Money Has Officially Jumped The Shark

One of the hard truths of our world is that money is really just a collective fantasy that only works because we’re all in on the game. There’s an expression, “suspension of disbelief,” that is usually reserved for written works of fiction, movies, or television shows, where the person enjoying the fiction is willing to temporarily accept the fictional premise as real for the same of entertainment. If you pause in the middle of a show (let’s use Game of Thrones” for fun) and you decide to note every place where this or that can’t possibly be real or make …

What’s Your Contribution?

As this pandemic drags on, it raises questions about the value of what each of us does for a living, when compared to the amount of money that we make for those jobs. There isn’t a day that goes by right now, or somebody doesn’t talk about the heroes who are working in the medical field, or the heroes who are working on the front lines, or the heroes working in the grocery stores and providing us with essential goods and services, but the question that needs to be asked whenever we discuss all these people, is how we assign …

No Man Is An Island

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. — Poem by John Donne, published 1624

My Open Source Journey

Way back, in my late teens, when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, I had created myself a geek’s paradise in my basement. I had a chemistry lab, with equipment sourced through my high school, a microscope, a telescope, and an electronics lab built with equipment from Radio Shack. I was also starting to experiment with various computers and, in time, would have at least three different Commodore computers, a TRS-80, until eventually moving to a state of the art 286 IBM PC clone. Later, I’d expand the memory on that PC’s main board to a staggering 1 MB of RAM. …

The Death of Capitalism

I’ve been listening to a fascinating discussion regarding the death of capitalism on CBC’s “Ideas” program. I’m only about half way through it, but the subject matter is important and somewhat unsettling. Here’s a quote from where I’ve paused in my podcast app. “Democracy was always a problem in a capitalist society. There’s an enormous inherent tension between the two. Democracy is inherently egalitarian because every citizen has one vote. And the rich also have one vote but the rich are only five percent. Whereas in the market, every dollar has a vote. And the capitalist economy in particular functions …

Some Thoughts on Capitalism, Universal Basic Income, and Automation

The concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) is not new, but surprisingly few have heard of it or truly understand the reason for it and why, now more than ever, it is vitally important. In simplest terms, UBI is a regular cash payment made to every person. You don’t need to work for it and you can do anything you want with it. Some see it as money for nothing, a lazy person’s way of getting a handout from the rest of society. Proponents, many of whom don’t actually ‘need’ UBI, see it as a necessary means to keep the …

The Book of Secret Knowledge

Every once in a while, you run across something so terribly useful, that you just need to share it with others, even if it does have the word “secret” in the title. This is one of those times. Should I call this a document, or a resource? Hey, maybe it’s just a glorified collection of bookmarks, but dang, is it ever useful! Given that I think it’s pretty awesome, I’m going to pretend that maybe you’ll feel the same way. And so, I give you “The Book of Secret Knowledge“, a “collection of inspiring lists, manuals, cheatsheets, blogs, hacks, one-liners, …

Schrödinger’s Elon Musk

Are we living in a simulation? In various interviews, Elon Musk has famously stated that there is a one-in-a-billion chance that we are not living in a simulation. Turning that around, he is saying that we are almost certainly living in a made up universe. A hyper-realistic fantasy. He cites, among other things, the rapid increases in video game development, to show that given enough time, it should be possible to create a perfect simulation. And, if such a perfect simulation has been created, then it must be created time and time again. Some people make light of this argument, …

Transformative Music and the Power of Radio

The first time I paid for a piece of music was back in 1972 which means I was either 12 years old or would, at some point in that year, be 12 years old. The music I bought was a 45 RPM record, a single, by one Sammy Davis Jr. The song, which I’d heard many times on the radio, was “The Candy Man”, and I still remember going to the store and handing over my hard-earned 99 cents to pay for it. I can’t remember the store but I do remember the experience. It was exciting in ways that …

The Old Woman. Work, Contribution, and Value.

There was a time when somebody might have observed that a stay at home mom didn't work. As a stay at home dad, I have first hand experience regarding with this concept. You do a lot, but you don't get paid for it. It's the job that's not really a job. That's not what this is about. I mention moms, and dads, because that's one place where work isn't valued, at least not financially. Most people will, sometimes grudgingly, accept that the work does, however, have a value you need to measure differently. You're still contributing. You're still working. To …