How Tesla has changed my life & could transform society

A little over a year ago, I purchased an entry-level Tesla Model S75 after my Chevy Volt was totaled in a car accident. The alternatives to the Model S that I considered at the time were another Chevy Volt or the Chevy Bolt. But after a test drive in a Model S, it was love at first drive.

To skip the long post with photos and get to how Tesla will change our lives, click here.

To be fair, the Chevy Volt and Bolt are both excellent cars for what they are. They cost considerably less than the Model S but also lack major features such as supercharging, over-the-air software updates, and autopilot. The Model S is considerably more comfortable than both Chevy models.

Fast forward to August 27, 2018, and I start a road trip with my wife and our dog that will give me a glimpse of just how much Tesla could end up altering the physical and social landscape of the world. Our road trip is from Southern California (just north of Los Angeles) to Peoria, Illinois to visit my wife’s grandma who has stage 5 Parkinson’s and back to California via Flagstaff, Arizona to visit my wife’s cousin.

We used EVTripPlanner.com to map out the expected supercharger locations ahead of the trip but used Tesla’s navigation suggestions for the supercharger stops during actual execution of the road trip. The original plan was to take a leisurely stroll to get there and to get back. We planned for just over two weeks of total trip time with about 5 days with Grandma in Peoria.

Our first overnight stay was in Las Vegas. Getting there was pretty simple. We stopped in Barstow, CA to supercharge even though Tesla’s navigation had us going to the Yermo station. We really stopped in Barstow for the Del Taco! It’s one of the few that’s owned by the original owner of Del Taco and has the most superb carnitas burritos. It’s just down the street from the charging station in Barstow.

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We decided to stop in Primm, NV for our next stop. Since we already knew we were stopping in Primm, we charged less than we’d normally charge in Barstow.

Primm has become our customary stop for us on our way to Vegas anyway. We stop and play the first slot machine that’s calling our name since it’s the first city on the California/Nevada border. It’s an even better stop now that we have a Tesla! We take our dog (who is named Tesla) for a potty break while the car is charging and then took turns with our own potty breaks and slot machine play. Meanwhile, our car is almost fully charged while we’re doing what needs to be done anyway.

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We’re back on the road and at our hotel in Vegas. It’s the same hotel we stayed at when we got married, so it carries particular sentimental value for us. In retrospect, we wouldn’t stop in Vegas on this road trip again unless we really wanted to stay in Vegas for a night. It’s not very far along for a road trip this long, but it worked great for this first time Tesla road trip!

We got a late start to the second day or our trip, but fortunately our next stop was well within the range we had left, so we didn’t have to charge in Vegas at all.

The drive between Vegas and St. George, UT takes you through The Virgin River Gorge. It was one of the most beautiful parts of this road trip! The video I linked to is not a video I took, but it’s a great representation of that beautiful drive.

St. George’s supercharger station happened to be right next to an excellent breakfast restaurant. We had a nice brunch with Tesla (the dog) sitting just on the other side of the outdoor patio. By the time we were done, our car was fully charged; just like our bellies!

Beaver was our next supercharger stop. There wasn’t much there, but Tesla enjoyed the Dairy Queen!

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Green River, UT was our next planned stop, but the scenery along the way had us stop for a phenomenal pano.IMG_0290.JPG

Green River was an interesting stop. The museum where the superchargers are located was closed by the time we got there, but at least the giant watermelon was still there for a photo-op!

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It was off to Grand Junction, CO, for our final stop on day two. Our leisurely stroll through the Rocky Mountains was well underway, and Tesla (the dog) was really enjoying all the different sites (or smells) as much as we were!

Day three took us to Glenwood Springs, CO, for our first stop. We were already in awe of the beautiful scenery along the Colorado River, and we had eyeballed a few access roads that were even closer to the river. As beautiful as everything was along the way, nothing could really prepare us for the love-at-first-sight feeling we had in Glenwood Springs.

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While taking Tesla for a walk during the supercharger/bathroom break, I happened upon a beautiful flowering plant that was abuzz with honey bees!

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It was almost like a scene from a movie… I was focused on the bees flying around, doing their duties when along came a gust of wind. When I looked behind me, I saw a flier for the Iron Mountain Hot Springs. This couldn’t be coincidence. It’s obviously an act from above that has brought this tattered old flier to my feet!

My wife and I got back in the car once it was ready to continue the trip. One of the nicest things about Tesla’s navigation (and mobile app) is that you receive a notification when your car is charged enough to continue along your route. As we drove off, I showed my wife the flier for the Hot Springs. The navigation ended up taking us through Glenwood Springs on the way back to the freeway. I felt a sense of deja vu as we drove through the little town. The ye olde buildings and main drag had us contemplating a road trip just to Glenwood Springs in the near future.

Before we were even back on the highway, my wife had pulled up all sorts of information about Glenwood Spring. We’d both spend the next 72 hours pining over this quaint little town in the middle of Colorado and figuring out if we can make it from our home to Glenwood Spring in a single day. Turns out there’s an adventure park there, great hiking trails, and caverns! And, yes, it’s only 17.5 hours of drive + charge time from our house!

