books, economics, ethics, Facebook, internet, product complaints

Zucked by Roger McNamee (2019)

Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe

Roger McNamee was early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg. And an early investor.

A big Facebook promoter.

ZUCKED is McNamee’s intimate reckoning with the catastrophic failure of the head of one of the world’s most powerful companies to face up to the damage he is doing.

I’ve not heard any other critic as astute, nor as fair, as to exactly why Facebook is harming and even killing some of their customers around the world.

As Facebook is unable to police itself, governments should step in.

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, ‚ÄúOn my imaginary Sharing Meter Index we are still at 2 out of 10.‚ÄĚ
  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

 

economics, ethics, Facebook

Would you pay for ad-free Facebook?

I would.

In addition I’d want personal controls over my feed.

As Professor Galloway points out so clearly, it’s the algorithm driving monetization that causes MOST of the problems with Facebook.

Both right and left leaning Americans are convinced that Facebook currently is biased against their beliefs. Both GOP and DEMs want to change Facebook.

Facebook is a private company and can do anything it wants ‚ÄĒ¬†unless laws are changed. And they will be.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ad-free-facebook.jpeg
Results of one online survey.

Facebook would continue their free service with advertising, of course.

Click PLAY or watch it on Twitter.

economics, ethics, GOP USA

On the U.S. / Canada border

I’m with the vast majority of Canadians who want to keep the border closed as of October 2020.

The USA has had about 663 deaths / million so far. And is getting worse.

Canada about 263 deaths / million. And getting worse at this moment in time. Not good, but a LOT better than the States.

I don’t want to get the virus. I want to be one of the 20-40% who never get it once herd immunity is reached.

Though Trump totally bungled the U.S. response, almost 43% of Americans still support him.

They are the same ones who told me COVID-19 is less deadly than the common flu. They believed FOX and Trump.

They are the same ones who told me hydroxychloroquine¬†was a ‘cure’. Not even Trump took it when he got sick.

I don’t want that 43% of Americans anywhere near me or my family.

I’m willing to suffer the economic and personal consequences.

Some families are now separated by the border. Canadians can still fly to the States, so it’s possible for them to get together ‚ÄĒ but that doesn’t work for those who can’t fly.

I might reconsider under a Biden Presidency. But it’s unlikely. Covid denying Americans will be even more agitated.

This morning I spoke with a Canadian who somehow just drove back from California. There are exceptions to the border crossing rule.

Here’s the sign she had to put on her window.

ethics, GOP USA, government, things getting worse

Is the USA still a democracy?

For me a authoritarian regime (dictatorship) is a place where the leader can order opponents murdered, without consequences. Russia and Saudi Arabia in 2020, for example.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) scores countries on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture.

Nations are then classified under four types of governments: full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime.

Under Trump the USA became a flawed democracy.

Obviously, the main goal of the GOP under this egocentric toddler is to make the rich richer. Which they’ve done.

Nations still ranking high as democracies include Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Denmark. Canada and Ireland are up there, as well.

Recently a Republican Senator claimed that “democracy isn’t the objective” any longer. Knowing that his Party was likely to lose the 2020 election, it’s part of the GOP plan to contest the results.

That Senator was bored, at home, COVID-19 positive at the time. #loser

I want people to be able to easily un-elect bad leaders. To have more influence in governance, even when they get it wrong. When wrong, they should be able to later easily change again.

The best coverage of this issue I’ve found is from my favourite podcast.

Epidemics Show Societies Who They Really Are On the Media

Communicable disease has haunted humanity for all of history. As such, the responses to coronavirus in our midst have a grimly timeless quality. In fact, to one scholar, epidemics are a great lens for peering into the values, temperament, infrastructures and¬†moral¬†structures of the societies they attack.¬†Frank M. Snowden is a professor emeritus of the history of medicine at Yale and author of¬†Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present.¬†An epidemic, he writes, ‚Äúholds a mirror‚ÄĚ to the civilization in which it occurs.¬†In this podcast extra, he speaks¬†to Bob about what we can learn about ourselves from the infectious diseases we've faced, from the bubonic plague in the 14th century to the Ebola outbreak in 2014 to COVID-19 today. This¬†interview originally aired as a segment in our March 6, 2020 program,¬†Our Bodies, Ourselves.
  1. Epidemics Show Societies Who They Really Are
  2. EXTENDED VERSION The Ancient Heresy That Helps Us Understand QAnon
  3. Believe It Or Not
  4. Rewatching "Contagion" in a Pandemic
  5. Another World Entirely

books, ethics, gymnastics, human rights

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling is a treat. 

A young adult novel, it’s ideal for younger kids too.

I grew up with Carol Johnston, the gymnast who was featured in the Disney  TV movie Lefty (1980)

Nobody called Carol “Lefty” back at Altadore. ¬†We called her Carol, one of the best gymnasts in the club.

It was difficult for any other gymnast to complain about anything as Carol worked even harder ‚ÄĒ and never complained.

Carol passed away on May 11, 2019 due to complications from Early On-set Alzheimers, by the way.  Sad.  But her legend lives on.

She’s still a role model for gymnasts with physical challenges.

Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them.

And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.

Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined.

There are sequels.

Click PLAY or watch the author on YouTube.

 

ethics, GOP USA, government, music

Natalie Maines, Martie Erwin Maguire & Emily Strayer

#respect for the Dixie Chicks

The Chicks¬†(previously known as the¬†Dixie Chicks) ¬†… have won 13¬†Grammy Awards.

Remember this from 2003?

Anti-war band the Dixie Chicks have hit back at their critics – by posing naked on the front of a leading showbiz magazine.

The Grammy-winning band suffered a massive backlash in America after they said they were “ashamed” President George Bush was from their home state of Texas.

 

ethics, GOP USA, government, human rights, things getting worse

If you support Trump, never speak to me again.

When you challenge a Trump supporter to defend the toddler’s latest indefensible lie, crime or moral outrage, they very often deflect by calling for ‚Äúcivility‚ÄĚ. Let’s look for common ground.

That’s bullshit, of course. ¬† I ask that they instead unfriend me instantly.

So far as I’m concerned you’ll burn in the same Hell as this anti-Christ.

The Ugly American

 

Forgive? Sounds good
Forget? I’m not sure I could

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go ’round and ’round and ’round …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, ethics, internet, movies

American Kingpin by Nick Bilton

The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road.

Rocco recommended this book.

Sometimes the truth is more unbelievable than fiction.

Ross Ulbricht (born March 27, 1984) is an American convict best known for creating and operating the darknet market website Silk Road from 2011 until his arrest in 2013. …

Ulbricht’s online¬†pseudonym¬†was “Dread Pirate Roberts” …

In May 2015, he was sentenced to a double life sentence plus forty years without the possibility of parole.

Silk Road used Tor and bitcoin.

In March 2013, the site had 10,000 products for sale by vendors, 70% of which were drugs.

Ulbricht was charged with money laundering, conspiracy to commit computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Ulbricht had paid $730,000 in¬†murder-for-hire¬†deals targeting at least five people,¬†allegedly because they threatened to reveal Ulbricht’s Silk Road enterprise.

It’s possible that none were actually killed. Ulbricht might have been scammed for that money.

People died using Silk Road drugs.

Ulbricht justified his crimes with a B.S. personal philosophy that he was doing more good for the world than bad. ¬†He wasn’t.

There are still more questions than answers about Silk Road.

Deep Web is a 2015 documentary film chronicling the events.

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.