Search Engines Then and Now

The Internet started to develop around 1983. I started using the Internet by the 90s. Since that time I have used it. As a professional and specializing in information retrieval systems since the early 60s.

Since the 1960s we started developing online information retrieval networks in Europe. The indexing not only based on relevant search terms contained within a document but also out-of-context terms. In those early days an information technician had to read and understand scientific and technical documents to arrive at relevant search terms usable for indexing. My studies at Syracuse University attempting the inclusion of AI principles into prototype online information retrieval systems. [That was by the beginning of the 1970s.]

One can notice marked changes to the quality of content from then and now. One just needs to look at the “so called quality of content” of YouTube videos. What was then perceived as technologically relevant can in most cases not be compared to what it is now.

It is almost impossible to actually accomplish receiving precisely that information or information link to documents which is searched (using the most complicated Boolean language operators AND/OR/NOT including all sorts of nesting for constructing a search). Over and above, today’s searches deliver unwanted ballast – advertisements, and therefore irrelevant to a search.

[ https://library.albany.edu/subject/tutorials/education/boolean.html ].

According to Google, search results are returned in form of : “Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). These are the pages displayed by search engines in response to a query by a searcher. The main component of the SERP is the listing of results that are returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query, although the pages may also contain other results such as advertisements.” {Quoted by Google.}

PageRank was named after Larry Page,[1] one of the founders of Google. PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages.

[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank ]

The biggest difference seems to lie in today’s technology which more or less emphasizes the importance of retrieved information based on its commercial value.

Meaning that a successful information retrieval activity delivers results based on “measuring the importance of website pages.” The importance being counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.[2] According to Google. [Which reminds me of various other social networks where importance of information is determined by how many LIKEs occur.].

Unfortunately today’s information stores are controlled by several tech mega giants and corporations, who infiltrate each online search with commercial data. Not necessarily relevant to a user’s search.

Then, what are the most important elements of a search for meaningful information, and what are they based on. INDEXING. Indexing establishes the basis for retrieval of information. Real data is not obtained, but only a path to documents/pages.

In other words, how can a user retrieve meaningful information or links to relevant websites or documents if the indexing has been faulty. No matter how complex AI algorithms are developed, they are still not good enough to master the complexities of human languages, which over and above are continually evolving.

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Germany’s migrants and refugees

Good journalism by the Globe & Mail on “Where are all the refugees who came into former Germany mainly during the years 2015 and 2016, when all doors had been wide open. [Merkel:”Wir können das schon schaffen.”] [ https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/where-are-all-the-refugees/article35827259/ ] I see this from a different perspective, as I actually used to be a German citizen, by birth, by my parents’ birth, and probably centuries of Germans. Over and above the last of my relatives who never left their country, like I did, are still residing there. In above Globe & Mail article, mostly referring to the social stats on the years of the major refugees’ movements into Germany, the questions had been raised whether Germany had a problem accommodating all those (maybe refugees, maybe not) newcomers, and providing an integration platform for them. But what had been behind all that tremendous effort and work to make this happen, I am certain the Globe & Mail who do not actually on a daily basis reside in that country know little.

How much damage it has done to the government of that country (nobody can agree with anybody, coalitions are week, and neo-nazi culture is blooming).

I myself having been a German citizen of course, having survived WWII and the bombings, and the destruction of that country, having witnessed since 1945 first the arrival of the communist sympathizers, then the socialist governments, then for all those years the movements of entire populations from all countries from anywhere into Germany (with its doors wide open), and since years the coming of the AFD (Alternative Für Deutschland), who even want to make all things worse for everybody.

I know what is happening, not the Globe & Mail journalists, with their commentaries.

I speak the language, I talk to the Germans – the real ones – who must live there, and we discuss politics and how it feels to live in today’s Germany, where most citizens and residents or migrants are from different countries and cultures.

Why don’t you go and read: Thilo Sarrazin: “Deutschland schafft sich ab.” The crises of a social state and the dramatic demographical influences created by the large influx of migrants. He put it right in his book.

