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

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)

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.

 

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

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.

 

 

 

 

FREE University courses online

University of the People

University of the People (UoPeople) is an American nonprofit distance education institution of higher education that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. It was founded by entrepreneur Shai Reshef in 2009. … 

University of the People is a nationally accredited online university in the United States …

 uopeople.edu

Click PLAY or watch it on Facebook.

Apple should reinvent Higher Education

Apple has tons of cash on hand. Is looking to revolutionize future products and services.

Professor Scott Galloway:

I teach 120 kids on Tuesday nights in my Brand Strategy course. That’s $720K, or $60K per class, in tuition payments, a lot of it financed with debt. I’m good at what I do, but walking in each night I remind myself we (NYU) are charging kids $500/minute for me and a projector. This. Is. Fucking. Ridiculous. …

Apple could change this. With a brand rooted in education, and a cash hoard to purchase Khan Academy’s and physical campuses (the future of education will be a mix of off- and on-line), Apple could break the cartel that masquerades as a social good but is really a caste system.

The focus should be creativity — design, humanities, art, journalism, etc. As the world rushes to STEM, the future belongs to the creative class, who can envision form, function, and people as something more — beautiful and inspiring. …

No Mercy. No Malice. (2017)

The Four by Scott Galloway

Four American companies have totally changed our lives.

Apple
Amazon
Google
Facebook

I use all four non-stop. Fantastic innovation.

Needless to say, there are downsides. Google no longer uses the mantra “don’t be evil”. They dropped it in 2018.

Scott Galloway has replaced Leo Laporte as my main tech guru. I just finished his book …

The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (2017)

It’s great, but you can get a good summary by reading Galloway’s article in Esquire:

Silicon Valley’s Tax-Avoiding, Job-Killing, Soul-Sucking Machine (2018)