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Investing or Gambling?

7 Jul

dice

The stock market is great if you like to gamble, but dislike instant gratification. When you roll the dice, you know the outcome instantly. Either your number hit or it didn´t. With stocks, it is a little trickier. You can roll the proverbial dice, purchase some stocks or derivatives and have to wait years before you know if your number hit or not. And sometimes you can lose just because you could not wait the amount of time necessary to see your bet pay off, forcing you to cash in. But when you get down to the basic idea of stocks and games of chance or gambling on sports, there is little difference.

Even with all the information in the world, you do not know what tomorrow brings. You don´t know what new innovation will come making current technologies obsolete. You don´t know what is going on behind closed doors that could bring a company to its knees. You don´t know if the information provided to investors is in fact factual. On the other hand, nothing stops a gambler from delving into the stats and information of a sports team. One can make a pretty educated guess as to which team or fighter is going to come up victorious. With that said, no one can predict the future making both ventures very similar.

Some will use the term invest or investment instead of bet, which serves as both noun and verb. This may be a little verbal snobbery but it does not take away the fact you are putting money down now in hopes that it turns into more in the future.

Slaves to Convenience

30 Aug

slave

 

Some people watch news about starving people in Africa and may think to themselves, “Poor them. They are days away from starvation. Look at how they depend on others just to feed themselves.”

That last thought is rather tricky. In many places in Africa, they are dependent on others bringing them food. Many NGOs, including large ones like UNICEF are the only entities keeping some medium to large populations alive. People, sometimes living on the opposite end of the globe, give money, either directly through charitable giving or indirectly by paying taxes and then having their tax dollars turned into aid sustain these populations to the extent that if the money dried up and the food stopped coming in, these populations would be devastated.

These people are usually given pre-processed food stuffs. Not seeds, not knowhow, but sacks of flour, rice, beans, etc. This drives home the point that if the money goes away, the food goes away and people will starve.

My contention in this piece is, there is no difference between the people surviving on aid and the people supplying the aid in one crucial aspect, self sustainability. Neither population is truly sustainable if left to their own devices. Just as the needy population would be devastated if the aid dried up, the rich populations would be just as devastated if their chain of food were interrupted. Neither groups have the knowhow to sustain themselves. I must admit, I am not sure if I could keep my family alive if I could not go to the local supermarket or restaurant for nourishment.

They are both forms of dependence. The needy are given food thus taking away any incentive to learn how to cultivate food for themselves while the rich cannot be bothered with such activities due to their busy schedules. Both are slaves to convenience albeit in different ways. One group’s chains and shackles are free while the other group pays for theirs.

One just needs to look at the hurricane that hit New York City in 2013. The food supply chain was interrupted due to flooding and New York was almost out of food in three days. People were going into to neighboring states New Jersey and Connecticut looking for food. Imagine if these states did not exist and there was nothing but wilderness until the Pacific Ocean. There would have been massive deaths due to starvation.

It is easy to take for granted how easy our lives are. But it is also easy to take for granted how delicate the balance truly is. We are one natural disaster, one real oil crisis, one cosmic event such as a communications destroying solar flare, etc. away from living as if we were in the Stone Ages. Are you prepared in such an event? I know I am not but it may be prudent to be at least slightly prepared. A doomsday basement filled with rations, arms and ammunition and stashed of gold may not be in order but certainly a little basic knowledge of farming, plants and basic survival might go a long way.

 

How the iPod could destroy the creativity of a generation

1 Sep

Since the very first time a homo-sapien rhythmically beat on a log, we as a species have been awed and inspired by music. Fast forward thousands of years and the ubiquitous ear buds can be found jammed into the aural openings of the majority of today’s youth giving them instantaneously access to rhythmic sounds of all kinds. Because they cannot be left to their own thoughts with the constant drone of the art of others playing into their head, this cannot be a good thing for their own artistic development. Furthermore, the music itself cannot have the same impact on the mind of the listener.

Imagine just a few centuries ago. To hear music, it had to played live and right in front of you. This is hard for us to wrap our heads around but not so long ago, there wasn´t even amplification of sound. You could not be more than a few dozen of meters away from the artist to hear them make music. This diminished the chances to hear music. In this way, the music could be planted in the mind like a seed to be left to germinate in the mind of the listener. Today with the constant onslaught of art being injected, it no longer has this time to sprout roots in the mind. Music is no longer reflected upon but consumed ravenously and sometimes not even deliberately.

Even as little as a few decades ago, hearing a great song was a beautiful thing of chance as you had to wait for it to come on the radio, be in a household with an archaic record player or be fortunate enough to be in the presence of live music being played. Now, we have the access to any song at any time right on our communication devices. This will decrease the creativity of the next generation as the constant feeding of art directly into their head will retard the creating of art. The mind, much like the testicles of a steroid abuser that stop producing testosterone when artificial test is introduced, will atrophy and stop producing its own unique art.