Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Whole new mind: Part II

I am about two-thirds the way through A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.  I really am enjoying this book and the author is referencing quite a few other books that I have read including: Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ and

The first part the author makes argument how this have changed and will change in the future.  He makes a compelling argument about the reason of job exports to Asia. As someone who alway decried the erosion of America's manufacturing base and felt government and corporations were short sighted in allowing it to happen I am now changing my attitude and not that I am for it- I do feel many mistakes were made in the last few decades, but I now have the perspective of how ineviable it was. 

The author further talks about how knowledge works (engineers, lawyers, programmers, mostly left-brain careers, etc.) have begun and will quickly more to Asia and then be replaced by computer automation.

His direction is that it will be combining left brain logically activatives with right brain creative activities for future productivity.  For example, Japan- the traditional left brain logical based ecomonies biggest export is now pop-culture (another head smack!).

Just a few quick thoughts for now on a book I would already recommend that I picked up via picks.

Also, I do not take a lot of time to proof-read- and I am awful at grammar- so if I miss something I apologize.

Jeff King at, a blog I love- posed a question a few weeks ago asking our biggest faults- which after thinking about it I first thought focus, but I realized it was actually procrastination.  I have 30 drafted blog posts that are not published because they are incomplete.  I also didn't get to comment on his blog since I am having some kind of issue.  So, as a note I wanted throw a shout out thank you to Jeff.

Anyway, thanks for reading!  And I would love to know what you think.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Dan Ariely: Are we in control of our own decisions?

Ok, I am now a fan of this guy’s work.  I’ll have to check out more of his stuff.

“We wake up in the morning and we believe we make decisions”.

Dan Ariely: Beware conflict of interest

An excellent discussion and insight into our personal bias. 

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Carl Sagan

Everything’s fine today, that is our illusion. - Voltaire

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A whole new mind

I just started reading A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.  So far I am really enjoying it and it supposes to define how we can integrate left-brain logical thinking with right-brain creativity ability as our jobs change in the future.  While I am only in the first third of the book I wanted to get a excellent points from the book up here.

The left hemisphere analyzes the details;
The right hemisphere synthesizes the big picture

Or put another way of the ancient Greeks: The Hedgehog and the Fox: The fox knows many things; the hedgehog knows one big thing.  The left side is a fox; the right side is the hedgehog.

It details how left-brain thinking has dominated in the last century and how thing are changing.  Both side must work together for success in the future.  So far the author makes some excellent points and I am excited to finish the book. Things are obviously changing rapidly and they are system changes which our current system is not capable of implementing- so these necessary changes will be resisted. (Not sure I am getting my full thought on this- but

It is the second chapter which held some things I really wanted to share: Abundance, Asia, and Automation.

Self-storage- a business devoted to providing people a place to house their extra stuff- has become a $17 billion annual industry in the United States, larger than the motion picture industry. What's more, the industry is growing at an even faster rate in other countries.

The United States spends more on trash bags than ninety other countries spend on everything. In other words, the receptacles of our waste cost more than all of the goods consumed by nearly half the world's nations.

Those two statements blew me away.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Types of Government: Democracy vs. Republic vs. Oligarchy and how to get out of jury duty

I found this video on facebook and found it very informative.

The discussion below are the words of Allison Oldak. You can follow her at AnarchyAllison

I really enjoyed this video, especially with it's explanation of due process as being pivotal to the difference between a republic and democracy.

Democracies are one vote systems of government while republics are three. In a republic your first vote is on election day when you chose your representative, that is your only vote in a democracy. Your second vote is when you serve on a grand jury and your third when you serve on a jury for a case that goes to trial.

Juries have two duties but since the Dred Scott decision have only been informed of one, deciding the facts of the case. The second is deciding the legality of the law. Despite the law being slaves are property no matter what territory they were in, Nothern juries were overwhelming voting "not guilty" thus nullifying the law and setting slaves free.

It is your power to interpret the law that ensures your freedom. It makes you more powerful than all three branches of the federal government. If you ever want to get out of jury duty, during the voir dire process inform the court that you have the right to interpret the law. You will be immediately dismissed from the court room. Much more quickly than feigning to be racist or incapable of speaking english. (continued)
Liberty (anarchy) is rooted in the philosophy of self ownership and the principle of non-aggression. All individuals are sovereign. They own their person and are endowed with the abilities to think and act for themselves. The video titled the philosophy of liberty does an excellent job or explaining this and especially the relation of your existence in time. I'll quote it now with this: your future is your life, your present is your liberty and your past can be demonstrated in your property. Justly acquired property is the product of your expenditure of your life and liberty, thus making it apart of you which no one else is entitled to.

Using violence or the threat of it or fraud to take your life, your liberty or property is immoral no matter if it's a single individual or many doing it. If an exchange isn't voluntary then there has been a violation of property rights (either your right to your own person or to your personal property).

Government is basically a group of people with a monopoly on initiating force. Government is perpetuated by taxation, which is inherently violent. Because taxation isn't voluntary it is an inherent violation of property rights (continued)
In anarchy no person has a right (that governments assume to have) to violate the property of another. No one is entitled to anyone else's life. All violations of private property are treated equally as being heinous with no exceptions being made because a particular group of people calls itself a certain name (government, police, the New York Rangers)

The video touches upon the fact that all property would be private but explains that would make travel too cumbersome. This isn't true. If communities and roads were privately owned you'd want more business and traffic flowing into them. Commerce and travel are encouraged and highlights of free societies, as this country was once noted for. The narrator believes anarchy is impractical because property rights would need to be enforced but the protection of property rights is supposed to be one of the very limited functions of a republican form of government.

