Why you should not use Uber? Let’s count the ways.

Uber seems in a hurry to demonstrate as many ways as possible on how to be a toxic company, from exploitng drivers to  degrading women to ripping off passengers, and more. Mike Loukides lists at least eight here is this piece: Uber is breaking bad over at O’Reilly Radar.

The idea behind Uber is worthwhile. Try and support better companies that provide such services, like Lyft. And be on the lookout for more such companies that sense an opportunity and try and be a good business for their customers and their investors.

 

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Piketty Explained (by someone other than me. Also more prodding from me to get you to read it

 

I wrote about Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century here and here. As I said, I strongly encourage you to read it and take notes.

If you want a great summary of the book, I highly recommend this post: Piketty Explained: Summary of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty.

It’s superb. Peter Shirley, the author, has written  a 30 second summary and a 15 minute summary, and when you finish both, you will have a very fast but very thorough introduction to the book.  I am going to come back to this from time to time as a refresher to what I read in the book (as well as flip through the book again). Did you read Piketty but skip sections? Then review Peter’s post to see what you missed.

More good reasons to pick up Piketty before 2014 ends.

(The chart on world growth rates is from a link to Peter Shirley’s blog post.)

If you need an early winter pick me up, here’s a 1 minute video of a crow snowboarding

It’s no fluke: if you watch the whole thing, you can see he is into it!

Crows are remarkable. Via YouTube and  someone on twitter….I can’t remember who though. Thanks, whomever you are!

You too can be like Elon Musk (@elonmusk) and fund a lunar mission

Really. There is a kickstarter going on right now you can contribute to: LUNAR MISSION ONE: A new lunar mission for everyone. by Lunar Missions Ltd 

The team there says….

We plan to send an unmanned robotic landing module to the South Pole of the Moon – an area unexplored by previous missions.

We’re going to use pioneering technology to drill down to a depth of at least 20m – 10 times deeper than has ever been drilled before – and potentially as deep as 100m. By doing this, we will access lunar rock dating back up to 4.5 billion years to discover the geological composition of the Moon, the ancient relationship it shares with our planet and the effects of asteroid bombardment. Ultimately, the project will improve scientific understanding of the early solar system, the formation of our planet and the Moon, and the conditions that initiated life on Earth.

I think this is the most fantastic Internet project I have seen yet. I highly recommend you check it out.

Thanks to Kottke for pointing it out.

Three winters (a way to think about the difficult season)

There are three winters within each winter season. The first, early winter,
can actually be lovely. The temperatures are cold but not terribly so.
Often you can go out with no gloves or hat. If you celebrate Christmas,
there is all that to look forward to.

Next comes the bleak midwinter, sometime in January and lasting through
until the end of February. This is the cold heart of winter. You need to
psychologically strengthen yourself to get through this part, but if you
learn how to make the most of it, it passes quickly, like all time.

Finally there is late winter. Winter falters then: days lengthen, ice
melts, the earliest of flowers – snowdrops! – appear. You can already taste
spring, and summer seems possible and not just a cruel memory.

Winter seems long, but each of the three winters is short. They whip by
like speed skaters or tobagganers.

(Originally written on my Blackberry and published on Posterous on December 11 2011, 9:54 PM)

A great little tutorial on MySQL that covers Windows, Mac OS X, and Ubuntu (Linux)…

…can be found at this link:

MySQL Tutorial – How to Install MySQL 5 (on Windows, Mac OS X, Ubuntu) and Get Started with SQL.

Even if you don’t know hardly anything about SQL or databases, you will find this helpful. It covers pretty much everything you need to know to get started, and it’s a great cheat sheet for people who have more experience but need to know a command format or get some other quick guidance.

Recommended.

P.S. It specifies Ubuntu, but if you are using other distros like CentOS you should still find it helpful.

Why not a three day week? Something to consider on day two of your work week

This piece on the three day work week, Why Not a Three-Day Week? in The New Yorker explores the notion of working three and not five days a week and is well worth a read. But….

But….before you protest that you don’t work a five day week now, the better and more important question is: why do we have to work so much and so hard and why can we not have a lot more for a lot less? My own belief is that we are still shackled to a culture underlined by a Protestant work ethic and devoted to to a lower form of capitalism. We would lead better lives if our energies and our lives were devoted to more meaningful activities that addressed our higher needs, instead of tolling away to survive. The good/bad news is that even if we want to stay chained to this culture, we will not be able with the way mechanization and automation is proceeding. We need to start thinking about the way we work now, whether we want to or not.