Category Archives: Academic

What does it mean to be open source, when you are brick and mortar?

Open Source – the business model of the future!

Everyone knows that the best and most popular software is open-source. [1] Photography, music and many other content types have Creative Commons. Many other types of businesses are also looking for ways to get in on this economy of free.

But what does that look like for brick and mortar business? Share your blueprints with the world and ask them to help you make them better? Share you business plan, employee manual and business processes? Share all internal documents, software, and prices for sales and purchases?

Can you even do brick and mortar business that way?

Does it go deeper?

Does it mean sharing facilities, employees, equipment, even management? Shared advertising? Share fulfillment?

Some of this has been done for centuries in the brick and mortar world. Does that mean that Free and Open Source was invented before the internet?

How can you tell? What is at the very core of  Free and Open Source? And how could that apply to things other than information products and services?

[1] Yes, the supremacy of Open Source is a matter of opinion. Humor me, keep reading and leave a comment. Whether you think it is better or not these are still some interesting questions.

The Internet Could Save Millions of Words From Extinction

It is no secret. I love language. Not so much the English language – but certainly language in general.

In recent years, the English and Chinese languages, two of the most ubiquitous  languages of our time, have all but lost thousands of words. The assumption was that simpler words and fewer of them would make it easier for people to learn new concepts quickly and that it would just make communication faster, easier, and clearer.

Instead we have become very reliant on context and tone of voice. And since tone cannot be heard in print we use ALL CAPS *stars* bold and all sorts of other vain attempts to disambiguate things that could be made perfectly plain with a larger vocabulary. At the same time we are inventing new words to fill in gaps of meaning left by lost words.

Don’t get me wrong I am not opposed to the natural evolution of a languages, and actually favor strategic modification to make them more internally consistent and to clarify terms that might have fallen into murky ambiguity. I am certainly no fan of English in its present state, and think it could benefit from some repair.

However, I don’t think the solution is vocabulary reduction. So, I was very excited to see this conversation in the comments section of the definition of wont:

Comment: I used it [the word wont] in something I was writing. Editor said this generation wouldn’t be familiar with the word.

Reply: Then they can look it up on their iPad

Funny I had never thought of it quite this way before. We can start using our full vocabulary again and just link to the definition of words that boomers and beyond are not likely to be familiar with.

Now to dig out those rusty old words, blow off the dust, add a little oil, and write a few sentences I can be proud of.

… but what have we lost? I can hardly recall any of those fading words of which I used to be so fond. Do you remember our dear old friends?

Five Types of Tagging

All of what we call language is the process of tagging the tagging of perceptions and of tags themselves.

Any sentence can be broken down into five types of operation – Tagging a perception of an object or action (you can’t tag them directly), tagging a tag, tagging an instance of tagging a perception, tagging an instance of tagging a tag, and tagging an instance of tagging an instance. I think that is it.

So a noun is the tagging of the perception of an object.

A verb is the tagging of the perception of an action or state of an object.

An adjective is tagging an instance tagging a perception of an object.

An adverb is tagging a verb or adjective style tagging instance or another adverb instance.

… and so on.

A Non-Representative Democracy

One of the most interesting things to watch in America’s last two election cycles has been the conservatives having to choose between voting for someone they agree with and someone they think has a chance to defeat someone they disagree with even more. The problem with choosing a compromise is that it is impossible to get the level of excitement needed to win.

The liberals have the opposite problem. They have found someone that everyone can get very excited about, but there is no way that he can fulfill everyone hopes and dreams.

Things were the same in the Bush and Clinton years with alternating parties.

Really, the two party system has rarely been sufficient to adequately represent the diversity of the population. There have been times that it worked, but it is really not ideal.

That said, starting a third party will not solve the problem. The United States election system is set up to only handle two-parties at the federal level. This was not too much of a concern for the founding fathers because they assumed that most of the decisions that people really cared about would be made at the state level.

The idea of having multiple states was to allow each state to have very different laws. If people did not agree with the laws in their state, they could find a different state. So each state essentially becomes a different party.

The states joined for mutual protection, economic opportunity and also a side purpose – to make it easier for those who disagree with their neighbors to more easily move to a different state. America has since lost the diversity of states and we are quickly losing the diversity of nations.

Thus we find ourselves in a all or nothing situation where we have to get 51% of the world to agree with us and hold onto that majority so that we can force the rest of the world to live the way a few thousand influential people want to live.

I have a few ideas on how we might be able to resolve this that I will write about later. But first, do you think this is an accurate description of the problem? Do you even think it is a problem? What are your thoughts on how we got here? Any initial thoughts on how to get from here to a better form of representation?

Poor as You Want to Be

America, like many other countries through history, has been living the last half-century under the oppression of a group of wealthy people who have created the illusion that they have special powers that other people lack.

The reality: You lack wealth either because you believed a lie, or you are pursuing something you value more than money!

Not all poor want to be, but some do.

I actually chose to be poor! I wanted to be the father of 6 children (so far). That is expensive, but worth it. I spend a lot of time with my family. They are more important to me than money is. I am also spending some of my free time on an alphabet to help those with dyslexia. I could make more money doing other things but I have found something better.

Not all poor are lazy, but some are.

A lazy person has also found something that want more than money or any of the other benefits that come from hard work. They want an easy life free from discomforts. Unfortunately, they fail to realize that they are actually working against their own purposes, but that is a story for another day. Actually laziness can have another source.

Not all poor believe a lie, but most do.

The biggest cause of poverty is belief in a lie. I am not smart enough. I am handicapped. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to a “good” college. My boss cheated me. You name the excuse, it is based on a lie. I am going to list a few here and discuss them over the next few weeks.

  1. I need a big break
  2. I don’t have talent
  3. I am doing the best I can
  4. I was cheated by my boss or somebody rich
  5. Fate is against me, bad luck, bad health
  6. I’ll do better tomorrow
  7. You have to follow your dream
  8. My parents warped me
  9. I don’t know how
  10. It shouldn’t be this hard

Can you think of others to add to the list?