​(Don’t) Send This to Your Friend Who’s a Dick

Positive thinking doesn’t work. It was an untested idea based on flawed assumptions. When will this bad meme finally die? Probably never, but until then you can read the book: The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking https://www.amazon.com/dp/0865479410/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_ttA1ybBA53RSY


Eastern Europeans consider Russia their biggest security threat

In contrast Italy, France and Germany are more focused on the refugee crisis. Germany is taking a leadership role in Europe, but partners are nervous because Germany is not (yet) providing much guidance.

Economically Germany, France and Italy are deeply divided on how to handle the banking crisis.

Check out this cool episode: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/geopolitical-futures/id1192847456?mt=2&i=1000382288491

Outside the shit-show on display in Washington, D.C., the rest of the country is actively making progress on the existential issues facing our nation and our planet

One of the most important is finding alternative fuel sources to replace our carbon-intensive ones. Solar power is one of the top candidates.

Solar power is traditionally associated with solar electricity, which must be stored in batteries in order to transfer usage in time or in place. The problem is their cost, weight, and storage density.

The best way to get around this is to generate liquid fuels directly from the sun, and bypass the batteries. Solar fuels are not a theoretical challenge–we already know how to do it–but rather an engineering challenge. The engineering involves a trade-off of three factors:

– cost
– efficiency
– reliability

Currently we can optimize on two of these factors. We need to achieve all three in order to make solar fuels a reality.

The question is whether we have enough time. It may already be too late.

Bill Gates: An Energy Miracle – Renewable Energy World


Japan Salaries Extend Slide as Inflation Begins to Take Root – Bloomberg


Stagflation seems to be the inevitable result of Abe’s attempts to restart the economy. Moreover this is apparent even ahead of the economic cliff in April.

Abe needs to press forward with economic reforms and participation in the TPP talks. Raising the sales tax needs to be scrapped in favor of taxes that encourage more investments, i.e., energy efficiency and carbon reduction. Finally Abe needs to take steps to encourage innovation and startups.

Why I Still Like Apple

It is easy to have a love/hate relationship with Apple. On one hand they make great products. On the other hand, they control control their products too tightly. The most recent “anti-Apple” catalyst was the revelation that iPhones track movement information in an unencrypted database, until it was revealed a couple days later that Google Android phones are doing the same thing.

I purchased my MacBook in August 2009. Actually it was a gift but I did purchase some upgrades. Two weeks ago I realized the battery is running strong for two and a half years. Until it wasn’t. Two days ago I realized it was bulging and risked cracking the case.

Laptop computers are easy to hate, due to the batteries. My last employer gave me a new Dell. The factory battery lasted 3 months. The company replaced it with a 3rd party replacement. That lasted 4 months. They replaced it with another Dell 9-cell battery, and that lasted the duration of my ownership. The best trade-off is a local vendor  like Battery Plus which offers a one-year warranty. I had planned to replace my MacBook battery there, but I moved out before I needed one.

I researched “macbook battery bulging” and found a few people who had the same issue. They recommended take it to the Apple Store for a free replacement. Last night I setup an appointment with the Genius Bar at the Apple Store in Shibuya. I told her simply “when I show you, you will know immediately.” She looked at it and said “Ah, the battery.” Apple replaced it for free and I left 15 minutes later. It was so simple and painless.

For the record, the MacBook is under the 3-year AppleCare. Batteries are not normally under warranty, but batteries are not supposed to bulge. For all of Apple’s faults, their support remains exemplary. I still think Apple is the worst computer company, except for all the others.