More on Society & Culture
5 months ago
A Dog's Guide to Every Type of Zoom Call Participant
Are you one of these Zoom dogs?
The Person Who Is Apparently Always on Mute
Waffles thinks he can overpower the mute button by shouting loudly.
The person who believed their camera to be off
Barkley's used to remote work, but he hasn't mastered the "Stop Video" button. Everyone is affected.
Who is driving for some reason, exactly?
Why is Pumpkin always late? Who knows? Shouldn't she be driving? If you could hear her over the freeway, she'd answer these questions.
The Person With the Amazing Bookcase
Cicero likes to use SAT-words like "leverage" and "robust" in Zoom sessions, presumably from all the books he wants you to see behind him.
The Individual Who Is Unnecessarily Dressed
We hope Bandit is going somewhere beautiful after this meeting, or else he neglected the quarterly earnings report and is overcompensating to distract us.
The person who works through lunch in between zoom calls
Barksworth has back-to-back meetings all day, so you can watch her eat while she talks.
The Person Who Is A Little Too Comfy
Hercules thinks Zoom meetings happen between sleeps. He'd appreciate everyone speaking more quietly.
The Person Who Answered the Phone Outside
Frisbee has a gorgeous backyard and lives in a place with great weather year-round, and she wants you to think about that during the daily team huddle.
Who Wants You to Pay Attention to Their Pet
Snickers hasn't listened to you in 20 minutes unless you tell her how cute her kitten is.
One who is, for some reason, positioned incorrectly on the screen
Nelson's meetings consist primarily of attempting to figure out how he positioned his laptop so absurdly.
The person who says too many goodbyes
Zeus waves farewell like it's your first day of school while everyone else searches for the "Leave Meeting" button. It's nice.
He who has a poor internet connection
Ziggy's connectivity problems continue... She gives a long speech as everyone waits awkwardly to inform her they missed it.
The Clearly Multitasking Person
Tinkerbell can play fetch during the monthly staff meeting if she works from home, but that's not a good idea.
The Person Using Zoom as a Makeup and Hair Mirror
If Gail and Bob knew Zoom had a "hide self view" option, they'd be distraught.
The person who feels at ease with simply leaving
Rusty bails when a Zoom conference is over. Rusty's concept is decent.
1 month ago
When we want to return anything, why on earth do stores still require a receipt?
A friend told me of an incident she found particularly irritating: a retailer where she is a frequent client, with an account and loyalty card, asked for the item's receipt.
We all know that stores collect every bit of data they can on us, including our socio-demographic profile, address, shopping habits, and everything we've ever bought, so why would they need a fading receipt? Who knows? That their consumers try to pass off other goods? It's easy to verify past transactions to see when the item was purchased.
That's it. Why require receipts? Companies send us incentives, discounts, and other marketing, yet when we need something, we have to prove we're not cheating.
Why require us to preserve data and documents when our governments and governmental institutions already have them? Why do I need to carry documents like my driver's license if the authorities can check if I have one and what state it's in once I prove my identity?
We shouldn't be required to give someone data or documents they already have. The days of waiting up with our paperwork for a stern official to inform us something is missing are over.
How can retailers still ask if you have a receipt if we've made our slow, bureaucratic, and all-powerful government sensible? Then what? The shop may not accept your return (which has a two-year window, longer than most purchase tickets last) or they may just let you replace the item.
Isn't this an anachronism in the age of CRMs, customer files that know what we ate for breakfast, and loyalty programs? If government and bureaucracies have learnt to use its own files and make life easier for the consumer, why do retailers ask for a receipt?
They're adding friction to the system. They know we can obtain a refund, use our warranty, or get our money back. But if I ask for ludicrous criteria, like keeping the purchase receipt in your wallet (wallet? another anachronism, if I leave the house with only my smartphone! ), it will dissuade some individuals and tip the scales in their favor when it comes to limiting returns. Some manager will take credit for lowering returns and collect her annual bonus. Having the wrong metrics is common in management.
To slow things down, asking for a receipt is like asking us to perform a handstand and leap 20 times on one foot. You have my information, use it to send me everything, and know everything I've bought, yet when I need a two-way service, you refuse to utilize it and require that I keep it and prove it.
Refuse as customers. If retailers want our business, they should treat us well, not just when we spend money. If I come to return a product, claim its use or warranty, or be taught how to use it, I am the same person you treated wonderfully when I bought it. Remember that, and act accordingly.
A store should use my information for everything, not just what it wants. Keep my info, but don't sell me anything.
5 months ago
Old power paradigm blocks new planetary paradigm
The difference between our reality and the media's reality is like a tale of two worlds. The greatest and worst of times, really.
Expanding information demands complex skills and understanding to separate important information from ignorance and crap. And that's just the start of determining the source's aim.