After Glenwood Springs, we kept on our trek up the Rockies, through Vail, Silverthorne (great supercharger stop), and even stopped for a scenic view of a historic railroad.

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By nightfall we were in Denver, and a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in years (and who made my wife’s engagement ring) happened to be available for dinner. We enjoyed some great sushi in a small town called Parker, just outside of Denver. After dinner, my wife and I had a quick conversation that would end up changing our lives forever.

With the urgency of Grandma’s health in the background, I asked my wife, “What do you think about driving all the way through to Peoria from here?”

Autopilot had been doing the vast majority of the driving for us so far. Supercharger stops and having our dog with us also meant that we needed to stop at regular intervals that made a long haul pretty easy on the butt and back. Unlike stopping for gas and rushing off, we had to stretch our legs and let Tesla (the dog) pee while Tesla (the car) charged. It’s a match made in heaven for comfortable long haul driving; at least that was our thinking.

Turns out we were right!

We stopped at the prescribed supercharger stations in Nebraska (what a LONG state!) in Iowa. A 30-60 minute charge for the car allowed enough time for me to recharge my brain and rest my eyes enough to keep focused. Of course, Autopilot is what really made the biggest difference. Autopilot significantly reduces the fatigue of driving a long haul. There just isn’t as much tugging on the steering wheel. It really adds up over a long drive like this. While I was driving, my wife rested so that she could take on the second half of the 900+ mile stretch between Denver and Peoria.

By the time we were finished with Nebraska, I was finished with driving. My wife took over for the remainder of the stretch until we stopped at the last supercharger until Peoria, where I took over again. When all was said and done, our non-stop driving took us from Grand Junction, CO to Peoria, IL (nearly 1200 miles) over the course of a day-and-a-half! We were all exhausted, even Tesla (the dog).

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Still… that was nothing compared to our road trip back!

Because we came in a day early, we decided we could leave a day later too. Thanks to Tesla Autopilot and supercharging, we were able to get two more precious days with Grandma!

On September 8, we mapped out our trip to Flagstaff. We’d head straight to Albuquerque, NM. Just supercharging and meal breaks. We left just before sundown and quickly realized that wasn’t the best idea. Missouri rain drops the size of golf balls were in our future. How would Autopilot handle it? Perfectly!

The only spot where Autopilot had difficulty in the rain was on a stretch of the I40 where they had paved the road and hadn’t put down proper markers. In fairness to Tesla, I could barely figure out where I was supposed to be on the road and everyone was driving under 50 mph the whole time.

The true reason we were bummed about going through Missouri at night was that we ended up missing out on the fudge factory in Uranus. The roadside billboards gave us a good chuckle driving through: The Best Fudge Comes from Uranus

Having learned a bit from the drive out, we started checking to see what was within walking distance near each of the supercharger stations. We ended up adjusting our stops because the Springfield, MO supercharger had a Waffle House right there. Other stops had Waffle Houses close (it’s Missouri, after all), but the Springfield supercharger was the perfect opportunity to take a longer stop and enjoy some Waffle House!

We ended up stopping at the Joplin, MO, supercharger because the mapping software was telling us we needed to stop there in order to make it to Tulsa. This was definitely one of those moments that wouldn’t really happen in a 90 or 100 Tesla or even a Model 3. The stop in Joplin was very quick though. Tesla maps had us out of there in about 15 minutes.

We should have spent that 15 minutes a little more wisely because we would have noticed that the Tulsa, OK supercharger was in the parking lot for the Hard Rock casino. It was a fun use of a $20 bill until we realized that there were cash only toll roads along the way.

Our settings for navigation had us avoiding toll roads, so the directions on the map looked a bit odd. Once we realized that the tolls trimmed more than an hour off our drive time, we found all the quarters in my wife’s purse and took the toll roads! It’s definitely worth it to take the toll rather than the dark back roads.

By daytime, we were in Texas. Shamrock, TX gave us our first glimpse of the old Route 66 and what was the old school equivalent to superchargers back in the 1930s.IMG_0623

On the way out of Texas, we stopped at the Amarillo supercharger. Driving through Amarillo gave me a craving for some steak! There wasn’t anything right near the supercharger, but you could smell the steak. I started plotting a road trip just to Amarillo while chatting it up with a fellow Tesla driver who was also charging.

Next thing you know, we’re in New Mexico and getting closer and closer to Albuquerque. Then the real rain hit! I thought the golf ball rain drops in Missouri were something… A monsoon was blowing through Albuquerque, and it was a site. Lightening and thunder! Tesla (the dog) wasn’t a big fan of either, but Autopilot handled the torrential rainfall like a champ. We checked into our hotel and relaxed for the rest of the day. Just over 1200 miles in under 24 hours!

