Websites

I’ve been getting asked for website help lately. I hate to say the same thing over and over again, so here we are.

If you don’t have a website

Do you need a website? Do you already have social media, which you never use? Do you post content to it? How regularly? If it’s less than once a month, you should focus on creating regular content instead of making a website. Kids will tell you, you need a website (pay me to make a website). But do you really need a website? If you can’t make regular content on social media, why would that change with a website?

So, you are ready for a website?

If you already have a website, you can skip this part.

Sit down with a piece of paper and draw an outline of your website. What’s your About page going to say? What’s your Homepage gonna have? Do you want a splash page or do you have enough content for a more robust website? Is a robust website even necessary? What’s your goal for the site? Do you appeal to donors, sponsors, customers, investors, partners? Are you b2b? B2c? B2b2b? B2c2c? Etc.

Ask yourself, am I going to pay someone to do this forever, or do I need to be able to do it by myself for the next 6-12 months? If you can pay someone, just pay someone by the project and for maintenance. Or you can pay someone to start it and teach you how to do it. Or you can just pay someone to do the SEO, although it’s difficult to find a really good person. There are a lot of fakers out there. But really, SEO and marketing is just good ole hard work.

If you can’t pay for anything except hosting and domain fees, ask yourself how much time you have to devote to it. Do you need a set it and forget it except for posting content? WordPress with an easy to access support person through your host, which may be a tiny bit more costly, but worth everything for its convenience. See if you can afford to buy a theme that you will be happy with for a while. Or will you be posting merchandise? Probably something shopify related. Otherwise, use one of the easy to build ones like Wix/Squarespace/Weebly/Webflow, which all have their own pros and cons.

Will you have other things that need regular updating? Is it a platform or does it require more involved coding? Is it an app? What kind of app? Does it incorporate AI? Could your coding result in revenue that could go toward the nonprofit? Regardless, if you website requires more involved coding,  you’re probably just going to have to learn if you can’t pay someone. Or get a cofounder who knows how to code. But how does that work for nonprofits?

It would be nice if nonprofits started thinking of more involved business models. Such as those that involve a product or service (beyond consulting). Anyway.

For free web development, get them super jazzed about your mission! If your nonprofit/company has legs, there’s someone out there willing to work for free. But working with free web developers? That’s a whole other blog post. Send me a message if that’s what you’re looking for information on.

You already have a website

What platform did you use? How’s it going? What features are you missing? What features do you have but don’t need? Are you unhappy with the platform or content?  If you are lower than a 7/10, you probably have to make some changes to get happy with it and for it to be useful. Perhaps go back to the first section of this post and ask yourself these things. If you’d like a website audit, I am happy to invest 20-30 minutes for $25. I can provide feedback and point out the highest ROI easy wins.

If you’re happy with the website and it’s helping you be successful, worry about other things. If it’s not helping you be successful, and you don’t know why, get a website audit. But before you reach out, figure out what your website goals are.

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For Better or Worse, We’re All Connected

I believe that everything and everyone is connected. I’m open to it being for a higher, cohesive existence and purpose. But for those who are truly happy and living their truth, it seems like they’re tapping into their connectivity for their own ends.

Who’s to say that I’m able to read energies, movements, circumstance, etc. in the universe, and that somehow it’s for everyone’s benefit? Why couldn’t I just use that connectivity (instinct, prescience, whatever) for my own end? What if my authentic self, the kind that always knows, saw the path that best resulted in what I want? If my truly innate values are financial security, comfort, family, then no matter how bad my cheap, slave labor, toxic materials business is for people and planet, my innate self will directly or indirectly lead me there, so long as I listen. I will achieve my vision for success so long as I follow my path, which will naturally navigate around my values, whatever they are.

I wonder if we are all selfish. That each of us has an individual purpose or path based entirely on our own spirit. This would help me rationalize why people are successful who so much harm in the world. Harm to what and who they are connected to, however distantly. Maybe kharma is a fallacy. I wonder if my path is so “overburdened” by values that I have no path. Is there even a me to choose? I want to be happy, the system be damned.

I don’t really mean that last part.

Check out what I wrote to a friend the other day.

I think your next step should be to Lean Canvas your life. Or at least write a personal mission statement – but you’ll have to do some kind of personal development work or priming to get rid of all of this white male guilt you have.

I still don’t think that I have to compromise my values, but I sure as shit need to care less. And last I checked, caring was not one of my values, and yet the one I devote the most time to. I have done so much personal and professional development. But I don’t know who I’d be or what I’d do if I stripped away all of this guilt I have, most of it around not doing enough for others or the world.

I know that life is a journey as we are ever evolving beings, especially when you introduce intention, self-discovery, and growth. Will I ever stop saying to myself, “I know myself better than ever before, but I still don’t know myself.”

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The Kitten Who Died

My phone’s screen had been broken since December. Not shattered, but there were black lines flashing horizontally across all the time. Sometimes it would go black. I’d excitedly show someone a picture on my phone. But they’d furrow their brow, hand it back to me, and say with extreme judgment, “Something wrong with your phone?” I also couldn’t hang up on phone calls.

ron swanson smashing a cell phone

A demonstration of intolerance.

While on the New Jersey Turnpike, the screen started going black and pixelated colors every time I hit a bump. There are lots of bumps. I wondered if I’d make it or have to drive around to stores and gas stations until I could find a map. Or have to ask for directions, and remember what it was like to look for street signs. And Jersey drivers are not happy when you slow down while looking for parking, much less for a street sign. I drove the rest of the way delicately holding the phone and thankfully made it. But that night I had to call it quits, redo my budget, and plan my day around a morning Costco visit.

how costco pulled frozen berries before they were even recalled

One of my cults. And they pay fair wages with benefits too. What are yours?

I splurged on a Samsung Galaxy S8. And while trying to log into Lastpass for one last time, the screen started turning black and while tapping it, I accidentally called someone I didn’t want to call, like really didn’t want to call, who was still in my favorites. And I couldn’t hang up. So awkward.

I gave it back to Costco (14-day no stocking fee return policy) when

  • google maps kept crashing
  • there were two homescreens and you couldn’t get rid of one
  • I kept accidentally hitting the Bixby button, especially when trying to unlock the phone with my fingerprint
  • I kept accidentally touching the edges of the screen
  • iPhones couldn’t text me, even when I deactivated iMessage both on the old phone and through the website
  • a million other things.

