This blog is a direct result of too much rain in Vancouver. I suspect it will be a place where I will post thoughts about my current readings or about the events of the day. Also, I have a book into which I have been writing "worthy thoughts" over the years as I read books so this may be a perfect excuse to go through all of those and remember the mental resonance that they caused.
It's all about how you ask the question
So if you say:
"Is it within the power of the President to intercept enemy communications in times of war without the permission of a judge."
Here is a PSA for anyone confused by Bitcoin this, Bitcoin that, "cryptocurrencies", "blockchain" and all that.
First of all, you do not need to understand what "blockchain" is any more than you need to understand how your iPhone identifies you by your fingerprint. It is underlying technology serving a purpose.
Second, you do not need to understand anything about currencies. Later, you may but to understand the fundamental concepts involved which you can explain to a 12 year old, you don't.
So in order to avoid that let's start with something that is not money at all. Imagine that there was a ledger (a book with records) in which ownership of every piece of land was recorded. Each parcel of land is uniquely identified and it says next to it who owns it. There is such a ledger - it is called "land registry" or "cadastral system" and just about every country has them. Many of you have bought and sold property and are familiar wit…
This was a while ago after the U.S. election but it is so good it is worth posting at any time. It's by Pete McMartin of the Vancouver Sun:
"By my reading of national and international opinion, the average Republican voter is a slack-jawed cracker named Cletis who lives in a double-wide in Hogspittle, Miss., where he worships rapturously at the First Baptist Church of the Second Coming. He loves NASCAR, hates hockey. He likes his beer with a shot, his shot in a double-barrel, and his double-barrel trained on gays, Darwinists and anyone with pigmentation duskier than his own. Cletis - quelle houreur! - believes in the Bible, the sanctity of heterosexual marriages, the war on terror and the idea that any peckerwood who buys a Honda Civic instead of a Dodge truck is a traitor. Cletis is not just a southerner by inclination or geography: His IQ is south of the Mason-Dixon line, too. He cain't read or write good, except to mark his "X" beside George Dubya's name.
The business model of Facebook is to get paid by serving advertising to you and me - the ads that show up in your NewsFeed in between posts and ads on the side panel. The more time we spend on Facebook, the more ads we "pass by", the more money FB makes.
So if I were Facebook, I would work on setting up my algorithms in such a way that people spend the maximum amount of time on FB. I would find things that make people stay online longer and post more. Posting a pic of a flower or your meal will get a few likes that take less than a second to click on and then we move on. But arguing and "debate" - well that is endless.
If I were FB, I would set the algorithm to show me posts which I am more likely to "engage" with and these days that means argue and disagree with. I would make it so that if on a thread of comments somebody has called me an idiot or a "moron" in the past, those should be the posts that I see first. Because it is more likely ther…