We were all a little slow getting up the next morning…

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We hit the road and noticed a freeway with the same number as the freeway closest to us in California: 118. We decided to take an exit to go along the 118 and soon discovered that we were likely along the path that inspired the Disney “Cars” franchise.

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Wasn’t long before we were in Flagstaff! Just one supercharger stop in Holbrook (along with a cheeseburger). Otherwise, we were just like the Nat King Cole song!

The biggest surprise of the trip took place on the way to Flagstaff. While cruising along I40 on Autopilot, my Model S pulled suddenly to the right and slowed down. There didn’t seem to be any reason for Autopilot to do this. The road was clear ahead. I grabbed the wheel, thinking perhaps there was a glitch. Autopilot disengaged, and that’s when I noticed what the issue was. There was a car in the passing lane that had been driving in my blind spot that moved into my lane. Autopilot navigated away from that car and likely avoided a 75 mph sideswipe! The driver of the other vehicle kept swerving in and out of the two lanes until the next exit. We were feeling extremely thankful for Autopilot before, now it was a lifesaver!

We shacked up with my wife’s cousin in Flagstaff, called Grandma to let her know we made it safe, and spent the rest of the day enjoying family time. Thanks to Autopilot, we again were able to arrive without being as exhausted and stayed up late with full bellies from a great family dinner.

As we were going to bed, we got the call about Grandma. As sad as it was that she was gone, my wife and I were so grateful for the extra two days we had with Grandma because Tesla Autopilot made it so much easier to drive for longer distances. We felt so fortunate to not stay in Denver overnight on the way out and leave for the road trip back a day later.

The next day was an easy trip home from Flagstaff back to Simi Valley, CA. We did the same Barstow Del Taco stop and even shared part of a burrito with Tesla (the dog). By the time we made it home, we logged 4,544.5 miles for the whole trip with 2,182.1 for the trip back home. I calculated out the mpg equivalent to the kWh we consumed on the trip, and it comes out to be about 129MPG!

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The Summary

Convenience is a relative term. Is it possible to drive 4500 miles in an ICE faster than we manged to do it in a Tesla Model S75? Most certainly, but that wasn’t our goal. Our trip was surprisingly comfortable. Most of the legs of our trip were 1.5 – 2 hours with 30 – 45 minute supercharger stops in between. This ended up being the perfect timing for our legs, back, butts, dog, and bladders.

Visiting my wife’s family in Illinois and Arizona more often will bring our family closer and create greater bonds between everyone. These trips are obviously possible using an ICE, but they are far more comfortable and healthier for us because we are doing them in a Tesla with Autopilot. You can’t really put a price tag on family, so what Tesla has provided for us is worth far more than the cost of the Model S. It’s also something that’s just not possible in any other EV on the market.

Getting out of the car every 1-2 hours for a good 15-30 minute stretch slows down your travel but ensures a better rested body. On several of the stops, my wife and I would even get in a good 20 minute meditation. The benefit of avoiding physical and mental fatigue coupled with the assistance of Autopilot made for an enjoyable 4500 mile road trip that we’re now planning on making 3-4x per year.

How Tesla Will Change Our Social & Physical Landscapes

Tesla’s vehicles and infrastructure make it easier to be closer to your family when there are longer distances between you. It’s not about a fast road trip. It’s about the quality/comfort of the time on that road trip and how you feel when you arrive. With Autopilot and superchargers, you arrive well rested. The drive is considerably more comfortable and less stressful thanks to Autopilot and the required, prolonged supercharger stops.

Locations with superchargers that provide amenities are desirable, and I think that eventually superchargers will be operated by companies other than Tesla. As other EV makers produce cars worthy of road trips, 3rd party supercharging equivalent stations will become an enticement to road trippers. Towns with supercharger spots (like Glenwood Springs) will have a wider tourist draw than towns without the charging infrastructure.

The day will come when you go to sleep by yourself in a car and wake up, well rested, at your destination, 3K miles away. The car will stop at the necessary charge stations and recharge all on its own and then head back down the highway. Flying will still be the quickest way to travel from NY to LA, but Tesla will change that for many other common long distance adventures.

Flying from LA to Vegas used to be something I preferred over driving. Now, I’d prefer to drive from LA to Vegas in a Tesla. I get some great carnitas burritos and my total driving time in only one hour longer than it is to fly when you factor in drive time to the airport, TSA lines, and getting a cab to the strip/hotel.

Then there’s the flexibility in time. Catching a flight from LAX to Aspen (closest airport to Glenwood Springs, CO) is a one hour drive to LAX + one hour arrival time window + two-hour flight to Aspen + one hour drive + whatever time on the tarmac (usually at least 30+ minutes). That 5.5 hours is considerably shorter than the estimated 17 hours of Tesla driving. 12 hours of time is a whole day at the caverns, adventure park, and hot springs. So, you can’t beat that… other than there being only a single non-stop flight between LAX and Aspen per day and flights with layovers can end up being longer than 15 hours in flight time.

