Why Things Are the Way They Are

Albert Einstein is famous for many reasons, and left behind many memorable quotes about all manner of intelligent subjects. That said, my favorite quote of his, by far, is this. “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.”

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of this quote. Walking down the street. Driving. Reading posts on Facebook or Twitter. Wars, mass shootings, moronic politics. Observing people, anywhere, it is constantly obvious…

Humans are incredibly fucking STUPID.

And yet…we’re also creative, and in many ways truly brilliant. No other species on our planet has, or is even remotely capable of, accomplishing what we’ve accomplished. And our future potential is virtually unlimited.

But herein lies the problem, this juxtaposition of stupidity and brilliance. Continue reading…

Everything I’ve Learned About Happiness in 15 Clear Steps

HappyAccording to psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, happiness comes down to roughly 50% genetics, 40% choices, and 10% circumstances. If this is correct, that means you only really control 40-50% of the factors influencing your happiness…at best. But the bit you control can be hugely impactful, and to some degree you may be able to affect the genetic component by tweaking your brain chemistry in various ways. Perhaps in the future you’ll even be able to tweak your happiness genes, but I digress.

Along these lines, I think it’s important to point out that “Happy” is simply a balanced brain chemical cocktail: dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin. “Sad” is an excess of cortisol, glucocorticoids, and a lack of happy chemicals. Sad could also involve an excess of adrenaline or norepinephrine, though in the right situations there’s nothing wrong with those chemicals. Again, it’s all about balance. Continue reading…

Millions of Jobs Are Going Away, But Universal Basic Income Isn’t the Answer

Jobs Lost Universal Basic Income

The idea behind universal basic income (UBI), in which one’s government would provide every citizen in a country with a set amount of cash each month, is thought by many to be ludicrous, not to mention utterly unsustainable. Some countries and cities have run or are running pilot tests, and while it’s still quite early, it seems unlikely that UBI is going to work as planned.

But despite the seemingly insurmountable hurdle of figuring out how to make UBI happen, effectively and sustainably, the idea has been gaining traction rapidly in the minds of the people in recent years.

Why? Automation. And fear. Continue reading…

Hacking Humanity

Hacked Binary CodeIn the world of computer security, there’s a term known as pentesting (short for penetration testing). Pentesting is the process of testing a computer system or network (or a building) for weaknesses that can be exploited.

Companies will hire a hacker or a team of hackers to attempt to break into their physical and/or digital properties preemptively. Talk about fascinating! Considering how many massive computer security breaches we’ve seen in the last few years, perhaps a few more companies should be investing in pentests.

When a hacker conducts a penetration test, they typically start with the most common weaknesses: people, default passwords on servers and software, easy to guess user passwords, well known and unpatched vulnerabilities, etc. They start with the low hanging fruit, and in far too many cases, that’s sufficient to break into a system. As Einstein said, “Two things are infinite, the Universe, and human stupidity.” Continue reading…

Spoken Like a True Gentleman

Barack Obama Speaking Gentleman

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but neither holds a candle to the power of the spoken word. From commanding armies to captivating audiences, what you say, and how you say it, can become one of the most powerful weapons at your disposal.

To speak effectively, you need to master the three E’s: elocution, eloquence, and economy.

1 – Elocution is the skill of speaking clearly and expressively, pronouncing and articulating your words with care and precision. No umms or hmms, no awkward pauses or mindless filler, no provincial pronunciations, nor linguistic faux pas.

Even if English is your first language, you’ll benefit from some polishing up in this department. Continue reading…