Month: March 2015

Global Technological and Industrial Revolutions

A fine student I know, Eric Cho, wrote this essay and I thought it was a pretty cool quick read that pretty much covers all areas of advancement that we have faced in recent history and some implications. Enjoy, and thanks, Eric!


 

There have been several historically significant revolutions throughout the last three centuries and some that are still occurring. If one were to observe the 18th and 19th century,one would find there is a major difference between them. During the 18th century people made all goods by hand. However, in the 19th century, the industrial revolution emerged which allowed people to manufacture goods by machine. Then, a century later, landed the second industrial revolution. During the second industrial revolution, there was a transformation that occurred where instead of smaller goods, heavy and chemical products were able to be produced. Nowadays, we are living in the third industrial revolution where importance shifted from the production industry towards complex information which can be converted into physical matter during a ‘printing’ process – much like how you print 2D items from your desktop printer. Finally, in the future, the production process will take place in the network and the heart of this revolution will be <big data>. With this giant global mesh of interconnected networks prefaced, one can now travel back in time to explore the details of its roots.

To begin with, the first industrial revolution started in England in the middle of the 19th century. Then it sporadically spread into Europe, America and Russia. At the end of the 20th century, it flared out to Latin America and South East Asia. The incubation of the first industrial revolution took place at the beginning of the 19th century when England suddenly transformed into a capitalist community. A primarily agricultural society was rapidly being converted into a production industry. The industry that led industrial revolution was the cotton industry. The cotton industry’s sudden development triggered quick development of every industry. Specifically, production producing, production of raw material which was usually made by machines, increased drastically. The main cities where the first industrial revolution occurred were Liverpool and Manchester. Therefore, after the railroad passing through Liverpool and Manchester was created, those two cities became the heart of the first industrial revolution. The most notable impact of this revolution on our lives is how it greatly influenced the products manufactured at that time.

After the introduction of simple automated machinery during the first industrial revolution, the Ford system -the center of the mass production- appeared in the early part ofthe 20th century. The Ford system was the start of mass production which initiated the second industrial revolution. The main fruit produced from the second industrial revolution was the development of heavy and chemical industry and mass production of light industry. The reason why the heavy and chemical industry could not be adopted before the ford system is that it took an extremely long time to make those items one-by-one. In addition, the application of the Ford system on factories greatly lowered the price of the products since the supply became much higher than the demand. However, the ability to mass produce around the world became one of the fundamental circumstances leading up to the Great Depression. It became the forerunner of the famous economic crash of October due to the fact that mass
production stopped for a while and this massive hiccup triggered the reduction of the production of the goods. Ultimately, the second industry revolution and Ford system was intended to be good but ended up producing notable setbacks for the worldwide economy.

Unlike any of the previous two revolutions, the information revolution stood apart from its earlier and later counterparts. Through the development of electronic devices such as computers and smartphones, the global network was born. One may mistakenly assume that the information revolution spawned from the global network, but in fact, the physical infrastructure is the foundation of the non-physical information revolution. The reason is that without this physical global web, information would not have a means of being disseminated on a large and effective scale. Therefore, it can be assumed that there is a direct correlation between the technology and information revolution. There are several consequences brought about by this unique revolution. The information revolution started with great ideas. To be specific, we have been subjected to a bombardment of second-by-second global news updates. On the other hand, the global network caused severe problems with privacy. With people handing over their personal information on the network, sometimes unknowingly, the network has become full of private information such as ID card numbers and cell phone numbers. Also, these reservoirs of personal data existing on the global network are a goldmine for advertisers and even criminals who would could abuse such access. Even with the disadvantages associated with the speedy growth of the network, we however have improved a lot from this big data source. Ultimately, the global network is the face of Janus, with giving people information on one side and having problems with protecting privacy or the other.

The fourth revolution is where information and mass production meet together. With those electronic devices born out of the previous revolution, came forth a new, unique development where the production process moved to the household. Thanks to the growth of the 3D printer, society has become able to manufacture some products in the comfort of their own home. Additionally, the method of making 3D printers, which is making it with machines that are based on complex information, is also a byproduct. The implementation of new technology that makes use of complex data during the production process is what brought us into this limitless society. However, this limitless community is creating a potentially massive risk. The problem is that people can even make some illegal items such as firearms. This can be extremely dangerous for the public. Therefore, to live harmoniously with 3D printer technology, there must be laws established which restrict people from making illegal products. Lastly, with legislation around 3D printers and their output, this fourth revolution is poised to be a monumental success, on par or greater than its predecessors.