Not all uses of a privately owned road by those who don't expressly pay for it to be maintained in a voluntary society have to be considered a form of trespass. If I wanted to open a bar I would not open it on a road that only allowed those who belonged to the community to travel on it. If I owned a road that stretched through mountains and swamp, I'd probably adjust my fees to a toll collection instead of trying to establish a community and contract around it.

The basic misperception of anarchy is that it entails violence. People calling themselves anarchists who initiate force on others are only anarchists in name. Property owners will see fit that their property is cared for because that responsibility falls on them alone unless they want to voluntary contract that responsibility out to another... And undoubtedly there will be markets for that. Sherifs. Private police forces. Private courts (maritime law was entirely private and property rights were preserved!)

Basically, there will always be people who commit crimes. Anarchy ensures no one has immunity to commit them.
Wish I had more time, but I figured I would put this out there.  Feel free to comment.  I still need time to review myself.
Thanks for reading,
Now, back to work

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Standing Desk Update: My Heel pain is gone.

As I wrote two weeks ago- stand-desk-i-now-have-heel-pain-i-am- I have been sitting at my desk during work again and I am happy to report my heel pain is gone.

Now that I know it definitely was caused by standing I intent to further my experiment since I still believe standing would help my overall health versus sitting- engaging more muscles, focus, extra calorie burn for weight maintenance, etc.

As I see it there could be three possible causes (assuming of course that it just makes sense that as human we can stand/walk as our natural state):

1) Overload: I went from sitting directly to standing for as long as I possibly could with almost no build up- 6-7 hours per day.

2) Standing posture: the video here has some interesting information:

She mentions the Alexander technique which I look into before.  While I was not static or hunched over while I stood, I could be wrong.

3) The dress shoes I was wearing.

For now I will first- stand for half a day on Fridays when it is appropriate to wear my vivos vivobarefoot . Later, I will purchase office appropriate vivobares- dharma:

Just to recap: I have heel pain when I transitioned from laying to standing or sitting to standing and minor pain when walking in shoes (barefoot, sandals walking/running pain free).

After two weeks of sitting during the day my heel pain is gone, so I will try standing only with minimalist shoes.

I'll keep you posted!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Taken from:

the world today, more than 6 billion people live.

If this world were shrunk to the size of a village of 100 people, what would it look like?

59 would be Asian
14 would be American (North, Central and South)
14 would be African
12 would be European
1 would be from the South Pacific

50 would be women, 50 would be men

30 would be children, 70 would be adults.

70 would be nonwhite, 30 would be white

90 would be heterosexual, 10 would be homosexual

33 would be Christians
21 would be Moslems
15 would be Hindus
6 would be Buddhists
5 would be Animists
6 would believe in other religions
14 would be without any religion or atheist.

15 would speak Chinese, Mandarin
7 English
6 Hindi
6 Spanish
5 Russian
4 Arabic
3 Bengali
3 Portuguese

The other would speak Indonesian, Japanese,
German, French, or some other language.

In such a village with so many sorts of folks, it would be very important to learn to understand people different from yourself and to accept others as they are. Of the 100 people in this village:

20 are underonurished
1 is dying of starvation, while 15 are overweight.

Of the wealth in this village, 6 people own 59% (all of them from the United States), 74 people own 39%, and 20 people share the remaining 2%.

Of the energy of this village, 20 people consume 80%, and 80 people share the remaining 20%.
20 have no clean, safe water to drink.
56 have access to sanitation
15 adults are illiterate.
1 has an university degree.
7 have computers.

In one year, 1 person in the village will die, but in the same year, 2 babies will be born, so that at the year's end the number of villagers will be 101.

If you do not live in fear of death by bombardment, armed attack, landmines, or of rape or kidnapping by armed groups, then you are more fortunate than 20, who do.

If you can speak and act according to your faith and your conscience without harassment, imprisonment, torture or death, then you are more fortunate than 48, who can not.

If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet and spare change somewhere around the house, then you are among the richest 8.

If you can read this message, that means you are probably lucky!

(The statistics were derived from Donella Meadows "State of the Village Report" first published in 1990)

Actually reposting this even though it is old but good information for a different perspective.  Not much has changed in the intervening years, other than the income distribution is now more worse.  I recently heard that the top 400 people control as much wealth as the bottom halk (150 million) of the United States.  I remembered this because of my earlier post about warren-buffet-wants-to-pay-more-taxes: my tax idea, and the 10 men go out for a beer tax explaination.

Warren Buffet wants to pay more taxes: my tax idea- progressive flat tax

Ok, part of the problem is how complicated the tax codes are. There are loop holes that people will take advantage of along with the law of unintended consequences. You can refer to either the book or movie of “freakconomics” A flat progressive tax. I actually believe I read about a version of this in Lies and The Lying Liars Who Tell Them - A Fair and Balanced Look At The Right. The tax rate is paid at a graduated level on each portion of your income- just as an example-so lets say 5% on the first 20,000, 10% on up to 21,000-100,000, 20%- 200,000 etc.

For lets compare two people one making 40,000 and one make 175,000 (ignoring Social Security and states taxes).

Person 1: 40,000

$2,000 on the second $20,000

for total taxes of $3,000 and a net of $37,000Person 2: $175,000

would pay $1,000 on the first $20,000

$8,000 on the next $80,000

and then $15,000 on the final $75,000

for total taxes of $24,000 and a net of $151,000

Check out Malcom Gladwell video.

