Author Archive for



13
Nov
16

rain day #3

rain-01.

It’s stopped raining and is clear, but my new generator doesn’t arrive until tomorrow afternoon.

So I’m still on vacation.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Guns N’ Roses performing “November Rain”

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Weather Report

69° and Mostly Sunny

12
Nov
16

rain day #2

love-rainy-day.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Enigma performing “Rain Song”

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Weather Report

57° and Scattered Showers

11
Nov
16

rain day

rain-generic_650x400_71457950721.

No power ’til Monday night and I can’t write.

A forced vacation.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Led Zeppelin performing “The Rain Song”

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Weather Report

61° and Rain

10
Nov
16

universal basic income

Since I began depending on Social Security for my income, my dedication to youth justice issues has not exactly been diminished. My biggest challenge has been learning to live within my means, not the target of my efforts. If anything, going onto Social Security has freed me up to pursue what I believe is important to society, regardless of how well (or poorly) it pays.

I have lately been hearing more and more that all people of all ages should receive “Universal Basic Income” (also called unconditional basic income, Citizen’s Income, basic income guarantee, or universal basic income). It is a form of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution, in addition to any income they receive from elsewhere. In this definition, I emphasize the word “unconditional,” which means that a benefit would be paid, regardless of whether the recipients are TV-watching couch potatoes or stunningly productive entrepreneurs. You get paid for just being alive.

The arguments for Universal Basic Income generally boil down to three points:

(1) Eliminate and reduce poverty and inequality, with dignity and security for all;

(2) Save capitalism, as technology substitutes for human labor and reduces wage/purchasing power; and

(3) Encourage entrepreneurship, lifelong learning, creative and caring work. and civic engagement.

Universal Basic Income probably won’t happen in my lifetime because the idea is surely too morally reprehensible to the red tie guys and gals. They probably support the caste system in India, too. But then, they don’t have any better ideas than “some people deserve to suffer.”

I recently read this article about some things that Elon Musk said about Universal Basic Income. It deserves a hearing.

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Elon Musk: Robots will take your jobs, government will have to pay your wage

by Catherine Clifford, CNBC

November 4, 2016

Computers, intelligent machines, and robots seem like the workforce of the future. And as more and more jobs are replaced by technology, people will have less work to do and ultimately will be sustained by payments from the government, predicts Elon Musk, the iconic Silicon Valley futurist who is the founder and CEO of SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX.

According to Musk, there really won’t be any other options.

“There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” says Musk to CNBC. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”

In a country with universal basic income, each individual gets a regular check from the government. Switzerland considered instituting a universal basic income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2578) a month this summer. Voters ultimately rejected the plan, but it sparked a broad, global conversation.

Also this summer, President Obama addressed the idea of a universal basic income in an interview with the Director of MIT’s Media Lab, Joi Ito, and Scott Dadich, editor in chief of WIRED: “Whether a universal income is the right model—is it gonna be accepted by a broad base of people? that’s a debate that we’ll be having over the next 10 or 20 years.”

While society is slowly mulling over the idea of a basic human income, technology is rapidly changing the global workforce.

For example, in the future, semi-trailer trucks will be able to drive themselves. And though that won’t become the status quo for a while, it will mean that there won’t be a need for quite as many truck drivers, says Musk.

Some drivers will transition to fleet operators, responsible for monitoring the status of a fleet of trucks, not any one individual truck. If a truck appears to be having issues, then the fleet operator would come in remotely and solve the problem.

“Actually, it’s probably a more interesting job than just driving one [truck],” says Musk.

It’s likely those truck drivers who no longer have a job might see the situation differently.

But the optimistic Musk sees increased automation as an overall benefit to society, even an opportunity.

“People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things,” says Musk. “Certainly more leisure time.”

A long horizon of leisure time may sound good, but it can also be an intimating prospect. For many, having a job and someplace to be each day is grounding and gives purpose to life.

Indeed, Musk himself is driven by his professional ambitions. He hasn’t needed to work to pay his bills for well over a decade. In 2002, Musk sold PayPal, the online payments company he co-founded, to eBay in a deal that put $165 million in his pocket. Instead of kicking back, he has launched multiple companies and is trying to get to Mars.