To conclude, these global revolutions have greatly influenced our life style. Without these four industrial revolutions, there could not have been such improvements in our daily lives. From the cotton industry to the 3D printer, our civilization has undergone extreme development. It is impossible to deny that the growth throughout the last two centuries has been very positive overall and 50 years from now, people will find themselves in the midst of the real ubiquitous computing society in which they could accomplish almost anything lying in their own bed. Ultimately, these global revolutions created positive improvements especially by increasing the level of comfort and convenience on a daily basis in a variety of ways.


 

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Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, Dang it!

There are some of you out there who just don’t seem to get it.  You either say you don’t like coffee or you drink bad coffee – and both of these illnesses need to be cured quickly before it spreads to other innocent victims.

This week, in the office lunchroom, I was privy to hear the following statement made:

“That’s awesome! The McDonalds coffee [they sell it in tin cans, if you didn’t know] has been replaced by Tim Horton’s coffee! Finally!  This is so good!!  This coffee is SO much better!”

I almost, nearly, borderline, got closed to ripping my own ears and skin off and jumping out the window.  But I held back for the greater good.  I took a deep breath and kept my big mouth shut.  I decided to view this poor woman for what she is – a victim of marketing and sheltered from the truth.

I viewed her much the way people probably view me when they ask me about wine or sports.  Sometimes we just do things because we don’t have time to figure out a better way or simply because don’t know that we are lost.

You need to first understand that you need coffee.  If you don’t drink coffee, there is something wrong with your DNA.  So start with that.  Go get some fresh roasted beans, have a skilled barista make you a nice cup of espresso or at least an americano.  Then, drink that bad boy black. Don’t add cream, sugar, or any other blasphemy.  Would you do that to your wine?  Didn’t think so.

Now, that you are a coffee drinker, let’s fix your addiction to bad companies and coffee.  First, both of those companies above are not famous for helping the little guy around the world.  Do you want your money going there?  Also, as a quick side note, Tim Horton’s is *not* a Canadian company.  Hasn’t been for years.  Owned by Wendy’s out of the USA I believe…

Coffee is a very sensitive fruit.  It’s a fruit.  It comes from a cherry tree.  In a green bean state coffee is amazingly resilient to time and conditions, but once it’s roasted, the clock is ticking *fast* to get that into your cup and drink it.  If you seal it in a bag whole bean, it’ll keep for a week or so.  If you grind it, good luck.  I don’t think there is any hope at all getting more than a day or two out of it no matter what you do.  And that’s what you are drinking all the time – old, stale coffee.  And that’s also why you are loading it full of cream and sugar, by the way.

Don’t be cheap.  This is not the product you need to cheap out on.  If you are going to cheap out on coffee, make it at home instead of buying it in a store and the savings will be enough to make yourself the best coffee in the world.  The difference between a crap cup of stale coffee and a great cup of super fresh coffee is pennies per cup.  Pennies.  Do not cheap out on this most excellent drink.

Tinned coffee won’t work.

K-cups won’t work.

Bagged coffee won’t work.

Only freshly roasted green beans roasted within days and ground within minutes will work.

Once you change your coffee ways, you’ll be cured!  You’ll be a new man!

I hope this pep talk has encouraged you and given you the necessary slap to your face that will get you back on track.

Victory is yours!

Make the change!

You’ll thank me for this insulting post one day.  Mark my words…

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The Secret Weapon to Beat the Robots

The robots are coming! The robots are coming!  They’re everywhere.  They’re coming for your job, too.  You can beat them and here is how.

I read the title of a blog post this morning called, “How to Make Yourself Irreplaceable at Work” and the title intrigued me greatly. I started thinking about how robots could replace pretty much any job and likely will over time. Then, my thoughts went immediately to the Bible and this question came to my mind: What is the difference between a robot and a human?

