Google News from a better world


Duncan sez, "A brilliantly done spoof of GoogleNews from a parallel universe where all the world's problems have been solved, from the petty: 'Apple announces unlocked iPhone, built-in VOIP' To the more profound: 'Amnesty International reports massive drop in detainments' and 'Darfur peace process well underway'"
Link

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  1. Wow! Imagine Amtrak with “Japanese levels of service.” And a revitalized New Orleans, a cure for Alzheimers, spray-on solar panels, more Harry Potter and a chance for the Chicago Cubs! Google doesn’t say how it’s going to fix Social Security though.

  2. Well with the increase in real wages, there’s less need for social security for the poorest, they don’t have to pay for healthcare anymore either. An increase in real wages would generally correspond to a decrease in unemployment as well…that only leaves the chronically disabled and elderly without pensions needing social security, surely a little bit of that slashed defence budget could go their way?

  3. Small nitpick:

    How can “President Obama” simultanously be signing in UHC whilst presiding over the China/Tibet apology in Beijing?

  4. BREAKING: President Obama’s Presidential Institute for Executive Innovation Announces Matter Transportation System.

  5. This is brilliant — reminds me of what Michio Kaku said about parallel universes.

    There’s too much negative news nowadays, and that often mean that good news is underreported and hidden.

    Some say, “Give the people want to hear!” but I think it’s a repetitive cycle which is hard to break: you share more positivity and hope to people about the world they exist in, and they seek that out more, moving upwards.

  6. POPIEI? terrible acronym, perhaps it could be called the Presidential Initiative to Novelly Increase Synergy.

  7. There’s a disturbing lack of goatees in the Google pictures from this mirror world.

  8. President Obama signs the Universal Health Care law?

    Doesn’t sound like a better world to me, but we all have our opinions.

    Some of us were just happy with leaving Serenity as is.

  9. What does it say about me that the article I felt most positive about was the Serenity sequel?

  10. I think they may be onto something here.

    There is far too much negative news out there. It feels like a constant erosion of civil liberties, corporate strong-arming, illegal wars and governments riding roughshod over the people they are put there to serve.

    If Google could find a way of including positive stories in it’s headlines (and perhaps allowing them to take priority) it would certainly improve morale for many.

  11. Not to pee on anyone’s happy parade, but I would prefer to dream about things that are 1.) actually objectively beneficial, and 2.) objectively realistic.

    ConAgra converts to organic co-op???
    the headline that you’ll see the next day is

    “Food prices skyrocket! Millions left hungry due to lower food yields”

    Emissions free line-up??
    Um, how is this even conceivable within the next 8 years?

    Card companies retroactively cap at 8%??
    Bad for eveyone! Not only will people without perfect credit never get another credit card, but forgiving Billions in debt retroactively and not allowing the companies to make it back guarantees they will be out of business in days.

    And also I agree with you Maurik, that may not be the best idea for universal HC.

    So I guess I take it back…consider your happy parade peed upon.

  12. The sad part of the fake news page concept is that the links are clickable, but they lead to stories in our universe, and the contrast makes those stories even more depressing.

  13. The road to hell is paved with good intentions such as “feeding the word” which leads to popuation rises and worse famines. These good news examples concern the “international community” meddling and dictating how the world should be run. This “good news” is naive and the attitude is destructive. What would really be good news is an end to globalization.

  14. @: KingJoeVII

    I might do my own cynical follow up google news mashup.

    “Another increase in major states’ sales tax due to universal HC drain”

    “US economy still in trouble as budget was reshuffled not cut”

    “Food prices surge as crop yields decrease”

    “Huge Chinese economy slump as money is poured into Tibet”

    “3 Ex-Detainees killed as celebrations turn morbid in DC”

  15. I have kids; it made me cry, because I wish many things like this for them.

    Nitpicking/sustainability/corporate greed aside?

    I wish I could see a bright future for all of my kids, but sadly I work daily to prepare them for the worst the world has to offer.

    Fatalistic Realism.