I was pretty disappointed. The only good thing about it was that you could search text messages (great for looking up wifi passwords!)

When I went to get a different phone, the salesman told me that he had just gotten three kittens. Well, they actually got him. He heard the runt of the pack cry and found the abandoned litter behind his house. He hypothesized that it had probably been crying for hours, if not all day, because the other kittens weren’t fussy or making any noise. I hypothesized that maybe the runt expended all of its energy crying, making it become the runt. But he said no, you could tell that it was much smaller than the rest.

kittens photoshopped with different colors

And then there were three.

This kitten, whether intentional or not, sacrificed itself for the rest of the litter. I’m sorry for telling you about a kitten who died, but that kitten was a hero. 3/4 was better than 0/4.

cartoon about glass half full or empty

Oh, hey. I was just an optimist. ::slow clap::

I often feel like a runt. I act like I’m the world police, constantly crying out loud for help, justice, and integrity. I’ve burdened myself with the suffering and troubles of others and the world, and while they did and will happen, most of them haven’t happened to me. It would probably help to limit my life scope, but that ain’t easy for a highly sensitive person.

Watching Lust for Life, a film about van Gogh starring Kirk Douglas, had me question what it means to suffer. Throughout the movie, relatives, friends, and random acquaintances support van Gogh’s insatiable thirst for painting and booze. They’re usually even-tempered people, considered more normal, and lack the emotional range of van Gogh. They admire, and in some ways, are jealous of van Gogh’s passion. They fund him because they know that van Gogh’s passion enables him to be creative in ways that they cannot. I’d argue how anyone could be as passionate as van Gogh, but maybe another time.

Van Gogh suffers throughout the movie. He suffers over unrequited love and frustration over many things. His drinks heavily and paints frantically. At one point, another character tells him to man the fuck up, but soon realizes that van Gogh can’t. Lead poisoning aside, it’s evident that from an early age, van Gogh’s brain was not the same as others’. It was probably a lot like a highly sensitive person’s brain, or less flatteringly, an MRI might show the brain of a manic depressive. His suffering was probably on the high end, but was more apparent because he did not, and arguably could not, contain it. I find the title of the film, Lust for Life, ironic because in the end he kills himself. Although historically, we don’t know who shot him. You could say that he had a love-hate relationship with life, but we’ll never know.

For reasons I have and have not explained before, and may explore more thoroughly a few hundred words from now, I have known nothing near the success of van Gogh. It hurts to passionately feel and to not express it, perhaps because I was told that any pursuit of art meant a poor, unhappy, and destitute life. And perhaps because I believed them and suppressed any artistic expression. Even after this discovery, I still can’t bring myself to paint; even the thought is absolutely terrifying.

But while reading Radical Acceptance, I can see how my thoughts and feelings aren’t me. In fact, Buddhism is a lot about accepting my thoughts and feelings as they come and go by saying yes to them. Who would van Gogh be were he a Buddhist? Or exposed to Buddhism? I don’t know if he was ever exposed to Buddhism, and I sure as hell wasn’t until I read Radical Acceptance. I have no doubt that a commitment to Buddhist practices would result in neurological improvements, but not necessarily an end to suffering. Turns out, suffering is real, and often, it’s relative. Can I say yes to suffering?

man reaching enlighted man on a mountain who says that suffering exists to make beer taste better

Apparently, you can’t appreciate the good without the bad.

Through high school to ARCBio, I savored and seized every opportunity to improve everything from the energy to the quality of work. Even those early days of wanting to contribute ended up being for nothing. For me at least. And once it segwayed into altruism, I didn’t get very far. And my circumstances only degraded once I recognized the altruism, and plummeted when I started to desire reciprocity with increasing financial insecurity.

With metrics that have evolved with tested assumptions about myself, I’ve discovered that if I do my one big thing, I have a good day. I’ve discovered that if I socialize and collaborate all day, I have a great day. And over the past six months, I’ve discovered that I am almost always in the depths of despair when I experience or am headed toward financial hardship.

I don’t know how or why, but I deluded myself into thinking that my skills were things people would pay for. Now, I consider myself pretty damn good at marketing, but I suck when it comes to marketing myself. And I can definitively say that I failed at marketing any of this. Sure, I made $500 here and there throughout the years, but it wasn’t sustainable income.

Just the other day, on a call meant for catching up, I gave away a half hour of free business consulting. When I had $6 in the bank. And when it was over, I hated myself. I hated that I knew so much more than her, and that she was doing well, and I wasn’t. I hated the internal battle between ugly, resentful person and contributor. I hated that the little voice in the back of my head said, “shut up and steer the conversation back to catching up,” and I didn’t listen. And I hate that during the call, she said that she probably needed to hire me for further consulting, but by the end, said it again the same way a Seattlite says they’ll see you again, but then they give you the Seattle Freeze. She hadn’t been able to find any of this information, and my best estimate is that she wouldn’t have ever gotten this information given her network and geography. Because I was an idiot, she got it in half an hour. I gave her all of the relevant industry information and insights, an action plan, and questions for a potential client. Now that I think about it, this is probably why she’s so successful. She didn’t have to spend a dime.

living in seattle meme

Almost spot on.

When you run a company or head a project, you’re supposed to surround yourself with people smarter than you. I’m that stupid smart person who’s helping you instead of helping myself. Why do I think these stupid thoughts or have to write this stupid post to get it out of my head?

I’m just desperately trying to improve my circumstance.

I think I finally figured out why no one’s paid me for this kind of help on a consulting basis – cause I keep giving it away for free! During these conversations, I feel the urgency in my bones that they need to be helped NOW. It can’t wait weeks until we’ve created an SOP and signed a partnership agreement. There’s no time to waste!

But maybe it isn’t wasted time. Maybe it’s investing in my needs.

Oh shit.

I went to Hopkin’s Social Impact Bootcamp today. Make sure you sign up for next year.

It was amazing, but I kept feeling anxiety as my stack of business cards dwindled down to nothing. I did my best to stay present (meditation shout-out), but I kept drifting off to figuring out what I would charge nonprofits, worrying about how the speakers kept mentioning pro-bono work, jotting down a million new business ideas, questioning whether I deserved my seat, avoiding a cold from the guy sitting in front of me, writing and rewriting my “offer” post-its, wondering if anyone would even follow up with me, and other distractions.

