Archive for the ‘thoughts’ Category:

Social Transparency

February 7th, 2009

I believe online social networks will become more advanced and more common, so much so that it will go beyond the green revolution of today and trigger a more broad good revolution of tomorrow.

I was listening to futurist Paul Saffo on KQED discussing the last 100 years and the next 30-50 years, and although he is smart and had many interesting observations, I strongly disagreed with some of the pessimistic observations – like how he would hate to be in Obama’s shoes, and the US Federal goverment could become a failed state similar to how California is becoming.  I can’t really argue those specific predictions, but I do think very important technological changes that are happening will have a tremendous affect on the future.  The number one thing is that the power of the internet is yet to be realized.

touchgraph-facebook-chad-names_only

Think about the affect the Internet has had already.  In theory, anybody anywhere can access enormous amount of information.   Amazing.  In practice you have places like China that block access to much of that information, but for the most part people are way more connected than they ever have been before.

The next big thing is the type of information that is available.  Ultimately humans are social creatures, they follow what their friends and family do, they spend their time wanting to be with and do things with friends and family.  Now lets think about it, what if it was super easy to know at any moment what your friends and family are doing, or what they have done recently.  Sure they will be privacy and other issues, but eventually they will be sorted. For example, with facebook, once you initially setup friends, you can announce to some or all of them things very easily.  Even your actions are part of the news feed, such as “chad reviewd a new mexican place” or “chad joined greencupboards”.

How will people react?  Well, how would you react knowing that most of your life will be semi-public information? Not in a “big brother is watching you”  way, but more of you controlling the information – what would you want to share with your friends and family?  Because these are people that you trust at some level and want to impress (not show off, you can impress your friends and family and stay true to yourself), I think people will want to share good ideas, share positive or interesting behavior, and ultimately be better people.  Sure, there will still be many that are greedy and/or don’t care what people think, but the majority of people do care what their friends and family think of them, and what the majority of people do matters.  It’s sorta like having a workout buddy – knowing your friend is there watching and supporting, you can do more than you can by yourself, and possibly eat less potato chips.  Hmm.. I sound like an optimist.. maybe cuz it was warm and sunny today in Chicago .. I digress.

This transparency, where you control what is shared between you and your friends and family, is going to trigger a good revolution.  Maybe not in 5 years, but definitely within our lifetime.  Mark my words.

A New Year

The New Year has arrived. And with it people pause, look back, look forward, figure out where they want to be and what changes are needed to get there. Well, that’s what I’ve been doing the last two years. Mostly looking back on my career and trying to figure out where i want to be in 5 years. So far nothing has presented itself as the clear winner. But during this time I’ve lived life – traveled, learned, had fun, and did what i wanted to. Here’s what I’ve concluded

  1. Spend time thinking about what’s really important to you. Be honest. Write them down. Look at it everyday. Make changes as you need to so it is accurate, but work towards a final list. Revisit only when you have major life changes.
  2. Implement it. That is, do things that are directly related to what is on that list. For example, If family is important, do activities with your family (watching TV does not count). If they are not around, make something for them. The point is to consciously spend time on the things that matter.

The steps are simple, but they have definitely improved my life and reduced some of the anxiety I’ve felt about “what do i want to do with my life”. Here is my list, still in flux, and kept concise – note the last one – more of reminder on how to live life, to be applied no matter what i’m doing. Likewise, i can combine things like have fun listening to new music with friends (triple play).

– Friends, Family
– Fun, Music
– Learning, New Experiences
– Exercise, Nature
– Giving Back
– Love, Honesty, and Respect

This is not a “New Years Resolutions” List. This is just a list of what’s important to me. I also made a new years resolution list – some of it is personal, but i’ll quickly list a few things

– Work on patience – especially for those i love.
– Perfection – Be more comfortable with lack of it.
– Start getting paid again (5 year plan)
– Be more Green (see Understanding Green Business, coming soon)
– Spend more time appreciating friends and my blessing (thanks to Otto for reminding me to give thanks)

Seven Social Sins

June 26th, 2007

politics without principles
pleasure without conscience
wealth without work
knowledge without character
commerce without morality
science without humanity
worship without sacrifice

I saw this poster in Koh Chang a couple days ago, and then noticed the same list on a poster in the Indian Embassy today in Bangkok.  You think Gandi is trying to tell me something?