    . . . but it’s a wonderful dream to think that we COULD be sustainable and clean, isn’t it?

  16. More HP after Seven? No THANKS.

    Eh, none of this inspires me / optimizes me / anything other than amuses me. It’s too pie-in-sky. And there needs to be SOME badness to give us a sense of perspective… and… and… and I’m a cynic who simply can’t be pleased.

  17. I think this news and the responses are more sad than the real thing. It shows that people still expect their problems to be solved for them by the wonderful magical president man. Just one example: Do we really want everyone in the country to be subjected to the kind of shameful socialized care our veterans receive in government run hospitals? You notice there was very little complaint with our health care system prior to the government getting involved and mandating that employers provide health ins.? That caused all sorts of problems and market distortions, so they started laying on regulation after regulation on the HMO’s pushing prices higher and higher and now it sucks for everyone. Government is not the answer. Government is not your friend. Government can provide you with nothing it doesn’t take from you first.

  18. But AJV, the government has the right to detain my kids because the religion I choose is not valid in their eyes…

  19. The lack of goatees is easily explained – look around, and you’ll quickly realize that between these two universes, OURS is the Evil Star Trek Alternate! I wear my goatee with Evil Star Trek Pride!

  20. …and if you enjoy contrasts, follow the links from the Google News page.

    SPOCK!!! SPOOOOCK!!! LET ME OUT OF THIS CELL!!!!

  21. “That caused all sorts of problems and market distortions, so they started laying on regulation after regulation on the HMO’s pushing prices higher and higher and now it sucks for everyone.”

    Yes, poor, poor HMOs, forced by big bad government regulation to make huge profits and provide crappy service.

  22. Wow, really wasn’t expecting to get BoingDotted. My wife put that page up about a year ago when she was feeling particularly depressed about the world situation and just needed some happy news therapy. I think she’s updated it a few times – it used to be President Kucinich. Try not to read too much into the individual news items – there was no deep analysis here, just wishing for some things she wanted.

    Oh, and wishing for a Serenity sequel isn’t shallow. It would make a lot of people really happy, so it’s actually quite selfless. Keep up the good work.

  23. Eeek! I made this happy news page for my own amusement almost a year ago… I didn’t quite expect it to go viral. The fun part was that a few days later George Lucas appeared in public wearing a “Han Shot First” t-shirt. The rest have been a little slower to come true, alas, but I am not without hope.

  24. Boingdotted! That’s the word you were looking for yesterday, Takuan!
    I almost wrote something snarky yesterday about BoingBoinging vs. Slashdotting – glad now I didn’t.

  25. Oh, you libertarian parade pissers, can’t you pipe down for a second and let the rest of us enjoy this? It’s not like it’s ever going to happen here, so you can still sleep tight.

    Universal Health Care in this parallel universe isn’t necessarily how it is described in this one, for one. Even if for whatever reason you’ve concocted in your head that it wouldn’t work here, in the multitude of multiverses, it’s still possible. Unless you’re one of them thar Creationists…

    And I don’t care who you are, having mag-lev bullet trains in America as a transportation option would be awesome as hell.

  26. “Health of Finns

    Health services are available to all in Finland, regardless of their financial situation. Public health services are mainly financed from tax revenues.

    The child mortality rate in Finland is one of the lowest in the world; the infant mortality rate is below 4‰. The life expectancy for a girl born now is 81 years, for a boy 73 years.”

  27. boingdotting….I don’t know….I think we should make them change to “slashslashing”

  28. @33:

    Actually, we feel pretty much compelled to criticize and make fun of this. Not only do the events themselves feel improbable, but the methods used to achieve them have been proven false time and time again.

    You might as well have everybody in Los Angeles concentrating their love into a magic staff which heals the world of hate and war.

  29. Oh, ThinkPositive, seldom has there been such a diametric divergence of psyche and pseudonym.

  30. While I loved reading the page, I warn you not to click on the links involved, as most lead to a rather depressing news article.