I’ll post my notes soon, but here’s the good stuff:

  • It was an even mix of aspiring social entrepreneurs, up-and-running social projects, programs, and nonprofits, resource organizations, and a sprinkle of funders.
  • The synergy was outstanding. Not surprisingly, there were many partnership and collaboration opportunities in the room, in addition to several who were doing the same thing who could coalesce.
  • The speakers and curriculum was just what I was looking for. I documented the local language of nonprofits, fundraising, community engagement and activism. They shared a few case studies of the work being done. Most of the Baltimore-based nonprofit resource organizations presented. A well-assembled panel directly answered thoughtful questions from the audience and moderator. Mini breakout sessions resulted in useful and inspiring discussion and sharing.
  • I learned about the local social entrepreneurship scene, the current state of the community, community needs, and met people, which were my main goals.
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Initial Thoughts on Blockchain

I went to a blockchain talk tonight.

Initial Thoughts

The New Finance Industry?

As someone said, “It is the transition from nations being the ones that have issued currencies to…corporate entities. It’s like the beginning of digital citizenship.”

I don’t know how I feel about privatization of currency globally. But I do know that if we use the federal reserve as an example, which, if you don’t already know, is a ticking shitshow, it’s a terrible idea. Actually, it would be worse than when the federal reserve hits the fan.

Anyway, blockchain’s a great way for folks to get rich now.

It’s being regulated heavily by banks, which still refuse to accept it without shittons of lawyers and expenses. And even then, it’s still difficult to prove that these different blockchains are not securities. Which, um, they pretty much are.

I think that in the beginning, it seemed like digital currency was an f-you to governments, bureaucracy, all of it.

But now, corporations are all over it. Which makes sense. If I were them, I probably would be too. Just like shadow banking, it’s too profitable to pass up.

Centralization of Data?

Others think blockchain will centralize data. But we haven’t even centralized our current healthcare, government, whatever data yet with non-blockchain. Tons of startups are working on this, and investors are throwing money at them. What makes people think that blockchain’s going to be different?

With my limited understanding, it seems like it’ll result in even more segregated data than it is now. Instead of data being on different software platforms, it’ll be hosted on different blockchains. And probably on different software on different blockchains. Isn’t that worse than it is now, with just different software on the internet? Companies offering to do this are getting even more money thrown at them! Especially by investors who just hear the buzzword, “blockchain.”

Plus, it makes the assumption that all industry data will be moved to blockchain, whatever form it’s in. That it won’t stay the way it is now, on the internet and intranets. Isn’t it more risky to have data on internet/intranet AND ethereum AND steem AND EOS AND…?

Increased Security?

We’re all concerned about keeping health records private. Our current records are under HIPAA, which makes them pretty damn difficult to decrypt. Unless your password sucks, which last I read, is responsible for 81% of hacks.

So why even bother with a distributed ledger? It seems like security overkill and a giant pain in the ass. Plus, the problems mentioned above: More places, more risk?

What about Quantum Computing?

Instead of binary code that’s in 0’s and 1’s (n^2), quantum computer uses atoms. Which can be n^gazillion. Its computing power will be exponential. I haven’t done a deep dive into what exists now, but it’s probably already happening.

Quantum computers will be able to decrypt anything we have now in a nanosecond. It’s predicted to be a normal thing by 2021.

How will this affect blockchain?

A New Paradigm

I do appreciate the ideas coming out around governance, new economies, and stuff like that. At the very least, we are able to think more freely pretending that there’s a whole new paradigm. I’m somewhat of a democratic socialist (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it), so I’ve loved how blockchain also has folks thinking about ownership in totally new ways.

Keep in mind that I have a very elementary understanding of blockchain. At the very least, it’s fun and exciting to a lot of people.

Notes on Blockchain (but mostly a new one, EOS)

When it comes to blockchain, developers are considered the bottom of the totem pole. Validators add new blocks to the blockchain. When validators are adding blocks to the blockchain, some make it more difficult to code in than others. Some build their own tools to help developers build stuff on them. For example, a tool might be an API.

EOS – similar to Ethereum with built-in native platform resources including bandwidth, computing power (RAM), storage, and governance (decentralized voting). Each of these are tokens, which are issued like stock, and are used for website hosting.

Tokens are usually securities, but unless the SEC has said so, they get away with it.

The Howey Test is a test the SEC uses to verify if something is actually a security. You don’t want to be a security. Technically, Ethereum would be considered a security and wouldn’t pass the Howey Test if the SEC wanted to test them.

EOS is actually a utility, not a security. But mostly only because no one’s using it. Once it starts having real value, it’ll eventually be a security/currency. But for now, it’s a utility cause people are just building stuff on or for it.

It’s an honor to supply the tokens. Who gets to supply them will be voted on. The suppliers are called Block Producers (BP for notes, but not used in vernacular). They can be voted out at any time. They will be running data centers, which they have to in order to be apply to supply the tokens. They are expected to grow in capability with the community. EOS predicts that when their tokens are worth 40 cents, the BP’s will have to make upgrades to handle everything. Three strikes out will get you auto-kicked out. When considering whether or not to be a BP, they probably already have existing servers and would probably need to kick out current customers. BP’s have a staked bandwidth contract. This means that it’s not pay as you go or use. Instead, BP’s will get a lump sum of tokens, for example, 1 EOS. One unanswered question for EOS is, if I have 1 EOS, what does that get me? Up to a gig for how many hours or days? Does it disappear after it’s used?

EOS will have the tokens divided into two halves. One half will have 21 BP’s and the other half will have 100 actors. Some tokens may be dynamic, meaning they are available for use. Others are reserved, meaning someone is hoarding them by pulling them out of the system. And used means the token is currently in use. You can delegate usage of your bandwidth to outside users for free, meaning they get to use your tokens. For example, an EOS BP might eliminate fees for startups to incentivize them to build their stuff on/using EOS. If the capacity limit is reached, it is said to have burst. The way burst is dealt with now is you say to someone, if I burst, I will get to use your stuff for this agreed upon amount.

Community voting is meant to be a checks and balances. It is frowned upon to bribe people for votes. EOS is actively discouraging this. Instead, the candidates have to win votes by saying what they’ll offer to give back to the community; they have to earn their spot on the 21. For example, they may say where they’re from, what hardware they’re using, or offer to pay for the fees with their own money. The community as a whole chooses the annual inflation rate, which is capped at 5%.

EOS will enable you to have a human buddy to be your backup in case you lose your key. For example, you might want to make your lawyer this person. A lawyer might be the backup for multiple people.

