Sam Harrelson

As an AmeriCorps alum, this is just maddening

So frustrating. How do people like this climb the ladder to be something like head of AmeriCorps?

“Trump appointee resigns as public face of agency that runs AmeriCorps after KFile review of racist, sexist, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT comments on the radio”

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/18/politics/kfile-carl-higbie-on-the-radio/index.html



Evangelical Crisis of Faith

The 20 percent of white evangelicals who did not vote for Trump — many of whom are conservative politically and theologically — now seem to have a lot more in common with mainline Protestants. Some in my own circles have expressed a desire to leave their evangelical churches in search of a more authentic form of Christianity.

Other evangelicals are experiencing a crisis of faith as they look around in their white congregations on Sunday morning and realize that so many fellow Christians were willing to turn a blind eye to all that Trump represents.

via Trump threatens to change the course of American Christianity – The Washington Post



2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17 Day

With Amazon’s Prime Day and Chik-Fil-A’s Cow Appreciation Day (dress up like a cow and get a free chicken sandwich… my wife is actually doing this… seriously… I’ll take pics), made-up holidays are all the new marketing rage. In a funny way, this reminds me of those commercials from my childhood in the 80’s and 90’s that car dealers would run (throughout the year, I might add) announcing “Toyota Dealer Holiday!” etc.

Funny how that’s come back around due to the buzz Amazon has created.


Speaking of Prime Day, good read on how to spot fake reviews on Amazon(there are a number of those and will only get better as AI improves).


Good read on “The Magic of AI” here featuring Amy Ingram of x.ai fame. I’m actually a fan of x.ai and if you are a client of mine or ever need to make a calendar appointment with me, you’ll speak with Amy.

She’s very nice.

But persistent.

I like her.

I was able to correct the mistake by emailing this message: “Amy, this is an in-person meeting at my contact’s office. Please use the address from her previous email.” Done! No assistant could have made the change faster, including notifying both parties.


I don’t even know what to say about this:

It’s hard to get your head around this (at least if you’re me), but I’m guessing it’s an attempt at “controlling the message” before the NYT leaked the emails. I don’t know… astonishing… as is all of 2017 politics.


Android Police has a strong lead on a rumored mockup of the Pixel XL 2 (?) that’s coming this Fall (Octoberish). The Pixel 1 is my daily device and probably one of my favorite mobile devices I’ve ever used (I’ve used a lot). Shut up and take my money.



Echo Chamber

A friend asked recently what I thought of the Amazon Echo and whether or not I was concerned by privacy issues surrounding the platform. The friend knows we have a number of the devices in our home.

The issue goes along the lines of the the Echo being able to “hear” at all times since it is listening for the wake word (ours is currently set to “Computer” since I’m a Star Trek nerd). As a result, it’s clear that Amazon is taping every sound that is made in our homes and sending directly to law enforcement / the NSA / the CIA / insurance companies / pick your poison.

Obviously, that’s not the case but the line of thinking is definitely circulated regularly on social media and in conversations with people with just enough exposure or information about a product or service to make an uneducated and biased claim.

Sort of like politics, I guess.

The internet promised us democratization of knowledge. It has definitely delivered that. It exposes us to new ideas, thought patterns, technologies, tools, services, images, videos, and music we’d never experience otherwise. I remember relishing my set of World Books as a 12-year-old because they gave me the knowledge and escape.

What the internet hasn’t done is given us a sense of perspective or inquisitiveness. Our limbic system is predicated on our survival, and we often listen to our lizard brain when a new thought technology threatens how we thought we understand this strange concept we call existence.

We need other mechanisms for that perspective and inquisitiveness. Otherwise, the internet can be a powerful sounding board to provide reaffirmation of what we already thought we knew or believed.

Having access to information (textual, visual, video, or audio) does not make one an expert.

Sort of like politics, I guess.

