Here is a great video about happiness. I am learning to be happier. If you have advice on what makes you happy, please comment.
Why am I trying to learn to program computers at age 33?
I use computers every day. My smartphone is a computer, that I carry everywhere I go and it’s always on. Everything is going digital and I don’t know how any of it works.
In this video, Douglas Rushkoff explains how programming is the 21st Century equivalent of literacy. He explains that, If we are not programming the computers in our lives, then these computers are programming us. I want to actively participate in shaping the technology I use. I don’t want to live in a “Read-Only world”. In this video, Lawrence Lessig explains the historical significance of this phenomenon.
They paid $28.94 for the $25 dollar gift card. I don’t know what value was added by the $3.94 service charge at WalMart but I guess they felt like it was worth it. I was buying regular gifts for my family in a different WalMart and saw that these cards were all over the place, hanging from racks near the registers like candy. When did these gift cards become so popular? They look like toy credit cards maybe they belong in the toy isle?
It would have been easy for anyone to grab ten or fifty of them and run out the door. But each one has a lengthy contract inside, which explains that there are multiple security precautions baked into the plastic card and its magnetic strips. In fact, each card has three barcodes on the packaging and two magnetic strips. (one on the package, one on the card) I wonder how that works.
About the same time I found a Silver Dollar in a leather seat at my local Borders book store (which is going out of business) (printed media loosing value in a digital age). Some old man must have let it slip from his pleated Khaki’s before I sat down. When I got home, I found out that this Silver Dollar was worth 30 paper dollars on Ebay. It was one Troy Once of pure silver. So I have carried it around with me for the last few weeks. It takes up about the same space in my pocket as my $25 plastic gift card. But the silver dollar weighs more and looks nicer.
In his book, “The Ascent Of Money”, Neil Fergusson explains that over 90% of all the money in circulation today has no physical form. It’s not paper, plastic, or precious metal. It’s digital. 11001101010010101….. So what is money becoming? Where is it going? Why are we loosing our homes because of it?
Here is another interesting podcast on the subject. (From the folks at NPR)
If Rwandans can promote peace with basket weaving, what can we produce to promote peace? In the developed world, what companies are designing and manufacturing products to promote peace. What would a “peace chair” look like?
Maybe it is extremely foolish to think that we can provide peace in the functionality of our technology? But if it is possible, I would buy it.
According to this documentary many of our computers go to Africa when they die. More specifically they go to chop shops like the ones in Lagos, Nigeria. About 400,000 PC’s, monitors, keyboards, mice, and other components are delivered to Nigeria each month. Many of these components are full of toxic chemicals and hard metals.
The workers at these shops are melting down the plastic parts to extract copper, silver, lead, aluminum, gold, and other precious metals. This documentary (The Digital Dump) was produced by the Basil Action Network. BAN has worked in various parts of the world trying to bring attention to the hazardous effects of electronic waste.
Have you considered how you plan to bury your Android cell phone? Or your third generation iphone? Most of these devices are being replaced so rapidly (thanks to Moore’s law) that we don’t have systems in place for their retirement.
I am trying to find ways to alter how I relate to my aging technology.
For example there is a design principle called Cradle to Cradle design. Which is, “a holistic economic, industrial and social framework that seeks to create systems that are not just efficient but essentially waste free.”
Another idea is to donate my old electronics to folks that can’t afford the new stuff. Or donate my old technology to the local hacker community so they can make new stuff with the parts. Or I will just call the local E-Waste recycler and schedule a pickup.
Either way I am going to try to make sure that my electronics don’t end up melted down in Lagos and ditched in a swamp.
The founder of WikiLeaks may or may not be a criminal but this should be determined in a court of law and not on some 24 hr. news cycle, rumor mill. Our freedom was founded on laws and institutions which are protected by an authentically free press.
Every coal mine needs a canary. Just like every government needs it’s whistleblowers. Whistleblowers are never popoular and they never should be. Unless what they have to say makes us correct a course of action that is worse than doing nothing.