  31. So many points:

    Globalization has good points and bad points. Contrary to the nonsense you hear, foreign investment in 3rd-world hellholes does help those countries–as long as the local government isn’t so evil and corrupt as to provide zero benefit to the actual citizenry. Even as evil and corrupt as the Chinese government is, everyday Chinese peoples’ lives are improving. Foreign investment is fast improving Thailand, which I expect to be a pretty nice place to live in not too many years. Foreign investment in the vast majority of Middle Eastern or African countries, however, would see the warlords driving around in Bentleys and everyone else minus voting arms. There’s nothing we can or should do about other people’s shitty governments.

    UHC, or something like it, could totally work, but it would require us to give a crap about it. It would not even need to raise taxes; it would just need to pull some of the 64% of our tax dollars that go into the military (that includes things like the CIA and other “military-esque” organizations) and put it into public health. Anecdotal evidence, but my dad loves his veteran hospital. He drives 3 hours to get there because it’s free and well-run. And I live in Japan, which has a required health insurance system. Your employer gets on one of the plans, you pay for it every month, and this goes for everyone in the country. You can pay more to other companies to cover the 30% co-pay on major things, if you like. Anyone with a job is covered. People without a job are also covered, to a certain degree, by a public system. The only drawbacks I see in the Japanese system are related to a perception that doctors are magical and that people shouldn’t be able to buy any kind of medicine that actually works over the counter. I suspect this is partly to funnel money into the system, but I feel it is a waste of time, and I can’t imagine most Americans standing for it, so I wouldn’t be worried about it. Culturally, we don’t like going to the doctor for the sniffles.

    Finally, although I am a total Obama whore, no president should have the kind of power we see in those dream headlines. If you want to see what happens when a president is given power, well, just look at the last 8 years. It’s the scariest thing happening in American politics today–the president is largely supposed to be a figurehead. Someone who sets the theme or tone, but doesn’t actually drive the country. Terrifying.

  32. While I am happy that meditation is such a wonder cure for so many ills, I find that that hasn’t worked on my impatience.

  33. AJV #26: Do we really want everyone in the country to be subjected to the kind of shameful socialized care our veterans receive in government run hospitals?

    Yes! Veterans receive great health care nowadays. The VA health system was totally overhauled under the Clinton administration. Studies show that VA health care is better than private managed care.

    The hilarious thing about your comment is that Phillip Longman (author of the article I just linked to) predicts it:

    If the debate is over health-care reform, it won’t be long before some free-market conservative will jump up and say that the sorry shape of the nation’s veterans hospitals just proves what happens when government gets into the health-care business.

    It’s like you’re some kind of automated system. You see a mention of national health care, and you pop out with your canned speech, not even realizing that it expired a decade ago.

  34. So in fact the problem with patience and meditation is that you have to work on your patience *before* you can have good meditations. I don’t know if you already knew this and were being ironic or if you were unaware of the problem.

    The antidote is mindfulness, which means that you just have to do the hard work of watching your mind and catching yourself when you get impatient. This is particularly important if you’re an info junkie like me, being interrupted constantly by new boingboing updates… :’)

  35. @26,

    As a disabled veteran, I must say that I get damn good health care from the Ann Arbor VA hospital. Don’t forget that Walter Reed is an ARMY hospital, not a VA hospital.

  36. I find the antidote to be consistency. If you wait until you’re at peace to meditate, it never happens. If you just sit yourself down twice a day for ten minutes and do your best, eventually it will pay off.

  37. Good source for news. Another one is OddComet if you are looking for something on a lighter note.

    Steve

  38. i think my favourite thing on there is that the first story in the sports section is on the mahayana monastic debates… :)

  39. Kyle at # 43 Globalization has good points and bad points. Contrary to the nonsense you hear, foreign investment in 3rd-world hellholes does help those countries–as long as the local government isn’t so evil and corrupt as to provide zero benefit to the actual citizenry.[…] Foreign investment is fast improving Thailand, which I expect to be a pretty nice place to live in not too many years

    I’ve been traveling to Thailand on and off since the 80’s. It’s *always* been a nice place to live. I’ve got friends still living there. The crappy thing is the corruption, which foreign investment isn’t helping.

