Facebook vs. Australia.

Generally, I try to avoid commenting on current events because they are so polarizing, but I do have a pretty strong opinion about Facebook vs. Australia. The premise of Australia’s law is simple: Pay the content generators rather than having them pay Facebook for advertsing that their content is more visible.BartMakeABetterWorldising

This turns what social media tech platforms have been doing on it’s head, and I appreciate not only the fact that content creators, such as myself, gain something from being shared on social media, but also that the profit disparity between the content platform and the content creators. This, too, is nothing new – ask any band or writer. But it’s not necessarily right because it’s the way it has been.

So, effectively, what is happening is Australia’s government is trying to negotiate for the hostage ( money for creators), and so… Facebook shot the hostage.

Looks like it really is time to find new ways of doing things, because the tech giants seem more interested in perpetuating a business model where content creators are creating content for the company store that they get to advertise in. Wait, what?

Growth

In between reading and writing, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we grow as people. There’s the biological process, cell division, etc – we come with our own blueprints in this regard, and through the Human Genome Project, a few on the planet understand this to a degree well beyond the average person’s – but the basics are there for all to understand. But other sorts of growth defy us, and I have found nothing in all my reading and exploration that sufficiently explains things to me.

I suppose it’s a peculiar thing to think about, but perhaps it seems that way because we don’t think about it enough. Or, perhaps it’s just a fool’s errand, the universe trying to understand itself through the self study of a collection of molecules that defy mathematical probability and not reality, which seems pretty consistent with reality defying probability at every turn. And through all of this, somewhere on a planet in this otherwise uninteresting part of the Universe, someone sitting in a chair idly twisting their toe on the ground is thinking about something highly improbable.

So this is the background noise of our growth. It is the background noise of what we perceive as growth. Perceive? Why yes of course, because we can’t truly measure our growth, and we can only assume that it is growth because of changes in ourselves – if we bother to even take the time to assess ourselves.

That which we perceive has it’s own tempo. In cities, and around other human beings, it is a matter of the tempo of others, of that which is artificial, of our own collective creation. In more rural settings, nature’s tempo is more dominant. In the quiet of solitude, we choose what is dominant – we choose our backgrounds as we select a music playlist to read or write to. We color our world in this way with our choices, and what allows us this flexibility, brittleness or firmness of choice? Is it our experience coupled with some DNA and RNA settings set at our birth default. Then we interact with our world, twisting and turning our matrices, folding in on ourselves, in extreme circumstances the result becoming as tortured as the path to becoming tortured.

To make matters worse, we are conflicted – each person, to some degree, wants to belong and thus will try to fit in with some – maybe because they are what they wish to be, maybe because that’s all they have, maybe because they know better, maybe because they don’t. And yet, every human being also wants to be individual, independent, and someone that stands out be it for reasons of procreation or less biologically rooted reasons.

So. How does one measure growth along these lines?

Well, we can’t as far as I can tell.

And yet we talk about personal growth as if we could stand next to a post every year or so and draw a line to measure a physical attribute. Our experience of growth is subjective against a flowing canvas that we do not yet understand.

But we change. We learn, hopefully, some faster than others. Physically, we grow until our body decides that entropy deserves a fighting chance, and I cannot help but wonder if perhaps emotional and mental disorders, unrelated to our biology, are not our minds letting some of that entropy in.

And then what is entropy? For this context, a means of explaining disorder within any system as applied to ourselves, but then this leads to question what disorder is when considering what we have learned from Chaos theory, that chaos – disorder – is likely just order we do not recognize yet.

So the reality is that we don’t know enough to measure ourselves. So why do we try? Why do I try? Isn’t it somewhat egotistical to measure our own growth? Isn’t it sort of like killing the Buddha?

And there we are, full circle. There is personal growth, we all understand that, but when it comes to actually demonstrating it, measuring it…. we do not have metrics, we do not have anything that is truly objective, and even the opinions of others are flawed by their subjectivity.

Why Problems Aren’t Solved.

thoreau_lock_and_keyAs a member of the Board for what could best be explained as a condo community, I find myself shaking my head quite a bit. One of the reasons I do so is because, simply put, people become more emotionally attached to a problem than a solution. One such example was an issue of a missing key. But the issue wasn’t the missing key. The issue was getting to what the key gave access to: The garbage room.

