Net Neutrality Day of Action

On July 12, 2017, websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. Learn how you can join the protest and spread the word at https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12/.

Right now, new FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai has a plan to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, the FCC will give companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we can see and do on the Internet, with the power to slow down or block websites and charge apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience.

If we lose net neutrality, we could soon face an Internet where some of your favorite websites are forced into a slow lane online, while deep-pocketed companies who can afford expensive new “prioritization” fees have special fast lane access to Internet users – tilting the playing field in their favor.

But on July 12th, the Internet will come together to stop them. Websites, Internet users, and online communities will stand tall, and sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality.

The Battle for the Net campaign will provide tools for everyone to make it super easy for your friends, family, followers to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we’ve shown time and time again that when the Internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption. Now, we have to do it again!

 

Next by Michael Crichton

I don’t actually think it was that great of read. I read it because my dad liked it and said it would freak me out. And to some extent he was right.

The part of the book that actually stood out to me the most was the end where Mr. Crichton outlined his conclusions about the current environment of genetics and their study. The idea that someone can (and some do) own genetic code is rather crazy. It’s like being able to patent carbon and then anyone who wants to use that material has to give you some sort of royalty or stipend. No one should be able to own the laws and materials of nature.

And the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, to quote directly from his summary…

“Bayh-Dole was always of uncertain benefit to the American taxpayers, who became, through their government, uniquely generous investors. Taxpayers finance research, but when it bears fruit, the researches sell it for their own institutional and personal gain, after which the drug is sold back to the taxpayers. Consumers thus pay top dollar for a drug they helped finance.”

Does that seem like a good idea? Not to me as taxpayer.

And this book was written in 2006, seems like I need to do some research and more reading. I wonder if the legislation on genetics has gone more in favor of the consumer and taxpayer or the corporation and institution.

Reading, Reading, and More Reading

I like being able to jump around and explore different topics depending on what I’m thinking about at the time.

I read a lot. I mean a lot. And multiple books and once, and multiple disciplines. Right now I’m reading a book about painting light by James Gurney, a favorite childhood author of mine. I’m reading a book about health and eating right, because I don’t do enough to maintain a healthy diet. I’m reading a book about customer service to hopefully advance my understanding of what I want from my work. I’m reading a book about economics, a book about religion, a book about the history of Colorado Springs, a book about computer algorithms, a book about soil health, a fiction book or two and of course a Calvin and Hobbes comic, because Bill Watterson is the best.

I like being able to jump around and explore different topics depending on what I’m thinking about at the time. To me, this is a form of continuing education, whether or not it’s “counted” on the resume. If someone were to ask about any of these topics, my knowledge grows with everything I learn and read, so my responses would be better, more interesting and more thought about.

Plus it’s often better than watching TV.

Are you Predictably Irrational?

Simply thinking about money made participants less likely to ask for help.

Finished Predictably Irrational, a little while ago, it’s by Dan Ariely a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University.

One of my favorite bits in the book talks about the establishment of social norms in the workplace. The origins of the 40-hour work week have obvious roots in the industrial revolution, punching in and out, you knew when you were working for “the man.” It was a clear market exchange. Today companies see a clear advantage in creating a social exchange, with blurred lines as the makers of social capital, emotional effort, and creative experiences. Creativity is highly sought in the marketplace, but often becomes lost as careers extend on a single track, when visionary goals are set aside amidst the standard market exchange utilizing the countable opposed to uncountable metrics.

One of the best ways to motivate visionary thought and social exchange is through recognition, reputation, and social rewards. But the highly strived for, “good customer experience” needs to be extended to employees as well, companies must understand the employee’s implied long term commitment. When asked to go above and beyond, accomplish a task ahead of schedule, or work on a special cross-collaborative new project, employees should get something in return – support when they are sick, extra vacation time, or job security when the market threatens to take jobs away. But the current obsession with short term profits, cost cutting, and endless gains in efficiently, the entire balance is threatened. In social relationships, it’s expected that when something goes awry, the other party will be there to help and protect them. This belief is not spelled out in a contract, but it is there nonetheless. To keep that long term implied commitment, companies must strive to support employees in time of need.

And then this principle of monetary motivation was demonstrated again in a fantastic experiment outlined in the book. Performed by Kathleen Vohs (a professor at the University of Minnesota), Nicole Meade (a graduate student at Florida State University), and Miranda Goode (a graduate student at the University of British Columbia), the theory of thought surrounding monetary statements vs. neutral statements was explored in the realm of work. They discovered that merely thinking about money or salary affected the way the participants behaved. Two groups, a control and a test group, were asked to complete “scrambled sentence tasks” before they performed what would be the actual testing scenarios. One group completed their first task with sentences that contained things like “It’s cold outside.” While the second group was primed with phrases such as “High-paying salary.” After these priming activities, the participants were tasked with solving a difficult visual puzzle, in which they were told they could ask the experimenter for help. The students in the “neutral” category asked for help after approximately three minutes, while those in the “salary” category waited on average about five and a half minutes before asking for help, showing more than a 50% increase in time waited to ask for assistance. Demonstrating that simply thinking about money made participants less likely to ask for help. But not only this, those participants in the “salary” group were also less willing to help others. In fact, they were less willing to help an experimenter enter data, less likely to assist another participant who seemed confused, and less like to help a “stranger” (an experimenter in disguise) who “accidentally” spilled a box of pencils. Indeed these individuals showed characteristics that could be categorized as market driven; they were more selfish, more self-reliant, wanted to spend more time alone, they were more likely to select tasks that required individual input rather than teamwork. So, when deciding what you want from your workforce, think closely about the way you prime them on a daily basis, what traits you want them to express, and how you want them to interact with each other.

Highly recommended read.

predictably_irrational_book_cover

Writing

I blog, I journal, I write stories and story ideas, I write a lot of emails and I spend a lot of time reading.

I’m not exactly sure what, if anything I’m trying to accomplish with this blog, other than learning about websites and blogs and practicing writing. But I had the thought the other day, that if I keep up a once per month pace, and about this length post, in about ten years I’ll have written enough for a standard length novel. Not that it would be interesting to read, but that’s a lot of words. But that’s also a lot of years.

I think about writing other things a lot. I do keep a small notebook with random ideas as they pop up, plus have docs on google drive where I’ve started stories, jotted down other ideas, I also have a digital journal, separate from these ideas, where sometimes ideas pop up as well.

I read some anecdote a while back about someone who wanted to be a writer and had met an “actual writer,” and the writer asked him, “Oh that’s great, what do you write now?” And the guy didn’t have an answer, he didn’t write anything, it was to some extent just a pie in the sky, idealistic statement. He wasn’t putting in the time, so to speak.

So, to some extent I do consider myself a writer. I blog, I journal, I write stories and story ideas, I write a lot of emails and I spend a lot of time reading, which I consider also a strong aspect of being a writer. And I don’t think I’m doing anything worth writing about, so I guess I better get my but in gear and write even more.