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Opportunity looks a lot like hard work

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Ashton Kutcher:

That message, yelled with arms flailing? Be smart. Be thoughtful. Be generous. Don’t buy what the world is trying to sell you. Opportunity looks a lot like hard work. No job is beneath you on your path to success. Don’t surrender to life as it is. Rebuild it for yourself and others.

The fact is that kids don’t get told this stuff enough. Let alone by someone they think is cool via mainstream media. If we want more engineers, more innovation, this needs to be curriculum, not cable television.

[A thoughtful bit coming from him (in his guise as a “pop” star, and a great message to everyone. It’s never too late.]

Written by Daniel

August 13, 2013 at 8:38 am

The Surveillance Speech: A Low Point in Barack Obama’s Presidency

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The Surveillance Speech: A Low Point in Barack Obama’s Presidency – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic:

On Friday, President Obama spoke to us about surveillance as though we were precocious children. He proceeded as if widespread objections to his policies can be dispatched like a parent answers an eight-year-old who has formally protested her bedtime. He is so proud that we’ve matured enough to take an interest in our civil liberties! Why, he used to think just like us when he was younger, and promises to consider our arguments. But some decisions just have to be made by the grownups. Do we know how much he loves us? Can we even imagine how awful he would feel if anything bad ever happened while it was still his job to ensure our safety? *

By observing Obama’s condescension, I don’t mean to suggest tone was the most objectionable part of the speech. The disinformation should bother the American people most. The weasel words. The impossible-to-believe protestations. The factually inaccurate assertions. 

They’re all there.

[Are any of us really shocked? This has been going on since he got into office. Was this the change you sought?]

Written by Daniel

August 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Dear Recruiter

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Coyote Tracks – Dear Recruiter:

So this letter isn’t as much a waste of your time as yours was of mine, I’d like to offer a new slogan for your firm, free of charge: “Matching miserable people with miserable jobs at miserable companies since  YEAR .” It has a nice ring to it, and it’s exclusively yours,  RECRUITER NAME  of  BUZZWORDS STRUNG TOGETHER INC !

[Oy. Just Oy.]

Written by Daniel

August 1, 2013 at 7:53 am

Posted in commentary, news

The dopers roll merrily on

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Zabel: Nobody Forced Me To Take EPO:

He confessed six years ago to having tried EPO one time, in 1996, but now in light of the positive test a year later, he has finally admitted to having doped from 1996 through at least 2003.

Zabel added, “I never had a structured doping plan, never had any experts around me, and so never saw myself as a superdoper. I only had recommendations.”

[Now we have the birth of the “superdoper”? “I was just a simple lad dosing myself with EPO. No structured plan, and the needles were uphill both ways!” Of course. The disease that causes doping is a lack of honesty. To allow someone to draw a line between themselves as dopers and the newly incarnated “superdoper” is to allow the disease to continue to perpetuate.]

Written by Daniel

July 29, 2013 at 8:06 am

Posted in advocacy, commentary

An underdeveloped market for risk

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An underdeveloped market for risk:

My hypothesis is that our biggest ability to create impact is going to come from finding the “next big thing” business models, the ones that solve problems that haven’t been solved yet – whether in energy distribution, sanitation, water, education, healthcare, etc.  And it feels to me that it’s unlikely that, in most cases, betting on new, untested business models – meaning creating new markets with huge amounts of friction (bad roads, poor ports, unreliable distribution, corruption) serving customers who are, by and large, new consumers of whatever you’re selling (so high acquisition costs, etc.) – is going to fully financially compensate investors and entrepreneurs for the risks they’re taking.

[To be totally clear, I’m differentiating between “good” and “astronomical” returns here, and arguing that if we’re clear-eyed about the risks you have to take to solve problems that have never been solved before, then “good” financial returns aren’t good enough, if your yardstick is a simple financial risk/return analysis.]

[I hope so.]

Source: Sasha Dichter’s Blog

Written by Daniel

July 18, 2013 at 6:35 am

Posted in advocacy, commentary, news

Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom

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“I thought of the last six months in Mississippi and my last week hitching rides with the burned out, beat up, fed up, but always kind and generous sector of society I’d never gotten to know until now. It was strange, I thought, how it was always the poor who picked us up. Our drivers weren’t the type who had happy families and middle-class upbringings like Sami and I had. The shiny SUVs or giant, bus-sized RVs would ride on past, but the worse the rattletrap, the more likely it was to pull over for us. Maybe it wasn’t strange at all. They lived lives with two feet planted in reality. Perhaps they didn’t hesitate to pick us up because they knew what it was like to be cold and hungry and away from home. They dwelled beneath poverty lines and were undereducated, but they were— in the ways that mattered most— far more civilized than the finely bred and carefully raised, for there is no demographic that has a sharper instinct for empathy than the downtrodden.”

[An interesting read of the one person’s realization that college debt does not guarantee success or happiness. I’ve found the above to be sadly true. Mostly what money buys people is isolation and insulation. That too can be good or bad.]

Written by Daniel

July 16, 2013 at 10:04 am

Posted in advocacy, commentary

Verizon and the N.S.A.: The Problem with Metadata : The New Yorker

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Verizon and the N.S.A.: The Problem with Metadata : The New Yorker:

But with each technological breakthrough comes a break-in to realms previously thought private. “It’s really valuable for law enforcement, but we have to update the wiretap laws,” Landau said.

It was exactly these concerns that motivated the mathematician William Binney, a former N.S.A. official who spoke to me for the Drake story, to retire rather than keep working for an agency he suspected had begun to violate Americans’ fundamental privacy rights. After 9/11, Binney told me, as I reported in the piece, General Michael Hayden, who was then director of the N.S.A., “reassured everyone that the N.S.A. didn’t put out dragnets, and that was true. It had no need—it was getting every fish in the sea.”

Binney, who considered himself a conservative, feared that the N.S.A.’s data-mining program was so extensive that it could help “create an Orwellian state.”

As he told me at the time, wiretap surveillance requires trained human operators, but data mining is an automated process, which means that the entire country can be watched. Conceivably, the government could “monitor the Tea Party, or reporters, whatever group or organization you want to target,” he said. “It’s exactly what the Founding Fathers never wanted.”

[And hasn’t the attitude in Washington about this been entirely clear? I always worry when someone tells me something is “for my own good.”]

Written by Daniel

June 9, 2013 at 6:51 pm

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