Both robots and humans:

  • have short term memory (RAM)
  • have long term memory (hard drive)
  • have incredibly high processing speed (processor)
  • have the ability to physically move
  • have the ability to execute commands from superiors
  • and so on

Then I started thinking about how robots were in some ways better:

  • they don’t experience pain
  • they don’t have to quit at 5pm and will probably work overtime without many complaints
  • they don’t eat meat or dairy
  • they don’t have costly funeral services
  • they don’t require payroll taxes to be deducted (jumpin’ Jehosophat! Our governments are going to need a new tax!)
  • etc

However, after a few seconds (I was urinating at the time) I remembered two simple truths:

  • Man (yes, I still use ‘man’ when I write because it’s easy and provocative) is made in God’s image (Genesis)
  • robots are made in man’s image

Then I thought about the unique attributes of humans that robots could never replicate:

  • Humans, like God, can create something out of nothing (it’s called an ‘idea’) whereas robots can only create something out of what humans program in.  Even the argument of a robot creating a song, for example, is actually just ‘programmed randomness’.
  • Humans have a consciousness which allows them to be aware that they exist
  • Humans have the ability to feel.
  • Humans have the ability to form an opinion
  • Humans have free will
  • and more

What are the implications of this?

If a human wishes to remain fully irreplaceable they must needs focus at least some of their energy on improving the areas that are not able to be copied by a tin can.

There you go.  I hope that eureka moment knocked you off your bar stool.

So, for me, I write this blog, not because I have time to do it but because I can’t afford *not* to exercise my creative muscles.   I stop and hug my daughters not because I have time to do it but because I can’t afford *not* to give love to these precious little creations and experience that moment…

Folks.  We gotta build our relationships somehow.  The real, human relationships.

Or the robots will take us out.

 

*And don’t ask me how that black line got on Harper’s face. Must have been the eraser tool on a layer… 🙁

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Need Another Reason to Vote No on Transit Referendum?

If you needed one last reason to vote ‘no’ and slow the pace that Translink turns hard earned money into a fart in the wind, read this shocking article sent to me by my friend today.  Although the article is filled with other horrendous displays of the youthful, carefree spending of a crack addict, I just wanted to focus on the example of the one building since commercial real estate is interesting to me.

I’m not a mathlete, but something in the following numbers show me that someone doesn’t value the good years of my life that I spent slaving to fund their lavish spending:

  1. 17,200,000 | 2004 purchase of Bombardier’s building for something skytrain related
  2. 8,200,000 | 2004 (same year??) sale of building to flipper who pocketed 5 million a couple of months later
  3. $1,782,676 | unnecessary rent spent on a building they could have owned @ $63,667/month between August 2012 and Dec 2014 (it was an empty building!)
  4. $13,900,000 | 2014, December: Buys back SAME building for $13.9 million

To further dumb it down, these are the numbers I get:

$17,200,000 + $1,782,676 + $13,900,000 = $32,882,676 (total money spent)

$32,882,676 – $8,200,000 = $24,682,676 (amount spent minus sale)

-$24,682,676

All I can say is that I hope Translink calls me to be their commercial real estate agent next time they think they want to go property shopping!

Just for fun, at $3.75/ticket (maybe average like that?) that would be 6,582,046 free tickets they could have given away for goodwill marketing!  Or, an entire round trip day of tickets for 3,291,023 people.  Or, for 12,658 people, they could have ridden for FREE for an entire business year.  But since we’re putting into perspective that would be an entire LIFETIME of free transit passes for 421 people.  Translink could have gotten 421 cars off the road for their ENTIRE WORKING LIFE for the money that was flushed down the toilet.

Vote no?

Maybe?

 

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Introducing Mr. Soulcase

Theologically speaking, Mr. Soulcase should probably be named ‘Mr. Spiritcase” but it just doesn’t have the same ring.  The Bible says in Corinthians 2 verse 11:

For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

People without faith in Jesus have a tough time both in this earth and after.  It’s a bad deal but people seem to have an easier time living in a state of confusion and bitterness than they do bowing their knee to their Creator and making a few slight adjustments to live life His way.

But moving on to Mr. Soulcase.

Mr. Soulcase came from a quick conversation I had with my mom.  You see, we recently received news that my aunt (her sister) suddenly passed away.  In fact, at the point of typing this post, it is still unknown exactly what happened except that she had fallen and hit her head about a month ago and experts suspect these two events are connected.  When I called mom to check in on her (she had jumped on the next plane to her city) she explained something interesting.  The part she is struggling with most is when the folks at the hospital discuss with her ‘releasing the body’.  She is having a hard time speaking about her sister in terms of a ‘body’.  This is her sister, you see… or was… or is… or was…

You see the conundrum.

