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  • cqwww 10:00 am on November 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Great Minds Talk About Ideas 

    There’s a famous quote:

    Great Minds Discuss Ideas; Average Minds Discuss Events; Small Minds Discuss People

    This quote is often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, but it’s been suggested it was a less pretentious edit of Charles Stewart’s 1901 autobiography:

    Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons; the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest by their preference for the discussion of ideas.

    Let’s break each one of these down, starting by talking about people, or in other words, gossip. I recently had a friend inadvertently share a story about another person, which was quickly gossiped, and has created drama amongst several social networks. This was a powerful reminder to both of us, that most of our social network doesn’t gossip, or talk about people, and the drama that can unfold when one does.

    If you do insist on talking about people, or gossiping, my friend Scott N pointed me to the Buddhist Rights Speech philosophy (part of the Noble Eightfold Path), which I enjoy as a reference when I want to bring up another person in conversation:

    • It is timely
    • It is true
    • It is spoken affectionately, and of good will
    • It has a benefit to being shared

    If the answer isn’t a clear and obvious yes to all four of these, hold on to the thought and work through each of these four, or just drop it and move on to more beneficial conversation.

    There is a short term benefit to gossip, you get an immediate boost of dopamine as both the sharer and the receiver. The sharer will also experience a release of oxytocin, and potentially even a release of serotonin. As these are the three chemicals that make up happiness, it’s no doubt that it’s physically and emotionally rewarding to gossip. It also improves bonding amongst those who seek out these chemicals, which are typically people who in my experience, lack self discipline.

    Why they are referred to as small minds, is because scientifically there’s not enough stimulation in this process to create new neural pathways.

    It is my experience that the smallest minds not only gossip, but they talk negatively about others. It takes a little self awareness and observation to notice that talking negative about others, or against the Buddhist Rights Speech mentioned above, hurts the originator more than anyone else, and that anyone doing so is not calm nor contented, and usually less successful than the person they are gossiping about. A gossiper would be better served improving themselves.

    When you want to start to move into more objective conversation, you will start to talk about things, such as events. This is referenced in the quote as the level of conversation of an average mind. You will get some of the above chemicals as mentioned above, but less usually, but you’re also introducing a level of thought. The challenge is the thought is likely not much new information, but mostly information that is already known or experienced, so not many neurons are used.

    What is likely obvious at this stage in the story is that when you start to express curiosity, or questioning, your brain activity is creating new neural pathways over time as you walk through this new learning. This means you’re actually becoming smarter — and in my experience people automatically think you’re really smart — which it doesn’t mean you are, but it is my recommendation there is no better position to be insatiably curious and perpetually improving your critical thinking skills.

    If you’re wondering how you might do this, try to take a contrarian position on something you’re emotionally attached to. If you’re strongly a liberal, try to understand and take the honest position of a conservative. If you’re an atheist, argue how Islam is the correct religion.

    It is my observation, or hypothesis, that those who identify as critical thinkers are less settled and less happy, so with everything, there’s a trade off.

    The intent of this article isn’t to place a right or wrong on any of the three areas of conversations you usually find yourself in, but to think about which of the three you usually talk about — people, things/events, or ideas, and then to question how that is serving you.

    While drafting this article, I came across a poem but I can’t find the original author so I’ll reference a medium post with it and share it here:

    I once asked a very successful woman to share her secret with me. She smiled and said to me…
    “I started succeeding when I started leaving small fights for small fighters.
    I stopped fighting those who gossiped about me…
    I stopped fighting with my in laws…
    I stopped fighting for attention…
    I stopped fighting to meet peoples expectation of me…
    I stopped fighting for my rights with inconsiderate people..
    I stopped fighting to please everyone…
    I stopped fighting to prove they were wrong about me…
    I left such fights for those who have nothing else to fight…
    And I started fighting for my vision, my dreams, my ideas and my destiny.
    The day I gave up on small fights is the day I started becoming successful & so much more content.”
    Some fights are not worth your time … Choose what you fight for wisely.

     
    • cqwww 9:57 pm on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

      A Free One Day In-Kind Website 

      As you may know, about 8 years ago I started One Day Website for my friends who either don’t want to figure out how to register a domain, setup web hosting, install and configure WordPress — or for those that do know how, they don’t want all of the invasive third party privacy trackers that come from the popular free/cheap hosting services out there.

      As you also may know, I have helped and advised a lot of entrepreneurs and startups over the years, as I love helping people. This article is for those that even the $299 CAD fee of One Day Website is too much for you right now. What if someone could or would give you a break to launch that business you’ve been thinking about? Well, your time might be now. I’m offering to provide you the entire One Day Website package for free, what I ask for in exchange is double the rate, but in-kind for your product or service, whatever it is.