To make this short, even if it gives the impression that Germany accomplished the almost impossible of a seamless integration of all peoples and cultures, the country of Germany does not exist anymore. It is a patchwork of nations where everybody can help him/herself to a piece of the pie. In fact there is no integration nor assimilation at all, even nations residing there for over 50 years speak no German. Everybody is doing their own stuff, as long as they get paid government money.

 

Mozilla Firefox Quantum – advertising included

The new Mozilla Firefox Quantum edition. More and more advertising. What’s really a big laugh is, that in over 60 years I am using and working with computing equipment, making my living with it for many years, as well as watching TV and listening to my daily radio programs, I have never, and I repeat NEVER, purchased anything that has been advertised and shoved down my throat via any of those media.

Some users may find this disturbing and distracting, or some may even pay attention to those ads and who knows buy something online. But most users of the Firefox browser don’t.

[ https://gizmodo.com/how-to-stop-mozilla-from-sticking-ads-in-your-firefox-b-1825654432 ]

When I need to buy a product (‘need’, not ‘want’), then I know what it is precisely and I buy it there where I get it quick and easy.

So, what’s the point to expend a lot of dollars paying for web developers, developing little apps to infiltrate any program, when in fact they cannot sell their stuff. Some TV program have become so bad that over 60% of their programs consist of ads.

Watch what reputable big stores and chains are doing: The best of them do not do any TV, radio or online advertising. Smart move, as it is well known that consumers like to take their own decisions of what, when and where to buy products.

Prescription Medications – refusal

[Common Ground, free magazine, article: Medication civil disobedience. My response.]

Too many trusting patients take too many unnecessary prescription medications. The less pills you pop, the longer you live – I say !

Since arriving on Vancouver Island from having lived in Alberta for 27 years, I have started to learn more and more distrusting any medications. Good example are the statins or cholesterol-reducing drugs. During the first few years in Victoria one doctor prescribed Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering medication. Which in fact not much later turned out to effect a patient’s liver in the worst possible way, causing liver failure and such. [ http://www.schmidtlaw.com/lipitor-and-liver-damage/ ], and was pretty much removed from the market. I never picked up that prescription, and following the years after avoided filling most prescriptions without my own extensive research into its side effects. Maybe one of the reasons I am not dead, yet. You live and learn.

I am using legit professional medical web sites and also studies made on patients and their reactions to certain drugs. Careful, to know what you are looking for and at ! Over time it has become clear to the public that there is definitely an ‘over-prescription of drugs’. [ http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/popping-pills-prescription-drug-abuse-in-america ]. Important is to understand the cause of an illness, medications are only treating the symptoms.

Results of too many prescription medications are mostly seen in severe damages to liver and kidney functions. That would be comparable to a building’s plumbing system – corroded pipes.

Nice to know that there are now alternatives. Natural products, nutritional supplements and side-effect-free substances. To replace the harmful effects of eg.NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or costicosteroids prescribed as painkillers, but known to induce gastrointestinal complications.

 

 

 

Doctors without conscience

I do admire and respect Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans frontières). These are doctors who care about the lives of all humans and want to do good. On the contrary there are those who have a medical license and practice “in the name of the mighty dollar”. How can you make money today ? By affiliating yourself with the pharma industry. One of the largest world-wide industries (after travel and insurance) based on the simple need for medication.

An insight into large factories producing tons of synthetic medications which are then in turn prescribed by doctors without conscience. Some going as far as prescribing opioids and other pain killers to children. Recent case here in British Columbia, Canada. Sixteen year old died of opioid overdose.

[ https://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-teen-s-accidental-overdose-started-with-prescription-drugs-parents-say-1.3896404 ].- CTV News, Vancouver, BC.

This is only one case in many. How many more patients including children must die of opioid overdoses after having been prescribed such dangerous chemicals by a doctor, and consequently becoming addicted ?

The big pharma industries who produce new pain killer drugs, sometime without adequate testing, are only too happy to test their drugs on unsuspecting patients, which is done via the public medical system by doctors and clinicians.

