Google’s False Confessions

Inside the company’s daring plan to control the news

The greatest trick that Google Corporation ever pulled, was to convince the world it didn’t exist. Although its shareholders know it as a profitable advertising brokerage, the majority of Internet users believe it to be nothing more than a benevolent purveyor of web search, email, and other free online services.

Google is a fierce and formidable competitor. Its network of websites is the Internet’s single most popular destination; it processes more search queries than all its competitors combined, including stalwarts Microsoft and Yahoo; its annual revenues and profits are measured in billions. Through all its successful expansions, Google has worked to maintain an image of simplicity and altruism.

Google’s bungled launch of their Buzz platform illustrated the pervasiveness, and the deceptive nature of this public image. Continue reading Google’s False Confessions

Four Lies and One Martial Arts Fact

The meme works as follows. You post five things about yourself. Four are untrue. One is true. All are so outlandish, implausible or ridiculous that no one would be inclined to believe that any of them are true. And despite the pleas from your readers, you never divulge which is true and which are fabrications. You then tag five other people (four seriously and one person you are pretty sure would never participate).

1. I once challenged more than twenty members of a rival Kung Fu school. Continue reading Four Lies and One Martial Arts Fact

Our Top Martial Arts Blogs – The Year in Review

As voted by Martial Development readers in 2008…

Most Popular Posts

Totally Nude Tai Chi: A DVD Review With Pictures
After writing this, I learned that Tai Chi is just one disc in an extensive nude martial arts DVD series. Other titles include Judo, Kendo, Karate, and Changquan. I kid you not!

Five Questions With a Nei Kung Expert
My thanks to the Mo-Pai disciples who collaborated with me on publishing this interview.

Top Commenters
Thomas Tan
Rick Matz, Cook Ding’s Kitchen
Bob Patterson, Striking Thoughts
Richard C. Bauer, Dim Mak researcher
“Thunderbird”
“Kungfuguy”, a.k.a. “Cobra-Kai”
“Skeeva”

Me, Chi and Bruce Lee

I have randomly selected one commenter to receive a free gift. Continue reading Our Top Martial Arts Blogs – The Year in Review

Bearish on the Blogosphere: A 2009 Forecast

In last Tuesday’s presidential debates, moderator Tom Brokaw asked the candidates a difficult question: will the economy get worse before it gets better? Arguably, it is the President’s job to inspire confidence in our financial system, not to deliver candid investment advice. Unfortunately, such cheerleading amounts to a tax on the credulous buy-and-hold investor, favoring those who better understand the political game.

As I skimmed Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008 report yesterday, I was reminded of McCain and Obama’s earlier performances. Technorati’s investigation reveals that bloggers are “savvy and sophisticated,” and their daily output is “integral to the media ecosystem.”

Technorati, in case you didn’t know, is a blog aggregation service, whose business is built upon the free content we bloggers create. Like our presidential candidates, it is not necessarily in Technorati’s best interest to provide a frank assessment of our future. So let me provide my own frank assessment. Continue reading Bearish on the Blogosphere: A 2009 Forecast

The Zen Habits of Master Hsuan Hua

What is Zen?

Zen Buddhism is a way and a view of life which does not belong to any of the formal categories of modern Western thought. It is not a religion or a philosophy; it is not a psychology or a type of science. It is an example of what is known in India and China as a “way of liberation,” and is similar in this respect to Taoism, Vedanta, and Yoga. A way of liberation can have no positive definition. It has to be suggested by saying what it is not, somewhat as a sculptor reveals an image by the act of removing pieces of stone from a block.
– Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

If Zen has no positive definition, then everything is Zen. And if everything is Zen, then naturally every blog is Zen too. Right?

Actually, this argument is a perfect illustration of New Age rhetorical misdirection. While one can say that everything is Zen in its transcendent sense, such a statement cannot serve as the premise for an immanent logical conclusion. In other words: Zen proves nothing, by definition.

Applying transcendent or non-dual definitions to conventional worldly contexts is a popular tactic amongst false gurus. Continue reading The Zen Habits of Master Hsuan Hua

Give Me Your Opinion, I’ll Give You a Free DVD

Loyal readers, I have a simple request for you today:

1. Name one thing you like about this blog.
2. Name one thing you dislike about this blog.

Your honest answers will help me improve the content of Martial Development. As a small token of my appreciation, I will randomly select two respondents to win free DVDs. Continue reading Give Me Your Opinion, I’ll Give You a Free DVD

The Unconventional Wisdom Blogging Awards

April 14 is Darren Rowse’s Blogger Appreciation Day.

Unconventional Wisdom Awards
Martial Development
Unconventional Wisdom
Award Winner

What are the Unconventional Wisdom Awards?
I created the Unconventional Wisdom Awards to give recognition to, and show my appreciation for unusually insightful, thought-provoking blog content. Continue reading The Unconventional Wisdom Blogging Awards

Blogging From a Birmingham Jail

Martin Luther King, Jr.

You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self-respect and a sense of “somebodiness” that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence.

I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the “do-nothingism” of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained.

If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: “Get rid of your discontent.” Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist.

But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abraham Lincoln: “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal …”

So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be.

In his Letter From a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. posed a question to bloggers great and small.

Your blog confers a measure of authority, influence, and social capital. How do you choose to spend it? Continue reading Blogging From a Birmingham Jail

Martial Development – Fun Facts About The Author

Reader and contributor Rick Matz tagged me to participate in the 7 things pyramid scheme writing project.

The rules:

  • Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
  • Share 7 random or weird things about yourself.
  • Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
  • Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here we go… Continue reading Martial Development – Fun Facts About The Author

How Amateur Bloggers Create Great Posts

While thumbing through the letters to the editor in one of my favorite magazines, I made a troubling observation. Nobody seemed to congratulate the authors on a job well done, or expressed appreciation for all their hard work.

Some letters highlighted an important point that the author missed, while others had the temerity to disagree with the author’s conclusion. How very rude, I thought!

USa Today

Indignant, I perused the other newsstand periodicals for validation of my feelings. I found none. From obscure technical journals to USA Today, every professionally edited publication followed the same pattern.

Rather than showing gratitude for tight prose and well-researched reporting, readers seemed to expect them; and they spoke up only when writers failed to meet this high standard.

Walking away from the kiosk, I realized that I was judging these professional authors by the standards of an amateur blogger. Anyone who aspires to creating high-quality content and a respectable audience, through a blog or any other medium, should appreciate the difference. Continue reading How Amateur Bloggers Create Great Posts