On the 4th of July I want to send best wishes to all Americans navigating dread 2020.
So many challenges.
American entrepreneurship is best at coming up with new business formation, survival, and growth. Looking forward to better days.
The issues discussed are very current.
It’s one of the books contending in the Canada Reads 2020 contest. I’m slightly surprised at that as one of the four is a rant against the American non-health care system.
I recommend it IF you are interested in these themes:
… American medical care, immigration, white male rage and technological monopolies …
Those who did not like the book consider it too preachy.
I quite liked the first story, “Unauthorized Bread“ – A refugee, Salima, confronts the software controlling installed in her kitchen appliances after the companies who created those appliances suddenly cease operations.
Cory Doctorow is one of the Tech gurus I’ve been following as long as I’ve been following Boing Boing, which won the Bloggies for Weblog of the Year, in 2004 and 2005. The web version launched January 2000, a “directory of wonderful things“.
In February 2020, Cory Doctorow left Boing Boing to start Pluralistic.net, a blog that brands itself as having “No trackers, no ads.” Of course I’m now following it too.
Cory is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licences for his books. Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, and post-scarcity economics.
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. …
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.
Author Yuval Noah Harari would say my religion is Humanism.
My bible the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
They identified humanism as an ideology that espouses reason, ethics, and social and economic justice, and they called for science to replace dogma and the supernatural as the basis of morality and decision-making.
So far, so good.
In 1941, the American Humanist Association was organised. Noted members of The AHA included Isaac Asimov, who was the president from 1985 until his death in 1992, and writer Kurt Vonnegut, who followed as honorary president until his death in 2007.
They advocate in Washington, D.C., for separation of church and state.
There is a sub-set called secular humanism that consciously rejects supernatural and religiosity.
I wouldn’t go that far, myself.
But I do believe strongly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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.
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)
Having dealt with the distant past in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011) and with the distant future in Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016), Harari turns in 21 Lessons his attention to the present.
I really enjoyed this book. Harari is a BIG PICTURE guy who quickly puts things into perspective.
His chapter on God is excellent, for example.
In The New York Times, Bill Gates calls the book “fascinating” and his author “such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking.” For Gates, Harari “has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the 21st century.”
People have far more in common than they think.
Watch again that great ad from 2017 on this theme.
Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.
That said, if you support Trump — never speak to me again.
There’s a limit.
Tim Ferriss recommends we review the past year (which was GREAT) before making any plans for the next.
I want to be a #winner in 2020. Like this guy.
1. What were three to four highs of last year … and three to four lows?
30 days in Nepal – hiking and dental work
So … travel, hiking and cycling remain my annual highlights.
I can’t recall any significant lows. I broke two laptops. Got stuck in Hungary without an exit visa. Ruined a pair of shoes. Nothing significant.
2. What enabled or motivated you to reach those highs, and how did you successfully move through the lows?
For travel I was more organized than in the past. Put together detailed gear lists. Made my plans months ahead rather than weeks or days in advance.
3. What worked and didn’t work? In other words, what do you need to do more or less of?
More of the same. Get organized early for my travels in 2020.
I spent more than I earned in 2019. I should work more, play less in 2020.
I did not ski enough in 2019. My goal is at least 5 days downhill.
4. What stressed you out the most, and how could you navigate it better?
Bicycle maintenance stresses me out. I’ve now downloaded The Complete Bike Owner’s Manual to my laptop and phone.
My only medical concern is high blood pressure. Need to monitor that more consistently.
I follow the high crimes and misdemeanours of Trump. The world seems to be getting worse, not better. … BUT my own life is unaffected. I don’t worry about an unexpected health care emergency as so many Americans do.
5. And, most important, what were you most grateful for in 2019, and how can you take that into 2020?
Good health. Myself and my family.
I ran more in 2019 than I have since at least 2008. Should run an hour a day at least 45 days of 2020. Enter at least 3 races in 2020.
I’m not much into self-help books.
But many people I admire follow Tim Ferriss. I finally got around to starting his classic book …
On the other hand, Ferriss does have some very good ideas. For example:
Here’s my buddy Josh. He’s a digital nomad working online from a series of inexpensive nations — most recently Guatemala, Nepal and Vietnam.
related – my own philosophy of Voluntary Simplicity
Needless to say, I was attracted to this book because of my own philosophy of Voluntary Simplicity.
Cait was quite a normal person. In debt, like normal people. Her life cluttered with possessions she never used, like normal people.
How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
When Cait Flanders was in her early 20s, she found herself $23,000 in consumer debt. In order to turn her life around — and get out of debt — she set out on a mission to address some of the root causes of her over-consumption.
Flanders’ memoir, The Year of Less, documents how through a self-imposed shopping ban, cutting back on eating out and drinking and de-cluttering her life, she rediscovered happiness, health and financial security.
In her own words, Flanders explains how she changed her life and wrote The Year of Less. …