the focus of this. Because in this modern internet world, there's this very interesting, blurring spectrum of what is news with various websites and how big things need to be. So I kind of want to talk mostly about the major websites and the major TV channels when we're discussing the news today. I like how you say the major websites rather than newspapers. Did I say that? I meant to say newspapers, but to say this. You did say newspapers. Yeah, but I guess the thing is in my mind, I interact with all the newspapers in their internet form. And of course, I'm not going to go the newspaper and like pull out those big sheets and then have to wash my hands later. I remember when a little while back, I think you and I were both in a newspaper article like in the paper. And it wasn't in the online version. And I called you up and said, oh, have you seen this article that we're in? Yeah. And I said, oh, I'm not going to find it online. And I said, oh, go and buy the paper because it's in there. And oh, my goodness, it was like I asked you to rub your hands in dog poo or something. You were like, what? I'm not going to touch a newspaper. You were like notified. No, I was okay. Some newspaper had done a big feature on people making a living on YouTube. As I remember correctly, you were in the article, but I don't think I was mentioned, but we wanted to talk about it anyway. Okay. You wanted me to look at it. And I guess I was just disbelieving that you couldn't just send me a link that this was only available on a piece of paper in a store somewhere. And I don't know if I've ever bought a newspaper before then that wasn't explicitly for a project in school back in high school. When they say, oh, you have to use a newspaper to do whatever. And I don't think I'd purchased a newspaper since then. So it was a big event for me. And I had to go in and give the guy some money for some paper. And yes, that was the first time I touched a newspaper in probably 10 years. Well, anyway. A physical newspaper, yeah. So I'm guessing that the overall tone you're going to have towards the big newspapers and the big TV networks is not going to be loving. Yeah, I think that's fair. I guess I come at this from a couple points, which is for most people reading the news, you are probably not involved with basically every news store you ever read across your entire life. The news is stuff that's happening to other people or in other places. But if you ever are in the position where you are directly involved with something that ends up in the news, that can be a rather eye-opening experience to see, oh, I was here or I was involved in this or maybe the newspaper is talking about the company that I work with and I'm familiar with whatever they're discussing. And I would say that is often just a very surprising experience to see how stuff that you know about first hand is then communicated to a wide audience. Yeah. Very often it is communicated in ways that are just wildly inaccurate. And I guess I've seen people discussing this online and just saying how that can be very, very surprising. And that's not something that happens to most people because again, most of the time the news is about something else. And so when you read newspaper stories or you see something on TV, you generally just kind of go with it. You have no reason to doubt it really. You know, it's in the newspaper, it's on the TV. You assume like, oh, yeah, you know, maybe they left out some details, but that's basically the story. But if you're ever involved in something, you can quickly see how that is not the case. That it is often just very different than what you expect. Yeah, I mean, that's true for life in general as well, but yeah. Yeah. Okay. And then the second thing is from my perspective, having to research stuff. So again, I don't want to make a big point. But I do try to research my videos as well as I can. Yeah. And over the first year of doing this, I very rapidly came to the conclusion that newspapers were basically just worthless as resources to rely upon because it usually factual claims that were made. If I try to follow up, it was just either impossible to follow up or it was just wrong or wildly misleading. And that's also a very disappointing kind of thing to come across because you think this is the newspaper. This is the idea of the newspaper just like the idea of schools is maybe different from the reality of the situation. You know, maybe, you know, if we talk about what the news is actually doing, presenting an accurate view of the world to news consumers is not what it's doing. It's actually accomplishing something else. So, well, I'm not. Yeah. As a guy who spent many, many years writing those stories and then making those TV reports later. Yeah. So I will say nothing because I'm now, I think I'm now about to feel how all the teachers have felt listening to the previous few podcasts as you do a demolition job on my profession. I'm going to say something and I think it's going to be impossible for this next sentence to not sound sarcastic. So I just want you and the internet to be aware that I mean it genuinely. Okay. You, Brady, are very special. I think that you are much better than probably many say most of your former colleagues. You know, I don't know any of these individuals in particular, but you know, you are someone who has ended up in a situation where in some strange way you are almost like a one person tiny science news channel of yourself. And you know, you go out and you do interviews and then you edit those interviews and you have a lot of control over how things are portrayed. And I think the kind of person who ends up in that situation is obviously maybe a little bit different than most of the other news reporters. I don't know. What do you think about that? Well, that's very special. That's very kind of you to say and I appreciate it. And I guess in the sense that I'm a journalist now, then that's a bit different and it's sort of comparing apples with oranges. Yeah. I think the side of me that is about to be offended is the side of me that worked for a Rupert Murdoch newspaper for seven years and then worked for the BBC for seven years. I think that's the side of me that's about to get a shellacking. Well, actually, so here's the thing. You know, this is again, just as I was saying that sentence, that if I was writing this as an article, I know I would go back and revise the previous thing that I said about the reporters themselves. Because I actually think I was thinking a lot about this because I've had some interactions with reporters who tried to get in touch with me to do stories or a couple of things that have been written about me in the newspapers. Yeah. And I would say that has generally been a negative experience for me with that. And it's something I would try to think about and say, okay, I don't... I don't... I think people are people, just sort of across the board. In general, I don't like answers like this. Say, oh, let's say I think the news is terrible. I think a lazy answer, but a very reflexive answer for people to say something like, oh, but that's because just the reporters are terrible reporters. I don't think that's a good answer to the kind of question about maybe why isn't the news super accurate. And