  40. Steve,

    It looks like you’re trying to use BB comments to drive traffic to your site. I’ve removed your links.

  41. A note to Scuba and similar: I always look at the personal profile and published sites of anyone who can make good, interesting, relevant and fun comments. Why not try legitimately? Isn’t it the same amount of work?

  42. There is a need for Social Security reform, ending it would be an idea, allow the state and local governments to help the retired and disabled.

    The dumbest thing about SS is that it is a numbers game, in order for it to work, generation B needs to have more children then generation A, as we all know that doesn’t always happen.

    I’d like to see more retirement handled privately, allow the individual to choose where they put their money. Make the net pay a bit more equal to the gross pay.

  43. #35: “Oh, you libertarian parade pissers, can’t you pipe down for a second and let the rest of us enjoy this?”

    Don’t you get it? If people really wanted a better world the Invisible Hand of the Market would have given it to us.

    All Praise the Hand!

  44. And the good news we’ve been whining for has been granted us by Mark – see new post.

  45. Sorry to rain on everyone’s parade, but this was done years ago. Lookup “goodle news” and you can check the dates (done back in 2004). Anyway, you can check out their page here:
    http://www.theinternetnowinhandybookform.com/bahoogle/goodnews.html

    Including news items, such as:
    World Peace sparks outpourings of joy
    BBC – 1 hour ago
    Almost all of the human race were united today in a vast expression of joy in response to the newfound world peace.

    Bush takes XTC, goes to rave
    New York Times – 12 hours ago
    “He was jumping around, blowing a whistle, and kept asking me if I had any chewing gum,” says Alison, 19, who danced with the President and his team of advisors at an unnamed club until 4am. “Rumsfeld gave me a kick-ass back rub.”

    All music to be free
    The Scotsman – 4 hours ago
    Record companies are to give away their music. Artists will give free concerts. iPods to be given to every child at birth.

    We are not alone
    Reuters – 3 hours ago
    Representatives from other planets in the galaxy were in contact with world leaders today to discuss admission in a peaceful galactic federation of planets. “We believe that Earth has fulfilled all the criteria for entry,” said a spokesalien, “bar a few details over voting rights.”

  46. Brit, sorry to rain on your parade, but the link you posted has already been posted at least twice, above..

    #8
    And, Faustus, didn’t you mean:

    Presidential Envoy to Novelly Increase Synergy?

  47. #60 ANTINOUS

    “And the gutters full of elderly corpses? Would we have a special Scoop Tax?”

    Did I not state that the local governments should take care of the elderly? Your argument is a straw man, you know that no human being would allow that to happen.

    Look, why are you and the rest of the Boing Boing universe sending their tax dollars to the Federal government so that it can then be sent back to their retired neighbors? Why not send it to your local government so that it can be sent back to your neighbor? My argument is simply a change in governments that provide retirement for those unfortunate, or stupid, people that couldn’t or wouldn’t save for their own retirement.

  48. ..you know that no human being would allow that to happen.

    Mu-Hahahahahaha hah!

    You were joking right..? Or maybe you have never met humans.

  49. Guys, stop worrying about Social Security. With reasonable maintenance, it will go on working just fine.

    The idea that it’s not going to pay off is disinformation. For at least thirty years now, that line has been spread by a professionally operated propaganda campaign which is funded by the traditional Shadowy Corporate Interests.

    It has never been true. Social Security is not going to collapse. I’ve been hearing that story since I was a kid. I was impressed when I first heard it. I stopped being impressed after seeing decade upon decade of people who reach retirement age retiring, and thereafter collecting Social Security payments, just as they’ve been promised.

    Over all those years, the story about Social Security hasn’t substantially changed. It has never been true before. I see absolutely no reason to believe it’s magically become true now.

