Ethan Explains Defamation Privacy 5/27/16

shutterstock_391180594Hulk Hogan won a $140 million invasion of privacy suit against Gawker. Come to find out tech billionaire Peter Thiel funded this suit and others against Gawker because founder Nick Denton outed Thiel in 2007. What is the balance of slander & libel versus a billionaire who can hold journalists accountable?

From The Washington Post:

“It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence,” Thiel told the New York Times. 
“I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”

Gawker founder Nick Denton disagrees. 
On Thursday, he posted an open letter to Thiel, in which he wrote, “Your revenge has been served well, cold and (until now) anonymously.”
In the letter, Denton offered his opinion as to why Thiel in particular is funding this litigation:
I can see how irritating Gawker would be to you and other figures in the technology industry. 
For Silicon Valley, the media spotlight is a relatively recent phenomenon. 
Most executives and venture capitalists are accustomed to dealing with acquiescent trade journalists and a dazzled mainstream media, who will typically play along with embargoes, join in enthusiasm for new products, and hew to the authorized version of a story. 
They do not have the sophistication, and the thicker skins, of public figures in other older power centers such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

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Science Fiction Future is Now

Science Fiction Tilt Brush By Google

The world is about to dramatically change, disrupting massive sets of industries, because science fiction is about to become real. Are you ready?

The Motorola flip phone and the Apple iPad are basically devices dreamt of and put on screen in Star Trek.

I’ve been talking about three dimensional (3D) printers for a couple of years and how they are going to dramatically alter manufacturing, shipping, and pollution as you won’t need to buy an item manufactured inexpensively in China, shipped across the Pacific Ocean in giant polluting freighters, transported to a brick and mortar facility or retailer, and then your house. Soon, you’ll see a new toy for your child, or doorknob for your front door, pay for the plan, and then print it at home. This will change our economy in massive ways.

Virtual Reality (VR) has been discussed for a very long time. It has always been clunky, causing some people dizziness and sickness, and for others a difficulty balancing after taking off the headsets. Further, little of what I’ve seen from VR has been beyond games, pornography, and travel immersion, all of which might have entertainment or minimal educational value.

Now, Google has released Tilt Brush. This appears to be an amazingly disruptive, creative technology. In the video below, you can see people painting and creating in a virtual 3D space with materials that simply are not available in our real world. Stunning!

Here is where I think it goes, though. This tool becomes the basis for adding tremendous value or even revolutionizing civil engineering, architecture, and other industries that now rely on Computer Aided Design (CAD) technology. A designer could build a building in that Tilt Brush space, and if properly programmed, can test their ideas out for seismic, strength, and other engineering issues before even presenting the concept to another person.

Finally, I can see how the home 3D printer gets a new source of ideas for printing. Any idea I might have for a residential or commercial purpose I could create out of materials available for the printer, design the idea in the Tilt Brush VR space, and then print the final item out on my 3D printer.

Science fiction is about to become real.

Ethan Explains White House Visits 5/18/16

Google employees made over 425 White House visits, with 128 of them by their lobbyist, since President Obama was inaugurated. Plus large funders of the Obama Foundation participated in small, private meetings with the President. Money buys access in D.C. so if you don’t like the system will you vote to change it this year?

From the Maplight Foundation article by Andrew Perez:

Some of the other visitors to the White House residence that evening were titans in their own industries. 
One couple in attendance, private equity executive Mark Gallogly and his wife Lise Strickler, had recently contributed $340,000 to the Barack Obama Foundation. 
Tom Campion, founder of the surf wear clothing chain Zumiez, and his wife, Sonya, donated $500,000 to the foundation in the months before the event.

Obama has frequently opened the White House doors to the wealthy donors who have financed his political campaigns, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Organizing for Action, a nonprofit the president created to mobilize grassroots supporters to advocate for his agenda. 
Those doors have also been opened to those making substantial contributions to Obama’s private foundation, as it seeks funding for the construction of a monument to his presidency.

Altogether, 15 of the 39 named donors to the Obama Foundation have been invited to small meetings with the president at the White House, according to a MapLight review of visitor logs, the foundation’s website, and its tax returns to the IRS. 
Four of those people were first invited to small meetings with Obama at the White House following their foundation donations. 
Nearly three-quarters of the contributors the foundation has disclosed have been invited to the White House for events with Obama, including every donor whose family or foundation has contributed more than $100,000.

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Ethan Explains Happiness 5/17/16

Do you see those happiness indexes on your social media feed? I explain what’s wrong with them and what you should focus on instead.

From the Quartz article “Denmark beats Switzerland to become the world’s happiest country“:

This isn’t the first time that Denmark appears at the top of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)’s list of happiest countries. 
The Nordic nation also ranked first in 2013, in the SDSN’s second-ever world happiness report, before falling to third place in the organization’s following report, published in 2015.

The SDSN measured average levels of happiness by looking at variables like GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social freedom, and absence of corruption. 
However, in this year’s report (pdf), the researchers looked something new: the SDSN has decided not just to look how happy people are, but also how that happiness may be unequally distributed across individuals. 
In other words, for the first time, the SDSN is looking at how inequality affects national levels of well-being. 

The researchers found that the happiest countries were also more equal—where the distribution of well-being was more even across a nation’s population. 
The group measured the distribution of happiness in this year’s report by analyzing responses to something called the Cantril ladder: Imagine a ladder with rungs numbered zero through 10, with 10 at the top representing the best possible life you can have. 
Where do you stand on the ladder at this time? This year’s report looks at the average ladder scores for more than 150 countries, averaged from roughly 1,000 survey responses collected across 150 countries in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

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Ethan Explains Darwin Award Selfies 5/12/16

 

So many additions for the Darwin Award list as selfie deaths in 2016 are well ahead of 2015’s pace. Put your phone down and look around!