      I have no limits on subject matter, but if you want to start your own graphic design business, Marie Kondo-esque cleaning service, coaching, meal prep, whatever has been on your mind — if you’ll offer me $598 worth of your services in exchange, I’ll setup all of the tech framework needed to have your website running within one business day, and hosting for a year. If I don’t want or can’t use your product or service, I’ll find someone else who can use it.

      Email [email protected] if you’re interested, no judgement as to why you can’t afford to pay right now, we all need a break some times. Please don’t email me if you’re not ready to commit and dedicate the next year of your life, your free time, to getting this new business off the ground. If you are, please use “in-kind request” in the subject line and let’s get your new business website running in one day.

       
      • cqwww 2:46 pm on October 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

        Questions for Jagmeet Singh and the NDP 

        I see that the NDP have decided to start negative attack ads as part of their campaign, which is something they committed not to do. These ads include lies and deceit, as well as a framing of a non-issue that leaves me wondering.

        Image via Steve Ward on Facebook

        and of course the Green Party replied:

        Image via Adrian Smits on Facebook

        I notice that the NDP partisans here in BC are still running heavy on this non-issue, doubling down yesterday. Most notable cis-male NDP partisans have really ratcheted up this effort to debate what a woman should be doing with their bodies.

        I was pointed to a Facebook video where Mrs. May saying that these are not even debatable issues, in front of Jagmeet, weeks before. So while the abortion debate is over in Canada, unless the NDP bring it back to the forefront which appears to be their efforts, the only thing I can see this campaign doing is perhaps showing the Green party has a Christian values alternative to the Conservatives — but with NDP invented misinformation.

        Yesterday they decided to double down on the partisan rhetoric, decided that the Green Party and Abortions are the #1 issue this election, with Elizabeth May Said “Find Me Those Words.” We did. Except if you actually read the article, you realize they did not. They found a list of tangentially, and not even related at all, references that attack the Greens, which they again, promised not to do. But in no case do they quote that Mrs. May or the greens “oppose austerity budgets that cut services families need” or “will always defend the right to access a safe abortion”. This means that anyone reading this article from the NDP who is objective, and non-partisan, will see that they’re intentionally deceiving for partisan means, to an issue that is not a real issue. I have a lot of friends who are NDP, and the NDP are standing for some great tenants this election, but whoever is trying to still stand up this flagpole seems to be flying at half mast.

        As a cis-male, I don’t feel I have the right to debate what a woman should do with her body, but I’ll leave this part of the discussion here stating that I believe Mrs. May will not vote for less safe abortions, even in the case of a Conservative minority.

        Why I’m writing this article, is I’m wondering why aren’t the NDP addressing the elephant in their own room? We have the Alberta NDP loving, supporting, and subsidizing diluted bitumen pipelines, and we have the BC NDP doing the same for fracking and foreign owned “LNG Canada“.

        This are my three questions, and I think the most important question that Jagmeet and the NDP should address this week:

        What are Jagmeet and the federal NDP are committing to in regards to fracking, subsidies (and support of) LNG in BC, as well as foreign ownership of LNG Canada.

        If there is any video of Jagmeet speaking on any of these three videos, I’d love to see them. This is a priority issue that will impact the environment and water systems for every British Columbian today, as well as the next generation. Why is the leader of the NDP silent on these three questions?

         
        • cqwww 11:07 pm on October 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

          Schitt’s Creek closets going on sale for charity 

          If you watched Schitt’s Creek, this Thursday they have 800 items going up for auction from the “closets of the Rose family”. (Givenchy, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, and Dsquared2 etc)

          Proceeds are going to GLSEN, a non-profit that aims to eliminate harassment and bullying of LGBTQ students in schools.

          https://vspconsignment.com/password goes live on OCTOBER 3RD AT 12PM EST

           
          • cqwww 11:17 am on September 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

            Personally attacking kids online you disagree with 

            I just read this post on social media:

            A question of principle: Is it wrong to personally attack a 16-year-old because you disagree with their politics?

            I think it is.

            I actually think it’s wrong to personally attack anyone because of their political beliefs, or really for any reason, but it’s especially gross when adults are attacking kids – on Twitter, in the media, wherever.

            But if it’s a “principle” you agree with, it should apply consistently.

            Here’s two recent examples of two 16-year-olds who were personally attacked because of their political beliefs.

            Are you applying your principles consistently?

            I’ve seen this trope being shared by Conservatives on several platforms, so I’m drafting my reply here for those who don’t find it obvious:

            What I think you’re missing, that supersedes age, is being an oppressor, aggressor, or a member of the predator class.