I like to try to think in terms of systems. And so my guess is that what's going on inside of newspapers and what's going on inside of newsrooms is that the system that is set up to generate and produce the news, puts an enormous amount of constraints on the reporters and the writers that makes it difficult for them to maybe necessarily produce the best pieces that they possibly can. So, you know, I'll ask you this. I've never worked in a newsroom, but I'm going to guess, for example, that there is just enormous amounts of pressure to produce lots of articles. And you are measured and graded by the number of articles you're not necessarily measured and graded by the quality of those articles. Is that the case? Yeah, I mean, as long as they're not as long as they're not wrong and cause problems for the newspaper. Yes, you are required to produce, you're required to have high output, but also you're required to have output in most cases every day. And that's, yes, that is a constraint put in place. It's a, you could call an artificial constraint that is created by the need to have newspapers every day and sell advertising and make money and feed the beast and say to the curiosity of the public. But news isn't news if you don't do it quickly every day. It then becomes history. And they're not called history papers, they're called newspapers. So that constraint that it is done quickly and all of the problems that come with the need to do it quickly, including accuracy and things like that. They're almost a necessary evil. And yes, you cannot then rely on it as a, you know, a source in 50 years time for a CGP grade video. But they're not historical documents in a way. And if every article was triple checked to the nth degree and you waited for all the facts to come to light before you wrote your article, it wouldn't be news anymore. And you could say, and I know there are people who don't care much for news and will say, well, fine, let's wait a few months until all the facts are known. Let's not report on this Malaysia playing crash until we know what happened. Let's not have all this wild speculation. And that's fair enough. Wild speculation is called wild speculation for a reason. But if you don't have news, if you don't have day-to-day accountability, you have a lot of other problems in society as well to do with the way you're governed, to do with things that are happening you don't know about. So I think this, we were talking about pluses and minuses of everything. The pluses of news shouldn't be discarded because of some of the minuses that you've already touched upon and more no doubt touch upon again. Let's not forget that news has to be quick and responsive and a day-to-day thing because that's how people are held accountable when how societies kept informed of what is going on elsewhere in society. Otherwise, we may as all just live an hour in the Los Alos and not know anything. But go on anyway, that rant over. No, no. You are making good points, which I think is amazing. No, no, no, that's not a rant. This is why I think it's an interesting conversation to have with someone who was on the inside. Because I'm just a person on the outside, sort of frowning at the newspaper. And I want to hear what you have to say about your perspective from having actually worked on it on the inside. Let me get... I'll say one other thing. I'll say a negative thing. Because that's a kind of a positive, altruistic version of news. And you don't have to have been a journalist to express those thoughts that I just expressed. That's kind of more of a fourth estate type of view. But I think the one thing that... I think you're a bit too kind to journalists as well when you sort of say that they're just a product of the machine they work in, which they are and they have to get paid and don't want to get sacked. But journalists also... Most journalists who become journalists have a fair degree of ego. And they want to have stories in the paper all the time. They want to have their bar line on stories or they want to have their face on TV as a reporter. And that is another big driving force that's going on. So while they have got bosses who are saying feed the beast, feed the beast, they also have their own impulses, which are saying, get the story. Get enough of the story or get the best possible story that will get me on to page one or get me the lead story on the news tonight. And that is a corrupting force. That is a force where you may not... You find out just enough to get your story in the paper or you find out what you need to know or the shots you need to get your story on the TV that night. That is a negative side of journalism. Yeah, yeah. They are just humans. They are humans who want glory. Yeah, that's true. Again, that is also in all fields. That is a humanist. Humans want glory, I guess, as a general statement. I guess, you know, when you... Let me put it this way. This is a huge topic. This is a huge topic, isn't it? Oh, yeah, no. It's... What are we even saying? We're just... It's just massive. Yeah, it's such a huge topic. Let me go to some of my bullet points here. One of the things that I think about... When I think about the news. Sort of like on TV and with newspapers. It's the suspicion of noticing that... Like the phenomenon of 24-hour news channels. So really, there's always 24 hours worth of news in a day. Or that newspapers are always sort of about the same size. And I think about it. Well, surely, if we want to talk about the things that are important or the things that humans should be informed about in their society, there's not an equal amount of that every day. There would be a remarkable coincidence of the exact number of important things happened every single day. And so since that isn't the case, you have to know that a lot of the stuff that's in on TV news or that is in the newspaper, is not necessarily there because it's important. It's there to fill space. I came across this article by a blogger. I've been... or I really a guy. I've been following for years called Paul Graham. He writes some very good essays. He's a venture capitalist out in California. But he used to do some other things. And he talked about how... I think it was he worked in a newsroom at one point and was discussing the number of press releases that come in from companies that then just get immediately rewritten as stories. And I'll see if I can find a link to his specific article. Yeah. But he was talking about this kind of news article where once you tune into it, you can't unsee it. And his example was talking about an article in newspaper that'll be something like men's business suits are back into fashion in the office. And some survey about how more and more companies are deciding that the casual look is over and we're going to do more business suits now and some graph about the sales of business suits. Always based on a survey. Someone's commissioned. Yeah, that's exactly it. Some survey about this or that. And how... As soon as you think of that as a kind of article, you think, wait a minute, and he discusses how these kinds of things were coming into wherever he worked as a newspaper just an enormous amount of the time and they just get kind of slightly modified and then sent into the newspaper