As we transition from fingers to voice as the primary input mechanism for computing it will become even more important to recognize the need for deeper human learning just as we push the boundaries of what deeper machine learning means. Our democracies on the web and in politics depend on it.

We have an Amazon Echo or Amazon Dot in most every room of our house. It’s fantastic technology, and I enjoy the ability to perform both simple and complex computing tasks by using our collection of assistants.

“But Sam,” my friend might say, “sure it’s great that you can turn on your lights or play Bowie or add things to your calendar by just speaking into the void in your den, but what about your privacy?”.

To quote Dylan, “play it loud.



The Rich Live Longer Everywhere. For the Poor, Geography Matters.

Screenshot_041116_114505_AM

The top 1 percent in income among American men live 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent; for women, the gap is 10 years. These rich Americans have gained three years of longevity just in this century. They live longer almost without regard to where they live. Poor Americans had very little gain as a whole, with big differences among different places.

Source: The Rich Live Longer Everywhere. For the Poor, Geography Matters. – The New York Times

 



62 people own the same as half the world, reveals Oxfam Davos report 

“The Oxfam report An Economy for the 1%, shows that the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population has fallen by a trillion dollars since 2010, a drop of 38 percent. This has occurred despite the global population increasing by around 400 million people during that period. Meanwhile, the wealth of the richest 62 has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76tr. The report also shows how women are disproportionately affected by inequality – of the current ‘62’, 53 are men and just nine are women. Globally, it is estimated that a total of $7.6tr of individuals’ wealth sits offshore. If tax were paid on the income that this wealth generates, an extra $190 billion would be available to governments every year.”

Source: 62 people own the same as half the world, reveals Oxfam Davos report | Oxfam International

 



“Art is not like science, it’s not like mathematics…”

 

“Art is not like science, it’s not like mathematics… it doesn’t improve. The work that was done in 2000 B.C. is as relevant as art today. And that’s the fascinating thing about art. That’s a conundrum. There is no new invention…This work is valid.”

Early Bronze Age (Iran or Mesopotamia). Head of a ruler, ca. 2300–2000 B.C. Copper alloy. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1947

Source: Dorothea Rockburne on an ancient Near Eastern head of a ruler | The Artist Project | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Beautiful.



“…things have changed”

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/emilie_wapnick_why_some_of_us_don_t_have_one_true_calling.html

On a personal note, I had my Ordination Council meeting yesterday. It was an intensely personal time, but it was something that I’ve been working towards for a long time.

I can’t go into specifics, but one of the themes I addressed is “why” I’d want to go through this if I weren’t necessarily going to participate in something like parish ministry (or “being a preacher” as we call it here in South Carolina).

That has to do with my long time intention of finally launching Hunger Initiative.

Between the terrible disaster that has affected South Carolina and my hometown of Columbia over the past week, and my ordination process (being formally ordained this Sunday) … it feels like “things have changed” (to channel Bob Dylan).

That doesn’t mean like I’m putting Harrelson Agency aside (certainly not), but it does mean that it’s time to get Hunger Initiative off the ground. I first started talking about this during my days in Connecticut back in December 2001. It’s time and I’ve been putting this off for too long.

You can follow along at Hunger Iniative‘s site or @endhunger on Twitter … snagged that one early 🙂



The Picard Maneuver

Mesmerizing tick. Make it snug…

via Ode To The Picard Maneuver (With Data) – YouTube.



Watch TWiT’s 24 Hour New Year Live Show Now

Leo Laporte and the TWiT team are doing 24 hours of New Years celebrations with folks Skyping in from time zones around the globe today (started at 6 AM EST with New Zealand and going until Thursday morning at 6 AM with Jarvis Island in the Pacific).

It’s pretty amazing to watch a traditionally tech focused network branch out into music (a gospel band just played), live acts, magicians, etc along with interspersed tech talks.

Tune in throughout the day… it’s pretty amazing and competes with anything else you’ll see on TV:

TWiT New Years Live.