Tag: Politics

Notions Of Cool V.017

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

  • Spring appears to be here (in the West anyway). Blue skies and no signs of further snow in the forecast. As much as I like winter, I’m done. Been thinking more of the bike than the skis.
  • Speaking of skis, my new ones are scary fast. Super stable at speed with no chatter. Several times yesterday I caught myself at ludicrous speed and thought… crashing would be bad right now. They are forcing me to be more aggressive, which is a good thing I suppose.
  • We had to hire a crew to remove our snow disaster at the house. These folks worked their asses off for days. The vast majority of the population in this country has lost that all-day farmer strength we used to have. We’re doomed when the zombie apocalypse hits.
  • Speaking of zombies, a great book to read is “World War Z” by Max Brooks son of Mel Brooks. It’s what the movie was loosely based on. And by loosely I mean they share the same name, that’s about it. One of the neat concepts in the book is that post-apocalypse, society flips. The blue collar folks become the sought after leaders because they know how to actually fix and build things. The white collar workers are useless without electricity and become the new ditch diggers.
  • I’m fascinated by the Instagram algorithm. How is it that an account with 1 post has several hundred followers, but others with many hundreds of posts have only a few?
  • My shoulder is still messed up several years later. I can’t do pull ups or back squats due to pain. I need to fix this somehow.
  • Hard to gage who will be the democratic front runner. Kamala would be their better choice, but Bernie has the dollars. Beto, Booker, and Warren will be busts. Yang and Schultz could be interesting. Biden is corrupt as hell and I’m not convinced he’ll run.
  • An interesting interview by CNBC with GOPRO founder Nick Woodman. I still think the main problem is the learning barrier to editing and creating a watchable video. People buy the camera, use it a few times then it sits. I may or may not be referring to myself.

Song of the day: Rebelution “Feeling Alright”

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”

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.010

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

  • The problem with the gun control debate, as is the case with so many things in government, is that it’s busy solving the wrong problem. The gold standard should be to apply the law retroactively to all the high profile shootings and ask, “would this have stopped it?” In virtually every case the answer is no. So why continue with feel good measures that only impact the 99.9% of law abiding gun owners?
  • Found a great Netflix series, Black Mirror. There are four seasons of independent episodes – think modern Twilight Zone. Worth your time.
  • Had to spend $1800 to have a crew remove snow from my roof. Was getting seriously worried about the weight. Lesson learned for next year.
  • Had a patient who has complete left side hemiparesis from a new stroke tell me: “when I fart now it’s the strangest feeling… only one butt cheek flaps”.
  • I just heard about the #learntocode controversy on twitter. More to come on this. The fact that our outrage culture has an issue with this amuses me. The thought that Twitter is banning people because of it is disturbing.
  • Wingsuit flyers. Yeah, no thanks. Cool to watch though.
  • One more storm, then forecast for March is dry and warmer. I see some serious vitamin D, spring skiing in my future.
  • I mentioned melanoma before. Scared me enough that I have my first ever dermatology appointment in two weeks.

Song of the day: Amerie “Thing”

Notions Of Cool V.008

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

  • Wrapping up... So weather isn’t getting more extreme, the models are wildly inaccurate, Tuvalu isn’t sinking, the troposphere isn’t warming, and we had a 19 year pause in warming. The business of science is to be skeptical. At minimum all this should make folks think hmmm, maybe there’s more factors here than we originally thought. I’m open – please change my mind. What exactly is the crisis?
  • Was listening to an older podcast with Tim Kennedy. The obesity epidemic in this country has gotten so bad the military doesn’t have a large enough pool of people to select from for special units. This seems like sort of an issue, no?
  • Same podcast I learned that Josef Mengele, the angel of death Nazi, died of old age and a stroke on the beach in Brazil. That’s disconcerting. I’m going to have to watch his show now – Hunting Hitler. I had no idea that we actually don’t know if Hitler died in that bunker as we’ve been taught.
  • I sincerely hope the current North Korea summit goes well. The last thing we need right now is to get in a pissing match with a nutcase.
  • Some interesting thoughts from Tim Pool. There are more people and states in the country that identify as conservative. However there are more registered democrats than republicans. Trumps approval ratings are up and the view people have of America is up. I don’t see AOC’s rantings, the open borders thing, or Bernie being a positive thing for securing Michigan, Ohio, or New Mexico. Very early still.
  • A friend introduced me to this game – Geoguessr. Be careful, it’s addictive.

