Category Archives: ideas

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How to go, how to stay, how to live a good life

I was always impressed by this, and have read it often. Young people especially should read it: Reconnecting with Newfoundland – Free Candie.

 

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Some thoughts on Philip Pullman, free speech and de-platforming

I think often of this speech Philip Pullman gave regarding the rights and limits associated with free speech. I like what he says, and I like how he says it.

I’d like to see a similar one for de-platforming. No one has a right to be popular on social media. No one has a right to access and use a specific platform. No one has a right to stay on the platform if they don’t abide by the rules. If they get kicked off, they can complain on other platforms. They can complain to the owners of the platform. They can build a platform of their own and make their own rules and say what they want in a law abiding way.

But wait, isn’t that a violation of someone’s free speech? I don’t think it is. It gives too much power to existing platforms to treat them like utilities. They are not utilities. If they are utilities, then they should be heavily regulated. Better that they are not regulated, that they do not gain too much power, and that people that want to exercise their free speech build their own platforms.

Free speech should be defined within the context of a citizen and their government. People should be able to say what they want within the law. People should also be willing to accept the social consequences if they say something that offends others. That is what Pullman is saying in some ways. If his book shocks and offends you, you can take action that may harm him by reducing the number of books he might sell. That is the consequence he is willing to take in order to write the book he wanted to write. He understands that free speech has consequences. The one consequence he is not willing to accept is to be prevented from speaking. (I would add that the other consequence he is unwilling to accept is to be physically threatened, an all too common threat that hangs over discussions of free speech on the Internet.)

People who are deplatformed are not prevented from speaking either. They are being prevented from speaking the way they prefer, and that is a different matter. They want to speak their way without the consequence of being deplatformed.

 

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Where are all the aliens? A guide to thinking about this.

If you have ever wondered that, then read this: Where are all the aliens? — Quartz

It brings together all the ideas behind this and describes them simply and clearly.

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Sara restaurant in Toronto has a cool way to deal with cell phones at restaurants

According to blogTO, the tables are of a ….

…Design by ODAMI and MiiM (that) incorporates innovative tabletop cubbies with heavy, spill-proof lids designed to stow your phone at the beginning of the meal. Servers remove the lid at the end to remind you to return to your phone, and emerge from the period of serenity Sara offers diners.

Nice restaurant, great idea. For more on it, see:  Sara – blogTO – Toronto

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Finding your way with maps (via @austinkleon)

Austin Kleon has a great piece here on the importance of maps, and not as a means of getting around: Finding your way with maps

I love maps too. Especially hand drawn maps. And ancient maps.

I worry that our phones may be ruining hand drawn maps. When I used to take my son to hockey, I would draw my own maps to get to various obscure rinks. Later, I found out about Waze and it was so superior I stopped drawing my own maps. It’s too bad: it would be fun for my son years from now to have those old maps (which I never kept).

This is a map too.

It’s not really about how to get around. It’s a map showing the relationship between things. In this case, the organizations and their computers that made up the Internet in 1969. It does something old maps do: they show us the two dimensions of space and the one dimension of time.

Read Kleon’s piece. You’ll want to go look at maps afterwards, and you’ll be glad.

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How to grow gardens in the desert? Jordan has an answer


How to grow gardens in the desert? If you are the country Jordan, you use a combination of salt water and sunshine. Lots of both. To see how this engineering miracle occurs, see: BBC – Future – How to use seawater to grow food – in the desert.

It’s a great story, well told. Here’s to it scaling up in the future.

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How to simplify your life

Follow the one rule found here: swissmiss | One Basic Decision. 

However, feel free to swap out “happy” with “good” or other worthwhile aims. Regardless of the one thing you decide, your life will get simpler.