Sunday, November 30, 2014

How to Think Culture Scale

Hi! Happy Sunday!

The power is out so I thought I would write another post given my laptop is now pretty much it.

How do you think in culture? I find it interesting that of all the legal defences for committing crimes saying "my culture made me do it" has never come up as far as I know.

What is it about your behavior, or anyone's behavior, that is culturally derived? Geez, all my neighbors decided to take showers since the power is out. What's up with that? Anyway...

Let me tell you how to think in culture scale...right here.

We don't know. Got cha'!

Seriously, we don't know.

This is why in my previous post I called for more research into culture. We need to understand the programming of culture if we are going to scale.

When I say we don't know though, how bad is it? Well we do know some things. Then again, there are some scientists who argue that culture is a physical entity outside of humans. I'm not making that up. There are anthropologists in 2014 claiming that culture is its own thing. This is reminiscent of the calor where we once thought heat was its own entity called the calor.

So we are just getting started. But that is not to say we don't know anything. Not at all.

First thought about thinking in culture scale:
  • It is probably bullshit.
You should be inoculated with a healthy dosing of skepticism is the first lesson. Whatever claim someone is making about cultural influences it is a pretty safe bet those claims are probably bullshit and being made on bad evidence, no evidence or wishful thinking. My claims in the previous post were mostly self-evident. Conservatives do blame liberals and not themselves for the failure of education and have been doing so for decades seemingly with their hands tied behind their backs, impotent to do anything. Conservatives don't believe in social programs (except religious one), leaving liberals to run amok. The black community is in a cycle of poverty and racism still very much exists in America.

However, my self-evident truths posited are not very enlightening. My point was simply this: conservatives are caught in the same culture trap as the black community where some cultural force is holding them back from fixing something they know needs fixing. The conservatives can't seem to find it in themselves to fix education due to an individual-accountability-centric world view and blacks are in a cycle of poverty due to slavery.

What that sub-culture force is or how to model it is not well understood. Liberals have tried various social programs and failed in so many ways. Conservatives have used these failures to lambast liberal programs for being the cause of black poverty and black poverty's ongoing perpetuation. Liberals failing and then conservatives blaming are both symptoms of the same underlying problem: cultural forces are not understood.

Liberals just go way too far and too fast in implementing social programs on massive scales such as with ACA or affirmative action when the underlying causes are unknown. When the causes are unknown then experience is key, innovation is key. Conservatives have latched onto these liberal failures and gone so far as to label them as the root cause. Now we have a new cultural cycle feedback loop to break. Ugh.

When it comes to culture though I would still count myself a liberal before a conservative because of one important fact: they try. Conservatives have this bizarre notion that spaceships design and build themselves and societies do to without any effort. Conservatives see no reason to fix a social problem because they don't believe in social fixes, only individual accountability.

So, it is no surprise when it comes to climate change which side the conservatives are on. It is also no surprise that liberals are suggesting rolling out experiments at the global scale without first going through proper innovation scale. Our liberal/conservative cycle of culture dysfunction continues. 

All of the above discussion was imparted to get a single point across: be skeptical. Demand innovation for social experiments where trial-and-error is being used, the root cause is unknown. Demand solutions and not criticism when it comes to conservatives bellyaching all the time.

Second thought about thinking in social scale:
  • Anecdotes are only for illustration purposes. 
So many white people were posting anecdotes of black-on-black, black-on-white crime screaming "where is the outrage?" Hello? I saw the movie "Do The Right Thing" by Spike Lee back in like 1990.  In that movie the last scene is of a black neighborhood rioting and the first scene is police injustice. See a pattern? Then there is the following by James Baldwin in 1960. My friend Gregg posted this on Facebook after the Grand Jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson:
"The white policeman... finds himself at the very center of the revolution now occurring in the world. He is not prepared for it -- naturally, nobody is -- and, what is possibly much more to the point, he is exposed, as few white people are, to the anguish of the black people around him.......
One day, to everyone's astonishment, someone drops a match in the powder keg and everything blows up. Before the dust has settled or the blood congealed, editorials, speeches, and civil-rights commissions are loud in the land, demanding to know what happened. What happened is Negroes want to be treated like [humans]." 
James Baldwin, 1960
Black dysfunctionally albeit poverty or black-on-black crime is a symptom of a culture that is stuck, both the black sub-culture and the greater American culture. Michael Brown is just the latest in a long line of black bodies stretching all the way back to the first American slave.

Ferguson as an anecdote is emblematic of a problem going back hundreds of years of oppression, mistrust and institutionalized indignity we label racism.

Don't use anecdotes to generalize but only for illustration of known patterns.

Third thought on thinking in culture scale:
  • Correlation is not causation. 
It is true in the social sciences that correlation is accepted in lieu of causation as a kinda weak tea. If you are going to use correlation admit it, correlation is not causation and any remedy based upon such correlation is a guess.

My favorite place for watching massive logic failures when it comes to culture scale and correlation failing is gun violence.

Correlation fail number one: concealed carry weapon permits (CCW) reduce crime in states that have it. Correlation fail number two: countries like Great Britain and Japan have much lower per-capita murder rates because citizens are not allowed to own guns.  They are both failures because correlation is not causation. Cultures are big, gooey messes with lots and lots of variables and factors and isolating a single one is nigh impossible. All of the studies relating to gun violence only factor into those studies guns. Crime has been going down in every state in the Union for years now. The correlation of CCW with reduced crime rates never factor out the general trend or take into account tougher crime laws that get passed at the same time CCW permits are enacted. Great Britain and Japan do not have a second amendment and a culture steeped in owning guns.

My final thought on thinking in culture scale:
  • Intuition fails. 
People are not like you. The golden rule is problematic with culture scale in that people too often fail to get outside themselves to realize people have different ways of thinking and different mind sets, different emotional compositions.

I wrote a blog post about Freguson to point this failure of intuition out where I ponder what was Michael Brown's motive for murder? Going for a cops gun is either a suicide by cop or an intent to murder. In that blog post I speculated that Michael Brown had no motive to murder and if he did then he may have previously known Darren Wilson. My point was not to make a strong case about suicide by cop or any motive for murder. It was to point out that people's intuitive claims that Michael was some angry monster thug has no more basis in reality than a claim he previously knew Darren Wilson or was looking to commit suicide. Darren Wilson's testimony is heresy and Michael Brown is not around to dispute it. Yet people believe their intuition. They are wrong for believing their intuition as fact. Knock it off.

Your intuition fails when it comes to cultural scale. You don't know Michael Brown or his cultural influences.

To recap about thinking of claims of cultural scale:
  1. It is probably bullshit. Be skeptical first and foremost of authoritative cultural claims. 
  2. Anecdotes are only for illustration purposes. No trend no anecdote.
  3. Correlation is not causation. Own correlation as weak tea if being used to promote a cause. Correlation alone is weak science, don't promote it as absolute or even good enough.
  4. Intuition fails. The golden rule is problematic at the culture scale level. Social studies should be sought after that challenge your intuitions.
Happy culture scaling!

Well come! and Well met! 

Why is it conservatives promote racism has ended?

Hi! Happy Sunday!

This is really long, but rest assured your hug awaits at the bottom!

Ever wonder why it is conservatives promote an idea racism is over? Why not liberals?

Let me also assure you this blog is still about scalable solutions of systems and not ideology.

Here is the scalable systemic solution:  we need more research on cultural transmission and how social groups control individual behavior.

Conservative culture is fundamentally focused on behavior of the individual, individual accountability. Conservatives have a huge gap in understanding behavior as having social contributions, social motivation and assigning any credibility to a person's behavior as a result of social systems. If person A is a racist that has no correlation with person B who may or may not be a racist is conservative thinking. Ideas are arrived at by individual on an individual, case-by-case basis. To conservatives we are all blank slates that cannot be influenced by society. Personal accountability is the primary and sole dimension of behavior conservatives recognize; ergo their strong belief in the criminal system of individual punishment and disinterest in social programs.  Racism has no social mechanism transmission to conservatives because conservatives do not admit any social transmission mechanisms exist. This idea then that racism is over is not limited to racism as it is systemic to conservative thinking. Individual accountability is all there is to conservatives. In other words racism to them has ended because there is no social transmission across generations or people.