The tax rate used to be 90% for income of 2 million dollars (which would be about 15 million)

Encounter With Tiber by Buzz Aldrin & John Barnes

So Buzz Aldrin, the Apollo 11 astronaut, wrote a sic-fi book that was published way back in 1996.  In it he details a second Space Shuttle loss- this one dealing with a one engine out Trans-Atlantic (TAL) abort.  It also details the bailout procedure when a second engine out leads to Loss of Vehicle.  Interesting that he basically predicted a second Shuttle loss. He also details contact with alien life.  I just started reading it. My local library actually had a copy! But an early discussion really hit home:

"As the business magazines summarized it, Sig Jarlsbourg had concluded that at least half of the most respected industries, ones that could be counted on in any portfolio, had to be shut down within the next century, and proposed a radical plan for putting them out of business..."

This statement really hit home as I believe we are at the beginning of a system "reboot"

Never predict the limits of possibility.

“We must be able to transmit things from other places over long distances… pictures, the news, energy… why not matter too? We must liberate thought from its limitations imposed by space and time, and yet keep its characteristics. This will be possible in the next decades or centuries.” --Nikola Tesla

Technology is rapidly changing and while there is alway dangers inherent I still truly believe we will enter a new golden age. What is more distrubing is how many of our problems increased by our choice of in the direction of technology.

Guess which lefty invented the modern Baseball Bat?

A large number of baseball players are left-handed, but none more famous than the "sultan of Swat", Babe Ruth.  Credited with the invention of the modern baseball bat, he was the first player to order a bat with a knob on the end of the handle.
Louisville Slugger produced the bat that he hity twenty-nine home runs with in 1919.

from "the left-hander's calendar"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some great Lefty stuff! (and more lefty birthdays!)

“We cannot forever hide the truth about ourselves, from ourselves” – John McCain

This cuts close to home- a very true statement

One of the most influential chemists in history, Linus Pauling was also a peace activist and educator. Born in Portland, Oregon, this lefty dropped out of high school one class short of graduation to attend Oregon Agricultural College, eventually earning his Ph.D. from Cal-Tech. Pauling was one of only four individuals to have won multiple Nobel Prizes and the first person to win unshared Nobel Prizes in two different fields. This down to earth  scientist also wrote numerous articles and books for the general public on science, peace, and health, including Vitamin C and the Common Cold, How to Live Longer and Feel Better, and Linus Pauling on Peace- A Scientist Speaks Out on Humanism and World Survival.

I now know a few more books to read.
"Left-handers are wired into the artistic half of the brain, which makes them imaginative, creative, surprising, ambiguous, exasperating, stubborn, emotional, witty, obsessive, infuriating, delightful, original, but never, ever dull."  - James T. Dekay
Lefty Birthdays:

August 15 Emperor Napolean Bonaparte

August 16 Director James Cameron

August 17 Actor Robert De Niro
August 18 Actor/Director Robert Redford and Actor Christian Slater

The Sagan Series:

I just found this thanks to a friend on Facebook.  I couldn't resist share it here.

Speaking of facebook:

I love to make new friends.

Black Swan Author on the coming economic crisis

I read The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable soon after it came out and it has dominated my thinking on our current world situation since.

I found two videos I think are very worthwhile to watch:

And further:

and finally:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Stock Market is Gambling. Straight up- no lie. Perfect Example!

I have this as a draft for over two months, but this story cause me to publish:

There is no better example of how broken the stock market is and how worried it should make you.  The solution is to decontruct it.  To much of our value is based on "stockholder" Opinion!

I do not care what complex math or modeling is used. Aside from the imperfect knowledge it is also an imperfect system. The feedback loops are just broken. Too much of a stocks value is based seemingly on “stock holder” opinion or collective intelligence (group intelligence) which is flawed. The easiest example is how quickly a stock price varies in relation to news that should have no effect. We have a complex system with bad feedback loops. I read recently that Berk-shire Hathway preformed better because Anne Hatheway hosted the Oscars- bringing web traffic to their site.

The rate of change is greater than ever before and rate of change itself is increasing in all aspects of our world. The system is becoming more virulent which of course means that more money can be made or loss faster than ever before. Day traders and computer purchases have destroyed the feedback loop. This is a system that is vunerable to a massive failure.

My solution is to remove myself as much as possible from the stock market. I think we are in line for another “dip” or significant drop in the overall stock market.

The system will not survive as it exists now (I know that is a weak prediction- I will make no others). My point is that no matter what you may think you know, unless you have insider trading or are on the inside (like a broker who makes money on the stock sale) it is a straight up gamble and further the vitility is increasing.

Accept that you are gambling or my advice--- stay out!

More information on Plastic: Toxic Love Story

I have not read this book, but I plan to.  Let me clear if I was not in my earlier post.  I am not anti-plastic, but I do feel it should not be used in disposible items and it is the intentional design/implementation of plastic that is producing this problem.

Plastic from Han on Vimeo.

Follow up to the plastic problem: more info on plastics

I found this blogpost about alternatives to plastic containers to avoid toxins in your foods:

Which had a link to a whole other blog that I thought was worthwhile:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NASA in New York

I got this via email and I figured anyone free who is in Manhattan on Wednesday and wanted to attend:

Announcement from the AIAA Long Island Section:

NASA, in conjunction with the Eventi Hotel in Manhattan is holding a public outreach event on Wednesday, August 17, from 10 am to 4 pm. This sounds like a great event for your children and grandchildren.

The Eventi Plaza will be transformed into a miniature space outpost filled with displays, demonstrations, interactive exhibits, video segments and children's activities. NASA employees will be available to explain how NASA's missions, scientific discoveries and aerospace technologies are influencing and improving the way we live.

