Money: What is it good for?

During Zeitgeist Day 2015, Jen Wilding presented “Money: What is it good for?”

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This presentation highlights a rather important topic and some very important premises about the movement towards a post-scarcity society. Simply, the topic discussed is why do we rely on money in society today (or, in the future).  It’s evident that in times of scarcity money has been a tool used to decide who has more value or who deserves a valued good/service. However, today we have advanced technology at our disposal and can start to think about a post-scarcity society were everyone could be housed, fed, and cared for properly.

Money proponents often talk about how money is required to keep people motivated. In this lecture, Jen Wilding provides some examples and studies that seem to prove them wrong.

She starts by asking people what they would do if money was not a problem. Ask yourself this question and think about it for a moment. My guess is that very few people would say that they would be lazy couch-potatoes all day. Personally, I would continue my studies of mathematics and the sciences to someday help humanity on a further path. To realize this shows that money is not the only motivating factor. Furthermore, she makes a clever statement:

“I consider the laziness that people might fear, which is a behavior we definitely see in our current market system, is actually a behavioral response to not having the freedom to choose work that would be quite satisfying to that person and still having their basic needs me.”

Profound.

In the beginning of the lecture she highlights some important premises on why money is not actually in coherence with the market system vision that is often taught.

  1.  It presumes consumers have equal voting power.
  2.  It presumes consumers are omniscient.
  3.  It presumes business owners and advertisers would never mislead customers.
  4.  It presumes the best possible quality is always a factor in a purchase decision instead of quality relative to a limit of choices fitting budget restrictions.
  5. It presumes that the people with the most money in society have rightfully earned it through the public purchase consent relating to their high quality goods and that they serve our best interest.

Point 1 is clearly false. There exists an extremely large gap between the wealthy and the poor. In a capitalist system, how much money you have dictates your voting power.

Point 2 is proven false by one simple example. The next time you go to the grocery store look around at all the various competing items. Do you know anything about these items? Do you know the difference between the various companies producing the items? Of course not, you’d have to grocery shop for an endless amount of time before you could actually make informed decisions based on what you buy (what you vote for).

Point 3 should be viewed through the scope of the profit motive. Business owners have a high profit motive to mislead consumers into buying their product. Considering their product the freshest or the healthiest product available places the product in good graces with potential consumers, even if it false advertisement.

Point 4 regards the idea that you vote with your dollar. Unfortunately, not all of us are wealthy and often have to make sacrifices that we don’t want to make such as buying a low quality item compared to a higher quality one. By doing this, we inadvertently “vote” for the cheaper, less durable item. This has disastrous effects on the environment (think of the trash build up from low quality items).

Point 5 claims that people who have gained wealth have done so properly and based off the public’s feedback and desire for the individuals goods or services and thus, are ideal representatives of the public. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell do not want the wealthy having that much voting power.

All in all, this is a short version of the interactive presentation that Jen Wilding gave during Z-day 2015. For more lectures on similar topics, checkout TZM’s official YouTube channel.

konoz and The Future of Learning

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What is konoz?

“konoz is a website where YouTubers can transform their videos into courses, and learners can support their favorite creators. Think of it as a personal Khan Academy for YouTube educators.” – FAQ

konoz is an educational platform that is bridging the gap between outdated educational methods and the new frontier of technologically advanced educational methods. Right now, konoz is in its alpha stage and is being tested before being released to the public. However, if you have a class (on just about anything) you can get in on the platform now.

What is the variety of courses like on konoz? As of today, there exists over twenty different physics based courses, plenty of math courses, history courses, computer science courses and so on with regards to your traditional educational catalog. However, konoz is not limited to the traditional outline. You can also learn how to garden, dance, brew, and play pranks on people thru the konoz platform. It is all neatly organized by categories and easily searchable.

konoz Intro Video

Why is konoz important?

konoz offers free access to education to anyone with an internet connection. Currently, konoz is compatible in three languages with plans to expand shortly. With a platform as robust and easy to navigate as konoz offers, educators and students can effortlessly connect and share information.

I am a current member of konoz alpha and have enjoyed navigating around the website and checking out the physics section. I am hopeful to dedicate some time towards making a polished course available on konoz in the near future. I have two alpha invites available to those who are interested in joining the community. Please send me an e-mail or leave a comment here if you are interested in the alpha invite to konoz.