When it comes to bandwidth, it is assumed that EOS will eventually have the bandwidth to handle currency, social media, and market transactions. None of the others (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.) can handle all three now. So EOS will have its own type of currency, social media, and market. There will eventually end up being auctions for capacity. This may happen if smart contracts expire.

Bitcoin is not decentralized – only 16 BP’s own the tokens, and the biggest actor is in China. TokenX is a company that stores bitcoins in space.

STEEM – has 20 actors with 68 on standby.

Bitshares has an evenly divided pie.

One company is working on biometric fingerprints for different sensors so a patient can have a digital thumbprint.

One company has cryptocurrency data analytics that’s like Bloomberg’s.

Questions

Note: I was too lazy to worry about punctuation and checking back and forth for plagiarizing, but the link is around there as the citation or you can literally google the underlined word yourself for the official answer.  

Why would anyone want to own tokens? Or be one of the 21 BP’s? Is it really just the honor? Especially if people can build on them without owning them.

Once you make a token something, like bandwidth, or governance, can you change it to something else? Or is it all just a lump of tokens that can be used for whichever you want at any time? If that’s the case, then are tokens more like capacity?

If I have a part of the distributed ledger on my system, do I get paid for that capacity?

What is staking, unstaking, and restaking? Answer

Is there such a thing as burst insurance? The speaker said his company is working on insurance, but didn’t say what kind it would be. For example, might it be insurance on the fluctuations of token value?

EOS’s source code is currently on Github for folks to download and build on. Does that meant the source code is final?

What is a json blob? BLOB stands for binary large object. JSON is a way to write in Javascript. A JSON BLOB is an unstructured JSON.

What is a hyperledger? A hyperledger seems to be a place online where a bunch of collaborators work on open source blockchain code. The goal is to advance blockchain as a whole. This can be across or for different platforms. One of the attendees says he’s working on hyperledgers for supply chains with the applied physics lab at Hopkins. Does that mean that they’re increasing supply chain transparency? Or just documenting transactions within one or two degrees of the company? Is there a sustainability opportunity here?

What is a lighting network? Apparently bitcoin has been having issues with scaling, and the lightning network has been proposed as a solution. It’s an instant way to make micropayments.

What is an ICO? Initial Coin Offering.

What is a bounty system? A bounty system can provide rewards for finding bugs and security flaws in blockchain code and to fix them. For example, a developer may find and fix a bug and be rewarded a token. Or people get rewarded Bitcoin if they find crypto thieves. Some ICO’s offered folks free tokens if they promoted new currencies or whatever or gave extra coins if a certain amount was purchased, but the SEC has started to pursue these.

What is a masternode? Nodes that have additional functionality, usually intended to increase financial rewards. Seems like if you were to do it full-time, but not sure.

The speaker is CEO of a startup working on creating a world bank for all cryptocurrencies, even new ones, with only one account. How is this different from the existing ones, such as Coinbase?

The ending question we were left with: In 5 years, what do we think will be the main thing? A distributed ledger that’s public and doesn’t need to be mind (kind of like the internet) OR blockchain that’s private (like intranet).

Is a validator a person?

 

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Building Resilience in a Changing World

If you know me, you know I’ve been to a lot of conferences. Mostly, they’ve been for business, fundraising, and entrepreneurship, with a smattering of science.

comic about ebusiness conventions with what you need to know versus what you want to hear

Sums them up, except for the one I just went to! Which was amazing.

Check out the conference’s title:

THE SCIENCE, BUSINESS, AND EDUCATION OF SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE

Building Resilience in a Changing World

My alma mater, good ole (not really, the program’s not even six years old) Bard MBA, offered us a free ticket to the conference a week ago. I had to read the title three times before I realized how amazing it was. I think that I just couldn’t believe that a conference existed for my three favorite things (and probably in this order): Science, Business, and Education. And Resilience! Wow. They sure knew how to push my buttons.

I tried to talk myself out of going to it, because I was still strapped for cash at the time. And I’m in Maryland and the conference is in VA and that’s sooooo far away. Like on the OTHER SIDE of DC.

Then I realized that it would be my first conference in the epicenter of politics, and arguably, America. So I jumped on the ticket, and so did someone else, and the program ended up gettings tickets for both of us. YAY!

The morning of the conference, I got up at 5am, made it out of the house by 6, and got to the train station by 6:30am. Then I tried to pay for my ticket using the machine. But it wasn’t accepting Mastercard. So I tried my Visa. And it wasn’t accepting my Visa. I went to the window, and she says, “They did a system update this morning, and now the whole country’s machines aren’t accepting Visa or Mastercard.”

“Well, that’s all I have. I don’t have any cash on me.”

Fucking Amtrak. I don’t understand how some businesses are in business.

She waves me to the ATM, and I grudgingly head over, knowing that I’ll be paying a fee of at least $3. Already, this trip is getting expensive.

Then the Capitol One ATM eats one of my debit cards.

Gif of conan doing the suck it motion.

Fuck you, Capital One.

Well, I saved myself a fee.

I try to talk myself out of going to the conference again, saying, “Maybe it’s not meant to be.”

Then I feel gross for letting obstacles get in my way. There’s a difference between, “I know I shouldn’t get on that plane, because I know I will die” and “What a pain in the ass.”

If you don’t know what the difference is between those feelings, I encourage you to become one with the universe.

So, I call my Mom, and ask her to come back, and she dutifully sits in hellish traffic, and I grab a wad of “just in case” cash that I stash in my car. Actually, I probably shouldn’t have told you that.

Thanks, Mom.

It feels weird, cause I’m not saying that sarcastically.. Oh, being a 90’s kid.

Finally, I make it to VA, sadly missing the beginning (and the breakfast noshing and networking), and awkwardly creep into the side and sit on the floor. I feel like a kid wearing my bright red pants and sitting on the floor, but whatever. I was close to the front and had a perfect view.

Here are my cleaned up notes from the talks I went to. Keep in mind, I was late, so if you look at the agenda, I missed a bunch.

Biggest regrets: Being late, even though there’s nothing I could have done about it. Not being able to be everywhere at once – during any symposium or workshop, at least a dozen were going on and you had to choose only ONE! Every talk felt like the best talk and discussion I’d ever been to. I can’t even imagine getting to go to all of them!

Talk 1 – Panel on Sustainable Infrastructure: Building Resilience in the Face of Disasters

*What do social scientists learn?

What do sociologists know?