Come take a virtual tour of the universe and beyond and see what NASA is planning for the future.

There will be more than a dozen exhibits, including NASA’s Journey To Tomorrow trailer which has interactive displays; space-related activities for children; and on-going robotic demonstrations. The Eventi plaza’s Big Screen will be running NASA video all day. If that isn’t enough, the final shuttle crew from STS-135 will be on hand to help kick off the event.

Two New York firms -- Honeybee Robotics and MesoScribe Technologies -- will demonstrate how they are contributing to NASA missions. Honeybee developed tools that played a critical role in the Phoenix Mars Lander that explored the Arctic Plain of the Red Planet. MesoScribe, specializing in manufacturing sensors for harsh environments, will demonstrate the use of a robotic arm.

Be part of the Moon Base Alpha crew and find a solution to restore the life support capability to a lunar habitat after a meteorite impact. Drive a rover across a lunar terrain from the Eventi plaza.

The NASA press release with details is at:


there’s a Facebook page:

The Eventi Hotel is located at 851 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) between West 29th and West 30th Streets, New York, NY 10001, walking distance from Penn Station.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The plastic problem: The pacific plastic patch-- most important post!

I am including two videos below about the pacific plastic patch.  The first one is short and gives an introduction to the problem.  Plastic (or more technical polymers) are amazing in that they are cheap, strong, lightweight and just have some excellent properties.  Actually, its biggest advantage leads to the core problem- it is non-biodegrable.  I would state the problem more to its applications for disposable items.

This was only discovered in 2007.  This is a problem that has been building for decades.  I have been quoting to be people that it is the size of Texas and I was wrong- it is twice the size of Texas and growing.  And this is completely a manufactured problem.  This problem would be much smaller if we captured the full costs of reclaiming garbage.

From what I understand they have now also found a garbage patch in the atlantic ocean.  This is again a complex system problem that is more expensive and bigger than any one country is willing to front the expense on.

What makes me angry is how avoidable this problem would have been in the first place. I heard recently a California politician  lamenting a new law that would close down three plastic bag factories.  Well, I got news for you- they are should be shutdown.

I have talked about it before, but I will include it again:

and also:

Step 1) Carry reusable shopping bags and do not accept plastic bags.  I keep four in my car, but to be honest- I forget them sometimes.  Also, since I live in the city I usually take the train- if I have a bag I limit the plastic bags I use.

Step 2) Try to shop at stores that do not give plastic bags. The three I know are Ikea, Costco, and Trader Joe's (Trader Joe's actually will give paper bags or a raffle for a $25 gift certificate for every reusable bag you bring in).

This is only the beginning- spend your money at stores that at least make an effort to reduce or eliminate plastic bags. There is so much more to do- but we have to start somewhere.

Please forward and spread the word.  Also feel free to comment with other stores that do not give plastic bags or other ideas we can do as individuals to start on a solution to our plastic garbage problem.

Thanks for reading,


Lefthanders Day: Every August 13th

Lefthanders day is every August 13th. The first one, in 1976, fell on a Friday and was chosen to spoof the superstitions associated with lefties.

I missed it this year, but I added it to my google calendar so I'll be sure to celebrate it from now on.

Lefties Unite!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The progress of technology: a 1959 all steel car vs. a 2009

Watch this 'til the end as there are several camera views and summary text.  It is 2009 car vs. a 1959 car in a crash test.  How many times have you heard: "I wish they would make cars the way they did in the old days."  This video dispels that myth. You know how we always think about what big huge tanks the old cars of the 50's and 60's were for size.   We talk about how there is so much plastic on the new cars that if one of the old tanks ever collided with a new car, the new car would be demolished.  Well, someone in the insurance industry put that theory to the test.  Be sure to watch toward the end to see the overhead view and the assessment of driver injury. Fasten your seat belts.

A Sinister Advantage: Another benefit of lefties

I found this in my in an old email so I figured I would share it:

A sinister advantage

Dec 9th 2004

From The Economist print edition

A possible reason why left-handedness is rare but not extinct

IT IS hard to box against a southpaw, as Apollo Creed found out when he fought Rocky Balboa in the first of an interminable series of movies. While "Rocky" is fiction, the strategic advantage of being left-handed in a fight is very real, simply because most right-handed people have little experience of fighting left-handers, but not vice versa. And the same competitive advantage is enjoyed by left-handers in other sports, such as tennis and cricket.

The orthodox view of human handedness is that it is connected to the bilateral specialisation of the brain that has concentrated language-processing functions on the left side of that organ. Because, long ago in the evolutionary past, an ancestor of humans (and all other vertebrate animals) underwent a contortion that twisted its head around 180° relative to its body, the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and vice versa. In humans, the left brain (and thus the right body) is usually dominant. And on average, left-handers are smaller and lighter than right-handers. That should put them at an evolutionary disadvantage. Sporting advantage notwithstanding, therefore, the existence of left-handedness poses a problem for biologists. But Charlotte Faurie and Michel Raymond, of the University of Montpellier II, in France, think they know the answer. As they report in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, there is a clue in the advantage seen in boxing.

As any schoolboy could tell you, winning fights enhances your status. If, in prehistory, this translated into increased reproductive success, it might have been enough to maintain a certain proportion of left-handers in the population, by balancing the costs of being left-handed with the advantages gained in fighting. If that is true, then there will be a higher proportion of left-handers in societies with higher levels of violence, since the advantages of being left-handed will be enhanced in such societies. Dr Faurie and Dr Raymond set out to test this hypothesis.

