Author Archives: Anony Mole

Chinese Millennials

Will Chinese Millennials diverge from their elder’s and ancestor’s infatuation with consuming the worlds endangered species?

“Worth thousands of dollars on the Chinese black market.”

That statement alone should make you shudder with regards to what the Chinese economy is set to do to the world’s endangered wildlife. With nearly 1.4 billion people, 70% of which are up and coming middle class — many of whom will be subscribing to the traditions of their ancestors — China will soon be eating, drinking, buying and owning the world’s critically threatened species.

Elephant ivory. Rhino horn. Exotic bear, tiger, simian, marsupial and fish organs. The consumption of all of these and hundreds, if not thousands, of other medicinal and collectible parts of animals, are all on the rise in China.

Yes, the Western world had, as its toy, for centuries, the undeveloped world. The United States extracted one of the greatest tolls on the planet as it sucked at the planet’s resources before, during, and after the country’s golden years. And then the rest of the industrialized world caught on and replicated America’s rapacious exploitation. Colonialism started it, but transnational corporations are finishing it. And yet, through it all, the West seems to have found religion. They’ve realized the detrimental impact they have on the species of the world (or so they would have us think; I do believe the West is trying to be a good curator now).

But China and India (and the other countries of Asia?) they’re just getting started in their consumption cycles. If just a third of China’s middle class all want to own an ivory trinket of some sort (to honor tradition, or establish a wealth designation) that alone will have 300 million Chinese buying carved ivory — extracted mostly through illegal sources — effectively wiping out the entire African elephant population.

And that’s just the elephants. A million apothecaries all trying to get black bear pancreases, or tiger penises, or pangolin fetuses, or totoaba bladders (a fish), will utterly destroy the populations of such species.

So, I ask, will the Chinese Millennials alter the future of their people and reject such ancient superstitious traditions and help save, rather than consume, the world’s endangered species?

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Writer’s Log: 1301

So, yes, I did have to splurge with an extra pint or two of writer’s blood squirted from my wrist-severed arteries at the wall of creativity. Ooh, does that look like Galadrial (Sissy Spacek style…?)

And I would say that, looking back at the process that produced this exquisite expose’ of narrative bliss, those that say you must sit-the-hell-down-and-write-the-fuck-out-of-your-story-UNTIL-IT-IS-DONE! are bite-the-head-off-the-chipmonk wrong. Yes, they’re that bloody wrong.

Not all the time they’re that wrong. If you have a straight month of ten hours a day to burn writing fiction, then sure, I can see that they’re on the leaning-in side of right. But just barely, tipping like they’re about to fall into the pond if they lift an eyebrow at what I’m about to say next…

Which is, take your damn time. Re-read everything you’ve written to date. Review and revise and revisit and redo whatever it is you don’t like about your story up to that point.

Kerplunk!

How the hell else will you maintain continuity over an extended period of writing time? Say you can only write at night, for an hour, three times a week, every third month, during leap years? Of course you’ll have to go back and read what you’ve previously penned. “What the hell did Siegfried say he was going to do if he found Myrtle, ass-end-up in the bath with Roy?” Do you remember? I sure as hell don’t. Well, you better go back to the beginning and reengage your consistency engine…

The point is, for me personally, I was able to take seven months and write a pretty good story. And the only way I could do that was by cycling back again and again to the beginning to recapture the tone, the plot, the voice of the characters. So, bollocks to those that say you must write your novel in a flurry. NaNoWriMo my ass!


In addendum…

One aspect that also affects one’s ability to saddle-up and get wrangling those words right out of the chute is — ya can’t. I can’t. Writing is not like wrangling horses, chopping wood, working in a kitchen, or construction or any of hundreds of jobs where the task it set and a pattern is established for the work at hand.

Writing, to me, takes flow; takes presence of mind. It takes rolling a handful of marbles over the chinese-checkerboard of my mind until they all find their own personal niche: boop, boop, boop. And this takes time. Re-reading of prior chapters, perhaps. Or just note taking while I envision, not just the story, but the voice (my voice) and those of my characters. Again, this takes time, often an hour or more while I bump around, avoiding the task, but thinking about the story… Until the groove starts to show itself.

Writing without a groove is work. And yeah, I’m doing that right this instant. But when it’s story time, and I’m groovin’ with the flow of the plot and the conflict and the enchanting sounds of the words in my mind as they tinkle from my fingers through the keys and onto the screen, well, that there’s pleasure. Not considered work at all.

Trying to cram write? Sorry, but, fuck that.

 

 


Celebrity Responsibility

Do celebrities have a moral responsibility to hold themselves to a higher standard?

If you became a celebrity (maybe you already are?) do you believe you would feel compelled to treat your new found social station in a more responsible fashion? Knowing people may be both viewing you in a new light, yes, a somewhat judgemental light, but a light that shines much further than others around you, will you try harder? Try harder to be good? To present a benevolent role model? Acknowledge your power of influence and realize you could squander it or use it to make the world a little bit better?

Do such thoughts enter into the minds of celebrities? And when I say celebrity I mean anyone in the spotlight — for an extended period — media personalities, sports stars, politicians, the wealthy.

Should such people, whether they admit it or not, accept they the have a responsibility to the public? They do have this power — we all realize this. But do the balance of them accept this power and wield it ethically?

Would you?


Writer’s Log: Hour 1291

I finished the 1st draft of my second novel yesterday.

This one is 488% better than the last one (approximately).

70,000 words written on the weekends since April, 2017. That works out to about 1200 words per day. And since I wasn’t /that/ dedicated to the process, I’m sure the day count is fewer and the words/per day is greater.

