How to Avoid Billionaire Trolls

Argument analysis flowchart
Figure 1 from Cook, Ellerton, and Kinkead 2018. CC BY 3.0

The biggest trolls in the world are also the richest. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp fame and Elon Musk of Tesla fame are trolling us online and we shouldn’t let them get away with it. Zuckerberg trolls us by censoring what we see and selecting what propaganda enters our screens, other tech giants do the same. Musk, on the other hand, trolls us by getting leagues of fanboys to defend his union-busting, tax avoiding, and questionable health practices. Let’s be clear: the billionaires who are troll like this are doing it for their own profit at our expense.

Don’t feed the trolls, feed your mind. Here are some tips to eliminate billionaire trolls from your news.

Thankfully some tools are still leaving you in control:

  1. Blogs are still out there. I had 50,000 visitors last month. You can still use RSS readers. You can subscribe to blogs like mine by email.

  2. I have recently discovered the fantastic substack community.

  3. Telegram is pretty decent as a secured news aggregator. My blog has a telegram channel. Nobody needs to know what you are reading.

  4. Twitter has a hidden feature (twitter list) which lets you subscribe to specific individuals and only see content from these individuals.

  5. DuckDuckGo is a fantastic search engine which mostly gives me what I am looking for instead of what it thinks I should find.

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Cities of the Future Act as Sponges

When it rains cities should hold all the water. In the 20th century that idea would have been laughed out of the room; today, we know better. Urban water management is vital to a healthy city, ecosystem, and flood mediation. The old idea of building giant channels of concrete to force water out of their natural areas (the best example of this is in L.A.) is thankfully being replaced with better ideas.

One of those better water management ideas is to just soak it all up. Make the city a sponge.

It tries to do it in three areas. The first is at the source, where just like a sponge with many holes, a city tries to contain water with many ponds.

The second is through the flow, where instead of trying to channel water away quickly in straight lines, meandering rivers with vegetation or wetlands slow water down – just like in the creek that saved his life.

This has the added benefit of creating green spaces, parks and animal habitats, and purifying the surface run-off with plants removing polluting toxins and nutrients.

The third is the sink, where the water empties out to a river, lake or sea. Prof Yu advocates relinquishing this land and avoiding construction in low-lying areas. “You cannot fight the water, you have to let it go,” he says.

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Not Using Fossil Fuels is Better Than Technopostivism

Phramacy

The COP26 news coverage has focussed on pledges from counties to cut their emissions (which is good) and on funding for new technologies to suck carbon out of the air (which isn’t so good). Increasingly scientists, ecologists, and activists have been calling out that technical solutions are a distraction from the core problem: we’re burning up fossil fuels. Technology won’t save us, cutting greenhouse gas emissions to zero will.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t research carbon capture technologies, rather we should prioritize not putting more carbon into the air in the first place. Leave the oil in the ground, stop all coal consumption, and ban the production of fossil fuel powered engines.

“Simply put, technological carbon capture is a dangerous distraction,” they wrote. “We don’t need to fix fossil fuels, we need to ditch them.”

Despite these groups’ concerns, we’re likely to be bombarded with more good-news climate stories like the coverage accorded to the plant in Merritt and the project in Iceland. And carbon capture, utilization, and storage is a key component of Canada and B.C.’s plans for reducing overall emissions.

The report acknowledges that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s future scenarios allow for the deployment of carbon-capture technologies from the air in achieving the Paris targets.

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High CEO Pay Reduces Customer Satisfaction

The more a CEO is paid the worst customers are treated. Everyone knows inequality is bad for our society, but now shareholders might start caring because inequality within companies produces negative results. Customers are less satisfied with companies with high CEO compensations, and internally the companies suffer from inefficiency and lower morale.

This article adopts a marketing perspective to examine how wage inequality between top managers and their employees may have customer-related consequences (i.e., customer-directed effort, customer-directed opportunism, and customer-oriented culture) that affect customer satisfaction and firm performance. Surprisingly, marketing scholars and practitioners have largely neglected this pressing societal issue. The authors collect a cross-industry, multisource data set, including responses by top-level managers and objective data on wage inequality and firm performance from 106 business-to-business-focused firms (Study 1). In addition, they analyze multisource longitudinal panel data covering 521 firm-year observations for business-to-consumer-focused firms (Study 2). The results consistently reveal that wage inequality harms customer satisfaction. This relationship is mediated by customer-directed opportunism and customer-oriented culture but not customer-directed effort. Moreover, while wage inequality has a positive direct effect on short-term firm profitability, this effect is dampened by the negative indirect effect through customer-related consequences and customer satisfaction. Importantly, the positive direct effect of wage inequality on short-term profitability vanishes in the long run, whereas the adverse effect through customer satisfaction persists, leading to a nonsignificant total effect on long-term profitability. These findings may guide researchers, managers, shareholders, and policy makers in addressing the challenge of rising wage inequality.

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Roasting Coffee by the Rays of the Sun

coffee

In Italy your next cup of coffee may come from a solar roaster instead of an unsustainable source. Climate change is threatening the ability of coffee plants to survive, as a result the entire industry may not exist by the end of the century. This has got smaller players in the industry (not the mega corporations) to explore new ways to process coffee from plant to cup.

A roasters the size of a tennis court can roast coffee using only the rays of the sun, making it incredibly efficient. The only high tech aspect of the whole operation are a few microchips and servos to move the mirrors

The process isn’t only environmentally friendly and economically convenient. According to Durbe and Tummei, it also better preserves the coffee’s aroma, giving it a richer flavor. Unlike conventional hot air ovens, which are typically gas-powered, the concentrated sunlight roasts the coffee without heating the air around it — by penetrating the grains in a more uniform way and without burning the exterior.

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