804.424.1933 brad@bbbox.io

1 – These Are the Spoilsports

A: Observer Effect

Web address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6fAcigk3Ys

Commentary and quality

This video discusses the over-generalization of “the observer effect,” which folks have used to have a lazy understanding of science. I like this video because (althoough I have an admittedly amateur understanding) I have always liked quantum mechanics. Philosopher of physics David Albert and physicist Neil Turok provide a great, concise explanation that while “the observer effect” is at play — and “the great knocking” of uncertainty is real — we have enough of an understanding of the universe to pursue making sense of it based on empirical evidence.

B: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Web address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQKELOE9eY4

Commentary and quality

This video provides a basic explanation of The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle that invites awe at how the universe actually works. Why I like this video is because it’s brief and fairly thorough. It also lays the foundation for shifting how we understand the universe — the human brain often prefers simple if-then explanation; however, reality is actually the combination of interacting systems. With this understanding, we can begin to explore how “uncertain systems” behave, giving up certainty about the particulate to understand the whole. 

C: Quantum Tunneling

Web address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKOTzoZ7MjY

Commentary and quality

Cartoons are great tools for explaining complex concepts in context, and this one is no different. This video is not only adorable, but it also contextualizes why quantum tunneling matters — it provides the foundational principle for how people were able to develop nuclear fission and also helps us understand celestial objects, like stars.

D: Butterfly Effect

Web address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKOTzoZ7MjY

Commentary and quality

“The Amazing World of Gumball” is one of my favorite shows. This episode segment humorously demonstrates The Butterfly Effect in action. Also, how can you not love these characters and animation style?!

E: External Perturbations

Web address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKOTzoZ7MjY

Commentary and quality

SUPER dry explanation. However, it helped me get a better understanding of perturbation theory and its place in physics. As for the quality . . . it’s pretty boring compared to my other video examples. 

E: Existentialism

Web address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKOTzoZ7MjY

Commentary and quality

A fairly good, concise overview of one of the folks who shaped existentialism as a philosophical perspective. Jean Paul Sartre, like Kierkegaard. The quote “hell is other people,” like the oversimplification of existentialism loses sight of the importance of humanism. I wish the video went deeper into Kierkegaard’s writing, which points at an early answer to “why bother” through the leap of faith — as an extension of this, Sartre’s “No Exit,” with reflection, is an invitation to savor existence because life becomes imutable after death, causing the relationships that give life meaning to make a hell out of the unshakable gaze of others.

F: The Care Horizon

Web address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKOTzoZ7MjY

Commentary and quality

Warren Buffett shares some thoughts on delayed gratification through the lens of delayed gratification. I like this video because it kind of flips the idea of  The Care Horizon on its head. As one of the wisest investors, I think he has a pretty good perspective — balance appreciation of the present with planning for how to increase the value of the future. An interesting reflection is that value therefore becomes consistent over time rather than increasing or decreasing, and perhaps the accumulation of quality of life moments are what create value for the future. 

2 – The Spoilsports and My Project

  • Observer Effect – by observing change in quality of life, believing that we can build a more equitable future, we can achieve it; just as a negative bias has historically shaped people’s lives (e.g., racism and ableism), expecting more of our communities collectively can have a positive affect
  • Heisenberg – systemic change to create a more equitable future isn’t always certain; we have to think in terms of systems, leave room for the unknowns of everyday life, to move communities toward greater, more accessible prosperity
  • Quantum Tunneling – perhaps I could talk about the importance of creating more jobs by harnessing nuclear fission to generate power???
  • Butterfly Effect – could talk about how investing in little things that have a big impact on individuals can be taken to scale, similar to what’s discussed in the idea of Positive Deviance
  • External Perturbations – again, investing time and money into small changes can create more equitable social systems
  • Existentialism – there’s a long history of philosophy that celebrates humanness and underscores the importance of valuing life and celebrating people (rather than a history of doing the opposite in the Global North/Western Civilization); we need to re-think how we think about one another
  • Care Horizon – describe the importance of making it possible for more people to have improved quality of life now while also being able to invest in future quality of life

3 – A Favorite Topic in the Future

Let’s talk global identity! One of my favorite books is by Arjun Appadurai, entitled Globalization. While the book was published in 2000, Appadurai ambitiously describes the formation of the global identity as economies and political systems have merged over the centuries. Interestingly enough, he juxtaposes this with the consequences of maintaining in-group/out-group identities grounded in nationalism by sharing the story of conflict between India and neighboring Pakistan. 