For me, however, I have been reading my Bible – and so had been this same Auntie.  In fact, we had spoken on this topic of death on an occasion or two.  You see, Auntie Dianne was a believer.  She had made Jesus her Lord and Saviour.  And so had her husband before he passed a few years back.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

That’s what it says in 1 Corinthians 15:55.

Death has lost its power.

The grave cannot hold us back.

Life has prevailed over death, by the blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Mr. Suitcase (the thing you take with you to the airport) is made of an earthly material.  The elements of the earth make up his fabric and was designed and manufactured with a purpose in mind: to carry our important goods from A to B on our journey.  Functionally speaking, this is pretty simple stuff, but if you’d like an instruction manual, here you go:

  1. manufacture suitcase
  2. open suitcase
  3. insert contents
  4. close suitcase
  5. begin journey/travels
  6. toss suitcase at end of life

Mr. Soulcase is much the same.  But, if you haven’t figured out my clever analogy yet, I’m going to now reveal the secret! Ready kids??

–>Mr. Soulcase is your body!! <—

…Mama don’t raise no dummies….

The DNA and material that makes up your body is designed by the God of the Bible. He thought you up before you realized you mattered (some of you still don’t).  He knows every last hair on your head.  From before conception, you were planned out. The only difference between a baby in the womb and a baby outside the womb is the puncture of a water bag.  Life begins long before the first wail of an offspring.  Don’t believe me, though.  Ask a pregnant woman how those kicks feel.

Then your body was born.  This was the beginning of your journey.

Unfortunately, like a Mr. Suitcase, Mr. Soulcase also wears out and/or gets damaged.  The earth, thanks to ol’ Adam and Eve,  is currently not in a state of perfection as it was in the Garden of Eden, so the forces of nature are working against us.  Eventually, after a long enough journey, or an unexpected accident, the casing can no longer function.

And so Mr. Soulcase goes back to the earth from whence he came.

Try as hard as you’d like.  Use as much technology as you can find, but there comes a point when Mr. Soulcase gets retired from his duties here on earth and there ain’t nothing that no force on earth can do about it.

And it’s at this point – when the spirit of a man departs from its Soulcase – when the arrogant humans sit quietly and ponder their most obvious frailty.

Before that, however, they are quite noisy, stubborn, arrogant, and more.  Some are so lost in their arrogance that they think themselves to be God (talk to Shirley Maclaine and most of the deceived pop culture about that). You’ll note, however, this kind of garbage only comes out of affluent societies… but that’s another story.

But not when Mr. Soulcase gets retired for good.  Then, and sometimes only then, we realize just how important this message of the Gospel is and we think about its implications:

  • is Jesus really the *only* way to heaven?
  • is there a God?
  • is there a heaven?
  • is there a hell?
  • what is going to happen to me when my Soulcase retires?
  • and when will this happen?

I write this post to encourage you to stop what you are doing and consider your short little life.  I seriously don’t care how much money you have, whether you are the president of the world (is there such a position yet?) or how hot you are.

Your Soulcase is going to get old, ugly and then finally get retired for good.

I encourage you to stop what you are doing and realize that only One person has defeated death and His name is Jesus.  And there is only one way to go into life eternal with him – Obey Him entirely (not just on Christmas, Easter and every thirty-fifth Sunday).

Auntie Dianne, I look forward greatly to joining you at my appointed time in the kingdom of our Holy God.  Thanks for holding true to Jesus and the faith throughout the years!  Your planted seeds will grow a crop.

 

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How to Fix a Viciously Frozen Ubuntu Machine

Although it’s always better to run Ubuntu on a new machine and experience the lightening fast way that it relates to new hardware, if you happen to have an old machine upon which you have installed Ubuntu 14.04 you may have experienced a nasty freeze after you login.

I spent many hours trying this and that.  I guessed it was something to do with a video card or a video card driver (proprietary? Nvidia brand?).  Finally, this command made the dumb machine bow the knee in submission:

 sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

Before trying this command, I had also tried these commands found in this blog below.  Perhaps they will aid you?  Keep them handy for reference as it also instructs how to reach the terminal when you freeze:

http://itsfoss.com/fix-unity-freezes-after-login-ubuntu-14-04/

Oh, also, I haven’t tried since, but I think I recall the only way I was able to access my terminal was by doing control+alt+F2 somewhere between boot and the regular graphical login screen…

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