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 …

The American Ethos of “No Man Left Behind” During COVID19

The American ethos of “no man gets left behind” is an enduring one. There are countless stories and movies built around that very theme: in America, no one gets left behind. No challenge is too great, and no price is too high, when it comes to making sure that our brothers and sisters come home safe. It’s amazing then, to consider how quickly many Americans are willing to sacrifice “a few hundred thousand people” for the sake of the economy. How do you get from “no one” to “a few hundred thousand people” as Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert opined …

This is Just a Dress Rehearsal

As we struggle with #COVID19, emotionally, financially, socially, & with our lives, we should consider that this pandemic is a dress rehearsal for something bigger, and we’re failing. Old, bad, ideas need to be retired. Spoiler alert: we have a lot of those old bad ideas to retire. America has shown that its desire to make a buck on everything by refusing to adopt Universal Healthcare, is killing its own citizens and making a dreadful disease worse for the entire world. For profit hospitals, health care, education, justice, etc, is hurting us all. Ayn Rand and her idiotic ideas be damned, …

Linux, Open Source, and Civil Disobedience

When I was still arguably a kid, there was an old TV show that my friends and I all watched called, “Baretta.” In the show’s theme song, “Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow,” voiced by the great Sammy Davis Jr., we hear the words, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” The show starred one Robert Blake, an actor who, as it turns out, would later be charged with murder. He was acquitted but later charged with “wrongful death” in a civil suit which he lost, despite the criminal murder acquittal. But I digress . . . …

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 …

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, …

No Net Neutrality? How About The Open Internet Instead?

In the middle of yet another Net Neutrality crisis, I find myself wondering yet again if there isn't a way to just take our ball and go home. So to speak. We, in the open source community, have been great at spinning off new tech in order to build doors in the walls that others erect to keep us out. Why, I wonder, can't we do that with the Internet. There is a network of hundreds of millions of wireless routers out there, all of which could be used to launch the next generation Internet. Without cables. Without the big …

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 …

Turing Test Failure

Yesterday, I had a weird Turing moment.  As background to this post, I should tell you that I was listening to a podcast on robots and artificial intelligence where Sam Harris was chatting with Kate Darling. Had I not been listening to this, I might have forgotten about my Turing moment. Here's what happened. Yesterday, I received a call from a telephone solicitor, trying to sell me some emergency service for my furnace, insinuating as they spoke, but they were some safety issues that needed to be addressed. At first I was confused by what he was saying, despite being …