            If they’re on the vulnerable side, or “punching up”, then you should not make personal attacks on a 16 year old even if you disagree with their politics.


            There is no rational fight against children speaking their political viewpoints. There is a growing fight against the predator class.

            What is also important, if you think anyone is on the oppressor side, is to verify with the opposing side of your echo chamber first, in the age of biased corporate media. We’re easy to jump to conclusions these days, but I find that the aggressors are usually eager to out themselves if queried.

            If you can not discern the difference between who the bully is and who is being bullied in a given context, and need to make it about age instead, that’s probably worth some internal reflection time.

             
            • cqwww 11:41 pm on September 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

              Spy Game 

              This is your invitation to the spy game.

              Once you’ve paid, and I have your email address, you will receive your first mission. The game starts next week in Vancouver, so will exist in physical space there initially. If there is someone else who’s a member in your city, the game will likely move to physical space, otherwise your missions may mostly consist of online actions in the interim.

              You will get at least one mission per week, each one with the intention that it will be related to another action or mission needed in the future. This is a dynamic game that will be managed based on your actions, previous actions, and your consistently improving skill level.

              So the only question now is, will you accept the challenge, agent?

              You can either subscribe ($20 USD/month) via paypal:

              or send 0.02 bitcoin to 16zD58dCHH2ASx1oEVbpyPSZNJHWykXBUw and email [email protected] with the transaction ID to get a bonus mission in your first month, and you will be subscribed for a year.

              Not so fine print: The game could end at any time. No refunds. Myself and my company that is hosting this game is not liable for any issues that occur during the game. My intention and hope is this game goes global, and does not end, that would be amazing.

              MISSION EXAMPLE 1:

              There is someone else in your city involved, they need a way to speak with you.

              Acquire a USB stick, and hide it in plain sight. It could be in a tree, or between bricks in a wall, but it should be somewhere secure, and easy for you to access, but most people will walk by it and completely miss it. You likely will want to glue in place for many future uses.

              Note: Any messages you receive on this device in the future could be from an enemy, or an imposter. Someone could install a virus on this USB stick, so whatever you connect to it in the future could be hacked, so take all necessary precautions.

              (if someone is in your city, this likely your first mission)

              MISSION EXAMPLE 1 (digital):

              Enter the konami code on this Bank of Canada website. There was a city named after the composer of the song you will hear — find out which city that is, and where it’s located. The next mission will begin in this city.

              MISSION EXAMPLE 2:

              Someone else has entered the game, but they don’t know how to reach you. You need to leave them instructions by Thursday at [hotel front desk] for [fake name] with the co-ordinates of your USB stick. They could be malicious, so don’t reveal your real identity or your virtual identity in case you don’t want them to know you, and they could install a virus on your USB stick, so be careful.

              The hotel is not involved, and they don’t anticipate your note, so you’ll have to sort that out through social engineering.

              MISSION EXAMPLE 2 (digital):

              There was an enemy spy spotted via satellite in this park, who then ran across 6 train tracks and ran into the nearest coffee shop. They ran through the coffee shop, and as soon as they go out the other side there was a bus arriving that they quickly hopped on. Find the unique number of that bus stop and email it to your handler, so they can determine likely exit points for the next mission.

               
              • cqwww 12:10 pm on September 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

                Meeting schedulers 

                We often need to schedule meetings, and it can be a lot of work to organize a time that works for multiple people. Here are a few solutions I’ve found. Note that while these all offer a free option, chances are high they are logging the name of your event and participants and that information could be shared or sold. Also make sure you’re using a privacy centric browser, to block any third party privacy trackers.

                The first one worth checking out is called x.ai, which uses AI, and multiple platforms, it’s called x.ai.

                The other notable players:

                Old school interfaces:

                 
                • cqwww 2:08 pm on August 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

                  Redefining nerds & geeks 

                  I think we need a new term for nerds. Nerds & geeks are still derogatory terms, even if said tongue-in-cheek and using them justifies people not learning or remaining ignorant. We need a term that suggests it would be bad to not be someone curious and always learning.

                  We need to make wilful ignorance and dogma the derogatory terms.

                   
                  • cqwww 11:42 am on August 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

                    The butterfly effect on the election systems in Georgia 

                    If you recall my articles on whowhatwhy.org last November on the state of Georgia’s election systems, there’s an exciting update:
                    https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/08/15/judge-georgia-must-replace-voting-machines-after-2019/

                    “U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg’s order on Thursday prohibits the state from using its antiquated paperless touchscreen machines and election management system beyond this year. She also said the state must be ready to use hand-marked paper ballots if its new system isn’t in place for the March 24 presidential primary election.”