2017 needs to become the “new normal”, the baseline from which we gauge everything now from natural disasters to resource scarcity. We can’t say, “100-year” anything because it’s probably “every year everything” moving forward.

How many resources does the private sector offer to natural disaster stuff?

Who within an organization assesses an emergency response in the aftermath? In all sectors, is it a department? Leadership? How do we know how well we did and what has room for improvement?

The world needs skills-based volunteering and money. No more giant piles of socks, although they’ll take the socks.

Are the people who make money on natural disasters, like construction and building contractors, incentivized and actively blocking disaster preparedness?

How is the mental health of impacted communities being dealt with, if at all? If it is, does it include resilience training or education on climate change and natural disasters?

Will natural disaster areas with repeating occurrences or high-risk result in people moving? (This was later answered. Unless you’re Japanese, where apparently they aren’t in complete denial, the answer is no).

Natural disasters tend to occur, at least in the US, where property values are highest – ocean/waterfront. If counties are responsible for where the rebuilding occurs after disasters, and the risk and impact is offloaded to everyone, how do we educate or incentivize counties to build elsewhere? We need a counter-incentive, and it probably has to be beyond education. Will is ever become illegal to live in certain areas, post-disaster? Because it’s costing all of us.

What’s AI doing for weather? Is there or will there be a degree for sustainability AI? (This was later answered by one of the head people from The Weather Channel. AI’s doing a lot, but unclear on the degree/major.)

Talk 2 – Resilience of Nature-Based and Built Infrastructure

Will government job hiring ever move to problems to solve versus jobs to fill?

“Resilience Scientist” – is that a thing?

*Resilience has become conflated with risk. The 1973 definition of resilience is

Resilience = a stable system -> disturbance -> stable system

The key point is that stable also means a desired system. Because nature will always go back to a stable system. But what we want and what nature wants are not necessarily aligned.

How do you think about defining the boundaries of a resilience system? Graham Cumming has a paper from 1973 about it. He defines the types of boundaries as spatial and spatial regimes.

How conservative are scientists and engineers when they assess the damage/impact? (The answer was extremely. Which is alarming.)

The following bold text are names I made up for the talks. I didn’t write down the actual names and am too lazy to look up every single powerpoint I saw.

Japanese Resilience after the Tsunami

Technology to recycle and reuse disaster debris is a thing! They did it all over Japan.

How different was the prediction and reality of recovery of Japan? Their goal was to rebuild the city better than it was before – more resilient. But also as quickly as they could.

How does Japan’s response to their natural disaster compare to the rest of the world? (It’s actually an example of what to do, but what they did is realistically not even close to what needs to be done.)

How many people can realistically fit in Japan’s shelters? It reminds me of the Titanic. Are there enough boats? Is underground even safe?

Coastal residents were moved to higher ground. They didn’t just rebuild near the coasts, which had the highest property value, like American counties do. In fact, they are rebuilding whole towns 8 meters (that’s over 26 feet!) above sea level.

Soil Matters!

CO2 is the glue that binds soil together. Soil loss and erosion are happening at 20x the rate at which soil is being made.

What’s Happening in Brazil?

How do we quantify sustainability? Using the Envision Rating System, which has about 60 criteria. The next edition will have more. Are they the only folks assessing response post-disaster? They are using drones to see the impacts.

In Brazil’s Amazon, absentee stakeholders plan the infrastructure with zero input from the people who live there. They are building hydroelectric dams all over the forest, but the communities right next to them don’t get any electricity!

What the Army Isn’t Doing About Climate Change

Smartgrids are super hot right now and most people think they’re the answer. But they don’t work for big problems, only small, because of the central control. Picture a hierarchy – what happens when the top is cut off?

Why is everything assessed in silos? When do they bring it together?

Are network systems similar to systems thinking? (the answer was no, they didn’t even know what that was.)

(He also presented a diagram of a smartgrid and the silos that we currently operate with, pointing out the flaws with both. When he failed to present a network or other model, I asked, “Why isn’t it a network? Why isn’t it 3D?” The answer was that we don’t have the visualization technology for those things right now. And even though we know it’s the best solution, we can’t use it, because we can’t easily visualize it. YIKES! Hellooo000oooo Systems Diagramming! It’s not 3D, but it’s a great next step! The speaker was well aware of the limitations, and lamented that he and other scientists in the army are now being largely ignored.)

A Panarchy’s Adaptive Cycle

Ecology is obsessed with the conservation phase of a panarchy’s adaptive cycle.

diagram of panarchy's adaptive cycle

OMG he’s voicing one of my biggest frustrations with environmental science, nature preservation, and ecology!!!

All of the investment after a natural disaster is focused on how quickly we can get ourselves back to the original stable state. Faster is considered better. The key point here is “original”. We are incentivized by speed, not resilience. Our paradox is that we strive to preserve that which must change. A solution is “creative collapse,” new feedbacks in the system. For example, controlled burning of grasslands. This prevention creates a means of co-existence.

Talk 3 – Climate Changes Health: Justice, Equity, Mitigation, and Activism

Many resources can be found at apha.org, including The Environmental Health Handbook.

Scientists in the 1920’s predicted that we’d be feeling the impacts of climate change in 100 years. (OH DAAAAAAMN)

Fact Sheets – Climate Change Health Tools to Communicate the Problem

How has the NIH not listened pollution or heat on the lists of the top causes of deaths in the US? (This was later answered. It’s because it’s very difficult to quantify the health impacts of pollution as there are too many impacts and sources of pollution. YIKES!)

MIssissippi is being hit hard by climate change. But the states nearby dont care. Why don’t they care more? Is it because half of these states are too far from the Mississippi to be, erm, educated or open enough to understand it?

How do you deal with the psychological phenomena of how saying facts cause people to believe the wrong thing with even more conviction?

Can we tax properties with property tax based on how well the property’s land drains water? Would this money help with when the properties in high-risk areas are destroyed?

Canada has a CO2 tax that goes into income tax refunds. The recipients have the option to put the money back into the community! Yay!

When talking with low-income folks, health does help to open the door. Talk about it in the context of loss of income. Also, just listen.

Good examples of dealing with hospital hazardous waste are the organization, “Practice Green Health,” Kaiser Permanente, and The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments.

