Sunday, September 15, 2019

Got Education?


You’ll have to smarten up to find a productive place in today’s economy.

The old 20th-century way of doing things that my baby boomer generation grew up in has gone the way of the buffalo.
You already know this, right?

I came across an instigating article on Seeking Alpha a few days ago. As I read John N. Mason’s piece about the “New” corporation, it struck me that he had put together some pretty important observations and statistics about this 21st-century economy and where we are headed with it.
My take on his presentation is that he is, obviously, writing about a 21st-century work environment in which using your brain will be more important than ever before, more important than acquiring the old hands-on skills that enabled folks to get ahead in times past.

Oh, the developing digital work of our present work scenario is still “hands-on.” But it seems the hands will be mostly on keyboards that electronically deliver commands and programs that will run, automatically, the nuts and bolts, the widgets and equipment that will perform most of the tasks that we humans used to do, back in the day.

This whole progression got seriously cranked up about 170 years ago with the Industrial Revolution. There was a time, for instance, when a man could get on a horse, start riding westward, and eventually make it from Boston to San Francisco.
Then along came the railroads and changed all that.
Then along came the automobiles and changed all that even more.
And then there was a time when a person would mail a letter from Boston to San Francisco. The Pony Express or Wells Fargo or somesuch would deliver the letter cross-country, and yes it would get to the west coast, but it took a while.
A long while.
Then along came the trains, to make that delivery happen in just a week or so.
Then came the planes to make the airmail delivery in a day or two.

Now the message, or an order, is delivered with the push of a few buttons on your computer, or a scan on barcode, along the way.
You know that’s a “hands-on” technology that is fundamentally, quicker, easier and better than the old way of many different sets of hands that set themselves to crank up machinery and maintain it and oil it and fuel it and guide it all the way to some faraway delivery point.
As those technology changes revolutionized transportation, so shall the coming tech changes revolutionize manufacturing and wholesaling and retailing and every other industry or business you can think of, including knowledge itself.

So if you want to prosper in this 21st-century, if you want to find a place in the scheme of things, if you want to “get ahead”. . .
Get with the program.
Literally, the programming.

And this is what, in my opinion, John Mason is hitting on when he elucidates the workings of intellectual capital, which is a high-falootin' way of saying:
Education is, and will be, worth more than ever before. Get one. Learn how to think outside the old box.

Smarts

If not, hey, we’ll always need somebody to clean up the place, flip the burgers, run the cash registers  while everybody else is booting up the world.
Back in the day we used to say money makes the world go around.
Not so any more. Now electrons make our developed world go around. Learn how to direct them, how to make them do whatever has to be done for profit, or for improving the world we inhabit.

Don’t just vegetate as a consumer. . . eating, drinking, watching shows, fake news and social media.

Be a producer. Make things happen for you and for those you love. Get out there and do it, make things happen. Life will be better.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Wai'ale'ale

KauWaialeale1
Kauai
Hawaii
where long
ago hot lava
spewed up skyward
into prehistoric atmosphere
and falling back down to earth
deposited Wai’ale’ale the mother of
all Hawaiian volcanoes dormant volcanoes
now
stands
as cloud
catcher
mist
collector
waterfall
dropper
streams
trickle
KauWaialeale2
down
ancient
crater
plummet

KauWaialeale5
and then
flow
Wailua
River
to Pacific
KauWaialeale6
from
magma
mountain
Wai’ale’ale
Selah
Mahalo

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Update: A day in the Life

I read a tweet today oh boy
  about a cocky man with a rant parade.
And though the news was really bad
  well I just had to laugh one more time.
I saw the comment thread online.

He blew our minds out with a rant:
  he hadn’t noticed that the Climate Changed.
A crowd of people seethed and stared
  they’d seen the bee ess before
Nobody was really sure if it was from the 1% core.

I saw a video oh boy
  the 1%ers have just scored some more;
A crowd of trollers  were abhorred;
  but I just stole some looks,
  having once read books.
We’d love to lead you o. . . . n.
  SgtPeprs
I woke up, gotta outa bed,
  found a mem, inside my head,
  made my way downstairs and tweeted it,
  and twittering, knew I was a twit.
I made this up, but grabbed my phone;
I posted face,  still felt alone,
Found my way upstairs and caught a streaming;
  somebody spoke and I went into a dreaming, ohhhhhh……

   etcetera etcetera, etcetera, you've read the news

I read the web today oh boy:
  four million holes inside our atmosphere.
And though the holes were rather small,
  they had to stop them all.
  Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the global ball.
We’d love to lead you o. . . . on.



Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Head in the Clouds

Have you ever had  the feeling that our view of things not clear, but is somehow clouded ?

CloudDapl

It seems that we humans not seeing things rightly; we are missing something; we fail to read the signs of our times correctly.
I think we are similar, in some ways, to that guy the Beatles mentioned . . .
Well on the way,
Head in a cloud,
The man of a thousand voices
Talking perfectly loud.
But nobody ever hears him 
Or the sound he appears to make 
And he never seems to notice . . ."
We are typically preoccupied with our own pronouncements, and unable to hear what others are saying, caught up in our own thoughts . . . head in a cloud. In that mode, we can find plenty enough of words to spout out at the world, but then overlook the value of hearing what others have to say.
We don't learn as much when we're not listening.

