Saturday, June 25, 2016

Wisdom Of The Week

War is nothing new for Americans. It is estimated, in fact, that the United States has been embroiled in a conflict for some 222 of the past 240 years, or more than 90 percent of its very life as a nation. But the war that America finds itself currently enmeshed in with ISIS is unlike any other in the country’s history. During the Vietnam War, we knew who we were fighting, and where we were fighting—just as we had during the Great Sioux War, World War I, World War II, the Gulf War, the Iraq war, and even the war in Afghanistan. But with ISIS—an inchoate confederacy of like-minded thugs spread across a region, and increasingly, across the globe—we know none of these things. And a lot of this has to do with technology.

ISIS uses technology better than most tech start-ups. Ghost Security Group, a counterterrorism organization, has noted in the past that ISIS utilizes almost every social app imaginable to communicate and share its propaganda, including mainstays like Twitter and Facebook; encrypted chat apps such as Telegram, Surespot, and Threema; and messaging platforms including Kik and WhatsApp. The terror group shares videos of beheadings on YouTube and even more gruesome clips on LiveLeak. They use the remarkably secure Apple iMessage to communicate. They preach to their disciples across the world using Internet radio stations. When a terror attack takes place, they use Twitter to claim responsibility and their followers subsequently cheer with favorites and retweets. Perhaps most frighteningly, the group’s dominance as a modern-day terror network is visible through how quickly their social-media dominance is accelerating.

Technology has, in a very real way, allowed ISIS to create its terror network with all kinds of efficiencies. And America is particularly susceptible to this formula. Consider the abominable ISIS terrorists who committed the attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, which ended with 130 innocent people dead and 368 injured. Those militants had to sneak into France illegally and smuggle weapons from the Balkans. Yet in Orlando, ISIS could take credit for an attack without dispatching anyone to American soil, or facilitating any weapons transfers. Its social-media presence undoubtedly enticed Omar Mateen, who bought his SIG Sauer MCX at a gun shop near his home. And after his heinous shooting spree at Pulse night club, ISIS released a statement that permeated social media with shocking ease, almost as if it were a tech start-up sending out a press release about a product upgrade.

- How ISIS Became the World’s Deadliest Tech Start-Up

Quote of the Day

But the answer isn't just to intimidate people into consuming more 'serious' news; it is to push so-called serious outlets into learning to present important information in ways that can properly engage audiences. It is too easy to claim that serious things must be, and can almost afford to be, a bit boring. The challenge is to transcend the current dichotomy between those outlets that offer thoughtful but impotent instruction on the one hand and those that provide sensationalism stripped of responsibility on the other.

- Alain de Botton, The News: A User's Manual

Friday, June 24, 2016

Rico - A Military Dog Was Given A Military Burial

A military dog who served numerous tours of duty overseas was given a military burial over the weekend in Saugatuck, Michigan.

- More Here on this amazing moral process. This is one of those special days that I feel optimistic about us Sapiens.

Quote of the Day

When you're doing something for yourself, or your best friend or family, you're not going to cheese out. If you don't love something, you're not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much.

- Steve Jobs

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Quote of the Day

I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.

- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fish Have Feelings, Too

When you think about fish, it's probably at dinnertime. Author Jonathan Balcombe, on the other hand, spends a lot of time pondering the emotional lives of fish. Balcombe, who serves as the director of animal sentience for the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that humans are closer to understanding fish than ever before.

"Thanks to the breakthroughs in ethology, sociobiology, neurobiology and ecology, we can now better understand what the world looks like to fish," Balcombe says.

In his new book, What A Fish Knows: The Inner Lives Of Our Underwater Cousins, Balcombe presents evidence that fish have a conscious awareness — or "sentience" — that allows them to experience pain, recognize individual humans and have memory. He argues that humans should consider the moral implications of how we catch and farm fish.

"We humans kill between 150 billion and over 2 trillion fishes a year. ... And the way they die — certainly in commercial fishing — is really pretty grim, " Balcombe says. "There's a lot of change that would be needed to reflect an improvement in our relationship with fishes."

- Full interview with Jonathan Balcombe here

Quote of the Day

I want to live my life in such a way that when I get out of bed in the morning, the devil says, "aw shit, he's up!

- Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Quote of the Day

If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.

- George Monbiot

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Silicon Valley's Audacious Plan to Create a New Stock Exchange

If all goes according to plan, the LTSE could be the stock exchange that fixes what Ries sees as the plague of today's public markets: short-term thinking that squashes rational economic decisions. It's the same stigma that's driving more of Silicon Valley's multi-billion-dollar unicorn startups to say they're not even thinking of an IPO. "Everyone's being told, 'Don't go public,'" Ries said. "The most common conventional wisdom now is that going public will mean the end of your ability to innovate."

To Ries, 37, the public markets encourage self-destructive behavior, and he sees their dynamics as one reason why the number of U.S. public companies has fallen by half since its peak in 1996. Once companies go public, employees “are on Yahoo Finance every day, and it’s palpable how much that is affecting the decision-making of ordinary managers,” he says. The problem begins with stock market investors who favor companies that show big increases in sales, profits, users, or other measures every quarter. When a company falls short, investors flee, and the stock plummets. Managers, hoping to avoid such jolts, spend too much time focusing on short-term performance. Ries said he's heard the same story many times: halfway through a quarter, an executive realizes the company isn’t on track and starts slashing innovative projects to meet the targets.

Ries's seminal book preached a fail-fast method of building startups where teams get a "minimum viable product" in front of customers as quickly as possible to avoid wasting time and effort. "The Lean Startup" made Ries, who previously worked as a software engineer at the failed virtual world maker There and as a cofounder of the more successful social network IMVU, a revered name among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. While readers flocked to his startup lessons, no one picked up his stock market proposal -- it was too polarizing. When he decided to do it himself, he started talking to bankers, venture capitalists and regulators, who told him his idea was ridiculous. "People treated me like a barbarian," he says. Undeterred, he spent three years recruiting a team and weighing different ideas, such as charging higher fees for short-term trades. Eventually, the LTSE settled on three reforms that address how executives are paid, how companies and investors share information and how investors vote.

A company that wants to list its stock on Ries’s exchange will have to choose from a menu of LTSE-approved compensation plans designed to make sure executive pay is not tied to short-term stock performance. Ries complains that it’s common to see CEOs or top management getting quarterly or annual bonuses tied to certain metrics like earnings per share, which pushes them to goose the numbers. Ries wants to encourage companies to adopt stock packages that continue vesting even after executives have left the company, which will push them to make healthy long-term moves

- More Here

Quote of the Day

Magic and all that is ascribed to it is a deep presentiment of the powers of science. The shoes of swiftness, the sword of sharpness, the power of subduing the elements, of using the secret virtues of minerals, of understanding the voices of birds, are the obscure efforts of the mind in a right direction.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson