Saturday, 18 April 2020

Acknowledgements & Thanks

Since many of the blog posts were a tad on the bleak side, I figured it would be appropriate to try and complete this work on a slightly more positive note and I also think it’s important to provide credit where credit is due.

Throughout the course of my life, I have been very fortunate at some of the opportunities that presented themselves, including living abroad and so far traveling to over 25 countries. Our species is far from perfect, but it’s a truly magnificent world we live in comprised of fascinating cultures and many beautiful people all around the globe. If I didn’t think that, I never would have embarked on this Viable Underdogs adventure.

Chapter 33 - Part 2 (A Type 1 Unfreeze-Chain-Letter)

The audio version of this chapter can be listened to here:EPISODE 33 / CHAPTER 33

(Originally Published August 14, 2019)

The famous scientist, Isaac newton, is often quoted as having said: “I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” This quote is often used to show appreciation for those that came before and added to the Sea of Knowledge. Without all the discoveries passed along from our ancestors, we would not have the world we have today. Though, to be fair, some think that Newton was being sarcastic, particularly as he had a reputation for being about as humble as Drax. The quote is often originally attributed to John of Salisbury, but its also possible he snagged the quote from someone else.

However, the underlying meaning of the quote is still relevant. Even the most ‘least dumb’ people that have ever lived on Earth could not have made the same discoveries they did without the others that came before them. But I think it even goes further from that. This may be a tad ‘fromage,’ but it’s a society that allows people to make discoveries, since discoveries require the following:

* Access to the Sea of Knowledge. Even right now, millions of people constantly ensure that this access grows every single day.

* Time. Discoveries typically take lots of time and hard work. Sometimes they require the undivided attention of the person doing the discovering. This would not be possible without a society providing easy access to food, water, sanitation, electricity, emergency services, cold beers for yours truly, etc.

* Funding. Often times, sources of funding are hard to come by, and requires those that believe in the discoverer’s ideas to pony up the cash.

* And then, other times, the discoverer requires different types of unconventional support.

Dmitri Mendeleev

To illustrate, here is the story of Dmitri Mendeleev’s mother. In the mid 1800’s, when Dmitri was still a young boy, his father went blind, so his mother was forced to reopen the family glass factory as a way too support a ridiculous amount of children. Many of our ancestors were kinda like rabbits, so historians cannot even agree on just how many children there was in this family. Shortly thereafter, the father died, leaving the mother to tend to the children on her own, and then the glass factory burned down.

Despite all the hardships, Dmitri’s mother believed that her son was destined for scientific greatness, and this was a time where access to the Well of knowledge was more restrictive, which would probably explain why she was willing to cross the massive country with Dmitri on horseback. Today, this would be a 31 hour car ride. Imagine how much harder this would be on horseback. And imagine the thrill of finally making it to Moscow, and then imagine being told…. no dice. Moscow university would not be admitting young Dmitri. What would you do in this situation? If you said, another 8 hour car ride up to St. Petersburg, you would be correct. Except, more tired, and more horse, and no car ride, and basically poor.

Luckily, St Petersburg hesitantly accepted Dmitri, and he went on to help father the Periodic Table of the Elements in Chemistry. But it is hard to imagine he would have been able to do that without the support of his tenacious mother. Full disclosure: I.. uh borrowed this story from 
Crash Course Chemistry #4  on YouTube. Their version is a whole lot better too. 

Even though we all know and remember many famous names, we oftentimes forget that in many cases, these individuals had many people supporting them and affording them the ability to make these discoveries.

If Stanislav Petrov had instead decided to believe the readings the early-warning detection system was providing him with, see 
EPISODE 31 / CHAPTER 31, we’re willing to bet you wouldn’t be listening to this podcast right now. It could be argued that he is partially responsible for any new discovery occurring after 1983. It’s not just him either. There are lots of other unsung heroes, whose actions have allowed us to live in the world we have today. There are lots of people every day, doing their part to make this world a slightly better world than it was yesterday. Although, Its often hard to see, since we’ve still got a lot of problems and challenges we need to address.

Throughout the course of my diagnostic, creating the podcast, writing the books, and crafting out strategies, I was humbled by the sheer vastness of the Sea of Knowledge. Every time I hit a snag, it turns out someone else had already encountered similar problems and had already proposed a solution. Even if these people have long since died, it kinda felt like they were still communicating with the world thru their ideas, which I am sincerely humbled to have the privilege to share with you now.

I did my best to provide credit where it was due throughout this work, ‘cause all of these names played a small role in crafting all of these strategies. Even though I never had a team, organization, or university supporting me, I never for a minute felt like I was doing this alone ‘cause I had the written works of some of the best and brightest minds guiding me along, motivating me, and providing expertise.

Every episode I wrote, I heard Howard Aiken telling me that I really needed to “ram these new ideas down people’s throats,” and that I needed to expect that this would not be an easy sell. Kurt Lewin challenging me that I can only change things I understand. And Rama Nemani, the NASA scientist, who reminded me that we are usually fairly logical as a species: If a problem exists, and no one is really fixing it, it probably means many people don’t realize the problem exists.

I am thankful for friends and family, who may not always have understood exactly what I was working on, but were open minded enough for me to engage them in order to bounce some ideas off them. Not to mention them listening to me for hours on end. If I couldn’t get them to understand, how would we then get you, my random audience who doesn’t know me, to understand.

I am thankful for educational content like Crash course, SciShow and Khan Academy on YouTube. They increased access to knowledge, and if those shows didn’t exist, it’s entirely possible that V-Dogs would not exist either. I was also able to snag additional materials for free from educational institutions and my local public library, yup those are still a thing.

I am thankful for the many awesome people I have met during my ongoing travels throughout the world.

And most of all, I am thankful to anyone who has taken time out of their busy lives to listen to my ideas. Regardless of how you decide to choose, I still thank you for taking the time. What I’m asking of you isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t for a second ask it of you if I didn’t believe in the ridiculous power of human ingenuity. And I hope you appreciate the beauty of it as much as I do. It’s pretty cool that anyone can take an idea as small as Lateral Thinking, combine it with the largest free reserve of knowledge known in the Universe, with a free state of the art search engine, to make this both terrible and awesome idea for a couple hundred bucks.

And most, most of all, I am personally thankful to my mom. Her strength and tenacity shifted some of my old beliefs and preconceptions, and in doing so, encouraged me to pursue these ideas.

If this whole thing falls flat, then, that’s on me. If it succeeds, however, then she is the one I am thanking ‘cause just like without Dmitri’s mom, there might not be a Periodic Table of Elements, without my mom, there never would have been Viable Underdogs.



Solving the Global Communication Crisis

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