The fault for all those overdose deaths lies squarely on the shoulders of the medical professionals who prescribed the drugs in the first place, and then stopped when realizing an addiction is forming. Next step for the patient is to try get their hands on street drugs, heavily laced with additives. Fentanyl is one of the major killers. Yet, many surgeries and even minor screening diagnostics are using this drug fentanyl, pretending that in a clinical setting a patient can easily be revived by a counter-drug. I personally, recently, when offered a screening in a private clinic using these IV induced drugs, declined the procedure. Neither do I take pain killers despite lots of chronic pains.

[ https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates ]

I personally would also not blindly trust a doctor trying to prescribe medications to me, nor would I allow a doctor to get away with a slap on the hand after the death of a patient. Frankly, since moving to BC I have been prescribed drugs, and after investigation and researching the effectiveness and warnings of that drug, decided not to fill the prescriptions. That’s why I am still alive now. Pain is the norm today. It’s better to deal with it and be alive, instead of dead by overdose of opioids or ending up with a damaged liver or kidney. It should be noted at this point that no doctor or clinician can force a patient to take a prescription drug.

(RE. My latest post on “How heal a shoulder rotator cuff injury without drugs.”

[ https://renataveritashistory.com/2018/05/14/healing-rotator-cuff-injury/ ]

Ministry of Public Health British Columbia

Public Health Care System British Columbia

[ https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018HLTH0027-000559 ]

The latest in pressurizing the medical profession and the only functioning clinics (albeit it private) within the public health care system of British Columbia. Responsible for public health is the

[ https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members/41st-Parliament/Dix-Adrian ].

Having resided in British Columbia now for fifteen years my personal health has been going down because of the impossibility of finding general practitioners or family doctors or getting regular life-saving tests done. British Columbians like me must rely on the Walk in Clinic system of which most have closed down in Victoria, BC. The only way BC residents can get timely access to any standard procedures like for example endoscopies/colonoscopies, for early detection of cancers is, to go through one of the private clinics and get it done.

It is a blatant human rights violation to force patients over 55 onto lengthy wait lists (some as lengthy as over ten years) for procedures to early detect cancers that are easily preventable.

Even younger patients had to die because of the Ministry of Public Health decided that it should be illegal and punishable to find surgical and other procedures outside the long wait lines. The Government of BC thereby imposing hefty fines onto private facilities who offered short wait times.

As far as my experience goes: The publicly funded health care system in BC could only come up with the odd X Rays, blood tests and other lab work. Nothing substantial and life-saving has ever been done within the triage and waiting lists system. What is also allowed within this publicly funded system is extensive use of filling unnecessary prescription drugs, another form of killing patients.

BC Minister of Health. What is suspicious is, that someone like this has been elected over and over again since 2005. Would you like to ask Mr. Dix how timely he gets all his regular standard (life-saving) tests done and where ? I bet he jumps the line automatically. Politicians should never run a public health care system, but only members of the medical profession should. That is what saves lifes.

Medical Health Care System – Victoria, BC

If the government medical system does not function because of over inflated bureaucracy, patients will be killed. Unnecessarily. One of the biggest problems is the shortage of family doctors, or general practitioners, who are doctors with a medical degree. Specialists apparently we have. But wait times are years. For a large population of senior citizens this does not bode well. The system on Vancouver Island is driven by the Vancouver Island Health Authority, now operating within a so called electronic TRIAGE system.

[ https://www.viha.ca/about_viha/news/news_releases/psa_cdh_ed_24feb16.html ]

There are several “arms” to this triage system: One is a variety and number of Walk-in Clinics in various locations; the second is 911 Emergency for hopefully some hospital (preferably not on weekends when most accidents occur); the third is an Ambulance system operated by a private company. The last on this list is: See your doctor. Wishful thinking. I never found out in fifteen years in Victoria, Vancouver Island, which doctor they refer to.