Even though Musk’s ambition may be more outsized than most, many Americans would probably also want to continue doing some kind of work. Binge watching Netflix is only enjoyable for so long.
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Cat Clifford is the senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN.
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Groove of the Day

Listen to Hozier performing “Work Song”

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Weather Report

61° and Cloudy

09
Nov
16

bigly upset

happy-dog

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Thank god the election is over!

Now we can get back to cute puppies on Facebook and I will no longer have to hear from those people who post annoying Donald Trump messages. They will just be smug for a while, and I can take that.

You probably think I should be off somewhere, licking my wounds. I’m not. I’m trying to put a positive light on things… for example, that I will have a new generator next Monday (ask no questions about the long weekend).

I have electrical problems at Estrella Vista, and I must keep this short.

If this election has taught me one thing, it is that conflict in the 21st Century will be framed by the following:

The Empaths vs The Sociopaths

Think about it. I think it fits.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Ben Selvin and the Crooners performing “Happy Days Are Here Again”

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Weather Report

50° and Rain

08
Nov
16

voting day

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The choice is yours.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Elton John performing “Madman Across the Water”

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Weather Report

68° and Rain

07
Nov
16

too harsh

brain-in-color.

Neuroscience Suggests the Justice System May Be Too Harsh on Young Adults

by Jesse Singal, New York Magazine

October 31, 2016

For a long time, the United States’ justice system has been notorious for its proclivity for imprisoning children. Because of laws that grant prosecutors and judges discretion to bump juveniles up to the category of “adult” when they commit crimes deemed serious enough by the authorities, the US is an outlier in locking up kids, with some youthful defendants even getting life sentences. Naturally, this has attracted a great deal of outrage and advocacy from human-rights organizations, who argue that kids, by virtue of not lacking certain judgment, foresight, and decision-making abilities, should be treated a bit more leniently.

Writing for the Marshall Project and drawing on some interesting brain science, Dana Goldstein takes the argument about youth incarceration even further: We should also rethink our treatment of offenders who are young adults.

As Goldstein explains, the more researchers study the brain, the more they realize that it takes decades for the organ to develop fully and to impart to its owners their full, adult capacities for reasoning. “Altogether,” she writes, “the research suggests that brain maturation continues into one’s twenties and even thirties.” Many of these insights come from the newest generation of neuroscience research. “Everyone has always known that there are behavioral changes throughout the lifespan,” Catherine Lebel, an assistant professor of radiology at the University of Calgary who has conducted research into brain development, told Goldstein. “It’s only with new imaging techniques over the last 15 years that we’ve been able to get at some of these more subtle changes.”

The basic argument is that since we know 20-year-olds have brains that are, overall, more likely to fall victim to impulse and temptation than those of 30-year-olds, the justice system should factor in these differences. Research shows that imprisoning a 20-year-old, after all, is only going to make them more likely to commit crimes in the future. And as Goldstein’s article notes, we live in an age in which millions of young men of this age lack economic opportunities, and in which far fewer of them settle down with a spouse and kids at a young age than was the case fairly frequently—people “grow up” slower in a sociological sense than they used to. Throwing a young adult in prison for an extended term, rather than helping them get the resources they need to live a productive life, is often a net negative for society.

Now, it’s important to remember that this brain-development stuff is complex. For example, everyone’s brain develops at a different rate—some 20-year-olds have far more “mature” brains than others. It’s impossible to make any one-size-fits-all statements about people’s reasoning and judgment capabilities at a given age.

What is clear, though, is that there are important average differences between young adults and older ones, and that many states in the U.S. don’t recognize that difference. Luckily, as Goldstein notes, “Raise the age” campaigns—that is, raise the age of the cutoff between juvenile and adult, sweeping more young adults into the former category—are starting to gain traction in a lot of places, even if these initiative often face political opposition. So it might take a while, but it feels like the justice system is showing some signs of willingness to adopt the latest, most accurate brain science.

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Jesse Singal is a New-York-based journalist who currently works as a senior editor at New York Magazine’s website, where he will be editing a soon-to-launch blog about the science of human behavior. He’s also the video game columnist for The Boston Globe and a contributing writer at Newsweek/The Daily Beast, and his work has appeared in The New Republic Online, Slate, BloombergBusinessweek.com, Politico, The Washington Monthly, and other outlets.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Brainiac performing “I Can Do Science Me”

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Weather Report

76° and Clear