There is one glaring exception to this of course and that is religion. This is a Christian country to a conservatives point of view and that is the only social transmission mechanism they recognize. Why? Because religion is a social transmission establishing the exclusivity of individual accountability. Religions do not promote social programs,  that a society must reach a certain saturation point of homogeneousness to establish viability or the society as a whole is punished. Religions promote apostate exclusively and individual punishment only. Punishments and actions are not to the entire social group but only to the individual. Religions were all invented long before we humans had any understanding about the social influences and so conservatives are stuck in that mind set.

It is not just racism that Conservatives do not acknowledge then when it comes to blacks: but also black poverty. Conservatives believe people are just individuals in this country and so any individual should just get an education, get a job and game over. Racism is over. Conservatives do not believe there is any social responsibility by the culture at large for black poverty. None.

Is that true? We need to separate out the ethical from the systemic here. As Thomas Jefferson among many others have said: the living owe nothing on behalf of the dead morally and ethically. The living are not guilty for the atrocities of the dead. Black reparations by the living on behalf of dead slave owners of the past is not ethical on that count. One person cannot be directly held into account for the actions of another just due to proximity and social group membership, past or present.

But is there a count for which black reparations should be made? Yes and that would be cultural transmission. As Thomas Jefferson put it, we should do so to the full extent the public can stomach.

To better illustrate let us consider for a moment how this gap of not understanding social transmission fundamentally undermines conservatives at large: education.


Conservatives have been lambasting liberals for years for the demise of public education. Conservatives take zero responsibility for our education failures and they lay all of blame on liberals. And yet? Ever since polls have been taken conservatives outnumber liberals in this country. What? How is this possible?

This is possible because conservatives do not believe in social influence and therefore would not have any motive to enact education programs with objectives of socially transmitting ideas. This explains a lack of motivation to get in involved with education as something other than job training or religious teaching of individual accountability. Now when they see the end results of failed education, results they do not like, now they complain. Only because the effects of social transmission are staring them back in the face and reality has set in. Here's the thing though. That narrative has been going on for decades and conservatives have not changed their behavior. What's astonishing is that the pattern of conservatives complaining about liberal education has been going on for decades without change. Why?

To be fair though, social transmission gap is not the only thing that holds back conservatives from getting involved in education.

Fear of change also factors into it. Conservatives by their very nature want to continue to use what exists and not embrace the new. A trivial example is the history of Washington and the cherry tree where he could not tell a lie. This was pure fabrication made up by some historian in 1836. To the winners go the spoils and one of those spoils is writing history. As America has matured the liberals and not the conservatives have begun to correct inaccuracies of our history to the extent the facts allowed. Where facts have only been collected about the winners liberal historians have slowly progressed over time to telling the stories of the losers of history; the slaves and the native Americans. This results in cognitive dissonance on behalf of the conservatives where on one-hand they do not want false history and yet on the other hand they do not want to undermine the credibility of a Christian nation narrative either.

Systemically then conservatives being unable and unwilling to engage in social behavioral programs has left conservatives exposed both politically and socially. Conservatives cannot acknowledge that any poverty, any black poverty and any racism are socially transmitted ideas across generations. Therefore there is no social program as a solution for poverty and crime. However, this very same mindset undermines them from engaging in education because it would require understanding  the social influence of behavior that education has. Education is clearly social behavior influence that challenges conservatives, a challenge they have been unable to meet for decades and decades.

Cultural transmission that gridlocks poverty is the same cause that gridlocks the conservative community in regards to education. We need to break the dysfunctional barriers of both poverty and education. We need the blacks to no longer be poor and in prison, we need the conservatives to engage education and take responsibility as a social group.

The solution for this country is to better understand social and cultural transmission in both real-time and across generations. Where conservatives might have to painfully acknowledge that they have been wrong on poverty and crime not being socially systemic, they would more than reap rewards enabling their thinking to participate in education armed with social behavior understanding.

I mentioned earlier that there is a count where black reparations can be made.

That reparation has to do with understanding an ideal or just society and defining the kind of society we are want to be.

In a letter to Jefferson someone once asked him how much, if any, charity the federal government should engage in. Jefferson's reply was, "as much as the public can stomach."

Appropriate black reparations is not about debts of the past, but rather fixing systems of the present "as much as the public can stomach."

To this end affirmative action was created. Affirmative action came about here in California where a California judge ruled in favor of it. His very liberal view point was this: what took four-hundred years to entrench will take an equal four-hundred years to unwind. He surmised this is not fair to the blacks of this country and so affirmative action was ordered.

This kind of reparation is appropriate: opportunity today to break the cycle of poverty across generations.

The reason affirmative action failed in its implementation is that the judge was only one piece of the experiment puzzle. He had no control over what came next, and no expertise in social experiments even if he had. Acknowledging that we need social experiments is not enough and not that same as having the program itself.

Affirmative action was doomed to fail because in the beginning its success rate would be low. In venture capital a 90% failure rate is acceptable because the 10% that succeed more than pay for the other 90%. Yet we did not take that approach with affirmative action. Conservatives time-and-time again beat up on the failure rate of affirmative action and it eventually has been dismantled.

Affirmative action should be reinstated.  Affirmative action should be a social experiment to change of the systemic course of the cycle of poverty. However, like all innovations I have presented in my previous blog posts, affirmative action should be not rolled out, carte blanche, across the nation. Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. We should take what we've learned about affirmative action and start over but with smaller groups expanding over time using an innovation approach.

In addition to more research on cultural transmission and how social groups control individual behavior we also need to better understand how to run social experiments as innovations. Affirmative action was implemented nationally way too soon just as ACA was. ACA will most likely follow affirmative actions demise. The experiment was implemented too large too soon. We need to start small, gather data, make incremental changes and so on. In other words, we need to innovate. As part of that process of enacting any social experiment going forward we need to educate ourselves on how to innovate and how to experiment responsibly.

We need more research on cultural transmission and how social groups control individual behavior. As we do these experiments we need to refine the innovation process itself.

Well come! and Well met! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Top 3%

Hi! Happy Saturday!

Today's blog is about economics and the top 3%.

We hear a lot of talk today about the top 1%. So what's up with the top 3%?

I am the top 3%. Not financially. Financially my net worth is like debt++.

No, I am the top 3% academically. In any school I attended from K-12, community college and finally culminating to a Masters in Computer Science at U.C. Berkeley, I am in the top 3% with a top labor profession of software programmer. My future is secure independent of the amount of money I have in the bank on any given day. Risk for me is not the same as risk for people of less ability. I will always bounce back, no harm no foul.

My labor worth goes up every day because the bar of intelligent ability for getting a job is rising. The higher the brain-power bar for job requirements of education and capacity then the more assured is my position. The intellectual requirements for labor are increasing every day as automation rolls out. My intellectual education and capability will remain well above the minimum required for labor in my lifetime. Will yours? Imagine you are the opposite. Imagine you test in the bottom 3% as you go through K-12. Your labor worth goes down every day. What opportunities do you have? A person at the bottom 3% of educational testing is guaranteed a minimum wage job indefinitely. No amount of hard work will ever change that. Skilled labor is a waning enterprise. Think of skilled labor as the music industry does. Someone like a skilled glass blower may invent an awesome technique...only to have computers replicate that intellectual property for next to nothing. The glass blower, like today's musician, is then left with meager pennies on a sale; except, perhaps the same way musicians have live performance, having some glass blower novelty market.

We talk about class warfare between the top 1% of the wealthy but the real class warfare going on is brain power for jobs. People who happen to be born average and below average brain power are being left out. If you lack brain capacity at birth, education during childhood, then your future prospects are grim in the employment market. Oh you may have other exceptional talents like a voice or a sports skill, but these skills must be exceptional and unreplicable by computers.

Blue collar, low brain power jobs are being reduced in quantity daily even as the world population increases. What happens to the blue collar workers with no blue collar jobs now?

Hold that thought and let us move to economics for a second.

Nick Hanauaer has an engaging talk about economics, the fallacy of trickle down economics. I can sum up Nick's talk in one sentence: don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. We learn this simple parable as kids.
A cottager and his wife had a Hen that laid a golden egg every day. They supposed that the Hen must contain a great lump of gold in its inside, and in order to get the gold they killed [her]. Having done so, they found to their surprise that the Hen differed in no respect from their other hens. The foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once, deprived themselves of the gain of which they were assured day by day.
Killing the middle class is a foolish move by the 1% and the redistribution of wealth in this country shows just how foolish the rich are today relative to most other times in America's history. What happened? Answer: a trillion dollars.

