Amazon, Apple, education, Google, internet, things getting better

Online education SUCKS

There’s no way online classes will be as bad in 2025 as they are today.

I expect Google, Apple, Amazon to be amongst the companies disrupting the current expensive American College system.  Taking their money. 

But it’s this organization — Outlier — that won a Time magazine BEST inventions of 2020 award.

At least they are trying to improve the experience.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, economics, education, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, internet

The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly

Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

The Inevitable is a 2016 nonfiction book by Kevin Kelly that forecasts the twelve technological forces that will shape the next thirty years:

  1. Becoming: Moving from fixed products to always upgrading services and subscriptions
  2. Cognifying: Making everything much smarter using cheap powerful AI that we get from the cloud
  3. Flowing: Depending on unstoppable streams in real time for everything
  4. Screening: Turning all surfaces into screens
  5. Accessing: Shifting society from one where we own assets to one where instead we will have access to services at all times.
  6. Sharing: Collaboration at mass scale. Kelly writes, “On my imaginary Sharing Meter Index we are still at 2 out of 10.”
  7. Filtering: Harnessing intense personalization in order to anticipate our desires
  8. Remixing: Unbundling existing products into their most primitive parts and then recombining in all possible ways
  9. Interacting: Immersing ourselves inside our computers to maximize their engagement
  10. Tracking: Employing total surveillance for the benefit of citizens and consumers
  11. Questioning: Promoting good questions is far more valuable than good answers
  12. Beginning: Constructing a planetary system connecting all humans and machines into a global matrix

Though it might sound scary, the book is surprisingly upbeat and optimistic about the future.

Kevin Kelly (born 1952) is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Review.

Amazon

 

education, ethics, GOP USA, government, human rights

ABOUT those pro-life hypocrites …

I can see the argument for being pro-life.

Nobody wants abortions.

But if you are pro-life you must also have a consistent life ethic:

… an ideology that opposes abortioncapital punishmentassisted suicide, and euthanasia.

Adherents are opposed, at the very least, to unjust war, while some adherents also profess pacifism, or opposition to all war.

The term was popularized in 1983 by the Catholic Cardinal Joseph Bernardin to express an ideology based on the premise that all human life is sacred and should be protected by law. … 

In the States, many who claim to be pro-life also support the death penalty, support the right of untrained neighbours to own weapons of war.

They support wasting any amount of money on the military while denying basic health care and education to the young women who might consider having an abortion.

They are pro-birth, not pro-life.  Once the baby is born they no longer care what happens to the child.

bad news, economics, education, ethics, GOP USA, government, human rights, things getting worse

Rise and Fall of the American Empire – Wade Davis

UPDATE – Deanna Kreisel posted a rebuttal to the Wade Davis article:

The Unraveling of “The Unraveling of America”

Wade Davis is a Colombian / Canadian professor of anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia.

One brilliant man.

A recent article of his in Rolling Stone sums up how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era.

In a dark season of pestilence, COVID has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism. …

No empire long endures, even if few anticipate their demise …

In 1940, with Europe already ablaze, the United States had a smaller army than either Portugal or Bulgaria. Within four years, 18 million men and women would serve in uniform, with millions more working double shifts in mines and factories that made America, as President Roosevelt promised, the arsenal of democracy.

When the Japanese within six weeks of Pearl Harbor took control of 90 percent of the world’s rubber supply, the U.S. dropped the speed limit to 35 mph to protect tires, and then, in three years, invented from scratch a synthetic-rubber industry that allowed Allied armies to roll over the Nazis. At its peak, Henry Ford’s Willow Run Plant produced a B-24 Liberator every two hours, around the clock. Shipyards in Long Beach and Sausalito spat out Liberty ships at a rate of two a day for four years; the record was a ship built in four days, 15 hours and 29 minutes. A single American factory, Chrysler’s Detroit Arsenal, built more tanks than the whole of the Third Reich. 

In the wake of the war, with Europe and Japan in ashes, the United States with but 6 percent of the world’s population accounted for half of the global economy, including the production of 93 percent of all automobiles. … 

COVID-19 didn’t lay America low; it simply revealed what had long been forsaken.

As the crisis unfolded, with another American dying every minute of every day, a country that once turned out fighter planes by the hour could not manage to produce the paper masks or cotton swabs essential for tracking the disease. The nation that defeated smallpox and polio, and led the world for generations in medical innovation and discovery, was reduced to a laughing stock as a buffoon of a president advocated the use of household disinfectants as a treatment for a disease that intellectually he could not begin to understand.

… With less than four percent of the global population, the U.S. soon accounted for more than a fifth of COVID deaths. … 

Odious as he may be, Trump is less the cause of America’s decline than a product of its descent. As they stare into the mirror and perceive only the myth of their exceptionalism, Americans remain almost bizarrely incapable of seeing what has actually become of their country.  …

The Unraveling of America

 

If Trump were gone tomorrow, the USA is still screwed because of FOX News and right wing media. And the GOP.

If a vaccine were available tomorrow, half of Americans would refuse to take it.

