Broken Arrow 2: The "mean" of all opinions (Why We Are Trolls)

Before I set out on the posts "Broken Arrow", about how my company has to make some deals under the onslaught of so-called E-Stewards and BAN-friendly state regulators, I have to find some zen.  The "ugly sandcastle" blog last weekend (post-titled "Broken Arrow 1") is an apt analogy.  Shutting down our exports to Egypt or Malaysia or Peru or Africa isn't that big a deal.   It's not the beauty or necessity of the sandcastle, it's the value of the experience building it together with people you care about.

And that's something intensely personal, something I'm prone to feel too passionately about.   And people mistake that for caring about the sandcastle.

I want the right to build sandcastles with my kids, and the right to trade with "geeks of color", even when the sandcastles fall and the repaired and working units eventually become waste.

I don't like the fact that expensive "new" sandcastles, mined from Congo conflict metals, are sold to people with fewer choices, who can't afford them.   Those "new" and "fully functional" units crumble just as much as sustainable used refurbished sandcastles do.  I don't like planned obsolescence, or laws banning the "right to repair", even if all technology, and all companies, are like sandcastles.

But time should give us a prospective that protects us from lashing out and "trolling the internet" with vitriolic comments.  Blogs included.

(AT least check out the photo below, it's a treasure of obsolescence)

Writing against a tide when the story has been SO mis-reported that African nerds and TV repairmen are arrested for 91% reuse (YES, ARRESTED!) can trigger emotions and passions.  And Passions can turn us into TROLLS.    I have to assess each post I write so that I won't slip up and "slander" the good people at the top of Vermont's environmental programs, or the fine E-Stewards pursuing BAN's crusader.

How to avoid Trolling the Internet when We are Justifiably Angry.

As digital internet access exposes all of us to more and more people, we feel our opinions are less often heard, or at least, are lost in a sea of other opinions.

As we are exposed to more and more "likes" and "dislikes", we see our own weighted opinion means less and less, weighed against the opinions of millions.

Naturally, we become either more shrill, or more focused.

There are so many more opinionators I can reach.  So many more I can sway.  And so ever more briefly than when I advocated, face-to-face.

Socrates And Congressmen.

These are each derivatives of X, with X=common opinion, or mean.  Most of us, by definition, tend to be toward "the mean" if we think it will skew the average or mode.

Zen.  It's a different derivative, a derivative about longer-term judgement, about history.  We are all sandcastles.  And calling in "broken arrow" is not a tragedy.

Home internet wasn't supposed to be this way.  "Scientists from the RAND Corporation" supposedly created the model above, in the 1950s or 60s, to show us what a "home computer" would look like.    It was supposed to require a "driving test" and have internet traffic speed traps, and people would get a ticket for cyber bullying.  See the "steering wheel", and the little breathalyzer button to keep people from "posting comments under the influence".

According to, this is a navy submarine mock up from the Smithsonian Institution's full scale display of a submarine maneuvering room.   Thanks to Josh Lepawsky for directing me to snopes.  It's the type of thing you can post, fully believing it, when you are feeling like The Hulk and writing like The Troll.

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