as though they're reported stories but they're basically something that the association of business suit manufacturers has just handed to the newspapers and hopes that they run. That's easy. Yeah. And also, even when you just talk about the number, like what should people know? I almost think that the newspapers and TV news are more... They're more reflection of what do various interests want people to be told as opposed to an accurate reflection of what should people know. And I think that the example of press releases is just a relatively small example of that. But you can... It's not hard to scale this up to governmental levels of what particular stories do, particular interests want run. But is that something that you came across much in your work? Like the press release issue? It sounds like you know it. Oh, gosh, yes. I mean, you know, when there were still facts machines, you just have piles and piles of press releases coming in all the time. I mean, yeah. The press release thing is an age or problem. And journalists do have a... Again, the ego of the journalist has a natural revulsion to doing things that come from press releases. It's partly a pride and it's partly a, well, I don't want to be spoon-fed attitude. So there is a natural revulsion to it. But then there's a whole industry that has blossomed. Around getting around that problem. Pierre officers who were so skilled at writing press releases that they might be able to get around that or they'll contact the journalist directly and say, I've got a story for you and coat it in such a way that the journalist thinks they're doing something they're not doing. I mean, this is a constant tension in news, press release versus news. And of course, when you're under pressure to find a story and you haven't got a good story that day, the pressure releases is the get out of jail free card. Yeah, and that's what I mean by the systematic pressure. You know, no one can blame a reporter for doing that if they have deadlines to meet that their job depends on. And that's why the press releases work, is their feeding into this system as well. And the newspaper wants a certain amount of material. So the person is kind of caught in between those forces. And it becomes more economical way to fill a newspaper and to fill, you know, so you don't need as many staff because you're not having to send them all out to go and meet deep through it in a car park if they're just sitting at their desk rehashing a press release. Yeah, real reporting digs a long time. That is a constant tension. I will say this at the end, and I'll say this now. I don't know if you've read Flat Earth News by Nick Davis. Yes, yes, I have. I mean, everything we've talked about so far and we'll talk about if people find this even a little bit interesting. That is a book they should read, which is excellent about this. And he talks about journalism. There's churning out, there's need to churn out stuff. And the pressures that creates on the journalist and the press release exploits this churnalistic culture. So I mean what you're saying rings very true and it gets manipulated. And you can spot these press release stories if you know what you're looking for. Yes. Yeah, that's just part of the problem. I guess that's the problem. Yeah, and one of the things that when I hear people defending the news as an industry again, it talks about informing people. But I don't know how to... Let me put it this way. Just like once you know about the existence of press releases, you can see this kind of thing more easily in newspapers that you might read or TV shows or TV news that you watch. I think there's a similar kind of thing, which again, I assume that this comes from the time pressure. I don't think it's necessarily laziness on the part of the reporters. And I notice this particularly when I go back to America and I watch American TV news, which has got to be just some of the most appalling news in the whole world, everything is presented as what is happening right now. So the news is discussing an event that is occurring at this moment. And I always think I'll be watching these news clips. And I think, okay, I understand this is what's happening in politics at the moment or this is a particular problem elsewhere. But nobody can understand this problem in a meaningful way, unless we understand how did we get here? Like there's something happened before this problem that was the setup to this problem. And I'm always really aware on particularly American TV news, there's just no history. There's never any context. I mean, you've got to have... This is where you have a problem of assumed knowledge, like how much background can you possibly put in? I mean, for someone who's just coming into the story for the first time, you could probably talk to them for half an hour about everything that's come before this point. But for someone who's watched the news every night, this is just the next chapter of the story. You don't read the previous 19 chapters of a book every time you go to bed, you read the chapter you're up to now. Yeah, and I understand what you're saying there. And I can go with that. But I would say that the majority of stuff that I see is presented in a totally contextless void of we're going to talk about this problem, this event that is happening. But there is no future and there is no past. And we're just talking about the thing that is happening right now. And I think that kind of thing leads to a falsely informed citizenry. Like, oh, you're aware of stuff that is sort of going on right now, but you don't have any kind of framework to understand it in a meaningful way. Again, this goes back to my system's way of thinking. So many of the things that are being discussed in the news, they are attention grabbing or like they make you really angry. But they're just the bottom layer of something where the next layer up is the thing that really matters. And so some day we'll do an episode where we talk about politics in particular. But I think this is a great example or sorry, voting, I should say in particular. But as an example in America that like you will hear all of these events and these stories about say corruption with particular politicians or you know huge divide in the Congress over a particular bill or whatever it is. And a lot of those things seem to come down the way the news presents them as stories about particular people. But there are systemic answers as to why say is Congress more divided now than it has ever been before. There is a totally reasonable answer, one level up to that question. There are structural changes that have happened to the voting system that have made that different. But that level never gets talked about. It's always just like let's look at this guy who's yelling about this one thing and this other guy who's yelling about some other thing. And there's no history about how did those guys get there or why does the system now encourage much more partisanship than it ever did before. So I just think that if the news is informing you of these particular events but it's almost like junk food. It feels like I'm being informed. I know what's going on right now. But it's not a harder level of communication but a more valuable level of communication. You