June 28, 2012

3 Obligatory Observations from Today's SCOTUS Health Care Ruling

Some quick obligatory observations from today's SCOTUS ruling, in which the Supreme Court upheld President Obama's healthcare law, including the individual mandate which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance.

1) Our news organizations are pretty terrible. I'm the first to preach about the benefits of being first-to-market. For instance, Coke is beating Pepsi today primarily because they got there first. Unfortunately, news organizations understand this reality. And today, we saw too many examples of the desire to be first, above....any sort of accuracy whatsoever.

2) For conservatives who see no real, practical difference between an Obama and a Romney candidacy, this court ruling may end up creating a Romney enthusiasm that didn't exist before, these particular conservative's only hope for a full repeal of the healthcare bill.

3) I'm still not sure how we expect this to actually lower our health care costs in a game changing way, without either incentivizing people to healthy living or penalizing individuals for preventable healthcare costs caused by lifestyle choices. We can make fun of Bloomberg's banning soft drinks 16 oz. and up, but IF (and that's a big "if") we are going to collectively pay for everyone's healthcare, this is the only thing that makes any sort of economic sense, liberty be damned.

June 25, 2012

Why I Hide 70% of my "Friends" on Facebook

Everyone's Facebook experience starts out pretty great.

You immediately "friend" the people closest to you. And now you have this news feed of your favorite people, sharing with you in real-time, news about your very favorite people.

But by definition, as your # of Facebook friends increases, the quality of your news feed goes down.

Because you stray further and further from your inner circle each time you add someone. From closest friends to college friends. High school friends. Church friends. Extended family. That guy I met that one time that I think is friends with Jeff somehow?

If you add a new Facebook friend today, it's probably because you either just met the person, or you were never that close to begin with.

Now there is a small chance this new friend will enter your inner circle over time, but the odds are greater that the quality of your news feed just went down a little.

"But, what if they're really interesting and funny, Eric?"

They absolutely could be. But we also might disagree on what "interesting" and "funny" are. After all, the reason your closest friends are your closest friends is because you probably happen to think, act and live fairly similarly. You share interests. You share humor. You share worldviews. You share the same preference for what Facebook should be.

For me, I just want to be entertained. I want you to make me laugh. I want you to make me think. I want you to show me cool things I haven't seen. That's why I'm on Facebook.

And if your Facebook posts don't do those things, I'm going to hide you.

But, we can still be friends.

June 21, 2012

What Makes for Socially Acceptable Textual Pornography?

Would you feel more uncomfortable sitting on a plane next to a woman reading 50 Shades of Grey or a man leafing through a Playboy?

Because I'm taken aback when I hear a woman talk about how she's reading (or has read) 50 Shades of Grey, and is seemingly unembarrassed to do so.  (Note: for those unaware, this is a romance/erotica book that has uniquely achieved mainstream status, and New York Times bestselling success, despite what I am told is fairly uninspired writing.)

I guess I don't understand the difference between visual and textual pornography.

They are both created to do the same thing - each targeted to a different gender, based on biological differences.

...but the Playboy seems worse, right?

June 19, 2012

Encouraging Childhood Invention Challenge: COMPLETED

Five years ago, I put forth a challenge on this blog.

"The next time you see a child entrepreneur (lemonade stand, etc.), pay $5 for the cup of lemonade."

This weekend, I finally completed my own challenge. I was driving in my car when I saw the four 9-year olds and their makeshift box stand. Remembered my challenge. Had my wallet. And pulled over.


They were selling Arizona iced tea for a quarter.

I bought a cup for $5. They were thrilled. I heard one whisper, "...fill up the cup as high as you can. he paid $5 for it!"

As I drove away, I heard another shout out to his mother, "He bought one! And paid $5! For just the one!"

I left happy, believing I had instilled a beautiful belief in entrepreneurship for these 4 young kids.

It was only later that I questioned whether or not I may have instead birthed a forever love of money itself.



June 14, 2012

Stop Evangelizing Capitalism as if it's the End Game

People need to stop evangelizing capitalism as if its the end game.

Because it's not. Capitalism merely maximizes the total pie. It's a given.

Now what we choose to do with our greater slices, that's worth evangelizing.

June 11, 2012

You Can't Choose Your Family...But...

You can't choose your family.

But you can make different Thanksgiving plans.

As long  if you decide to define family as those people you love and enjoy spending time with.

Likewise, you can't choose your co-workers.

But you can change where you work.

As long as you decide to define loyalty as a 2-way street.

June 06, 2012

How to Better Filter Your Information Intake?

I love learning.

I have limited time in the day.

Most of my learning comes from reading.

There are a lot of bad writers out there.

There are a lot of great writers out there who don't write things I'm interested in.

So, this ends up with me reading a lot of different articles each day about politics, technology, education, faith and more. From blogs I subscribe to. Magazines I subscribe to. Twitter links from people I follow. Facebook links from people I follow.

Only approximately 10% of the content I read in a day is really worth reading.

Any tips on how to better filter my information intake?

June 05, 2012

The Moral Responsibility of Dentist as Health Care Professional

I went to the dentist.

He told me I'm grinding my teeth so hard at night I'm actually wearing down my fillings.

He told me this is typically a symptom of stress, before recommending I wear a mouth guard at night.

As a health care professional, shouldn't he at least have entertained the possibility of trying to lower my stress, rather than resign to the fact that my molars will perpetually attack each other?