Walk In Clinics: The majority I know and have seen sprouting up over time have closed down, moved, or when there really is an emergency, cannot accommodate patients, because of the absence of enough doctors. One of the now available services are http://www.ehealth.ca for patients to allow access to their lab results.

Besides managing myself and relying on medical study and information research, gathered from very reputable world class clinics

[ http://www.mastersinhealthcare.com/blog/2011/10-most-prestigious-medical-centers-in-the-world/ ], I have been let down too many times by clinicians at the local clinic that I had frequented now for ten years in Victoria, resulting in mostly self-management, as well as paying for (health care covered) treatments out of my own pocket.

Strangely enough, some of those nurse practitioners assume the title of Dr. without having any medical degree, or they are referred to as Medical Doctor (by the system) without correcting this. [Check with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, this is a No/No.]

Examples of personal horror stories over the years include: Fractured metatarsal foot — form for assistance to get to hospital DVT clinic/large blood clot, sent to Vancouver instead of Victoria where I reside. Severe osteoporosis needing every 3-year BMD test — form sent to Timbouktou ?, indicating low priority. Medical fitness form for Ministry of Justice for drivers license — exam paid by me $100 to doctor, but test done by some temporary nurse, who among others took one blood pressure only instead of several, while during the test try to chat with me and upset me, outcome was elevated blood pressure.

Rotator cuff and shoulder injury two years ago — getting me into a program of corticosteroid injections and see a physiatrist who suggested to sell me more of those steroids, after a large tear in my tendon had been confirmed. Thanks, but no thanks ! My right arm/shoulder is now disabled. I personally have yet to see the MRI images, showing the large tear in the supraspinatus/tendon, done June 2017.

Just recently, when mentioning that a certain condition that I have and am sure about (comparing the images on the Internet, published by the Mayo Clinic), I was told “Sorry, I am not familiar with this condition”, and next (and I quote): “I do not look at the Internet.”

It is appreciated that clinicians go by the health care rules. However, we all know that every minute of every day some new discoveries are being made especially in the medical field. We also all know that all useful information that has helped so many for so many years is coming to us via the Internet. One only needs to rely on all the NO FAKE news and research. I usually rely on the best world wide known and respected clinics, such as for example the Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins [ https://www.usnews.com/info/blogs/press-room/articles/2017-08-08/us-news-announces-2017-18-best-hospitals ]. (Myself having graduated from an old very reputable ivy league college in the USA, and specializing in information systems research.).

And today’s doctors whose main goal is to advance medical research in practice all use the Internet. To also inform the public. [ https://getreferralmd.com/2017/01/17-future-healthcare-technology-advances-of-2017-referralmd/ ]. So, if anybody tells me “I do not look at the Internet”, I am not only scared, but very sorry.

Again, what’s this Triage system about ? Regulations, forms, unavailability during weekends, or personal opinions by clinicians, or worse, yet, personal opinions about patients themselves ?

I wish I had studied medicine full-time, but still cannot look up my own behind, needing a medical professional and equipment for this.

Victoria Johnson Street Bridge Project – FOCUS Magazine

A city bridge building nightmare: Replacing the City of Victoria’s older Blue Bridge across a short span of water by the Inner Harbour with a monstrous newly designed bridge, whose design had started in 2009 and over time resulted in numerous design flaws and serious construction problems without to date not having accomplished an acceptable, simple, safe and correctly engineered design.

CONTINUING COMMENTARY. See also my previous post [ https://renataveritasopinion.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/victoria-bc-johnson-street-bridge-project/ ].

Victoria’s FOCUS Magazine, Chief Editor David Broadland, is publishing important and detailed information about the new bridge’s project history and the mistakes being made by those responsible and in charge of this project. {That’s where my nightmare scenario came in.}

Victoria BC is not a big city and compared with any larger municipalities and their own bridge building projects, this new to be built Johnson Street bridge (near its Inner Harbour) should have been completed years ago (having started around 2009), and to early specifications taking into account the high vulnerability of this (Pacific North West) location to major earth quakes. And – allowing for some budget overruns – should have been within the budget limits set.

