Joseph Ratliff Writer, Researcher, Thinker

Category Archives: Rants

@Comcast Doesn’t Care At All (Part 2)

Ongoing problems, data charges, and outages are why Comcast / Xfinity should only charge to “access” the Internet, and not be able to charge for “data usage.”

They don’t have the reliability of a power company, and with their track record thus far (and laziness in fixing the infrastructure) … it will likely be a LONG time before we see improvements.

The moral of the story is, we need more competitive choices for ISP service, way more … or Internet access in the U.S. will continue falling farther into the hole.

So call your congress reps, send them emails frequently, and poke at Comcast / Xfinity directly online.

(Example: Twitter hash #comcastoutage or #datachargessuck etc.)

The only way it’s possible to get what we want out of them as consumers (short of canceling service) is to bug them incessantly (but respectfully). And even that isn’t altogether effective in the short-term (more like long-term).

What Happened To Meaning?


It’s that deep sense that you’ve just witnessed or read something that touched your life. It’s that feeling you get when you are with friends (or family), and you’re all laughing uncontrollably at the stupidest of things.

You might start to feel emotion welling up inside of you, feel motivated to do something you never thought possible, or simply be touched enough to have coffee with a friend and share the experience.

You might realize something new, like the fact that we ARE very different, yet connected to each other by forces we don’t yet understand (and might never).

It’s that feeling deep down, that THIS is why you’re alive.

You’ve watched a movie, and at the end you get that feeling like you’re connected to something way beyond yourself.

You’ve listened to music and feel the message of the song coursing through your soul. (Although in today’s over-homogenized music culture, that happens less and less).

It’s when you feel like you’re connected to humanity (you know what I mean, and if you don’t, well…).

We’ve lost the deep, true, and connected meaning in our lives.

I’m talking big picture, “everything is connected” meaning.  It’s the meaning that is hard to describe, but you know when it’s missing.

We’re missing that.

We’re too busy checking text messages, head down, buried in our gadgets to feel that sense of meaning.

And no, you cannot get the feeling of meaning I’m talking about from text messages.

Movies are crap nowadays.  They are endless rehashes of older movies, stupid sequels, or just plain garbage.

T.V. programs (the few I try to watch) are becoming less and less creative … lacking meaning by series or per episode (possible exception might be some innovative Netflix programs that you WON’T find on @Comcast).

Endlessly and hopelessly recycling the “end the episode with some sort of ‘hook’” model, they are following big movie industry examples to the letter.

Crap on Twitter, crap on blogs, crap … crap … crap… from public shaming of people because they don’t say something right or act perfectly to some imagined set of rules (#RegressiveLeft), to large corporations buying yet another round of Government legislation.

It’s like an endless media and cultural content “whore house” of recycled, rehashed, meaningless bytes, images, and pixels (I call this the “Age of Overmedia“).

There is no meaning in the mainstream media anymore.

Numerous blogs pointing to some sort of collapse of civilization, endless stories of how the climate is going to hell (because of us to some degree, and yes, it’s true), and how species are becoming extinct.

These aren’t meaning, perhaps valid warnings, but there is no meaning here.

But don’t get me wrong, there are still stories of human gratitude, charity, and connected-ness with our only planet … but these stories are getting fewer and far-er in between.

The distance between the latest flavor of Doritos and the true story of someone helping a stranger out (or just being content with life) is much greater than ever before.

And the distance between that same flavor of Doritos to the next story of disease, war, or vaccine-shaming on the news media is getting shorter.

What happened to real meaning?

We need more meaningful connection with each other, more willingness to help a neighbor out, and less war-mongering politicians and lobbying.

We need media who will spread the more meaningful stories, and less of the Government-stenography.

We need to remember events like 9/11 and WWII, but stop letting them control any part of our society.

We need to slow down, stop, and think critically about what we communicate.

Quit berating each other for having faults that are human, because remember, you are human too.

And, I’m 100% sure you have faults or mistakes you wouldn’t want brought out into the public domain for the same “public jury” to judge.

About that “public jury,” we should temper that.  At least, unless the evil is corrupt enough to justify it (again, thinking critically before doing so).

Free speech is important (read: critical), and the right to expression of that free speech is critical … but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think critically about what you’re saying before you say it.

I want meaning back.  Genuine, heart-felt, shake me to the core meaning.

Let’s all work together, and make the daily, repeatable, and frequent true meaning a reality for each one of us.

  • Quit listening to the media that publishes sensationalized stories of war, harm, and other negative bullshit for the purpose of getting eyeballs to their pages.
  • Get your face out of your phone, or iPad, and actually talk to someone on a deep, genuine and human level … TODAY.
  • Help a stranger on the street, your neighbor, or someone else who might need help online … without the expectation of something in return.
  • Don’t believe a word the Government says (at first), because most of the time it takes away from the meaning we all share.
  • Write, Think, Draw, and share the artistic ability you know you have to share with us.  If you’re afraid, you’re not alone.
  • Etc…

Let’s reclaim our genuine relationships, and quit living lives that marketing, big corporations, and even the Government are dictating that we live.

