Stumblings & mumblings on turning linear systems into circular ones.


I just watched Aral Balkan’s RSA talk on data privacy “Free is a Lie,” which moved me to sign the Manifesto. I strongly suggest that you consider doing the same.


Am I Pavlov’s Human? Part II

A quick update to my last post. In the interest of transparency, I thought I’d share a snapshot of the tracking sheet that I developed for this project.  I typically spend about forty minutes each day (M-F) on my bike commute and have been at that for the past two and a half years, so I’m…

Am I Pavlov’s Human? Part II was originally published on Linear to Circular

Am I Pavlov’s Human? Part I

I have a fitness tracker.and it has changed my life in unimaginable ways.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I do have one, but I can’t say that the magic of data has made much of a difference in my health.  Not yet anyways. I bought my fitness tracker in December of last year and I dutifully…

Am I Pavlov’s Human? Part I was originally published on Linear to Circular

When Robots Take Over Most Jobs, What Will Be the Purpose of Humans?

"The end state is uncertain, but we are headed toward a disruption of our society on the same order of magnitude as the rise of agriculture and industrialism, but in a much more compressed time frame: decades, not generations or centuries. And that question — what are people for? — will taunt us because it’s unclear if there is an answer or whether it is just an irresolvable dilemma."

Is Education the Answer to Income Inequality? |

"It has long been fashionable to assert that improved education is the answer to our growing inequality problem. But even if increasing educational attainment reduced inequality of opportunity between the disadvantaged and the middle class – and reduced wage differentials within the middle class – this does not imply an acceleration of the rate of average income growth of the bottom 99 percent."
-Lars Osberg

Now That a Penny Isn’t Worth Much, It’s Time to Make It Worth 5 Cents

"But polls show that a majority of Americans like their pennies, and abolition might lead people in Illinois — the land of Lincoln, where pennies still work at tollbooths — to outright currency rebellion."
-Austan Goolsbee

Outright. Currency. Rebellion.
Hand me my smelling salts.

How to Frame a Conversation about Race in America by @ken_homer   

"1. Begin with the premise that we are all racists – at least unconsciously so.
No one escapes racism’s corrosive effects. Even when we have worked to “unlearn” racism, it still lingers beneath the surface of our awareness – hence the inclusion of the words “at least unconsciously so” in the premise.
Among the most powerful antidotes to racism is accepting that – regardless of our skin color – we’re each influenced by unconscious racist tendencies.
The good thing is that, far from being a statement of self-blame, “I am a racist” is actually a powerful learning stance. From this position we can uncover our assumptions about race in ways that would remain invisible if we assumed that we are free of racist behaviors.”
-Ken Homer

U.S. Scientists See Long Fight Against Ebola

"Dr. Shaman’s research team created a model that estimated the number of cases through Oct. 12, with different predictions based on whether control of the epidemic stays about the same, improves or gets worse. If control stays the same, according to the model, the case count by Oct. 12 will be 18,406. If control improves, it will be 7,861. If control worsens, it will soar to 54,895.

Before this epidemic, the largest Ebola outbreak was in Uganda from 2000 to 2001, and it involved only 425 cases. Scientists say the current epidemic surged out of control because it began near the borders of three countries where people traveled a lot, and they carried the disease to densely populated city slums. In addition, the weak health systems in these poor countries were not equipped to handle the disease, and much of the international response has been slow and disorganized.

Dying of Ebola at the Hospital Door      

"Monrovia, the Liberian capital, is facing a widespread Ebola epidemic, and as the number of infected grows faster than hospital capacity, some patients wait outside near death."

This is unconscionable. Imagine that it’s your child, then demand that we do more.

How Corrupt Are Our Politics? David Cole on @zephyrteachout's new book.

"In the framers’ view, corruption in the broader sense of using public office for private ends was essentially the opposite of public virtue, and was therefore a central threat to the life and health of the republic. A republican form of government required that men act as citizens, concerned for the public good, and not merely as private, self-interested individuals. The Enlightenment philosopher Baron de Montesquieu, perhaps the greatest intellectual influence on the framing generation, maintained that

the misfortune of a republic…happens when the people are gained by bribery and corruption: in this case they grow indifferent to public affairs, and avarice becomes their predominant passion.
For James Madison, without civic virtue, ‘no theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea.’

In short, the framers saw the avoidance of corruption as an essential organizing principle of our representative democracy.”

Sounds pretty good to me.
I think I’ll be reading this book.