So I attended the Kansas City Maker Faire at Union Station, which according to its website “…is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these ‘makers’ to show hobbies, experiments, projects.” Overall, it was a very fun and enlightening experience that served as a showcase for human ingenuity and creativity.
The event appeared to be one part entertainment, one part science fair and one part a vendor expo for amateur inventors, artisans and creators (as well as many professional ones). And outside there were plenty of other vendors selling arts and crafts as well as food and drink. Overall, it had a very festive, family-friendly atmosphere.
Some of the exhibits were half exhibit and half sales pitch, so of course, there were items to buy. For example, one exhibit was showcasing their specially made honey and obviously offering some of it up for sale as well. Another one I interacted with specialized in making various toys and figurines of pop culture, science fiction items. Their name was Hammer Space and it is basically a design studio for amateurs who want to learn to build things.
For only $65 a month, you could have access to every tool you could possibly need; from table saws and routers to 3D printers and the like. Indeed, if it wasn’t for my busy schedule, I would strongly consider attending. As their representative noted, “it usually costs about $60 a day to rent a table saw and with us, you have access to everything like that you could possibly want for just $65 a month.” A quality sales pitch if you ask me.
Indeed, this type of thing has become more and more common. There are now many shared worked spaces such as WeWork for individuals or small business who want to rent out an office space but don’t have the funds to afford an entire office. They also enjoy the open-spaced, new-aged “vibe” that comes along with many such shared work spaces. Many amateur actors and directors—especially those who focus on using YouTube to spread their content—rent out shared studios with costumes, sets and the like that they can use as needed to create their videos. It’s only natural that inventors and artisans, be it professional or amateur, would follow suit.
The science fiction theme was also very obvious throughout. In fact, there were a good number of people dressed up as Storm Troopers or Darth Vader from Star Wars as well as Iron Man an others. This fits in well with the science exhibit that made up a large portion of the gallery.
The science exhibit was less about local creators showcasing and selling their creations and instead felt more like a science museum. Although there was definitely an element aimed at children as there was a playground and a lot of other participatory activities and jungle-gym type contraptions for kids to try and play on. Perhaps my favorite (although I did not partake) was a bike that suspended on a thick galvanized wire that allowed kids to act as if they were living out the famous scene in ET as they biked 20 feet above the ground.
Some of the science exhibits included DNA, aviation, sustainable energy and a miniature zoo-of-sorts with a python, sea turtles and what looked like giant cockroaches. There were also several exhibits that set up some fairly entertaining optical illusions. One such illusion had you stare at a spinning wheel with some lines spinning in and some spinning out. After 20 seconds you would look at your hand and it would appear to be pulsated in and out simultaneously.
There were also booths for both JE Dunn and Pier Magic, which are both in the home remodeling space. Given construction is integral to the industry I work in (real estate), I found this to be interesting. JE Dunn had a large space where kids could try out various wood working projects. And Pier Magic was advertising there foundation repair. Although, having actually had houses that have needed foundation repair, I can tell you it’s never fun to have to call a company that installs piers.
And of course, there was a large exhibit on trains with some fairly intricate train sets as well as an old, full scale locomotive. That certainly brought out my inner nine-year old.
Another exhibit allowed you to fly a miniature drone through an obstacle course the designers had set up. It may be hard to see, but in the picture on the left, you can see one of the drones flying by the various obstacles. I waited patiently in line for this, unfortunately, by the time I got to the front, they had to take an extended break. So quite tragically, I never got to fly one of the drones.
My favorite exhibit, though, was the robotics exhibit. A lot of amateur inventors had put together a wide variety of robots which they showed off to all the various attendees.
Many of the robots only did simple tasks, but some of the others look quite complicated and intricate. On the far right of the opening gallery was an arena for robot competitions, which were very fun to watch.
Two robots competed in putting as many yellow, foam boxes into a central holding pen as possible while two others competed in lifting up those foam boxes onto a tower at the back of the arena. Each robot had a team that designed and piloted the robot. Apparently, there are national competitions for this type of thing. Robot 1986 dominated the competition.
