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Has anyone read the entire text of the stimulus package?

The ambiguity of this question is intentional.

Buy Female Pink Viagra Without Prescription, For those reading this post who have read the entire text, would you please comment on it?  What are the highlights, what are the important hidden details, do you think it will work, whatever you want to say.

On the more literal interpretation of my question, how many people do you think actually have read the entire text, particularly those in Congress and the Administration?  My supposition is that very few have, and I wonder even if Obama has read every single page.  This would not be a surprising revelation, but rather a practical "necessity" of our current political process.  Presumably each decision maker has a staff of people who do read and analyze every clause in a bill and who summarize for their boss.

Now, if it's the case that no Member or Senator has actually read the entire …

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Gary Marcus says he'd like for there to be a course on metacognition for kids:

Atarax For Sale, Call it "The Human Mind: A User's Guide," aimed at, say, seventh-graders.  Instead of emphasizing facts, I'd expose students to the architecture of the mind, what it does well, and what it doesn't.  And most important, how to cope with its limitations, to consider evidence in a more balanced way, to be sensitive to biases in our reasoning, to make choices in ways that better suit our long-term goals.

What a brilliant and practical idea.

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Here's a contest model for spurring innovation that I'd like to explore:

  1. 50 participatns ante a pre-determined amount of money
  2. Each participant submits original work (of a pre-determined type)
  3. Each participant votes for one winner (other than themselves)
  4. Winner gets the money
Aricept For Sale, This is similar to other contest models such as biz plan competitions and screenplay competitions, however there are key differences: (1) you put up your own money (2) you judge the winner.

Here are some optional rule variants:

  • Allow public input (and originality vetting) before voting
  • Money put up by: participants, where to buy Aricept, Aricept images, organizer, or outside sponsor/investor
  • Determining winners
    • Allow more than one winner
    • Use multiple rounds of voting to determine winner
    • Bracket tourney (random draw, Aricept street price, Aricept samples, or use voting round for seeding)
  • Administrative fee for organizer (who should never be allowed to participate, BTW)
  • Winner gets non-monetary benefits too
  • Winner has obligations to fulfill
Depending on …

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Hydrochlorothiazide For Sale, Taking the cue from social software sites like Digg, the Obama transition team is leveraging the wisdom of your crowd to find out what the most important and relevant questions are that the public wants answered.  Judging from the top page of questions as voted by several hundred thousand people, the relevance/importance quotient is very high.  Below is the email that tipped me off to this latest development in "government 2.0".


Dear Rafe, Hydrochlorothiazide cost, Online buy Hydrochlorothiazide without a prescription,

We recently launched a new feature on called Open for Questions. Thousands of you responded, Hydrochlorothiazide natural, Hydrochlorothiazide from canadian pharmacy, asking 10,000 questions and voting nearly a million times on questions from others.

Now that we've answered some of the most popular ones from the last round, Hydrochlorothiazide online cod, Buy cheap Hydrochlorothiazide no rx, we are open for questions again. Ask whatever you like, Hydrochlorothiazide recreational, Hydrochlorothiazide class, and

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I typed "social entrepreneurship tax credit" into Google and the top result was this page on Buy Clindamycin Gel Without Prescription, .  There are some good ideas there, and I hope they get implemented once he takes office.  But I'd like to see even more.

What I had in mind when I started thinking about this subject was how there is a structural deficiency in our duality of for-profit and non-profit organizations.  Specifically, Clindamycin Gel schedule, Clindamycin Gel coupon, I feel we need to support social entrepreneurship, which is a new category that sits between these two endpoints.  Social entrepreneurs (SEs) are not opposed to (and often strive to) make profit, taking Clindamycin Gel, Low dose Clindamycin Gel, but they also have the goal of doing good for society, the world or for a specific subset thereof.  The very existence and growth of this category of organization and business model suggests the deficiency of which I speak, what

Greening the Bailout

bed Code) He makes so much sense!  Kevin?