(This was the most disappointing talk I went to. On the one hand, I didn’t realize it would be a lecture about how to do activism. I fell asleep for a lot of the talk. On the other hand, I asked them what phrases or talking points resonated with low-income folks, and they refused to give any other than “talk about the health impacts and how that affects their income.” When I have canvassed, one of the most useful things I’ve gotten out of it is what key phrases resonate with people. If they are spending all of this time talking with stakeholders so they can make their reports, surely they’ve learned more than generalities! Talking about generalities doesn’t teach us anything. They’re scientists for crying out loud! Tell me how much pollution or natural disasters costs in hospital bills and missed work when a low-income person’s child gets sick or injured. They should know this number. Also, this is my biggest frustration with lecture. Give me a case study! Give me concrete details and results!)

During a networking portion, I milled around the foyer, creepily looking at people’s name tags. I was mostly looking for NASA, NSF, and other cool stuff. Much to my dismay, almost everyone had an academic nametag. Disappointed and confused, I asked someone who was running a University booth (they had some booths in the foyer) what the heck was going on. He said that because of the surprise furlough the day before, many government employees couldn’t fly out that day. Some changed their plane ticket, and some couldn’t make it for other reasons. When I asked an army person if they thought the administration did it on purpose, given that this conference was all about something it was adamantly against, their response was perfect. “I don’t think they gave it that much thought. I think it was just a coincidence.” Conservative response from a government representative or the administration is really that lacking in strategy?

homer pretending to be thinking

Hmmmmm

Talk 4 – Panel on Resilient Infrastructure and the Sustained National Climate Assessment

How can we identify the early adopters in government among the sea of laggers? Are there any early adopters? I suppose they’re the ones at this conference.

Why aren’t we just assuming the worst-case scenarios and using the best technology that exists right now? (This was later answered. Turns out, it’s just too expensive. So, the places that are doing it right are building in stages toward the worst-case scenarios.)

Given that almost everyone is predicted to live in cities, has anything thought about building cities in the most high-elevation parts of the country? I think we should be at least thinking about this now because these high-elevation points are probably incredibly difficult to build on in their current states, such as mountains.

A town or city’s fear of being on their own when a disaster strikes is incentivizing governments to work together. Yay!

Can you use wells when they are underwater? Or does the sea ruin all the groundwater pretty quickly?

Maybe I can move to the highest elevation part of the country and get elected into office.

What the world needs is for theoretical scientist to move to applied science. What are the usual applied science degrees, job titles, or fields?

Scientists can be useful by adding comments and feedback to existing, open-source climate change help and guidance documents. This reminds me of how the book, The Martian, was written. He just started writing and posting it around and all sorts of scientists starting telling him, “Actually, if this were to really happen, it would happen this way…”

How can we get communities to trust models if they don’t trust evidence? (BEST QUESTION OF THE CONFERENCE!)

Is there a good foundational material to build floating cities on? I need to hoard that material.

We need to ask already fucked up areas how they have adapted, if at all. Not just natural disaster areas, but also areas starting to be affected and how they’re adapting. One of the speakers used farmers as an example. He went to speak with them as stakeholders, and they were full of all sorts of useful ways of getting around climate change.

Do we need to be building everything for the 100-year scenario?

If everything is already happening a zillion times faster than predicted, can’t we also realize that it’s too late for the 1 degree C goal? Can we finally just accept that and get to work?

Ironically, finance does think about things 50-100 years out. It’s also helpful to look at 100 year old companies.

Will high elevation property skyrocket in property value?

How quickly does sea level have to rise before the government uses eminent domain to seize the land because it’s “necessary”?

One of the speakers mentioned that when his house was destroyed, he hasn’t bothered to get it insured because there’s nothing to insure. But I wonder, can you insure not just the property, but also the land lost if it ends up underwater? Because, doesn’t the land itself have value? And like a destroyed house, underwater land won’t be salvageable.

Talk 5 – Panel on Teaching to the Future: Education for Sustainability

What if sustainability and resilience were part of gen-eds at colleges? Why aren’t they already?? A ton of the folks here are from academia!

How many scientists are in elected office?

He’s talking about how in the 1970’s, the sustainability movement thought they were apolitical and convinced themselves that climate change was. Many folks wrote books about how sustainability has to be political, but they weren’t listened to. It reminds me of a recent blog post by Laura Gitman, arguably the best professor at Bard MBA. It matches perfectly how the sustainability movement regrets being apolitical in the early days – perhaps things could be different. Laura says she wonders if making the “business case” for sustainability all this time was the right move. Instead of appealing to capitalist interest in the bottom line, she and other sustainability consultants could have created momentum around the triple bottom line much earlier. Over time, values have been completely removed from capitalism. You’ll hear more about that later, when an ambassador from France gives a talk. Please read her blog post. It’s extremely insightful. And at this point, history repeating itself.

There is a Green Tea Party in Georgia doing good things.

At Penn State, scientists and teams doing interdisciplinary work are being rewarded just as much as depth-based professors. Currently in academia, scientists are pigeonholed into deeper and deeper research of one thing because that is rewarded in grant money and tenure. It’s the safe way to go. An example is one of my former employees, who had spent her entire career studying Vitamin D. At Penn State, they reward professors for doing valuable work, regardless of how safe it is or how much grant money they get. I’ve posted a deeper explanation in my Deep Thoughts section, but I often wonder if the grant system has done more harm than good.

Bill is a biochemist who wrote an article about how we don’t need to discover new science, but need to rediscover old science. PREACH! (I tried to find this article, but couldn’t figure out the right search terms).

We need to prioritize knowledge and what needs to be learned. Right now, we’re just mindlessly studying whatever with zero intention. (More on this later).

Business is so much more efficient in impact and getting people to adjust mindsets. Even CIE is doing this. Why is this conference so much about academia and not about business? Why are the only business speakers I’ve seen so far from Mars junkfood and a bank!?

climatefixes.org – how to get out of doom and gloom and do something about climate change!

Dr. Debra Rowe – a rockstar and my hero. She tells it like it is and what we can do about it with specific detail! Are you listening apha.org?

National Science Foundation – they’re embracing Centers of Excellence! Shout out to Rocky Mountain Research Station, who came up with it! NSF says they’re doing it to be healthy learning and work environments for everyone.

Scientists can’t be “unbiased” anymore because it’s not even scientifically accurate. No one’s unbiased, so science isn’t and has never been unbiased. We need to BRING IN VALUES, because sustainability is really about values.

Boldness, Genius, Magic, and Power!

Talk 6 – Achieving an Integrated Surface Transportation System for All Users

Roads

The 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards. What cities, towns, whatever did the best stuff this past year. Learn from them.