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A message from YouTube educators – konoz

Just Say No to Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways

solarroadwaysIt is likely that you have already seen the brilliantly marketed Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways video that has helped raise over $2,200,000 for the project.

In the past month, my environmental class linked to this video and I’ve had multiple friends link to this video. In every case, the received response has been overwhelmingly positive.

However, we should be weary of letting the brilliant marketing sway our otherwise logical opinions. Taking a step back, is it really a logical idea? If you initially thought solar roadways were a good idea and perhaps you were even willing to support the campaign financially, consider the actual logic and science behind the project and decide whether the flashy marketing campaign blurred your vision.

Youtube user Thunderf00t, explains the problems with solar roadways in great detail. Some of these issues should have been obvious to the laymen, however, the well-marketed piece has continued to raise money for the project. The creators of this project are clearly intelligent people, but with obvious obstacles like the ones presented in this video, it begs the question of whether they actually believe what they are doing or if they are simply using the lie to deceive the people.


Here are some of my notes/highlights from this video for reference:

1) The main attribute that roads must absolutely have and cannot compromise is that they must durably provide traction for ALL vehicles in ALL environments. Due to this necessity,  roads often need to be repaired. Cheap road repair is still extremely expensive, but replacing roads with high-tech glass bricks would require an unthinkable amount of money. The campaign claims that traction properties are ok, however there has been very limited testing on this property and I can imagine the difficulties that natural erosion and time would take on the high-tech glass. Glass is a relatively soft material, will it truly be reliable with years of usage in a range of environments?

2) Hexagonal tiles are a bad idea. Water will go through the cracks and natural erosional processes exist over time. Having hexagonal tiles will increase these negative properties and will thus need even more (costly) road repairs.

3) Environmentally conscious? Asphalt is one of the most recycled materials on the planet. Once again, the cost of recycling plants needed for this expensive high-tech glass would be astronomical.

4) COST. The solar roadways campaign has set up a part of their website to respond to the (seemingly) wide range of criticism it has received. In it, they state:

But right now, not even we have that information, so if you read an article where a journalist claims to have any data on costs, you can be assured that they have not done their homework and are quoting another unreliable source or they are making up numbers.

They offer no reasonable explanation to the criticisms other than “it has not been worked out yet.” This screams of a desperate dodge to the answer. What predictions on cost have been made? It would take nearly 20 trillion USD to acquire JUST the glass (this does not include any of the high-tech equipment or other materials). This is over 5x the U.S. federal budget in 2013.

5) Typical solar energy problems still exist. Solar power is only generated when there is sunlight. With the (insane) costs of the project, we will still only be generating energy when there is sunlight. It seems vastly inefficient to create roads built with solar panels in areas of low sun.

Power transportation is another glaring issue. The cost of infrastructure to transport the power would need to be taking in account. A power transportation system would have to be built along every road. The amount of material this would take would be ridiculous (metal, resources).

Burying power transmission lines cost about 10x more than hanging them above ground (which costs over $1 million/mile). Another outrageous claim made by the initial marketing video. If this power cannot be transported reasonably, then why generate it in the first place?

Another statement: Will road engineers now need to become electricians?

6) Lighting up roads to create signals and other designs is inefficent. Putting lights in all the roads would be a waste of energy and another insane cost. It is simply inefficient and completely not required for safe and happy roadways. Seeing these LEDs under bright sunlight would be a struggle.

What will be the visibility of these lights? Who cares if we can change the patterns of the roads? Exactly how many roads need to change design on any sort of regular basis?

Another statement: In many of the artistic pictures for solar roadways, the roadways are presented with a dark-green color, however, solar panels are black.

7) The claim that the panels will heat up to eliminate snow is absolutely outrageous. In the northern winters during blizzards when there is extremely little snow, they will use the energy to melt the snow. It requires a very large amount of energy to turn snow into water. This is completely unfathomable to consider. Once again, this process is not needed compared to how we run things today.

8) Will a solar power covered in dirt/oil actually generate enough energy? Roads are extremely dirty and when these panels are covered with dirt, it will generate little energy compared to maximum output.

9) There exists an abundance of better ways to invest in renewable resources and tackle the future energy problems. To consider all the money and resources necessary for this project and utilizing them towards efficient projects would be the best route of action.