Your Seat at the Table

The Obama Transition team wants your input on how to fix the country: [youtube=] No, seriously.  Check out the various meetings they have upcoming and the comments sections that go with each.  Some topics like Health Care have lots of comments.  Others like the Humanitarian, Refugee, and Asylum Policy meeting currently have no comments, which means you could have quite a bit of influence by being the only one to spout your opinion... So, what do you think?  Will Obama policy be shaped by this promising open forum with unprecedented input from the average citizen, or will this end up as just good PR? p.s. is that Stephen Colbert looking askance at the bald dude?  :-)…

The New Model for Primary Care Medicine

Rebooting America

Rebooting America Anyone interested in how technology and policy can work together to form us a more perfect union should read Rebooting America.  If your budget is tight right now, you can download the PDF version for free. While you are at it, check out the Personal Democracy Forum which is the larger effort that Rebooting America is part of.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

[youtube=] Okay, Kev, here's your chance on affecting climate policy, go crazy!…

How Grandma Saved Democracy

Visiting my 90 year old grandma a couple of weeks ago, I saw the opportunity for a product that I think would have a lot of success in the marketplace.  Like the iPhone though, it's not so much the idea -- I'm sure someone is working on or already has the idea -- but rather in the implementation and interface. My grandma has one of those electronic picture frames that sits in her living room, is connected to a proprietary service via a phone line, and can be updated with new pictures remotely by her family members.  She gets incredible delight in discovering new photos and watching old ones go by as she drinks her tea in the morning or before bed at night.  The key to this whole product for her (and for many others) is that it works completely without her having to lift a finger. Her family set it up and they take responsibility for updating the photos.  If grandma had to…

Crowdsourcing Election Verification, part 2

Back in June, I suggested that public voting records would be healthy for our democracy if the populace were comfortable revealing their voting records.  There is now a movement* and new web site for this called Who Voted? though they are not going as far as I am in advocating for revealing your actual choices. True to my word, I voted absentee, which not only gave me an opportunity to photocopy my completed ballot, but also gave me some time fill out each choice so that I could double-check and not make a mistake.  I am revealing to you each of my ballot choices.  My home state is Nevada, I'll let you look up the details of the ballot choices if you care.
  • U.S. President/VP: Obama/Biden
  • U.S. Rep. in Congress: Shelly Berkeley
  • State Senate: David Parks
  • State Assembly: Joe Hogan
  • Justice of Supreme Court Seat B: Deborah Schumacher
  • Justice of Supreme Court Seat D: Mark Gibbons
  • District Court Judge, Dept. 6: Elissa Cadish
  • District Court

Want to Influence Financial Crisis Policy Debate?

One of the talks at Pop!Tech this year sparked intense emotions regardless of whether people agreed with the premise or not:

Juan Enriquez (2008) Pop!Tech Pop!Cast from PopTech on Vimeo.

To address these intense feelings and the demand for public discussion, a wiki was created, in which you are invited to join the discussion.  This forum was designed as "a place for a rich, lively, respectful and facts-based dialog on what’s necessary to address the serious economic challenges confronting America today."  Hope to see you there.

Click here to go to the policy debate.

Hive Mindstein

David Basanta's blog has an interesting thread (quite a few of them actually).  Here's the setup but you should read the original post, including the Wired article:
Apparently, some people are seeing some potential in cloud computing not just as an aid to science but as a completely new approach to do it. An article in Wired magazine argues precisely that. With the provocative title of The end of theory, the article concludes that, with plenty of data and clever algorithms (like those developed by Google), it is possible to obtain patterns that could be used to predict outcomes…and all that without the need of scientific models.
If I told you I had a massively parallel device which takes in huge amounts of raw data and finds patterns via computation to make predictions, would you be able to tell if I was speaking of a computer cloud or a human brain? Anderson's postulate about the end of theory is as specious as the…

Dynamic Architecture

Here's the architect's website, and here's a video: [youtube=] Hat tip: Michael Johnson

National Popular Vote

Yesterday I blogged about personal vote verification.  At the group level, I recommend supporting the National Popular Vote.  While most people (70%) favor a popular vote for president, the U.S. Constitution calls for an electoral college system.  The National Popular Vote movement is extremely clever in that it doesn't require a constitutional change:
Under the U.S. Constitution, the states have exclusive and plenary (complete) power to allocate their electoral votes, and may change their state laws concerning the awarding of their electoral votes at any time. Under the National Popular Vote bill, all of the state’s electoral votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).
As of this writing, the bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois,…

Crowdsourcing Election Verification

I take it as accepted fact at this point that the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election would have gone to John Kerry if everyone who attempted to vote that day were able to and all the votes were counted correctly.  Here's the the Wikipedia entry on the subject and here's a documentary to get you started. Regardless of your political leanings or party affiliations, there's hardly a more important issue if you believe in some form of democracy.  As we run up to the 2008 elections, you should be very concerned that the problems have not been adequately addressed, despite all the various voting reform and voting rights initiatives. While there may be nothing you can do do assure that your vote is counted properly in 2008, there are some ways you can keep a verified record of your vote, which is a necessary precondition for fixing the broken system:
  1. Vote absentee.  Not only does this eliminate a whole set of irregularities having to do