One thing I have managed to learn: Life is easier to manage when a way is found to see the bright side of any given situation.
There are, you see, the storms of life that hover in our expectant  paths, and they can dim the brightness of our attitude and darken our prospects.
CloudStorm

So let’s be aware of the storms, but not allow their darkness to totally occlude our hope for brighter horizons to come.
To get a balanced perspective, we do need to recognize the good and the bad in this life. And we do well to strive at  accurately evaluating how those two realities are opposing each other in any given scenario. But other times, the good and bad may be intertwined as some kind of difficult-to-discern mixed blessing or cluster-fuhgedaboudit.

Songwriter Joni’s observation, rings true:
“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down, and still somehow, it’s clouds’ illusions I recall . . . I really don’t know clouds at all.”
So let us understand that, realistically, we do not fully know clouds—that is to say, metaphorically, life’s ups and downs—at all, even though we may believe that we’ve got it all under control.

We don’t wanna be stuck, for instance, on Cloud 9 when Cloud 10 might be the better way to go!
And although several hallowed traditions may tell us of an Uncloudy Day, let’s not be sideswiped by some unexpected sidewinder that could, in this present scheme of things, drench us with unmanageable discouragement.

Sometimes we catch sight of some new development on the horizon, a rising cloud that is only the size of a man’s hand.  Keep eyes trained on whatever arises, long enough to anticipate whether it will bring the needed  rain, or just fizzle to nothing.
And let us, in this complicated life, continuously  evaluate what pursuits  truly fulfill our objectives. We don’t need to be stuck, for instance, in PC mode when it could have been more advantageous to contribute whatever good we can find in this world and post it in “the cloud.”

What are your expectations about this fascinating life?
As for me, I’m hoping to, one fine day, be caught up in the clouds with the one who brought me here.

CloudBrite

I surmise that such a faith expectation is probably the ultimate “looking on the bright side.”


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Let us do it


Let us make love.
Let us make children.
Let us feed our children.
Let us do work to support them.
Let us teach them.
Let us make places where children can romp on grass.
Let them run and jump and romp and stomp.
Let them build treehouses.
Let them grow.
Let them learn.
Let us learn.
Let us try.
Let us fail. Let us repair and recover.
Let us do. 
Let us do what is right.
Let us make stuff.
Let us make goods.
Let us craft.
Let us think.
Let us prosper.
Let us profit.
Let us do business.
Let us excel. Let us hope.
Let us cope.
Let us worship God.
Let us take care for one another.
Let us give.
Let us breathe.
Let us laugh.
Let us sing.
Let us speak.
Let us preach, teach, and reach as far as we can.
Let us keep a world where men and women can choose to do what is right.
Let us ride. Let us glide. Let us confide.
Let us hide every now and then.
Let us go; let us stay.
Let us pray.


Glass half-Full

Monday, September 2, 2019

From Wealth of Nations to Wealth of Data

Our Declaration of Independence is not the only hallmark document of the year 1776.
There was another one: Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, which Wikipedia refers to as a magnum opus.
Magnum opus means pretty doggone important idea, as the multilectic development of our dialectical ideas shape  history.
Smith’s groundbreaking insights propelled our modernizing world into the age of Economics, a new time when the effects of money and industrial productivity began to channel human culture in ways that outweighed traditional institutions.
The Church, the Royals, such ancient paths of power were, in the long run of history, outmoded by the power of the buck.
Freedom to gather wealth was being distributed widely among new, rising enterprisers in society, instead of being controlled by the purse of the Popes or the money of the Monarchs.
Now the tide is turning again, in a major way.
But it’s turning back the other way.
Oh, not back to the Church or the King, but back to another select group—the data mining Social Media.

Now Wealth of Nations morphs to Wealth of Data.
And it seems it happened in the blinking of an eye, so to speak.
All our data that we generate through ubiquitous universal social media gets scooped up and recycled as fodder to generate future wealth, for somebody.
For Whom? Who is gathering the new Wealth of Nations through our electronic and wifi conduits of the Wealth of Data?
Robber barons, monopolists, capitalists, opportunists, daytraders, speculators, hedgefunders, algorithmists, hackers, gamblers, midnight ramblers?
Future wealth, for somebody. . . for whomever is using the data as a field for harvest —to skim new wealth, through  their privileged knowledge of out trendy, predictable human habits. . . our fashions, fetishes, foibles and infamous freedoms.
Freedom to spend, mostly. Especially with all the cardswiping that you see in every spending venue these days.