So what changed? There are many counter argument's to Nick's talk, which is the point. Here is one quoting economist Mark Skousen , entitled "The Myth of Consumer Spending":
Granted, personal consumption expenditures represent 70 percent of gross domestic product, but journalists should know from Econ 101 that GDP only measures the value of final output. It deliberately leaves out a big chunk of the economy — intermediate production or goods-in-process at the commodity, manufacturing, and wholesale stages — to avoid double counting. I calculated total spending (sales or receipts) in the economy at all stages to be more than double GDP (using gross business receipts compiled annually by the IRS). By this measure — which I have dubbed gross domestic expenditures, or GDE — consumption represents only about 30 percent of the economy, while business investment (including intermediate output) represents over 50 percent.
Thus the truth is just the opposite: Consumer spending is the effect, not the cause, of a productive healthy economy.
Insight into understanding today's economic scale is perhaps best illustrated by an atheist world view. As an atheist there is a world view we hold dear that can be applied here: a world view of "I don't know". The answer to who created the Universe and economics are the same, too big to scale. Both universe creation and economics today are concepts that are too big for us to currently model. However, as humans we don't want to hear "I don't know". Humans in general find the unknown emotionally disturbing. That's why atheists are a minority and the institutions of religion and economics have both proven we the people will accept any answer over admitting we don't know. Humans are insecure. :-)

From "I don't know" as a world view then the obvious becomes clear: no one understands the feedback loop of $1 trillion dollars. No one. So what should we do? So now what?

I posit that the rich haven't necessarily gotten so greedy they've lost sight of the golden egg; it is just that no one understands the golden egg. Therefore anyone can find some economic preacher man that one wants so as to advocate one's favorite personal position and then get to claim that position is helpful to the middle class. If one is rich then investment is king of GDE. If one is poor then the consumer is king of GDP.  Both are right, both are wrong. No one understands a $1 trillion dollar feedback loop.

This blog is about scale and answering these kinds of questions.

How do we do it in computer science? How do we manage trillions? There are many ways to manage scale but I will talk about one the very first ones we learn in computer science: divide and conquer (quick sort).

I've already mentioned clusters in a previous blog post. A quick recap is we re-establish a representation cap of ten-thousand voters per representative and establish a total legislative branch size of 30,000 representatives. The trillion dollar budget is then divided up between clusters of 500 representatives spending only their 500/30,000, or approximately $20 billion dollars. Yeah, $1 trillion dollars is that large.

Another possible approach would be to spread the budget out amongst the various States.

There are many possible ways to divide and conquer. Which one to choose? This is where "we don't know" comes in. When you don't know, you innovate. That means 1.) simulation, 2.) small groups, 3.) years of time. We literally generate a market place of ideas. This is required because life is a feedback loop. The only way to validate the feedback loop is experience, innovation.

When we don't know we innovate. We do it with clinical trials and drugs. We do it with computers. It is time we innovate with politics.

We put the topic of the top 3% on hold, previously.  Let's put both concepts discussed here together. How does economic divide and conquer play into top 3% job brain power? The answer is we need to adjust our expectation of jobs at the same time we adjust economics. In other words we do not have the luxury of holding jobs as a constant as we learn to manage large economies. We can no longer hold to a simple, single model of a job economic engine. We need to innovate in tandem many new ideas and parallel track innovations to keep up with the changes happening every day. These innovations are going to take place over many years and we need to adjust the feedback loop in real-time by running many other experiments in parallel. Wow. That's complicated. But that's what is needed.

And to make things even more complicated we need to adjust the flip side of a jobs economy engine as well, spending. Spending and consumerism are not sustainable just as jobs are not scalable.  We need to adjust all these things together. And climate change too! Together, you and I.
Keep reading this blog to better understand how to run massively parallel innovations.

Well come! and Well met! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Anecdotes, Spaceships and Economics

Hi! Happy Friday!

What do anecdotes, spaceships and economics all have in common?

Read on, dear read, read on!

Ferguson. Lots of anecdotes flying around of stories of black crime and stories of white crime not being treated the same as Ferguson. There are also statistics of black-on-black crime rationalizing police profiling of blacks, hey its okay because statistics say, don't ya' know? People use self-selected anecdotes and not solely anecdotes illustrating general statistical trends when they want to represent groups. Then people also use statistics for not treating individuals as individual when they want to justify profiling. For example, two black people have nothing in common based upon their skin color, nothing. Same was white folk having nothing in common based upon their skin color. Black-on-black crime is as meaningless a statistic as white-on-white crime. There is no meaning. Quit saying it. Black profiling by police though is very real because police over simplify. They profile. Joan Fedor said, "The biggest threat to Democracy to day is over simplified solutions to complicated problems." Nothing is more intellectually lazy or over simplified than using skin color. Police need training not to over simplify and do the hard work of meeting each individual with sophistication of a world mixed.  Face it we suck at using math and reason. What to make of all this? and spaceships, and economics?

Let's take a different approach of systems and scale.

Image you live in a spaceship. Imagine. What are the characteristics?
  1. Housing provided.
  2. Food provided.
  3. Nothing to build. 
  4. Free time is virtually 100%.
  5. Does having a job make sense on a spaceship? Money?
  6. Your primary occupation is using your mind.  
  7. Zero sum game. There is a fixed set of resources. Supply and demand do not apply to physical things.  
Further, imagine you live in a space port and are building a spaceship. You live on the spaceship as that ship is built out. Your life would be such that you would be gradually transitioning from a global economy to a spaceship economy; from unknown and renewable levels of resources to fixed.

The fact is that jobs today require ever increasing capabilities of the mind leaving more and more people behind. Education cannot impart capability. As automation and computers ever increasingly take over the menial, the repeatable and the well defined mental tasks then humans are left in a virtual spaceship like setting. Every day fewer humans are employable even if you educate them every single day. 

Face it, human brains and bodies are being made obsolete at a time our world population is increasing. If our brains and bodies at an aggregate level are obsolete then what are we suppose to do?

We need to admit the reality: there isn't enough work to go around and mental capacity for work is growing. If you are not born smart no amount of education can change that.

This is a fuzzy logic problem. As we take more-and-more bites out of the apple we are getting to the core. We are building out the Earth. From a fuzzy perspective we are transitioning from a world unknown to a spaceship existence.

The seven characteristics above are more applicable every single day to all of us. We are converging on spaceship Earth.

What does this mean? First, it means that even the rich are left holding a bag. Not all the rich folks are rotten to the apple core and some I believe would like to provide viable solutions to the masses. But they have no solutions.

That is because we need to change our world view. We need to transition from world unknown with seemingly endless new horizons to spaceship Earth with all land accounted for and resources quantifiable. Human labor is obsolete.

When I worked at Coherent back in the late 1980s the company had a program to give makeshift work to folks who wouldn't otherwise mentally or physically work. That's where its at today when 100% of automated farming comes online and  housing provides for the entire worlds population and so on.

What meaningful rewarding job can you do? That's the trillion dollar question that the richest of rich have no answer. Even if they have good intentions. We are becoming spaceship Earth.

The problem with Ferguson can be described as anecdotes, spaceships and economics. We do not understand scale. We do not understand statistics. Even the smartest of the smart have not identified the transition of scale, moving from labor to automation.

We need to start a new value system where people who have 100% free time are not denigrated. Because that 100% free time model is going to continue to become more common place; a new norm. We need to start educating people not for just for jobs that can easily be automated and replaced.

Today, 2% of the world's population can feed 100%, where previously 100% were engaged in feeding 100%. Take the previous sentence and replace the occupation of feeding with the occupations of transportation, health care, service and so on. Every occupation is being automated against a backdrop of increasing world population.

The era of the job is coming to a close but for a few required for necessity of survival. It is a reality we need to admit and move on from there. Consumerism for the sake of a job is going to strip the Earth. We need to stop. We need to understand and figure out how to manage ever increasing amounts of free time, and not demean those who do not have the luxury of a life-survival job. For that demeaning practice of putting down the jobless I could never be a conservative. The bar of mental capability required to acquire a job is rising every single day and leaving our education system behind. The smug value of "get a job or you're a loser" needs to change, conservatives, unless you can show the education system is sufficient. Automation is replacing jobs faster than education can hope to keep pace. Enough.

We are spaceship Earth.

Well come! and Well met! 

The Smuggle Verse, Scene 2, Nanobots

Gregg (Jayne), "You know, what are you going to do if anyone pops the question? We are running dangerously close to exposure, what us taking a security job and all."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "I've covered my tracks very well. We are prepared for the close encounters."