Collaboration always makes things go way quicker.

Head to the FHWA website for tons of resources, including anything from how to talk about climate change prep to how to facilitate a collaboration.

Environmental Justice Fact Sheets

Sign up for their newsletter to learn about Successes in Stewardship. For example, the West Coast is helping the East Coast with what to do about salmon.

CSS – Context-sensitive solutions. It’s the holistic development of projects. The FHWA has guidance docs for how to do collaborations for consensus, creativity, and flexibility. Wow!

Public Transit

What about roads and the oil industry? Is that why our public transit and rail system sucks? (This was later answered…an undefinitive probably.)

They are thinking a lot about self-driving cars in the future. They don’t have any projects on how long it will take.

Will self-driving cars increase overall transit system use? (They are doing pilots all around the country. So, maybe).

EJ Screening Tools Peer Network Summary Report. (This symposium track has too many links to keep looking up. Look it up yourself!)

NHI Fundamentals of EJ Course

The Why & How of Measuring Access to Opportunity, A Guide to Performance Management

The Purple Book – assessing socioeconomic activity

They don’t have an opinion on gentrification or equity, their job is to share case studies, best practices and tools, and meeting multiple objectives. In a way, whatever ends up in the documents are their opinions. One solution that a state could do that seems to work is subsidizing housing. One factor of assessment is how many jobs can someone reach in their locale? Especially from public transit.

What’s an example of a health impact? Is it like getting to the hospital or the impacts of VOC’s?

Aren’t tolls a form of capitalism and decreasing equity? Are there subsidized toll lanes?

Measuring Multimodal Network Connectivity, Like Bikes + Cars

How much do they talk with companies and their distribution systems? UPS, Walmart, Amazon. Are companies helping?

Are more bike lanes increasing biking or are people still complaining about the creation of bike lanes? Well, in some cities, they don’t have to! Road Diets are when car lanes are narrowed to add bike lanes. This reminds me of when I first moved from Maryland to California and was like geeze, these are some skinny lanes! Also, natural disasters in Houston actually increased bike use.

Small Town & Rural Planning – make better use of the shoulders for bike lanes

New administration is heavily focused on rural networks. (WTF? What about low-income urban areas like West Baltimore??)

What about teaching people how to bike on highway-like lanes? What’s the etiquette?

They are crowdsourcing traffic data.

Why wasn’t Seattle on the map of cities that need attention cause of bike fatalities. (Because Seattle’s so safe for bikes.)

Deaths decrease and traffic flow improves when you go from 4 lanes to 3. (How neat! I am now thinking about this everywhere I drive.)

The website even has a pretty picture library for people to put in their powerpoint presentations.

Talk 7 – Ambassador Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States

This talk was not very good in general.

But I got very mad when he said that it’s easy to get things done in America because all we care about is money. He claimed that “France’s barrier is that it’s culturally theological.”

Well, Mr. Araud, maybe America and the world wouldn’t be such a climate change shitshow if we hadn’t taken out the theology, or had at least included some values!

sailor moon crying

Are shitty, religious values really better than pure greed?

Sadly, like I’ve noticed at many other conferences, no one remembered him dropping a bomb, and most people laughed when he had. SIGH.

Ugh, moving on.

Accidental Talk 8 – Co-Designing Community Resilience: A Hands-On Workshop to Launch New Community Science Projects

Like any good conference, some of the schedule rooms had typos. I ended up in the wrong room, and much to my disappointment and surprise, was seeing an introduction to Design Thinking. But before I realized that, something gelled for me that I had mulling over the whole conference.

The speaker in this design-thinking workshop started with some work he’d done with malaria. They wanted people to stop getting malaria, and instead of collecting a bunch of data about mosquitos and the weather and geographic concentrations of malaria outbreaks and whatever else, they just looked at what times of the year malaria outbreaks occurred. Turns out, whenever humidity got to a certain level, there would be a humidity outbreak. This! they could work with. Turns out, it happened at extremely predictable times, so they could take preventative measures with drastically fewer resources and huge impact.

Then he said something that blew my mind:

If you accomplish the goal with correlative data, you don’t really need to know the causation.

Oh, snap! Science just got p0wned.

You see, in business, government, and any sort of stakeholder engagement, folks are realizing that a top-down approach doesn’t work.

Top (CEO’s) –>other people in the hierarchy –> Bottom (factory workers). We are now realizing that in addition to listening to everything our customers have to say, we need to listen to the people who are on the ground floor! Because they know substantially more about the business than the disengaged top. Finally!

So in this context, the goal is to have a “Bottom-Up Approach”.

EXCEPT FOR SCIENCE

In science, it’s currently a Bottom-Up Approach.

Let’s collect a shitton of data –> Let’s use the data to determine what the risks are –> Now that we know the risks, let’s work on mitigation and prevention

THIS NEVER WORKED. And in order to survive, we can’t do anything this way anymore.

Check this out:

What’s our goal? No more malaria. –> Malaria comes from mosquitos. When are there the most mosquitos? –> What data do we need to collect in order to know how to mitigate this risk? Mosquito populations explode when a certain humidity threshold is met.

OH SNAP!

To bring it full circle:

If you accomplish the goal with correlative data, you don’t really need to know the causation.

We really shouldn’t give a shit about the causation if our problems get solved!

There were several themes that kept repeating throughout the conference.

  • The problem with government conflating risk with resilience
  • The importance of focusing our efforts on the local level
  • The signs that we were already seeing of climate change, such as California’s Sonoma County burning down or New Orleans now being the southernmost city on the Mississippi because the other got swallowed up by sea level rise.
  • The need for better ways to communicate, collaborate, and especially for the scientific community (and IMHO EVERYWHERE), cross disciplines. DOWN WITH SILOS!
  • Science is becoming irrelevant in the face of climate change
  • Courageous satire. So many great examples of witty, heartachingly truthful satire said by some of our country’s grittiest, tenacious, and generous people.

Many folks had presented about these topics and potential solutions to them. I wish they could have seen each others’ presentations, because almost every problem I heard was solved in another presentation.

So it occurred to me that while I was in college, student-designed majors were frowned upon.

“Oh, you’re doing a student-designed major? Have fun being unemployed.”

Now, I realize that they were geniuses! This is how education should always have been! It’s the whole point of MOOC’s! All majors and education in general should be student-designed!

Learn the skills that are relative to the problems you want to solve and the impact you want to have in the world. Why pigeonhole ourselves into a “discipline” or “field”? If you think about it, IT’S A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME!

