Quitting the internet won’t solve its problems

Everything you hate about online culture is created by other people

❝ The internet, with its constant presence, social media envy and endless fakery, is not some parasite that showed up in the 1990s, enslaved you by bodysnatching your brain and turned you into an eternally screen-clicking bundle of tendonitis and ADHD. (If it had, that would be technological determinism.) Rather, the internet came about as a result of our very human urge to communicate and socialize, and is a reflection of naturally-occurring phenomena…

In other words, the idea for the basic functionality of modern digital communication was inspired by the human brain.

❝ Shortly after the turn of this century, that development came full circle: As the internet grew into the biggest communication infrastructure in history, network scientists and sociologists made new discoveries about how we interact with each other, drawing new types of network maps…

Networks are natural to humans — powerful, efficient mechanisms for growth and dissemination of information — so we built the internet. But we create networks even if what is disseminated or grown is malignant, which is key.

Hardware designed to threaten life and liberty is pretty much restricted to military flavors of anti-human behavior. They are inanimate objects even with AI. Humans purpose devices. At least for the foreseeable future.

A sense of purpose in life means you live longer

Does that mean creeps like this live to 100?

“Possessing a high sense of purpose in life is associated with a reduced risk for mortality and cardiovascular events,” according to the study by Drs. Randy Cohen and Alan Rozanski and colleagues at Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, New York. While the mechanisms behind the association remain unclear, the findings suggest that approaches to strengthening a sense of purpose might lead to improved health outcomes.

Using a technique called meta-analysis, the researchers pooled data from previous studies evaluating the relationship between purpose in life and the risk of death or cardiovascular disease. The analysis included data on more than 136,000 participants from ten studies — mainly from the United States or Japan. The US studies evaluated a sense of purpose or meaning in life, or “usefulness to others.” The Japanese studies assessed the concept of ikigai, translated as “a life worth living…”

The analysis showed a lower risk of death for participants with a high sense of purpose in life. After adjusting for other factors, mortality was about one-fifth lower for participants reporting a strong sense of purpose, or ikigai.

A high sense of purpose in life was also related to a lower risk of cardiovascular events. Both associations remained significant on analysis of various subgroups, including country, how purpose in life was measured, and whether the studies included participants with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

There is a well-documented link between “negative psychosocial risk factors” and adverse health outcomes, including heart attack, stroke, and overall mortality. “Conversely, more recent study provides evidence that positive psychosocial factors can promote healthy physiological functioning and greater longevity,” according to the authors.

The new analysis assembles high-quality data from studies assessing the relationship between purpose life and various measures of health and adverse clinical outcomes. The researchers write, “Together, these findings indicate a robust relationship between purpose in life and mortality and/or adverse cardiovascular outcomes.”

While further studies are needed to determine how purpose in life might promote health and deter disease, preliminary data suggest a few basic mechanisms. The association might be explained physiologically, such as by buffering of bodily responses to stress; or behaviorally, such as by a healthier lifestyle.

Wow. I see how this can work at an essential level. Even taking into account social and sociological factors that would – and probably do – create a happy, healthy lifelong thug.

My guess is that simplifying really is going to work better in this analysis than focusing on all the complex variations on the theme.

My favorite new plug-in hybrid car – is a truck

Designed for fleet customers – the types who have for long relied on those heavy, white-paneled vans – the IDEA sports two important numbers: a 40-mile all-electric range and almost 40 mpg once the battery is depleted and the powertrain shifts to charge sustaining mode. The EV range was, until this week, limited to 30 miles, but Bright put in a new 13 kWh battery pack, which has the side benefit of qualifying the vehicle for a higher PHEV tax credit from the federal government. Bright has calculated that each IDEA using the new pack will save government operators “18 cents per mile, reduce gasoline use by 1,500 gallons per year, and reduce CO2 emissions by 16 tons per year.”

The fuel savings are just part of the IDEA, though. From the very beginning, the van was designed with input from fleet operators and drivers. The functionality that fleets need was paired with the lightweight mentality of RMI’s Hypercar, which shares at least a little DNA with the IDEA and resulted in the asymmetrical rear doors, a built-in bulkhead and a passenger seat that doesn’t move and can turn into a desk. The seat also offers third, walk-through position that gives the driver easy access to the sidewalk without needing to exit the vehicle on the traffic side. Also, since the passenger seat does not adjust forward or backward, the passenger airbag could be simpler. It’s somewhat astonishing how much mileage the engineers could squeeze out of dozens (probably hundreds) of little changes compared to traditional fleet vehicles…

Behind the seats sits a beautiful carbon fiber bulkhead. Right now, the bulkhead is a little too close to the windshield, cramping the cabin a bit. In the production version of the IDEA, the divider will be moved back a bit in response to user suggestions. While most delivery vans don’t have a bulkhead built in, Bright engineers noticed that most delivery vans get one installed right away and so designed the IDEA to come with one standard. This single decision resulted in a lot of other, surprising benefits.

For one thing, the wall (which might not be carbon fiber in the production model), helps strengthen the vehicle and transfers crash loads better than not having a bulkhead. Also, by confining the driver cabin to just the two seats, the heating and cooling units don’t need to work as hard and therefore can be smaller. The benefits mean that, by adding the bulkhead, the IDEA actually became lighter than it would be without that part.

If I was still working at traffic management for the right sort of corporation, I’d get us on the waiting list for these critters. RTFA article for details, more photos, road test. Purpose-built makes a lot of sense – and even keeps beancounters happy – if the design is as inclusive as this. Something that seems to be happening, more and more, nowadays. That’s a topic for another post sometime.

Folks who make this blog a regular stop know my only hope/criticism in advance. I wish they planned for a pickup truck version.