Fighting in modern societies often involves the use of technology, notably firearms, that is unlikely to give any advantage to left-handers. So Dr Faurie and Dr Raymond decided to confine their investigation to the proportion of left-handers and the level of violence (by number of homicides) in traditional societies.

By trawling the literature, checking with police departments, and even going out into the field and asking people, the two researchers found that the proportion of left-handers in a traditional society is, indeed, correlated with its homicide rate. One of the highest proportions of left-handers, for example, was found among the Yanomamo of South America. Raiding and warfare are central to Yanomamo culture. The murder rate is 4 per 1,000 inhabitants per year (compared with, for example, 0.068 in New York). And, according to Dr Faurie and Dr Raymond, 22.6% of Yanomamo are left-handed. In contrast, Dioula-speaking people of Burkina Faso in West Africa are virtual pacifists. There are only 0.013 murders per 1,000 inhabitants among them and only 3.4% of the population is left-handed.

While there is no suggestion that left-handed people are more violent than the right-handed, it looks as though they are more successfully violent. Perhaps that helps to explain the double meaning of the word "sinister".

Stand Desk- I now have heel pain! I am back to sitting

This is a quick update and warning with the experience I have had with my standing desk.  Early July I developed heel pain- It sounds from my research on the web that it is plantar fasciitis, but I am not a doctor so I would not make that declaration.  Now I also reduced my running from 20 miles to 10 miles a week. 

I do not know exactly why this developed, but here is my thinking: I am still overweight so maybe that is a factor.  The shoes and boots I am required to wear at work might be a contributing factor.  The pain is only when I stand-up or sit up- not when actually standing and it is relieved by walking or running (especially barefoot).  For the time being the last week and a half I have been sitting at work again.  Actually, last Friday I tried standing for two hours and the heel pain got worse again after subsiding.

More to follow, but  I may try re-incorporating standing partially during the day once it heals.  Perhaps it was because I went full standing for as long as I could from the get go.  I might also try to find office appropriate minimalist shoes.

Another TED Video to Watch!

I really hope this guy succeeds.  "They say the pen is mightier than the sword, I think the video is mightier than the pen".  Enjoyed this video and this is another example of how the internet allows good ideas to spread.

Jeremy Gilley: One day of peace

Inspiration from Lefties: Patton

Inspiration from Lefties

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking”—George S. Patton

As a left hander I usually have counter-populist opinions or beliefs on many subjects. I remember reading a study a few years ago which stated that the area of the brain which makes you want to conform is more active in right handers and the area of the brain that makes you want to chanelleges the status quo is extremely active in

Actually I got this quote from my left-hander’s Calendar which inspired me to look up some other quotes from one of histories best generals:

Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains that victory.

Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man. Anything built by man, can be destroyed by him.—Actually I will add that nothing is 100% fail-safe.

I am not going to subsidize cowardice.

Hold’em by the nose and kick’em in the pants.

I wonder if I could have been here before as I drive up the Roman road the Theater seems familiar – perhaps I headed a legion up that same white road… I passed a chateau in ruins which I possibly helped escalade in the middle ages. There is no proof nor yet any denial. We were, We are, and we will be. – Patton believed in reincarnation and so do I— mainly because I like the idea of it.


Complexity Example: Asia Stocks up and then down. US markets down then up.

So Asian market shot up initially as the debt ceiling deal was reached and today have dropped since of the United State stock performance from a “sell-off”. I put sell-off in quotes since that is an assumption and the system is too complex and too reactive so that feedback and feed forward loops are broken. We have built and rely on a system no one fully understands. My worry is about entering a long term depression. When most capital is controller by a few large mono-corporations and a small percentage of individuals we are exposed to a system crash risk. Now I cannot say for sure as fact that there will be a crash, but I believe it will happen. The solution is to start changes now. Reduce investment in the stock market and support small local business. Remove your money from large banks. Start you own small business. I do not know the full answer and this is certainly not definitive solutions, but we should at least start thinking and discussing about changing now.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My 7 favorite books: What I recommend everyone reads to feel better about the future

It is a difficult time right now and it is easy to think the world is ending.  So many of our problems are so humongous that it is easy to be overwhelmed and give up.  What on earth is one person supposed to do?  I think as dark as things look now we will pull through and the books below are a large part of why:

1) This book details the story of the Santa Fe Institute while also describing examples of applied complexity theory. Most people have heard of chaos theory and how everything in the universe is move towards disorder.  I remember a professor related an example how opening a can of coke increases entropy and therefore contributes to bringing about the end of the universe.  But that is only half the story, because while certain thing in nature move towards disorder other things in nature move towards order.  The molecules in liquid water will self-organize into a crystalline structure when their temperature is lowered to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. As humans we self organize into more complex groupings from villages to towns to cities which can be studied as highly complex organisations. The book lays out how thinkers in various field came together to form the Santa Fe Institute.  Economics, weather, mathematics, artificial intelligences are all fields that complexity theory is applied to.  The two examples I remember best are how Santa Fe Institute helped FedEx improve there package transfers and how to prove that "nice guys" finish first using a simple computer problem called "the prisoner's dilemma.

