Is Apple Supporting Terrorism?

“Wittes and Bedell argue that Apple’s decision to “move aggressively to implement end-to-end encrypted systems, and indeed to boast about them” after being “publicly and repeatedly warned by law enforcement at the very highest levels that ISIS is recruiting Americans” — in part through the use of encrypted messaging apps — could make the company liable if “an ISIS recruit uses exactly this pattern to kill some Americans.”

Source: Obama Administration War Against Apple and Google Just Got Uglier

The wars of the future will be fought between increasingly archaic nation states and corporate states just as the Glorious Revolution and the French Revolution (and in part the American Revolution) signaled the decline of monarchies in Europe.

Why You Should Fear the Future and Think about Your Business Now

“This is for the same reason we just discussed—the Law of Accelerating Returns. The average rate of advancement between 1985 and 2015 was higher than the rate between 1955 and 1985—because the former was a more advanced world—so much more change happened in the most recent 30 years than in the prior 30.

So—advances are getting bigger and bigger and happening more and more quickly. This suggests some pretty intense things about our future, right?

Kurzweil suggests that the progress of the entire 20th century would have been achieved in only 20 years at the rate of advancement in the year 2000—in other words, by 2000, the rate of progress was five times faster than the average rate of progress during the 20th century. He believes another 20th century’s worth of progress happened between 2000 and 2014 and that another 20th century’s worth of progress will happen by 2021, in only seven years. A couple decades later, he believes a 20th century’s worth of progress will happen multiple times in the same year, and even later, in less than one month. All in all, because of the Law of Accelerating Returns, Kurzweil believes that the 21st century will achieve 1,000 times the progress of the 20th century.”

Source: The AI Revolution: Road to Superintelligence – Wait But Why

“Things are changing so quickly these days compared to when I grew up.” – Every person older than 30 that I know

That sentiment is true.

“Change” (in this case technological advancement) happens on exponential curves. We, as humans, are geared to view change linearly or on a straight course based on our previous experiences. We love to share anecdotes about the past and think about the future in terms of small incremental bits. After all, I was born in 1978 and things aren’t all that different now than they were then? Yes, they are.

Business wise, it’s time to think about how you or your company or your church or your nonprofit is going to position itself now for the increasing climb of the Law of Accelerating Returns. 2040 will look dramatically different than 2020 in terms of human advancement.

This will impact everything from how we consume and produce products (already happening) to how we drive (already happening) to how we use, spend, and save currency (already happening) to how we worship or view faith (happening at a shocking pace now) to how we do business (if you think “the internet” is important for business, just wait) to how we monitor and adjust and improve our own biological, mental, and emotional health. Not to mention external variables that will affect our future such as climate change, growth in human population, war, strife, and the coming economic calamity because of the gap between rich and poor.

If we don’t nuke ourselves or die from spoiling our resources, the next 100 years will see an incredible change in what it means to be(ing) human.

So, if you think 2015 is weird and annoying with mobile phones, email, and Facebook and you cannot wait until we all just go back to paper and “how things used to be”… just wait for 2025. You should fear the future.

However, this will be an amazing and monumental time for our species. I’m hopeful that technological advancement will bring human progress in a number of areas.

Either way, prepare your business now by thinking about what’s coming.

Polynomial Codes Over Certain Finite Fields, or Why Things You Don’t Think Matter Actually Matter

“Whatever new technologies are on the horizon, history has taught us that Reed-Solomon-based coding will probably still be there, behind the scenes, safeguarding our data against errors. Like the genes within an organism, the codes have been passed down to subsequent generations, slightly adjusted and optimized for their new environment. They have a proven track record that starts on Earth and extends ever further into the Milky Way. “There cannot be a code that can correct more errors than Reed-Solomon codes…It’s mathematical proof,” Bossert says. “It’s beautiful.”

Source: The Math That Connects Pluto to DNA — NOVA Next | PBS

From storing information via DNA to communicating with spacecraft near Pluto to enabling your cell phone and beyond…

Don’t let people tell you that your work doesn’t matter. Small minds are the enemy of progress.

The Death (and Salvation?) of Religious Studies: A Conversation with Carrie Schroeder

Source: Thinking Religion: The Death (and Salvation?) of Religious Studies: A Conversation with Carrie Schroeder | Thinking.FM

Thomas and I have a new Thinking Religion podcast episode featuring Prof. Carrie Shroeder where we discuss all sorts of things… Stargate to Digital Humanities to why you should blog on your own site (academic or church or individual). Fun listen (I think).


Yahoo’s Livetext Brings Us “Giffing”

“Yahoo describes the app as “live video texting,” essentially a combination of self-facing live video and chat. Each Livetext starts as a livestream akin to Periscope, which is then overlaid with text messages typed by the user in real time, scrolling upwards like a conventional texting program. Each Livetext is one-to-one and doesn’t begin until both parties agree to open the channel, cutting down on the potential for spam or abuse.”