    Why would they lie to you about Social Security? To some extent, because they hope to get their hands on all those retirement funds. Even more, I think, it’s because there’s no surer way to break the hearer’s faith in the social contract.

    Only it’s not true. So cheer up.

  50. I was fine with the page until the Serenity sequel; not that I find it shallow, it’s just that the first one wasn’t that good. I’m not alone in the thinking that; lots of people would rather just pretend it didn’t exist and enjoy the show by itself.

    In my perfect world, we’d have better summer movies, though.

  51. Social Security is not that useful if society collapses. In the repeating pattern of the world’s great civilizations, ours is now in the chaotic Decline phase which precedes the inevitable collapse that none have managed to avoid. There’s a lot of fun to be had in this phase (for a while anyway). Make your own good news.

    To feel better about current events, it’s best to avoid news altogether. Read a newspaper or watch a news broadcast from last year, or even a few years ago, and the experience is roughly the same though the names are probably different. Why subject yourself to that pointless stress?

    Once we get to the point where our televisions are gone and we aren’t surfing our lives away on the net, I think our job is then to create the good news we crave. We can notice Bad News entering our heads and creating dark thoughts and foul moods, so why wouldn’t this form of communication work in reverse? In fact it does, in my experience.

    Right now, the most corrosive force working against the dark Intent that’s shaping the world’s status quo is to be happy. I realize it’s easier said than done, but we all have our bag of rocks to carry so we might as well pick them ourselves. This takes a staggering amount of mental discipline and requires shedding all that’s extraneous and draining to our psyches. We must peel away the bullshit layer by layer, or possibly use it in our flower gardens if it’s not too contaminated with heavy metals.

    This kind of happiness is an energy that comes from the inside and radiates outward, kind of like the TV. Also like the TV, it requires a power supply. The power comes from shedding all that crusty buildup of bullshit and not dissipating our limited energy on pointless distractions. In taoist terms it’s called non-contrivance; embodying the Uncarved Block. That is the Way.

    As a bonus, being outwardly happy really pisses off the jackasses and thug types. Pretend, if you have to. The reality may follow eventually.

  52. “As a bonus, being outwardly happy really pisses off the jackasses and thug types.”

    I sense an idea for dealing with the TSA, photography gestapo and others of that ilk….

  53. Takuan:

    It really does annoy them, but there’s nothing for them to latch on to as a reason for messing with you (not that they need a reason, but it’s better than verbally expressing opinions contrary to the paradigm they wish to create.

    Also, I have three stock responses to questions from bureaucrats when I’m unsuccessful in avoiding them (use these only after adjusting your IQ to a level just below that of the apparatchik you’re speaking to):

    1) Huh?

    2) What do you mean?

    3) Why?

    All their questions or demands can be handled with these, or a combination of them unless you are actively being beaten. When using these, be sure to have a vacuous, slightly confused look on your face with a hint of… happiness. Sort of like, oh I don’t know, the classic “village idiot” who sits there grinning for no apparent reason.

  54. Takuan:

    It really does annoy them, but there’s nothing for them to latch on to as a reason for messing with you (not that they need a reason, but it’s better than verbally expressing opinions contrary to the paradigm they wish to create).

    Also, I have three stock responses to questions from bureaucrats when I’m unsuccessful in avoiding them (use these only after adjusting your IQ to a level just below that of the apparatchik you’re speaking to):

    1) Huh?

    2) What do you mean?

    3) Why?

    All their questions or demands can be handled with these, or a combination of them unless you are actively being beaten. When using these, be sure to have a vacuous, slightly confused look on your face with a hint of… happiness. Sort of like, oh I don’t know, the classic “village idiot” who sits there grinning for no apparent reason.

  55. happiness… the vague smile of the village idiot, or the ineffable buddha. Yeah! Speak slowly and kindly to the TSA, move unthreateningly, use simple words and smile,smile, smile. Be happy to be searched, smile lovingly at the interrogator. “Huh?”
    “What?” “Uh, OK, could you say that again, please, sorry(sunny, sunny smile)”

  56. Village Idiot, do you mind if we quote you? I’m thinking to link a page from the good news page with quotes we liked, and yours definitely is one.