2)This is from the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and his follow up after what he realises what is being done to first world by the banking system after he was responsible for applied ruthless economic finance practises on third world countries in the sixties and seventies.  I read the first half or more and my first thought was "Why on earth did you wait so long to write this book!?!" since him claims to be an insider.  Of course, once you finish the book he ends it on a positive note with the numerous changes he sees coming around the world.  One story he recounts is being at a green conference where he ends up in the hot tub with a CEO of what used to be one of the worst polluting corporations and a eco-protester who was instrumental in force the company to change its ways.  In a situation he at first felt awkward was since the protest had turned "nasty" changed when the CEO thanks them both for giving him the opportunity to initiate change in the company. The CEO mentions how he had discussed making changes to the companies policy but he was a prison of "stockholder" opinion as much as anyone else.  Corporations are not inherently evil and it has more to do with our current system of endless growth and how we now have a system that promotes profit at all cost.  (also discussed in The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction- which I have below.)  He also mentions speaking with MBA graduates and how much the attitudes changed in only a year.  Where earlier the new MBA's were talking about money and what they would earn new graduates talked about the volunteer work or non-profit work they would dedicate themselves too once their student loans were paid off.  Things will get better as we realize we are all in this together!

3) This is the book that introduced me to barefoot running which I have written about extensively.  I can't say enough about what it means to be able to run again. A part of my philosophy is how important regular physical activity is for our health and how it is a main thing each of us can do to improve ourselves and collectively improve society. With regular exercise your health improves but so does you attitude.  You will be nicer to those around you. Now for me running is key, but I encourage people to read this book and try running- but do something.  It also contains a great story about a pacifist culture that is now being threatened by Mexican drug cartels.  Whether or not you are interested in bare-footing, it is a great read.  I also had the pleasure of meeting the author, Christopher McDougal a few weeks ago through a event.

4) In this book, the follow up to the author's (Michael Pollan) The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, he gives very simple diet advice with just seven simple words: Eat Food, Not too much, mostly green.  He defines
food as something our great-grand fathers would recognize. A lot of information is given about the reduction in the variety of food "products" while simultaneously reducing our variety of natural foods from industrialized farming.  I actually recommend both his books, but this one is the easier read.  His two books also talk about "real organic" and locally produced food with details about Poly face farms.  A large reason industrial food is such a problem is how much it is dependent on fossil fuels, not just for the machinery or transportation, but also for fertilizer and pesticides.  Read the website, Poly Face Farms is a true organic farm that requires very little fossil fuels and the soil gets healthier every year.   I highly encourage you to check out the book and the farm.  I think this is the future of farming.

5) This a follow up to Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage).  This is basically an abridged or summary version of the earlier book.  In it Gary Taubes outlines how sugar and starches cause us to become insulin resistant and one it starts it is a positive feed back loop that once it begins the only way to cure the imbalance is by foregoing sugars and starches.  A few key things I learned from this book: originally obesity was treated as a disease and early doctor prescribed bed rest, there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate, and weight gain is all about insulin response.  He make a compelling case against calories in- calories out and that weight is all about hormone response.  While not a diet or weight book itself it does give a lot of good information on why most of the problem may be insulin resistance and current accepted theories about calorie intake are not just off, but plain wrong.


6) This is the book I have most recently read and the one I have frequently quoted both in personal discussions and on this blog. (And the author, Rebecca Costa, actually commented on my blog here, which really blew my mind.) I actually bought this book from Border Books and Music during their going out of business sale and boy am I glad I did. She describes the root cause failures of three of the greatest civilization that lasted for centuries but eventually were overcome by their own success when complexity out grew the faculties to solve the problems.  What actually caused their failure was their inability to differentiate mitigations from actually solutions and delay the problem for the next generation to deal with.  She also articulated something I felt for the longest time. When presented with a problem with not solution the way to solve it is to apply every available mitigation at once not piecemeal while continuing to posit the problem (brainstorm, trial and error, I know actually thinking, etc.).  Instead we apply a single mitigation, fire someone, and move on until the problem returns large than before.  She mentions supermems which are belief we all hold to be true but in reality are not. I have more to say, but for now I will mention that one of the things some of the reviewers I read on think she misses overpopulation as a root cause. I disagree and feel she is correct to omit overpopulation as a root cause because it is most of our current wasteful systems that make our growing population a problem- not the magnitude of the population itself.  The quick example I would give is a quick thought experiment. (and feel free to comment if you don't agree- I am going out on a limb here.) If we suddenly discovered a Stargate (Extended Cut) [Blu-ray] technology that essential opened up new world to colonize overpopulation would not be a problem.  Also, if there was a cold-fusion breakthrough most of the overpopulation problems could be solved- I think our food production and consumer society are system problems that are magnified by population but could be solved independently.

7) I met this author as well at the PSAM 10 and got him to autograph his book: The Failure of Risk Management: Why It's Broken and How to Fix It.  He also wrote How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business.  The reason this book makes the list is that one of our system problems is how inaccurate our data is.  The internet is opening up all kinds of opportunities for real time (or near real time) feedback on so many different aspects of our society.  A large part of the problem is judge the success of applied solutions and also the inherent bias in many of the scientific studies that are done.  Actually, in Al Gore's book The Assault on Reason, he defines it as for the last century information media has been hierarchical with top-down control.  The internet is allow a flow of information both ways and now it is possible to find the real truth.

So there it is, seven books that may help make sense of the world, define the problem, promote actual solution, and help give a positive attitude on the future. This is just the start and most of these books are the "lite" version or will hopefully lead you to read other books.

Knowledge is power-- Sharing knowledge is true power.  Pay it forward and lets work together for the future.  Because alone we will fail.

Lastly, if you have any books you recommend- let me know by any means.

Thanks, Frank

R/c Helicopter Tricks #1

A good friend is a pilot and loves flying his r/c helicopter.  I went with him this past weekend and took the video below.  Enjoy,

And the final video,

If anyone is interested I'll find out what model and the other specs on his heli is.

Epic Fail: The slow sink into collapse.

A slow inevitable epic fall.

