Month: March 2017

Internet Privacy

Internet Privacy

Where is the outrage?

Tim Westergren rallies listeners to save Pandora from extinction.

Silicon Valley rallies the troops to save net neutrality.

But when it comes to coughing up your browser history to you ISP?


Pop stars and sports team agitate against heinous North Carolina legislation that oppresses minorities and the state blinks.

The Republicans decide to allow your ISP to sell your browser history so they can make money, costing you money in the process, since your wants and desires can be manipulated, and no one raises a finger.

Is it that we’re all so fatigued? With new revelations about Trump and his posse every single day?

Or is it we’re so overwhelmed by the loss of the election that we can’t be counted on to stand up?

But we stood up against flight rules that were discriminatory. We stood up against health care policies that would have eliminated coverage for many, but when it comes to protecting each and every one of us, as individuals, we blink?

What is the nation we’re now living in? One wherein we pledge fealty to the government and sacrifice our individuality, lose our lives in the cause of “progress”? Foul our air and scar our bodies so corporations can make more money increasing the GDP? Come on, all this relaxation of energy rules. Do you personally need a pipeline? Furthermore, coal has been eclipsed by natural gas and solar, the latter of which has been pushed by the government, proving that the institution can do some good, but I don’t want to get down into the weeds too much because I think this is something we can all agree on, is there any person who wants LESS PRIVACY?

I need you to read this opinion piece by Tom Wheeler, the former head of the FCC:

How the Republicans Sold Your Privacy to Internet Providers

You will be very scared.

Not only is this rollback gonna be signed by Trump after sailing through Congress, the bill prohibits the FCC from acting on behalf of the public in privacy matters in the future. There, you just lost a layer of protection.

And Wheeler makes the point that phone calls are protected, but now when you search for a new car, that info can be sold to dealers who can act upon it.

And I don’t want you to be criticizing the NYT. I don’t want you to be e-mailing me about George Soros. Those are false equivalencies trumped up by a right wing media that has resulted in this nincompoop becoming President. Sure, Soros donates to left wing causes, but if you believe he uses his money to threaten Democratic leaders and spearhead his own agenda contrary to the will of the majority just like the Koch brothers and Robert Mercer, you’re just plain wrong. And no one has as many boots on the ground as the NYT. The WSJ has shrunk the newshole to such a degree there’s nearly nothing left. It’s like reading a pamphlet. And what is there focuses on general news as opposed to the business news I subscribed for.

And the “Times” itself had an editorial yesterday decrying the loss of privacy, read this one too:

Republicans Attack Internet Privacy

Have we learned nothing from Edward Snowden? How many whistleblowers have to be sacrificed before we get the message… Those in power are in the pockets of corporations and are not looking out for you and me, no way, meanwhile they eradicated whistleblower legislation, because that’s the problem, the takers out for themselves impeding progress. You probably believe liability judgments and class actions are raising your insurance premiums. Not really, not by much. Even the WSJ admits this. The end result? You can’t sue a company anymore, you’ve got to go to arbitration, where the odds of winning are infinitesimal.

So now they know where you are and they know what you’re doing and you’ve got no recourse. Sound like a bad novel, maybe “1984”? It does to me.

And what I know is if this somnambulant public woke up and protested congresspeople would freak out and roll these changes back. We’ve seen it time and time again. When it comes to technology D.C. is clueless. And when the tsunami of people who live online, which is almost everybody, complains, elected officials back down.

But the Silicon Valley companies are quiet because they don’t want to piss off the ISPs.

And the left wing is overwhelmed and the right wing wants us to jet back to the 1950s but the truth is we’re living in the twenty first century.

So do you want a camera in your bedroom? Do you want everybody to know what you’re doing? Almost thinking, because that’s what browser history is all about?

Then welcome to 2017, where your elected officials just coughed up those rights, figuring you just didn’t care and weren’t paying attention.

God, I wish we had some leaders, people who had the attention of the masses, who were trusted, who had credibility, who could wake people up and make them take action.

