How often did I wonder what the search results are really based on? I get sometimes really strange things thrown at me all of a sudden. And here I am, looking at some articles about getting the best impression with Google, and what do I find?
You get the best impression with Google simply by being Leda Monster Bunny. Otherwise, it’s hopeless. No, really, she is getting millions of hits on YouTube and all for just, what, being cute? And we are struggling to get our websites well organized and respectful to all those guidelines for webmasters and all, sweating day and night through the little details of our code. I think I cannot help but feel just a little bit envious that someone gets to be in the top for just a bit of good looks and cosmetics.
Now I understand why people turn to those fairly complicated techniques of SEO – they desperately hope that this cosmetics will do wonders for their sites and the sites will sky-rocket like Leda Monster Bunny videos. But, you know what? She works hard too, it takes her time, dedication and effort to look like that. So, that is what it really takes – effort, time, dedication. We will get there.… --> continue reading →
I have heard the words “social contract” one too many times lately. My idea of freedom starts with the freedom of thought and I do not like fuzzy concepts that cloud judgement. I decided to find out what “social contract” actually means. Did you know that the concept itself is centuries old?
At its very basic, we are told that the social contract is an implied contract that one enters into by being a member of society. The contract offers the citizen certain protections while requiring that the citizen will be justly punished for breaking the laws of that society. The concept was first fleshed out by Socrates although he himself refuted the concept as the source of justice later arguing that the justice is inherent to men and cannot originate externally.
This contradiction and inconsistency is carried through the later works of Thomas Hobbes that form the ground for nearly all social contract theorists. The inconsistency, presented by Hobbes, could only be resolved again by admitting that the relationship between the society and the individual does not form the ground for morality. On the contrary, the natural morality of men makes the ground for the forming of the society and its rules.
People do not have an inherent desire to kill, rob and rape. Quite the contrary, if the society norms and laws were lifted today, we would likely go ahead just as we did before, cheerfully helping each other and being nice to strangers. People do not steal, rape and murder not because of some ephemeral social contract but because they are not inclined to. However, we do notice that some people have a tendency for misbehaving, right?
On the one hand, we have to admit that people who have the tendency to steal, murder and rape do so whether the society has mechanisms for punishing the said behaviours or not. On the other hand, we notice that these behaviours are tightly coupled to the possession of property. Unsurprisingly, Locke based his concept of social contract on the idea that men only have disputes when property is involved. The relationships within families are pre-social, they are moral agreements entered to and carried out willingly. As soon as people start having property, claims to property and property disputes, the relationships deteriorate and the necessity to protect oneself and one’s property arises.
Recognizing the problem, … --> continue reading →
Want news? – Read blogs!
I have this strange habit of reading news in the morning. Not that I have a newspaper and a cup of coffee, no. But I have a cup of tea and read the news online. Today is one of those silly days when my news feed is jammed with one single news item. Today it is Twitter – security of Twitter was improved in some way and every single newspaper and online publication in the world seems to make it their duty to make a big splash about it. Okay, maybe, just maybe, I want to get a notice of that, somewhere in a corner, three words. I definitely not interested so much as to read the whole morning news about it.
In a word, the morning news reading is spoiled. This happens from time to time. The news in this “networked world” are weird. Either there is a lot of “buzz” – irrelevant small items or everyone is copying each other on the same item all over the place. It does seem like reading the consolidated blog feed of sites you care about is, after all, the best way to get news in today’s world. We have to get used to the fact that most relevant news are not delivered anymore by general news outlets but by very specific people with a passion to write about events that matter to them personally.… --> continue reading →
I finally made the move from the wordpress.com platform to my own site, tigr.net. The move is long overdue and I hope that not having to jump around between three sites will let me concentrate on more important things. I first moved the blogs to a separate site but then I was hit with a realization that I still keep then a static site and a wordpress site and have to care for both. Now everything is in one place. To enjoy it, head over to Tigr.net.… --> continue reading →
Many thanks to my friend Tao TeChing for sending me the links to a couple of wonderful presentations from Ken Robinson on the subject of education.
- How to change education – from the ground up
- Changing education paradigms
Absolutely worth your time.… --> continue reading →
I read recently two very interesting articles that discuss in depth the current problems with the internet, privacy and democracy implications. I highly recommend reading both:
- The Real Privacy Problem
- Three Paradoxes of Big Data
The Internet and the related technologies erode the very fabric of society. They do so quietly, surreptitiously, in little steps. As usual, do not blame the tool, blame those that use it for evil. Although some tools better not have existed in the first place, I feel.… --> continue reading →
Many times I had to give up some habits. Some came back, others not. What is an effective way of quitting something? Giving up does not seem to be easy to me or any other person I know, is there something that can help?
From my own experience I found there are two things that work (and a hundred others that do not). Those are substitution and delay. These are two tactics I want to share in the hope they will help someone some day.
Why does it not work to “simply stop” doing something? Our mind does not make a difference between our body and our psychological state, the mind itself. So all our behaviors, all habits, they are a part of the larger “body” that includes both physical and psychological world. If we ask ourselves to stop doing something, for our subconscious it is the same as chopping off a part of the body, i.e. impossible. You cannot willingly give up a part of your body, why would you give up a part of your psychological “body”?
Enter substitution. We will not ask the subconscious to stop anything knowing well that it is impossible. What we will do is to propose something else instead. I do not know how and why it works but it does. Whenever you have a craving for a cigarette, make love or go for a run instead. Every single time, no exceptions. In a couple of days your habit will get substituted and you will not crave cigarettes anymore, you will crave sex or running. This is truly amazing but that is how it works. Just make sure you substitute something that you are willing to live with for the rest of your life. Hint: craving for food is really a bad habit to create, do not substitute anything with food, okay?
Another possibility is to tell yourself that you will do whatever it is you want but you will do it a little later. Tomorrow, for example. The subconscious does not really have a proper concept of time, it lives in the present, so it really does not matter when you say it will happen. I usually say to myself “tomorrow morning”. It helps enormously. You can move any craving to a slightly later period in life, like tomorrow or five minutes later. You will have to do it, but now you have a choice to smoke only one cigarette a day or have only a single meal a day. This works too. Try not to link “later” with other events in your life, like “when I am home” – subconscious can trace and remember those and coming… --> continue reading →
We are at the University of Oslo today for a meeting. The building does not look anything special, the entrance is very utilitarian but then… We get in and the building makes us all slow down. I relax very quickly, in the space of a minute or two, and feel completely at ease, like at home. Frank tells me he feels the same. He says it would be great to work in a place like this.
I agree. It would be great to work at a place without a trace of stress. It would be great if my home felt like that too. This place feels more home-like than my home. It is very, very comforting. I feel simply like staying.
How do they do that?… --> continue reading →
I had a long chat with my German teacher the other day about language history and evolution. She mentioned something astounding: the first book, on which the German language is based, that actually created the grammar of the language, was the work of Martin Luther. But if I am not mistaken, that was in the 16th century. So the German language is only about 500 years old. I wonder if the situation is the same then with all European languages…… --> continue reading →
A wonderful article noticed on a friend’s posting: “I Didn’t Love My Wife When We Got Married“. Please, go and read it all, to the end.… --> continue reading →