Gregg (Jayne), "What, your impenetrable disguise that all the money ever paid to you has to go to Central Intelligence to keep your past hidden, all dark and mysterious like smuggler persona? Even that coat rack that your lack-of-information disguise hangs on can only hold hats of so large. It makes a nice excuse though for smuggling.  You not having to be all altruistic and mushy like Wash."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "Wash did do a bang up job back there. It is not just my cunning disguise."

Gregg (Jayne), "Or mine. You think anyone will notice that the nanobot nest my mother knitted me is the real threat and not the seven-thousand pound monstrosity? I hope the burning flame colors of yellow, orange and red don't set off any plot alarms. She always did have a sense of humor out of control."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "We hate nanobots, remember? We have 7,000 lbs. of monstrosity to prove it."

Gregg (Jayne), "Yeah, but you're not just running one game. Nanobots, genetic engineering and mind-computer interface. Three high profile games if the public ever finds out you are not only playing both sides, but you are both sides they'll lynch you faster than a nanobot bites."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "It'll be fun."

Gregg (Jayne), "Seriously, Mybrid. What if the question gets popped?"

Mybrid (Malcolm), "We just covered the topic of 'bots. That leaves genetic engineering and mind-computer interface for me to choose from. Care to lighten the load?"

Gregg (Jayne), "Neither, I'm talking Verner Vinge."

Mybrid (Malcolm), looks down, annoyingly annoyed, "What about him."

Gregg (Jayne), "What if some reporter gets the bright idea, carefully planted by one of your many galatic IQ enemies on all six-sides, that you claim Verner Vinge as your favorite author and yet here we geniuses are, in dumbed-down Firefly. Verner Vinge is just a nano step from jumping to nanobots and my ass. I don't feel like getting lynched this week."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "I have no idea. If I try and lie every micro-expression, remote lie detecting computer is going to sound alarm bells the whole damn verse can hear. The entire game of running games these days is to be so subtle no one thinks to ask you questions. Lying is damn near impossible with 100% video. So I have no idea."

Gregg (Jayne), "No idea. Now that's a new one. A master mind of engineering both sides of, not one, but three identity issues that go to the heart of what it means to define human, and you, you, Mybrid, have no idea."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "I know my name, dumbass."

Gregg (Jayne), chuckles slightly, "A movie line? You must be scared shitless."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "He didn't beat me up. Nobody said that."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "This risk has been there the entire three years of this operation. Why is now any different than yesterday?"

Gregg (Jayne), "You don't know? Anakin's a big Verner Vinge fan."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "No, I must of overlooked that fact. Damn it."

Gregg (Jayne), "When I'm not on maintenance over half of my awareness is constantly managing a nanobot swarm and I get distracted. As far as we know, only River has more of her awareness plugged into a computer so I am right with the Lord. But you, you're absent-mindedness though, that defies your brain."

Mybrid (Malcolm), flash smiles, "All of my circuits are busy plotting?"

Gregg (Jayne), "Seriously, Mal."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "River says he's tacit."

Gregg (Jayne), "So he knows what we are up to? ...and he just doesn't happen to have an opinion or an agenda about any of the big three? That's kinda thin ice for us to skate on, don't cha' think?"

Mybrid (Malcolm), "River says he has a 40% chance of being a big player, and a 0.03% chance of being the player. With River on board he knows we have calculated this.  Exposing us exposes himself. He won't take that risk."

Gregg (Jayne), "That's hard to believe. A guy who runs a 100% entertainment ship with no other source of revenue? I find that hard to believe."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "Which is why Buttercup is the target. Why is a millionaire vote block on that ship? Also, Anakin has body hopped multiple times."

Gregg (Jayne), "Really? well, I leave the  plotting and scheming to you and River. I just thought I'd point out our shared, Verner Vinge, fire upon the sky exposure that is burning...'cause I know you forget things."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "We ready? I mean the nanobots?"

Gregg (Jayne), "The new nest my Mom knitted works well enough. The bulletproof fibers double as a nice 'bot nest than can solidify on a current as well as kinetics. The 'bots are communicating and practising swarm manoeuvers just fine. River says the new empathy triggers are strong. We should be able to do more than make someone twitch away from a bullet now. Maybe even drop to the floor."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "What if we made the floor slippery? Perhaps Vera can pull a Bond and spray silicon on the floor."

Gregg (Jayne), "Maybe, but that's not the actions of a killer robot."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "Yeah, maybe we should start deploying the silicon floor spray in chases to set expectations."

Gregg (Jayne), "Seven thousand pounds of momentum? on a silicon floor?"

Mybrid (Malcolm), "Can't you make the silicon, you know, weight dependent?"

Gregg (Jayne), "Maybe, I'll look into it. I might have to add a new set of wheels with a specific coefficient of friction that deploy only when the silicon is sprayed. Gonna cost ya'."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "Add it to the running bill against my permanent 'zero balance' account. Our reputation as smugglers is we leave the guards alive. Our would be law-enforcement officials being alive is key to getting nanobots accepted. What viewers we have like to see the bad guys embarrassed due to gun misfires, not dead. Weapons of peace. If only people knew how well nanobots work as grains of sand, gumming up the works and causing guns not to fire. And now we have split second, empathy controlled, electricity reflex inducement nanobots to help dodge bullets. Hot stuff."

Mybrid (Malcolm), "You ready to go back on line?"

Gregg (Jayne), "Almost, writing a letter to my Mom. Gotta thank her for my cunning hat and the clever fire sky coloring. Let's just hope that's the only fire upon the sky we meet up with tomorrow."

Well come! and Well met! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Smuggle Verse, Scene 1, Job Runnup

Jayne, "Life is weird."

Malcolm, "That's because you make it weird."

Jayne, "No, I mean life is weird. Yesterday I was jonesing for a Sunny-colored gal named Buttercup in a movie and here today we are going to meet her. That's just weird. That's every man's fantasy"

Malcolm, "Tomorrow Jayne, we meet tomorrow and your weirdness could be because this deal has been in the works and so we watched that movie as part of our intel on that ship. The primary target is The Princess Buttercup."

Jayne, "But don't you think it is weird. I mean me jonesing for her, her being on that ship, and not just on that ship but on that ship with Darth Vader?"

Malcolm, "Who? Oh, you mean Anakin. This Anakin is before the whole Darth Vader thing."

Jayne, "Is he going to tell me I'm his father? Because if he does that will make it even more weird."

Malcolm, "You have it backwards, he tells you he is your father. And why would it be weird for you to find out you fathered a child in a port you've been to many times?"

Jayne, "I'm just saying, I think the whole thing is weird."

Malcolm, "The only thing weird is us on this ship all having over 170 IQs and yet we are still having this seemingly inane conversation raising my blood pressure. Where's your brain?"

Zoey, "I believe his brain has gone missing."

Malcolm, "Ahh, Zoey, ever with the perfect line and impeccable timing.  Thanks for that. Your rescues are always welcome. Now that you are here we can start the crew meeting. But, first maybe we should would switch video themes on this ship and go with The Hitchhiker's Guide. You can be Trillion, Zoey, I can be, well, Arthur Dent...I know, I know, I know...macho man, gun slinger doesn't really fit Dent but Jayne being split-brained Zaphod Beeblebrex is starting to make a whole lot of sense right now. How can you have a 170 IQ and be so spaced out? Speaking of video themes, did we get any cuts from yesterday's public feed."

Zoey, "Just one, of you and your funny commode."

Jayne, "You mean funny something else."

Zoey, "I wouldn't know Jayne, care to enlighten us?"

Malcolm, "ENOUGH! We got a job to consider."

Malcolm, "I called this meeting because normally this ship isn't a democracy and we don't vote. But I'm making an exception on this job for two reasons. One is that this job is possibly a year long and t' other reason is that it is a security detail, something I promised never to do. Now I promised you all when we started this little smuggling company that no matter how desperate things were, we'd never hire out as security. As former military..."

Jayne, "Speak for yourself."

Malcolm, " is only natural that people would want to hire us for security. Security is what I'm asking you to consider tomorrow in the job interview. As long as we never do a security job then our reputation stands. We are now considering opening ourselves to a whole 'nother Universe of trouble if word gets around we run security. Not the least of which smuggling doesn't count for nothin' on space faring law enforcement radars, but security puts us right up there at the top of the list. So as such we are all doing this job interview together as a crew tomorrow. The following day we are taking a vote as crew. Fortunately we've been running 100% real-time video streams as this Firefly theme going on three years now. That should help some with the man's nerves when it comes to us switching to security"

Wash, "Smugglers with 100% video stream is pretty clever. That's one of the reasons I hang around, being clever. As the only non-military crew on this boat let me just say, so what you're saying is that we are really that desperate?"

