Coning this Fall – the end of credit cards?

 Leather Wallet

 

Apple’s e-wallet could debut as soon as this fall, possibly with ‘iPhone 6′
[Via AppleInsider]

A report on Wednesday claims Apple is accelerating work on a mobile payments system, or digital wallet, that could be ready by this fall, allowing customers to pay for physical goods with their iPhone instead of a credit card or cash.

[More]

I’ve written before about how Apple will change the whole idea of a credit card transaction, through the use of an iPhone and iBeacons. And how Apple made some basic changes in its networking protocols to sent encrypted data.

Now it looks like it might come here this Fall. Never have to remove your credit card. Use your iPhone to transit all the necessary data and encrpted for protection. Now you don’t have to worry about a waiter running your card twice, or copying the number or using their own software to copy the card.

In fact, with an iWatch, you might not even need to remove your iPhone from your pocket.

So now think if Apple receives a small percentage of every Visa transaction? Thiunk that might enhance their bottom line?

If I had spare money, I;d be buying Apple stock.

The seventh year anniversary of a cultural icon’s last journey

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows 

How Harry Potter shaped a generation
[Via Boing Boing]

Seven years after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Caroline Siedelooks back on the book series that defined a generation.

[More]

This series changed how books are read and by whom. It also instructed a generation on the proper way to deal with authoritarian perils, even as the individuals involved were complex, multifaceted characters

We could hate the actions Snape took as much as we liked them. Same with Dumlbedore. Or Draco. They did things not because they were evil but because they were humans trying to make their way in the world, dealing with the consequences of the decisions they made. Sometimes people die because of those decisions.

It showed that even if not perfect, people could do the right thing to help others and to defeat the forces that drive authoritarian tyrannies.

Exactly the battle that generation will fight in real life. Those books provided early training for what the Potter generation will deal with most of their adulthood.

People refuse to acknowledge climate change not because they are ignorant but because they do not believe it

micro-climate 

Are the people who refuse to accept climate change ill-informed?
[Via Ars Technica]

Polls relating to publicly controversial scientific issues often trigger a great wailing and gnashing of teeth from science advocates. When large proportions of a population seem poorly informed about evolution, climate change, or genetically modified foods, the usual response is to bemoan the state of science literacy. It can seem obvious that many people don’t understand the science of evolution, for example—or the scientific method, generally—and that opinions would change if only we could educate them.

Research has shown, unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Ars has previously covered Yale Professor Dan Kahan’s research into what he calls “cultural cognition,” and the idea goes like this: public opinion on these topics is fundamentally tied to cultural identities rather than assessment of scientific evidence. In other words, rather than evaluate the science, people form opinions based on what they think people with a similar background believe.

That shouldn’t come as a shock, especially given the well-known political or religious divides apparent for climate change and evolution.

[More]

Cultural cognition * – “public opinion on these topics is fundamentally tied to cultural identities rather than assessment of scientific evidence. In other words, rather than evaluate the science, people form opinions based on what they think people with a similar background believe.”

How people answer polls about science like climate change tell us more about their cultural identity than whether they know the facts. They know the facts. They just chose not to believe them.

People are quite willing to ignore facts all the time. It can be a good thing. We ignore the fact that we will die in order to make living easier. 

It is what keeps a Cubs fan optimistic that this year they will win it all. 

This all fits into how human communities adapt to change. Most people will not change what they are doing unless told to by a community leader. They follow a hierarchical authoritarian model – they do not have to know everything as long as they can trust their leaders to tell them the right thing to do.

This approach can be very powerful when the leaders have a good idea of how to solve a relatively simply problem that affects small numbers of people. It can get things done quickly. At least at first.

It falls apart when dealing with complex problems affecting millions. Information flow slows. No single hierarchy can see the entire problem. No one authority can solve it.

Then the emperor is revealed to have no clothes. Those following an authoritarian model will continue to state he does have clothes on and they are beautiful.

Luckily humans also have another approach, one using distributed social networks to foster rapid information flow through the demos. It is through democratic processes in a distributed network that we can begin to deal with very complex problems.

We need to synthesize data across multiple communities to get a better picture of, say, the emperor. An adaptive, distributed approach will see that he is naked and take action accordingly.

A synthetic, distributed approach across multiple communities must be used to provide all the information needed. And turn that information into the knowledge needed to take action.