We’re better than that.

Let’s reclaim that feeling of meaning.

Staring Deeply Into The Cosmic Abyss

On the insignificance of the aggregate of our human accomplishments … and why we will not make contact with another species of intelligent life…

This might be considered my hypothesis for the Fermi Paradox solution.

They (any other non-human intelligent life) might receive our messages, but once they see who we are and what we consider accomplishment, they will scoff at our attempt at existence.

They will likely be harsh critics of our stewardship of this planet, its resources, and our willingness to literally kill one another in the interest of man-made false constructs.

Remember, if they had the technology to travel to our planet … they will be more evolved as a civilization.  Not necessarily in a good way, but look at where we are now, and we haven’t figured out 75% of what we have to yet.

Because there is more to interstellar travel than just the technology required doing it, but I digress.

These intelligent beings aren’t coming (yet), and they won’t be making contact with our species.

This brings us to the overriding question for this essay…

Why would an alien species ever decide (or even want) to make contact with us?

I’m going to attempt to answer that question in this essay.

Let’s begin…

On a cosmic timescale, we are an infant species, and so far we are acting like children when measured on that same timescale.

We still kill each other over resources, race, fear, etc… all on a speck of pale blue dust in a stream of light from the Sun.

(Think along the lines of some of our “neo-conservative” political ideas).

We’re willing to scare each other with media, terrorism, religion etc… so that certain groups of us feel more (not necessarily “are” more) elite than others.  Worse, we lie to each other about events like 09/11 etc… (which did not happen as was reported in the mainstream media).

We try to outcompete, dominate, surveil, etc… each other … in fear that another group of us might try to do the same to us.

We’re insecure, narcissistic, some are sociopathic, and some in positions of power are pathologically insane (along the lines of ponerology).

It’s pathetic if you devote even a few minutes of thought to it.

So, why would any species of higher intelligence and more advanced in technology want to visit what they might view as a group of screaming hairless apes that act in this manner towards each other?

(Even if select groups act out in terrible and tragic ways).

And some of us even think that for some reason we are special, that the Universe was somehow created “for us.”

Another ridiculous thought if you invest even a few minutes to it.  We’ve explored maybe 4% of it over centuries of exploration.

That leaves 96% (or so) in a space of billions and billions of planets and stars where some other form of intelligence (farther advanced than us) could exist.

But harsh criticisms of Homo sapiens aside … there are (of course) moments in our short history of ~ 400,000 years where our species has demonstrated its enormous potential to evolve past all of these downfalls:

  • We’ve made tremendous technological advances, compared to the fact that no other animal on this planet is capable of doing so.
  • When a major disaster strikes, we connect with each other and support one another across racial, cultural, and political boundaries. I always (and certainly an intelligent species will) wonder why it takes such events to connect us.
  • We have enormous capacity for empathy (at times).
  • We have enormous capacity for adaptability, once circumstances demand it.
  • Etc…

I could go on and on about our accomplishments as a species, and in fact you could add millions of people, inventions, philosophies, etc… to the list.

But it wouldn’t matter.

For an advanced species with more advanced technologies, all of our accomplishments would be lumped together to be “expected.”  They would be deemed “basic.”

Just because we don’t think so, doesn’t mean another species has to give them the same respect.

And they likely won’t.

An advanced species would have moved past the need for “accomplishment” … for “competition” … for power and domination.

We assume with our rather limited (in the big picture) scientific knowledge that all species would evolve like us … like WE are somehow the standard to be measured against.

I’m challenging that idea.

Yes, genetically that might be how an intelligent species starts.

But we assume that we are the standard because it takes 4 billion (or so) years for a planet like ours to produce a species like ours.

What if another planet didn’t progress like ours?

What if it only took 1 billion years, under different conditions perhaps, for those conditions to evolve a species like ours?

And, what if the resulting species didn’t end up “like” us?  What if they followed a different historic progression without the need for war, excessive resource exploitation, domination etc…?

I’m almost sure that we (as a whole species) can’t imagine that scenario.

We are too anthropocentric for that.

We think (generally) that our species is so advanced because of our mental capacity (we tend to set some of our mental psychopathy aside).

It isn’t.


Because we haven’t evolved past the need to dominate, past the need to separate ourselves into “classes” and segregate ourselves because of our races.

Yes, we have progressed … we have advanced … we have evolved…

The problem is, we give ourselves too much credit just how far we have done so.

And that is why we will likely keep staring into the Cosmic Abyss, even if from a different planet in the distant future, wondering “Where is everybody?”

If you were them (the more advanced, more intelligent, farther evolved species) … would you want to engage with us (in our current state)?

I truly hope, deep down, that eventually we will be able to answer that question with a resounding YES.