Hobby Lobby Gets What It Wants And John Oliver Explains Why That's Going To Backfire Badly

This is just perfect. And it raises an excellent question - can I opt out of funding things the government does that I don't approve of?

For instance, I don't support America's excessive military action and broad military presence across the globe - can I have my money back? I don't support the war on drugs - do I get a tax deduction next April? As John Oliver says, it's not an a la carte type of thing - we all have to pay for all of government, whether we like it or not. 

Who the (redacted) is Casey Liss?

I have an internet hero - podcaster, Twitter personality, and programmer, Casey Liss. I first discovered Casey when he joined two much more popular personalities, Marco Arment and John Siracusa, in a couple of new podcasts. I listened because I knew of Marco, but Casey quickly became my favorite of the three. John is a genius and savant, Marco is shrewd and brilliant, but I'm not a coder, so I don't always "get" them. Casey, while equally talented and brilliant, always struck me as more human. He's funny, affable, and has an "aw shucks" type of attitude that just makes him fun to listen to. Casey is the perpetual nice guy, always seems like he's in a good mood, and seems to rise above the trolls and stay positive. I follow him around when he does other podcasts, always listening to his guest spots, because he's just so much fun. 

One thing I love about Casey is that, while he has over 10,000 followers on Twitter, he does a great job of engaging with his audience. When I reply to other "famous" Twitter personalities, I don't count on getting a response (although Gruber has responded to a couple of my emails). But with Casey, as often as not, he tweets back to me. The podcasting world is a little weird, because I feel like I know Casey, but I know that I'm a total stranger to him. But when he answers my tweets, or laughs at a stupid joke, it means a lot to me. And it makes me a bigger fan. 

So why am I posting this weird, vaguely creepy tribute to another man on the internet? Well, a few months ago, Casey posted on his blog that, after many years and a couple of white BMWs worth of money, he and his wife, Erin, were finally pregnant. He's talked about it a couple times on his podcasts, and hearing his excitement was terrific. Today, Casey posted again - Erin had their baby, dubbed "Sprout" through the pregnancy. Congratulations to Casey and Erin, and welcome, Declan James, to the world. Your dad is a pretty cool guy, and he's going to be an amazing father. 

To find Casey online, you can visit him at:

Amazon.com - Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible

From the product description:

Powered by relentless dedication to sharing the gospel and celebrating Christ’s kingdom, the Robertson family has become influential to contemporary evangelism and discipleship.

And this is exactly what's wrong with contemporary American RepubliChristianity. 

Misemployment - YouTube

This was an interesting video. I remembered the anecdote of Steve Jobs talking to then-Pepsi CEO John Sculley, when attempting to convince him to join Apple: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?"

I've made this lament before to my wife, who works in health care: She makes a difference in people's lives, and I don't. I enjoy my work, most of the time, and I make a good living at it, but sometimes it feels so inconsequential and insignificant. Misemployment is a difficult problem. 

What’s So Bad About Gluten?

From the New Yorker:

Fad dieting is nothing new in America; it’s what we do instead of eating balanced, nutritiously wholesome meals. Scarsdale, Atkins, South Beach, Zone, flexitarian, pescatarian, and paleo have all been awarded their fifteen minutes of fame and then shoved aside for the next great diet. They are rarely effective for long. Some nutrition specialists say that the current preoccupation with gluten-free products reminds them of the national obsession with removing fats from foods in the late nineteen-eighties. “Low-fat” foods are often packed with sugar and calories to make up for the lack of fat. The same is true of many products that are advertised as “gluten-free.” (emphasis added)

The conclusion is interesting - maybe the problem is that we've started adding extra gluten to so many foods as a shortcut. I don't put a lot of faith in anecdotal evidence (I cut gluten and lost 30 pounds and then won the lottery!), but I know people who have gluten sensitivities who don't suffer from celiac disease. I've heard stories of folks who had apparent psychological disorders that were corrected by a gluten-free diet. Perhaps with gluten, as in all things, moderation is key. 

Daring Fireball: Retailers Are Disabling NFC to Block Apple Pay

John Gruber:

Think about what they’re doing. They’re turning off NFC payment systems — the whole thing — only because people were actually using them with Apple Pay. Apple Pay works so well that it even works with non-partner systems. These things have been installed for years and so few people used them, apparently, that these retailers would rather block everyone than allow Apple Pay to continue working. I can’t imagine a better validation of Apple Pay’s appeal.

And the reason they don’t want to allow Apple Pay is because Apple Pay doesn’t give them any personal information about the customer. It’s not about security — Apple Pay is far more secure than any credit/debit card system in the U.S. It’s not about money — Apple’s tiny slice of the transaction comes from the banks, not the merchants. It’s about data.

They’re doing this so they can pursue a system that is less secure (third-party apps don’t have access to the secure element where Apple Pay stores your credit card data, for one thing), less convenient (QR codes?), and not private.

Cutting off your nose to spite your face. 

 

 

 

What If We Could Weaponize Empathy?

"I expect you to act like a group of friends who care about each other, no matter how dumb some of us might be, no matter what political opinions some of us hold, no matter what games some of us like or dislike."

This is a principle I hope to espouse in all discussions, be it online or IRL. I haven't always done this well, but I want to. 

Google News Publisher Not Happy With New "In The News" Box

I think what amuses me is that people think Fox News, CNN, and the New York Times are "reliable."

Have you watched CNN coverage lately? They spend more time talking about pop culture than world news. It's a joke. Better reporting of real events (Ferguson, MO comes to mind) is coming from Twitter than the major news sources. 

Duplicate Content and E-Commerce

I'm working on developing an SEO strategy for dealing with duplicate web content for my company, an e-commerce website. I've done some reading and research, but if anyone has any additional thoughts or feedback, that would be great. 

Once I come up with a strategy memo, I'll post it here for comments. Thanks.