Monday, February 29, 2016

My perspective on why money is so useful

Few years ago really started thinking more about money at least partly because was puzzled by big corporations at that time trying to figure out how to make any. And it may seem distant but was not long ago when companies like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter were really being challenged by people asking, but how will you ever make money?

And came up with my own opinions about money, which I concluded is simply an abstraction for a favor. And that money is best used between strangers for things of least importance. For instance, if someone is dying of thirst you wouldn't charge them for a drink of water, if you're a decent human being.

Of course my opinions of where money works best and what it is, might not be agreed upon by others, but establishes the basis for where I will continue from here in this post. And I've talked a LOT more on the details in other posts on more than one blog.

Some may have a distaste for money, but then how do you solve the return a favor to a stranger problem? Like say you're hungry and visiting a community, what if people in such situations tended to knock on doors until they found someone willing to give them a snack? And with that snack, how would you repay the favor to the kind homeowner?

In some imaginary idealized world, one might imagine such a thing to be routine, and people might readily give food like snacks at any decent hour to complete strangers asking for it knowing they would do the same.

In our world even a very decent person, who gets a favor from a stranger, can struggle to pay that favor back, or even forward, without, yup, money.

And the simple solution in our world? Go to a store for your snack. Pay for it with money. Favor to you of the food and having it readily available is easily returned by you in the form of money. Cash or credit maybe.

One of the things I've seen in my opinion with people who DO want the idealized world is that they often underestimate the value they bring to the table with their own efforts. So for instance, maybe that person thinks a simple thank you is always enough. Or maybe a pat on the back. Or maybe they will draw you a pretty picture!

Often some of the most vocal people in decrying money are people who don't seem to think too long and hard how they should return favors for the efforts of others.

If not money, what WILL you give in return for a favor to you from a stranger? A smile?

I think there ARE people in this world who don't really think they should give anything back, except maybe a smile or thank you, for even extraordinary efforts on their behalf from others. Yup. There are such people I believe. I think to their credit some see the entire world as just a giant community and that as members of a community such things should just be given to them. So to them I guess, no one is a stranger? Everyone is just a member of their community who should help them?

A basic reality though is that you may be quite willing to return a favor to a stranger, who helps you, and it is a Big Deal how that is done. You don't even know that person well. How do you know they want what you have to offer?

Well, if it's cash, it's easy, right?

If you are a store owner, that stranger can yes, smile, as he hands over the money for his snacks, walks out the door and goes on his way. Everybody wins in the transaction.

Well, as long as they're, not going there! You want it. I'm not going to get on your case for buying your snacks.

James Harris

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Some rude reality

It may not be clear from my posts where race has come up more that I've been in some interesting discussions, where it would be a situation where someone would bring up race out of the blue.

And my life has been atypical in lots of ways, as though I grew up in the Deep South, where there is an infamous history of racism, will admit most of my classmates growing up were White. And I graduated with the highest SAT of my graduating class, and went on to Vanderbilt University on a full tuition scholarship where I got my degree in physics.

Ok, so back to those discussions where race would come up out of the blue as I thought about them carefully through the years and usually it would be clear that I was an equal among equals, more or less.

And some White guy would suddenly start talking race. And in one of these discussions, one put forward the notion of political correctness and that history reflected that White males were actually superior to all others. I found that fascinating.

Often other White guys would just get uncomfortable when this, oh yeah, was often me as one Black guy with a bunch of White guys where before things were just friendly and would be ONE dude. Usually ONE FREAKING dude who would decide to mess up the vibe.

I really don't like that one freaking dude who thinks he has an easy way to try and pump himself up, when I'm doing my thing, just having a fun time. And oh God, don't let there be pretty women around. Even worse.

Then he'd look all proud of himself, like there. Now he had established that he was a little above me, in his mind, where no one else agreed. And I mean no one. But the delusion was so solid! And I realized that guy had probably relied on this fiction throughout his life.

Science HAS debunked such notions.

However the view that it is politically correct to claim that human beings are equal and that race isn't a clear divider of ability is popular with a certain group of people primarily in the United States. And I can often spot them quickly.

After decades of studying them am very confident about why they do it. Quite simply?

It makes them feel better. Not complicated.

James Harris

One of my favorite tweets

Here's a tweet that I think has a lot of lucky about it. Because it's saying something about tweeting, while the tweet exemplifies it. So it's like a meta-tweet.

Here it is:

And it's talking about punctuation in a tweet, right? And every comma DOES mean something, which is shown in that very sentence with--a comma. I capitalize to show emphasis in the sentence talking, yup, capitalization. And only exclamation had to go outside sentence talking it, but dramatically!

And the entire tweet? Exactly 140 characters.