  57. #74
    I’ve been hearing about immanent SS failure for twenty years myself. It’s called Scaring The Shit Out Of The Old Folks. And yet each month an electronic deposit is made into my checking account. Shameful situation, my having to depend on a GOVERNMENT program … that I paid into.

    I look at it as transferring from savings over to checking.

  58. re: $17,000 for every Iraqi — Somehow I don’t see violently enforced international wealth distribution as a positive development in the world.

  59. Quote from Mellon: Village Idiot, do you mind if we quote you? I’m thinking to link a page from the good news page with quotes we liked, and yours definitely is one.

    Not at all; I quoted you without even asking first!

    Wait a minute… Who is “we?” You’re not from the government, are you??

    If so, my answer is Huh?

  60. Village Idiot, watching news reports from several years ago is not the same as watching current ones. Some long-running stories remain in the news, but even there the reports aren’t identical from year to year.

    I’ve been hearing predictions about the imminent collapse of society even longer than I’ve been hearing about Social Security. The people I’ve known who’ve believed it haven’t been as happy or productive as they might have been, because they’ve been unable to make rational plans for the future.

    What else is news, but watching the world unfold? I think I’ll keep watching.

  61. Of course I don’t mean the stories are literally the same, but the general subjects, tone, and relevance to my life (generally, low) are identical. I once read almost an entire newspaper before I discovered it was over a year old, and realized that it didn’t make much practical difference. When new and different things are happening, and they are relevant to my life, I hear about them through other channels (so to speak) and often much sooner than I would via mass media. I stay informed, but I don’t equate “news” with “information.”

    I’m not an End Times kinda guy really, but I do see plenty of Puzzling Evidence of an exponential increase in novelty happening, and novelty (aka ‘unpredictability’) tends to be at odds with our fixed, rigid, and heavy infrastructure.

    Keep in mind that several important variables are converging in an unprecedented manner:

    There’s exponential population growth reaching its peak while measurable climate change is going on, and both factors result in a steady reduction in arable land around the globe even as food requirements are increasing. It’s a vicious feedback loop we’re only beginning to feel the effects of.

    There’s little but saber-rattling (if not actual war) going on in world politics, so no help there.

    Billions of people are living densely packed into cities that often lack clean water and basic sanitation, which promotes the emergence of fascinating new diseases and extremist ideologies right in the perfect places to launch pandemics, even as many of the old classics are becoming resistant to our drugs.

    And now there’s an imminent solar cycle, predicted by NASA to be the strongest in possibly 500 years, that in a matter of minutes could fry all our satellites (and maybe shut down the grid itself, erase data from hard drives, and whatever else happens during severe geomagnetic storms) that will peak around 2011. Civilizations have always hung by many threads, but only one has to break for the domino effect to begin, and we have not been prudent in making our contingency plans. We couldn’t even handle Katrina; still haven’t handled it actually.

    Earth will be fine, life will go on, but society as we know it can’t stay on this course for much longer and we all damn well know it. “The End” is relative; it’s happened many times before, to every civilization eventually. I absolutely intend to keep watching the show, but I’m watching the actual world, not the “news.”

    And I’m having a pretty good time doing it, paying my mortgage and running whitewater on weekends and all that. I advocated happiness, remember? Frankly, I see all of humanity’s problems as self-made, and for maybe a little while longer they can possibly still be self-unmade but I just don’t see politicians or the public appearing willing to even slow down a bit and really try to understand where we’re heading, much less change course.

    We get our buses retrofitted with anti-terrorist kill switches instead, or a new pollution shell game called Carbon Credits.

  62. Village Idiot, “we” is me and Andrea. Andrea is the artist who did the web page that launched this lovely discussion.

    Teresa, I’ve met a lot of people who plan to be happy in the future. I’m not going to say planning is always a bad idea, but it has its problems…

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