Winning the ultimate battle: How humans could end war

July 7, 2009


Optimists called the first world war “the war to end all wars”. Philosopher George Santayana demurred. In its aftermath he declared: “Only the dead have seen the end of war”. History has proved him right, of course. What’s more, today virtually nobody believes that humankind will ever transcend the violence and bloodshed of warfare. I know this because for years I have conducted numerous surveys asking people if they think war is inevitable. Whether male or female, liberal or conservative, old or young, most people believe it is. For example, when I asked students at my university “Will humans ever stop fighting wars?” more than 90 per cent answered “No”. Many justified their assertion by adding that war is “part of human nature” or “in our genes”. But is it really?

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Did you know (2008)

March 29, 2009

The world is changing in an exponential rate. The world 20 years ago was vastly different from today. In 1987 could anyone have predicted the communication structures that we now take for granted? What will the world be like in 20 more years? It will be even more different than the last 20. (2008 update)

The End of Excess: Is This Crisis Good for America?

March 27, 2009


In the early 1980s, around the time Ronald Reagan became President and Wall Street’s great modern bull market began, we started gambling (and winning!) and thinking magically. From 1980 to 2007, the median price of a new American home quadrupled. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed from 803 in the summer of 1982 to 14,165 in the fall of 2007. From the beginning of the ’80s through 2007, the share of disposable income that each household spent servicing its mortgage and consumer debt increased 35%. Back in 1982, the average household saved 11% of its disposable income. By 2007 that number was less than 1%.

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State board to hear science testimony

January 22, 2009


The (Texas) State Board of Education spent the morning hearing from members of the public regarding proposed changes to how science is taught in Texas schools. Although the standards cover a range of topics and changes, most of this morning’s discussion was about proposed changes on the teaching of the origins and evolution of life on Earth (aka evolution).

The first thing that came to mind here is the seven day theory religious nuts bringing the hate on evolution again. Turns out they wanted to teach the ‘strengths and weaknesses’ of the theory of evolution. I agree that when we teach evolution the first point that should be made is that it is a theory. However, I believe it is pretty much accepted as scientific fact. So then, what are the ‘weaknesses’ of evolution? First Google result yields…

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Brave New World: More Digital, Less Physical

January 7, 2009


Yesterday, I was with my wife in the L’Occitane store. The shelves were filled with fragrances, soaps, lotions: all sorts of handcrafted beauty products. It occured to me while looking at the labels that I have no idea how these products were made. In general, I am just not good with physical things, because I am a software person.  My brain is wired differently, to see patterns in software, not in hardware. But most people are the other way around.  Yet, while looking at the bottles in the L’Occitane store, I wondered: could it be that the world is shifting from physical to digital? At first glance it is impossible, because we live in a physical world. But increasingly, we are surrounded by all sorts of software that fundamentally works differently from hardware. In this post, we’ll look at the interplay between physical and digital and argue that we are, in fact, heading towards a world dominated by digital.

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The Ram Challenge

January 4, 2009


I got a little sick to my stomach today. No, it wasn’t the sub par Chinese food that I ate. It was something that saw on TV while eating my sub par Chinese food. The obscene spectacle of douchebaggery that is  The Ram Challenge! Now that “We the people” own GM, Chrysler, and probably soon Ford. I seriously think that they should reconsider wasting our money on this kind of crap. They are going to let the macho men (cowboys, firemen, military) depicted in the commercial drive all these companies and this country into the ground. Maybe, If this were the trailer for the next Vin Diesel movie it might be OK, but this is a legitimate publicly owned company selling a very real product.  They are expounding the virtues of a truck that you can drive through flamethrowers and exploding houses like its some kind of movie! Well… its not a movie and I think it’s time to come back to reality and realize that this is not an acceptable practice anymore. Now that I think about it a little more, it’s actually making me laugh because it’s just so ridiculous that this is real. It seems more like it should have been one of those fake commercials before Tropic Thunder or something.

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The End of the American Era

September 25, 2008

With the unprecedented $700 Billion USD bailout of wall street, we are reaching the end of the ‘American Era’.  What we are actually experiencing is a massive shift of wealth and power in the world due to the worst monetary policy in history.  This isn’t anything new to history.  How did America became the superpower that it was pre 2000?  In the 19th century Britain was the dominate world power, but after WWII Britain had accrued so much debt fighting in the war that it had to hand over power to America.   Thus, in the 20th century America is the dominate world power.  Now the balance of power is shifting again.  America has too much debt (10 trillion+) with up to 50% of it being borrowed from foreign countries.  After a temporary global slowdown to reconcile this change we will witness the rise of the new super powers in the 21st century lead by China and India.

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