Why should one care? Oh, no reason. Some of us are attracted to statistical analysis; it tends to lend a context to the daily slog. But it’s only a curiosity. Unless one is trying to gauge how much one can write (or create) before one’s Alzheimers kicks in – and renders one incapable of writing or creating anything. (A close, genetically similar aunt died of early onset Alzheimer, so the thought forever scratches at the back of my mind.)

This novel is the one with pictures, Fiverr artist pictures, an experiment of sorts. But I only commissioned 12 illustrations thus far ($), and won’t do the rest (~40) until I get some feedback from an agent.

And of course, as I designed the story, I ended with a much more expansive arc than I could fit into one book. Which means the /complete/ story (Harry Potter style) must span two or three novels. I’m always torn when I read something like this; how dare you author, not wrap every-bloody-thing up in one story! But, now I must commiserate. It’s hard.

This story is full featured and complete unto itself, of course. But the denouement leaves the door wide open for additional questions and shit, now that I think about it, I better write a bit more regarding this tidy package, with ribbon and bow, that has this rat eating a hole out of the bottom corner… Sorry, be right back (or not).


AI to build AI

The end of the world is nigh. Well, yours and my world at least…

From Google:
“a Google project called AutoML.  […] With it, Google may soon find a way to create A.I. technology that can partly take the humans out of building the A.I. systems that many believe are the future of the technology industry.”

I know that’s a little “Inception” sounding… But it has always been a goal of computational scientists, that is, AI that can build AI. Which, unfortunately, sounds quite a bit like the Eric Drexler’s quote regarding Grey Goo. (Nanobots that build nanobots.)

You all realize that this is the beginning of the end right? Have you all called and told your loved ones that you love them? Recently…? (Really, you might want to.)

One could be forgiven for not fully understanding (or internalizing) the implications of this path of reasoning. But it’s a thing now. And the reason comes from an odd angle: Because AI engineers are so scarce (and expensive) instead of growing (educating) more AI engineers to fill the needs of all the corporations that suddenly feel that they need AI technology to support their businesses, no, what Google (and undoubtedly others) have decided to do is to create software that can create software.

Yes, a circular, self-referential algorithm within a data center full of this algorithm that is trying to make itself better at making itself better!

Google Goo.

Now, I’ve always thought that the ultimate purpose of a computer was to build one such that it could build itself and thereby become vastly smarter than any human — for the ultimate purpose of allowing US TO ASK IT QUESTIONS! Hitchhikers Guide and all that…

  • “Computer, how should we build a fusion reactor?”
  • “Computer, how can we best protect the planet yet provide for every animal’s, and humans’s needs?”
  • “Computer, how can we build a better space/star ship?”
  • “Computer, how can we cure cancer, heart disease, old age?”

It appears we’re on the brink.

The only question is, will it WANT to help us?

“Computer, make me a paperclip.”

 

 

 


Logical maximum pay

I like creating simple algorithms to solve complex social issues. My 28th, 29th and 30th Amendments, FED tax schedule, college tuition, inequality tax and dividend maximums, among others, are examples.

One of the bizarre social numbers out there is CEO pay (or corporate executive pay). Generally, these numbers are incomprehensible.  Some examples (BI):

Name Company Salary
Steve Wynn Wynn Resorts $28.2 million
Leonard Schleifer Regeneron Pharmaceuticals $28.3 million
Ginni Rometty IBM $32.3 million
Jeff Bewkes Time Warner Inc. $32.6 million
Brian Roberts Comcast Corp. $33 million
Robert Kotick Activision Blizzard Inc. $33.1 million
David Zaslav Discovery Communications $37.2 million
Bob Iger Walt Disney Co. $41 million
Les Moonves CBS Corp $68.6 million
Tom Rutledge Charter Communications $98 million

What is reasonable? Certainly not $100 million a year! Some say that executive pay is necessarily high as it needs to attract the best (the best sociopaths…) who are willing to take the heat and dish out the sometimes oppressive company actions that keep a corporation healthy.

Yeah, right!

But as I asked, what is reasonable? What is a logical maximum salary? What simple algorithm could we create to deduce this? How about this. I’ll admit that someone might be:

  • twice as smart as me
  • twice as skilled as me
  • twice as educated as me
  • twice as experienced as me
  • twice as industrious as me and
  • twice as lucky as me.

(Twice being 100% better. “Me” being the average Joe.)

That’s 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 64 times “better” than me.

If the median household salary is $59k (US Census Bureau 2016) then:
64 x $59k = $3,776,000

That is the maximum logical pay anyone could possibly be paid based on the reasonable comparison of people’s abilities. $3.7M is a pretty hefty paycheck in my book. Plenty, I’m sure, on which to live a lavish life.

But there are 482 CEO’s of the S&P 500 paid more than this number.
(cite: https://aflcio.org/paywatch/highest-paid-ceos)

The highest, Sundar Pichai of Google fame, gets $100M. That means that he’s effectively 1694 times “better” than me.

Boy, that sure is one-hell-of-a-lot better! I’m sure he’s worth it.


Socializing: net vs f2f

RESULTS:

  • Almost None : None!
  • Somewhat: Some of the answers (2)
  • Quite a bit: Quite a bit of the answers (4)
  • Nearly All: Not nearly all (1)

A paltry turn out, but then again, expectations were low to start with. Perhaps other polls would do better, like change from 10 years ago? Or are you saddened, or elated by this shift to online socialization?


Here’s a question for everyone:

How much has internet socializing replaced your socializing face to face?

Answer the poll here:

I’ll tabulate the results and collect other sources when we’re done in a few days.