Archive for June, 2006

Global Voting System

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

I’ve got an idea… how about we build a system that gives us a way to have our voices be heard. A way for me and you to have a say in what goes on in our neighbourhoods, our cities, our countries, and our world.

A Global Voting System (GVS) would do just that… bring us real democracy – the kind of democracy where everyone gets an equal say in everything that goes on. Using existing infrastructure like the Internet, and with the support of enough people, we could have a voting system that reached everywhere on earth. Just imagine what we could do when we empower humanity.

Why? The potential of the GVS is enormous. It could start by uniting neighbourhoods, as people come together discussing issues and trying to get improvements made. It could go on to unite the people of the world, as we all come to see that humans everywhere are essentially the same… how underneath differences like language, religion and culture, we all share the same genes, the same core beliefs, the same desires and the same dreams for ourselves and our loved ones. A Global Voting System could come to unite the voice of the human race.

How would it work? Voting would take place from a local voting booth, and eventually from home or from a cell phone type device. After passing security checks that will ensure both anonymity and the uniqueness of the person voting, they would then be able to access new ballots to vote on, and could then proceed to vote for, vote against, or abstain. One could also review and modify previously voted upon ballots.

To create a ballots (i.e. an issue to be voted upon), one could input a description of the issue, select the area impacted by the the issue, then submit it to the GVS. A 1 ballot per person per month rule would help to limit spam.

Also, to keep the effects of spam to a minimum, the GVS could use an accolade-type vote ranking system, where newly created ballots are only sent to a small percentage of the total voters, then, as the ballot receives more and more positive votes, it get sent to more and more people (like Shoutwire, Digg and others). That way, for, say, a global issue to reach everyone in the world, it will have already received the support of a large number of people.

The GVS system itself would need to be open-source to make it transparent, dynamic and flexible to ensure it can adapt to new technology and new ideas, and distributed to nodes all over the world to ensure shared ownership by humans everywhere.

Will it be perfect? No… but the systems we have in our world right now aren’t perfect either. Dictatorships, tyrants, self-serving politicians, corrupt governments, extreme poverty, and war. We can do better than this. We deserve better than this. A GVS is something that will empower everyone… and give us a way to take control of our world’s future and the future of the human race.

We have the means to make it happen, and we have every reason to make it happen. We should build a Global Voting System. Start talking. Lets make it happen.

Check out the full article about the GVS here.

Also, there is a Wiki version of the GVS here, meaning anyone can help contribute to the GVS concept.

Extreme Poverty

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

In Jeffrey Sachs‘ new book The End of Poverty, one of the main points that Sachs makes is that living in extreme poverty is like being caught in a trap. How, for the majority of the over 1 Billion humans living in extreme poverty, the existence they have is the only existence they will ever know (metaphysical possibilities aside). Unable to reach the bottom rung of the economic ladder, they have no way to climb out… no way to improve their own condition. They are stuck.

It is up to those in a position to help, i.e. everyone who is already on the economic ladder, i.e. all of us, to give those who are stuck a helping hand… to aid those who cannot yet reach the bottom rung.

Sachs also makes the point that the world is not zero-sum, meaning that one’s person gain need not be another’s loss. Indeed, humans everywhere would benefit from eliminating extreme poverty.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to read this article, meaning you have access to electricity, a computer, and probably the basic necessities of life, then you are also in a position to help. Whether you do or not is up to you.

Why should you?

If you help other people, and try to make the world a better place, then you will be working towards being able to live in a better world.

Also, as an empathetic human, meaning you empathize with the pain of others and therefore feel the pain of others, the less pain that others have, the less pain there is for you to feel.

So, if for no one else, do it for yourself.

Ain’t ’bout the bling no mo’

Saturday, June 10th, 2006

Kurzweil’s new book The Singularity is Near describes in detail the possibilities that the future has in store for us, including the many uses of nanotechnology.

Nano-based machinery will be able to replicate any physical object, be it clothing, housing, computer or machine using nothing but raw materials and solar energy. Nano-sized robots will be able to attach themselves to the synapses of our brains to interrupt the nerve impulses from our body’s sensory organs and replace them with simulated signals, thereby enabling Matrix-style virtual reality… making simulated reality as real as actual reality.

