Here’s a great quote from Cal physicist Richard Muller on the scientific method: “I see the difference between a scientist and a non-scientist in a simple way:
- A non-scientist is easily fooled and particularly vulnerable to self-deception.
- A scientist is easily fooled and particularly vulnerable to self-deception… and knows it.”
If you avoid distinguishing beliefs and bias from knowledge, you’re not a scientist. If you overstate the truth (even for the greater good), you’re also not a scientist.
True science demands objectivity, guts, free speech, vulnerability, and lots of “we’re still not sure but let’s keep checking.”
Courtesy Lindsey Snow
My cousin recently asked for my stated religious beliefs. This is what I sent him: Continue reading…
Phil Knight seemingly had a lot of slick editors to help him write his wonderful book (4/5 stars) on the creation and rise of Nike. But his passion, character, and insightful war stories all ring true. These were my favorite excerpts:
- What if there were a way, without being an athlete, to feel what athletes feel? To play all the time, instead of working? Or else to enjoy work so much that it becomes essentially the same thing.
- Every runner knows this. You run and run, mile after mile, and you never quite know why. You tell yourself that you’re running toward some goal, chasing some rush, but really you run because the alternative, stopping, scares you to death.
- The Japanese believe climbing Fuji is a mystical experience, a ritual act of celebration, and I was overcome with a desire to climb it, right then. I wanted to ascend into the clouds. I decided to wait, however. I would return when I had something to celebrate.
- After shaving, I put on my green Brooks Brothers suit and gave myself a pep talk. You are capable. You are confident. You can do this. You can DO this. Then I went to the wrong place.
Courtesy Whitelines Snowboarding
Excluding blogging, ghostwritten, and otherwise non-bylined stories for some of these companies, this is what I wrote this month.
Thanks for reading.
- With notable exception to most of Africa, the global economic playing field has been flattened (i.e. the world is flat)
- Giving people remote access to collaborative tools, search engines, and billions of pages of information ensures that “the next innovations will come from all over Planet Flat.”
- True education teaches students how to develop inquisitive minds (i.e. be curious, absorb as much as you can, seek answers to questions that inspire you)
- America is losing its competitive edge of trust, stability, and entrepreneurial infrastructure (i.e. “its secret sauce”) because it’s increasingly becoming entitled, lazy, and out-collaborated by hungrier nations, Friedman argues. It also succumbed to fear-mongering after 9/11 instead of focusing on optimism and hope as it had done so well up to that point.
- Globalization winners take care of their own, but they are also compassionate and considerate of others, not protectionists playing an illusionary zero-sum economic game (i.e. domestic manufacturing jobs).
- Economic success is the result of hard work, thrift, honesty, patience, tenacity, and openness to adapt from others (i.e. “glocalization”)
- Authoritarian Muslim countries (e.g. Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, ISIS) have struggled to adapt to a flattening world because they don’t “glocalize.” More tolerant India, Turkey, Lebanon, Bahrain, Dubai, Indonesia, and Malaysia are notable exceptions to this rule, Friedman argues.
- The roots of terrorism are based on religious fanaticism and an education system that condemns Western decadence to create an atmosphere of intolerance (rather than a “live and let live” mindset).
- Although the U.S. still benefits from being the most dominate popular culture, globalization is is not the same as “Americanization” or American imperialism.
- No two countries that are part of a major global supply chain, such as Dell or McDonald’s, will ever fight a war against each other so long as both remain in said supply chain (i.e. money talks more than peace talks).
Despite Friedman’s verbose and scatterbrain writing, his insights deserve four stars out of five.
I’m an enthusiastic Amazon, Apple, Uber, and Google user because they make my life easier. I don’t think twice before upping my Prime membership. In fact, I like these companies so much, I’ve even willing to pay a little extra for the convenience they offer.
But obsessive brand loyalty will ultimately hurt us, argue two ivy-league economists for USA Today. “Each of us can do our part to make sure Amazon and others never get to the point of ubiquitous domination. It might introduce a bit of hassle and inconvenience into your life, but only a tiny bit. But by taking on this challenge, you’ll be doing the job that antitrust authorities, in an ideal world, might take care of on our behalf – ensuring that consumers and workers, rather than the owners of capital and algorithms – get a piece of the surplus that’s created by new business ideas.”
Make no mistake, I’m a proud American capitalist. But I like it even more when companies compete for my business. “Think about those credit card teasers we all get,” the authors add. “As long as we keep businesses thinking they need to chase after us to try to lock us in, they’ll keep on handing us value rather than using it to pad their bottom line.”
If you agree, consider shopping with competing companies and platforms from time to time to keep your favorite companies on their toes, hungry for your business, and willing to let you keep a greater share of the value.
Clouds from my plane window somewhere over Nicaragua (courtesy Blake Snow)
My respect for clouds skyrocketed last year on two separate occasions.