Source: Yahoo reveals Livetext, its new silent video chat app

I’m initially skeptical of the prospect of Yahoo breaking into the messaging space and competing with the likes of Snapchat. However, silent or muted video is big on mobile in the forms of gifs. Most apps from Google’s Hangouts to Facebook’s Messenger and Whatsapp to Apple’s iMessage all support animated gifs.

Perhaps Yahoo is on to something with this one-to-one hybrid gif / texting app?

Probably not… Livetext is a terrible name and has no resonance. I can imagine the marketing meeting now where alternatives to “snap” and “chat” were all being thrown at a whiteboard in various colored markers.

Still, it’s nice to see Yahoo innovating and attempting to join an already crowded playing field.

Oh, Microsoft

First thing you see when you begin the upgrade to Windows 10… binding arbitration clause. Thanks, lawyers.


Civilians Using Handguns in Self Defense

The NRA likes the idea of training so much that it’s floated the idea of mandatory firearms training for school children. On the other hand, it’s opposed laws requiring mandatory training for gun purchases. Many states allow concealed carry without any training or permit for people as young as 16. Most states don’t require gun owners or purchasers to even be licensed, much less trained. And a handful, like Arizona, have passed laws prohibiting localities from imposing their own training requirements.

Source: Watch what happens when regular people try to use handguns in self-defense – Washington Post

I grew up around guns in our home and the homes of my friends (and the occasional gun rack on the back glass of pickups), and hunting culture. I understand the sentiment that guns are tools and can be used for evil just like any other tool. What I don’t understand is the resistance from some groups to legislate mandatory licensing and training (similar to what we do with automobiles).

If you’re really of the “government wants to take away our guns” so we need to hold up the 2nd amendment as our way to preserve freedom persuasion, I’d argue that a citizenry that is licensed and trained to handle firearms is a much bigger threat to “the government” than the current situation.

Wilco’s Star Wars and My Personal Helicon


Only Wilco could make something this eruptive feel so comfy, like a steel-wool security blanket.

Source: Wilco’s New Album: Star Wars | Rolling Stone

I’ve been enjoying the heck out of this album over the past week. I was skeptical at first … it being a “free” and “surprise” album with a cutesy yet askew title that Wilco just dropped on us all last week.

After listening to it in the office throughout the week then on replay during a 5 hour drive (the album is just over 30 mins, which is something of a miracle in itself for a Wilco production), I’m a believer.

To make it completely personal and anecdotal, Tweedy’s lyrics and the band’s music reminds me that even though I’m heading into my 37th year of being here and continue to find my own way in business while working with my clients, there are still opportunities to explore the cracks in the sidewalk and allow myself to be creative. I’ve smoothed over those moments of opportunity. I’ve wasted my words and openings for personal and work actualization. This album has helped me realize that.

It’s not enough to coast. Sky Blue Sky, Wilco (The Album) and The Whole Love were fine albums in their own rights. But they didn’t cause the type of “woah, wait a minute … think about how these lyrics and this music can get you to explore your own space, Sam” moments that made me start listening to Wilco in the first place.

The first time I heard Misunderstood from Being There, I was in college and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. So, I got a religion major. It made sense at the time. That song was a part of that decision that seemed so flippant yet daring looking back on my younger self. “I would never do that today,” I think to myself as I take my multivitamin supplements and do my morning stretches while looking at my agenda.

Shortly after I took my first office job, my friend Jon said I needed to listen to something and slipped me a CD (it was the style of the times). While sitting in my fluorescent cubicle, I plugged in my headphones and the first cacophonous notes of  I Am Trying to Break Your Heart from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot entered my consciousness. I started blogging. My career took me on a path I could have never imagined. That song could be a metaphor for my 20’s (at least in my own head) both in terms of work, exploring my creativity, and relationships. It still gives me chills. It, like Misunderstood, was a strange reflecting pool where I could see myself askew and needed to explore that further before I could look away.

The songs on Star Wars are pushing me to that type of mirror pool reflection. The trick, I think, as I turn 37 is to realize that there will be other songs to push and pull me later, but I need to enjoy these for now and see where they go. Creativity in work, and life, is a blessing and a curse as it seems to come as quickly as it goes. You’re thinking up the color of the tech world at 27 and then you realize you’re 35 and still using the same palette.

It’s time to push the obtuse in my work, and find the angles that I smoothed over.

Then, I have to walk on and find the next mirror pond of songs before settling in as I did before:

Others had echoes, gave back your own call
With a clean new music in it. And one
Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall
Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.

Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime,
To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring
Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.