Went to Open Office to get a character count can show:

And the image does get a little bigger if you click on it.

And to me, is lucky cool that could make a tweet that talks all that at all, but that it would all come out perfect as well? I like that.

I find it remarkable.

James Harris

Saturday, February 27, 2016

More into just the human thing

One problem will admit I have with promoting my own ideas is lack of a clear community group identification with any particular area.

Like I have what I claim to be important mathematical ideas but am not a mathematician. And at best have an undergraduate degree in physics, but am not even then considered fully to be a physicist, and besides the physics community doesn't argue out mathematics, usually.

Switch to politics, and I don't really go for pushing some kind of racial thing, tending to mostly avoid race politics, and insist that race doesn't really matter. And I like to note science can't even really define it, so it's mostly a vague notion. So no, not like that would make me a draw for the Black community in the US I don't think. Especially since I think at best race and ethnicity are irrelevant, and instead we need only focus on avenues of opportunity for people to pursue their interests and dreams.

Even when it comes to computer science, nope, no degree there either. Took some courses as a kid, but none as an adult. Even though yeah, took a community course in college at age of 12 on BASIC programming language which some people actually think is cool? But only other course was summer I turned 16 at Duke University as part of their TIP program where learned structured C. Nonetheless worked as a software developer for a couple of years and have still my own app for software developers I call Class Viewer.

But reality am not an obsessive coder, and haven't worked as one in any paying capacity for over a decade. Not that I couldn't probably do it, but it just doesn't appeal to me. So nope, not really a member of the coding community either.

And I could go on. Talk photography or even something I clearly demonstrably enjoy doing much, which is writing. Not any strong community identifications there either. I like to blog, and tweet and other things but not like I really hang with other writers. But then again writers can often be more of the solitary type. While I do like hanging out in bars. But not with other writers. Not that I'd avoid them. But wouldn't exactly seek them out either.

My story to me is a lot about how you can get into a weird kind of limbo when not strongly identifying with any particular racial, ethnic, technical or intellectual community.

If were a mathematician, could hammer at acceptance of my mathematical ideas maybe with allies from within that community. If were a professional coder might just go ahead and have my own software company, and maybe create the next social network. Or could go on with other areas.

Just having so much fun just with the being human thing. Trying different things. Enjoying the wealth of information available, and often kind of shrugging at the idea of getting in deep in some typical way.

Is interesting to me though how much difference it could make if my inclinations were different while in the big picture over time it won't matter much at all. The best ideas really don't need that kind of help. They excite and inspire people who eventually do that community thing. There's no rush.

It's cool.

James Harris

Friday, February 26, 2016

Social Awards 2016: BEST detail

The nominees for the final category for my own appreciation awards to be announced March 6th, have been set.

Best in Social Media--award is appreciation for the person, group or organization which has pushed the envelope in advancing social media in a way of greatest benefit to the world. It is meant to be a measure of substantial esteem, and to set the bar for excellence, to those who have shown the best that is possible, so far.

Nominees are to be listed person or people first, followed by groups, followed by companies, in alphabetical order, which is by last name for people.

Nominees for 2016 BMSA's BEST are: Disney, Innocence Project, Netflix, Women who Code

This category has the widest potential range.

Social is increasingly speaking the language of our world, in all its many diverse languages and ways to communicate, while I'm focused narrowly primarily here in the US. From my perspective as one person there were some extraordinary standouts during 2015, in pushing the envelope of the possible. Which is a great thing.

First someone has to show what can be done.

Each of these nominees was a pathfinder showing the best of what is possible with social media last year.

Emphasis is on social relevance.

Another major factor across social media is help in discovery.

These nominees were the best in my opinion in continuing the conversation, for a planet.

With these all nominees have been set.

Now it comes down to my final opinion.

And then to announce the winners, which will happen March 6th.

James Harris

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Avenues of opportunity

Found myself considering the faith in society necessary for people to emerge in certain fields of endeavor. And sports to me is a great reference to consider, as for instance ice skating takes a great deal of investment in personal time, and resources for those who wish to compete in it.

But what if you didn't know whether or not your efforts would be recognized, no matter how good you were?

In contrast in a sport like tennis, which also involves a great deal of investment in personal time and resources, the issue is always a head-to-head where each side fights the other for every point.

Of course with ice skating you can have races, which are objective as well.

Another sport where there is LOTS of effort upfront and faith in society is gymnastics where things can be so much about what others see.

In sports so much is visible, but what about other areas where SO much effort is involved? People who worked hard to learn and do things investing vast amounts of time and effort where faith in society is necessary?

Needing some faith in your society for plenty of things is a really BIG DEAL and will admit growing up as a Black kid in the Deep South did hear at times pessimistic adults informing me that certain things would not be allowed for me.