From the CBS News article on selfie deaths:

Last year, more people died from selfies than shark attacks. And many more have been injured by taking their own picture.
Deaths have been caused by distracted photo-takers falling off cliffs, crashing cars, being hit by trains and shooting themselves while posing with guns.

Apparently, guns don't kill people -- selfies do.

Things have gotten so bad that Mumbai has outlawed selfies after 19 deaths in India. Pamplona officials have banned them during the annual Running of the Bulls.

And New York just became the first state to ix-nay "tiger selfies," for obvious reasons.

Tune in to KGO 810 today from noon to 2pm Pacific Time AM 810 – www.kgoraKGO810dio.com , I’ll interview Ewan McGregor about his new film and speak with Judy Joo, Iron Chef and Korean food restauranteur.

Ethan Explains Compromise 5/11/16

Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday that he won’t even attempt to compromise with the Republicans. Is this what we’ve become, children throwing tantrums when we don’t get our way?

From the article at sfgate.com:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he learned from the mistakes President Obama made in his first term — they taught him that if he wins the White House, he won’t be able to compromise with Republicans in Congress.

“I think a keen mistake that the president made is that he refused to recognize that reality — that these guys (Republicans) were never serious about compromise,” the presidential candidate said in a meeting with The Chronicle’s editorial board Tuesday.

“He kept extending an olive branch, and he kept getting his hand slapped,” Sanders said. 
“I do not believe that right-wing Republicans are prepared to work with a progressive president.”

The way to break that logjam, he said, is for people who support Sanders’ “political revolution” to contact their members of Congress directly.

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Ethan Explains College Student Loans 5/9/16

57% of Millenials regret their college student loans and 50% have no plan for paying back the seemingly overwhelming amount of debt. What are we doing wrong and what can we do differently? I have some ideas like deemphasizing the four year liberal arts degree (which many get done in five to seven years) and focus on well paying blue collar jobs with a two year degree or less.

From Citizens Financial Group’s  survey on student loan debt:

In light of this, some Millennials now express buyer’s remorse regarding their college investment, with 57 percent saying they regret taking out as many student loans as they did. 
More than one-third (36%) of Millennial graduates with student loans said they would not have gone to college if they had known how much it was going to cost them.

“Unfortunately, the long-term cost of college is leading some graduates to question the value of their investment – in many cases, before they have fully explored their opportunities to significantly reduce their payments,” Coughlin said. 
“Similar to our approach to working with student borrowers and their families at the front end of the college journey, we are committed to helping graduates understand their options and manage their debt in a way that complements their broader financial goals.”

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Ethan Explains TSA Government Spending 5/6/16

The Transportation Security Administration, better known as the TSA, is claiming they need yet more money or you’re going to suffer at the airport waiting in lines this summer. Do the government spending problems reflect your personal financial situation?

From The Hill:

“As we look ahead to the surge in summer travel, we will continue to consider a number of other steps to ensure enhanced aviation security while also maximizing efficiency at check points,” Johnson said in a statement.

But he emphasized that some of these steps are going to require money. 
He called on Congress to reallocate fiscal 2016 funding to pay for overtime for security officers and fulfill other “critical short-term needs.” 

“These funds will allow TSA to expand the work hours of screening officers in peak periods at high volume airports,” Johnson said.

Congress may be reluctant to pump more money into the agency, which has come under fire for high-profile security lapses and been plagued by reports of mismanagement at the senior level.

But with constituents spending as long as three hours in security lines and 600 passengersmissing flights in one day, lawmakers — who fly regularly themselves — may be nudged to address the issue in some capacity.

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Ethan Explains Vote Your Conscience 5/4/16

Ted Cruz drops out of the race after Donald J. Trump won Indiana. Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in Indiana, yet Sec. Clinton is still the presumptive nominee. I say vote your conscience in the primary, regardless of what everyone else is saying who will win.

From Nate Silver‘s FiveThirtyEight:

The Democratic race remains fundamentally unchanged after tonight’s win by Sanders. 
Yes, his victory was somewhat surprising, given that all of the polls had Clinton winning and by an average of 7 percentage points. 
And yes, Sanders has promised to fight on in the primary until perhaps the convention. 
The problem for the Sanders campaign remains delegate math and demographics.

And

The psychology of Democratic voters continues to look detached from the reality of delegate math. 
Trump and Clinton are both pretty much presumptive nominees at this point, but Trump is winning Indiana with about 51 percent of the vote tonight while Clinton is taking only 47 percent and could end up even lower. 
As Trump consolidates Republican support, it’s more apparent than ever that Clinton needs a strong Sanders endorsement to unite the Democratic base.

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Ethan Explains First Impressions 5/2/16

How you present yourself to the world matters. People judge based on appearance/first impression. What first impressions are you presenting to the world?

From Leonard Mlodinow in Psychology Today “How We Are Judged by Our Appearance

We all know that looks matter. 
What most of us don’t understand is just how much looks matter, and how difficult it is for us to ignore a person’s appearance when making a social judgment. 
I’m not talking just about romantic relationships, I’m talking about all our human interactions. 
And by appearance, I’m not speaking simply of the “beauty,” dimension, but also of many other qualities of one’s appearance.
As I wrote in a recent Op Ed piece for the New York Times, recent research suggests that we may need to adopt a more cynical attitude. 
It turns out that a candidate’s appearance — not beauty, but a look of competence — can generate a significant vote swing. 
Furthermore, this effect is not only powerful but also subliminal. 
Few of us realize that appearance determines our vote, yet for a significant number of us, it may.

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