There’s a story behind that, as there usually is, but at this point in time there’s actually little good reason for the garbage room to be locked. At one time, there was some rationale, but that rationale has been found wanting as other things have changed. I had predicted this prior to coming on the Board, communicated it with the Director who pushed it (who is now no longer on the Board), and so I waited over the course of a week as this can got kicked around in community chats.

The conversation centered around the key. The key became this Holy Grail of sorts, and everyone wanted to blame someone for the issue regarding the key (it is lost to the entropy of bureaucracy, suffice to say). After a week, I finally sounded off because the time it was taking for people to sort out the problem had exceeded my patience.

“We don’t need the locks on the garbage rooms anymore.”

The underlying issue was that people couldn’t access the garbage room for bags that were larger than the chute. Everyone wanted to play the blame game about the key, and meanwhile, the garbage room was still inaccessible. And this set me to thinking because when large groups of fairly intelligent people disappoint in their capacity to solve a simple problem, it’s time to think.

The Solving Of Problems

There is a tendency to get caught up in minutiae, trying to solve a smaller problem with an assumption that solving the smaller problem will somehow continue solving a larger problem. In the above example, it was a simple matter of switching perspectives, a flexibility in viewpoint to be circumspect. Generally speaking, education systems, perhaps because of the amount of time to shove a few thousand years of knowledge into less than 20 years, doesn’t deal with this well.

Let’s be honest, too – the present techno-communication landscape of social media is more suited for allowing for cognitive bias: Social media sites, in their wish to get our eyes on their advertising, show us what we agree with rather than well rounded opinions. It’s all an echo chamber and makes looking for valuable dissent (as opposed to popular dissent) all the less likely to be found.

If we are only presented that which we agree with, how are we to move forward? If a solution is chosen because of popularity on social media, how valuable is that solution? And do all these people with opinions have knowledge on the topic or add value somehow, or are they simply looking for views on their website, just as without social media sometimes people add their opinions to look smart even when their opinion demonstrates that they are not?

It seems to me – and we all have biases on this – that the world is getting better at communicating solutions that are popular, but not right – and therein, we find the core problem, and the solution is… well, I’m sure I don’t know.

Gears, Topology, Economies

Car gear stick. Manual transmissionI took a drive this morning up to Maracas Bay, along Trinidad’s North Coast road. It’s easily one of the least forgiving roads in Trinidad and Tobago; in that regard it seems world class. If you make a mistake on the curvy hillside cut road, you can end up sometimes hundreds of meters below.

I’ve driven it for decades, but I’ve always driven with a diesel and stick, and one of my goals was to achieve the ‘no brakes’ usage in a stick (which I have done a few times, with timing and yes, video… somewhere…). Because of the hills, people constantly have their brakes fail during or at the end of their journey, so not using one’s brakes is important.

Without a stick, I was stuck with a double clutch automatic transmission paired with a 1.6l gasoline turbo. I set off, thinking this would be fun and interesting, but it was still dark and it was less fun and interesting given that most of the lights in the darker parts are missing, and the new ‘cat eyes’ at the ‘edge’ of the road disappear around tight corners.

Still, I felt the car, and I made it stay in gear with the manual selector – and choosing which gear was a matter of getting the car into the right gear and going with it. This was a cagey process because of the variances in inclines and curves, so I thought about why it was easier with a stick.

It’s simple, really: A human driver who understands how a transmission works is better than an automatic transmission that is developed for a market with a less varied driving topology. This is a problem that won’t get fixed soon, since it requires what we human drivers call, “knowing the road” from the perspective of a transmission. In short – not gonna happen, not enough financial incentive, the market is too small, the benefits too little for what would be a quantum leap in transmission technology.

Watch, someone will do it soon and prove me a liar. I hope so. That’s not the point though.

So I was considering the points raised by Jordan Hall in this Civium related video:

Civium explained a bit.

Now, I’m not expert on Civium, and I only caught a trailer, so I really have no comment on it other than this video had some ideas and thoughts very well expressed – enough so that after I thought through the transmission issue a bit, I saw some interesting parallels.

The explanation of city centralization is done well; ‘All roads lead to Rome’ sort of stuff, which is more than valid, and the idea of minimizing the ‘human foot print’ is also quite valid, particularly to me who came back from a 30 minute stay in Maracas Bay… before anyone got there. I drove an hour each way for those 30 minutes (I could have done it in half the time, but… transmission and road conditions).

Yet between that and where we are is another quantum leap. A leap in which we figure out how to scale geographical economies appropriately across what is needed and therefore valued.

It may already be happening.