Kurzweil optimistically predicts that this technology will be available by 2020. If, and when, this technology becomes readily available, it will make obsolete the concept of material possessions. It will take much less to go a lot further, giving everyone the chance to have more than plenty.

When material worth becomes meaningless, we will see how ignorant our generation is being… endlessly pursuing the quest to satiate our insatiable desires through fleeting acquisitions and empty purchases. Buying things like new toys, the latest gadgets, designer clothing, fancy meals, bling, mansions, expensive vehicles, and countless others – in a vain attempt to find happiness and the feeling of worth via material possessions.

All the while thousands of children die from starvation and easily preventable/treatable diseases every single day!!!.

How foolish and selfish we can be.

Suggestion: Think Positive

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

The power of suggestion is a well-known phenomenon. It works by influencing our subconscious, which in turn influences our conscious, thereby affecting our decision making. Some psychologists go so far as to believe that all of our decisions are made via the subconscious, and the conscious can only serve to rationalize the decision after it is made.

Regardless of how it works, our minds are open to suggestions from anything in the environment around us. This is how advertisements work, by targeting the subconscious mind… giving us suggestions on how to act and what we should buy (be it a new car or a tasty meal).

Suggestions can also come from within ourselves. We can give ourselves suggestions, and thereby influence our own decision making. If we tell ourselves the same messages over and over, we will begin to act accordingly. We can use the power of suggestion to take control of the way we think.

The power of positive thinking works via the power of suggestion. If we repeatedly tell ourselves that we will be successful, we will be. It is that simple. A positive state of mind will allow us to do whatever we put our mind to. A confident, optimistic attitude can make most everything a breeze.

If we have not yet learned how to think positively, then the transition from a doubtful, negative state to a positive, optimistic state can take time… many months or even years. But if we keep at it and stick to it we can be assured of finding success.

If you want to make all of your dreams come true… start programming your mind now. Choose to be positive and think positive from now on. Choose right now. Do it.

Start by finding (or making) a short list of positive phrases. Feel free to borrow a few that I use:

Today will be a good day.
I will succeed in everything I do.
I feel strong. I feel healthy. I feel happy.

Print off the list and keep it by your bed. Every night, before you go to sleep, read the list to yourself to prepare for the next day. Everyday, when you wake up in the morning, read the list again. Don’t just skim. Take the time to internalize each of your phrases, and then try to recall your positive phrases throughout the day, especially when you come upon a stressful situation.

Once positive thinking becomes part of your daily routine, feeling positive and optimistic will also become part of your routine. Then, you will find that feeling positive and optimistic are the keys to success, to finding happiness and making your dreams come true.

Walking around downtown one day

Sunday, June 4th, 2006

A few years ago I saw a woman wailing at the top of her lungs. She was in a bus stop shelter, accompanied by a man, sitting on the bench. They both looked houseless and disheveled. I walked right on by, hearing this woman weep all the way down the street.

Thinking back to this event, I wonder why I did not do something to help her. A little money. A warm remark. Some simple consolation. I’d like to think that a better man than I… a man with more empathy and sympathy, like Gandhi or the Buddha, would not have left things the way I did. If it were me in her situation, I know that I would have like to know that someone out there cared… that the world wasn’t a barren wasteland of selfishness.

I empathized with this woman. I too know what it is like to feel pain. To feel alone. To feel helpless and lost. I am sure we have all suffered, just as this woman was suffering.

Looking back, I know why I did nothing… fear. I was afraid, then, probably as I would be now. I did not know how my actions would be taken. I did not know if it would be appropriate or not. I did not know how I should act, despite knowing how I felt.

But, the world can be what we make it. I can make the most out of the world around me. I can make a difference. Anyone can.

Then again, perhaps I did nothing because of the look on the man’s face. An expression of slight embarrassment that communicated…”Yes, she is wailing again.” I don’t know what her issue was… whether it was some sort of chemical imbalance, or perhaps she was distraught at her meager existence while being surrounded by such affluence. I guess I will never know.