Notions Of Cool V.016

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • I listened to a pretty good podcast with Renee DiResta about the Russian trolling and social media tactics. The Russian government is clearly in it for the long game. The bulk of their influence happened because they understand we’re all members of one tribe or another – republicans, democrats, car lovers, gardeners, etc… We’re very susceptible to wanting to think like our tribe.
  • I also started watching Amazon’s “The Widow”. I’ve seen the first two. Not bad, a lot of moving parts. Keeping my interest so far.
  • Stumbled upon an intriguing service – Steady MD. Basically an on-line doctor. Communicate to your doc anytime via txt. Interesting idea. The monthly fee adds up to more than I spend in a year on health care, so probably not worth it for me.
  • The 2020 election cycle is going to be a train wreck. A horrible, nasty, divisive train wreck we won’t be able to look away from. A good time to stay away from the standard opinion news sources and do your own research. Whatever side you’re on, challenge your personal mindset. Don’t be a tribal lemming.
  • The icefall doctors have arrived at Everest. The climbing season begins. Not on my bucket list.
  • George Hincapie launched a hotel, “Hotel Domestique”. An interesting post career investment for a former cyclist.

Song of the day: Anna Lunoe “303”

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Notions Of Cool V.015

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • The dermatologist took one look at my sunburned, peeling, self and deadpanned “well, I guess we don’t need to have the importance of sunscreen discussion do we?”. Other than that, got the all-clear. I feel better having been checked out.
  • I mentioned before that I spent a ridiculous amount of time watching YouTube videos on travel bag reviews. Unclear why, since I rarely travel. I had settled on the Aer Travel Pack 2. Anyway, I used a simple duffle bag for this last trip. I realized that carrying stuff on your back sucks. For the little travel I do, I’m going to find a minimalist wheelie.
  • I got my passport photo done. Like an idiot, I let it expire. Renewing it, you know, in case I need to flee the country.
  • I loved this quote from David Goggins. “People ask me how I lost so much weight… I didn’t hire a trainer… I didn’t go to Jenny Craig… basically I just stopped eating so much fucking food.” Made me laugh. It’s simple, but true. People make weight loss too complicated. Speaking of which, unless there’s a nacho blowout I’m about a week away from my weight goal. So there’s that.
  • I gave Instacart a try for grocery shopping. Loved it. I’ll certainly be using it again. I’m a busy guy you know.
  • One of the hardest things I do as an RN is care for a patient who is a truly horrible human being. Spending twelve hours making sure I give the same quality of care to that person that I’d give to a sweet grandmother sucks the life out of me.
  • Rebecca Rusch was the first woman finisher in her first attempt at the bike category of the Iditarod 350. That’s badass. I wimp out after shoveling the driveway for an hour.
  • No further Instagram stories. The Twitter experiment has yielded exactly 2 followers. Good thing I’m not in marketing.

Song of the day: “Im gone, Joyryde”

Notions Of Cool V.014

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • Why in the world didn’t I come up with the idea for a blog entirely about Bloody Marys? I’m not big on research, but that I could get into.
  • I bought new stall mats for my home garage gym. It hasn’t helped my workouts any, but I’m happier doing them. I can get very obsessed with thinking that if I just had this piece of equipment it would make all the difference… (it doesn’t).
  • I thought it was a cute rural saying the first time I heard it. I’ve now had multiple patients ask me how they ‘caught’ the diabetes. How is it possible that in this era there are still people who think you catch diabetes?
  • I finally watched Free Solo. As a novice, sometimes climber, it was hard to watch. I have just enough experience to truly appreciate what he did. Also, to realize what a nutjob you have to be to do it. I do not understand that level of risk taking.
  • The interesting result of my carb blowout on vacation was how bad I actually felt. It was a bloated, sluggish feeling. My stomach was definitely not right. If I find the right plate of nachos I’ll drop keto in a heartbeat… until then I’m back to a more restrictive eating pattern.
  • I don’t think the younger generations can really appreciate the marvel that is modern technology today. While on vacation I noticed the hotel we were at had three three flags flying on their flagpole. I’m not good with state and country flags and didn’t know two of them, so I took out the device of all knowledge and searched. In about 30 seconds I knew that one was a state flag and the other turned out to be the flag of a country that purchased the hotel a few years ago. It wasn’t that long ago you would have had to go to the library and check out books to find that info. Who would have bothered? Amazing.
  • Today’s the day I have my first dermatologist appointment. Sunburned and peeling badly. He’s going to love me.
  • I’m becoming obsessed with finding services that can make life easier. Blue Apron and HelloDinner, Instacart, Bird and Lime scooters, Uber and Lyft. What other services are worth looking at?
  • I posted my first Instagram story. Exactly one person viewed it. This may or may not continue.