Unfortunately this image (I hope the motion is working) can also apply to our current world situation.  Will we have a fast drastic collapse or will we slow sink into the abyss and end up underneath a pile with our collect head in an oven.

What is going on in London? Forget the details and let discuss the causes

What is going on in London? Forget the details and let discuss the causes.

The rioting going on in London right now and I have very little idea why: here are some pictures

This is pretty out of hand for one of the worlds most advanced democracies. Two blogs I follow discuss the causes:

elephantjournal-Ben Ralston


While I agree we are experiencing a reset and not only should things change or must they change, but they are changing for the better. I feel the capital inequity and reward system we currently have it broken and will change the question is how bad things are going to get and how long before we reach some stable form.

Some of the discussion in the above blogs is about the root cause being the system and includes two facts: we can afford to spend on war but cut the budget for public education and our economy is suffering from what I feel is bad policy. When we look at the actions of the riots and only look to punish we will never reach a true solution. People are angry and I really believe this is a direct artifact on the powerlessness people feel right now.

What “branches” do you think we need to cut? I believe we need to: 1) deconstruct the super-sized banking, (no such thing as “too big to fail”- the ship is made of iron and it will sink” 2) deconstruct industrial food farming, (check “”) 3) deconstruct the military industrial complex (large military will always find a war) and 4) reduce our consumption economy (60% of our economy is consumer spending—buying crap)

It is a sad state of affairs when our "blame first" society. I will also point out that we (in "first" world "democracies") eagerly enter wars but scoff at spending a 1/100th of the price for peace. The example I’ll give is from “Charlie Wilson’s War”. We happily spent a billion dollars a year to kill Soviets (stinger missiles at the time were ~$20,000 a piece) and after they left we (the west) had an opportunity to help rebuild Afghanistan, but could give anything.

We need to realize that we truly are interconnected and there are simple but difficult solutions to our complex problems. I don't know what the future will bring, but I am hopeful after things I read here and people I meet that things are changing for the better and better every day.

I have to believe things will get better. We have no control over external events only our internal reactions. I am a firm believe in what you focus on is way will grow (a la "secret"). So stay positive!!! I recommend "hoodwinked" as a book that will first depress and then enforce a positive spirit about the future. It is the follow up to "confessions of an economic hitman" author John Perkins. Next, I will mention this focus exercise.

Look around the area you are in and notice all the red objects. Spend a minute doing this. Now close your eyes and keep the closed. Now try and recall all the blue objects around you—it is a lot harder because you were focused on the red objects. Stay focused on the positive. You will find what you expect to find. Now I do not mean to ignore warnings or as an excuse for dangerous behavior. Actually, that is a part of my Hark’s rule #1. Know when you have a belief versus the truth so when you do get contradictory information you are open to adjusting your belief.

This is awful, so skip this paragraph if you want. I read one book that details an experiment using Puppies to see how experience affects attitude. Unfortunately I cannot remember the details, but two groups of puppies were formed and then each puppy was put in one of two water tanks. Group one had a water tank that had a platform in the corner that the puppy could eventual find and save itself. Group two had a water tank with no platform and the puppy had to swim until it went under and had to be rescued. One group of puppies was conditioned to be “hopeless” and another group of puppies to be “hopeful”. Then the puppies were placed a second time in a water tank with no platform and no means of escape. The puppies that had a platform the first time lasted significantly longer than the group that was “conditioned” to swim until rescue.

So my conclusion is given the choice I have to believe that while things are changing faster than ever before and our problems seem out of control we now have the faculty and technology to overcome the complex problems in the near future. There will be difficult changes and we must persevere, but in the end it will be better for everyone. I do not want to go to far out there but I believe we will enter a new “golden age” of humankind.

I was speaking with my friend, mofongo-con-pernil.blogspot., a few months ago and he mentioned how before September 11th he was a pacifist and now is pro-war (not exactly what he said- but he feels our wars are “justified’. My response is that in every thing I have learned/read since September 11th I have become a dove or pacifist. Here is a reading list that has affected my feelings on our “defense” based foreign policy.

The truth is that striking out with anger hurts us just as much as the person or country we strike. I could discuss endless the different things that could be done after the fact within the last two decades, but we really need to change the things that can be changed now.

I will also say that having an aerospace engineering degree I have never directly worked on weapons program, as much as anything related to aerospace is limited to defense (it is all interrelated). However, I used to feel I would never again work on a weapons program, but having been laid off for six months last year I do not have the luxury if I was in the same situation to turn down a job that lets me work in a field I love (reliability/risk analysis). But I do hope for a future where “defense” is a much smaller priority on not just America’s, but the entire planets budget.

Lefty Fun Facts: What is the long word typed only with the left hand?

Lefty Fun Fact: “Stewardesses” is the longest word in the English language that is typed using only the left hand.

Not a football fan, but I still thought this was interesting: As with most left-handed quarterbacks, Tim Tebow has great arm strength. This Heisman Trophy-winning Florida Gator also has outstanding ability as a passer and a runner. Tebow was the first college football player to both rush and pass for twenty touchdowns in a season and was the first sophomore to win the Heisman. Tebow was the first home-schooled athlete to be nominated for the Heisman and , in 2008, he won the Quaqua Protégé Award as an outstanding home-education graduate.

From the 2011 Left-Hander’s Calendar

Saturday, August 6, 2011

System overload: How do I cure psoriasis?