It’s also nearly $400/ticket to get to Aspen on that non-stop flight. Tesla supercharging (which is included with my Tesla Model S but can run upwards of $0.26/kWh) would be approximately $81.02 for as many people as you can fit into a Model S (five adults, comfortably). Even with just two people, the $ cost savings is notable. Throw in the scenic drive and those Barstow Del Taco carnitas burritos…

Tesla road trips will increase regional tourism. Plenty of couples/families like mine will enjoy slightly longer road trips because they are now more comfortable and easier to accomplish thanks to Autopilot and superchargers! Families will be brought closer, and communities will prosper from friendly road trip tourism. My wife & I already have several trips planned for a variety of adventures, and based upon the wonderful Tesla drivers we met along the way, we’re not the only ones!

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Social Media Censorship & the Tree House

Social media censorship is so hot right now. The high-horsisms by social media CEO’s Zuckerberg, Dorsey, and others give people a sense of confidence in a self-regulating social media industry. Yet, social media “code of conduct” policies are akin to a five year old’s tree house rules.

Tree house social media rules make perfect sense… to a five year old. And they make perfect sense to our own internal five year old. Dorsey and Zuck are doing the “greater good” by having solid tree house policies to “help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation“. Plus, it’s their tree house, and they are the ones who raised the funds to build it, so they can do whatever they want. Completely valid… to a five year old.

Censorship as a platform doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as “social media”, but that’s really what Twitter, Facebook, et al are. They are Jack and Mark’s platforms. The methods used to derive code of conduct policies for Twitter and Facebook are ostensibly social and give the pretense of “openness and civility of public conversation”. Yet, no matter how much you agree with what is being censored, censorship at a platform level doesn’t truly promote openness. It only forwards the “civility of public conversation” as well as tree house rules do for a five year old. Still, Jack and Mark can sure feel good about themselves because they are handing out social media justice that fits their narrative of openness without being truly open.

Twitter and Facebook could easily build social censorship into their platforms. They already have all the pieces in place. The concept is simple: Allow social media users to join groups that enable users to align their timeline/feeds to the censorship settings of the group. They could even call it “filter settings” instead of censorship settings so that it sounds a bit more palatable.

If a group wants to block Jimmy Dore, they simply put that in the group’s “filter settings” (which must be public, along with reasons: e.g. “Peddles conspiracy theories” and/or “Presents extreme left political positions”) and allow users to “align” their personal filter settings to that group. Boom! Jimmy Dore is blocked. Want to block Alex Jones and all future Alex Joneses? Align your “filter settings” with a group that does all the blocking work for you.

This can be done with any of the existing tree house/social media platforms. Alex Jones and Jimmy Dore continue to have their social media outlets with exposure being limited to those who are members of groups that don’t block them. Exposure isn’t limited by the platform itself but by the actual communities using the platform.

This concept is different than the often heard “if you don’t like something, don’t watch it” argument. Choosing not to view/listen something requires someone to be exposed to something in order to determine that s/he doesn’t want to view it. The exposure has already happened. The Censorship Settings model allows users to avoid the exposure in the first place. While an argument can be made that this creates a “social media bubble”, it’s still a choice being made by the user in the first place; just like scrolling passed undesirable content. The primary difference is the lack of initial exposure.

Jack and Mark et al are then promoting social engagement for people within their social circles and allowing their platforms to build socially created feedback on why content creators and their content is being blocked. That data can be useful in trying to “help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation”.

Gas-Ex

EV owners have a problem: detachemtn from the daily anxiety of driving a gas-powered vehicle.

This might seem a bit odd given how often the idea of range anxiety and long charge times come up about EV ownership, but those are obvious anxieties. The daily anxiety experienced by ICE drivers is much more subtle and happens much more often. It’s based upon psychological conditioning, and most ICE drivers will experience it multiple times in a single day along their daily commute.

The concept is fairly simple to understand in that it’s not a shocking, jarring anxiety like what one would experience during an automobile accident or by having a boss constantly yelling at you at work. This is an extremely subtle anxiety along the lines of living paycheck to paycheck and coming home during the summer to realize you forgot to turn off your air conditioning unit. Or getting your property tax bill.

It’s something I noticed the other day while driving my EV along PCH and passing a gas station I used to stop at near Zuma Beach when I would take a motorcycle ride down the coast. PCH is a wonderful highway for a relaxing, yet exhilarating motorcycle ride The scenery is some of the best coastline and mountains you can find in the world. There’s a reason it’s been used in so many movies over the years. I digress to help paint the serene picture of riding through Malibu on a warm summer beach day. It’s pure bliss. Kinda…

Over the years, I’ve chosen that particular station because it was consistently the least expensive gas in the area. On my latest drive by the gas station, I was reminiscing of my motorcycle rides through Malibu and stopping at that gas station because it was the least expensive. That’s when I had the realization about what I’d like to call Acute Gas Price Anxiety.

