Neil deGrasse Tyson Warning on America and Science Denial

Redglass Pictures teamed up with Neil deGrasse Tyson to produce a 4-minute film that communicates something that I have been feeling for awhile. Tyson calls this “maybe the most important words he has ever spoken”. The film covers the recent rise of science denial in this country.

“That’s not the country I remember growing up in. Not that we didn’t have challenges… But I don’t remember anytime where people were standing in denial of what science was.”

Indeed, Neil. I too watched Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. I was one of the first to actually use the Internet, then the World Wide Web. I used cell phones when they were so novel that people would stare at me using one discreetly in Wal-Mart.

“This is science, it’s not something to toy with! It’s not something to say “I choose not to believe E=mc², you don’t have that option!” …it is true whether or not you believe in it, and the sooner you understand that, the faster we can get on with… how to solve the problems that face us.”

Once had a friend – he is still a great, smart friend – that when I brought up a conversation from some 10 years or so earlier, I asked him if he still believed that global warming was a hoax. His reply was, “No, but it shouldn’t be a religion either.” I’ve thought about that remark a lot, and it reminds me of this Carl Sagan idea:

Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.

My friend is right in a way. I believe that religion builds policies, procedures, and systems around spirituality, but not in a scientific method sort of way.

Religion doesn’t establish or even create morals, it establishes trusts. Throughout history and various cultures, these trusts between others in the tribe have moved civilizations forward, and sometimes backward. Two steps forward, one back.

It’s time to accept science spiritually. We have bigger things to do.

Uber’s Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost

 

Uber appears to be stepping into a steaming pile. First came revelations from Sarah Fowler that forced out apparent uber-harrasser Amit Singhal. Next it was revealed that they refused to pay a $150 permit to test self-driving cars in California (really, who DOESN’T want to cover their ass over something that could go horribly, horribly wrong?), and the self-driving technology itself is the subject of a lawsuit filed against them by Alphabet-owned Waymo.

I think Lyft heard the rumors, and moved on it with their commercial that was released this past December.

Alison Griswald at Quartz also sums it up nicely: “Corporate values were always an afterthought for Uber.”

 

S1:E7, John Jeter, Fort Smith Symphony

johnjeterJohn is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Hartt School of Music with a degree in Music Theory and Piano, and graduated with distinction from Butler University’s Jordan College of Fine Arts with a master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting.
John has been serving as the Music Director for the Fort Smith Symphony for 20 years, and along with the musicians, staff, board of directors and community, he has led a transformation of a small community symphony to a large fully professional regional orchestra.
John and the orchestra has received the League of American Orchestras’ Helen M. Thompson Award; the Mayor’s Achievement Award, and the Mayor’s Civic Center Award for the Performing Arts. John is the recipient of the 2012 Governor’s Arts Award “Individual Artist Award.”
Simply a great show. We talk music of course, but also the planning logistics of creating the shows, the travel of musicians, importance of attention to detail, how John got his start, and art. Some World War I & II stuff is thrown in as well.
Cleveland Orchestra: Website, Wikipedia
Berlin Philharmonic: Website, Wikipedia
League of American Orchestras: Website, Wikipedia

Music and Composers (this is just a few we discussed):

Stairway to Heaven, by Led Zeppelin
Moonlight Sonata, Ludwig von Beethoven: Wikipedia
Best of Verdi (150 minutes!), Giuseppe Verdi: Wikipedia
Carlo di Borgogna, Giovanni Pacini: Wikipedia
Flute Concerto, Christopher Rouse, Wikipedia
Sinfonietta, Jose Pablo Monkayo, Wikipedia
West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein, Wikipedia
Dog Day Blues, Byron Stripling, Wikipedia

Video:

Extreme Orchestra Opening Night – documentary (this is about John and the Fort Smith Symphony)

Museum:

Books:

Mano Zeigler, Rocket Fighter, about the ME 163 Komet

Other:

S1:E4, Clint Sharp

Welcome to Season 1, Episode 4 of TBC: The Podcast.

First off, I want to thank everyone for all of the feedback. Don’t forget to rate the show on iTunes, and let us know WHO or WHAT you want to hear.

In this episode, we talk with Clint Sharp in his cool home in beautiful Montclair, Oakland, California. I have known Clint for about 20 years, both as a colleague and friend.

Clint is Director of Product Management, Big Data & Operational Intelligence at Splunk, a San Francisco-based big data analysis company.

Clint is an intensely curious autodidact, accomplished in whatever suits his interests. Genuinely one of the most intelligent people I know.
We spend talking about big data, product management, Splunk of course, and a LOT of movies.

Be sure and rate us on iTunes!

