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Showing posts from 2019

Notes to the New Improved 1984

The subjects of the previous blog are complex and warrant further explanation. A friend of mine and I have had a lively discussion on several issues I brought up in that blog.  With his permission, I have decided to publish some of his comments with slight edits.

Let us start from this comment:

"You lumped Internet, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple (FAGMA) into one lot. This is not entirely accurate. These companies have different business models and different degrees of abuse. You also did not include Twitter, Netflix, eBay, and a myriad of companies that probably are more intrusive than, say, Apple or Microsoft."

Here is my reasoning. I have used annual revenues of the FAGMA oligopoly and other companies to compare their relative sizes. FAGMA dominates their respective markets so much so that all other runners up simply do not compare. Twitter is tiny (2018 revenue of $3 billion); and Netflix (2018 revenue of $14 billion) only deals in movies, however bad th…

The New Improved 1984

Many people ask me how can I be happy writing and thinking about so many sad and desperate things? Well, let me explain. Happiness is the fleeting rush of dopamine I feel seeing my little grandson, my wife or children.  As good as it might feel, it comes and goes. Think, please, about the happiness you purchase by sharing with your "friends" on Facebook a picture of a new pair of pink sneakers. Or think of the happiness you bring to your partner by giving her/him a bouquet of roses on the Valentine day.

You probably never pay attention to over a billion roses which are imported that day for your bouquet.  They are flown refrigerated on transport flights from Columbia, Ecuador and Mexico.  Once these cold roses land in Miami, they are rushed to other refrigerated planes and trucks, so that you can get them from a store refrigerator anywhere in the US.  The energy cost of your bouquet is absolutely ginormous, but it is worth another minute or two of dopamine rush. Or is it?



Here is what David Attenborough, the most trusted person in the U.K. and a great naturalist, told the space aliens that descended in 1500 private jets on Davos:

"I am quite literally from another age, I was born during the Holocene - the 12,000 [year] period of climatic stability that allowed humans to settle, farm, and create civilisations. That led to trade in ideas and goods, and made us the globally connected species we are today.

In the space of my lifetime, all that has changed. The Holocene has ended. The Garden of Eden is no more. We have changed the world so much that scientists say we are in a new geological age: the Anthropocene, the age of humans."
He added:
"[The economic] growth is going to come to an end, either suddenly or in a controlled way. Anyone who thinks you can have infinite growth in finite circumstances is either a madman or an economist." (The Guardian, 01/21/2019)

This is precisely what I have been saying, writing and teaching for the la…