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It's not Capitalism that's the problem
Whenever you watch a news report, you see that the world has many severe problems that cause people to needlessly suffer. Very often, free market, which is commonly referred to as Capitalism, is what is blamed for creating those problems. After all, this is the dominant economic system in the world.
The irony is that, whenever people say that Capitalism is bad, they often do so by posting it on Facebook from their iPhone while having a coffee at Starbucks, none of which would have existed without free market. So, essentially, critics forget about the fact that the economic system that they love to hate is the same system that brought them all their daily comforts and enabled their lifestyle.
Although it is true that a lot human suffering happens under the Capitalist system, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is the Capitalist system that directly causes all of this suffering. Saying that it does is pretty much the same as saying that water is lethal due to the fact that everyone who has ever died used to regularly drink water.
In fact, "water is lethal" statement provides a good example of how manipulative political ideas are pushed. The proponents of a particular idea would first tell you some solid facts that nobody can argue against and then would try to use these facts to express a pseudo-logical conclusion to support their view. As you will see, framing free market as the sole cause of some of the world's problems is one of such pseudo-logical conclusions. In many of such cases, Capitalism per se is not to blame.
The most important skill for 21st century
We are living in the information age. Many traditional industries and jobs associated with them are on the way out. Internet and smart technologies have radically changed how we live and work.
Although technology has improved our lives overall, it also made certain things much more challenging. One of the biggest of these issues is the fact that our attention span has been substantially reduced.
Therefore, if you want to be successful in the 21st century, the most important skill is probably not what you think it is. It is not the knowledge of programming languages. Neither it is the knowledge of online marketing or SEO. Without a doubt, those skills are in demand and are great to have. But they will mean nothing unless you have mastered one particular meta-skill:
The ability to focus for prolonged periods of time
How to think like a hacker
Contrary to the popular belief, hackers are not always the people who breach website security and steal personal data. The word also refers to the software developers who build revolutionary software by putting together some components in such a way that nobody thought of before. This is why when you hear somebody referring to Mark Zuckerberg as a hacker, this doesn't necessarily mean that he is out there to steal your data, as many assume. What it means in the context is that he has built the most successful social media network in the world from his university dorms.
What is more interesting, however, is that the hackers think in a particular way and this way of thinking is not only applicable to technology. It can be applied anywhere. Regardless of who you are and what you do, if you learn to think like a hacker, the quality of your life will improve significantly.
This mode of thinking is not exclusively present in those who are traditionally referred to as hackers. Some of the best scientists, artists and other creative individuals have it too. And, at its base, it is quite simple. It is all about thinking out of the box and not accepting the status quo. This is the core skill that needs to be developed before anything else if one aspires to become a hacker or learn to think like one. This way of thinking is what allows the hackers to use various things for something other than their intended purpose. The rest of the equation, the specialist skills, are much easier to learn.
One human trait that slows down humanity's progress
There is one thing in the IT industry that happens often, yet makes no sense. When a given project is not progressing at the pace it was planned to, quite often this has nothing to do with how efficient the participants of the project are. More often than not, this is due to underestimation of the effort required at the beginning of the project. In such case, unless there are clear indicators that there are other factors affecting the speed of the delivery, there is little that can be done to improve it.
Unfortunately, this is not how some project managers think. In some teams, when certain deadlines aren't met, the measures that are introduced from the above are increase in length and frequency of meetings and the requirement on each team member to write all of their tasks into a weekly, or sometimes even daily, time report. Of course, as stretched as the team members already are, they can now spend even less time doing the actual project work. So do the managers themselves. After all, they are the ones who have to read all of those time reports. After these measures are implemented, the progress usually slows down even further.
The practice is obviously irrational, so why is it so widespread? The answer to this is simple. These seemingly irrational actions are driven by a deeply ingrained human trait:
The irresistible urge to take action when things aren't fully satisfactory, regardless of whether any action is appropriate in a given situation or not
See everything that Facebook and Google know about you
Not very long ago, Facebook has, once again, ended up in the middle of controversy related to personal data of its users. Although many people were outraged, nobody was surprised. After all, it wasn't the first time a global tech giant compromised privacy of those who entrusted their data to it.