Just like collecting random data with no direction. It’s all about the goal! The direction! It seems so obvious now.

Talk 8 – The Backbone of Sustainable Infrastructure: Cooperative Ownership & Public Banks

After scribbling down all of these revelations, it finally sank in that I was not in the talk that I wanted to be in. And that I already knew most of what was going to be taught, even if it was in a different flavor.

The speaker announces that we’re going to do an icebreaker (it is, after all, a room of introverts :P). Turn to your partner and introduce yourself, answer some questions, and tell them about yourself. WOMP WOMP

I turn to my partner and say, “I’m sorry, but I’m going to be the biggest asshole right now. I just realized that I’m not in the talk I had intended to be in, and I’m going to leave. I’m so sorry.”

She said no worries, and sat there for a second with no intention of getting to know anyone. I wasn’t going to let her totally off the hook, so as I was walking out, I said to the two folks on the other side of her (because there was now an odd number of people at the table), “Hey, I’m heading out. So you two are going to be a threesie.” They turned to her to include her, fully accepting her into their duo, and I hustled out the door.

As I walked into the talk I’d meant to be in, of course, it was exactly my turn to introduce myself to the room because everyone else had just finished their introduction.

I asked what were the three things they wanted me to say about myself, and they told me.

“Hi, my name is Heather Bowden, and I have a biology and nanomaterials background (I mean, I wasn’t going to say Marketing Director. It was a conference for scientists!). I am here because I just moved to Maryland from Seattle and fell in love with cooperatives while I was there.

One of the panelists immediately chimed in with, “Seattle! Why on earth would you leave Seattle?”

So frazzled from being late, I muttered, “Oh, you know. Mental breakdown.”

Fortunately, everyone was half asleep and didn’t notice. But sheesh, I gotta work on keeping my cool.

One panelist was from Amalgamated Bank, which has a sustainability practice.

Another had a book called, “The Public Bank Solution” and a talk show.

There was also a guy who knew stuff and worked with the author at The Public Banking Institute.

Apparently, some of them were also last minute panelists, like at so many other talks, all because of the furlough

shaking fists angrily

Damn you, Voldemort!

Public Banks – finance infrastructure internally by the people, which results in projects requiring half the cost. Yeah, you heard that right. It’s been proven all over the world.

Big Ideas

1) Banks, not governments, produce vast majority of the money supply.

In the UK, banks are not intermediaries. They create money digitally through loans and extending credit. It’s kind of like funding prosperity because it’s community development and infrastructure at half the cost.

This idea is a great example of rediscovering old knowledge, at least for America.

M0 – Coins, $

M1 – Coins, $, checkbook money

M2 – Coins, $, checkbook money, CD’s and Long-Term investments

M3 – Coins, $, checkbook money, CD’s and Long-Term investments, and Shadow Banking.

Shadow banking is why 0.1% of people who almost all of the wealth.

2) While creating a banking system, it should not fund fossil fuel infrastructure. We need to convince banks to divest because it’ll put the biggest dent into the fossil fuel industry.

3) We as creators for credit, can create financing we want because money determines policy. We need to reclaim democratic control of money by moving into a new paradigm. Logic won’t cut it. It needs to include the emotional, national, metaphysical, and faith. We need to empower ourselves to speak openly about these things. (Sound familiar? Re: Laura Giftman’s post on the Triple Bottom Line).

We need to find ways to finance each other, such as nationalized banks for public interest.

Myth: Money is scarce. FALSE. Money is not scarce, it’s just in the control of a small group.

Don’t try to go head-to-head with bad power. Come up with something better!

The Bank of North Dakota is a 98-year old bank that was fine through the financial crisis. In fact, it was in the black! It’s the only state-owned bank in the country. The Wall Street Journal said that it was more profitable than the top 3 big banks combined. In their charter, they say that they don’t compete with local banks and actually are have to partner with them!

Book – Killing the Host

The current banking system is just like a cartel run by the mafia.

Budgets should be moral documents.

Google: Davos Forum, Global Alliance for Banking on Values, B-Corp certified banks to choose from

In Germany, banks only invest in the community, so it’s low risk.

New Jersey is getting a state bank. Probably. Almost certainly.

Banks are corporations and can therefore be Benefit Corporations and Social Purpose Corporations as legal entities.

What would the language of the policy be to prevent regulation that allows banks to create new financial instruments as others are made illegal (only after financial collapse…)? It reminds me of pesticides, where every 80 or so years, a bunch of people get sick and die, the pesticides are made illegal, and they’re just replaced with new, just as bad ones. What policy could get us out of this terrible cycle? (Answer: It’s not possible :()

In Conclusion

The speakers at almost all of the panels were super good at telling tangible and illustrative stories.

There were a few heated (probably more like warmed) debates, but for the most part, everyone was on the same side.

Some were getting cynical, but most were still resisting cynicism.

The three main takeaways were: focus on the local level, interdisciplinary is a bazillion times better than silos, and resilience is our goal – not just getting back to baseline (which as we saw in the beginning of the conference, is now 2017).

The last talk was The John H. Chafee Memorial Lecture on Science, Policy and the Environment. John H Chafee isn’t around anymore, but his bff’s son was around to give the talk.

I’ll do my best to share the story Senator Sheldon Whitehouse shared with us to end the conference on a positive note.

When the furlough happened, the Senate was handed a memo saying that the furlough was happening. They were not included in the conversation whatsoever, along with the other brand. The Senate, turns out, includes a lot of climate change sympathists. But thanks to good ole super PACs, they feel like their hands are tied. Cowards.

Except for the day when the furlough was announced. Senator Whitehouse said that the Democrats and Republicans were so fed up with being ignored by the executive brand and excluded from the conversation, that they met in the middle and got something done IN AN HOUR. Which never happens. The Senator indicated that both sides of the Senate were teaming up to finally use their checks-and-balances power, as the Senator noted, was the whole point of having it in the first place.

We’ll see what comes of it.

I hope to go again next year. But a part of me wonders if there will even be anyone left to attend. It could be cause all the scientists are finally fired. Or science is scrubbed from academia. Or we experience that mass human extinction a decade sooner than predicted.

I’m not going to edit this because it’s 12:30 am, and it’s bedtime. Whatever state this blog post is in, I’m sure you’ll get the jist, if you make it this far.

If any of us make it this far ::dramatic pause::

Just kidding.

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