                    It’s worth a reminder that Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp, who barely won, refused to have the election systems which appeared to have many vulnerabilities, audited before the election — because he was also the state’s top election official at the time he was running.

                    The article also mentions my friend Harri Hursti, who is the person to go to if your government wants an election system audit.

                     
                    • cqwww 12:24 pm on August 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

                      Bitcoin exchanges in Canada 

                      This is not an endorsement, but a running list of Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. There are other exchanges like Coinbase and Kraken that serve Canadians, but they are not Canadian. Here’s the list:

                      A couple others, but that have had many reported issues, so tread carefully:

                      • Coinsquare will lock you out of access to your funds if/when your account crosses $10k CAD until you provide them even more KYC, and enable 2fa.
                      • einsteinexchange it is not uncommon to have to wait weeks, or even months for a transfer. User beware, read the forums first before considering here.
                       
                      • cqwww 11:28 am on July 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

                        Handling sexism and racism from those in poverty and addiction 

                        I just read an article by Ian Young in the South China Morning Post called “On a sunny Vancouver afternoon, he called us ‘the g-word’ and told us to go home” which introduces the narrator, and the reader, to the experience of reacting to being told they are not wanted, as well as handling hostile behaviour.

                        For those reading it not in Vancouver, the area he speaks about this is a lot different than where I live — in the heart of Chinatown, where I hear these types of things almost daily, and I’m perpetually torn on how to react. I don’t say that to suggest my experience is worse, I’m a middle aged white guy — I’m writing this with privilege and empathy.

                        Chinatown, where I live at least, is a few blocks away from the epicenter of poverty and addiction in Canada, the downtown east side.

                        I witness people in poverty and addiction yelling racist and/or sexist inappropriate comments almost daily. Yesterday I witnessed an Asian woman get pushed to the ground. When a woman or an Asian person is walking alone, and crossing paths with someone who is mentally unwell, it is common for me to observe or hear something that makes me want to intervene, but I often don’t.

                        There are a few reasons I don’t, but I’m open to suggestions. The first one is that my intervention is likely to escalate the issue just by intervening, compounded by my lack of skills in de-escalation, it’s hard not to let emotions over ride, which is what the vulnerable person is seeking — a little taste of power and control, where they live a life as vulnerable.

                        Another action I could take is to call the police, but even with an assault, such as the one I witnessed yesterday, the police surprisingly happened to be on the block I was on, so they were forced to join the scene and quickly interact, just enough to de-escalate the tension and then walk off within 2 minutes of the assault. As soon as the police left, it re-escalated. Not to fault the police — what would it take of their time to press assault charges, based on the word of mostly homeless and addicted observers.

                        As a result, the tensions continue, the less safe, or in the least the less welcome my Asian and female friends feel walking alone in the neighbourhood, and I’m not sure what we can do to resolve the issue.

                        I am still convinced it needs to be done with compassion, and empathy, as no one who is happy with themselves needs to make another feel unwelcome.

                        For anyone who identifies as even slightly empathetic, this is a good check in with your capabilities on maturely handling your emotions. Receiving such feedback from someone who is intoxicated, or suffers from mental health & addiction is not unlike receiving it from a child. Choosing to react to it, letting it get to you, or escalating the issue, would likely do nothing productive other than satisfy the antagonist.

                         
                        • cqwww 7:50 pm on July 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

                          Privacy centric browser setup 

                          I’m often asked for tech tool recommendations that I use, that are privacy & security minded. If you ever have such a question, don’t hesitate, I love to be of service.
                          My browser setup hasn’t changed for years:
                          I use the latest version of Firefox as my browser. One of the features, and risks, with modern browsers, is that they allow people to install plugins. It’s worth noting that if you install a browser plugin, the author of that plugin can see every single website you visit, so you really need to trust your browser plugin authors, so install them with caution.

                          I’ve chosen to trust 4 browser plugins, the first three I recommend to everyone reading this:

                          While you’re reading up on browsers, there’s a lot of misconception about “Private browsing mode” in Firefox or Chrome. The only thing this mode does is remove your tracks from your spouse or other people in your house. If you want truely private browing — say for example you’re looking up a health diagnosis for yourself, or something really sensitive, there’s only one browser option and that is tor browser, which is a highly modified version of Firefox that does onion routing. This is what you would use if you want no evidence of your tracks from your internet provider, or the website you’re visiting.

                          If you’re using firefox without tor, even with these plugins, note that your ISP and the website you are going to are monitoring, logging, and tracking you the best they can by logging your digital fingerprints.

                           
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