So almost ten years ago I developed psoriasis or eczema- any of the doctors I went to see over the intervening years were never clear on which it was.  So I will just call it dermatitis. Accepted medicine and every doctor I have been too ignored any idea of a nutritionally basis for as the cause.  Every one prescribed a topical cream.  A few years ago it spread out two both my shins to a point where both we covered.  Over the year I tried many different things and the thing I found was the most effect was doing cleanses.  Basically I would do five days eating fruit and vegetables while taking carbon pills and another herbal supplement.  Anyway while it subsided I still have had a small patch for the last few years.

I am ready to really get it healed along with getting my weight under control.  A close friend is also having a problem with it and his doctor amazingly recommended what is essentially a Paleo diet.

This is the site I follow and the product I have used for my cleanse


Intestinal formula #1

Intestinal Formula #2

I usually buy one bottle of #1 and #2.  I'll post my protocol later.

Since we have been talking about it and I have been blogging more lately.  I figured I would document it here and see how another cleanse or two works.  As embarrassing as it is a lot of us are dealing with this problem.  Please feel free to comment anomonoously if you have your own experience or advice.


Trying to make some sense,

Friday, August 5, 2011

I found my doppleganger: this guy has some moves

I do dance better but this guy is right there.

Now I have got to find my wii hula-hoop video.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Making sense of our current situation

My last post with where I discuss current situation here in America with debt generated a comment on Facebook with someone "blaming" the current President. One of the super-mems detailed in The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction is the personalization of blame.  She gives the example of our current obesity problem- it is obviously a system problem.  Is it more calories and less exercise? The root cause(s) are not obvious, but it is happening to more and more people everyday and it is a complex system problem.  I am not trying to claim a solution, but only the point is a system problem requires a system solution.

As a country we spend too much money.  Actually, I feel that our two biggest problems is how much of the stock markets' value is based on public opinion.  A simple story can have significant effects on a stocks, and therefore a companies, value- immediately.  Second, something like 40% (actually I just saw an article claiming 70%- way too high) of our economy is based on consumer spending-- which is us buying crap.  If you have not watched the videos on, you need to. Also, our country spends too much and has been since the end of World War II.

So we have again raised the debt ceiling and politicians have made a big deal about reducing FUTURE spending increases-- NOT actually balancing expenses with revenues at any point.  Of course, we cannot blame Obama since he came into office during two wars and at the start of the financial collapse.  George Bush lead our country during a difficult time and had to defend us after we were attacked, locate weapons of mass destruction, and build democracy in the middle east.  Whatever, I am not a republican or democrat and the last two sentences probably upset both.  Let me continue, so Bush moved into office with a surplus budget and a few year without increasing expenses the debt would have been paid off (yeah, not sure if anyone remembers that).  Of course we were attacked and we had to respond (but hold off- cause we are still going backwards).  Now Clinton left office with that huge budget surplus so he looks golden other than his half ass attempts to get Bin Laden.  Of course we now know that large corporations may have also been cooking the books and the internet bubble was a part of that upswing.  Value on paper as opposed to real value as at least an equal part of the upswing.  Part was real value as the internet and other technologies have increased productivity-- a large part of why I think the next few years may be difficult but we will pull through to a better future.

So Billy C. became president as our economy was starting to recover from the short desert war and the fall of communism.  That brings us to GB I. after the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan we had an opportunity to help rebuild.  And we didn't take that opportunity.  And yes, I am taking this from seeing Charlie Wilson's War (Widescreen). Now this is a gross over-simplication, but the point is until to put politics aside and work towards real solutions while also realizing that we are all in this together.  Politics has not been about making progress or succeeding it has become making the other team lose.  We are far from a solution and I certainly can't foresee a definitive path.  Here is what I do know.  We need basic ideals.  Right now most people want to return to business as usual and most of the things have been done to add to the walls of a system with a crumbling foundation.  The top banks are getting bigger.  We need them to be smaller. (actually someone posted this earlier today on facebook: and this idea of "too big to fail" is garbage.  What it really is the Powers that be cannot accept the idea of a world where they do fail.  My response is misquoting Titanic "I assure you sir, she is made of iron-- she will sink".  We are within a system requires unsustainable growth and the momentum is increasing while its ability to change is decreasing.  The question I believe is can we change the system before it reaches that tipping point.  I believe we need to follow some fundamentals and start small.

Hark's rule #2: the rule of the not so obvious

If a rare event occurs with no warning or no prediction beforehand and after the fact there appear to be many factors that seem to make prognosis of future events obvious always remember than it was not obvious.  It should be an indication for us to give pause for the possibility of inconceivable events.

Whenever these rare or "low probability" events occur we then fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we do and then assume another event cannot occur or that we have learned from the mistakes of the past.  The real lesson is we should spend more time on prevention.  Yes, I am a reliability engineer so I realize I am biased.

TED: 1000 Awesome things, the three A's of Awesomeness

The three A’s of Awesome. This speech is incredible. Attitude, Awareness, and Authenticity.


You do always have two choices:
This reminds me of “Failure is not an options”.
Awareness: embracing your inner three- year old. Appreciating all the amazing wonders of the world

Authenticity: being your true self.

In case you wanted to look at his blog:

It's National Book Week: follow instructions below

It's National Book Week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you. Go to page 56. Copy the 5th sentence as your status. Don't mention the book. Post these rules as part of your status.

“Experts who study human behavior speculate the drive toward uniform behavior may be a natural instinct inherited from our ancient ancestors.”

The next sentence is too good not to also post: They suggest that survival opportunities increased when we acted as a unified group rather as individuals.

And another sentence too good too not post: Working together enabled us to capture larger prey and to efficiently defend against more powerful predators.

Just read a post from earlier this week with a big comment and you will see which book this is from!