Supporting decentralized production and distribution by canceling Amazon Prime

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The subscription service is Amazon’s greatest—and most terrifying—invention. Image source: Getty; The Atlantic.

Amazon is not to be blamed here. It is giving us exactly what we want. For me, however, I canceled prime and stopped using Amazon over 2 years ago because I couldn’t trust myself. In the past I used to end up with things I didn’t really need. Without prime, with the extra friction, my discipline kicks in, and is able to help me from buying things I don’t really need.

I instead try and support local and brick and mortar stores because I want to vote with my money to manifest what I value more. Being able to get anything I want in a day is nice, but it’s no longer something I value for every single thing. Instead, having decentralized production, distribution and delivery systems also is something I desire and does require me to align my buying practices with it.

Small hair changes can lead to big outcomes. This is one habit I have changed for me.

Deepening geographical understanding through language

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Wrocław, Poland

Jenna was asking me to remind her the name of a city in Poland that she had been planning to go for a conference. After I helped her pronounce Wrocław correctly (and was surprised at myself that I remembered it so well) she said something very interesting:

“I think it should be part of geography to also learn some parts of languages.”

I realize that lonely planet and guides will get into pronunciations. But what this made me notice is that when I was specifically studying geography, so much of the context was just entirely lost when it wasn’t coupled with a slightly deeper / local understanding. Not sure how curriculum has kept up, maybe it’s more common now.

But culture and geography are so intertwined, and connections and isolation between people have so little to do with political boundaries, it took me a lot of years after school to finally feel like I have a better sense of the world. It made me sad to realize how little I knew despite thinking all along that I knew and understood a lot more.

I got vaccinated!

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It’s amazing to reflect on how much effort and ingenuity has gone into making this possible. I really hope more people around the world can benefit from this as soon as possible.

My vaccination was delivered by UC Davis Health. It was a very well run experience and I was very impressed with the way the logistics and process was handled. And I loved the bandage 🩹 with the UC Davis logo on it 🙂

Pandemic check-in 2021

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When this started last year, I was on the early side on anticipating what was coming and I started making adjustments early on to accommodate what I thought was how things were going to play out. I was prepared for what was coming, and had made peace with how different things were going to be. I even blogged about it last year detailing that once we have vaccines we will be on a different trajectory. It seems like forever ago, but this time last year we all had some idea of what we were getting into. A few months. A year. But as we hit May of 2021 coming soon, it just feels like wait what? what is this new normal? the world has changed. We are still seeing outbreaks and shutdowns. We are still trying to stay on top of this thing. And this holding position we have all collectively been in, it’s tiring. We are all at the end of the rope and it still feels like we don’t know what to expect. The last year has been so hard on everyone. We have all been deeply impacted and affected by what is happening. There’s this shared trauma that we are all experiencing collectively. And we are still in the middle of it. There’s a lot of hope on the horizon. There’s a lot of progress being made everywhere. Things will indeed get better. But right here, right now, it really sucks. Wanted to share this thought with everyone, have no intention or consequence in mind. Take care all! 🤗

Does money make you mean?

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When we look around us, if we see human beings who are wealthy, remember that science proves that there is a strong bias that they are going to be selfish, mean, and be some level of a jerk. Then we should look for what are the things they do that compensate for that scientifically proven bias. If we can’t find any compensatory behavior, which is often they case when work is all they focus on for example, then it is easy to conclude they really might be jerks.

Here’s a very good video they summarizes some amazing research on how you and me are all subject to these biases depending on the context we find ourselves in.

The Fascinating Evidence Showing Plants Have Human Level Intelligence, Feelings, Pain and More

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I know many of us have very strong opinions on this so would appreciate thoughtful comments.

Because we can’t relate to the sentience of plants, does eating them make it less cruel than creatures whose sentience we can relate to? Is cruelty an objective standard or an emotional lens?

Plant Perception: New Research Shows Plants Can Feel and Think Like Humans
research into plant perception is showing that plants have feelings, they are sentient, they communicate with each other, feel pain and they can plan into the future.

Some plants, such as sundew, are so sensitive to touch, for example, that they can detect a strand of hair weighing less than one microgram (one millionth of a gram) to which they then respond. But what is more revealing is that they can determine with great specificity what is touching them—that is the plants can feel their environment. Raindrops, a common experience in the wild, produce no response. This kind of mechanosensitivity, which is, in plants, similar to what we call our felt sense of touch, is used much as we use our own: The plants consciously analyze what is touching them, determine its meaning, and craft a response. And that response many times involves rapid changes in their genetics, phenotype, and subsequent physical form. As McCormack et al. comment, “Plants intelligently perceive much more of their environment than is often apparent to the casual observer. Touch can induce profound rapid responses… in Arabidopsis changes in gene expression can be seen within minutes after the plant feels touch, and over 700 genes have altered transcript levels within 30 minutes.” Plants, in fact, possess a highly sophisticated neural system and while it does not look like our “brain,” it really is, in actuality, a brain. In fact, once you get over brain chauvinism, it’s not all that different from our own.

Conscious Lifestyle Mag

Becoming an Estonian e-Resident

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Almost six years ago, I became one of the first people in the world to be an Estonian e-Resident 🙂 I had to physically go there to get finger-printed and prove that I was biologically alive, and after that I got an e-identity tied to it which allowed me to transact within Estonia’s (and partially EU’s) trust system remotely.

The very next day I had to rush myself to ER with an extremely painful case of kidney stones. I got to use my freshly acquired e-Resident card to navigate the medical system 😂. No one spoke much English and at that time I knew no Estonian or Russian. When I was eventually discharged and I went to the pharmacy, I just had to show them my card and they already knew my prescription.

So the system worked quite flawlessly. But there was human error in the prescription and I had to rush myself back into the ER after 3 days of writhing in intense pain. That was a great way to officially start my e-Residency 😜

Tim Cook: Statement at International Data Privacy Day

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Tim Cook, Apple CEO, made a very interesting statement at Brussels’ International Data Privacy Day.

Technology does not need vast troves of personal data stitched together across dozens of websites and apps in order to succeed. Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it, and we’re here today because the path of least resistance is rarely the path of wisdom.

If a business is built on misleading users on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, then it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform.

We should not look away from the bigger picture and a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theory is juiced by algorithms. We can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement, the longer the better, and all with the goal of collecting as much data as possible.

Too many are still asking the question, ‘How much can we get away with?’ When they need to be asking, ‘What are the consequences?’

What are the consequences of prioritizing conspiracy theories and violent incitement simply because of the high rates of engagement?

What are the consequences of not just tolerating but rewarding content that undermines public trust in life-saving vaccinations?

What are the consequences of seeing thousands of users joining extremist groups and then perpetuating an algorithm that recommends even more?

It is long past time to stop pretending that this approach doesn’t come with a cause. A polarization of lost trust, and yes, of violence.

A social dilemma cannot be allowed to become a social catastrophe.”

INC

Disinformation via Anachronistic Juxtaposition

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Usually when someone asks for their own tweet to be prevented from being reshared it’s a sign of Streisand Effect.

The Streisand effect is a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

I think Twitter has enabled a new phenomenon where an old tweet, retweeted after a period of time where the larger context and headspace is no longer the same, it takes away the original meaning of the tweet. This is the same as when we sometimes see people share links from 5 yrs ago and the headline somehow seems relevant to what’s happening now but it ends effectively being disinformation.

Let’s name this phenomenon: Disinformation via Anachronistic Juxtaposition

What do you think?