Song of the day: Dannic “Doster”

A Case For Universal Basic Income

I should start out by saying that I do not agree with implementing a Universal Basic Income (UBI). However I recently listened to a podcast with Andrew Yang, a 2020 presidential candidate, and he made the most compelling case yet for it. I think the alarm bell he’s ringing is true… I’m just am not convinced UBI is the right solution.

Mr. Yang’s premise is that due to AI and automation one-third of all working Americans are going to lose their job in the next 12 years. Most of these workers are going to have a very hard time finding new employment. He makes the case that it’s not realistic to think that you’re going to re-train a truck driver from rural Iowa to write code. By giving every working age American $1000 a month you provide a safety net that will be put back into the economy in the form of gas, groceries, fuel, etc… A UBI paid for by a VAT tax. You have a choice of taking the UBI or social services (e.g. food stamps) but not both.

I agree that the coming AI boom is going to displace mass numbers of people. The Mckinsey research group estimates between 400 and 800 million people will be replaced by automation by 2030 worldwide. In the US, the top ten professions are mostly all lower wage jobs. The top five are:

  • #1 for males – truck driver
  • Retail sales
  • cashier
  • office clerk
  • food prep
  • customer service

The mean annual income in the US is $46,000. Every single one of those most common jobs listed is replaceable by automation. A third of the country out of work is a recipe for a real economic crisis that I’m not sure we can survive. The taxpayers are going to pay one way or another – in the form of food stamps, medical, etc…

There are folks who claim we’ve always had revolutions in technology that displace workers – let them #learntocode (don’t put that on Twitter!) The difference between the first and second industrial revolutions and today’s displaced workers is twofold; first the scale of displaced workers was much smaller and second, those revolutions actually spawned a middle class. An uneducated displaced farm worker could move to the city, work in a factory and support a family. Today it’s actually those lower-middle class jobs we’re removing.

So what’s my solution? I don’t know. As a libertarian-ish person I have a very hard time seizing taxpayer money and giving it to others because they made poor decisions and aren’t busting their ass to improve themselves. I also recognize that a mob of hungry, desperate people rioting with pitchforks isn’t in societies interest either.

Most politicians will push for ungodly expensive government boondoggle spending programs to “re-train” workers. Those are usually bottomless money pits with little positive outcome. I applaud Mr. Yang for at least being brave enough to raise the issue and give a plausible solution.

Is UBI the right solution? The more I think about it, the more I’m on the fence. It’s not often I stumble upon an issue where I don’t have a clear opinion. What do we do with 100 million people in this country out of work and no skills to bridge the gap? I’m curious what you think? What’s the right answer? Is this even a problem? Maybe the revolution will happen slower than we think. It’s certainly worth having a discussion… but I suspect we’ll ignore it until too late.

Notions Of Cool V.013

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old guy (who still thinks he’s 20) finds cool or worth pondering.