Chadtarded

June 20th, 2007

Ok, since when did ya have to have a VISA to get into India? oh yeah, since .. ALWAYS. I even knew that – i was there in 2004. I went to actually board my flight at the airport and they were like .. wheres your visa info? and i was like .. uhhh… huh-huh .. uhhh… i don’t have one. sigh. I am like a special kind of retarded .. chadtarded.

Well, it took me all day but now i got visa and flights all sorted – exhausting but i feel much better now. Traveling can make you tired – sometimes you push yourself too hard and then you enter the retarded phase. Good part is I can rest now – the bad part is that i only have 3 weeks in India. Thats barely enough to explore the Himalayas – perhaps the taj mahal will wait till my next india trip. Oh, and another week in Thailand. Do i try to go to the beach? or spend it in bangkok relaxing and working on photography and my resume? This last week actually wore me out. Today i rest. We’ll see tomorrow

Oh, and of course i updated my itinerary again.

Evil Exxon

January 29th, 2007

We all know oil companies are awesome. Exxon especially so. They are the biggest oil company in the world but the worst for the environment see How they compare – pdf. Also, an estimated $37 billion in profits last year, and they still has not paid the $4.5 billion in punitive damages it owes for the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill! So far, 6,000 fisherman and others harmed by the devastating spill have died awaiting compensation. Also, “Exxon has dished out at least $19 million dollars since the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol (1997) to fund an elaborate network including over 75 industry front groups mobilized in a misleading campaign to cloud the public’s understanding of global warming.” – Robert F. Kenndy, Jr. Here’s more exxon facts and a little exxon movie for the kids.

Good Statistics

January 29th, 2007

This morning shayna and i had a discussion on child abuse. I’m a bigger fan of statistics than she is, and it led to a brief tangential discussion of good statistics vs bad statistics. Yes, sometimes statistics are a bad thing. I define good statistics are ones that are fact based, complete, and useful (i should prolly work on that definition). Bad statistics are ones that are incomplete, contain subjective elements, and/or could be used to support either side of the same argument – you gotta take ’em with a grain of salt. For example, “4 out of 5 dentists recommend crest”. That is bad because it is incomplete – we don’t know how many and what type of dentists were asked – they could have asked only dentists that are employed by crest. We assume that alot of dentists were asked, and because we have to assume it is incomplete and therefor a bad statistic. And statisics aren’t always bad, but they could be better. Both of the following are from 2006 Statistics – Which is better and why?

  • 36.7% of all women in prison and 14.4% of all men in prison in the US were abused as children.
  • More than a third of women in the nation’s prisons and jails reported abuse as children, compared with 12% to 17% for women in the general population. About 14% of male inmates reported abuse as children, compared with 5% to 8% of men in the general population.

I would say the second, because it puts it in context. That is, if percentage in jails and out of jails were the same, it’s not as noteworthy. But it’s 2-3 times greater for those in prison. Makes sense. However, the second doesn’t mention US, which it should, and actually is the case. Here are some more interesting statistics from the US in 2004 .

  • An estimated 1,490 children died due to child abuse or neglect (src).
  • In the US, 12 out of every 1,000 children (age 0-17) were known victims of child abuse (1.2%). For children 3 and under, its 16 out of 1,000 (src).
  • There were 868,000 known victims total out of about 73 million children total (age 0-17). Florida had the higest rate of about 32  victims per 1,000 children (130,000 victims of 4 million florida children) (src).
  • When looking at each race, and comparing only child victims in that race to other children in that race: (src)
    • African-American – 19.9 victims per 1,000 children
    • Pacific Islander – 17.6 victims per 1,000 children
    • American Indian or Alaska Native – 15.5 victims per 1,000 children
    • White – 10.7 victims per 1,000 children
    • Hispanic – 10.4 victims per 1,000 children
    • Asian – 2.9 victims per 1,000 children
  • 83% of victims were abused by a parent acting alone or with another person (src g1 g2).
  • 56% of alleged child abuse reports were made by professionals (educators, law enforcement and legal, social services, medical, mental health, child daycare, and foster care). 44% of reports were submitted by nonprofessionals (including friends, neighbors, relatives, etc.) (src).

