Social media needs spoiler flags

Facebook should add a Star Wars icon. So you can flag a post as Star Wars related. And you can only see posts flagged that way if you go into settings and enable it.

Have one for Game of Thrones too. Etc.

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Amazon Prime is awesome….all these boxes…not as much.

I love Amazon. I make probably 70% of my purchases from Amazon. Their customer care is amazing, or Amazoning as I like to say. And I will even pay a couple bucks more to order from Amazon just for that peace of mind.

But one downside of being an Amazon fan is the flood of packaging. Now mind you, I prefer Amazon’s to almost everyone else. Their boxes are uniform and that actually makes them more easy to re-use, stack, etc.  But still, between the expense, the environmental impact, and just how much space they take up in the recycling bin….I’ve long thought there is a better way.

Recently, I saw that Amazon’s Kim Houchens is researching just that.  So Kim, here are a few ideas I have on the matter.

  • Chinese Takeout
  • Coke Cans and Lotto Tickets
  • LEGOS, everybody loves LEGOS

 

Chinese Takeout

The first idea, is to redesign boxes so that they are shaped like Chinese takeout containers – making them insertable and stackable.  Designed properly, stacked alternating every other one upside down, and one could fit nearly the same number of boxes on a shipping pallet.

 

Coke Cans and Lotto Tickets

The second idea, involves getting these packaging materials back to Amazon.  Drop-offs at the post office, the post office then delivering them when they have a full stack.  But how to encourage people to actually return them? I believe a combination of two ideas would be fairly successful.

  • A box deposit, say 25 cents for every returned box scanned in.
  • A lottery, where each scanned box counts as an entry.

Every day a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Every week a chance to win a $100 gift card. Monthly $1,000 gift card winners too.  And one lucky entry a year wins’ Cyber Monday’s $1,000,000 Amazon gift card. Heck, teenagers might start riding their bicycles thru the neighborhood collecting Amazon boxes from people as an alternative to the decline in newspaper deliveries.

 

LEGOS, everybody loves LEGOS

Why not provide a second life to Amazon’s boxes.  One thing nice about Amazon is that they use a number of standard sized boxes.  Retooling the other sizes to be ratios of the “Prime” box would open up some really cool possibilities.

“Imagine if all the boxes were different colors.  Imagine if those boxes could be stacked and used like giant LEGO building blocks. Imagine pre-schools filled with Amazon building blocks.”

Imagine if you could take all of those boxes and easily convert them to building blocks? All it would really take is tape that had a Velcro feature. In fact, Amazon could even sell that separately. Apply to top and bottom of box and it becomes a stackable building block.  Amazon could even start coloring their boxes to increase appeal to children.

Granted, I believe Amazon would come up with something a little better than such Velcro dots. But you get the point.  Suddenly, all these boxes become giant building blocks.  We reduce the waste and environmental impact. And imagine the marketing…. imagine millions of kids growing up fondly remembering the building blocks with the “Smile” on them – you can’t buy that type of marketing.

https://www.amazon.com/Vkey-500pcs-Diameter-Sticky-Adhesive/dp/B012EWJIXG/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1513868212&sr=8-14&keywords=velcro+dots

So Kim Houchens, have at it…  =)

 

Yes, it’s been a while..

And I clearly need to update this blog.  I use it infrequently these days, however, I am going to try to use it to communicate ideas.

Old pics of yesterlife

tmp_26184-sajontherocks944412616

The Future of Collegiate Education

Why every student will be able to go to an Ivy League school….
I’ve said it for years, others are saying, the collegiate school bubble is going to bust. Here’s the main reasons why:

– cost of a collegiate degree is excessive
– value of a collegiate degree has declined
– availability and access to knowledge has expanded by orders of magnitude
– practical value of the knowledge delivered by universities has little to no real-world value
– the collegiate system is one of the most heavily tax payer subisidized industries in the world

I’ve said that in 20 years, probably half the colleges and universities present today will be no more. Here is how and why it that will come to be.  In the future, you will have community colleges and Ivy Leagues and top tier schools, the middle ground of collegiate education will cease to be.

First off, if you had a choice of graduating from the University of York Pennsylvania or Dartmouth, which would you choose? Oh, but you can’t get into Dartmouth nor afford it – right now.

But realize that online learning, which is just in it’s infancy, will begin to mature. Already most top tier universities offer free courses: Stamford, Harvard, MIT, etc.  And while you cannot currently, and never likely, will be able to get a free degree from these establishments. You can already LEARN from them.

How long until Stanford says, why should we only have 15,000 clients. Sure, that’s a whopping $750 million per year. But there are ~20 million college students in the U.S., if Stanford offered online degrees for $5,000/year tuition and enrolled a 150,000 students.  They would double their $750 million revenue. But they would do so at an extremely low overhead. No building to build, far less professors needed per student, etc. The amount of that revenue which would be profit would be exceedingly high.