Jayne, "I'm not military. My coat is green."

Wash, "Says the guy with a 170 IQ apparently dedicated for the sole purpose of building a one-of-a-kind seven foot military robot so loaded with ammo that we can't dock at half the harbors in this verse because we don't meet weight restrictions."

Jayne, "I'm ain't military, do ma?"

Malcolm, "Can I continue?"

Malcolm, "We are desperate. Not one of our signals produced any cuts longer than my pissing time in months. Both shuttle rents still cover all the fuel, food and repair on this boat but we ain't had any smuggling work in what seems like ages. Nobody wants to see a crew sitting around picking their noses. And I don't want to switch themes when we've been at this one for three years, despite Jayne's resemblance to Beeblebrex being a mighty powerful intoxication on that score."

Zoey, "Does River know?"

Malcolm, "I presume so and she's paying shuttle rent, not crew."

Zoey, "And Inara?"

Malcolm, "She's checking her voters and the Ambassador as we speak, which is why she ain't here."

Jayne, "What's the pay off?"

Malcolm, "Princess Buttercup has a one million vote block for a high-ranking treasury position."

Wash, "Wow, and all it takes is Inara's fifty-thousand, ambassador position voting block and we can get access to any port in the verse. Imagine what a million, treasury voting block will get cha'. I'm impressed. But why choose a name Buttercup for someone that prestigious? That's what I call Zoey when..."

Zoey, "Wash, really?"

Jayne, "So is the plan to get her on this boat for me to woo her with my cunning robot? If so I'm down for that."

Book, "I'd like to point out that picking your nose is what made the cut yesterday."

Malcolm, "What? Oh, my pissing? We are not going there. I've said it a million times, we are not going the pop route as a matter of course. And I didn't see you walk in preacher man. How long you been here and you plan on joining us outlaws on this one?"

Book, "Just since Zoey made the comment about pissing. I haven't decided yet, but if I do come along I'll be changing character. One can only stretch a gun-wielding preacher so far."

Malcolm, "As long as you stay in theme. I don't like mixing. The Princess Bride and Star Wars? A bounty hunter looking to bring River in will do fine."

Zoey, "That's just two. They have more themes."

Malcolm, "Meh, sacrilege."

Jayne, "So how are we planning on getting The Princess Buttercup on this spaceship? And what's the plan, better ratings?"

Wash, "First you have to have ratings in order to get better ratings."

Malcolm, "That's the hitch. We are not planning on luring The Princess Buttercup onto this crew. We are doing it strictly for the money."

Jayne, "Really! Wow! I want in on this. I need to buy Vera a husband, with even more ammo."

Wash, "Who's going to believe we are doing this for money when all of our runs for the last three years have been good will bartering? Smugglers fly under the radar with barter. We don't use money. Zoey and I don't even have a bank account. Not to mention River. We started this whole endeavor as good will trip, to give River a moving spaceship home safe from moneyed interests latching onto her. Now we are going to become that moneyed interest?  Our entire video stream has been about a good will bartering life style, we are promoting it?!? We going to sell off River next? This is just crazy!"

Malcolm, "All good points, Wash. I'll have more to say on the pay off after the job interview tomorrow. For now, let's just get the details of the security job and then we can weigh them against the pay off and our three-years of barter-only video stream. Inara will have even more objections than you have, Wash, given her occupation and vote bank account."

Jayne, "Wait, didn't you say the primary target is Buttercup? I want Buttercup and the money."

Malcolm, "I knew that 170 IQ was in there somewhere. Yes I did. As I said, we are doing it strictly for the money from their perspective."

Zoey, "So, I take it the cameras are off right now?"

Malcolm, "River is real-time editing."

Malcolm, "Anyway, needless to say, any talk about anything other than money is clandestine but Wash, absolutely keep the up the bartering angst. We're going to need it to sell it. River's pretty adept at real-time editing our feeds but lets give her the least amount to edit, if you don't mind. We meet at 0900 tomorrow. Be there and be sharp. And most importantly, think tonight about if you want to become not just smugglers, but security. When we regroup tomorrow I want to hear 170 IQ, in depth insight in the conversation weighing the pros and cons. None of this stuff about Darth Vader."

Well come! and Well met! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Empathy for All to Data Center On The Moon

Hi! Happy Wednesday!

Your daily hug is at the bottom of the page. This may be a lengthy post so take the time, get your hug, and come back to the top.

Originally I thought about entitling this blog "Empathy for All" and not "Irreni". Empathy for all is how one thinks in scale of a planet of seven billion people. There is no us versus them: just us. On this planet. Us on this planet. Us on this planet we call Earth. And wait for it...! I will get to the Data Center on The Moon by the end of this post.

When I was growing up I ran into a narrative that I could not empathize with. I was raised to be Christian. I was raised that in order to be moral and do good one needed to be a Christian.  The only problem with that narrative is that it did not fit with my reality. As a child I had already met many non-Christians, non-religious and none of the non-Christians were axe wielding murderers. In fact I could not distinguish between a Christian and a non-Christian just based on how "good" someone was. Then I saw a movie with Spencer Tracy called, "Boy's Town". In that movie there is a sign that states, "There is no such thing as a bad boy." That I could relate too. I latched onto that world view and made it my own. I held that so tight. I later revised that narrative to "there is not such thing as a bad person" and so became my own person,  Mybrid, and aligned with my empathy.

I want to keep things interesting by talking about Michael Brown's killing in Ferguson. There is a gangster narrative that goes like this. I took this from the web at random and this is meant to be illustrative and not personal about the person who wrote it:

After rewatching the video of Mike in the convenience store pushing the passive store around and listening to Wilson's interview; I have to say I believe Wilson. Mike Brown was displaying aggressive and violent behavior in the store with a passive store clerk. His aggressive and violent behavior in the store carried over onto the the street and Mike basically ended his own life by his violent behavior. Even though the police are wrong in many cases I believe that Wilson was justified in what he did and he was simply doing his job. If someone wants to act like a gangster; there is frequently a price to be paid; Mike was not an innocent bystander.

The narrative here is "gangster". I have an alternate narrative equally likely. Darren Wilson claims his decision to fatally shoot Michael was premised on Michael reaching into his waistband. Assuming Darren is telling the truth then Michael could very well have been committing suicide by cop. In fact, just two days after Michael was killed a suicide by cop took place in St. Louis, Missouri  close to Ferguson. This has not made the news. Why? Because the whole thing was caught on video. The cops pulled up and 20 seconds later a man was dead, a black man rushed the cops with a knife and was shot dead. Was that black man a gangster or a suicide sadness?

Did Michael Brown commit suicide by cop? I have no idea. However, he was not gangster. Michael had no prior arrests and no gang affiliation. On the other hand, teenage suicide is not uncommon and suicide by cop is on the rise.

The reason I bring this up is to illustrate how to think in scale using empathy for all. Describing people as gangster, as innocent or evil as if there is some magical property that flips from childhood to adult is the scalable problem. People are just people. I have no idea if Michael was committing suicide by cop. But if he was then that changes the narrative from monster gangster to lost teenager, a teenager committing suicide. I just wander if those people who see Michael Brown as a bad person would still see him as a bad person if he chose to commit suicide by cop and simply botched the job until he reached for a non-existent gun. It would explain why Michael brought a fist to a gun fight.

As an atheist I do not believe in magic, spirits or the supernatural. There is just us. People have brains wired differently. How tragic it is that some brains tend towards hurting and destruction. I'm glad I was not born with that kind of brain. In fact, I was born quite the opposite, with empathy for all including Michael Brown. 

Children are not born angry or killers. They become that way. In some respects the process is akin to evolution. Evolution is a gradual process that ultimately ends up with major changes over time. We can't see the changes and ascribe magic instead. Therein is the problem. Children start out as powerless and when they come into power and become destructive it is because of changes over time and not magic. Evil is not a spirit. Evil is just a synonym for harmful. Evil is not a magical constant state of being.  Similarly, innocent is not a spirit it is a statement of fact about what happened. Describing people as innocent or evil as if there is some magical state property that flips from childhood to adult is the scalable problem. People are just people.

That is how we scale. Us versus them with seven billion people creates a lot of us's and them's forever fighting. As we scale even bigger even more so. Empathy for all is the solution.

