Monday, April 23, 2012

Dear UofCS, it's really too late to be talking about light bulbs

Union of Concerned Scientists asked:

Unchecked  Working in my garden and tending to my lawn.
Unchecked  Lying on a beach or teeing it up on the golf course.
Unchecked  Playing in the snow or reading a book by the fireplace.
Unchecked  Playing video games or watching the latest blockbuster.
Unchecked  Enjoying a book on my e-reader.

Hi UofCS, I love your work. However, this particular question misses the mark.

You see, as I matter of fact, I do not spend my free time in any of the activities you have suggested. I spend my free time advocating for bold climate change mitigation policies. I spend my free time teaching the science of global warming, or writing articles describing the science of global warming that draw hundreds of thousands of views. Such as this one:

Your current messaging suggests that this problem can be solved via individual actions. You and I both know that is not the case.

China will build enough coal-fired power plants this year to relegate all our lightbulb changes to a footnote. There are powerful interests at work who are bent on burning every pound of fossil fuel available on this great Earth, in the name of their own profit. Turning down our living room's thermostat will do naught to stop them. We have to consider the stark reality and ask, what will it take to stop these people from destroying humanity, from destroying themselves?

We need to teach the science of global warming which such conviction in our voice, and with such unbearable clarity, that our fellow Americans will join us in Washington the next time. They will have to courageously stand to be arrested in the mist civil disobedience actions, along with me, my friends, and McKibben and Hansen.

How does talking about light-bulbs-talks helps this? I don't think it does.

I would invite you to consider pivoting to a different messaging frame for your next cycle.

Teach people the science. Teach them the true extent of the dangers of the A1B scenario we are tracking at the moment. Then teach people how to teach the science and find them stages and audiences. Teach them how to defend those who teach against the brutal slanderous attacks of our opponents. But above all, teach them that if we are to you get out of this crisis, they will have to be more implicated in the politics of their country than a mere vote every two years.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Me, Dragon NaturallySpeaking at 70 WPM

This is a video of me dictating the text of this blog post.

I posted a longform article on how to use Dragon on my blog, which you can find here:

The short story is, modern dictation software works out-of-the-box. Forget about training, there is no training anymore.

With a fast CPU, lots of memory, a solid-state hard drive, a good microphone, and good pronunciation, you can effortlessly hit 100 words per minutes, or more if you happen to be the kind of person who talks quickly. I even know a number of people who have discovered themselves as authors thanks to the productivity-boost of dictation.

It does not take a crazy machine. I have a HP EliteBook, a i7 M620 2.67 GHz CPU, four gigs of RAM, and a Intel SSD. Perhaps the most important piece is the microphone. I used to have a Sennheiser headset microphone, which was great at cutting off the voices of people talking around me in the office. But then I switched to a self-standing USB microphone because I would rather not have something on my head all day. You can find it on Amazon.

The point is, the dictation is great.

In the video, I'm giving you a sense of how quickly I correct the recognition mistakes as I go along. I don't bother with "scratch that" or Dragon's other correction commands. You can see how I use the mouse liberally and I jump in with the keyboard when I know Dragon won't hear the word I'm about to type. The only words Dragon did not know about were i7, M620, and EliteBook (which I added to its dictionary beforehand). Everything else is built-in.

After dictating, I quickly scan the text correcting the mistakes, missing one ("it" instead of "hit").

All-in-all, it took 3 minutes to dictate about 200 words, including all the fiddling, which adds up to 66 WPM.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Here's what a real liberal solution looks like.

Create a nation-wide network of government-run daycare. This cost $100 million. Net result, lots of competent, talented women who wished to get a job but couldn't because they couldn't afford daycare now get jobs. These women pay $147 million in taxes from their new job, which pays back the $100 million the government started with, and let it lower taxes by $47 millions. Everybody wins.

A Libertarian would never think of trying this.

But in Quebec, it's the first thing you try.