Category Archives: Essays

Technology = Happiness?

It has been said that “Science and Technology bring nothing to human happiness” and that “many of us are unable to perform even the simplest tasks to maintain the complex machines we depend upon for eating, communication, working and entertainment” and while to some extent they are true, we are only looking at part of the picture…
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10 Things any newbie web developer should know

I’m not saying that a newbie should know all these off the bat. It takes years to be proficient in the majority of these, but just knowing what they are and why they are important will put you a couple of notches higher than most other newbies. Continue reading

Misinformation in left-wing economics and the future of our world

I hear a lot of people arguing among themselves that “capitalism is failing; we can’t keep up growth in this resource scarce world we are now living in.”

I say BS! if we lived in a world were we only did manufacturing then sure, this would be true – but we don’t. Much of our economies are based around other types of work. When I was in secondary school doing geography these were broken down into four sectors and I will repeat them here for clarity.

Four sectors of industry

  • Primary – Raw materials – Mining, Quarrying, Fishing, Agriculture
  • Secondary – Manufacturing – Reprocessing other manufactured goods, processing raw materials from the primary sector
  • Tertiary – Service Industry – Intangible goods such as knowledge, advice and attention and non production jobs such as healthcare, sales and government
  • Quaternary – Information Industry – Education, Information generation and sharing, IT and other knowledge based services.

The majority of our jobs are in Tertiary and Quaternary industries and these are still growing. There is no reduction on the amount of information on a day to day basis and this needs to be managed. Also, These two sectors are responsible for efficiency improvements across all sectors and new technology and techniques that change our resource usage from scarce resources to abundant ones.

While I agree that with some resources getting scarcer, for example oil needing to be recovered from shale deposits, this will mean that we move onto other less scarce resources. This could mean running our transport on electricity, hydrogen or ethanol.

The biggest problem we face is not the scarcity of resources since there is still a massive untapped amount out there, it is trying to do so cleanly and without damage to the world we live in.

However, we do still need to look at our current resource usage. We need to consider what by-products we have at each stage and what we can do to decrease the overall resource use. We need cradle to grave product design – product that are design to be made from materials that are less resource intensive and safe to extract from the environment and once finished with, able to be disposed of/recycled in a way that isn’t harmful to the environment.

— originally published Mar 24 2011

Perfectionism (or why I learned to do nothing)

If you met me in the street you would think I was completely laid back, that nothing phases me… and little could be further from the truth.

I am a perfectionist and often I am so scared of not doing something right and pleasing people that I will often not do it at all. If what jobs I do accomplish aren’t done perfectly, then they aren’t good enough and I am worthless.

If I don’t do tasks, then I haven’t failed to do them less than perfectly… I simply did not do them at all. Not doing it is not failing at doing it.

I don’t judge other people by the same standards – hell no… I am not worthy enough to do that.

I can see some evidence of it even in primary school at about age 8 or 9. Learning the recorder for example. I was perfectly happy learning in a group where other people and their terrible playing could shield me, but as soon as I had to demonstrate what I had learnt to the class I balked… I couldn’t do it and I bailed.

At least with knowing I have a problem I can try to do something about it, but it isn’t going to be something I can solve overnight and it wont be easy.

I know I can conquer it, since I have proven to myself that I can produce good work, but knowing and actually feeling comfortable with it are two different things.

These last few months have been the worst I have experienced and I can sit down at the computer and fail to get much constructive work done. Sure, I can produce things I don’t need to, that people aren’t expecting, because I know I wont be judged on them, but it doesn’t help the people that do need things from me.

It does seem that the problem is common