But how right were they?

That was decades ago, while in our time the issue is coming to the forefront, and people need to realize that if you face people who have decided that merit is not what matters you can lose when you walk in the door and they see something irrelevant which makes their decision.

And what about all your work and effort then?

People can be broken on such things. Some people may never even try. Going all the way back to those decisions about where you put your efforts.

Science has helped our species out. It revealed that we are all, human. And that regardless of what some human beings may believe, we're nonetheless all, human. And our abilities as human beings are those of human beings. Easy. But some can still believe otherwise, and can destroy lives on those beliefs--if they have the decisionmaking power.

So much better when such people don't though, and more and more in our modern world, not knowing things well, is not a way to move forward. And more and more the people with the decisionmaking power know the simplest thing that human beings are human.

It is up to society though to focus people on possibility. And help those who are free to succeed to not assume avenues of opportunity have been closed to them for reasons which increasingly do not apply.

After all, we can all benefit so much from the efforts of so many who with their brilliance expand our horizons and experience as human beings. Our world wants as many as can, to do, at its best. While the reality that not all are yet allowed is sobering. It is not a reason to despair, if one can find your own way regardless.

Find your own way, as best you can.

James Harris

Monday, February 22, 2016

Social Awards 2016: BUI and BC detail

Next up are two more categories for my own appreciation awards to be announced March 6th, nominees for the third and fourth category have been set.

Best User Interface on a Social Media Product--award is an appreciation for excellence in providing means of communicating that best enables users, with a worldwide focus. Social media crosses many language and cultural barriers which test the limits of humanity's ability to communicate. Nominees are to be user interfaces on any social media device.

Nominees for 2016 BMSA's BUI are: UI Apple; UI Android;

Found myself with only two nominees for this category which stood out above all the rest. Actually it's kind of hard to think of any others. That kind of dominance is incredible.

It's also maybe unfortunate as I debate what to do here for future awards.

Best Coder(s) Open Source Software Product(s)--open source allows the ability to see which code works, and excellence in coding should be recognized in order to facilitate more of it. Nominees are to be selected from the open source community for an open source product or products that have strong social features. Nominees are to be presented in alphabetical order by last name followed by groups in alphabetical order.

Nominees for 2016 BMSA's BC are: Apache Software Foundation coders

Maybe the hardest category for me, as it involves people only, it is also one I see as extremely important to remember that behind the software that does all these amazing things there are the people who write it.

Without the coders, we have nothing.

Realized that it was good to recognize the people who do so much for the underlying infrastructure. So went with one group, and as the only nominees are also the winners.

Don't plan on doing that in general, but this time I think it works well.

James Harris

Sunday, February 21, 2016

When merit really matters

The web is so awesome for sharing information it has done a lot for forcing people to actually show they can do something, versus just getting over. And it's fascinating to look back a few decades and see a monochromatic reality that was presented as merit based where now it's ever more clear that certain types of people just helped each other.

And I'm not against people helping each other! But when the best were needed but instead someone who may not have even been all that good got the gig, then something went wrong.

Merit is a good way to do things.

Pick the best person for the job. And why not?

Well in the past the reasons were not complicated as some people wanted to believe they were born innately superior. Which when you think about it might seem kind of cool, except then, what's the big deal with your success? I think most people want to work for success versus having it handed to them.

Today science has debunked all such notions, which doesn't keep people from having them, and some say it's actually "politically correct" to claim certain types of humans aren't innately superior, as look at history!

Yup. Look at history, and with the penetrating gaze of the web revealing all kinds of things previously hidden, it's very clear, yup, some people were getting over.

Incompetents having mistakes hidden. Stupid mistakes not called such. A press willing to hold the status quo. And quite simply? Often people just freaking lied to hold on to a notion that some were better, just by being born that way.

Our world IS better now as humans get to just be humans.

You may want to think you're a better kind of human than me, but your thinking is stinking then. And the reek is what history will reflect as merit can matter when transparency rules.

And the web likes to probe.

Can't wait to see what comes up next! As the web digs and digs into human reality, behind what were relentless lies designed to preserve an illusion of supremacy, against scientific reality.

James Harris

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Social Awards 2016: BSOJ detail

Continuing with the categories for my own appreciation awards to be announced March 6th, nominees for the second category have been set.

Best Social Organization Junior--award is appreciation for the best overall growing company in social media not designated major as determined by total number of users. Nominees must have existed for the entire calendar year of 2015. Nominees can be listed in any order.

Nominees for 2016 BMSA's BSOJ are: Pinterest,

This category really shrank. Which may mean shifts for next year. The idea is to focus on up and comers who haven't hit an arbitrary milestone where I've used number of users. But thankfully found two so can decide between them. And in my opinion, each has demonstrated clear excellence in this category, which is why they were chosen.