How to realize it? Glad you asked. For now we just keep doing what we are doing. In the future we move towards the Data Center on the Moon!

What? Ok, we've all heard it lamented at some point in our lives, "Why don't children come with manuals!  Manuals!" Ha! Manuals is how we realize empathy for all. Manuals of human behavior we put on the moon. Man[uals] on the Moon! 

Here is a question for you: if, if children were to come with manuals then at what age does the manual stop? 18? 30? 70? 

Now I can bring home how I view "Boy's Town" and "there is no such thing as a bad person". Everyone should have a manual helping them, and us, to understand their brain and that manual should cover their entire lifespan. If we had manuals describing Michael Brown and Darren Wilson we would know who they were.

Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown, was interviewed on camera today. Darren stated on camera he has a 100% clear conscience. People are creating a narrative about him, that Wilson has no remorse and is a social path or psychopath thus making him a monster. I resist. If one is born missing empathy in the brain doesn't one equally deserve to live life? Why is one automatically a monster by a simple accident of birth?

If everyone had a manual describing their brain, their behavior, and the management of both then the magic narrative goes away. Gangster goes away. We are all just people with manuals of information to understand each other and how to manage harmful tendencies. Like over eating. I need that manual. Muh ha ha!

And the Data Center on the Moon? Well, the Data Center on the Moon narrative is meant to be a cautionary tale, a manual of  manuals if you will. Information is power and the ultimate power will be decoding human behavior. That kind of information needs to be in the hands of all of us and not just the few. If we put the manuals of human behavior on the Moon, we declare the moon property of all  then the objectives of freedom and liberty  are best served with respect to the power of understanding and manipulating human behavior. 

Well come! and Well met! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Fictional Grand Jury Testimony

Hi! h A p P y  T u E s D a Y!

The following is a work of fiction. Cognitive dissonance is the pain we feel when we hold two opposing view points as truths in our minds and can't reconcile them. So the pain.

This blog post has only a secondary or tangential relation to innovating government: a teaching moment of cognitive dissonance. I say secondary because many of the problems being discussed in the media today of our broken government are promoted as exciting, blood curdling failures of some ideology we disagree with, aka political puppet theater....when we know the truth is that the problem is just boring systems of politics. We don't want to talk boring. Engineering is not exciting. On to cognitive dissonance!

Murder requires motive. We've all watched a bezillion police shows. We've all heard it said a thousand times over: murder requires motive. Where was Michael Brown's motive to murder Darren Wilson? Darren Wilson states he felt his life was in danger. But why would Michael Brown want to murder Darren Wilson? One just doesn't go for a cops gun unless one intends to finish what one has started. Michael wasn't out-of-his mind on drugs. Being caught stealing a box of cigars is not murder motive. What was? We'll never know because there is no trial.

This fiction, "A Fictional Grand Jury Testimony", explores our own cognitive dissonance: murder requires motive and yet we do not ask that in today's media. For some reason Americans believe Michael Brown was murderous in nature when in fact we know that is not human nature: murder requires motive.

A Fictional Grand Jury Testimony

DA, "Officer Wilson. what's Michael's motive for murder?"

Officer Wilson, "I don't know, as I stated earlier his actions make no sense to me, going after me for just jay walking."

DA, "By your own testimony, you stated that Michael Brown was intent on killing you, is that correct?"

Officer Wilson, "I believe so. He was punching me in the face and went for my gun."

DA, "Officer Wilson, are you aware that unless Michael Brown was on drugs or otherwise mentally disturbed then motive for murder is key, a central part of a murder trial?

Officer Wilson, "Yes."

DA, "If the roles had been reversed and it was Michael Brown here on the stand today then his motive for murder would be critical would it not?"

Officer Wilson, "I guess so."

DA, "I ask you again Officer Wilson, what was Michael Brown's motive for murdering you?"

Officer Wilson, "I have no idea, his actions don't make any kind of sense."

DA, "Is that because, in fact, they don't? When facts don't add up then other explanations need exploration: like you're lying to cover up a murder. A lie that can be clearly demonstrated to have motive to keep you out of jail. Are you lying Officer Wilson?"

Officer Wilson, "Of course not?"

DA, "Have you ever lied before in testimony about your job Officer Wilson? We have video tape of a testimony that conflicts with a verbal statement you gave to a commanding officer."

Officer Wilson, "No comment."

DA, "The facts are you claim Michael Brown was intent on murder with no motive. By you own testimony Michael Brown's actions make no sense and every prosecuting attorney in this country is trained to believe just that: murder requires motive. The state asserts it is equally credible that a known liar and corrupt Ferguson police department is just as believable as Michael Brown attempting to murder Darren Wilson without provocation and without motive. To whit, you may be lying Darren Wilson."

DA, "Officer Wilson, do you regularly patrol this neighborhood. Is this your beat."

Officer Wilson, "Yes."

DA, "I have here testimony from Michael's family and friends that state Michael routinely roamed these same streets daily. By your own description you site Michael Brown was a monster, a Hulk Hogan. Surely you would have noticed him on patrol? So I ask you Officer Wilson, have you ever met or had an encounter with Michael Brown prior? Did you know him in any fashion?"

Officer Wilson, "Yes."

DA, "Please detail for the court the incidents in question."

Officer Wilson, "I plead the fifth."

DA, "So, it is quite possible in fact you knew Michael Brown and that in fact it is this relationship which provided Michael Brown's own motive for your murder, or conversely your motive for the murder of Michael Brown?"

Officer Wilson, "I plead the fifth."

DA, "No more questions. The fact is Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in the line of duty. Darren Wilson would have you believe that Michael Brown intended to murder Darren Wilson with no motive, no drugs and no mental incapacities. Michael Brown was in sound state of mind. We will never know what really happened that day unless Darren Wilson is indicted. We will never get to the bottom of Michael Brown's motive. The State recommends indictment."

Cognitive dissonance of the United States? What was Michael Brown's motive?

Well come! and Well met! 

Soylent Green is Corporations! The Case for Virtual States!

Hi! h A p P y  T u E s D a Y !

What are we to make of corporations today?

Corporations are people is a common lament we hear today, especially in regards to Citizens United and the outright buying of our American government.  Why are corporations virtual people?

As a computer programmer I love recursion. If corporations are people then Soylent Green is corporations! Ha! The irony of course is that Soylent is a corporation. Woo hoo!

I love humor. So much so I changed my name to Mybrid and then decades later Wonderful! But this is not that story of my name change except to say that a book by William Gibson, Necromancer, was the inspiration. The humor I found in Neuromancer is that virtual people were created long before virtual reality. In the book computer programs gain rights by becoming corporations. Wow! What a concept!  What are you going to do about it if that happens? Ha! Just think a computer program becomes a corporation and takes over the government through buying politicians! Great plot! Soon reality?!?! I decided to take my virtual name, Mybrid, and bring it into reality. It is a little joke I enjoy daily. Mybrid is my name in all virtual realities I engage. Gibson predicted that unique names would be worth a fortune on the Internet. So I created a unique name, Mybrid. I'm the only Mybrid in this or any virtual world. You find Mybrid you found me.

Ok, enough fun with recursion, what are we to make of corporations today?

I have a solution. Before I put it out there let me remind my dear, dear audience that claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. The innovations being put forth in this blog are untested. They are intended as thought experiments like Schrodinger's Cat. The intent is to break the logjam of your mind created by worn out political thought: democracy, communism, socialism and blech.

I have a solution: Virtual States.

How were virtual people created? In the 1880's as a footnote to an obscure case by a legal aid. And this long before computers were a concept. As Mark Twain once quipped, reality is stranger than fiction because fiction has to stick within the realm of the plausible.

If only creating virtual states could be so easy as slipping a footnote in some obscure case today!

Walmart. Walmart is a global, billion dollar corporation that employees 1.4 million people. It has all the luxuries of profit and none of the responsibilities of state. People use the word "justice" to mean "fairness". I do not like that usage, my preference is to use "justice" to mean "responsibility". A just society is a responsible society to my thinking and the question is this: is Walmart being responsible?

How does society demand responsibility for our young and old who cannot work? For enforcing the law? The answer is government. The answer is State and Federal governments. So corporations get to enjoy all the benefits of American labor but none of the responsibilities. See any problem with that formula?