Wade Davis:

… even should Trump be resoundingly defeated, it’s not at all clear that such a profoundly polarized nation will be able to find a way forward. For better or for worse, America has had its time. …

BAYONNE, NJ – MAY 3: A wind blown American flag at the Tear Drop 9/11 Memorial flies over the skyline of New York City as the sun sets on May 3, 2020 in Bayonne, New Jersey. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

education, ethics, government, happiness, things getting better

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

20-year old Taylor Wilson wrote the best article I’ve read so far on the 2020 Black Lives Matters protests.

Racism is housing discrimination, food inequity, mass incarceration, underfunded schools, unequal access to sport, over-policing, voter disenfranchisement, the war on drugs, hiring discrimination, unequal access to healthcare, and a flawed criminal justice system that far too often lets officers go unchecked for abusing their power. 

I am tired of seeing Black people beaten and murdered by police. I am deeply disturbed by the lack of accountability for police officers who so blatantly cause harm, shielded by a blue wall of silence that seems impenetrable by the justice system. …

Dr. King – “I Have a Dream”

Almost 56 years after the Civil Rights Act was signed, and Black people are STILL fighting for equal protection under the law and the genuine right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. …

Enough is enough. “Thoughts and prayers” is no longer a sufficient response …

Denounce racism when it’s not convenient for you. In rooms where there are no Black people. … In every space, especially those in which you hold a position of power or influence, leverage your privilege. Do not stay silent. Be explicitly anti-racist and hold others accountable for their words and actions. …

If reading this made you uncomfortable, good

Get comfortable being uncomfortable because I promise you, this is just the beginning.

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

books, economics, education, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, philosophy

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

I really enjoyed these 3 books by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari.

Like Bill Bryson, he can make academic subjects interesting and lively

Critics call it sensationalist infotainment.

He is a simplifier. I like his frequent analogies to well known references.

There are endless interesting factoids.

Critics complain he gets some facts wrong by over-simplifying.

In Sapiens he postulates that humans now rule the earth because of our ability to organize and coordinate in large numbers.

Bees, ants and other species cooperates even better, but they are too inflexible to evolve. And have comparatively small numbers.

We are the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in our imagination, such as gods, states, money, human rights, corporations and other fictions, and we have developed a unique ability to use these stories to unify and organize groups and ensure cooperation.

TED

He feels humans will continue to evolve, likely into some computer / human hybrid.

Click PLAY or watch his TED Talk on the topic on YouTube. (17min)

audiocasts, economics, education, media, product endorsements

My favourite podcasts 2020

During COVID-19 many of us have more time to listen to audio. Here are some of my favourites.

Search for them by name on your preferred podcasting platform, if interested.

Online audiocasts are as old as the internet.

But we have the silly, unintuitive name podcast because Steve Jobs called the Apple device an iPod.

BBC journalist Ben Hammersley first suggested the name “Podcast” (a portmanteau, a combination of “iPod” and “broadcast“) it in early February 2004.

I try to call the audio only version “audiocasts“. Leo Laporte still uses the term “netcast” for both audio only and video podcasts.

Dave Winer is most often credited as the inventor as he decided to include new audio functionality in RSS 0.92.  Dave demonstrated it worked on January 11, 2001 by enclosing a Grateful Dead song in his Scripting News weblog.

 

clean water, education, ethics, government, human rights, product endorsements

Charity: Water

The story of Scott Harrison building Charity: Water to a half billion dollar non-profit is inspiring.

charitywater.org has funded 51,438 water projects for over 11 million people around the world as I post.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

My personal wish list for the world:

Short term – clean drinking water

Long term – education of girls and women 

 

Amazon

books, education, government, human rights, Islam, travel

I Am Malala with Christina Lamb

If you want to know more about life in Pakistan I recommend this autobiography of a teenager.

If you want to know more about the plight of girls and women in extremist Muslim nations, this is the book. Malala is a symbol. She was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

I hadn’t recalled that the Taliban assassin shot Malala and hit both girls sitting either side of her as well. All three survived.

Christina Lamb is an excellent writer, expert in this region. She too was nearly killed by the Taliban, on Benazir Bhutto’s bus when it was blown up in October 2007.

2013

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban (2013) is an autobiographical book by Malala Yousafzai, co-written with Christina Lamb …

The book details the early life of Yousafzai, her father’s ownership of schools and activism, the rise and fall of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in Swat Valley and the assassination attempt made against Yousafzai, when she was aged 15, following her activism for female education.

It has received a positive critical reception and won awards, though it has been banned in many schools in Pakistan. …

Swat Valley has been an important tourist destination in the past. And may be again in future. Malala is a Pashtun, the majority of whom follow Sunni Islam.

The leader of the Swat Taliban in Malala’s day was Maulana Fazlullah.  He was killed by American drone strike in 2018.

Today Malala is a student at Oxford studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics. 

She and her father run the Malala Fund, an organization dedicated to every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. That’s an important cause for me too.

I’m proud to say Malala has honorary Canadian citizenship.