Maybe I have missed something in all those years. I came to Victoria in the Fall of 2002. As a property owner since 2002 I also pay taxes to the city and its officials. The same people who have been screwing up this bridge building project so badly. Yet, I am not aware of any referendums or elections in all those years. If there were (and as quoted in FOCUS they were held), than I certainly would not have voted YES to anything that would have been proposed. May I apologize for anything I may have missed all those years ? [Food for thought: Committees just like Councils are notoriously known for not accomplishing anything.]. What was and is missing for such a project (albeit a small bridge) are professionals.

I like to thank FOCUS Magazine of Victoria and David Broadland for the excellent information distribution and research done on this project. It certainly enlightens the public. I assure you I will be there when the next civic election comes around.

Victoria BC Johnson Street Bridge Project

A city bridge building nightmare: Replacing the City of Victoria’s older Blue Bridge across a short span of water by the Inner Harbour with a monstrous newly designed bridge, whose design had started in 2009 and over time resulted in numerous design flaws and serious construction problems. Not to mention the number of design consultants, engineers and other assorted groups contributing to this project and making a killing of income (through the City and its tax paying residents), without to date not having accomplished an acceptable, simple, safe and correctly engineered design.

A warning sign should have gone up when the major structural steel parts of this bridge (the two large rings supposed to lift the bridge deck) had been farmed out to be constructed in China with Chinese steel. In all these years this bridge building project has been going on, I never really noticed anything that questions the reason why these two major steel parts of Victoria’s bridge had to be built in China. To save money ? After already excessive millions had been spent on this project for design, consulting and (doing exactly what?), but not accomplishing much. Here is an interesting article regarding construction quality in China, written by a Chinese.  [ https://business-humanrights.org/en/china-poor-quality-construction-work-low-standards-lead-to-fatal-building-collapses-says-analyst ]. No wonder that the two large steel rings arriving here in Victoria have major design flaws and already needed patch up repair.

Personally, I would avoid using this bridge once it gets finished. Not only because of design flaws that can lead to collapse even with a high wind, but also because I am certain that this bridge like all construction in Victoria, BC, is not built earth quake proof.

We are in quake country in a highly seismic zone in the Pacific North West. A major quake and resulting tsunami will come. Did any of those early design consultants and engineers even consider to take this into consideration ? Of course not. Once the bridge is in place, those responsible for design, consulting, and building (not least the City itself) will have “left the building” – in other words, like the rats leaving the sinking ship.

Condominium Ownership – (revisited)

It always amazes me how few property owners (either already owning a condo or contemplating buying into one, exchanging their home) know the consequences of being a condo unit holder. A condo is not just an apartment, far from it, or a living space, in fact condo ownership is equivalent to any share ownership in any corporation. A condo corporation is the overriding corporate entity responsible for jointly owning, managing and controlling a condominium building, whereby each owner has the right to vote (usually during an annually occuring General Meeting) jointly with all co-owners. As it is impossible and not practical that all owners in a condo building also manage the day to day operation, there will usually be a property management company – who are non-owners – responsible for this, paid for by all condo owners. Mostly – also for practical purposes – represented by a Council, all of whom should be owners.
In other words, condo owners cannot easily control what changes or improvements they may want to make to their units, nor can they control (except by special vote) what expenses are required for the building and grounds. If expenditures are mismanaged, it can blow a big hole into the (jointly owned) contingency fund.
The only advice I can give to prospective purchasers of a condo: look closely at who manages a condo building, even more closely check out the finances, how much is the remaining contingency fund.
It is well known that buildings depreciate at an alarming rate, the only appreciation comes from the land base and/or is market driven. And older buildings in the absence of sufficient funds require regular special levies over and above the monthly condo fees. In the long run this can cost a unit holder a fortune.
Alternatives to condo ownership are: Either remain in your house and stay in control. Or, sell out and rent, use the money for paying a portion of the rental costs. This way, you can travel whenever you want.