Song of the day: Sugar Ray “Fly”

Notions Of Cool V.007

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

  • Continuing… The earth has warmed – this is not debatable. The warming has been roughly eight tenths of a degree Celsius. And shockingly, this is more or less what greenhouse gases demonstrate in laboratory conditions. What has not happened is the model predictions of runaway exponential temperature increase. So, change my mind – where is the crisis?
  • The new skis are the bomb. Very happy with my choice. Volkl M5 Mantras. Of course, calf deep powder didn’t hurt. The ski is a touch beyond my skill level, which is a good thing.
  • To the best that I can tell I have been in ketosis. Yesterday’s test was after two fried eggs with cream cheese and avocado, followed by four hours of hard skiing. Ketones were 1.5 mmol/l. (suggested range is 0.5 to 3)
  • As an RN, time management is everything. I’m not good at it and it drives me nuts. I’m going to make a full press effort to tame this beast. The conventional wisdom says to implement hourly rounding. The theory is that if you’ve addressed pain and toileting, you’re less likely to be interrupted by call lights. Hmmm. We’ll see.
  • I can’t find anything I agree with AOC on, but she gets social media. Politicians on both sides need to figure this shit out or she’s going to clean their clocks.
  • For the tech dorks, a great blog on security. In my mind I’m still a tech guy, but most teenagers have surpassed me at this point.
  • It’s shocking to me how primitive vehicles are in terms of software, connectivity and interacting with mobile devices.
  • Hard not to laugh at this meme of Senator Klobuchar emerging from a team meeting.

Song of the day: Rebelution “Inhale Exhale”

Notions Of Cool V.003

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

  • Socialism and open borders vs build the wall. It’s going to be an interesting 2020. Who can scare their base enough to turn out?
  • I fucking hate drama. Don’t have time for that. I deal with real drama every day at work – new paraplegics, brain tumors, spinal surgeries, etc… if you don’t fall into one of those type of categories, then your drama is bullshit. Life shouldn’t be that complicated. Pet your dog, work hard, go for a run, eat more salads, try to be a good person. If someone or something is causing things to be difficult – cut it out of your life.
  • I’ve been wanting to post to Instagram stories for several weeks now, but have been too chicken. As the saying goes, I have a face for radio. Tomorrow. Definitely going to do it tomorrow.
  • I love watching the media flail around and eat their own. It’s still shocking to me that so many of them can’t see the bias. Every day you need to be exposing yourself to different opinions or you’ll be stuck in an echo chamber.
  • I ordered a ketone monitor today. Need to decide if I should be worried about my blood lipids.
  • If you haven’t seen it, watch Idiocracy. We’re moving closer and closer to it every day.

Song of the day: Alice Merton, Funny Business

I Just Don’t Care


You see Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.

Peter Gibbons

I don’t care what your cause is. Saving the whales. Education. Transportation. Border walls. Healthcare. Wars. Infrastructure. Climate change. Everyone has their hot button interests. I’m sure they’re all worthy in some way. There’s just one problem. WE CAN’T PAY FOR ALL OF THEM.

As someone once said, eventually you run out of other peoples money. Whatever topic is your burning issue, the one that gets you to fire up the Facebook meme machine… great, more power to you. Advocate the hell out of it. But what I do want you to do as a responsible citizen, is tell me what you’re going to cut to pay for it.

You don’t get to just add spending any more. You want to fund research for the mating habits of the snowy plover? Great! Tell me what existing program is less important that you’ll cut funding for.

Could you imagine? We freeze local, state, and federal funding at it’s current point. Every single program, existing and proposed, has to compete for a fixed number of dollars.

Sorry, I’m under the weather and may have had too much cough medicine. I nodded off and had a weird vision of government. Carry on.

It Must Be True

Confirmation Bias – also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.

If you haven’t been following the Nathan Phillips/Covington High School controversy the last few days… you’ve probably been living under a rock, and may be better off for it. If you have seen it, what was your first reaction when the story initially came out? Be honest.

The media showed a video clip of a high school student wearing a MAGA hat, with what looks like a an odd smirk, standing all up in the face of a native American banging on a drum. News reports said the high school students were shouting racial epitaphs and “build the wall”, and generally disrupting a peaceful indigenous people’s march.

Within nanoseconds the social media warriors had fired up the meme machines. White privilege, this is what a Trump supporter looks like, this is what white supremacy looks like, this is not my America, bla, bla, bla.

As Paul Harvey said, “and now the rest of the story”. It now looks like that’s not at all what happened. A group called the “Black Hebrew Israelites” seem to be the ones responsible for most of the racial epitaphs thrown at the native Americans. The high school kids were just waiting for their bus and began singing their school spirit song to drown out the inflammatory chanting. Statements by most of the kids seem to indicate they were all pretty confused as to what was happening.

And best of all… new video shows that it was Nathan Phillips, the native American drummer, who walked into the group of kids, got all up close and personal and began drumming right in one kids face. The kid just stood there respectfully and smiled.

Back to my question. How badly did you want the original story to be true? How certain were you that, of course a bunch of Trump supporting, MAGA hat wearing, kids exuding white privilege would do this? Because all Trump supporters are one step away from the Klan, right? There’s now several hours of video of the events and people are examining it second by second looking for evidence to support whatever side you’re on. I don’t really care about that outcome. The bigger point is that so many people rushed to pre-judge something that didn’t exactly happen the way it was portrayed.

Confirmation bias has become so rampant and damaging to society today. Unfortunately the news is helping to perpetuate it. Don’t be a part of it. There’s a difference between not agreeing with a policy or statement, and being so blinded by bias you read evil into everything. Wait to judge, take what you see in the news with a grain of salt, and stop being a part of the problem.

“We all see only that which we are trained to see.”

Robert Anton Wilson