But although Edward Snowden could stand up on principle, you can’t get an artist to do the same, no way, they’re afraid of the hit to their career.

And the corporation outlives its executives and it must be protected at all costs.

And do we expect Zuckerberg and the social nitwits to stand up here when they’re doing the same damn thing, slicing and dicing our information, eradicating our piracy?

If it makes money, it’s cool.

But I don’t believe that. I believe the air that we breathe, the conversations we have, the searching we do, should be protected, inviolate.

I’ve coughed up enough of my privacy already.


via Lefsetz Letter

March 31, 2017 at 10:06AM


Thursday Playlist

Thursday Playlist

Thursday Playlist – Spotify “Eagles Fly” Sammy Hagar I discovered this during the Napster era. It was never a hit, but it could be one of Sammy’s best productions ever, featuring an uncredited lead by Eddie Van Halen as well as credited bass work by that famous axe-swinger. And isn’t it funny, neither Sam nor […]


via Lefsetz Letter

March 31, 2017 at 10:06AM

The Man Bun

The Man Bun

When did this become a thing?

I first started noticing it on hipsters. Yoga-pants wearing males sporting sandals who seemed to be saying I’m expending so much energy that I just cannot have my hair on my neckline preventing my sweat from escaping. Look at me, olfactory mess that I am, I’m a living, breathing human specimen you can only envy.

But you wouldn’t want to touch.

That’s the thing about man buns. The women make fun of them. I’ve never ever heard a guy talk about someone’s bun but women constantly confide and snicker, laughing at the wearer.

And now it’s expanded. If you’ve got enough hair it’s a reasonable choice. You can no longer tell the personality by the bun. I was at the hospital yesterday and a blue collar denizen escorting his mother was sporting one.

Now when I was in college, and even nerds started growing their hair long, I cut mine off. But no one wants to stand alone anymore, everybody wants to join in.

And why should the man bun be any more acceptable than the ponytail? Maybe if you’re a movie star, or a rock star, you can get away with long locks, indicating you’re an outsider, marching to the beat of your own drummer, even though you’re usually just a slave to the financial grind. But for decades we saw aged men with thinning hair pulling what was left back into a wimpy ponytail that would have any horse in the barn running away.

But that look has evaporated. Now you tie it all on top of your head like a Teletubby. As if it were a hook we could swing you by. Radiating to all the message that you’re a follower, not an individual, trying to gain some cred when actually you’re losing some. Kinda like all those bald guys who shave their heads so they think we won’t know…


via Lefsetz Letter

March 31, 2017 at 10:06AM

Galaxy S8

Galaxy S8

Much ado about nothing. Replacing your mobile phone today is like replacing your computer, something you used to do every couple of years and now do every six or seven. You see the functionality is good enough. Now it’s solely about fashion. I believe we need cultural signifiers. But they’re disappearing in front of our […]


via Lefsetz Letter

March 31, 2017 at 10:06AM

HAVANA CLUB: The Rum’s Back on Ice

HAVANA CLUB: The Rum’s Back on Ice

Last year, I blogged about the decades-long dispute for the HAVANA CLUB trademark in the United States. Nearly ten months later, well, its spirit lives on.

To briefly recap: in one corner, Empresa Cubana Exportadora, an arm of the Cuban government, owns a registration for the HAVANA CLUB trademark. In the other corner, Bacardi claims rights to the HAVANA CLUB trademark in the U.S. based on an acquisition from the “founding family” of HAVANA CLUB rum – who were exiled from Cuba in the 1960s. Bacardi has its own application for HAVANA CLUB for “rum and rum specialty drinks.” Examination of that application has been suspended since its filing in 1994 – while the parties duke out a cancellation action against the Cuban registration also dating back to Bill Clinton’s first term. That cancellation is itself suspended pending a civil action in federal court for the District of Columbia.


Last year, it seemed the U.S. government put its thumb on the scale to end the dispute, by allowing the Trademark Office to renew the Cuban government’s registration. But, as is the recurring theme of the last few months: what the government giveth, the government can taketh away.