  • While on vacation I listened to a podcast with Andrew Yang, a 2020 presidential candidate. His main platform is advocating for a Universal Basic Income. I do not agree with him, but was intrigued enough by his argument that it bears further investigation. He thinks that the coming economic collapse due to job loss is a crisis we can’t ignore. More to come on this.
  • I was diligent with sunscreen my entire trip… except one morning. It was very cloudy and overcast and I sat in the sun for an hour and a half before I realized I had no sunscreen on. Can you say – flaming red lobster? And I have dark skin and don’t burn easy. Probably not what the dermatologist will be wanting to see on the first appointment.
  • I read quite a few books on technology and innovation. It made me realize just how pitifully behind the times health care is. Hospitals are truely a bastion of “we do it this way because we’ve always done it this way”.
  • I’ve started exploring Minds.com. I’m not sure I’m smart enough or hip enough.
  • Rewatched the movie Safehouse with Denzel Washington on the plane. Pretty damn good movie.
  • I am most definately not in ketosis. That was a solid week of carbs. I kept the calories (mostly) in check and worked out… but there were plenty of carbs and sugar. And now – I feel like crap. My stomach has been upset much of the week. First time I’ve ever wanted to go back to a more restrictive way of eating. I truly feel better in ketosis.
  • The hound has been ballistic since we picked him up this afternoon. Order has been restored to the universe and the family is together again. This is a good thing.

Song of the day: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts “Bad Reputation”

Notions Of Cool V.012

  • A note for my two readers… Notions will be sparse to non-existent for a week. I’ll be on an island drinking tropical drinks with tiny umbrellas and fighting a heroic battle to remain in ketosis. Not.
  • The US government hit its borrowing limit yesterday. The estimate is that they run out of money by September if we don’t raise the debt ceiling (again). Our total debt is $22 trillion. But whoo hoo, a green new deal!
  • I love this quote from @garyvee “Technology has not changed us, technology has exposed us”.
  • There are some thoughts that the universe is expanding faster than previously thought. I love that stuff. I’m also not smart enough to understand what the hell I’m reading. As Forrest Gump says, “I’m not a smart man”.
  • Speaking of reading, I struggled to find a few books to read on vacation. I don’t know why but lately finding books that keep my interest is like searching through Netflix for a movie. I settled on these three. Don’t judge.
  • I’ve been doing an experiment-ish on the Twitter. Created a new account. I have exactly 1 follower. Been slowly adding a few tweets, some hashtags, following people, etc… I’m curious what will be the spark that actually gets followers?
  • Still no Instagram story. Maybe this week.
  • Dropped the hound off at the pet sitter yesterday. Surprising how quiet the house is without that knucklehead. See you in a week!

Song of the day: Buju Banton “Love Dem Bad”

Notions Of Cool V.011

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old guy (who still thinks he’s 20) finds cool or worth pondering.

  • I was fluctuating between 200-205. Hit 173 this morning. With a good poop I might hit 172. Not that I’m counting.
  • Listened yesterday to someone being told that if they continue the current lifestyle choices their lifespan will be measured in months. The response? “What time is dinner?” Hard to fathom.
  • We’re seeing the dimmest sun since 1978. The current solar minimum is trending towards the century-class minimum of 2008. Also, for the first time in 132 years, LA did not reach 70 degrees in Feb. No point to that other than you can find extremes on both sides of the thermometer at any day someplace in the world.
  • A baffling recycling program. Now take this and imagine the rules on medical waste. We have four different tubs that various wrappers and things must be disposed into. Nobody can figure out how to open the tops so all wrappers just end up in the trash or placed on top of the container.
  • No idea why I thought this was interesting. “The International Space Station is passing over the Idaho State Capitol Building on March 02, 2019 at 06:38AM, for 614 seconds.” More importantly, why someone took the time to figure it out.
  • This is my MTB ride. Not sure why I’m thinking about cycling. There’s some kick butt spring skiing pending.
  • I still scan tech blogs. I’m realizing that I still really like systems. I started wondering if I should migrate that way in healthcare? I’m not sure I could give up the three day work week though.
  • If you ever wondered where the US navy is currently operating at any given time, here you go.

Song of the day: Agent Orange “This is the voice”