The concept is pretty simple and easy to replicate for your scientific sample size of one (or more, depending upon how many drivers one has in their household). Why do you choose the gas stations that you choose? If you have an app on your phone like GasBuddy (which has been around since 2000) you are likely weighting your gas station choices heavily towards gas prices. Even if you don’t have GasBuddy on your phone, if you are presented with no time constraint and an intersection with 2+ gas stations, you’re going to pick the one with the lower prices, then brand preference, then lines.

What does any of this have to do with anxiety?

This is something along the lines of what the guys over at Cleantechnia eluded to years ago, identifying 4 types of gas station anxiety.

Driving an EV allows you to become conscious of the subtle anxiety our minds create when driving by gas stations. An ICE driver will glance at gas prices even if there is no need for gas at the time of driving by the gas station. The train of thoughts that continue are where the subtle anxiety comes in. Thoughts about whether you should get gas now, before gas prices go up heading into the weekend. Thoughts about how unfair gas taxes are. Thoughts about how you might not take that trip to the beach this weekend because it’s going to require getting a fresh tank of gas that you don’t have the money to pay for until you get paid the following week.

This subtle anxiety compound any negative trains of thought you are already having. The results can be detrimental to your short-term well-being as well as your long-term mental health. Constant exposure to this subtle anxiety might seem, on the surface, trivial or a problem for the “weak-minded”. Yet, plenty of psychological studies suggest that prolonged exposure to subtle stress is detrimental to our health.

As an EV driver, you silently glide by the stink of the gas station. Silent in your vehicle and also silent in your mind. There isn’t the chatter of stress nipping at the heels of the back of your mind. An EV driver experiences driving completely differently from an ICE driver, not just because an EV doesn’t pour exhaust out the back, constantly vibrate from the engine, make noise, accelerate slowly, and have noticeable transmission shifts no matter how smooth its transmission is.

No, the daily life of an EV drive is delusional: absent the daily subtle anxiety of gas prices and the trains of thought tied to gas prices and the oil industry.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

The compliance alliance
going after Ye’s defiance
reliant on a monolith view
to spew the news
no encouragement to choose
your own script or political views
You’re either with or against us
And if you’re against us
Then trust us
your mental health…
Only MAGA wealth
could make you belch
The unspeakable
The reprehensible
The indefensible

That an individual should think for herself

vote with her own mind
conceive social narratives on her own time
and remind others
we’re all sisters and brothers
and love one another
even when you disagree
no need to freeze
your friendship or ease
your love for one another
let our disagreements bring us together
to communicate forever
and deliver a community
free from impunity
and disparagement of free thinkers

but instead
here’s a script so many have read
let’s preach that love trumps hate
and berate and dump
hate and bump anyone who won’t pump
this narrative, this script
don’t you dare take a risk
and use your gift
to script your own wish
for those you love
naw, you gotta hold others above
and be declarative
in this narrative
it’s so imperative
to regurgitate the pejorative
to reiterate the derogative
against those who won’t recite
this narrative and ignite
and incite this particular plight
You’re with us or against us
as if us exists without your trust
remember, your fans will abandon you and despise you
so reprise this on cue
narrate, slew and spew this view..
You’re with us or against us

And let’s pretend to be woke folks
and invoke a broke hoax
to coax the most votes
and boast of our great hopes
while we drop bombs
with open palms
washed of the tragedy
of a failed strategy
but keep out of your mind
who gets to define
who and what programs your mind
free thinking, in time
will be scripted and blind

How Social Media Wags the Dog and How Blockchain Will Change Everything

Over the last 20 years I have been involved with advertising technology, copy writing, marketing, direct marketing, and just about every form of advertising that exists in America. I love advertising. I have a special place in my heart (and my wallet) for advertising and marketing. The creative aspects of advertising can be nothing short of brilliant; as is the case with the mathematics used in formulating and measuring marketing campaigns!

Historically (meaning: radio, print, TV) , you needed to justify advertising rates with circulation, readers, subscribers, etc. Nielsen built their entire business on providing TV/radio/internet publishers what was available in “old media”. Advertising with publishers was simple: if you wanted to reach an audience of 6MM parents and have the budget, you could find the right publications, shows, etc. and even narrow your market based upon the demographic overlay of the publishers’ audience. In other words, you want to sell baby clothes to parent… you advertise in Parents magazine, not Wild West Magazine. You’d do the opposite for your limited edition collectors coin.

Social Media ushered in a promise of having near real-time and (supposedly) far more accurate statistics. Suddenly, we weren’t talking about difficult to quantify metrics like “circulation” and “page views”. Social Media brought us the “follower” and “like” metrics (likes, reactions, upvotes, etc), which are the ultimate… They are the Jesus metric and ostensibly engagement.

