The Nordic Countries and a Winnable Campaign for Women’s Rights in the US

From the audience, listening to Sanders, it sounded like harangue. This is completely different, the opposite of the inspirational tone delivered by Obama, and it was different in another way. Sanders, in an early televised debate, lauded Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. This is the real difference between the candidates: Sanders didn’t present an amorphous hope, an idealized change, he pointed directly at social policy that works, that’s currently in place in other countries, social programs where the citizens have placed a significant portion of their income to public rather than private consumption. In the Nordic countries when they pay taxes, they’re paying for benefits: paid parental leave, day care, universal public K-PhD education, health care, home health care for the elderly. It’s not individuals making sacrifices for other people, when someone pays taxes in the Nordic countries they are buying services for their own benefit. And through their collective effort, they created a place where one would want to live. Sanders directed our nation’s attention at smart social policy that works. Rather than repeat the self-referencing common to America, he directed attention to other countries, people who have made choices to create social benefits.

I wanted to share this idea with my friends. Continue reading

How do we know what is right or wrong?

While talking with the PD-X Humans this question came up, how do we know what is right, it was in the context of asking how it would be possible for society to do what is right, and Jacob said he thought it could be beyond the scope of humanity to even know what is right for the world. That idea looks okay from a cosmic view, seeing the dinosaurs to humanity as one continuous evolution of life on earth that will continue for another billion odd years.

The inability of humanity to determine a valid concept of right action could suggest there is a right action that we have no access to—due to self-interest or eternal ignorance—or that no right action exists for the world because it is the worldly, natural, possibly even divine or cosmic forces, that humanity embody and that we have no ability to direct them. These natural forces take their expression through humanity. Continue reading

Cinematic Experience: From Spectacle to Empathy

A new housemate once told me she didn’t like movies, and I was surprised, how could she not like movies? She said she didn’t like having her emotions manipulated. And sure, I’ve cried at the movies. Even a good documentary can move me. It’s empathy happening.

Say you’re watching a movie at home and you have no empathy for the protagonist, what’s to keep you interested, keep you from turning off the show and moving on with your life? Perhaps curiosity? Suspense? If you don’t want to know what happens next, the movie has failed. And in that sense, every movie is a suspense film. Continue reading

Soft Hacking: Seeing is Believing

When I was in high school nearsightedness came on slowly and some days it would be worse than others, like when I was tired and came home and I’d reach for the door and it’d be blurry. The exhaustion compounded my frustration and it made me mad to lose focus. It was beyond my control. I went on like it was temporary but by my senior year I had to start sitting toward the front of the classroom to read the board and I went for an eye exam. Continue reading

Why Mars? A Multiplanetary Species, But It Won’t Be Humanity: Outer Space as Salvation Myth

It’s powerful, practical even, to charge your employees with great purpose. Scientific discovery, satellite communications, asteroid mining are all useful and practical reasons to launch rockets, and where humanity steps back in awe, Elon Musk takes his SpaceX employees further by saying they’ll make us a multiplanetary species. Granted our technology will explore and work in outer space, but to understand how earthlings would fare on another planet you only have to visit the zoo. Continue reading

Facebook Credits: Getting Paid to View Ads and Creating an In-Platform Economy

Attention, our free time, is the only scarcity online. With so many pages, videos, podcasts to experience, no one wants to waste time on ads—unless it pays. Let’s say the advertiser pays people to view an ad. Currently advertisers pay Facebook to get their ad in front of customers. Let’s imagine Facebook’s News Feed where along with the standard ads and Friend updates, there appears a narrow white bar with a button you can click to unfurl an ad, crediting a dime to you. That ten cents would be an in-platform digital currency.

To seriously consider this scenario with its attendant why-nots and impossibles, let’s attempt to answer: what is the purpose of our economy? With the billions in advertising revenue Facebook collects annually, it might seem the economy works best when money is extracted from an ecosystem and converted to share price and ten-figure entries in the company’s bank account. It’s easier to measure and make sense of the accumulation of money, watching the scoreboard in a global economic contest, than measuring the velocity of flow. But what if the economy actually functions better when money circulates more? Continue reading

40-Second Elvis Movie

At a party convened to celebrate poetry, If Not For Kidnap, a guy introduced himself and said he’d perform an Elvis song from an avant-garde French movie in which Elvis played an ornithologist. James Okubo, a filmmaker based in L.A., was at the party with me and I said let’s make it—the Northwest Film Center had an upcoming 40 second film festival.

Here’s a sample of the storyboards I made for this project: Storyboard