So, I say, if corporations can be virtual people then let people become virtual states. Imagine if the employees of Walmart formed a virtual state. Then all of the rules of Democracy apply, including voting for representation, having a constitution (corporate by-laws). As a virtual state then the elected president replaces the CEO, the people replace the board of directors,  and the legislative body sees to the general welfare of its people. No more board of directors! Elect a leader of the people, by the people and for the people. The CEO and the Board are the Kings and the Dukes of our generation. The only difference is that where Kings had no merits other than birth, CEOs presumably have talent. But, that talent never extends to treating people well and taking responsibility the company's people. CEO's are clueless about human nature and most of the them look down on their employees. Kings! In that regard, CEOs have no more credibility than Kings for holding leadership positions. Time to get rid of CEOs and elect Presidents on their merits of both talent of product and talent of people. If you can't do both then don't lead and be an individual contributor.

Walmart employs more people than the population of states like North Dakota. Which virtual entity has more resources? Walmart with its billions or North Dakota with its millions.

Did you know this country only had ten million people in its first census?  Walmart has 1.4 million. At one point do we wake up to the scale of responsibility?

The virtual state is a good mental exercise to ponder. People move and no longer stick on one place. Why not belong to a virtual state? We could extend virtual responsibility to cities as well. Indiana, my home state, has the dubious honor of allowing the smallest number of people to incorporate a city: five.

Designating social responsibility by land boundaries is a wealthy, land owner interest. How many of us rent today? Estimates are the banks own over 90% of the land in that few property owners own outright but have mortgages.

Virtual reality is here. Corporations are people, mortgages are virtual ownership and over half of Americans rent. How does land ownership apply to what "state" one lives in?

What are we to make of corporations today?

The time has come to open the door to investigating virtual social responsibility entities like virtual states.

Well come! and Well met! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Dilemma is Too Big To Revolt

Hi! Happy Sunday!

The Dilemma we face today is that of technology.

Technology has created a world where we are all connected and the word "border" is now meaningless in so many ways. We in the US spend money in Africa to stop Ebola. We do this because this is the most humane way to prevent deaths here and in Africa. Imagine if we were denied access to those countries in Africa to stop Ebola? More US citizens would die. What do borders really mean then?

The Dilemma we face today is that technology is required to sustain seven billion people and counting with a seventy-year lifespan. Food, water, air, medicine and even information are all required and are co-dependencies linking all of us together defying borders. Borders really do not mean much any more. We are literally spaceship Earth whether we admit it or not.

Wind-up radio. I remember a story from 1990s where research was conducted in Africa about the spread of AIDS. The study found that access to simple AM radio dramatically impacted the spread of AIDS.  Information saved lives. A British doctored invented a wind-up radio because the biggest obstacle to the use of AM radios was not handing out of cheap radios but the expensive, ongoing need for batteries. A British doctor invented a wind-up radio so the folks in Africa could have AM radios and today we now have emergency flash-lights that require no batteries. How many lives will be saved in an emergency with these flash lights?

The Dilemma we face today is that technology literally knows no borders. Just a few countries have GPS satellites in space and yet we all depend on them.

Too big to fail is a catch phrase we apply to the banks. Too big to revolt is the dilemma we face today in the USA. If the American civil war happened today then the effects would be felt world over. People would die around the world but not from bullets or bombs but technology interruption. No Google? No Android? No iPhone?No Twitter? No Facebook? No Internet?

Technological innovation brought about too big to fail banks and now too big to revolt countries. We 99%'ers in the US want some kind of revolution in our goverment but are powerless to do so knowing the impact. What to do?

We innovate. We need to break the mental chains of thinking in philosophy and ideology, of thinking in terms of democracy, socialism, communism and anarchy. We need to think innovation. We need to think of ideas as building blocks that work sometimes and not others, maybe today but not tomorrow. We need to quit thinking of labeling ideas before we try them. We need to think like engineers when it comes to politics. We need to innovate and think of ideas independently to overcome the dilemma of too big to revolt.

Well come! and Well met! 


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Think Scale

Hi! Happy Saturday!

The most important take-away from this blog are not the specific ideas, but rather the concepts of thinking in scale. Although I do think my ideas are ripe for innovation, financial backing and start ups.
  1. Think scale. Telecommute. After 9/11 the Congress passed a law for continuing the government in the event Congress is wiped out by a terrorist event. That was the exact wrong thing to do. What they should have done is taken measures to ensure that wiping out Congress with a terrorist attack was impossible. How? Easy, telecommute. We should pass a constitutional amendment that says our Federal representatives must work in their respective states. Telecommute. Congress should never gather in one place. Not. Ever. Wouldn't it be nice if your representatives had to meet you face-to-face daily in your state? 
  2. Think scale. The telecommute point above is the point of this blog. Use technology. Why are we still living in 1776 when it comes to governing? Why are our representatives only working half the year? This made sense in 1776 when travel back-and-forth to Washington D.C. took weeks. This makes no sense these days. Politicians do not need to campaign half the year or fund raise ever. Instead, they should use social media. Our representatives need to work forty-hour weeks minimum like millions of other working Americans. Let politicians campaign daily by Twitter, blogging and Youtube videos. We should force every elected official to blog and write for themselves with no speech writers. Nothing exposes a person's ability to think like writing. Imagine if campaigning was solely relegated to original, personal writings by the politicians? We can do that with today's technology.
  3. Ideas only. We no longer need idea place holders and over-arching idea notions such as party platforms. We need to treat public policy like engineers treat technology.. Instead of talking in broad terms like "socialized medicine" each aspect of medicine can be broken out and managed on its own terms.
  4. Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. 
  5. Innovation takes new ideas, new claims without evidence, and experiments in the real world on a small enough scale so as to gather evidence and learnings to either support further enlarging the innovation experiment or to fail. Failure happens far more often than success in innovation; failure is expected as the ideas are fresh without evidence. Venture capitalists expect a failure rate of 9/10 with start ups.  We innovate like this in tech all the time so why not in politics? Let's have government start ups and move beyond the fixed notions of state, local and federal governments. C'mon, it is 2014 already!
  6. Innovation replaces revolution. As we have seen in Iraq and oh so many places that destruction is infinitely easier than construction. The farther along we are on a technological scale then the bigger the penalty for destruction. Innovation builds and replaces what's there gradually. Revolution without a proven plan to build something better is not a better option. Any new plan to replace a government the size of the US government will be a plan without evidence and therefore can be dismissed without evidence. This is why we need to do the hard work and innovate. Now please!
Well come! and Well met!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Innovation Replaces Personality

Hi! Happy Thursday!

Personality. Character.

Imagine you are living back in the 1700s, somewhere around 1790s right after the US Constitution is ratified. The county has about a 50% literacy rate. Perhaps you can read. Further imagine you are getting ready to vote for the first time for your representative.

Here's a question: do you vote for character, party or on the issues?

The point I'm trying to make is one of scale. Back then information was at best newspapers. Transportation took perhaps weeks to get to Washington. Voting on someone's character was a proxy for voting on issues in that era. An era of transportation and communication that did not allow you to keep abreast of world events and day-to-day issues being addressed. Character stood instead as a hope your representative would think like you.

Voting for character made sense back then. Voting for party made sense back then. Voting for the character of your party made sense on that scale.

And today? Does voting for character or party make sense with our technology scale?

And today? No. Instant communication and rapid transportation affords us a power unprecedented: the power to know  every issue in real time.

And today? No. A peccadillo, a lie or other personal transgression of a political or thought leader is no longer a valid indicator of what a person does because we can know 100% a persons track record. This 100% capability now gives us the power to work with people who have huge character flaws in some aspects of their lives that do not apply to governing. That's awesome! Ron Paul pointed this out. A reporter asked Ron Paul why should voters choose him when many felt he was crazy on some issues. Paul's answer was that on issues he was far out of the main stream then Congress would check him and hold him back. That's the idea.

Innovation replaces personality. Innovation replaces revolution. Innovation replaces party. Innovation replaces ideology. We now have the power of technology to use ideas as distinct building blocks. We can engineer governing. We no longer need to accept idea place holders such as a person's character.

We have the power today to work with ideas as building blocks. That makes us mighty. We no longer need to subscribe to arguments of Democracy, Socialism, Capitalism, Communism or other ideologies. We no longer need to ascribe value to ideas just because they were supported by people of character such as Washington, Jefferson, Franklin or Adams. We do not even need to assign a collection of ideas a name. We can pick-and-choose as things work together. We can drop ideas that fail, all without the need for labels.

We are free. We are idea independent.