I would say that the popularity of comedian journalists like John Stewart and Steven Colbert are a direct result of the synicism that is choaking our Republic. Our young people do not trust 24 hr. talking heads with their regurgetated bull shit. Thats why they get their news from comedians.
This is supposed to cause angst and action. It is supposed to make us WAKE UP to what is really happening in our government. But instead these shows are applauded, ignored, and celebrated at white house dinners. Does the Emperor have no shame as well?
The New York Times and The Washington Post were both complicit in bringing Wikileaks to the front of our attention. But they haven’t asked the responsible questions afterwards. Are they afraid to ask uncomfortable questions? Isn’t that how they became the New York Times and the Washington Post.
The blogosphere (vommit-choak) is not going to save us. Think about how many people read this blog. (I’m guessing me and… thats about it) So who else is going to ask these questions? Which of you have the answers?
How many of your friends on Facebook are talking about Wikileaks? Do the people you follow on twitter tweet about the social justice? Do they instant message about the checks and balance’s that are supposed to stop unjust war and oppression? Do they Skype about political corruption and shady back room deals? Do they care about the freedom of religion? Or the freedom to peacefully assemble and be heard?
We need to talk about Wikileaks today.
Everyone needs to talk about it. Don’t be afraid. If you disagree with me, thats great. I’m not always right. But please don’t sit silently and let this moment of clarity be drowned out by Celebrity Sex Scandels and Political Comedians.
Deitrich Bonhoefer is a hero of mine. He was a German pastor that stood up against the Nazi regime as it was rising to power. He spoke out against them when they invaded Poland. He spoke out against them when they slaughtered Jews and other minorities. He was not popular in his country or time. But in the long arch of history, I believe that this moment is a turning point for our nation and our world. (Even in spite of Assange’s bloated ego)
Either we are going to believe in the rule of law and the checks and balances of a transparent government, or we are going to become a barbarous and unworthy union. Do not go silently into the darkness of a nation without liberty.
A few days ago a friend of mine at work mentioned that he had purchased a toy helicopter for $30. I had owned one of these a few years ago and it was loads of fun. But it was not very durable and sucked up a lot of battery. He went on to describe that his toy helicopter, the Syma S107 had a gyro on the control board and was made out of metal. It came with a controller and a usb charger.
I didn’t believe him at first but then I found the toy on Amazon.com and he was right. So I ordered one for myself as an early Christmas gift.
This little helicopter is really fun. It takes a while to charge but it flies very steady and it’s easy to maneuver around my living room. I plan on modding it with either a laser pointer in the nose or a WiFi camera.
Every time I fly this thing, I feel like a kid. It’s a guilty pleasure but there are worse things that I could do to feel guilty. I plan to fly it until it breaks or until I find an even better way to feel like a kid again.
I’ve been riding my bike around town a lot lately because I am trying to loose some weight. It seems foolish to work a sedentary job all day and then pay for a gym membership to strenuously work for another hour or more just to compensate for living a sedentary lifestyle.
I live about 7 miles from where I work and I’ve recently started riding my bike to and from work. According to this website that means that I am burning 314 calories per hour. Each trip to and from work takes me about 30 minutes. So I am able to burn 314 calories per day without burning any gas.
So far I have had two flat tires and it’s a real pain to walk miles with a flat tire. So I decided to research how to fix my own bike and maintain it for daily use.
Here is a great website for keeping your bike running at it’s peak performance.
I got this image from a cool website. (www.in20years.com) It’s frightening to see my older self but getting old is scary too.
I’m 33 now but damn if it doesn’t go fast. You should go to this website and make a photo of yourself in twenty years.
Make peace with the future you. Consider the advice he may give you about choices you are making now.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 20 years? Do you have it written down? If not, why not? I am writing down exactly who I want to be and how I plan to get there. I am embracing the inevitability of aging as a tool for helping me eliminate trivial barriers to personal growth.
What older people do you know that are where you would like to be in twenty years? Are you prepared to pay the price to become like them? If not, look for new role models. Have you asked them how they got to where they are? Most people are happy to tell you what they believe made the difference in their personal growth.
Make a list of your heroes and then ask them.