And that is why I continue to be disappointed in the inability of people, mainly conservatives, to provide their voices in solving this problem.

We need all our heads involved, including conservative minds.

But the inability to adapt cultural cognition, to continue to follow the clothes-less emperor, still seems to drive the minds of their leaders. It is closing their communities off more and more from an accurate view of the world around us.

Even as the military adapts. And insurance companies. Two communities grounded in hierarchical authority (anyone who has dealt with either knows this) that realise they need to adapt.

So it is possible to adapt. It makes one wonder what is preventing the political leaders who refuse to acknowledge climate change. Surely not national security. Nor deadly catastrophes.

*One of the things I enjoy with Ars – whenever they have a climate change post, you can guarantee there will be interesting comments, even from those who do not acknowledge the topic. Not necessarily nice or even intelligent but some interesting ones. Seven pages of comments! And I bet not one opinion changed. That is the cultural identity of those at this site. As it is at many websites who create their own cultures.

Bacteria that prevent obesity – can we get the FDA to fasttrack this?

Mycobacterium tuberculosis Bacteria, the Cause of TB 

Vanderbilt study shows therapeutic bacteria prevent obesity in mice
[Via EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health]

(Vanderbilt University Medical Center) A probiotic that prevents obesity could be on the horizon.Bacteria that produce a therapeutic compound in the gut inhibit weight gain, insulin resistance and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet in mice, Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered.

[More]

We will get there soon, I believe. Our understanding of how our microbiota affect our health is rapidly increasing.

So figuring our how to make this work will be really helpful.

New way to make water into steam from sunlight

Sponge Converts Sunlight Into Steam for Electricity
[Via Discovery News - Top Stories]

A completely new structure heats water and turns it into steam. Continue reading →

[More]

If this can be scaled up, it could find some real uses.

Talking with strangers makes us happier and feel more productive

tokyo subway 

You’d Be Happier If You Talked to Strangers More Often
[Via D-brief]

Humans are some of the most social creatures on this planet, but step into an elevator, train or public bus and something strange happens: we fall silent, stare at the wall and ignore the strangers surrounding us. But in doing so, we might be missing out on an easy way to make ourselves happier people.

Through several experiments, behavioral scientists Nicholas Epley and Juliana Schroeder demonstrated that we view solitude as a better option than engaging a stranger, not because we like being alone, but because we mistakenly think others don’t want to talk to us. As a result, we miss a chance to make our morning commutes more pleasurable, or even make a new friend.

Defying Expectations

The scientists started their investigation by recruiting over 100 commuters at a train station in Homewood, Illinois, and splitting them into three groups. One group was given instructions to strike up conversation with a stranger, another told to stay silent, and the third to simply carry on like they normally would. Then, after their commute, participants filled out an assessment that asked them to rate how productive, pleasant and happy their commute felt.

A second experimental group simply filled out a survey that asked them to predict their happiness levels in each of the three situations. However, they weren’t asked to take action.

In the first experimental group, those who struck up a conversation with someone — across the board — had a more pleasurable commute, and even felt more productive. On average, they spoke for 14 minutes. But interestingly, those that were asked to predict their moods went in a completely different direction: they assumed that talking to a stranger would make their commute less pleasant, less productive and leave them less happy.

[More]

It turns out that we are such social creatures that we would actually like to talk with people, even when we do not want to talk with people.

Interesting findings.

Making a better world = Separating Sheep from Goats

Ellis Island

The parable of the sheep and goats – to me, one of the defining Biblical passages describing the underlying principles of Christ’s teachings. (with the Sermon on the Mount being the other major one).

As I have written before:

Whether it is the New Commandment to love one another, the Second Great Commandment to love our neighbors, turning the other cheek in response to evil, or how to love one’s enemies, His teachings show a path that breaks cycles of violence that often reverberate during times of change and strife.

This parable catalogs some of the actions that can be taken by those following his teachings – the sheep. It details how they separate themselves by how they treat others.

Seeing a person in difficulty, having compassion and acting to remedy that difficulty is one of the defining teachings that Christ provided.

They are about how to treat other humans, how compassion is required. Empathy and sympathy are what constantly drive successful societies and simply slow down cultures doomed to failure.

Time for us all to be separated – so many goats and so few sheep. From Matthew 25:

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

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