can't, it's very hard to give people the amount of information you want to give them. Okay, you make five minute videos that have lots of information in them. But let's see a few things about your five minute videos. They take a long time to make. They're researched for weeks. They have a lot of information in them spoken very quickly that you could never put on the news because people can't absorb that while they're eating a TV dinner off their lap at the same time. That much density of information. You want to, you have this desire to give people all this information that you can't give them in the finite amount of space in which they're willing to absorb the information. And then you're left with a choice. Do people want to watch Billy Punch Fred in the face? Which is interesting to look at. Do they want 20 minutes about all the history of Billy and Freddie, you know, since they were born and all the problems they've had? And of course, if I said to you, I've got two videos here. One's eight seconds of someone punching someone in the face. And one is a 20 minute spoken word piece about why two people don't get along with no punch. I think even you would watch the punch in the face. Well, yeah, I think your longer videos should have the punch at the end. But I guess the conflict for me here comes from, I totally agree with you. I would not disagree with any of you. Yeah, I know. I'm saying pretty obvious stuff. No, no, but it's valuable to bring up it. So I guess the tension for me is what I get irritated by is the kind of exalted position that news has for itself in society. Right. And what we think of it versus what is it actually doing? This how fourth estate holding politicians to account stuff I was spouting earlier. I didn't want to say it then, because I thought, let's get into it. Yeah, yeah. But I, I, it's like, I wouldn't mind the news so much if we could be more straightforward about what it is. You know, it's much more like event entertainment or informational entertainment. But this whole like, oh, the news holds the government of the account. And we, you know, we inform the city. I have just, I just don't think that's what it's actually doing. That's what it claims it does. But that, that is not really the case of, of, of one of, not even that they don't want to. Like, I'm the first to acknowledge that there wouldn't necessarily be a market for that. So I acknowledge that. I understand the market demand for that. Again, that's another kind of system. The newspapers are, are in trouble as it is. And so they need to be able to raise money. And to do that, you need to have the attention of people. And so you're going to write shorter stories in knockout into context. I'm fine with all of that. I understand. And you're your product of it. Yeah. You're a guy who loves talking for two or three hours about voting. But when you make your YouTube videos there, like, five minutes long and have interesting visuals and lots of stuff gets left out because you think people won't watch a long video. But I am not claiming to be holding society to account. Yeah. That, that is the thing that, that just really, really gets me. It's like, you think that pump us and so important. I, I both think that they're, that they're pump us and self-important. And I also think that normal people give the news too much credit. Right. That, the normal people, God, normal people is a terrible word to use. But if you're just, if you're just not paying attention, it's easy to over-assume, you know, what the news is doing. And, you know, for, you know, always, everybody talks back to, you know, the, the Nixon tapes and, and, and, and, word word and Bernstein. And this, this example always comes up and it's like, hey guys, hey guys, that was like 40 years ago now. Right. Can we, you know, I love, you know, that was an awesome. That was not the snow and stuff wasn't 40 years ago. That's quite recent. Yeah. So the, the snow and stuff is, is great. But in, in the modern world, I think it's, it's really interesting that someone like, someone like Snowden exists. And he has, you know, so many more options about how to actually disseminate that information. And so we, we do live in a, in a different kind of world where, in formants can get out their information more easily. And he went to several newspapers, if I remember. I don't know, do you remember, because I wasn't following that super closely. But I think he went to three or four newspapers he released it with. I don't, do you remember the details of that? I can't remember all the papers. But, but I mean, he went to multiple, he went to multiple newspapers. Yeah. Well, you have to do that, don't you, because of, you know, the US, different markets, but yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so I think it's a, I don't want to speculate too much on, on his internal motivations. But my, my guess is that, that he, he may have done something like that because he wanted to, to make sure that other, other people may have taken it seriously. And so you want to be in a newspaper because people assume that newspapers are where the serious stuff happens. He, he took advantage of this, the situation in which you think is false, but yeah. Yes, but I, I would think that he, if that was his goal, that was a good goal. Right. It's, it's going to come off as more respectable if he's going through, I don't, I don't even remember what they were, but let's just say like the New York Times. Then if he has Snowden.com slash blog slash secrets, it's just, it's just not going to have the same kind of impact. But I just, I think that that's a kind of, it's like a shared delusion almost. It's like everyone believes it, but I don't, I don't think that's, it's necessarily the case. And, and one of the things that I'm interested in is just in the, in the past couple of weeks, there have been a few, reporters who have launched their own smaller scale independent news organizations. Yeah. And the one that I'm most interested in that I haven't, I haven't had too much time to look at, but I'm going to be curious to see where it goes. Is, do you know Nate Silver of 538? I know, I know, I know, I know. He was a former baseball statistician, I believe, who then moved into politics and basically applied statistical science to political elections. And surprise, surprise, the introduction of science into a field makes it much more accurate. And I think that the super interesting thing about him is that I've, I followed a lot of his reporting in the previous presidential elections. And this is, this is always where, like, I get my news because I try to find individuals that I think are very trustworthy. And I think he is, he's one of those kinds of people. And his news reporting on the elections was just so different than anything you would find in the major newspapers. And it's like, this is a guy who is concerned about accuracy, about actually getting it right. And it was interesting to see how someone could still report on the elections, but from a very different perspective, and, and still be accurate, and still be interesting. And so I, what I'm curious is, is like now that that's, the internet is just so established, you have people like Nate Silver who have worked within the, the news