We are now technologically enabled to mix and match ideas, to innovate ideas just as engineers use building blocks like nuts, bolts, sheet metal, rubber, glass and all the rest to build technology that eventually becomes a car or what have you How free is that!

This blog is in a big way about shattering the chains of proscribed thinking, of dismantling idea place holders like character. Dismiss them.

We have no need for cult of personality. Innovation replaces personality when it comes to judging ideas.

Well come! and Well met! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Right to Individual Currency Amendment

Hi! Happy Thursday!

Mmmm, I got something delicious for you today. Today's blog post provides a solution for all the evil corruption on Wall Street. That dance Wall Street does with Congress.

You ready?

Let's pass a constitutional amendment entitled "The Right To Individual Currency Amendment" as follows:

1. The right of an individual, local government or State government to originate currency shall not be abridged.
2. Taxes can only be levied on currency transactions by the issuer of the currency.
3. All currency owners have the right to tax their currency. 

Woot! Drain the swamp!

There is a mountain of musing to say on this topic and I will spare you all of it except the motivation. Perhaps in future blog posts we can explore the ramifications and justifications.

I do not believe in direct democracy as a scalable system for a list of reasons that will wear your ears down to a nub if all told.  But I do believe in indirect democracy. Voting for a representative is only just one way.  It is time to introduce another that is the right to currency.

A government is of the people, by the people and for the people. Does your representative know you? Or know any of the ten million people they represent? No.

They know your money though. That's what we need to use to get their attention.

The right to originate currency is of a time and place. This amendment is predicated on our existing in a time of cheap technology being plentiful today. Technology that allows everyone to have their own software bank.

The right to currency will break down our governments. New governments will start to form around the new currencies. As this happens then established governments will have to compete for your dollars. Representatives will have to actually start representing you.

The right to originate currency is of a time and place. No one is self-sufficient when it comes to food, water, health-care, transportation, communication or clothing. We all depend on each other. This co-dependency makes this amendment of currency possible. If this co-dependency did not exist then we all could abandon governments outright. But we can't, not if we want an iPhone. If we want the technology we so cherish today then we will need to engage our governments. So much so that the right to currency will, today, mostly chip away around the edges of our financial systems.

But make no mistake. Rich people scream much louder at the loss of a single penny than you are I. Draining the swamp by trading in individual currencies will bring about change, even if the drain is small like 10%.

The right to individual currency is an indirect franchise, an indirect vote for what our governments are doing. The more we don't like how our money is being spent then the more motivation we will have to build up extra-currency groups to do what we want. Eventually an equilibrium of individual currency and government currency entities will be reached.

Private currency now becomes a sister franchise to voting. We all need things from around the world and we will need to engage world currencies. But given the 10% approval rating of Congress today then I'm guessing if the right to currency were passed today then there would be a mass exodus from the government currency. Currency becomes another vote. Another franchise. Another system check, a populist system check, that is needed in a system where a single representative has a 90% incumbency rate and a 10% approval rate. Obviously voting as a check on our representatives has failed, completely. Time for a new check! Vote with your money! literally! Pass a right to currency amendment!

!!! WARNING !!!

Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. I have no evidence any of the claims about this proposal are valid. The amendment discussion above was provided solely for motivational purposes and the right to individual currency must be innovated gradually on a scale of small to big.

Well come! and Well met! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fun: Political Solutions Kick Off Part 3

Hi! Happy Wednesday!

"You have to be careful if you are not sure where you are going because you might not get there."
-Yogi Berra

In the previous two posts today I put forth two solutions for kicking off political innovation: simulation and promotions...gaming and movies. This third solution is an integral part of the first two: having fun socializing. This is so important I'm calling it out as a separate solution but is really part of the first two.  Kick-off part 3 is feature of the first two: fun socializing together.

To summarize the first two solutions we need to let our politicians know what to deliver today as well as we need to let ourselves know what to deliver tomorrow as we innovate our systems. But, there is a mystery. Why the fun in this solution? Isn't this serious business? Glad you asked. Plato in 66 B.C.E. wrote a book called "The Republic". In that book Plato asserted that good people would always avoid politics. Why? One, politics is corrupt. Two, good people don't want to compromise their principles engaging in corrupt politics.

What to do? Let's call this Plato's Problem. Who wants to sit in the back seat on the hump? That's politics.

Plato's Problem can be overcome by focusing on venues of entertainment when first engaging politics. Plato's Problem can be overcome by getting massive amounts of people involved in politics to create a large pool to draw from. A large pool of potential politicians.  Kick off solutions part 1 and part 2 both require socializing. Kinda hard to either  make a movie or role play alone. The first order of kicking off our political act is getting our act together. And our scenes. Ha! The second order is creating the objective for today and tomorrow. The third order is innovation. Hollywood fails miserably in promoting next generation social constructs other than vampires and zombies. We can do better. So let's.

Let's engage each other in fun, political ways to get the ball rolling.  Then, as Escher once quipped, we can all state, "my life is an entertainment, a very serious entertainment" Massive amounts of people engaging in good times politics socially can generate good, qualified people to run for office and resolve Plato's Problem.

Politics doesn't have to be boring. Seriously.

Well come! and Well met! 

Movies: Political Solutions Kick Off Part 2

Hi! Happy Wednesday!

Movies, lets make them. Lots of them.

Part one of the political solutions kick-off is simulation, or training. Part two is movies, or promotions.

Our politicians can't possible deliver on the goods if they do not know what the goods are, damn it? What society do we want to live in? Religion? Technology? Earth Stewards? Or my favorite, Earth As Spaceship? What's the right model for politicians to deliver? We need to tell them. Loudly. 

Give it your best shot! Make a movie with all the trimmings of what your idea of an ideal society looks like! Do it! In this case a popularity contest is in order! Movies depicting ideal societies that garner widespread popularity can help us talk to each other and our politicians. All guns a blazing! Or not!

Today politicians get their notions about what we want from polling. Polling. Polling is that old adage about a bunch of blind people only touching their own part of an elephant trying to figure out what it is by talking to each other.

The idea with movies is simple. Create your ideal and see who comes to party with you.

And remember, an ideal is just that. We should help each other be as accurate as possible in our promotions in reflecting reality because these movies are our communications about what we want out of reality as a people. But being accurate isn't the most important step. The most important step is to make the movie and refine from their. Just do it.

As a country, as a world, if we start making millions of movies with our very ideals then eventually the fog will clear and common themes will appear for our politicians to shoot for.

Well come! and Well met! 

Simulations: Political Solutions Kick Off Part 1

Hi! Happy Wednesday!

Lots of frustrating stuff in the news to feel oh so "oh, my gosh, where are the solutions at?" I got your solutions. I got them right here.

Role playing. How exciting is that, you get to play Dungeons and Dragons! Woot! What?

Simulation is training. People need to step it up a notch in being socially engaged. We can start with simulation. What we lack in a civil participation is training. We need to train people in how to participate in our civil society, albeit activism or community service.

Acting, n: 1. reel feelings in an artificial setting.

I learned that definition about acting from a actual acting class I took at Studio One in Santa Clara back in 1989. That definition also applies to role playing.

Role playing: 1. reel feelings in an artificial setting used for training purposes.

Role playing is about character development. It was a practice when D&D first came out to hand a 3x5 index card to the DM, Dungeon Master, with personal character objectives one wanted to work on. In my brother's case he didn't let me choose, he tortured me for years requiring me to play female characters to learn respect for the fairer sex. Eventually I improved. Ha!

For my own part I intend to start up role playing again. I'm also planning on trying remote role playing via video camera. If you are interested in learning how role playing works as a social training vehicle then feel free to drop me a note in the comments section. I'm going to form a new game soon.

Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. How do we trust new ideas like the percolation voting that I'm promoting without any evidence? The answer is experimentation starting with simulation. Let's use percolation voting in games. What better way to start experimenting then in simulations? Collect the data and then move into small real-world scenarios.Create virtual realities with innovations of society.

I like D&D, but D&D is just one role playing vehicle. The gaming possibilities are endless, including  real-world simulators like running a nuclear power plant with a group of people in virtual reality so as to better understand whats involved.

Imagine a world full of simulation training available for all walks of life from music to physics.What a wonderful training we all could engage in.

Our political problems are big today. But we cannot afford to take shortcuts. We cannot afford to experiment nationally. We need to start small. We need to start with simulation of innovation and branch out from there.

Please leave a comment in the comment section below if you are interested in engaging like Captain Picard! Engage! 

Well come! and Well met!