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Information Overload


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A headline posted on RealClearHoldings that brought back recollections of a former 'companion' in life.

Talk Radio Is Turning Millions of Americans Into Conservatives

Mark Scott was a three hour show. When the Rush Limbaugh Show got syndicated, Mark voiced his displeasure that the marketers selected "Talent on loan from God", and that the years he spent developing his niche would likely remain a niche in the marketplace.

The relevant gist of this article was: The 15 top shows, classified as conservative, play for 3 hours per day is 45 hours. Multiply that time 5 days a week. This is a lot of content.

The Ayn Rand Institute has taken to producing more content, while making previous content more widely available. As a customer that had paid rather dearly for the content earlier in life, it produces a double edged blade. It does make the information more widely available. It also hearkens to mind something Thomas Paine wrote: “What we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”

Additionally, Alex Epstein as well as Craig Biddle have added regularly produced podcasts to the mix of content available.

There are also other communities which members bring in content to discuss. Articles from FEE, the CATO institute (as referenced here), ARI, The Objective Standard.

Looking up terms for "information overload", Urban Thesaurus provided a few that resonated such as infoglut, t.m.i. (too much information), and more obscurely, signal to noise ratio.

Borrowing and building off the definition of signal to noise ratio from Wikipedia, it is defined as: the ratio of the power of a signal (meaningful input) to the power of background noise (meaningless or unwanted input). Or how about the ratio of the essential to the inessential.

Another thought from the CATO Institute article:

Talk radio listeners make up a group at least three times as large as the N.R.A. and are just as committed to a particular vision of America.

There are an estimated 5 million members of the N.R.A. If the ratio identified is valid, that makes about 15 million listeners. In a country of over 382 million, that is about 4%.

How many people watch the news broadcasts, and how committed are they to a particular vision of America? The size of the audience is estimated at just over 5 million and declining.

In her novel, Atlas Shrugged, John Galt had operated on a radio frequency that allowed him to dominate the signal to noise ratio across all bands. This, of course, is still fiction. In a 'parallel universe', the dominate signal is that which we attend to. The noise can usually be disregarded unless it interferes with that which is desired.

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