Five years from now, I believe there will be greater trans-national cooperation as the need to address climate change becomes continues to become increasingly undeniable. Ten and 20 years from now, I anticipate the need for decentralized economies to grow as international trade grows and, well, we still address the consequences of climate change, which has already displaced people and devastated agriculture based micro and macro economies (I’m biased, but I believe Al Gore sums this up very well in The Future). In a 100 years, I’m hopeful that the notion of a geographically bound identity (i.e., nationalism) is a dying notion as the Information Economy continues to shift how people earn livelihoods, knowledge continues to increase as an important cornerstone for The Economy, and *fingers crossed* space travel and settlement require broadscale, unlimited trans-geographic collaboration. And in one million years, I’m hopeful that the idea of a physical based identity no longer exists as we’re all just consciousnesses that collaborate to explore and understand the universe. 

4 – On the “Technological Singularity”

I appreciated Vernor Vigne’s take on “the singularity is NIGH” conversation because he efficiently participated in it, taking on multiple perspectives. I’ll say he’s a bit more pessimistic throughout than I think is necessary, but isn’t more fun to describe a dystopian future and end on a search for hope? And he doesn’t quite end on a positive note. He leaves us a bit in a fun limbo, finding awe in a potential point in human history that our understanding of ourselves — as limited as it has always been — simply ceases to be possible. 

5 – Additional Thoughts on the Big Big Podcast

I’ve been putting a lot of thought in how to distribute my podcast. One idea has been to limit distribution to one channel, say Apple Podcasts. But I’m thinking it would be best to distribute on as many channels possible. After reviewing a variety of platforms, I think PodBean would be the best service to use as it automates:

  • Publishing branded podcasts
  • Distribution to pretty much every channel I could think of
  • Measuring reach and engagement
  • Gaining money via Patreon — a service that makes it possible for listeners to financially support podcasts — and gaining paid advertisers
  • Live streaming if and when I’d like to do a live show

Additionally, PodBean has been around for over a decade and reports having more than more than half a million podcasters and more than 8.2 billion downloads.

Exploring the functionality, and asking a few folks who use the platform, in addition to being fairly comprehensive, it’s apparently very easy to use. So having to spend less time on the tactics of producing episodes and more time developing quality content is certainly appealing.

Another thought that I’m having is that I was recently hired for a full-time position. As a result, my focus in producing this podcast can be less centered on gaining clients and building my business and more on communicating and building upon my personal brand. And back when I was a psychology major — although it’s been many years — I remember reading that getting paid to do something you love can potentially diminish the pleasure of doing it; however, Googling around, everyone seems to be saying you should get paid to do what you love….

6 – Preparation for the Presentation

Tentative slide deck for the 20-minute class presentation

  1. Why “GOOD IDEAS about Our Future”
  2. Episode Overview
  3. Ep1: “Individuals: Who We’ve Been”
  4. Ep2: “Individuals: Who We Are”
  5. Ep3: “Individuals: Who We Could Be”
  6. Ep4: “Organizations: Nonprofit Problems”
  7. Ep5: “Organizations: Equity Is a Business Opportunity”
  8. Ep6: “Organizations: Government of Futures Past”
  9. Ep7: “Society: Missed Opportunities”
  10. Ep8: “Society: Where We Are/Should Be Going”
  11. Conclusion

7 – Completed Survey?

Survey complete.

8 – Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil (pp. 123 – 140)

 

Continuing her previous discussion on the plight of the Information Economy employee, O’Neill describes how data are used to mistreat employees in the name of increased efficiency to optimize production. One key area is complete disregard of the fact that employees are people, especially in erratic scheduling. 

According to US government data, two-thirds of food service workers and more than half of retail workers find out about scheduling changes with notice of a week or less—often just a day or two, which can leave them scrambling to arrange transportation or child care. (pp. 125-126) 

O’Neil charts this mistreatment back to the development of operations research immediately following World War II. The result? “Companies take steps not to make people’s lives too miserable. They all know to the penny how much it costs to replace a frazzled worker who finally quits” (p. 128). And there’s an abundance of low-wage work, that uncertain work schedules maintain — a low-wage worker cannot upskill through education if they can’t go to school . . . because of their work schedule.

The author goes on to describe the rise of “spy-like” software that monitors employee behavior. Despite research that shows a direct correlation between job satisfaction through personal breaks and culture, employers are increasingly focused solely on time working, which can become demoralizing. She goes on to explain that while it seemed like this demoralizing of employees would be limited to low-wage employees, software has been developed to treat high-skilled employees — like coders, lawyers, and chemical engineers — just as inhumanely despite. She concludes by describing the rise of No Child Left Behind legisliation that ultimately dammed teachers committed to teaching economically insecure kids — because kids scored poorly on standardized testing showed these kids did poorly for reasons outside of teachers’ control . . . and neglected progress while rewarding teachers whose jobs just weren’t the same.