Clint Sharp’s stuff is here

A shot of Oakland

Eucalyptus trees and fire hazard
SNL The Californians
Santa Barbara

Comcast and Splunk: “Capturing Actionable Insights to Improve User Experience” 

House of Lies (TV Show on Showtime starring Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell); House of Lies (book by Martin Kihn)

Onion Talks

Peter Principle

Movies:
The Jerk
Southpark the Movie
The Big Lebowski
The Royal Tennebaums
Grand Budapest Hotel
Moonrise Kingdom
A Mighty Wind
Waiting for Guffman
For Your Consideration
The Bourne movies
Team America
Reservoir Dogs
Pulp Fiction
Django Unchained
Sleepers
The Usual Suspects
Se7en
Silence of the Lambs
Hannibal

Books
The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey (books) and TV show
Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood
Station 11, by Emily St. John Mandel
The Martian
The Art of the Deal

Mar-a-Lago (I called it Mar-a-Gold in the podcast – sorry Donald)

Travel
Ritz-Carlton
Four Seasons
Casa Marina and Waldorf Astoria Resorts
Gulf Coast of Florida
Cayman Islands
St. Lucia
Antigua
Davos, Croatia

pictures of bay from Montclair

Thanks to Kirkham Systems for sponsoring this podcast.

S1:E3 – Jessica Hayes, Fort Smith Montessori

"By the age of three the child has already laid down the foundations of his personality as a human being" - Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori Quote

Jessica Hayes is the Head of School at Fort Smith’s Montessori school. Before that, she was Vice President of Museum Operations for the U.S. Marshal’s Museum.

Jessica has a Bachelor’s degree from the College of the Ozarks, and a Master’s from UALR.

We visited about Montessori, the Japanese internment camps and segregation in Arkansas, and talk about the usual stuff: food, movies, books, and music.

Montessori Links:

Fort Smith Montessori School
American Montessori Society
Wikipedia entry on Montessori education
Wikipedia entry on Maria Montessori
Understanding Montessori, A Guide for Parents Book – Amazon Link

Japanese Internment in Arkansas

Huffington Post Article by George Takei (yes, that George Takei – who was interned at Arkansas’ Rohwer Japanese “Internment” camp.
Wikipedia entry on Japanese Internment during WWII
Wikipedia entry on Rohwer
Wikipedia entry on Jerome

Books

The Thornbirds
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
John Adams Family (not Morticia and Gomez)
Jonathon Kellerman

Movies

Sleepless in Seattle
You’ve Got Mail
When Harry Met Sally
Son in Law
Elf
Father of the Bride

TV

Season of Friends
Veep

Music

James Taylor
Carly Simon
Carole King
Dolly Parton

Food

Taqueria Karina, 5309 W 65th St, Little Rock
Miguel’s Taqueria, 1719 Rogers Ave, Fort Smith
El Lorito on Lexington and South B St, Fort Smith
Juan’s, 3121 Towson Avenue, Fort Smith
Tassanee’s, 1611 Dodson Fort Smith
Pho Grand, 4013 Grand Avenue (across from George’s, another good place!) in Fort Smith
Chopsticks Grill and Tea, 4611 Towson, Fort Smith
Katz’s Deli, 205 E Houston St, New York, NY
Sarge’s Deli, 548 3rd Ave, New York, NY

Other Topics/Links:

Jerry Weintraub – When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man   Well, unfortunately, he did stop talking on July 6, 2015. (Can’t believe I could not remember his name during the podcast)

Bhutan, where happiness is designated by law. – CBS Sunday Morning video, where you must have Flash installed <sigh>. Or, you can read Bhutan’s Secret of Happiness text article.

John Gruber’s post on Apple Watch UI

Amazon Echo
Amazon Kindle

Tips – The End of Uber As We Know It?

cabsI hate cabs. The end of the ride was always uncomfortable. Digging a credit card or cash out of my pocket, then mentally figuring out a tip is unnecessary and frequently uncomfortable. And then, the frequently higher fares.

Uber came along and streamlined this process and made it almost a joy. Once I summon an Uber, that’s it. I know where the car is and how long before it arrives. I know when it arrives. I get in the car, and the driver already knows the destination. At the end of the ride, there is no worrying about finalizing the transaction with grubby cash or clumsy credit card transactions. You simply get out of the car. It’s like getting a ride from a buddy.

Clean, friendly, and frictionless. No need to be crass with money.

Or, at least that’s what Uber led me to believe.

But then I discovered this. Drivers get to rate the passengers. I always thought that if when I unexpectantly throw up in an Uber, my other more frequent uses where I am a normal, friendly citizen would at least keep me in that 4+ star rating. What Uber doesn’t tell you – and won’t – is that the drivers can solicit tips, and some are penalizing you for not tipping.

Now, a new ruling means that drivers can place signs in their cars informing passengers that tips are not included. It might as well say “if you don’t tip me, expect a poor rating, and no Uber driver will ever pick you up again except for the serial killer Uber drivers.”

This almost kills the deal for me. Might as well use Lyft. At least Lyft’s app has a way to add a tip, and that’s a whole lot easier than with the cab’s credit card machine or grubby cash.

Not saying I will not use Uber anymore, but it just lost one of it’s very appealing features. I don’t want to get on a soapbox about the entire cockamamie tipping system, but the idea of the driver being passenger rated that works so well in other businesses like ebay, AND being paid enough to not require tips is a much better system.

Uber appears to being trying to blaze a trail against the tipping system, albeit self-servingly. But right now, the tipping is so ingrained in our society – in spite of it being a remarkable tax avoidance and wage paying-shifting scheme – it is almost considered a right.

And this presumed right will hurt Uber.