Category Archives: Society

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?

Advertisements

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?


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.


The role of a critic

Are you critical?

I hope so. Being a critic means you have an opinion. And having an opinion means you know what you like and don’t like. Which is pretty important in this day and age of myriad choice.

If you have strong — accurate — opinions, like Siskel & Ebert, you can actually build a reputation on your likes and dislikes. Siskel & Ebert never made a movie, they weren’t formally trained in film or screenwriting, they really had no more credentials in judging film than you or I. But, they had a venue and a voice and they were, well, critical. Not negative, mind you, by this I mean they could critique a film and summarize the good and bad of them in a way that made sense to you and I.

I take this to infer that one doesn’t need a graduate degree in some entertainment medium to provide a critique. It helps if you can explain why you do or don’t like something in a film, show, or novel. But, you don’t need formal training to have an opinion, an accurate valid opinion. Siskel & Ebert proved this.

I point this out so that the next time someone asks you what you think about X, Y or Z movie, TV show or NYTimes bestseller, you can feel confident in giving your honest forthright opinion on said media.

Additionally, and more to the point, the next time a friend or family member asks you to critique some work of theirs don’t placate them. Encourage them, of course; if they create something — whatever it might be — support their creativity. But don’t negate your opinion by burying your true thoughts on their effort. That would be worse that lying. They’re looking to you for your Siskel & Ebert opinion. So, give it to them.

Too often, friends and family members, who beta read or beta watch a creative piece produced by an author or videographer, lie, thinking they are being “nice” by protecting the creator’s emotional state: “She tried SO hard, I couldn’t tell her what I really thought.” Don’t do them this disservice. They really, really want your honest opinion. Only an honest opinion will help them progress.

Let ’em have it. Thumbs up or thumbs down.

(Substantiated of course, but be brutal, really.)

 

 


Informed, piqued, challenged

But not entertained.

Not fully. Not in the robust sense of being entertained, of enjoying entertainment.

To what am I referring? To everything you will read on the web during the day; during your arduous slog through your social, business and informational treading of life’s daily data toil.

Like this post for instance. I don’t overtly wish to entertain you. I do intend to swipe at your subconscious; bat around your interests; toy with your beliefs, assumptions and predilections. But I’m not setting out here to entertain you. I’d rather stick a wet finger in your ear.

And that’s what all the web, during the day, during my reading of news and articles and tidbits, should do. Inform me. Fill me with awe and admiration of the data you’ve compiled and arranged and elucidated — upon the behalf of your argument.

But don’t spend hundreds of words poetically couching your argument in narrative. I don’t want to be intentionally entertained by you while you write to me about the genome, or Mars, or why bluefin tuna are dying out, or how hard it is to build a Javascript library that lasts the tests of time.

No. Just give me the facts, ma’am! Don’t try to be a story teller. Just get to the bloody point.

I will get my expanded narrative entertainment reading what are presented and acknowledged to be actual entertainment focused articles, stories and novels. When I want to be entertained through the written word I’ll pick up a novel.

Therefore, if information transmission is the primary intent of your writing (and most daily web writing is these days) — don’t fluff it up. Don’t beautify it.

Like I tell the doctor with bad news, “Just give it to me straight.”


Comment Obscura

I have a confession to make. I delete all my real-name comments and likes from many of my social accounts.

I create posts. I like things. I comment on other’s posts. But within 24 hours — I delete them.

There’s something about gifting my personal IP, my thoughts and opinions and such to the likes of google or facebook or twitter.

And here’s why I mention this: People hate that I do this.

People, apparently, feel entitled to some sort of persistence model regarding everything I might say or approve of. They think me deleting my comments from their posts violates their sense of continuity regarding their social personas. BAH! I say.

If we have a conversation on the phone, or face to face, or yelling across the canyon will either of us have recorded for posterity that conversation? Of course not. We talked, we exchanged views, and now those words are lost to the ether. Should we mourn those words? Those unpersisted trackings of our repartee? Of course not. And that’s the way I view my communications on my real-name social presence.

And of course they get even more pissed off when I post something and they comment on it and then a day later the entire conversation and post are vanished into the never-never.

“Why did you delete that article?” they ask. Hey, I’m modeling the entropy of the universe. Get used to it.

My netdonym social presence? Like here? Ah, who cares, it’s fun to gather a following of anonymous people’s likes and dislikes. I don’t know if you use your real name or not. I wouldn’t. I mean, I do, but only for VERY SPECIFIC content that I want associated with me personally.

The nonsense I post here? Me, my radicalized self and all the left-leaning libertarian loony-toons fodder I spew out? Well, it’s just a gathering ground for poisonous mushrooms. Hmm, anyone for some toadstool stew?