September 30, 2011

Charity Water's September Campaign

Last September, we had the privilege to help out Charity Water as part of the 30 Days. 30 Bloggers. challenge. And this year, we're looking to help out in a big way again.

In 5 years, Charity Water has brought clean water to 2,000,000 people in 19 countries.

And as proud as they are of that fact, they're not happy with the pace. In fact, they're looking to change the game completely - rather than just continuing to fund project construction, they're looking to purchase the actual drilling equipment themselves!

Specifically, an FS250 Drilling Rig that can dig 80 wells in a year and bring clean water to 40,000 new people, each year. Which would mean that in 10 years, 100% of the Northern region of Ethiopia could have access to clean drinking water.

Plus, if we can help buy the one rig, a matching donor has agreed to buy a second!

Buying popcorn to support the Boy Scouts is a good thing. Buying wrapping paper to support youth football is a good thing.

This is a great thing.

100% of your donation goes to providing clean water, with 100% transparency of where your money goes.

Go visit Charity Water's September Campaign site right now.

Watch the video. Cry like I did. And then join them in changing the world.

September 29, 2011

Baby-Free Dining

It looks like we're slowly on our way toward my life goal of an airline providing baby-free flights.

Because in Pennsylvania, McDain's Restaurant has banned children under 6 years of age from their upscale casual eatery.

It has made a lot of people angry. It makes me, who, this past year, had to endure a fussy infant at the nicest steakhouse in the area - on Valentine's Day - very happy.

Many of you claimed my opinions on infant prejudice would change after having a kid.  They have not. I love the idea more than ever. And apparently, so do a lot of people.

His business has grown by 20% since making the switch.

(Note: I apologize for the programming problems when leaving a comment - I am trying to implement Facebook blogging/commenting integration and will let you know when everything is sorted out)

September 28, 2011

Moneyball Explains MyGofer's Failure

I read Moneyball 3 years ago, and it completely transformed my decision-making process - toward what I hope to be ever-increasing objectivity.

And yes, sadly for you Randians, Moneyball opened my eyes in a way the Fountainhead never could. So, I couldn't be more excited to see the movie adaptation of this book - which is getting widely praised.

But I think I just realized why MyGofer, the personal shopping service I use whose unpopularity I have posted my incredulity over several times here - isn't a success.

They get something wrong in my order every week.

Now... I save two hours a week. Despite my frustration, Moneyball logic tells me its worth it. So, I sing its praises. But most people can't see past the fact that if they shopped themselves, they'd get everything right. And so they give up on MyGofer.

When a company is relying on a completely objective populace for their success - they need a movie like Moneyball to change the way people see the world.

September 27, 2011

Creating a Civilian War Memorial

Author Sebastian Junger postulated an interesting idea recently in the New York Times.

Create a Civilian War Memorial, dedicated to the more than 100,000 civilians and counting who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq so far.

Whether you ethically believe in our role in these wars or not, it would show the world we recognize the horrific sacrifices made by the Iraqi and Afghani people over the past decade.

It also might force us to realize the very real horrors of war we don't always see.

Great idea, Mr. Junger.

September 26, 2011

Let's Redefine Gambling

If you're the best poker player at the table, is it still gambling?

Because the word "gambling" - the negative connotation - presumes an overly risky situation, right?

Whereas, buying a house, investing in mutual funds - these are "investments". These are either popular or historically safe enough financial decisions not to be associated with "gambling".

So, at what level of risk should something be considered "gambling" - in the negative sense the word currently conveys?

September 23, 2011

You Are Not a Coal Miner

You are not a coal miner. An 8-hour day is no longer, by definition, twice as valuable as a 4-hour day.

You now live in the knowledge economy. You are judged by the value of your creation. Not the mass of it.

September 22, 2011

How Do You Tell a 6-Year Old Why 9/11 Happened?

How do you tell a 6-year old why 9/11 happened?

Think about it for a second. How you do simplify it for them?

Ok, now be honest with yourself. And ask yourself if that's the same reason you think 9/11 happened?

I addressed this topic yesterday with a guest post at the Humble Libertarian. Go check it out.

September 20, 2011

It's Society's Fault

But, "society" is not an entity. Society is not out to get you. Society is not what's wrong with society.

But, people exist. And cooperation exists. And the combination of those two things is what society really is.

September 19, 2011

It's People

By sheer probability alone, don't you think that someone, somewhere, probably in China, is working on developing Soylent Green right now?

September 16, 2011

Comcast Customer Service Surprise...

Two years ago, my interactions with Comcast employees had me loathing the company that consistently tops user polls of the most hated brand in America.

This week, I had an incredibly pleasant and overall positive experience with Comcast.

Here's my theory. Two years ago, Comcast didn't have to provide good service. In thousands of towns across America, they were it. The only game in town. The only player. You didn't have a choice if you wanted cable Internet or cable television.

Today, you're starting to have a choice. Securing an Internet or cable connection through a different wireless company. Opting out of cable all together for Hulu Plus, Netflix and other online streaming services.