Trust who? We see people trust liars in public and then be destroyed by their decisions. Mistakes may be devastating.
Many give up and don't trust anyone. Reality is a choice, though. Same risks.
We must separate our needs and wants from reality. Needs and wants have rules. Greed and selfishness create an unlivable planet.
Culturally, we know this, but we ignore it as foolish. Selfish and greedy people obtain what they want, while others suffer.
We invade, plunder, rape, and burn. We establish civilizations by institutionalizing an exploitable underclass and denying its existence. These cultural lies promote greed and selfishness despite their destructiveness.
Controlling parts of society institutionalize these lies as fact. Many of each age are willing to gamble on greed because they were taught to see greed and selfishness as principles justified by prosperity.
Our cultural understanding recognizes the long-term benefits of collaboration and sharing. This older understanding generates an increasing tension between greedy people and those who see its planetary effects.
Survival requires distinguishing between global and regional realities. Simple, yet many can't do it. This is the first time human greed has had a global impact.
In the past, conflict stories focused on regional winners and losers. Losers lose, winners win, etc. Powerful people see potential decades of nuclear devastation as local, overblown, and not personally dangerous.
Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) was a human choice that required people to acquiesce to irrational devastation. This prevented nuclear destruction. Most would refuse.
A dangerous “solution” relies on nuclear trigger-pullers not acting irrationally. Since then, we've collected case studies of sane people performing crazy things in experiments. We've been lucky, but the climate apocalypse could be different.
Climate disaster requires only continuing current behavior. These actions already cause global harm, but that's not a threat. These activities must be viewed differently.
Once grasped, denying planetary facts is hard to accept. Deniers can't think beyond regional power. Seeing planet-scale is unusual.
Decades of indoctrination defining any planetary perspective as un-American implies communal planetary assets are for plundering. The old paradigm limits any other view.
In the same way, the new paradigm sees the old regional power paradigm as a threat to planetary civilization and lifeforms. Insane!
While MAD relied on leaders not acting stupidly to trigger a nuclear holocaust, the delayed climatic holocaust needs correcting centuries of lunacy. We must stop allowing craziness in global leadership.
Nothing in our acknowledged past provides a paradigm for such. Only primitive people have failed to reach our level of sophistication.
Before European colonization, certain North American cultures built sophisticated regional nations but abandoned them owing to authoritarian cruelty and destruction. They were overrun by societies that saw no wrong in perpetual exploitation. David Graeber's The Dawn of Everything is an example of historical rediscovery, which is now crucial.
From the new paradigm's perspective, the old paradigm is irrational, yet it's too easy to see those in it as ignorant or malicious, if not both. These people are both, but the collapsing paradigm they promote is older or more ingrained than we think.
We can't shift that paradigm's view of a dead world. We must eliminate this mindset from our nations' leadership. No other way will preserve the earth.
Change is occurring. As always with tremendous transition, younger people are building the new paradigm.
The old paradigm's disintegration is insane. The ability to detect errors and abandon their sources is more important than age. This is gaining recognition.
The breakdown of the previous paradigm is not due to senile leadership, but to systemic problems that the current, conservative leadership cannot recognize.
Stop following the old paradigm.
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2 months ago
Russia's nukes may be useless
Russia's nuclear threat may be nullified by physics.
Putin seems nostalgic and wants to relive the Cold War. He's started a deadly war to reclaim the old Soviet state of Ukraine and is threatening the West with nuclear war. NATO can't risk starting a global nuclear war that could wipe out humanity to support Ukraine's independence as much as they want to. Fortunately, nuclear physics may have rendered Putin's nuclear weapons useless. However? How will Ukraine and NATO react?
To understand why Russia's nuclear weapons may be ineffective, we must first know what kind they are.
Russia has the world's largest nuclear arsenal, with 4,447 strategic and 1,912 tactical weapons (all of which are ready to be rolled out quickly). The difference between these two weapons is small, but it affects their use and logistics. Strategic nuclear weapons are ICBMs designed to destroy a city across the globe. Russia's ICBMs have many designs and a yield of 300–800 kilotonnes. 300 kilotonnes can destroy Washington. Tactical nuclear weapons are smaller and can be fired from artillery guns or small truck-mounted missile launchers, giving them a 1,500 km range. Instead of destroying a distant city, they are designed to eliminate specific positions, bases, or military infrastructure. They produce 1–50 kilotonnes.
These two nuclear weapons use different nuclear reactions. Pure fission bombs are compact enough to fit in a shell or small missile. All early nuclear weapons used this design for their fission bombs. This technology is inefficient for bombs over 50 kilotonnes. Larger bombs are thermonuclear. Thermonuclear weapons use a small fission bomb to compress and heat a hydrogen capsule, which undergoes fusion and releases far more energy than ignition fission reactions, allowing for effective giant bombs.