But if you do use Facebook, how would you know what the company knows about you? Quite conveniently, the company itself has provided its users with tools that will enable them to do exactly that. So did another tech giant, Google.
Want to know everything that Facebook and Google know about you? If you do, read on. Here is the set of links that will allow you to view or download all of your data. You will probably be surprised.
How society conditions you for mediocrity
Why, despite a strong economy and virtually unlimited opportunities, only a small number of people in developed countries live the life that they are fully satisfied with? There are many reasons for this and, sometimes, there are individual circumstances beyond people's control that get in people's way. However, there is one key reason why most of the people are not achieving what they personally would define as success: the society deliberately conditions people for mediocrity.
This is not just another conspiracy theory. As you will see, there are plenty of observable and demonstrable facts which suggest that the society indeed conditions people for mediocrity, or is at least trying to. There are many things going on in the society which are widespread and socially acceptable that either provide no benefit to people who do them or even make their lives worse. Likewise, there are things that, despite not causing any harm to anyone, aren't considered to be socially acceptable, despite the fact that practicing those can have a great positive effect on one's life.
Before I continue, I need to make an important statement: there is, actually, nothing wrong with being mediocre. If you are living an ordinary life and are fully satisfied with it, there is no need to change anything in your life. This article is not aimed at you, although you may still want to read it out of interest. However, if you, just like me, have a nagging feeling that you are not living up to your full potential, read on.
Why you shouldn't always trust scientists
Science is, without a doubt, the best methodology available to humankind to figure out how the world works. Every piece of research done within the framework of modern scientific method goes through several rounds of reviews by other specialists in a given field to ensure that all of the work has been done in objective manner and no bias has been introduced. Researchers who don't follow the rules dictated by the modern scientific method quickly lose their reputation and become unemployable within their fields.
This, however, doesn't mean that every scientific research is completely objective from everybody's perspective. And I am not even talking about outright scientific fraud, such as debunked research that concluded that vaccines cause Autism. There are instances where researchers follow all the prescribed rules, but what they present to the public is not how things are in reality. At best, such manipulations of scientific principles does not help anyone outside of the team that did the research and, at worst, it can actually reinforce unhelpful beliefs in the society and reduce quality of many people's lives.
Let's now go into the details to see how such misdeeds happen. I hope that, after reading this, you will know what to look out for and will not be easily manipulated into trusting somebody with perceived objectivity credentials when they are trying to impose some sort of hidden agenda.
Dark side of software development
I would say without a doubt that software developer is a great profession. As I wrote previously, it is a career that pays above average and has some other perks associated with it. I do enjoy it and can't imagine myself doing anything else as a vocation. However, there are certain negative aspects of the job that make it an unsuitable career choice for many people.
Just as there are many young guys out there who think it would be cool to join armed special forced, but only very few would be willing to go through a tough physical and mental training to achieve this goal, so there are many people who chose a career of a software developer, only to abandon it shortly afterwards and tell everyone how much it sucks. Because of this, I have outlined 10 of the most prominent negative aspects of a software development career that anyone who enters the profession is very likely to encounter. If you can cope with those, then a software development career is something you should probably consider.
I cannot wait for AI to take over
Recently, we have experienced a significant heat wave in England. The temperature soared well above what is normal for June and air stood still for several days. England is not a country where many residential dwellings have any inbuilt air conditioning, so buying a portable fan or an air conditioner was the only option for those who wanted to be comfortable in the scorching heat. The problem was, however, that most of the shops have completely ran out of these appliances in a matter of days. When the stock was finally replenished and prices were put up, the heatwave was over and shops ended up with piles of cooling appliances that nobody wanted to buy any longer.
Remember that selfishness can be healthy and ethical
When I was studying at university, I wanted to become a part of something that would make the world a better place. I didn't want to be yet another cog in a corporate profit-earning machine. This is why I have chosen Environmental Biology as my bachelor's degree and have later chosen Environmental Informatics as masters degree. I wanted to be as altruistic as possible and I despised self-interested people. I was also a practicing Christian. However, since then, I gained more insight into how capitalist economic system actually works and realised that self-interest can be good, depending on the circumstances. Moreover, I am still a Christian and I don't see any conflicts between my believe that selfishness can be good and my Christian beliefs.
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