industry, but who are also young enough and not entrenched enough to possibly want to spin off their own news organizations to some extent. That actually, to me, holds a lot of promise for the future of news. I can, I can really imagine a, a future where there are smaller scale operations that are run by people who are maybe less directly attached to the current system as it exists. And can produce much more interesting and still accurate stories and, and not have to have a, you know, we're going to publish 50 articles every day. Okay, people, let's go. We're going to have a much smaller volume, but we're going to produce higher quality content. So I'm kind of hopeful about that stuff, and I'll be curious to see in a couple years where that is. What about all the people in the world who are not so much like you with very specific interests and a desire for great detail, but want to know lots of things. What about the person who wants to know there was a play in question Malaysia, Manchester United, sacked their manager. David Cameron did this. This celebrity has just brought out this movie. This is, someone who wants to know lots of little things. They can't, or not everyone can read a like 19 page Nate Silver analysis of, like, I think, you know, there are, there are a lot of people who aren't like you that just want like an overview. They want someone to curate things for them to summarize for them in a brief away. And I mean, that's what that's the definition of a newspaper almost. That to me is almost is a is a almost a different kind of thing. I have no problem with this kind of like stock ticker news almost you do just want to like a little one sentence about what, you know, what thing has gone on in the world. I can totally understand that. It's just it's like the mid length news that I often have have problems with stuff that just is both inaccurate and and misrepresentative. I don't know I guess is again this is just a particular frustration of mine because of how many times people send me stuff where I think, ooh, maybe there could be a really interesting video in in this newspaper article and so I go off and I research it and I'm like, oh, it turns out that this is just wildly inaccurate or misrepresentative. That's the kind of stuff that I don't like and I just see it so often that it makes me kind of disregard all of the news but again, I have no problem with people just wanting to be aware of sort of of what's going on in the news but I don't think that. Those little overviews are not enough for newspapers to survive on right they need to have more stuff for people to actually read and go to. Maybe that's why they're dying. Yeah, you know, and I mean the great thing about the internet is if you are super into something there's going to be a place that has all the in depth news you could ever want about your super narrow topic, you know, whatever, whatever it is. Like those kinds of sites exist and more general stuff it's harder for them to exist but. Your blog posts, which I'm sure you're putting the show notes was excellent by the way it's one of my favorite blogs you've written so make sure you put that in the show notes where you kind of dissected a TV news report. This is actually one of the rare things that I wrote. I wrote this basically in an afternoon because I got incredibly furious about it but this is a good example as well of some of the things that frustrate me with the news is this example happened to be about a particular thing that was happening at the last, the last debt ceiling in the United States. And there was talk on the news for a while about is the mint going to make this trillion dollar coin. And this was all over the news and this article I want to be a kind of thing that just like the being aware of press releases I would like people to be aware of a particular kind of thing you often see on the news, which is these video segments. I'm sure nothing like the video segments you ever produce Brady. But these video segments that are done it seems almost like by third parties you know that the anchor like turns it over to you know here's some guy you've never seen before talking about a thing or just like little video segments that if you pay attention to them you will realize are entirely content free that you basically learn nothing more than the title told you. And so in this particular example I can't remember what news channel was on or whatever but they made some little three minute explanation about you know is the United States going to make this trillion dollar coin. Three minutes is a lot for TV news report. Yeah, yeah super in depth. I go through this like seen by scene about what they talk about and just show how it's almost like it's trying to trick you into thinking that they're saying something but they're saying nothing. And once you tune into that on a lot of news segments that you see if you listen to the wait. What do I know now that I didn't know two minutes ago the answer is basically nothing like they told you nothing at all. And in this one in particular they make a couple of just weird little not exactly errors but this kind of thing I see a lot in the news of weird little sidesteps that I was only aware because I happened to be trying to research this topic because I thought it was going to be part of my debt video but I realized there's nothing to this story. Even though everybody's talking about it there's nothing here to discuss so I never put it in the debt video itself. But yeah so once you're aware of that like watch the news people and then think how you know what did I actually what do I know now that I didn't know before I started and often it's very very little or could be compressed down and just a sentence or two you know 20 minutes worth of stuff that you watch. So this is why I am not a big consumer of the news. But why is it so well consumed then in your opinion I know there are this you know you could talk about sort of a downward spiral but in general terms still millions upon millions of people watch the news every night and buy newspapers every day. If it's bad if it's really bad why are people paying money for it or devoting their time to it? Well first of all there's a presumption that people are aware of the things that's wrong and it's impossible to be aware of the things that are wrong unless you know the things. And so you know like when I read stuff you sort of have a presumption that the things are correct unless you happen to know otherwise and so I don't think it's obvious to people that that a lot of the news is kind of worthless or pointless or wrong because there's no reason that they would they would know that so you can't expect people would necessarily judge it that way. It's just like if I read some news story about a topic that I'm unfamiliar with I have no ability to judge its correctness you know and even I would just sort of oh I guess it's sort of mostly right it's I only happen to know if I'm if I research it more and then discover oh this thing is this thing is wrong as as for as for why people consume the news. There are a few topics of conversation that I sometimes get into arguments at like dinners with friends or you know acquaintances and things and one of them is this this thing about how I don't