Sunday 9 July 2017

Scientifically Speaking

Tried a little experiment. Stopped reading the news for a week. Only allowed myself to read the Science & Environment sections. Wanted to see if it had an effect on how I felt about the world. I usually get my news through RT and BBC, I enjoy the juxtaposition of bias. I don't have a telly, so I just read it online.

Years ago, when it was much harder to get online, I went for long periods without any international news. I really liked that. Most of the stuff that is news here in Rwanda and East Africa never makes it into the Western-dominated media, and most of what happens over there doesn't affect life here. It had to be something either really important or interesting for someone to come up and tell you about it, like when Michael Jackson died. It gave news a sense of value, that someone had taken time out of their day to mention it.

Only reading the science articles has been interesting. Beyond the information about climate change and pollution, there's a lot more hope in the world than you expect. A lot of medical advances, space exploration and new things being found. Certainly gave me fodder for meaningful conversations.

The weird thing is, I have gone back to reading news again. Not for any reason other than I enjoyed the gossip. It really brought into contrast how much of a gossip column the BBC has become - every article is sensationalist: rape, murder, politics, but not for any useful political analysis, just who rolled their eyes at whom. Even a student stealing a traffic cone made most-read news one week. Though I wince constantly that the Beeb, in their desperation to create 24/7 rolling news, has surpassed The Grauniad's reputation for spelling errors.

It's been an interesting experiment, but I've discovered I'm not immune to tittle-tattle.

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