And Pinterest remains where it is definitely one of the more unique social media companies, where love its ability to organize with pins.

And is also a unique company giving an opportunity to, ask questions, and maybe get answers.

Across these awards of appreciation my opinion in picking one above the others is as usual focus on social relevance, with a local or global emphasis.

Like with the major category, the emphasis on social relevance is related to ease of use, which includes user interface, as well as the power of discovery.

In finding a best for this category the opinion will hinge on the efficiency with which these organizations facilitated my social interactions or those of others, last year.

James Harris

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My focus on simple

As much as I've talked about my various claims at times, I think I failed to note that my focus has been on simplifying things where the start was with math. So I used some rather simple ideas to simplify vast areas of mathematics, producing very powerful and easy to use techniques, which to my surprise were not officially recognized. That bothered me for a bit, but then was like, shrug. And I moved on to other areas.

I realized a functional perspective to things could be applied in lots of places.

So recently I focused on functionally defining things like science, money and more recently entertainment.

Though I will admit my urge to define things fascinates me at times. To me it's a compulsion that makes sense! I need the definition, look around and if what is established doesn't work for me, I figure out one that does.

The point of a functional definition as I see it is to let you know not just what something is, but when you have it. So for instance I can give simple questions to ask a scientist to see if that person is actually doing science, even if you know nothing about the scientific field.

Or my functional definition of entertainment can tell you exactly what it is.

And with money, my ideas not only tell you what money actually is, functionally, but lead to simple explanations for things like unemployment, or chronic government deficits.

Simplifying can turn areas where established academics or experts rely on decades of training into places where just about anyone can do better with a few simple concepts.

And from what I've seen, like from the battles I've fought around my ideas in the past as just don't bother now, that's not a popular thing, with the experts.

Can a simpler idea just be wrong? Yup. That can be why it's so simple! As it's too simple, so simplicity in and of itself is not an indicator something is right!

So how do you know then? Experts can figure out if ideas work or not. Why they're experts.

And presumably experts would welcome simple ideas that work. I thought that for a LONG time.

Does it worry me? Nope. Human beings like simple. If I'm correct it shouldn't worry you either, as the ideas will rapidly move through the world, and be used.

Who cares if some "expert" wants to give me an award or not. I don't. And turns out I don't really need experts to validate me in these areas, surprisingly. For a long time I thought I would.

That may sound strange but is true! I don't need experts to help me in areas where I've simplified to better than what they know anyway. Feels strange actually. And my ideas don't need their help either, as people do just try things and better beats everything else. Duh. So over time my ideas take over on their own. My ideas really just don't care. But of course there are plenty of people who need experts to tell them to know for sure. While I'm one person who is just free to do things.

Like I can give awards. Which is more fun! Even if is really just my opinion.

James Harris

Friday, February 12, 2016

Social Awards 2016: BSOM detail

Decided last year to give my own appreciation for those I felt exemplified the best in social for the prior year and am continuing this year, with my choices to be announced March 6th, nominees for the first category have been set.

Best Social Organization Major--award is appreciation for the best overall company in social media designated as major by total number of followers. As I did last year will use organizations with greater than 100 million active users. Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Nominees may be a main company or a subsidiary.

Nominees for 2016 BMSA's BSOM are: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube

These companies cover a vast number of people on social media though not all, and thinking on my choices I wonder myself at times about why. But regardless of how arbitrary those choices are I feel confident that each has demonstrated clear excellence in this category.

Establishing my opinion in picking one above the others I am focusing on social relevance, with a local or global emphasis.

And YouTube makes the list this year after changes which seemed to show it actually cared more than in times past, in my opinion, about what individual users want to see, versus more focus on mass appeal.

Stability here from last year probably reflects a lot my usage. More of an argument to find a way to get more input from others. Which I want to do. First two years though just hasn't happened.

The emphasis on social relevance is related to ease of use, which includes user interface, as well as the power of discovery, which can have a local or global focus.

As much as I would like a focus on privacy as a major issue, as well as transparency, am less confident this year than last on how well it is handled though it has more visibility as an issue which social media companies are at least addressing, so will mention as a continuing concern.

Important of course is the overall feeling of control of the experience.

The best in social give as much control as possible, while facilitating interactions with other people, with the greatest security.

In finding a best for this category the opinion this year will hinge on demonstrated value to others, based on my usage and that of others. Social is more and more helping to show our world in all its diversity. Best companies in social facilitate that to best advantage.

Social continues to be the focus. So must be about connections made, in the real world, where looking at local or global I can cover the enormous potential given.

James Harris