really follow the news and it's a it seems like it's a societal expectation that if you are you're an informed citizen and and part of that is keeping up on the news. So it's like irresponsible of you to not know what's going on in the world. Yeah that's usually the response that I get from a lot of people sometimes like great anger that I don't follow the news or you know we we joke you know when I say I'm disappointed in you Brady I'm not really disappointed in you but I have definitely I've definitely met people who who when they find out that I don't follow the news I like oh you know I have to think less of you now because this is a kind of societal benchmark. It's amazing it does amaze me that you don't follow the news I'm not like disappointed in you but it does amaze me that someone who is interested in the things you're interested in is not more interested in news I guess I guess you're a history buff that's what I think man that couldn't be a more wrong description of me I just think like you know you look you you like to wait until the dust has settled and that's kind of what that's what history is. History is waiting till the dust of news has settled and we can just rationally go through what happened and how things work and why things happened the way they did and the confusion of what's going on now seems to not appeal to you you want to wait and see the result and then just dissect it and think okay that's what went down. No I couldn't I couldn't disagree with you more. Oh I guess I have no problem with with the confusion of what's going on now but that's that's a very different issue from following the news I don't think that following the news is enlightening about confusion on on particular issues. No no no you don't think that that's why you went away to let all finishes. It's not it's not that I want to wait until it all finishes because that that's that's imply I'm waiting for stuff to be settled like I'm there are there are things that I follow that are are confusing in the present that I don't have to wait until things are all settled I mean I guess I'll try to. Okay this is a this is a minor example but of a story that I'm very interested in I have been sort of following the the stories of the protests against the Google and and Yahoo buses out in San Francisco and it's a relatively small and sort of local story but it's caught my interest in a in a bunch of ways. I am I'm precisely interested in that because it's a very complicated story and for those who are not familiar the gist of it is a it's a story of gentrification people who lived in San Francisco before the technology companies came in and the conflict between those two groups you know the new the new techies and the the residents who are previously there and sorry Google has buses that pick up their employees and those are excellent targets for you know protests or. Complaining about because it's a big object that says Google or Yahoo on the side of it so I've been following this story and this is not a the dust is is settled kind of issue it's that doesn't bother me about that story in fact I'm very interested in that and I don't know how to resolve the kinds of problems that are happening there I guess my my my disinterest in following the news just has more to do with the information density is very important. I'm very low and I feel like this is an this is an experiment that you dear listener can kind of run on yourself which is that if you follow the news a lot of you read newspapers think in your mind how many of the things that you're reading now or that you're watching now will matter at all in say three months time you know at least when I do this I think the result is you know very few of the things that you're consuming or reading about matter at all in the long term and I think that's again that's a bias because of the way the news reports again we acknowledge it's it's a structural requirement just the stuff that's happening right now. I would say it's an interesting exercise for the listener to think okay well if if I spend I don't know a half hour watching the news or reading the newspaper like what is this activity of mine contributing towards like why why am I doing this now if you like reading the news again I have no objection to this just like before I'm a very live and let live kind of it's recreation not playing a game like if it's recreation there's no argument there. If you enjoy something there's no argument against that it's totally reasonable but if you are doing it you know as I've had conversations with people out of a some sort of feeling that you need to be informed I would suspect that if you really start thinking about it and you start paying attention to what are you actually reading and watching and how much of this stuff is going to matter you know at some arbitrary point in the future it's it's very low and so I don't think that it is it is actually necessarily informing you about what's going on I think it is informing you of what's going on it's just what's going on won't matter what was going on then won't matter in three months yeah that that's correct yeah yeah that's a much better way to face it I said the exact opposite of what I meant which is what happens you talk extra perenniously yeah it's informing you of what's happening right now but but do you need to know or know that or more importantly is that how you you want to spend your time you know I think that if people are following news out of out of a feeling of obligation that is that is a bad way to to spend that time that if you want to know about stuff you're you're better off possibly doing other things then then following the news so I don't think they may say it to sound self-important but I don't think many people who read the paper every morning or watch the TV news every night are doing it like it's a chore like clearing out the gutters or mowing the lawn I think they're doing it because they like it I don't think people do it like against their again you know I'd much rather be doing something else but gosh down I've got to read the paper so like they may say they may say they do it for reason a but I think they're doing it for a different reason I don't I think you're right that people put a lot of importance and credibility on the news and if they saw how the sausages were made they would be mortified I agree with that and if they knew how often stuff is wrong they would be mortified and if they you know if the way news is made is could be quite shocking for them but I don't think people consuming news with the motives you think they are consuming news with I think I think they're doing it because they're entertained by it and also because there's nothing humans like more then gossip and knowing what other humans are doing like whether it's whether it's whether it's what the next door neighbors have done or something that happened on the other side of the world people just love gossip and I mean gossip in every sense of the word in that in the in the pointless so and so kissed so and so sense but also in the you know a hundred people died in a landslide sense and people people people people like that that's why newspapers get to exist people don't like the ads and people don't read papers because someone