90% of collegiate learning can be done via online courses. Courses could even be taught live with thousands in digital attendance. But what about interaction? Simple, the delivery app would allow students to ask questions. Moderators would see these questions, the professors would not. The moderators would then be able to post popular questions to the professor. So if dozens of students ask a question, the moderators would gain a sense of its need for clarity. Then a single moderator would raise the question to the professor. “Professor, a number of students have asked about what happens when….blah blah blah.” And the professor responds live to the classrooms needs.

The quality of learning would in fact exceed most classroom environments. Because the schools would select the best professors.  We all had them in college, those professors who made it all click. Those professors who conveyed the material with understanding that other instructors failed to posess.  Well guess what, all those sub-par tenured professors will go bye-bye. Time to find new jobs.  Top tier professors will become akin to sports stars.  Stamford, Harvard, MIT, etc. will hire the absolute best teachers in fields, not just in knowledge but in teaching ability. These professors may earn over $500K/year, maybe even a million a year.  But they’ll be worth it…

The gap will be in those fields that require labs – chemistry, biology, physics, etc.  Here is why community colleges will stick around. You see, you will do your labs at your local community and regional state colleges. You might even do a lot of your basic courses there such as reading, math, etc.

Furthermore, I expect that a National Online University will be established as well. This will offer tuition free degrees. The degrees will be limited to handful of basic degree options:  bio/chem/pre-med, math/engineering, computer science, english/education, history/education, business, nursing, psychology, political science, economics/accounting, etc.

But what about college campuses? Will those go away? Yes, and no. For the thousands of colleges and universities that will disappear entirely, yes. But for the top tier, Ivy Leagues, MIT, etc.  No…these will continue but in a far different way.  Only the privileged few will get invited to the campus. Tuition for these will likely be free. The actual campuses will be far more focused on research.  Professors will handpick high school graduate applicants and select individuals who excel in the online program their first year or two may also be invited to participate on campus.

Where the Star Wars Saga could go..

There is an interesting story that often goes unnoticed about theprequels.

They explain and highlight an ongoing failure.Anakin is trained by Obi-Wan, who was trained by Qui Gon Jin, who wasin turn trained by Count Dooku who was trained by Yoda.  (And who trained Yoda? Oooh…that could be fun. Hadn’t even thought of that.Who or what trained Yoda nearly a millenium earlier?)

But one of the tenants of the Jedi was that they put away things likelove, relationships, etc. They went to a very judicial path. What was the result? Anakin was refused the option to rescue his mother from slavery.(Let’s not even get into how or why the Queen of Naboo would not havesent an emmissary to purchase her freedom. Cause that would of been a no brainer. This is the mother of the hero who saved your wholeplanet.) Later when Padme falls out of the aircraft in their pursuit of Count Duku, Anakin is once again reprimanded to stay focused on themission.

You see, to the Jedi, it is not just anger and fear that arethe dangers. It is the fact that love, relationship, attachment mightlead to those paths. (Think of the old joke about why baptists areafraid of sex, it might lead to dancing.)

Yet, when Yoda had the opportunity to stop Count Dookuhe did not. Heallowed Count Dooku to escape in order to save the lives of youngAnakin and Obi Wan.

Wait…that seems at odds with the guidance thathas been tossed around.  Was even Yoda starting to be at odds with thetenants of the Jedi?  Perhaps even realizing that there was something wrong.  But clearly, come the Empire Strikes Back, Yoda is still strongly attached. When Young Skywalker sees his vision of his friendsin trouble, he wants to help. Yoda advises against it. But Skywalker goes and helps anyways. In fact he does it again to rescue his father from the Darkside. 

And this…is the subtle fact that distinguishes Anakin from Luke.Anakin, endeavored to obey a misguided tenant. He didn’t help those heloved when they needed him. The result was a path that led to anger,hate and the darkside.The Sith on the other hand are all about embracing their intensities.Anger, hate, fear, passion…there is the classical opposition ofchaos versus order, the ying and yang.  But as evil as the the Sith are, the Jedi’s failing stands out strongly.

Look at Qui Gon Jin, whom diverged from the Jedi’s tenants. Who wouldhave been on the council if he wasn’t doing his own thing. Had Qui Gontaken Anakin as his padawan, would he have refused him to return andretrieve his mother?

What hate could drive Anakin to kill younglings, to kill on a level ashe did in Episode III?  It wasn’t hate for an individual. I think it was hate for the Jedi Order and it’s tenants. The realization that even the younglings were but tools for this twisted cult in which itwas more important to be a part of the mold than to do right, to helpthose you cared about. An order which refused the right to love.

I postulate, that the Jedi Order was NOT a good thing. How could ANYTHING sans love be considered good?