Global Warming

A few months ago a friend of mine engaged me in a discussion about the controversy surrounding global warming.  If you are surprised to hear that there is still controversy, read on; I was equally surprised. The controversy is not so much whether the atmosphere is heating up, but rather the cause and projected magnitude.  As anyone familiar with modeling complex systems understands, the time horizon for accurate predictions is inherently short due to chaotic and otherwise complex feedback dynamics.  So it shouldn't really be a surprise to learn that climate predictions even with the most detailed and best crafted models have a hard time with accuracy in predicting more than a year out.  As a consequence, it should also not be a surprise to learn that the role CO2 plays in changing global temperature -- and the extent to which it does -- is highly uncertain.  There are good reasons why we should seek to reduce carbon emissions, but whether global warming is one…

Charity + Prediction Markets

A new prediction market site with a twist: your profits in the market get donated to the charity of your choice. I was concerned that it may look noble but that they might be profiting from the bid/ask spread, so I wrote and asked them.  Here is their response:
No fees, except the 5% on top of any funds put into your account. That fee does little more than cover the credit card processing charge. For example, if you want to put $5 into your account, you will be charged $5.25, and you will have $5 in your account to trade with. After a while, maybe you'll have grown your account to $50, all of which you can ask us to give away to the charity of your choice. No fees on donations. Another way of saying it is that 100% of the funds that are in trading accounts will eventually be given away to charities chosen by the winners.
Very cool, I hope…

Open Letter to Gotham Prize

The Gotham Prize is a laudable new effort to provide incentive for new approaches to cancer.  In response to their recent announcement of their first awards, I have sent them the following open letter.  If you would like to express your own opinion on the matter, I encourage you to provide your feedback to them directly from their contact page. Dear Gotham Prize Board, Congratulations on your first set of awards, and congratulations to Drs. Varshavsky and Carol on their respective prizes.  I am a big fan of the prize approach and applaud the Gotham Prize for its pioneering effort in this regard. I'd like to express my concern, however, on the pre-qualification process. As you know, whenever you pre-screen ideas, the backgrounds and biases of those doing the screening will inevitably bias the results and eliminate potentially some of the most innovative and groundbreaking approaches.  If the decision process itself is good, there needn't be a pre-qualification process. Additionally, I find it…

Notes from TED

Here are some notes that I took at TED 2008.  I have a bunch more on each of the speakers individually which I may post as time permits.  Let me know if you want me to expand any of the notes below into a full post.


TED sessions have their own explicit themes, but I detected a few implicit themes based on the overlapping content of the talks. Global Awakening: there is something afoot that is palpable that is more than a political or cultural movement.  Al Gore and Samantha Power talked explicitly about this referencing a "higher consciousness".  See levels of organization and cultural agency.  Counterpoint theme: The Failure of the System to protect its individual constituents and serve their needs (see Sue Goldie). Compassion / Cooperation: as juxtaposed to the mindset of the selfish gene, social Darwinism, "nature red in tooth and claw", Libertarianism, Objectivism, free-market radicalism, etc.  See cooperation. Breaking the Spell: scientific results…

TED Talks: Iqbal Quadir

Mobile phones fight poverty

[youtube=] Click here for Discussion Forum

Complex Links: TED

I attended the TED Conference this year for the first time.  It was a transformative experience, one that I hope everyone can have in some form or another before too long.  One way to simulate being there is watch as many of these incredible talks from past TED conferences as you can in a short period of time.  If you are inspired, check out the TED Prize and how you can be a part of a growing global meta-movement for positive change in the world. I will be blogging about things that piqued my interest at TED, but below are some cool links that I came away with:

X Prize Annuity Funds

In the March 9, 2008 Sunday Magazine section of the NY Times, Freakonomics authors, Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt wrote about an idea I shared with them (with my permission of course). Given all of the interest and critique that's resulted, I am posting the original conception below and encourage you to express your thoughts about the project either in the comments here or on the Freakonomics blog. If you are interested in becoming involved beyond just providing public input, just say so in your comment and I will contact you directly. Big Problems There are some very big problems in the world that can be solved but only if there is collective will to do so. Global warming, curing cancer, poverty traps, and so on. Free markets alone cannot get us there because of inherent externalities and insufficient market structure geared towards the problems at hand. One way this has been addressed is via internalizing externalities (e.g. pollution markets). But such an approach…