It’s so easy to spend money nowadays.
Even if you don’t have any!
Using the data streams to  anticipate where the “markets” are headed, where the money’s going . . .those watchful, AI-wielding movers and shakers behind the scenes can know exactly when and where to lower their clickbait nets, and scoop up a big mess of digital debits or financial fish.
“Markets” being the main concentrations of consumer and business wealth that are being spent every day as we live and breathe and spend.
A lot of people are starting to figure this out, about now.
Some have been noticing the profit potentialities for awhile. Others have known from the beginning. They are the ones who have been establishing data-mining as the latest phase of capitalism.
I learned something about this, this morning, when I read Karin Petersson’s report about it on the Social Europe site.
Karin’s opening statement got my attention in a big way.
“It’s impossible to change the world if you don’t understand the forces shaping it.”
That is so true, Karin.
I went on to read her concise treatise, which consisted of an insightful cautionary statement about the three main problems of this data-mining development. I will list those three here, while recommending that you read her article in order to get her thoughts from her article—not mine.
Karin’s list of the three problems:
~~Rage machine
~~Winner takes all
~~Survival of Democracy?
She is calling into question the survivability of democracy in these new social media conditions that have overtaken our way of life.
Now I do have something to say about her opening statement:
“It’s impossible to change the world if you don’t understand the forces shaping it.”
So true.

But I confess that my free-thinking mind dropped the KM bomb on me. That is. . . Karl Marx.
. . . not that Karin is a Marxist or anything like that.
My point is that even if you DO understand the forces shaping the world . . . odds are you still can’t change it!
Oh yes, maybe you can make some beneficial contributions, maybe some helpful new ideas, but convincing yourself that you can change the world based on what you know or understand about it . . . that is a dream that will never come true.
Take the Karl himself, and his idea: The factories and businesses of industrial production are owned by a few rich people.  If the regular working people—the proletariat— could take over that means of production and do a fairer job of running it— then society could distribute the wealth in an equitable way. Everybody would have a piece of the pie and we could all live then in an egalitarian commune.
Happily ever after, as they say.
Certainly I am oversimplifying this scenario, but I do it for the sake of simply making this point: You can’t change the world, even if youdo  understand the forces that are shaping it.
My layman’s reading, for instance, of Marx/Engels Communist Manifesto led me to the conclusion that their analysis of capitalism as it was developing in the mid-19th century was, for the most part, accurate!
They predicted, for instance, the alienation that would indeed later take hold of many workers as a result of having to perform repetitive production tasks.

So Marx, Engels and others later went on to prescribe a fix for the problem: dictatorship of the proletariat.
When Lenin, Trotsky and others got a hold of this concept they acted on it.
But look what happened. Things got bloody. By the time Stalin got hold of the new development, the formerly fresh thrust of worldwide communism turned into prison gulag.
And it did not recover until the time of Gorbachev, Yeltsin, etc.
That’s one small idea for a man . . . and one giant, very hard lesson learned for mankind.
You can’t change the world, even if you do understand the forces that are changing it.
In the present context of data mining, this principle would perhaps translate to: find a way to regulate the data-miners, but don’t try to take the whole damned machine away from them. This is merely capitalism in its emerging 21st-century form.

DataMining

Neither the technocrats in Brussels, nor the bureaucrats in Washington can stem the tides of history. You just have to regulate those who control the Wealth of Data, insofar as it is Constitutionally  possible, and leave the rest to each individual citizen’s free will and judgement.
The same principle applies, btw, for Climate Change.

Education, for whosoever is willing to learn, is the remedy. Not control. We all need to be convinced to do the right thing.
Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness must be assured for all, in spite of all the data-miners  who lurk behind our keypads, sucking the hot air out of our collective social media balloon.


Saturday, August 24, 2019

From Andalusia to Zagreb

Breeze blew ‘cross Byzantium
   ages ago,
passing passion along from ancient souls
   o’er peninsulas and shoals.
From Alexandria to Andalusia
   it blew the Medi stirring of our arcane East
   by westward winds past the European feast.
So it drifted between Aranjuez and Zagreb
   in periodic flow and ebb
   with rhyrhmic ebb and flow
   through passionnata on stringéd bow . . .


   . . . at providential and the muse’ behest,
   and set in sculpted stone: eternal rest;
   portraying Piéta Jesu through Michelangelo,

  Pieta
   as still the women come and go
   ‘cross Eliot’s wasteland scenario.
From Ave Maria in Madrid
   this opus we/they did;
   even SaintSaens’ secular Swan
   summons that age-old bond:
   reflecting melancholic tension
   in existential apprehension
   again and again and again;
   the passion passes
   through striving laborious hands
   in colored or melodic strands.
On moonlit nights;
   sonata strains reflect the light
   from hand to frantic hand
   and back again.
Did history require
   two world wars
   and a string of smaller frays
   to say
   our living legacy dies daily?
Yet does our living tragedy thrive daily,
   in this human soul of frailty.
Why even a saintless ’60’s Superstar
   drove our anguished digression,
   our zeitgeist obsession,
   as passion passed through
   rejected hands again
   as passion passed through
   conflicted lives again
   as passion passes through
   immigrant pathos again
   and again and again
   to reveal those nail-scarred hands again
Again.
   Must be something to it;
   we should not eschew it:
Those despiséd and rejected ones of men--
   again and again and again:
   the passing man of sorrow,
   yesterday, today, tomorrow—
   the woman acquainted with grief,
   through death that steals in like a thief
   the stranger and the strange,
Again and again and again.
Must be something to it;
   we should not eschew it.