Imagine now from that perspective, a realization of just how flawedthe Jedi were. And you understand that a really cool plot line couldbe developed. One in which Luke Skywalker made the realization that the Jedi Order must allow feelings of love, even of anger and hate. Beangry but do not sin.  Being angry is not in and of itself the crime,it is what actions we take while angry.  And a Jedi Order that recognized it’s members humanity (or personhoodity since we’re dealingwith many non-humans), would be far greater than the Jedi Order of old.

We can trace the training of Anakin all the way back to Yoda.  And I postulate this is the flaw that was taught. This is why Count Dooku, Qui Gon Jin, Anakin all fall away to some level or another.

This should be part of the tale of the new films.  They should delve into the flaws of the Jedi order. 

Perhaps with the rumor of some ancient evil force.  We could see some of this explored.  First off I would love this force to in fact be the Jedi who apprenticed Yoda. And what if said evil was neutral to the nth degree. Destructive neutral.  You need positives and negatives in motion in order to make electrical energy.  What if this evil merely sought perfect neutrality. A universe in which the essences of good and evil are removed.  A universe in stasis.

What if the Jedi and the Sith had to come together (and accept each other to some degree) to combat this evil.

Where the Star Wars Saga could go..

There is an interesting story that often goes unnoticed about theprequels.

They explain and highlight an ongoing failure.Anakin is trained by Obi-Wan, who was trained by Qui Gon Jin, who wasin turn trained by Count Dooku who was trained by Yoda.  (And who trained Yoda? Oooh…that could be fun. Hadn’t even thought of that.Who or what trained Yoda nearly a millenium earlier?)

But one of the tenants of the Jedi was that they put away things likelove, relationships, etc. They went to a very judicial path. What was the result? Anakin was refused the option to rescue his mother from slavery.(Let’s not even get into how or why the Queen of Naboo would not havesent an emmissary to purchase her freedom. Cause that would of been a no brainer. This is the mother of the hero who saved your wholeplanet.) Later when Padme falls out of the aircraft in their pursuit of Count Duku, Anakin is once again reprimanded to stay focused on themission.

You see, to the Jedi, it is not just anger and fear that arethe dangers. It is the fact that love, relationship, attachment mightlead to those paths. (Think of the old joke about why baptists areafraid of sex, it might lead to dancing.)

Yet, when Yoda had the opportunity to stop Count Dookuhe did not. Heallowed Count Dooku to escape in order to save the lives of youngAnakin and Obi Wan.

Wait…that seems at odds with the guidance thathas been tossed around.  Was even Yoda starting to be at odds with thetenants of the Jedi?  Perhaps even realizing that there was something wrong.  But clearly, come the Empire Strikes Back, Yoda is still strongly attached. When Young Skywalker sees his vision of his friendsin trouble, he wants to help. Yoda advises against it. But Skywalker goes and helps anyways. In fact he does it again to rescue his father from the Darkside. 

And this…is the subtle fact that distinguishes Anakin from Luke.Anakin, endeavored to obey a misguided tenant. He didn’t help those heloved when they needed him. The result was a path that led to anger,hate and the darkside.The Sith on the other hand are all about embracing their intensities.Anger, hate, fear, passion…there is the classical opposition ofchaos versus order, the ying and yang.  But as evil as the the Sith are, the Jedi’s failing stands out strongly.

Look at Qui Gon Jin, whom diverged from the Jedi’s tenants. Who wouldhave been on the council if he wasn’t doing his own thing. Had Qui Gontaken Anakin as his padawan, would he have refused him to return andretrieve his mother?

What hate could drive Anakin to kill younglings, to kill on a level ashe did in Episode III?  It wasn’t hate for an individual. I think it was hate for the Jedi Order and it’s tenants. The realization that even the younglings were but tools for this twisted cult in which itwas more important to be a part of the mold than to do right, to helpthose you cared about. An order which refused the right to love.

I postulate, that the Jedi Order was NOT a good thing. How could ANYTHING sans love be considered good?

Imagine now from that perspective, a realization of just how flawedthe Jedi were. And you understand that a really cool plot line couldbe developed. One in which Luke Skywalker made the realization that the Jedi Order must allow feelings of love, even of anger and hate. Beangry but do not sin.  Being angry is not in and of itself the crime,it is what actions we take while angry.  And a Jedi Order that recognized it’s members humanity (or personhoodity since we’re dealingwith many non-humans), would be far greater than the Jedi Order of old.

We can trace the training of Anakin all the way back to Yoda.  And I postulate this is the flaw that was taught. This is why Count Dooku, Qui Gon Jin, Anakin all fall away to some level or another.

This should be part of the tale of the new films.  They should delve into the flaws of the Jedi order. 

Perhaps with the rumor of some ancient evil force.  We could see some of this explored.  First off I would love this force to in fact be the Jedi who apprenticed Yoda. And what if said evil was neutral to the nth degree. Destructive neutral.  You need positives and negatives in motion in order to make electrical energy.  What if this evil merely sought perfect neutrality. A universe in which the essences of good and evil are removed.  A universe in stasis.


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