However, i sadly could not find info linking child abuse to economic status (but race was included), which my gut tells me might matter, but i could totally be wrong. I actually found a great webpage by Jim Hopper that discusses child abuse statistics (how i found the above), with an emphasis on taking statistics with a grain of salt, which is really the point of this blog. He also points out that many child abuse cases go unreported, its hard to tell how many. He suggests a few books to read regarding statistics:

“Again, widespread uncritical faith in statistics is historically fairly recent. And it causes significant confusion – among members of the media, politicians, judges, and advocates for various causes, not to mention average citizens. Therefore, having tools for thinking critically about statistical findings reported in the media (and on the web) will help you better understand a variety of important issues, not just child abuse. Two good, recently published books can help you cut through the confusion and hype that surround most presentations of statistical and scientific findings in the popular media … It Ain’t Necessarily So .. and Damned Lies and Statistics ..” – http://www.jimhopper.com/abstats/#s-statistics

2006 In Review

It was a big year for me. I quit yahoo, travelled, had alot of fun, got back together with shayna, and was happy most of the time. That last part is key, being happy. However, the most significant event was quiting yahoo to find myself. I opened that can of worms 9 months ago and have not made much progress, but intend to over the next couple weeks before my travels kick off again.

Looking at my Flickr sets, I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve definitely enjoyed friends and events in San Francisco and the bay area as well travels in the U S and A (borat) and Costa Rica. Best of 2006Travels include many snowboarding trips to tahoe, my cousin’s wedding in Ft. Lauderdale, Dusty in Sarasota, WMC in miami, Coachella, Hikes to Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite; New Orleans, The Carolinas, Pirate Summercamp, Swimming Priceless, Raindance, Burningman, Road Trip USA, Lusty Wedding in Tahoe, Rick and Zetta wedding in Costa Rica, and Christmas in Atlanta. Other fun stuff includes many amnesias, Checkoway’s bday, Class 6.2 Cycroan, brewery tours, QUITING YAHOO, Bay to Breakers, Many Jason and Monica events, and just being with my friends. My family also had a big year – We had one death (my grandma) and one birth (my sister’s baby katherine) last year, in addition to 3 weddings already mentioned. I even summarized my pics in Flickr Best of 2006.

Those were the broad strokes. Here i am, January 2007, reflecting the past and envisioning the future. What does it mean to quit your job to find yourself? I’ve been asking myself that for a while. Most people don’t really know what that means, implying it’s a rare thing. Do people think about stuff like this or do they just go through the motions of life. Hop in the raft and float on down the river and see where it takes you. Perhaps they have found themselves – floating down the river is what they want. But i’ve tasted things that make it hard to go back. I know what it’s like to really enjoy your job, even though most of the time i didn’t. I know how to put my all into something. I know how to really have fun. REALLY. I know it is possible to change your life significantly for the better, and that makes me question my current life. I feel extremely lucky and blessed. So what do i do with myself? The only thing i conclude is that i have to find myself – be confident in who i am and what i’m doing so i can put my all in it and feel good about it. Put my all into what? Not easy. Could be a careers. Could be a woman or a family. Could be a calling to help others. Could be something i have yet to discover. Could just be doing a bunch of little things the best i can.

2007 will also be a big year for me. Cheers to hoping for a good one.

Good Night, and Good Luck

January 15th, 2006

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the Republic to abdicate his responsibility.”

Edward R. Murrow, from the March 9, 1954, ‘See It Now’ television broadcast on Senator Joe McCarthy.

I just finished watching George Clooney’s Good Night and Good Luck movie on Murrow and McCarthy. We’ve all heard about McCarthy, but this movie highlights one of america’s best journalist standing up to the fear and helping bring an end to McCarthyism. The reason i write this blog is probably the same reason that Clooney made this movie now – fear of communism is not unlike the fear of terrorism we see today. But also, i will take it further – where are the true leaders today? Why don’t the journalists ask the hard questions, report with accuracy and truth? I’m not saying they all suck, but few are good and fewer are great. Is it because the machine is so finely tuned that more money can be made without real journalists? without hard truth? without a hero? Yes, i think Edward R Murrow was a hero.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana, 1905