Lawmakers (on both sides of the aisle) from Florida are asking the Trump administration to revoke the license granted by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. This would effectively eliminate the Cuban government’s ability to maintain the HAVANA CLUB trademark in the United States. The lawmakers cite the Trump administration’s “Cuba policy review” for justification – essentially reinstating a particular sanction against Cuba lifted by the Obama administration.

In short? The chaos continues, though Bacardi notes “nothing has yet moved in court.” It seems a dispute that began when I was all of eight years old will still be on the TTAB’s docket well into my thirties.

The post HAVANA CLUB: The Rum’s Back on Ice appeared first on DuetsBlog.


via DuetsBlog

March 31, 2017 at 01:34AM

Hemingway Did Not Summit

Hemingway Did Not Summit

A summit is the highest of the high. It is the top of a mountain. The apex. The peak. The zenith.

If it is a summit meeting, it is a meeting of individuals at the peak. Think Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin during WWII.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know my feelings about the trending use of the word summit to describe events, workshops, interviews, get-togethers, and a long list of other things that are not summits of either the mountain or meeting variety.

Another piece to add:

These non-summits are a form of procrastination.

When you’re at the base of an actual summit, don’t hold a meeting. Climb to the top instead.

One more piece:

These non-summits have the potential to steal your work’s soul—and your soul’s work.

Stick with me a bit here, for a short ramble.

In her Scientific American article “On writing, memory, and forgetting: Socrates and Hemingway take on Zeigarnik,” Maria Konnikova opened with the story of psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik.

In 1927, Gestalt psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik noticed a funny thing: waiters in a Vienna restaurant could only remember orders that were in progress. As soon as the order was sent out and complete, they seemed to wipe it from memory.

Zeigarnik then did what any good psychologist would: she went back to the lab and designed a study. A group of adults and children was given anywhere between 18 and 22 tasks to perform (both physical ones, like making clay figures, and mental ones, like solving puzzles)—only, half of those tasks were interrupted so that they couldn’t be completed. At the end, the subjects remembered the interrupted tasks far better than the completed ones—over two times better, in fact.

Zeigarnik ascribed the finding to a state of tension, akin to a cliffhanger ending: your mind wants to know what comes next. It wants to finish. It wants to keep working – and it will keep working even if you tell it to stop. All through those other tasks, it will subconsciously be remembering the ones it never got to complete. Psychologist Arie Kruglanski calls this a Need for Closure, a desire of our minds to end states of uncertainty and resolve unfinished business.

I think this might be why the mornings are so magical for work. The mind just spent hours chewing over unfinished business. Yes, it brought up some family drama I wanted to avoid, but it did a ton of heavy lifting on unfinished work that is of importance. It made the connections between all the fragments clear, helped sew up the loose ends, fuse together the matching pieces. It made the struggle to understand—and view—the path ahead clearer. It’s why I try to wake before the kids and try to avoid talking, even of the e-mail chatter sort, in the early hours. There’s a magic there that’s gone by 9 AM, so I want to catch it within easy reach at 5 AM.

Maybe this is why counseling works, too. Once you talk it all through, you come closer to being able to let go, to find closure.

I just finished Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami and there’s a scene when one of the characters requests that a fellow traveler of the same world burn her manuscript. It isn’t for publication or reading. It is her life. She had to put it all down. Remember everything. Get it out. Once she added that final period, her body died and her soul—or whatever you want to call that “it” thing about her, that essence—moved to a different world.

Once she completed her story, she was able to move onto the next place.

But what if you talk through all of your work—all of your dreams—without actually doing them? You risk moving on, though that’s the last thing you really want.

Back to Konnikova’s article, this time with a quote from an interview Ernest Hemingway did with George Plimpton, for the Paris Review:

“… though there is one part of writing that is solid and you do it no harm by talking about it, the other is fragile, and if you talk about it, the structure cracks and you have nothing.”

