No More Reasons

I was working on big video series about why I’m not voting for Barack Obama. Then, I got a rather big and involved video job and there’s an election crunch for Breitbart. For a few days, I thought I could do everything. I can’t, sorry.

Things That Are Better Than Ever: Learning

It’s very easy to look around at the world and find things to complain about; high gas prices, unemployment, and other signs of a bad economy. Those things are facts but they aren’t the whole picture, There are plenty of things that are better today than ever before.

They say that a good investor makes money whether the market is up or down, whether prices are rising or falling. This is true in our day-to-day life as well. Happiness and success can happen in the midst of troubled times by taking advantage of opportunities and avoiding the problem areas.

I was thinking about all the things that are better right now – October, 2012 – than ever before and lot of them have to do with technology. Gas costs about $4 a gallon but I saw a 1.5 TB hard drive on sale for $60 today. Computer, tablets and phones are better, faster and cheaper than ever before and that has all sorts of ramifications for day-to-day life and as I was thinking about this, one of the biggest impacts  hit me: if you’re reading this, you can learn anything you want to on your own schedule, virtually free.

That’s so staggering that I’ll say it again: for the first time in human history, you can learn pretty much anything you want to for pretty much free.

Everything from how to cook fried chicken to learning to speak Mandarin Chinese to differential calculus to learning to play Death Cab For Cutie songs on piano to Christian apologetics to refinishing a kitchen table to anything you can think of. It’s all out there, right now, just a click or two away from you. All you need to do is put in the time. It’s true for you, your friends, your kids – everyone. There are classes, lessons, web pages, forums, cheaper than ever or totally free. Everything, everywhere.

This is a new phenomanon. It wasn’t true 10 years ago before Wikipedia and YouTube and Twitter and ubiquitous high speed internet and a slew of other resources we take for granted now, was it? Maybe it was kind of true in 2002 if you worked hard but it certainly wasn’t true at all 20 years ago.

It’s new and we haven’t figured it out yet, really. We don’t act like it’s true. The whole wide world of knowledge is wide open to us but are we actually taking advantage of it to the extent we should be? Are we making sure our kids are aware of the power available to them and acting accordingly? Are political leaders acting recognizing the implications of this and making big changes based on it?

I’m not immune from this.  In the time I’ve wasted just arguing with idiots on Twitter, I certainly could have learned to program Javacript or build a Mongolian yurt or any of zillion other things. And guess what? I’m sure I’ll keep on arguing with idiots on Twitter.

But the brain smashing reality of what’s available NOW — not in some distant future but right flippin’ NOW – hit me and I wanted to shout it from my own digital rooftop. The biggest revolution in human learning snuck up on us while we were watching American Idol and playing Angry Birds and gossiping about Lance Armstrong and either listening to or ignoring Lady Gaga.

It’s happened. It’s done. The whole wide world of knowledge and skills is open to you. Nothing is stopping you or holding you back. You can decide what you want to learn and who you want to be in a year.

Are you ready? Are any of us ready?

Obama Didn’t Tell Debate Audience The Truth About Apple & Manufacturing

When Candy Crowley asked the candidates about Apple manufacturing and said it was due to cheap labor, President Obama said his usual spiel about ‘investment’ but let the premise stand. However, it’s NOT about lower wages alone and Obama knows it. We know he knows it.

The Los Angeles Times points out the truth 

Turns out the late Steve Jobs weighed in on the matter during a meeting with Obama in early fall 2010.

“The meeting actually lasted 45 minutes, and Jobs did not hold back,” according to Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple co-founder.

“‘You’re headed for a one-term presidency,’ Jobs told Obama at the outset. To prevent that, he said, the administration needed to be a lot more business friendly. He described how easy it was to build a factory in China, and said that it was almost impossible to do so these days in America, largely because of regulations and unnecessary costs.”

Later, during a dinner with Obama and a group of carefully selected tech CEOs, Jobs urged the president to find a way to train more American engineers, Isaacson wrote.

“Apple had 700,000 factory workers employed in China, [Jobs] said, and that was because it needed 30,000 engineers on-site to support those workers. ‘You can’t find that many in America to hire,’ he said. These factory engineers did not have to be PhDs or geniuses; they simply needed to have basic engineering skills for manufacturing. Tech schools, community colleges or trade schools could train them. ‘If you could educate these engineers,’ he said, ‘we could move more manufacturing plants here.’ The argument made a strong impression on the president. Two or three times over the next month he told his aides, ‘We’ve got to find ways to train those 30,000 manufacturing engineers that Jobs told us about.'”

The Obama administration has been murder on tech schools and trade schools, for ideological & political reasons. There’s a distrust of private education and an emphasis on public education, which benefits the teacher’s unions. Furthermore, I’d argue that the public school system has gotten so screwed up that it creates a bottleneck early on.

The reality is that China has a LOT of thing working against it, especially the stifling lack of freedom (which kills creativity and decision making) and the way they steal designs freely. Romney’s get tough policies would be a good start. Alternative school experiences in the U.S. — like Kahn Academy — would sure help, too.