To sum up some of the thoughts:

1) The cost is ridiculously high. No, not just high, it is unthinkable.
2) There exists a ton of mechanical problems with the entire project.
3) There are better projects and ideas that will be much more efficient than solar freakin’ roadways.

Essentially, some dude and his wife raised over $2 million using Powerpoint to shovel bunk science to a large amount of people.

 

 

Most Medical Studies are Wrong

A very important link regarding a topic that has created a virtual landfill of ‘scientific’ studies around the internet. It’s just not that easy to get scientifically correct information as it seems.

This is why you shouldn’t believe that exciting new medical study. 

The virtual landfill:

Medical_studies-02.0I hope to do more research on this in the future.

 

Paul Erdös, The Man Who Loves Numbers

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I have recently learned about the life of Paul Erdös.

Paul Erdös was a highly eccentric mathematician whose existence could be defined by the pursuit of math.

Here are some excerpts from a review of the book: The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth :

Click here for full article.

“Erdös first did mathematics at the age of three, but for the last twenty-five years of his life, since the death of his mother, he put in nineteen-hour days, keeping himself fortified with 10 to 20 milligrams of Benzedrine or Ritalin, strong espresso, and caffeine tablets. “A mathematician,” Erdös was fond of saying, “is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.” When friends urged him to slow down, he always had the same response: “There’ll be plenty of time to rest in the grave.”

“To communicate with Erdös you had to learn his language. “When we met,” said Martin Gardner, the mathematical essayist, “his first question was `When did you arrive?’ I looked at my watch, but Graham whispered to me that it was Erdös’s way of asking, `When were you born?'” Erdös often asked the same question another way: “When did the misfortune of birth overtake you?” His language had a special vocabulary–not just “the SF” and “epsilon” but also “bosses” (women), “slaves” (men), “captured” (married), “liberated” (divorced), “recaptured” (remarried), “noise” (music), “poison” (alcohol), “preaching” (giving a mathematics lecture), “Sam” (the United States), and “Joe” (the Soviet Union). When he said someone had “died,” Erdös meant that the person had stopped doing mathematics. When he said someone had “left,” the person had died.”


 

Some YouTube videos that catch a glimpse of the man’s eccentricity:
Note: SF or “Supreme Fascist” refers to “God” or “the higher power”.

Paul Erdös is introducing himself:

Paul Erdös – SF means Supreme Facist

Paul Erdös – The Purpose of Life

Food For Thought

Some pensive quotes from Jacques Fresco:jaque fresco

“We talk about civilization as though it’s a static state. There are no civilized people yet, it’s a process that’s constantly going on… As long as you have war, police, prisons, crime, you are in the early stages of civilization.”

“At the beginning of World War II the U.S. had a mere 600 or so first-class fighting aircraft. We rapidly overcame this short supply by turning out more than 90,000 planes a year. The question at the start of World War II was: Do we have enough funds to produce the required implements of war? The answer was No, we did not have enough money, nor did we have enough gold; but we did have more than enough resources. It was the available resources that enabled the US to achieve the high production and efficiency required to win the war. Unfortunately this is only considered in times of war.”

During the thousands of years of monetary system, most workers have been paid just enough to make it necessary that they return to work, even when higher wages have been possible. How else can the wage-payer keep the workers coming back?

“You know that you can’t go out there and change the world tomorrow morning. It just takes time, and the realization of that does not produce frustration. What produces frustration, is when you expect the world to join with your cause it’s so reasonable. It is not reasonable to unreasonable people.”

Continue reading Food For Thought

Of Rational Communication

rationaldiscussionHaving essentially grown up through the internet, I’ve taking part in all sorts of discussions. Serious discussions and not so serious discussions… all through various means of communication. When I analyze social change and how to best obtain results, the topic of communication remains forefront. How do we communicate most effectively? Do I get my point across properly? It has become clear to me that with the infinite pile of garbage information that exists, communicating in an effective way is of utmost importance towards creating a better future. However, we live in a society that has evolved from dead, inefficient language systems that perpetuate throughout our communication.

I want to be clear. What matters is the full idea and reasoning behind the idea being communicated in an effective and efficient way. This does not imply that both parties uphold perfect grammar or spelling, however, key words must be well-defined and accepted upon in the discussion. It is important to understand that everyone you communicate with has a different background then you. Words, key definitions, slang, and memes that may mean something to you, may mean nothing to them.