Two years ago, Comcast could call your bluff when you threatened to cancel. Today, they can't.

So, they're nice to you now. They have to be.
(...insert trite close about how capitalistic competition makes everything better)

September 15, 2011

The Non-Utilitarian Skinny Tie

I have a design problem.

I pride myself in being a design minimalist. I believe that the the most beautiful design is the most utilitarian design. I believe in functional beauty.

Yet, I love skinny ties. I wear them at least once a week in a job position that doesn't require them.

My idealistic design beliefs say I should lose it. What say you?

September 14, 2011

Charity Water Says Thank You

Last September, this blog was part of the "30 Days. 30 Bloggers." fundraising challenge for Charity Water, in which we were able to provide 573 people in the Central African Republic with clean water for the next 20 years.

Charity Water put together a thank you video, in which they specifically thanked us at All Opinions are Not Equal. Really sweet of them. Can't say enough about this organization.

CHECK OUT OUR THANK YOU! (the link skips straight to our mention)

September 13, 2011

Circumcision vs. Sharia Law

Oh yeah, we're going there today.

Let's pretend you've never heard of circumcision before. And you just found out that some religious group is cutting the penises of their infant boys.

Umm...what? How is this not illegal?!?

We give religion some HUGE cultural leeway when it comes to raising children...unless they're Islam.

...yes I know it's not the same thing.

September 12, 2011

The Children's Hospital's Reception Area is Ugly

During our relief-filled visit to Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago last week, I was surprised to find the children's area to be so dingy and unattractive for such a prestigious institution.

And the more I thought about this, the happier it made me. Reception aesthetics apparently fall very low on this not-for-profit's priority wishlist, which utilizes the latest in life-saving technology every day.

This is a perfect reminder not to spend resources doing "good things" and instead focus on the "most good per $ things".

I credit the Copenhagen Consensus Center for their continued efforts to politically popularize this concept, and urge you to check out their latest project, Rethink HIV.

September 09, 2011

Higher Ed Still Hot?

I work in higher education, for a private university that has achieved record enrollment numbers each year over the past 3, coinciding with the worst economic drop in the past century.

This isn't just my school. It's a trend across higher education. And it's really confusing to me.

Because as the economy gets worse, parents should be finding it harder and harder to help put their kids through college. And yet, simultaneously, they're seeing that individuals without higher degrees are the biggest victims of unemployment right now.

September 07, 2011

The Death of Self

Many religions promote self-improvement.

Is Christianity alone in promoting self-destruction, the very death of self?

September 06, 2011

Shakespearean Fraud

Until very recently, I had assumed that people in the 16th century actually talked like Shakespeare wrote them. And that only in the past couple hundred years had we devolved into plain-spokenness.

I am a moron who didn't think that assumption through.

Turns out that plain-speak has been the norm for millenia. But during the Renaissance, there was a desire to return to high civility - to hierarchy - to nobility. But, this was an attempt at culture creation. Not the reality of the culture itself.

It's like your friends who still go to Rennaissance Fairs on the weekend. It's playing dress up. It's faking a British accent.

It wasn't real - even back then.

September 02, 2011

Plus Size Clothing Stores

There are a couple exclusively plus-size clothing stores for women that have popped up around my area.

Designed specifically for women sizes 14 and up, these stores offer moden accesible fashion that better fits the plus-size female. They don't shy away from stating who they are. "Plus-size clothing" is in the store's headline. Plus-size models are plastered on the windows.

Here's my question regarding this business model. Are girls, especially younger girls, going to be slightly embarrassed to be seen coming out of these stores by people they know? Are they going to be embarrassed when someone asks them where they got their beautiful sweater?

I know these stores exist precisely because the mainstream brands are awful at this segment, often, sadly, by intention. But, is this the solution or a gateway step?

I'm prepared for the "how dare you! Girls shouldn't be ashamed of who they are!" comments, but if you can, let's avoid those, pretend I'm not evil, and actually address the question I'm presenting.

Are teenager girls going to be ashamed to be seen in these stores? And if so, is this the long-term solution to modern, fashionable plus-size clothing?

September 01, 2011

If You Could Be Known for One Thing?

Let's say you meet someone new for the first time, and you can choose what impression you leave them with. But, only one thing.

For example, once you leave the room, you want them to say more than anything, "He/She was _____."

What would that one thing be?

After thinking hard about this, I was surprised to realize that mine is "funny". I want people to think I'm funny more than anything else. More than intelligent. More than sensitive. More than musical.

I want to be a clown. I want to make you laugh.

What's your thing?

HAPPY UPDATE: For all You God-Beggars Out There

We are very relieved right now. After a long day at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the surgeon thought we might be able to wait until our daughter is 9 mos. old and just do the 2nd kidney surgery - when it's a lot safer (less painful) for her! Still praying to avoid this next one.

Appreciate your support more than anything.

A Christian Approach To The End Of Life

 Note: This post has been contributed. Unsplash - CC0 License Talking about the end of life isn’t a popular topic. But it is something that ...