Here's Russia's issue.
A thermonuclear bomb needs deuterium (hydrogen with one neutron) and tritium (hydrogen with two neutrons). Because these two isotopes fuse at lower energies than others, the bomb works. One problem. Tritium is highly radioactive, with a half-life of only 12.5 years, and must be artificially made.
Tritium is made by irradiating lithium in nuclear reactors and extracting the gas. Tritium is one of the most expensive materials ever made, at $30,000 per gram.
Why does this affect Putin's nukes?
Thermonuclear weapons need tritium. Tritium decays quickly, so they must be regularly refilled at great cost, which Russia may struggle to do.
Russia has a smaller economy than New York, yet they are running an invasion, fending off international sanctions, and refining tritium for 4,447 thermonuclear weapons.
The Russian military is underfunded. Because the state can't afford it, Russian troops must buy their own body armor. Arguably, Putin cares more about the Ukraine conflict than maintaining his nuclear deterrent. Putin will likely lose power if he loses the Ukraine war.
It's possible that Putin halted tritium production and refueling to save money for Ukraine. His threats of nuclear attacks and escalating nuclear war may be a bluff.
This doesn't help Ukraine, sadly. Russia's tactical nuclear weapons don't need expensive refueling and will help with the invasion. So Ukraine still risks a nuclear attack. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was 15 kilotonnes, and Russia's tactical Iskander-K nuclear missile has a 50-kiloton yield. Even "little" bombs are deadly.
We can't guarantee it's happening in Russia. Putin may prioritize tritium. He knows the power of nuclear deterrence. Russia may have enough tritium for this conflict. Stockpiling a material with a short shelf life is unlikely, though.
This means that Russia's most powerful weapons may be nearly useless, but they may still be deadly. If true, this could allow NATO to offer full support to Ukraine and push the Russian tyrant back where he belongs. If Putin withholds funds from his crumbling military to maintain his nuclear deterrent, he may be willing to sink the ship with him. Let's hope the former.
5 months ago
My Blog Is in Google's Top 10—Here's How to Compete
"Competition" is beautiful and hateful.
Some people bury their dreams because they are afraid of competition. Others challenge themselves, shaping our world.
Competition is normal.
It spurs innovation and progress.
I wish more people agreed.
As a marketer, content writer, and solopreneur, my readers often ask:
"I want to create a niche website, but I have no ideas. Everything's done"
"Is a website worthwhile?"
I can't count how many times I said, "Yes, it makes sense, and you can succeed in a competitive market."
I encourage and share examples, but it's not enough to overcome competition anxiety.
I launched an SEO writing website for content creators a year ago, knowing it wouldn't beat Ahrefs, Semrush, Backlinko, etc.
Many of my website's pages rank highly on Google.
Everyone can eat the pie.
In a competitive niche, I took a different approach.
When chatting with bloggers that want a website, I discovered something fascinating.
They want to launch a website but have no ideas. As a next step, they start listing the interests they believe they should work on, like wellness, lifestyle, investments, etc. I could keep going.
Too many generalists who claim to know everything confuse many.
Generalists aren't trusted.
We want someone to fix our problems immediately.
I don't think broad-spectrum experts are undervalued. People have many demands that go beyond generalists' work. Narrow-niche experts can help.
I've done SEO for three years. I learned from experts and courses. I couldn't find a comprehensive SEO writing resource.
I read tons of articles before realizing that wasn't it. I took courses that covered SEO basics eventually.
I had a demand for learning SEO writing, but there was no solution on the market. My website fills this micro-niche.
Have you ever had trouble online?
Professional courses too general, boring, etc.?
You've bought off-topic books, right?
You're not alone.
Big players often disregard new opportunities. Too small. Individual content creators can succeed here.
In a competitive market:
Never choose wide subjects
Think about issues you can relate to and have direct experience with.
Be a consumer to discover both the positive and negative aspects of a good or service.
Merchandise your annoyances.
Consider ways to transform your frustrations into opportunities.
The right niche is half-success. Here is what else I did to hit the Google front page with my website.
An innovative method for choosing subjects
Why publish on social media and websites?
Want likes, shares, followers, or fame?
Some people do it for fun. No judgment.
I bet you want more.
You want to make decent money from blogging.
Writing about random topics, even if they are related to your niche, won’t help you attract an audience from organic search. I'm a marketer and writer.
I worked at companies with dead blogs because they posted for themselves, not readers. They did not follow SEO writing rules; that’s why most of their content flopped.
