October 31, 2006
October 30, 2006
October 29, 2006
The Tipping Point for civil rights was arguably a single man. Martin Luther King, Jr. Are there currently any injustices close to the magnitude of that one still going on in our country today? Something that needs to be tipped to bring it out into the mainstream?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 8:25 PM
October 27, 2006
What could the tipping point be for a third political party? People are definitely sick of the current two. But, an independent vote (save the case of Joe Lieberman) is typically a complete waste. And right now, when people think third party, they think green, environment, pot. I would suggest a different party. Perhaps a true John F. Kennedy party, or a true Ronald Reagan party, even though both Democrats and Republicans, respectively, claim these icons as their own, they're really not. What could tip it? Could it be a candidate's personality? Could it be a push back to state rights? Thoughts?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 2:23 PM
October 26, 2006
October 25, 2006
Please read yesterday's post before this one. What I am looking for are possible "Tipping Point" suggestions for curing an ill in society, or furthering a good. My suggestion for today looks at the ill of prostitution in our society. Policies made over the years to quench prostitution have ranged from legalizing it, to raising the minimum wage to de-incentivize it, to religious protestors yelling God's wrath at them. But, to little success, there has not yet been a tipping point that has "cured" prostitution. How 'bout this? People start calling up escort services, hiring out a lady for the evening, and treating her like it's your first date with a movie star. Take her out to a nice dinner, a movie perhaps, and ask her about her life. No goodnight kiss either gents. What could that do?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:41 AM
October 24, 2006
The Tipping Point, written by Malcom Gladwell, discusses how the effects of a seemingly "small" thing can be the tipping point that turns a virus into an epidemic, for things both good and bad. You may have heard of the 'broken windows' theory. Studies found that crime rates go up drastically in neighborhoods where there are broken windows in houses and buildings. So, instead of hiring more policeman, some cities have simply been replacing windows in run-down areas to tremendous success. (Note: Some people use the 'broken windows' theory to say that people are not responsible for their actions since their actions are only a result of their environment...that's not where I'm going with this.) New York City had a crime problem on the subway. Some guy suggested repainting all of the trains and repainting the cars the second they were graffiti vandalized. The crime rates plummeted. A particular STD in the city of Philadelphia spread rapidly in a short period of time. It turned out that a half-dozen homosexual men were by and large the culprits. AirWalks, a shoe for skateboarders became wildy popular overnight, and can be attributed to a few skateboarders in California.
The big idea is that it's the little ideas that can go a long way. These ideas have captivated marketers, trying to determine how they can 'tip' their product. But, how 'bout we try discussing how we can do something little that can stop, start or cause something big. Let's go.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 3:47 PM
October 23, 2006
I watched an independent documentary last night entitled, WalMart: The High Cost of Low Price. The film made some very good points and defaming accusations about the legality of WalMart's practices, those that WalMart certainly needs to change. Such as forcing workers to work off the clock, well, maybe that was the only one. But, most of the film centered upon the small hardware stores that were closing because WalMart came to town. A common argument by these small store owners was, "I'm no communist, but this just isn't fair." They're right. It's not 'fair'. And it is sad that these owners felt like they could do the same thing for 43 years and stay in business. But, the people have spoken, and they have chosen the giant stores. They are showing that they value inexpensive goods over friendly service and professional expertise. So, my question is, "If WalMart started acting completely legally in its hiring and compensation practices", do you have a compelling economic (NOT SOCIAL) reason against the WalMartization of the world? That's what I rented the movie to find, and I didn't.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:53 AM
October 20, 2006
October 19, 2006
October 18, 2006
Al Gore's crew runs into a few problems when trying to convince us animal-haters that global warming exists for the following reasons.
1) We don't really care too much about animals. We hear about penguins and polar bears drowning and don't care. 2) Rising water levels don't scare us. Just by numbers, the majority of people are land-locked, and do not live in fear of tidal waves wiping out their cities. 3) We don't think the Earth is fragile. Some would contend that humans destroying/permanently damaging the Earth is an improbable if not impossible order.