Of course, bots are an issue, but there’s a larger issue with Social Media metrics: the value that followers and likes are afforded. Standard web metrics like page views/session and time on a page are the gold standard for content engagement, and followers + likes are supposed to provide the same for Social Media. Yet, followers and and likes have a serious shortcoming. I’ll get to that in a bit but first…

There are really only two true “value” measurements in modern technology: human time and processor power+time (which is easy to measure in electricity). Followers and likes doesn’t measure either of those as the human time it takes to follow is nominal as is the computer time). Not to mention the intent of a follower (e.g. Judas followers & Judas sharing). This is further exacerbated by the fact that most Social Media is “free”. Obviously, Social Media is not free. The cost is your data, the rights to your content, and being subjected to the network bubble that ensues. But I digress…

Following a profile on Social Media costs very little human or computer time. Same with likes/reactions. In fact, keeping up with those profiles requires very little human or computer time AND technology is making that time less and less with automation and AI. In other words, Social Media metrics of followers and likes have virtually no economic value (human + computer time). Even comments are questionable. (consider the @username comments that are prevalent in Social Media). Throw in the fact that followers and likes can be purchased through advertising and followers/likes can carry a negative economic value to the brand.

Yet, Social Media monetary value is measured in followers. “Influencers” are those with a greater number of followers and reactions on their media. Throw in bots and the fact that all Social Media algorithms formulate a bubble and it’s not difficult to figure out how to game the social media systems.

Social Media made formulas for determining relevance that is calculated based upon self referencing metrics that are easily gamed and also have little to no economic value. Social Media formulas are not based upon relevance derived by a premium on top of human and computer time.

Enter Social Media powered by tokenizing (e.g blockchain mining). Social Media no longer needs to be powered by advertising (although advertising does not go away). Users mine on their network(s) of choice and use their earnings to perform network interactions. Users are directly investing their computer time into their social network(s), even without consuming content or using the network.

Placing content on the network(s) requires exchanging/purchasing the content space on the network. Which is somewhat counter to social networks today that are paying content creators for their content via advertising.

So, why would anyone want this tokenized model when everything under today’s model is “free”?

  • Consuming content would also require an exchange/purchase, and content creators can place a premium on interacting with their content
  • Advertising/product placement would still exist and content creators have more powerful metrics (e.g. on average, I receive 500,000 tokens for every piece of content I produce) to provide advertisers such that the content creators can charge more
  • Content creators have the ability to set their own rates of consumption as well as the license of their content (permanent, time limitation, etc)
  • Helpers (think stackoverflow.com) would be able to determine if someone asking a question is paying a viable rate for them to provide their insight for tips. For example, User A tips well for the winning answer to a complex coding issue. Helper 1 sees that and is willing to provide more comprehensive advise than RTFM and is rewarded handsomely by User A for the sound advice
  • Advertising on the social networks would have smart contracts that could come with clauses making bot interactions and/or nefarious interactions much easier to punish
  • The social networks have control over all the tokens and can easily reverse/punish bot transactions, virtually eliminating the problem of bots. In other words, if a bot farm wants to provide mining for the social network so that the bot farm can produce and interact with content on a massive scale such that it would influence people, it will cost the bot farm considerably more computer time than it does now. Also, once the bot farm is determined to be a bot farm by the social network, the bot farm tokens can be confiscated by the social network and the bot farm content revoked. The bot farm loses everything and all users effected regain their tokens (providing additional incentive to the social network users to not tolerate bots). The bot farm would have to shift its mining elsewhere immediately or else it would continue paying the social network in mining resources (i.e. computer time).
  • Content creators of games would be able to tap into the mining power of the users playing their games to add a revenue source and help offset their costs to be part of the network.

Perhaps, users could also mine elsewhere and then transfer funds to their social network wallet of choice and exchange for tokens to interact on that network. This would open up an entire marketplace of services within the social network environment.

The value of a social network is now the amount of tokens created on it’s network * the exchange rate of those tokens on the open market. Followers and likes have measurable economic value, and Judas would be paying 30 tokens instead of earning tokens as a bot troll.

How to be a Successful bitcoin Doomsdayer

It helps to be a Nobel laureate when you spout out economic nonsense. But, if you’re not able to milk your 2008 Nobel prize, here are the top ways to become a successful bitcoin doomsdayer:

  • It helps if you have some sort of “authority” on the subject: Nobel prize in economics, MBA, degree in finance, Instagram pictures of you on a boat, etc.
  • Start by claiming bitcoin is a bubble and even claim that you’ve been saying that for years.
  • Claim that you’ve been “right” about bitcion and cryptocurrency for years. You don’t need to have any proof of such claims, just make the claims.
  • Make nebulous claims like “this won’t end well” and “this bubble is about to burst”
  • Use words like parabolic
  • Make as many unsubstantiated claims of bitcion’s “true value” as you can. Just make up a number: $1,000… $3,000… Doesn’t matter if you understand the technology or not. Just make something up that sounds scary to people.
  • Be as vague as possible as to when the bitcoin bubble will burst. Remember, being an internet oracle doesn’t require specifics or even a month. Oracles are made by claims of “soon” and “imminent”.
  • Be as vague as possible as to what value the bitcoin crash will dip to. In fact, don’t even say what the crash will be. This way, when there’s a correction of 40% you can still claim oracle status! Definitely don’t make a 100% accurate prediction to the exact thousand dollar amount that BTC will drop to.
  • Use the word bubble at least 3-4 times every hour; even in conversations unrelated to bitcion
  • Make reference to the mythical tulip bubble
  • Bask in the glory of being right 4-5x per year about the bitcoin bubble when there’s a major correction in the budding cryptocurrency market every few months!
  • Bitcoin shame as much as possible on social media!