“Very few people can communicate with one another.  The only language that’s not subject to interpretation is mathematics, chemistry, basic science, engineering principles, and applied agriculture.  But other than that, many systems today are subject to interpretation.” ~ Jacque Fresco, TVP teamspeak seminar, January 15 2012

As Jacques Fresco states, the best language to communicate with is the language of science as it is well-defined.

With that being said, the ambition of this infographic is to create an atmosphere of rational communication between two opposing viewpoints where an honest, evidence-based decision can be made on the topic of choice. Only when we can communicate properly and be willing to alter our viewpoints, can we make the change that will create a more evolved civilization.

Continue reading Of Rational Communication

First Educational Videos

Over winter break I decided to acquire a Wacom Bamboo tablet so that I could create educational videos/tutorials online and broadcast them via YouTube. The end goal is to host an abudance of creative calculus style videos that focus on conceptual understanding of the problems and a good source of examples a long with a range of extra materials to help the user.

Before I could do all that, I needed to experiment with the software/hardware and see what my possibilities are. Little did I know how difficult it was speaking to a camera and trying to get all the information out in a reasonable amount of time. So, on average, I’ve ended up spending an hour or so on a ~10 minute physics problem transferring about half of the information that I wanted to get to the user. With that being said, my confidence is growing and my knowledge about the tools is progressing. It’s also been a hell of a study tool for me.

Here are my first two videos. Hopefully they are the start of a very long project that ends up helping many people understand mathematics and physics. Feel free to leave a comment here or on YouTube if you have a suggestion for me.

Three Step One Dimensional Kinematics Equation Problem

Two-Dimensional Kinematics Problem

Well… there a start…

Proof that 2=1… or not

Federico Pistono posted about the Wall Street Journal’s opinion piece on science proving the existence of God… or not, so I am going to post (in similar fashion) 2=1… or not.

Many involved with mathematics have already heard of this fallacious proof, however it is an eloquent one and I wanted to share it:

Objective: To prove that all numbers equal each other, namely, 2=1.

Proof

1. Let a and b be equal non-zero numbers.
a=b

2. Multiply both sides by a
a^2=ab

3. Add a^2-2ab to both sides
a^2+a^2-2ab=ab+a^2-2ab

4. Factor:
2(a^2-ab)=a^2-ab

5. Divide both sides by a^2-ab
2=1

Ah, brilliant, we have just proved step-by-step that 2 is equal to 1. Using these same steps we can prove that any number is equal to each other, right?

Well, obviously, there is something deeply wrong about this proof. Try to consider what might be wrong for a moment, it is a fun challenge. When you’ve done that, continue reading.

Lame_Math_Joke_by_ichiko_wind_griffin

The problem in this fallacious proof lies in step 5. In step 1 we stated that a=b, so dividing by a^2-ab would mean we would be dividing by 0. Strange things happen when you divide by 0, and this result is one of them. Therefore, this proof is invalid and 2 does not equal 1. Mathematics is still fundamentally sound and all can remain at peace.

Review: 2014 Goals

As 2014 comes to an end, so too does the possibility of achieving any last-minute goals this year. I recall creating the goal list last December (2013) and mentally visualizing where I would be in preparation for 2015. I wanted to gather an education plan and transfer to a university (accomplished), become financially stable and work part-time to hasten my studies (accomplished), manifest my website into a personal hub of self-expression and utilize it towards my study goals (accomplished),  and learn as much as possible (accomplished sort of =p). However, I also wanted to take a vacation away from everything as I thought I would need to take some time to ‘relax.’ (failed, I don’t know how to ‘relax’) While I did not take this assumed vacation, the reason may be because I did not need to. I was perfectly content with my work-to-play balance throughout the year.

10863784_796039747099353_8167029573984411958_o I start 2015 off in a new home near my place of work and university. I have falling in love with office supplies and now I am the proud owner of three whiteboards in my room. I am within 30 seconds walking distance to UIC’s Richard Daley Library and Learning Center and have a set work and school schedule for the entire year ahead. 2015 promises to be a year dedicated to education for me with all the stars aligning to focus on my long-term goals. Continue reading Review: 2014 Goals