So, how does Al Gore reach this selfish, crazy market? Well, he could show us cities in California that are filled with smog so much that children are developing asthma and lung conditions at scary rates. He could show mercury levels in drinking water around the country that are life-threatening. These are actual proven scenarios where the cause and effect is apparent, where we don't have to rely on rock stars and politicians to teach us predictive science. In this way, we can actually focus on tangible solutions, less drastic than completely shutting down America's system of commerce.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:02 AM
October 17, 2006
The little phenomenon of 'Flash Mobbing' has now struck the iPod community. I first heard about this idea a couple of years ago when roughly 100 people gathered in downtown Peoria one night at some random street corner, yelled something like "Blue Raccoon" at 7:36, and then all went their separate ways. My initial impression was, "That's awesome." Kind of like when I saw Fight Club for the first time. For a large part of my life, I have held the position that if someone does something that I have not yet thought of, it's genius. The idea of being clever...it was everything. What's better than being more clever than everyone? But, now I'm tired of being so amused by cleverness. The 'Blue Racoon' mob did nothing. But, they all went home thinking they were clever, a part of something maybe, a rebellion against the system, who knows. But, whatever they went home thinking, they were wrong. They did nothing. The iPod article above refers to a group of people who advertised a flash mob online, and ended up with a couple hundred of people in a subway station who started dancing (silently) to their iPods (with headphones) all at the same time. Why do I still think this is clever? What is this thing deceiving me into wanting me to waste my time thinking of ways to be clever? Why can't we be clever AND useful?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 2:25 PM
October 16, 2006
October 13, 2006
Yesterday's post (read below) about the death of Yankee pitcher, Cory Lidle, prompted me to bring up the concept of the MonkeySphere. I have heard this concept called in multiple names. But, the idea is the same throughout. Our brains are limited in the amount of people that we can comprehend. The idea of 6 billion people to us, is completely artifical to us. Only about 150 or so people are actually REAL to us. Studies have shown that native cultures, would separate into tribes no bigger than 150 people. Businesses accomplish the most when there are under 150 people at each location. It's an odd concept, one that has a lot of interesting elements to it, that you can read more about at the above link. But, it may explain yesterday's episode. Cory Lidle was never a real person to us. We watch the news and hear about fires burning down buildings and killing people, and we say that's sad and change the channel. But, it's not really sad, because those people aren't real to us. I quote the movie, 'Following', "It's like going to a futbol match, and you're in this giant arena full of people and your eyes graze across the stadium and you stop on one person. They're no longer part of the crowd. They're an individual." Cory Lidle was not an individual to us. That can explain why his death did not affect people. However, it does not explain why his death was so quickly mocked. Perhaps because his death seems to be his fault?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 8:49 AM
October 12, 2006
Cory Lidle, pitcher for the now eliminated NY Yankees drove his small plane into a New York skyscraper yesterday, and died. A few hours later, on my drive home, I was listening to a Chicago sports radio show, preparing to hear tribute memories. What I heard were comments like, "How do you fly into a building accidentally? Well, if you saw his pitching the other night, you could see he has aiming problems, hahahahaha." I kid you not. I was absolutely flaberghasted that people like that could exist. Then, this morning at LifeTime, guys were making similar comments, "Steinbrenner's probably going to blame Lidle's optometrist, haha." "Who runs a plane into a building? What an idiot." What is going on?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:36 AM
October 11, 2006
October 10, 2006
People say that tragedy brings people together. I don't thing that's what it is. I think tragedy brings people to the same mindset, be it loss, grief, anger, revenge. And it is that shared mindset that unites people. So, after Sept. 11th, non-conservatives didn't just start liking Bush's politics; we just all agreed that there was something more important to come together for. There still is.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 7:50 AM
October 09, 2006
Of course, everyone who knows me knows that my number one political push is for the ending of the domestication of animals. Here is another situation that helps illustrate my point. Every now and then, you hear of these GreenPeace or other animal rights groups sneaking into zoos and letting all of the animals out of their cages...freeing them. Those same activist groups likely go home at night to their several dogs, cats, birds, etc. It's ok for them to cage animals in their own house, because they love them?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 8:32 AM
October 06, 2006
So, there are quite a lot of comments that could be made about the Congressman Foley situation. And not too many of them would be very insightful. But, I have one. Are those who are trying to use this congressman to link Republicans with crime and debauchery, inadvertently, linking homosexuals with sexual perversion?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 3:16 PM
October 05, 2006
When is one's sex drive turned on? Is it a gradual thing? Is it sudden? Does it get turned on like a light switch during one's first sexual experience? I was thinking about my celibate single friends who want to stay celibate until marriage. Once someone has a sexual experience, becoming celibate for a long period of time seems very challenging. But, if one had never had a sexual experience, physiologically speaking, would there be the same longing?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:18 AM
October 04, 2006
There is a book called "Moneyball" that talks about the sport of baseball from a purely financial stance. It refers to an Oakland Athletics team from a few years ago, and the management that had one of the least paid teams in baseball win 100 games. The big idea behind it was that they created a financial metric that ranked each player based on things that were truly important, RBI's, On-base-percentage, etc. It turned out that some of the top ranking players were on the bench for other teams. They scouted and bought up those players and put together one of the most underpaid, overperforming teams of all time. It's a quite remarkable study about how to treat a game like a business in order to better win the game. It also makes me feel dirty.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:46 AM
October 03, 2006
October 02, 2006
Since moving up here, I've been buying the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune. It's fabulous. In Peoria, there was no good paper to get, and I didn't care, because Yahoo! News gave me everything I needed. But, there's something about flipping through an actual newspaper, not reading off a computer screen, and getting a wider assortment of stories at your fingertips. I don't know. But, how about an electronic newspaper? You buy a flexible electronic reader that folds up into one newspaper spread. It unfolds like a regular paper, but only one spread thick. With either wi-fi or through a USB input, this same paper updates electronically every day, or throughout the day. When you open the paper, there is a menu that allows you to flip through the paper electronically.
Much of the cost of newspapers is caught up in printing and distribution. Perhaps this would slow the death of newsprint?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:45 AM