It occurred to me a while that sometimes the news develops a kind of droning sameness about it. Determined not to become stale, I observed that a lot of the news stories about involve counting. I mean, at the core, the current financial mess, just to use an example, would not be much of a big deal if the numbers associated with it were in the hundreds, or even thousands. But, when the word “trillion” enters the picture, then you start to pay attention.
Or, do we? The Detroit Free Press carried a recent piece “Trillion: It’s the new billion”. You can also see how a particular number is doing by looking at how it’s handled on the internet. The word trillion was at first capitalized and italicized, then it was downgraded to italicized only, and here lately, it’s lost the italics and its capital, but then haven’t we all? There were almost 77-thousand news hits in the Google news search tool for ‘trillion’ this morning.
That pales in comparison to the approximately 628-thousand references to billion.
While you’re off multiplying 628-thousand times one billion so you can compare it with 77-thousand times one trillion – just to see if journalists are all pointing toward some number range or other, I’ll be off going the other way.
I’ll just pull some number out of the air…let’s say 9…and go do a search on that:
Police find nine bodies part-buried in desert (across the border from el Paso, BTW and I’ll take bets its part of the drug/border war)
My point is what?
Just that humans are creatures of habit and one set of habits we all develop over time is how we ‘sample’ the news environment – and other domains of life, too. Editors and news directors, and the other denizens of mediaspace don’t have any particular claim on deciding which news is important versus which news is not. They occasionally think so but it’s not the case. What’s really going on mostly is they have their own sampling mechanisms and if those happen to line up with the public’s tastes, then fine.
Not that it’s a BIG deal, but there are other ways to slice and dice ‘news’ (or anything else) beyond the norms of society. Today I’m showing you how to slice-by-number. We could just as easily have picked a number like 21 (“Forever 21 stores shine amid slide“).
After you’ve had some fun with slicing by number, you can slice by colors. At a simple level, the major colors were assigned to ordinate directions of the compass, but then again, I assume you knew the relationship or earth, air, fire, and water to the colors red, green, yellow, and blue from your studies of magic, feng shui, or just out reading John Gage’s book on color and meaning, right?
Not to make too big a point of it, but if you search the color ‘green’ in the news headlines this morning, you’ll come up with a story out of Boston that “Exuberant and green-garbed crowds partake in parade” which reminds me to wear green tomorrow for it’s St. Patrick’s day.
Once you’ve worked through colors, you can get to work on compass directions as well as the various shades of up and down.
578-thousand hits for ‘north’, 375-thousand for ‘east’, 570-thousand for ‘south’, and 478-thousand for ‘west’.
3.1 million references for up versus 1.2 million for down makes me wonder if there’s an undercurrent of optimism, since more seems to be going ‘up’ than ‘down’. Or, is ‘up’ bad…like taxes going up? Hmmm…
Done with that? More to go as you’ll want to try filtering for the temperatures (cold, frozen, etc., not the numbers since we’ve done that) and then there’s a whole spectrum of emotions to search: Love returns 284,200 news items in the Google News tool, while Hate offers only 39,807.
Gee. Maybe there’s hope for us yet.
Email of the Day
A Peoplenomics subscriber who enjoyed this week’s ‘Top-10 Questions Answered” report sent this one:
“#10… How brain dead do readers have to be not to get the puns, double entendres, dark (bordering on gallows) humor and your profound grasp of the obvious? Oh well, your writing and information serve as a great dot-connector/F1 key in these times of “change”.. oh the irony.. Keep up the great work, us “preppers” will muddle thru and hopefully make a better tribe after the feces has cleared the fan.”
Gallows humor, eh? Well, hang around, there’s more where that came from…
Another subscriber did not enjoy my using common texting abbreviations to annotate my weekly chart series:
“PLEASE drop the horrible texting stuff!!!!!!!”
Jst n xprmnt…no mr…g
Off to the dentist…something that’s become a bit of a drill lately…
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The Year’s Toughest Questions
Inboxes are funny critters. But since I write about economics and a sort of going-along-to-get-along level of personal preparedness, my inbox seems to attract a tremendous number of questions. Some of them I can answer, some of them I can’t. In any event, while I don’t offer financial advice, I will go so far as to propose some things you might wish to consider in your own financial and life-planning. So I thought what I needed to do this week was pull out the Top-10 questions and discuss them so you can make your own best call as to what the ‘right’ course of action is for you, given that everyone has a different set of circumstances and we don’t live in a one-size-fits-all world. Let’s begin with this one: THE most asked question I get is…
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“Live on $10,000″ Updated
What? You haven’t ordered the ebook “How to Live on $10,000 a year — or less”? Suit yourself. We’re all going to live it shortly, anyway. I just thought you might like a heads up by reading about how to do it before you get pink-slipped. But, suit yourself OR visit www.liveontenthousand.com or, click one of the following button:
Yep – still possible. I also took a bit of additional material that was pertinent from recent issues of Peoplenomics and included them. The whole thing runs about 65 pages, but it gives you a vision of how to not only live on the aforementioned dollar amount, but also how to migrate up the economic foodchain if you make a little more than that and do some active savings… Click here for the page with more details on it.