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Societal Values

Burning Man is not Home

Posted in Burning Man, Community, Societal Values on September 4th, 2011 by leodirac – 7 Comments

“Welcome home” is the standard greeting people hear when they first arrive at Black Rock City, the city which is Burning Man.  For many return visitors, this phrase embodies why they keep coming back to endure the long travel and harsh dusty conditions.  Black Rock City (BRC) feels like home in a way they can’t […]

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The ironic challenge of nuclear power safety

Posted in Analysis, Geek, Physics, Societal Values, Technology on March 15th, 2011 by leodirac – 15 Comments

In studying the history of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and the ongoing events at Fukushima, a subtle but important connection appears.  The problems at Fukushima today share a fundamental similarity with the cause of Chernobyl’s disaster. Moreover, within that similarity lies a path to making nuclear power safer. Obviously there are huge differences.  Chernobyl was a massive […]

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Economies of scale with Group Living

Posted in Co-housing, Community, Societal Values on February 16th, 2011 by leodirac – Comments Off on Economies of scale with Group Living

One of the advantages to group housing is that there are many opportunities to take advantage of economies of scale. That is, there are many required activities that scale non-linearly with the number of residents. A simple example is any activity which is required for the house but only requires a single person to take […]

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Co-housing: We are not alone

Posted in Co-housing, Community, Geography, Seattle, Societal Values on February 14th, 2011 by leodirac – 2 Comments

One point I didn’t get a chance to make in my Ignite talk on Advanced Co-housing Techniques is that we are not alone.  It’s easy to listen to one guy singing on stage about how happy he is in his modern techno-hippy commune and dismiss him as a freak.  While I might be a freak, we are […]

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Co-Housing Governance: Democracy vs Consensus

Posted in Co-housing, Community, Societal Values on February 11th, 2011 by leodirac – 5 Comments

In my Ignite Seattle talk about Advanced Co-Housing Techniques, I mis-spoke about governance.  I said that our house is run as a democracy, which actually isn’t a very accurate representation.  Democracies are clearly sustainable forms of governance, but they tend to leave a bunch of people unhappy in many decisions.  Up to half the residents […]

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Madison Market’s support of Estrella Creamery values community over health

Posted in Community, Health, Seattle, Societal Values on January 17th, 2011 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Below is an open letter I sent to the board of directors of Madison Market, a co-op grocery store near Capitol Hill in Seattle. Hello Board of Directors, I am writing to express my deep concern with your active support of Estrella Creamery.  I have been a long-time supporter of yours going back to the […]

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How Social Media will change Marketing

Posted in Analysis, Business, Geek, Marketing, Personal Growth, Societal Values on May 20th, 2010 by leodirac – 7 Comments

A number of years ago, a bunch of my friends were reading Naomi Klein’s book No Logo and getting really riled up by it.  The book is certainly written to make you angry, describing how brands and logos have become more and more prominent in our society as the marketing industry has become more sophisticated at […]

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Why Republicans are better at staying on message

Posted in Policy, Societal Values on April 6th, 2010 by leodirac – Comments Off on Why Republicans are better at staying on message

The dating site OkCupid has some brilliant mathematicians behind it.  They get you to answer all sorts of questions about your personal preferences to various situations or ideas, and then run mad statistics to figure out who would be good romantic partners for you.  It’s surprisingly effective.  I never had any good dates out of […]

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Clean Water For Kenya

Posted in Philanthropy, Societal Values, Travel on April 2nd, 2010 by leodirac – 1 Comment

My business school buddy Jeremy Farkas is heading off to Kenya soon.  He says: I’ll be developing marketing and distribution programs to broaden access to clean water for families living on as little as a few dollars a day.  Every year over 1.6 million people, largely children under the age of 5, die of diseases […]

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Externalities of the Columbian Hostage Rescue

Posted in Analysis, Policy, Societal Values on July 6th, 2008 by leodirac – 1 Comment

This last week there was a lot of news coverage of a “daring hostage rescue in Columbia.” Fifteen people were freed from the FARC. Many had been held captive for years, including politician Ingrid Betancourt, and three Americans. The press has been celebrating the victory along several lines. How wonderful it is for these people to be set free after years of captivity. How the US military helped plan and support the operation. How the guerrillas were fooled into giving the hostages up without firing a single shot. (Aren’t we smart! Aren’t they stuipd?) But there’s a dark side to…

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