Turkish Citizens Brighten Istanbul with Rainbow of Colors

rainbow_stairs_Turkey-Gürol_Demirutku-Twitter

A summary from the Good News Network details this wonderful action as well as I could.

“A 64 year-old man in Istanbul decided to brighten people’s days by painting rainbow colors on the old, gray, crumbling stairs near his house.

When municipal officials sent workers after nightfall to hurriedly repaint the stairs gray, a quiet revolution started on Twitter.

Not only did volunteers come out to repaint those stairs that Huseyin Cetinel had spent hundreds of dollars on, they started painting other stairs and walkways in other cities around Turkey posting photos on social media.

A very colorful Pandora’s Box had unwittingly been opened.”

This New York Times article has the full story.

I would wholly support such a movement here. My personal tastes run to “plain” colors, but I love to see people express themselves in vibrant colors and shapes, in their appearance, possessions, and (as here) on their surroundings. It’s a quintessential part of being human. 

Our True Parasites – The Ruling Class

Man’s responsibility to his fellow man is a common thread running through every major ethical system, religious and secular. People are morally bound to contribute to their society according to their benefit from it. The poor benefit very little and so owe very little in return. Ideally we would create a society in which everyone benefits and is invested in maintaining and improving it. 

As it stands now, those who benefit the most generally contribute the least in return, making them parasites. The right wing loves to call people parasites, but this is largely a measure to put their opponents on the defensive and minimize the number of people who realize the right and their patrons are the real parasites. 

Philosophy Professor Jason Read describes the situation in terms of biology, in which successful parasites are not recognized as such by their host, which is exactly the case with the very wealthy in this nation. They thrive by preventing the majority from recognizing their true enemies.

rulingClassAsParasites

Dementia Care – A Better Way

The Hogewey Dementia Village is a wonderful example of putting humanity first, before profit, before petty differences. I would love to replicate this here in the United States. Greed and tribalism is all that’s holding us back from bringing this care to the US.

careForDementiaSufferers

I earn a good salary as an engineer and we (family of five) live comfortably on my income. We sacrifice some to live on my income, but I would gladly pay more taxes if it means:

1. Everyone can have good health care, feed their families healthy food, and live in an adequate home in an area with low crime. 
2. We fix and maintain our infrastructure and invest in a future with renewable energy and modern transit.

My wife disagrees and thinks we sacrifice enough, and the wealthy almost never pay their fair share, but I think anyone living well (not necessarily wealthy) has a responsibility to support the nation that provides so much for them. 

People are morally bound to contribute to their society according to their benefit from it. The poor benefit very little and so owe very little in return. Ideally we would create a society in which everyone benefits and is invested in maintaining and improving it. 

As it stands now, those who benefit the most generally contribute the least in return, making them parasites. The right wing loves to call people parasites, but this is largely a measure to put their opponents on the defensive and minimize the number of people who realize the right and their patrons are the real parasites. 

There’s a great quote by Jason Read floating around that describes the situation in terms of biology, in which successful parasites are not recognized as such by their host, which is exactly the case with the very wealthy in this nation. They thrive by preventing the majority from recognizing their true enemies. 

rulingClassAsParasites

GOP Lies Are Destroying America, and Reform Is Our Only Way Forward

I really want there to be a strong and healthy conservative party in the United States. While I’m very progressive socially and economically, I recognize the need for balance and the importance of pitting two intelligent groups against one another in a conflict of ideas as a key to finding that balance.

What we have today is a strong but very unhealthy extreme right GOP (and associated groups) and a lackluster centrist Democratic Party that’s too weak, too beholden to moneyed interests, and generally too afraid to propose anything truly progressive. The Democrats by their nature are a very diverse group and unable to come to a consensus on anything remotely controversial, and they’re pulled to the right by their fear of losing elections to the GOP, so I am focusing on the GOP because it’s both the greatest danger to our nation and the group that must be brought into balance if we are to return to a healthy democracy.

As detailed in Six Studies That Show Everything Republicans Believe is Wrong, it’s time for the right wing to stop lying about the minimum wage, taxes, global warming and more. I’m not sure how to reform a party that’s so completely committed to enforcing it’s will on the nation at any cost and is so heavily invested in lies and other corruption, but this is certainly the task before us.

Faking Cultural Literacy

Food for Thought

This piece is well written and thought provoking.

I’m not going to lament the passing of the great age of American reading and thinking, because I’m not sure it ever existed. But we certainly need to read and think more as a nation, and not the drivel that mostly passes for best sellers. 

When you all vote me in as Emperor of the World, I’ll be sure everyone gets a proper classical education. The GOP will then fall off the edge of their flat earth and never be heard from again.

Download and Install a Clean Copy of Windows with Valid Product Key

This article gives you the information you need to download a clean copy of Windows from Microsoft. All you need is a valid product key.

How to Get Your Product Key
If you don’t have your product key handy, you can get it from your currently installed copy of Windows using either this tool or this tool. I’ve tested both with Windows 7 and they work well.

Why You Might Want to Do This
There are a number of reasons you might want to download a clean copy of Windows and install it over your current version. All you need is a valid product key for the version you want.

One good reason to do this is to replace your crapware burdened laptop or desktop from Dell, HP, … with a fresh and clean one with just the Microsoft components. You’ll need to install the drivers for your PC, but this is usually pretty easy if you have any experience with Windows, or know a friend who does … :-) … Major companies like Dell and HP usually have a page that tells you what drivers you need for your exact model and has links to download them. 

Warning About Malware Disguised as Helper Tools
Just a heads-up. If you decide to install a clean version of Windows, do not download a driver installer type program from anywhere but your computer’s manufacturer. Some of those “tools” are really malware installers and will install all sorts of unwanted software on your PC. A colleague at work took her laptop home to install a workstation image I gave her and brought it back full of malware. Rather than worry about how this happened, I just wiped the disk and installed the image and drivers she needed. I’m 95% certain she installed a “helper” tool to get the drivers she needed. It helped her all right … ;-)

Another Option for Removing Crapware That Comes with New PCs
Note that if you just want to remove the crapware that often comes with new PCs, there are free tools that make this pretty easy, such as The PC Decrapifier. I’ve used this and it works well. I still prefer a new, clean Windows installation but using a tool to remove a small amount of crapware is much easier and requires very little PC knowledge.

If you have any questions, just ask in the comments!

Using a “Done List” Instead of a ToDo List

I submit a weekly report of my major activities each week and this report serves both to show what I’ve accomplished and the status of pending and other unfinished activities. It’s a combination ToDo and Done List.

I’ve played with dozens of ToDo list apps over the years and none have fully satisfied me. The problem isn’t the ToDo list app, but the fact that I am overly busy. I live in a perpetual state of having more work than I can reasonably do in the time available. This is most true at work but (partly because I work too much) is also true at home to some extent. Thus, any ToDo list I create is almost always growing, because I think up new tasks or have tasks added (due to my role as father and man of the house) faster than I can hope to work them. This tends to be stressful and de-motivating, as you can imagine.

I think a Done List is a potential solution to this situation. Of course I’ll continue to write down all the tasks that I’m assigned (and that I create and assign myself), but the Done List will serve each day to remind me what I’ve accomplished.

Here’s an excellent article on the Done List. Here’s a short LifeHacker post on this technique.

The second link above also mentions an alternative technique that involves creating a small list of tasks to focus on each day. My work involves supporting a larger team with technical and other assistance as well as my own tasks and I’m a Go-To guy at work, so this would likely be frustrating for me, but it’s worth a try for those of you who have more time to focus during your work day.