I learned these hard lessons and grew my website from 0 to 3,000+ visitors per month while working on it a few hours a week only. Evidence:
I choose website topics using these criteria:
- Business potential. The information should benefit my audience and generate revenue. There would be no use in having it otherwise.
My topics should help me:
Attract organic search traffic with my "fluff-free" content -> Subscribers > SEO ebook sales.
Simple and effective.
- traffic on search engines. The number of monthly searches reveals how popular my topic is all across the world. If I find that no one is interested in my suggested topic, I don't write a blog article.
- Competition. Every search term is up against rivals. Some are more popular (thus competitive) since more websites target them in organic search. A new website won't score highly for keywords that are too competitive. On the other side, keywords with moderate to light competition can help you rank higher on Google more quickly.
- Search purpose. The "why" underlying users' search requests is revealed. I analyze search intent to understand what users need when they plug various queries in the search bar and what content can perfectly meet their needs.
My specialty website produces money, ranks well, and attracts the target audience because I handpick high-traffic themes.
Following these guidelines, even a new website can stand out.
I wrote a 50-page SEO writing guide where I detailed topic selection and share my front-page Google strategy.
My guide can help you run a successful niche website.
You're not late to the niche-website party.
The Internet offers many untapped opportunities.
We need new solutions and are willing to listen.
There are unexplored niches in any topic.
Don't fight giants. They have their piece of the pie. They might overlook new opportunities while trying to keep that piece of the pie. You should act now.
5 months ago
What I Wish I'd Known About Web3 Before Building
I've lost money in crypto.
The real issue: I didn’t understand how.
I'm surrounded with winners. To learn more, I created my own NFTs, currency, and DAO.
Web3 is a hilltop castle. Everything is valuable, decentralized, and on-chain.
The castle is Disneyland: beautiful in images, but chaotic with lengthy lines and kids spending too much money on dressed-up animals.
When the throng and businesses are gone, Disneyland still has enchantment.
The Real Story of Web3
Scarcity. Scarce NFTs. That's their worth.
Bored Ape Yacht Club vs. my NFTs?
BAYC is amazing, but not for the reasons people believe. Apecoin and Otherside's art, celebrity following, and innovation? Stunning.
No other endeavor captured the zeitgeist better. Yet how long did you think it took to actually mint the NFTs?
1 hour? Maybe a week for the website?
Minting NFTs is incredibly easy. Kid-friendly. Developers are rare. Think about that next time somebody posts “DevS dO SMt!?”
NFTs will remain popular. These projects are like our Van Goghs and Monets. Still, be wary. It still uses exclusivity and wash selling like the OG art market.
Not all NFTs are art-related.
Soulbound and anonymous NFTs could offer up new use cases. Property rights, privacy-focused ID, open-source project verification. Everything.
NFTs build online trust through ownership.
We just need to evolve from the apes first.
NFTs' superpower is marketing until then.
What the hell is a token?
99% of people are clueless.
So I invested in both coins and tokens. Same same. Only that they are not.
Coins have their own blockchain and developer/validator community. It's hard.
Creating a token on top of a blockchain? Five minutes.
Most consumers don’t understand the difference, creating an arbitrage opportunity: pretend you’re a serious project without having developers on your payroll.
Few market sites help. Take a look. See any tokens?
There's a hint one click deeper.
Some tokens are legitimate. Some coins are bad investments.
Tokens are utilized for DAO governance and DApp payments. Still, know who's behind a token. They might be 12 years old.
Coins take time and money. The recent LUNA meltdown indicates that currency investing requires research.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) don't work as you assume.
Yes, members can vote.
A productive organization requires more.
I've observed two types of DAOs.
Total decentralization total dysfunction
Centralized just partially. Community-driven.
A core team executes the DAO's strategy and roadmap in successful DAOs. The community owns part of the organization, votes on decisions, and holds the team accountable.
DAOs are public companies.
A shareholder meeting's logistics are staggering. DAOs may hold anonymous, secure voting quickly. No need for intermediaries like banks to chase up every shareholder.
Successful DAOs aren't totally decentralized. Large-scale voting and collaboration have never been easier.
And that’s all that matters.
My Web3 learnings
Disneyland is enchanting. Web3 too.
In a few cycles, NFTs may be used to build trust, not clout. Not speculating with coins. DAOs run organizations, not themselves.
Finally, some final thoughts:
NFTs will be a very helpful tool for building trust online. NFTs are successful now because of excellent marketing.
Tokens are not the same as coins. Look into any project before making a purchase. Make sure it isn't run by three 9-year-olds piled on top of one another in a trench coat, at the very least.
Not entirely decentralized, DAOs. We shall see a future where community ownership becomes the rule rather than the exception once we acknowledge this fact.
Crypto Disneyland is a rollercoaster with loops that make you sick.
Always buckle up.