The first was while flying home from France after hiking Mont Blanc with my long-time friend Wesley Lovvorn. Despite being about the same elevation as my beloved Wasatch Mountains, The Alps appear 2000-4000 feet taller due to greater topographical prominence. That is their valley floor is about 2000-4000 lower than the 4400 feet I live at in Provo. Consequently, the Alps looked like giants the first time I saw them. But not as giant as the cumulus clouds I flew through on the way home. Shortly after crossing into eastern Utah on the 10 hour flight from Paris to Salt Lake, my Delta plane felt like an insect flying into an endless mountain range of white, billowy water vapor. I’ve never seen anything so big. It was a beautiful and comforting sight to come home to.
As seen on a cruise ship last month. (How do they know it wasn’t intentional?)
I’m always writing down blog ideas. At the time of writing, I have 535 unpublished saved drafts. Most of these will never see the light of day. But some of them are worth sharing. In an effort to whittle that number down as fast as humanly possible, here are five things that have crossed my mind recently: Continue reading…
I first heard it in Donnie Darko some 15 years ago. But it still haunts me. I love it.
I’m by no means an expert on technology. But I’ve covered the industry long enough (since the mid ‘80s to be exact) to know that very few innovations really matter. The vast majority of mainstream releases are merely novel diversions that fail to fundamentally change our lives, let alone improve them.
They are the opposite of personal computers, the web/email combo, GPS directions, social media, high definition, touchscreen phones that double as cameras, YouTube, and increasingly voice search. Over the last thirty years, those are the real innovative heavyweights.
Although nothing released this year approaches that status—uneven virtual reality very much included—they are several gizmos released this year that excited and even enhanced my life on a near daily basis.
They are as follows: Continue reading…
“Who does this guy thinks he is?”
I asked myself that upon seeing Luke Spiller perform with The Struts for the first time. He had just finished ripping through the opening four songs of their recent set in Salt Lake City. Two singles. Two of his debut album’s most anthemic tracks. No stops or pauses in between songs. All in the first 15 minutes of a performance that would eventually double the running time of their only album plus one new song.
But unlike a punk act that similarly keeps the punches rolling, Spiller was wholly uninhibited on stage. He wore glittered capes and spandex. Shimmied his shoulders like Freddie Mercury. Calculated dramatic toe steps and emphatic kicks in every direction. Choreographed his carefully rehearsed movements to the music.
While observing all of this, I couldn’t decide if Spiller wanted to imitate Michael Jackson, Robert Plant, Prince, or Mick Jagger. On top of that, the size of his mouth suggests his mother may have slept with Steven Tyler during the British leg of Aerosmith’s Pump tour.
In a later interview after the show, he brushed off a facetious question about his outrageous showmanship. “That’s just what I am,” he told me. “It’s just what I enjoy.”
For lovers of live performances that make you forget the troubles at home, Spiller’s dramatic charisma is all for your gain. Continue reading…
I’m not quite 6 feet 2 inches tall. But I laughed out loud at some of the things a 6′ 6″ man can do, as written by Jaime Barth:
- I like standing awkwardly close to people, so they have no choice but to either look up at me, or stare directly at my chest, because that’s where most people’s height brings them.
- Elevators are my favorite, because there’s an entire little room of people who can’t help but notice that I tower over them.
- Over-exaggerating the fact that I have to duck to get on the subway. I make a show of it.
- Holding the door open for people in such a way that they have to walk under my arm, like a child. (so good)
- Complaining about stores with low-hanging signs that I bump my head on.
- Running my finger on the top shelves at supermarkets and pointing out all of the dust.
- Reaching all the way to the back of a display for something at a store.
- Holding up my hand for a “high five” and watching my students struggle to hit it.
If you want over-priced, unappetizing deep dish pizza delivered to your door, try Papa John’s new pan pizza. Otherwise, read on. Continue reading…
Craig Weiler has the answer:
You have one set of teeth, one set of knees, one set of lungs and one back. If you don’t take care of them, you can’t re-boot. You can get knee replacement surgery and you can get your teeth capped and wear dentures, or get new lungs, but it’s not the same as your originals. The back is much more tricky and if you damage it enough you’re never coming back from it.
You have one set of hands and feet. They are irreplaceable as is your brain. So if you damage them you’re never coming back from it.
Your body, in other words, is a one-off. You will never have another one as long as you live. If you start taking good care of it and you’re mindful in your 20’s, you’ll be far healthier and happier in your 50’s and beyond.”
I whole heartily agree with Confucius when he said, “The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute; the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”
Because of this, I’m always asking new questions of everyone I encounter in an effort to learn from them. Long-time family and friends. Acquaintances. Complete strangers. Everybody!
When it comes to getting better answers (i.e. more lively conversations), there are few better ice-breaker questions than these:
- What do you like to do? (more fun than the default and boring “What do you do for work?”)
- What is it like to live there? (asked as as a follow up to “Where are you from?”)
- What are your favorite websites, hobbies, and topics? What cheers you up?
To adopt for people you now, just add “now” to the above and voila! Instant learning. When you feel ready, you can really dig deep with, “What are your guiding beliefs?”
Hat tip, Ahmed Arshad