P.S. In Krugman’s defense, he does make a valid point that he doesn’t understand technology. He also makes a reasonable point that bitcoin lacks viability as a transactional currency. That is valid given BTC’s current limitations for handling massive tx volume and BTC’s high tx cost. BTC will either need to change or (more likely) be used as a store of large amounts of wealth and for large transactions (e.g. buying a house).

National Park Cryptocurrencies and Cryptocurrencies for Everyone

Four years ago, I wrote about how the national parks can avoid the next government shutdown. It was a bit shortsighted in retrospect. Rather than utilizing bonds, national parks (any any organization for that matter) should leverage cryptocurrencies. There are over 1,000 cryptocurrencies in existence today (most should be avoided).  But a park like Yosemite Nation Park fits the mold of being a perfect fit for a cryptocurrency.

A Yosemitecoin has a specific use for a specific purpose. Want to visit and park at Yosemite? Pay in Yosemitecoin. Want to stay at a lodge in Yosemite? Pay in Yosemitecoin. It’s important to the ecological health of Yosemite to limit the number of visitors per season/year, so having a cryptocurrency that is limited in availability during a season would allow the price/cost of Yosemitecoin to limit the exposure of the park.

Mining of Yosemitecoin could prove to be a profitable venture for miners depending upon how the rules are setup for Yosemitecoin mining and exchanging. Exchanging could help boost the overall budget available for Yosemite National Park and allow for the park to afford more resources to ensure the park is well maintained and employees at the park are well compensated. A Yosemitecoin could even serve as a long-term retirement investment vehicle for park employees.

Getting into details for all of this would require much more than a simple blog post. However, every national park, non-profits, and global organizations (such as the red cross) could greatly benefit from having their own cryptocurrency that furthers their cause.

Identifying Rape Culture in America

I’ve heard a few definitions of rape culture over the years, but typing in “define rape culture” into Google netted one of the most concise definitions I have seen to date: a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.

rape_culture_google_definition

There are the obvious examples of sexual assault being uncovered on the news on a daily basis: Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Roy Moore, etc. These aren’t the best examples of the systemic nature of rape culture in America though. These are example of rape culture but aren’t being trivialized or normalized (at least not anymore). The following is a deep dive into identifying the pervasive, systemic reach of rape culture in America. Prepare…

The champions of rape culture in America for more than two decades are Bill and Hillary Clinton.

hillary-bill-clinton

Clinton supporters will likely suggest that this is a hit piece on the Clintons. It’s not. This is a hit piece on the pervasiveness of rape culture in America.

When Senator Gillibrand made the strong (and appropriate statement) that Bill Clinton should have resigned as POTUS during the investigation of his sexual harassment and perjury, there were Clinton loyalists who quickly jumped all over it with rape culturisms like Philippe Reines:

Ken Starr spent $70 million on a consensual blowjob. Senate voted to keep POTUS WJC. But not enough for you @SenGillibrand? Over 20 yrs you took the Clintons’ endorsements, money, and seat. Hypocrite.

Interesting strategy for 2020 primaries. Best of luck.

On the surface, this might look like a Clinton supporter/former employee venting about a Senator who gladly took Bill Clinton’s endorsements over the years and was now throwing him under the bus. This is what rape culture looks like, folks!

You might be thinking this is a pretty harsh statement given that Bill Clinton didn’t “rape” Monica Lewinsky. If so, that’s a good thing. I think you should be shocked to uncover just how systemic and prevalent rape culture is in America.

Reines makes the assertion that Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky participated in consensual blowjobs in the Oval Office. His argument might even have legal merit since sexual harassment (which is what a superior having sex with a subordinate is) isn’t “illegal”. By Reines’ rape culture logic, slavery (let alone raping slaves) during America’s early years was okay because it wasn’t “illegal”. Did I just compare rape culture to slavery? You bet!

So, how is getting a “consensual” bj in the Oval Office sexual harassment, let alone rape culture? By answering this question, we’re going to uncover the nasty pervasiveness of rape culture in America. It boils down to the very culture that it’s acceptable to someone with authority to take advantage of a subordinate. Someone with authority over another person has a level of power over that person by the very nature of their position. The President of the United States certainly qualifies as being in a position of authority over an intern in the White House. Claiming that Monica Lewinsky “knew what she was getting into” (or simplifying that to “consented” like Reines has done) exemplifies rape culture. Reines might as well have just said Monica was “asking for it”. Looking at this with a Weinstein lens: Monica was on the “casting couch”.

To make a long story short, justifying sexual abuse because it’s illegal = rape culture.