tells them they have to people like consuming some of that stuff and and it's exploited it's exploited by commercial interest in the form of press releases and it's exploited by governments in the form of propaganda and that corrupts the product but everything's corrupted by something and that doesn't mean it's acceptable but that's just the way it is but I don't think people you know I don't think people have as lofty a view of the news is maybe you think they do but it doesn't mean it's not important and people don't like it yeah I mean maybe this is just a bias when if I if I get into these arguments with people that they they're these are there go to arguments the news is important and I am I am reading about important things and people don't want to say I just kind of like it there is there is medicine in the dog food though there is some medicine put in the dog food from time to time and I think you know yes I could mention watergate and yes you could mention the snowed and stuff but even on that even in that even in the little day today it's not really way is whether it's the local council being held to account because the local paper ran a story about their sneaky attempt to ban dogs off the leash in the local park opposite the road which is a purely hypothetical yeah so that's something I saw you that's something I saw you complaining about on Twitter no but like even on that even on that micro level like amongst all that rubbish that's in my local newspaper here in my little town there is one or two stories a week that the local counselors don't like or some businessmen who's trying to get something built in the local people are protesting about don't like like there is that public accountability and there are new things coming on stream that are taking that role you know you can name and shame people on Twitter now and maybe slowly the old creaking institutions of 24 hour news channels and newspapers are being replaced by new technology but that new technology is still doing that fourth estate job and I think you're throwing the baby at with the birth order and if we didn't have that public voice whether it's called Twitter and Facebook or whether it's old fashioned newspapers we would have problems I think there is these corrupt institutions that you dislike so much serve play an important role just like courts can be corrupted but if we did away with courts tomorrow I think society would be hurt yeah I'll back you on that one I'm not sure how we jumped to the courts but yes I will I will totally back you on that one again I the the the notion of the of something holding society to account is something that I am I'm very much in favor of like I'm I'm a okay with that and I'm very interested to see where some of these these newer younger news projects go but I am you don't think the big you don't think the big boys do it at all you think they completely devoid of any aspect of that and there's not and that those in positions of power aren't in any way moderated by the spotlight of publicity so at all is a very you know it's a very strong statement and I actually I had a link here that I added to the the show notes because I thought it was an interesting example but it was I think it was the Washington Post in the States but they did as an example of positive news that I thought was was good they did a very interesting article about bureaucratic waste in the United States and it was kind of an unbelievable article because it goes into details about how there's it sounds it sounds like it's out of the movie Brazil but there is an underground facility in West Virginia that's an old abandoned coal mine that has been turned into a football length paper processing facility that has to do with processing all the paperwork for the United States federal workers retirement and and when you read about this you think how can this exist this is appalling that this is the system that is in use and has been this way for the past 40 years and that that I put that in the notes because I thought oh that's an interesting example that I came across recently of something in a in a major newspaper that again I'm presuming that it's it's right Sheds light in an interesting way on a particular kind of problem in a government so always going to be slow to change that's that's part of their nature that's fine I don't expect them to be as as quick changing as companies and I think we wouldn't necessarily want them to be as quick changing as companies but maybe a unbelievable mine under the ground processing paperwork for 40 years is like maybe we should update that and it's kind of awesome I have to say I thought man if I'm ever in West Virginia again I want to see that that sounds great it sounds super cool but at the same time it's just it's absolutely horrifying so never is never is a strong word but if we're going to do a throwback to the to the follow up talking about the pluses and the minuses I think that the there are there are winners there there are good things that are done in major newspapers but they are just relatively small compared to the enormous stream of relevancy that that is produced there are many systems that act like this in life where where there's an enormous amount of stuff that maybe isn't worth very much and there's there's a couple of diamonds in the rough and in a pre-internet world you know I would say that newspapers are much more defensible you know because you need some kind of publishing medium you need to be able to speak to the broader world yeah but in a post-internet world I'm so sufficiently confident that those diamonds can be found without the existence of the newspapers well and what you're saying is being completely born out by commercial reality too I mean obviously newspapers are now struggling yeah because because a lot of that role of of these sort of overarching curators is no longer necessary yeah and I can't say I'm ever going to shed a tear for the newspapers especially when they free boot our videos as often as they do online sections which they're the worst about yeah that's never that's that's always not super respectable I don't see this much of smaller sites but anyway that's a side point there is there is this there is this minor danger or problem and I don't I haven't thought this through much but there is this slight concern that if we no longer have a commercially sustainable way for people to put resources into proper investigation and exposure will we be poor or for that for example if you've got some crummy newspaper that's writing all this irrelevant stuff and I am the first to admit that happens they usually have like one man or woman on staff who's just you know sits in the corner and is allowed to be there away on some story that and like those that kind of luxury doesn't exist as much in this kind of mean lean internet world where I think you're wrong about that I think you're wrong about that and I'm going to give an example that is going to sound like the craze is example to people who are on the internet but do you know Buzzfeed yes okay so so for people unfamiliar Buzzfeed produces if you go to their website it looks like at a glance it looks like some sort of terrible click baity website you know that has like oh top 10 celebrity plastic