Again, from Konnikova:

Hemingway’s words came from experience. When his wife lost a suitcase that contained all existing copies of his short stories, the work was, to his mind, gone for good. He had written himself out the first time around. He couldn’t recapture it—whatever it was—again. He even fictionalized the process in the short story, “The Strange Country”: the writer whose stories have been lost finds it impossible to remember. “It’s useless,” he tells his sympathetic landlady. “Writing [the stories] I had felt all the emotion I had to feel about those things and I had put it all in and all the knowledge of them that I could express and I had rewritten and rewritten until it was all in them and all gone out of me. Because I had worked on newspapers since I was very young, I could never remember anything once I had written it down; as each day you wiped your memory clear with writing as you might wipe a blackboard clear with a sponge or a wet rag.”

I have a friend who attended an event led by Tony Robbins recently. It wasn’t called a summit, but she left inspired. She didn’t talk through every bit of her life or her dreams. She listened and learned. I’m not opposed to these events, but the ones that continue to come into Steve are increasingly from individuals who are holding meetings at the base camp—who have talked about climbing to the summit for years, but have never given it a shot.

One more thing from Konnikova’s article is this quote from Justin Taylor:

“Don’t take notes. This is counterintuitive, but bear with me. You only get one shot at a first draft, and if you write yourself a note to look at later then that’s what your first draft was—a shorthand, cryptic, half-baked fragment.”

Non-summits shouldn’t be drafts, but that’s what they are—and for some, a draft is an idea closed. It isn’t refined. It isn’t as good as it can be, but it is closed—and not reopened.

One small rant:

If you are early in your career, you don’t warrant your own summit. You just don’t.

The 18 year old who wants to be a life coach needs to go experience life first. Do something. You have something important to say? Go walk the talk. Get out of the house and away from all the screens. Go LIVE and CREATE.

Age, of course, isn’t a determining factor, but one used in the above because I’ve run into more teenage life-coach wanna-be’s.

*With age, the exceptions are related to individuals such as Malala Yousafzai, an extraordinary woman, who became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate at age 17. I’ll listen to her with every ounce of myself because her life experiences, her daily walk, are more than just talk. She’s lived her believes. She fought/continues to fight when others have hidden.

The 18 year old who has read a ton of Nietzsche but is still living off his parents? Not so much.

Climb the mountain. Don’t stop at the base. Your words are your oxygen, and if you use them all, you risk running out of breath within view of your goal, but without what you need to attain it.


via Steven Pressfield

March 31, 2017 at 01:00AM

Friday Link Pack

Friday Link Pack In this beautifully shot video, four skateboarders discover the joys of skating on the frozen sand of a Norwegian beach.

– This coffee table, bench, or whatever you want it to be, caught my eye.

Burly men at sea looks lovely.

– So much respect to the fine folks at Uncommon Goods for their efforts to raise awareness and act as a role model when it comes to Paid Family Leave.

You’re a completely different person at 14 and 77, the longest-running personality study ever has found

Groupmuse helps you organize a classical music concert in your living room. Also, in the same vein, Sofar Sounds.

– This feminist patch made me laugh out loud.

Noun Project on your desktop

– YES! ‘Cards Against Humanity’ Creator Vows To Buy And Publish Congress’s Internet History. Here’s an update.

– My kids and I would like this hammock.

Trump Regrets

Small Victories takes files in a Dropbox folder and turns them into a website. No CMS, no installation, no server, no coding required.

– This faux cactus caught my eye.

– This fold-up meditation stool caught my eye.

Taking a line for a walk.

Dear neighbor, I don’t love you.

– Of course, my kids couldn’t stop laughing: Fart in a can

– My nerd dad just pointed me to this app called Workflow, an automation tool, enabling you to drag and drop any combination of actions to create powerful workflows for your iPhone. Reminds me a bit of IFTTT. Definitely giving this a try.

– Getting fit takes time, and progress can be hard to notice. Progress app makes it easy to see the small changes as they happen,

– My daughter loves these paper dolls.

– How to use a bullet journal for your mental health. The rant boxes made me smile. (via)

– A Guggenheim curator put Tattly on her living room walls. So good!


via Swiss Miss

March 30, 2017 at 02:52PM