Furthering the rape culture nature of Bill Clinton’s exploitation of Monica Lewinsky is the fact that he’s married. The idea that a man, who has made a commitment of chastity to his wife, can up and get a bj from an employee is the epitome of the sense of male entitlement that is rampant with rape culture. Bill Clinton took advantage of Monica Lewinsky, and that is rape culture. Period.

Still, Bill Clinton’s exploits of Monica Lewinsky weren’t the most egregious of his rape culturisms. It’s pretty safe to say that the only thing separating Bill Clinton from being an alleged rapist and an convicted rapist is the statute of limitations and/or a phenomenal lawyer (meaning, a lawyer who leverages the inherit privileged that rape culture affords sexual predators (wealthy/powerful men) like Bill Clinton.

A further example of rape culture is claiming that Bill Clinton “more than paid the price” for taking advantage of Lewinsky. The notion that there’s a “price” to pay for sexually manipulating and abusing women is rape culture. The notion that Bill Clinton “more than paid” is monstrously rape culture. He paid the price because he couldn’t practice law (which he wouldn’t have done anyway) for five years? And I’ll get to the greatest falsehood about Bill Clinton “paying the price” in two paragraphs.

If you haven’t warmed up to me saying that Bill Clinton exploited and took advantage of Monica Lewinsky, that’s how pervasive rape culture is in your own mind. There in lies the sneakiness of rape culture. It’s like a shadow cast from a light that sits right in your own head. Rape culture is something you can’t fully see and understand until you look in the mirror and ask yourself how much you have unwittingly (or knowingly) participated in rape culture. How much have you justified Bill Clinton the sexual predator with him being an accomplished politician? How often have you said “that’s just politics”? Or “other politicians have done those things”?

That brings me to my last, and most poignant point. Hillary Clinton exemplifies rape culture in America. Victim blaming and shaming is the ultimate rape culture. Hillary Clinton has also said that her husband “paid the price“. No. Hillary Clinton, YOU paid the price for Bill Clinton’s sex abuse, not Bill. Hillary is both a victim of rape culture and has been perpetuating rape culture.

To wrap it up…

Rape culture = “a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.” How much have we all participated in normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse? Now is the time to say, “no more”. Michael TomaskyPhilippe Reines, Al Franken, and Hillary Clinton are all rape culture stalwarts.

How do you determine Bitcoin’s value? By it’s high energy requirements

There’s been a whole lot of discussion about the looming Bitcoin bubble burst or how valuing Bitcoin isn’t possible because “it’s not a value-producing asset”. Bloomberg seems to have figured out that even if Bitcoin isn’t a bubble, it will still fail because of it’s “exorbitant energy costs“.

We can’t assume that current financial transactions take place over a magic network that doesn’t require any energy to run. It takes energy to print paper money and to run the massive servers that banks and financial institutions use all around the globe. It’s not just magic.

Sid Verma is on to something about Bitcoin’s energy requirements, but he came to the wrong conclusion. Bitcoin’s exorbitant energy cost is NOT going to be Bitcoin’s undoing. Rather, it’s precisely what gives Bitcoin it’s value. The massive amount of energy required to mine Bitcoin means that you can compute a value for Bitcoin (contrary to what the “Sage of Omaha” thinks). Bitcoin will require more and more energy and hardware to continue to mine, increasing it’s real-world/tangible value. Even if energy costs decrease, more energy is required to mine at a far greater pace than the reduction in the cost of energy. The value of Bitcoin has a real-world justification for increasing because we value energy to support our digital world.

If the energy required to mine Bitcion will eventually surpass that of the entirety of Japan, Citigroup is suggesting that governments will tax miners for their high energy consumption. That doesn’t take into consideration renewable energy (there’s a reason why so much mining is taking place in Iceland: geothermal energy) and autonomy of energy. Ironically, this decentralized currency is ideal for decentralized (and cleaner) energy production as well.

The EV federal tax incentive is NOT a subsidy

A knock I hear frequently about electric vehicles (EVs) is that they require government subsidies to sell well rather than letting the “free market” decide. I’m assuming “free market” refers to dealer network and government collusion and externality benefits of petrol fueled vehicles. However, I usually have to distinguish between a tax credit (which is NOT a subsidy) and a tax rebate (which is a subsidy). The federal tax credit afforded to EV owners is often (incorrectly) labeled a “subsidy” by anti-EV folks. However, the federal tax credit for an EV purchase is limited to the buyer’s federal tax burden.

If you have no federal taxes, Uncle Sam does not cut you a check for $7,500. If you only have $5,000 federal taxes owed at the end of the year, you also don’t get a $2,500; you just don’t have to pay the $5,000 in federal taxes. In short, it’s you keeping more of your own money (which is why it’s called a tax incentive) rather than you getting someone else’s money (which is why it’s NOT a subsidy).

State issued tax rebates are subsidies. Not having to pay for the health problems caused by driving a petrol powered car is a subsidy.