surgery disasters you know this type of IA yeah yeah it's exactly the kind of thing that Buzzfeed has and but they but they must they must be running some kind of internal team that does this this exact same function because every once in a while they come out with some amazing piece of original reporting one of the examples that just happened recently which is why it's on the top of my mind was a total investigation into how has the United States let's say how has the executive branch of the government gained so many powers in the war on terror to do all kinds of things that weren't in the original bill that gave them his powers and they recently ended up doing just a show with radio lab that goes into this and I'll try to find the article and I'll put the radio lab show in the in the show notes but this is clearly something that that took a lot of time and a lot of depth to investigate and I've seen a couple of these other things from Buzzfeed as well that you know I might be totally wrong here I'm speculating about their internal structure but it but it seems like oh okay you guys are doing the similar kind of thing you're what muppet are you articles you're using that to fund probably much longer much more in depth pieces you're completely agreeing with my argument that to sustain responsible labor intensive journalism you need some kind of commercially successful or as you would describe a relevant vehicle around it why yes I have that's yeah and I was done and now if we want to just on the internet we need click baity Buzzfeed that well that this is this is I agree with you like this is this is clearly the successful model for possibly doing some of this stuff and I'm like I'm interested to see something like Buzzfeed do that but I'm much more interested to see like I said someone like 538 try to do a like an in depth respectable thing every day all day like that's the that's the experiment that I'm very curious to see but I guess my my thought here is just like Buzzfeed does not have an aura of respectability around it and and I just think that Buzzfeed is what it is and they they they want again I'm just speculating about their internal structure but they're a commercial entity they want to exist and I like Buzzfeed almost more because then they're more honest about what it is like a look we have a whole bunch of like click baity stuff and also we every once in a while produce some amazing piece of that just because they knew and they're using that that reputable stuff to improve their reputation and brand to become seen more respectable and more appealing I mean I mean that's just I'm sure when newspapers started they were probably these young up starts and it took them years and years to build this deserved or undeserved reputation as these institutions and papers of record I mean I would disagree just because of the the presumed amount of resources you had when you were starting a newspaper versus starting a starting a website you know like a pre existing newspapers had had to come with a lot of blessings and resources to pop into existence in the first place but I know nothing about the history of newspapers I have no idea maybe people were complaining about you know oh I can't deal with all of these you know which saint are you articles and this new this new this newfangled piece of paper that shows up at my door boy is this dumb and then eventually you know they're they're exposing articles about the you know the I don't know the feudal Lord down the street like boy that's really great I don't know anything about that course it yeah look at that yeah yeah there's there's ankle length skirts are going to ruin society yeah who knows who knows about that but I guess I guess it's it's also just like like I have I have no complaints about people who just read stuff because they like I you know I have no issue with that I guess I feel like it's just a question of for a lot of like how do you want to spend your time if you like reading and watching the news I think that that's fine as long as as you sort of face it for what it is and and I would argue that maybe I just don't like the aura of respect ability that is attached to a lot of the old school news stuff and I think that the internet can replace a lot of that maybe in a more honest and maybe in a maybe in a better way and I'm very curious to see how the whole news experiment goes and say the next five years or so with with with that again with with newspapers being both in trouble and and a bunch of upstarts in in the news business I will be I'll be very curious but I guess my final parting word of advice is like for I think for people who are people for people who try want to try like find out what's going on in in the world you can't necessarily do all the investigations yourself I think probably an optimal strategy right now is to try to find individuals that you trust follow those people and see you know what what are they talking about because they're they may be less less influenced by pre existing structures is that's that's kind of my thought about like if you still want to go on the world maybe follow individual people so read flat earth news by Nick Davies because someone who worked as a journalist for 14 years on the inside that's me I read that book and I was like that is exactly right and I I would turn to people and say if you want to know about the problems of being a journalist on why journalism is the way it is he he's brutally honest about a few of about a few of them the journalism and the electric fence and some of the other things he talks about yeah I feel like I don't know how you could have read that book and still have any kind of positive view about the news that book that book is so depressing I think especially if you're coming to unprepared boy that book is not is not a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day you know that that that book is just piles of poo on top of more piles of poo that's what it is but it's interesting reading I did I read the book just after I'd left the BBC and obviously a lot of my family and friends I still journalists and I often say isn't this book great and I cite things from and they do get a bit upset at me so maybe I mean I guess I've been the advocate of journalism to a certain extent in this podcast just because someone's got to argue with you but but certainly that book a yeah that like paints a bleak and pretty honest picture of a lot of the problems that face journalism at the moment you know I'm realizing what this podcast is what Brady's paper cuts where I have a quick little moan about something small and then you do these big gaping wounds of society where you just bring down all the institutions like the education system and the media okay next I know what we'll talk about next time we'll have to pick a lighter topic for for for episode two of season two of Hello Inch now I don't know next week will be next week will be Brady complains about stabbing his toe and then Gray talks about why democracy is a huge value no no we'll have to talk about which month are you|}

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References[edit | edit source]

  1. "H.I. #11: Stream of Irrelevancy". Hello Internet. Hello Internet. Retrieved 12 October 2017.