Overall though, the Maker’s Faire felt like a celebration of human creativity and ingenuity. Some of it was built by amateurs who appeared to desire nothing more than a fun hobby. Other creations were by professionals who were looking to showcase and sell their goods. For example, at one area in the gallery was a marble maze that looked like it had been home made with small plastic tubes that acted as the shoot for the marble to fall down. Next to the display were kits with the materials to make such a maze yourself. At another area in the gallery, there were intricate, professionally designed marble mazes that the kids found very enjoyable to play with. Indeed, the entire Faire was both a celebration of the amateur and professional creator.
And that would be my main takeaway from the Maker Faire. The wide range of printings, paintings, art, crafts, robots, drones and other creations were a celebration of innovation; both amateur and professional. Many of the people there seemed to have created or invented something simply for the joy of inventing. There seemed to be a large amount of passion that was poured into these various inventions, arts and crafts.
Thinking about this in terms of entrepreneurship, I believe it highlights the importance of passion when it comes to business. A good idea is just that; an idea. To truly get such an idea to flourish as a business requires a large amount of energy and work. And it’s difficult to put in such work if it’s just for money. There has to be a passion for the work that will become obvious to any potential customer you interact with.
It reminds me of a quote from Jim Collin’s book Good to Great, “Profit is like oxygen, food, and water, and blood for the body; they are not the point of life, but without then, there is no life.” A life with just oxygen, food and water is empty. And a business with just profit is nice, but it lacks purpose. And as a matter of fact, without some sort of purpose, that profit will probably dry up sooner rather than later.
Many of the creations on display at the Maker Faire represented a passion for creating and innovating. That kind of passion is what entrepreneurs need to bring to their businesses in order to truly succeed.
Never Split the Difference is probably the best book I've ever read on negotiation and I highly recommend you pick it up. And yes, it's even better than Getting to Yes (and even has a few useful-and I believe correct-criticisms of that book).
The book is written by former FBI negotiator and current negotiating coach Chris Voss. He goes back and forth between his various hostage negotiations as well as stories about his clients negotiating in a business environment. Many of the stories are quite entertaining. Such as a string of kidnapping in Haiti that they soon figured out weren't by some criminal cartel, but just hoodlums who wanted drinking money on the weekend. Once they figured this out, they knew if they stalled the negotiation until closer to Friday, they would have a huge advantage and usually be able to free the hostage with a paltry payment.
I won't go over all the many different ideas the book offers, but I will settle on one; Using how instead of why. Normally, when we are given an offer, request or demand, we ask something like "why would I do that?" This, however, puts the other party on the defensive. Now they have to explain their reasoning.
Instead, while it sounds a bit awkward at first, ask the other person "how can I do that?" Again, this might seem weird. If the other person says they need $250,000 to sell their house, the "how" would seem simple. Just pay it. But it implies that you can't get that high. Now you've thrown the ball in their court to explain their reasoning, but to help figure out a way for you to do the deal. How can that person help you make this deal. They are now on your side.
So in the above example, maybe the seller could lower the price, or offer seller financing, or offer a second, or sell on a lease option or contract for deed, or leave the appliances or do some improvements or whatever. Let them brainstorm for you a bit.
There are many other helpful tips like this and it is well worth checking out.
For further information, check out Voss' book or the three articles I wrote about this on BiggerPockets:
- Mastering the Mindset for Negotiation
- Beware "Yes," Master "No"
- Investors: Use "How," NOT "Why"
Over at Mises.org (a site I have written a lot for, by the way), Ryan McMaken has made a good case that we are not facing another major housing bubble, even though in many ways, it feels like it did in 2007-2008 during the last run up.
"On the most superficial level, the current boom might remind some of the pre-2008 bubble. Housing prices are climbing fast, and in many areas, there are bidding wars for houses that are quite ordinary.
"This time, though, things are different. This time, there isn't nearly as much housing being built was during the last bubble. There may be a bubble in prices this time, but there does not appear to be a bubble in construction.
"A look at housing starts in recent years shows that in raw numbers, starts are still not even close to getting back to where they were during the last boom:"
He then produces this chart,
And further McMaken notes, "As both the Wall Street Journal and USA Today noticed last month, the amount of new housing construction taking place right now, as a proportion of existing households, is at historic lows."
Yes, housing will likely go down in price if we enter a general recession. But, with there still existing a national housing shortage, if real estate goes down, it will be following the economy not leading it. In all likelihood, prices will continue to rise for the time being.
So Judge Anthony Kennedy decided to retire at the ripe old age of 81 and good Lord have liberals lost their mind. This tweet is probably my favorite:
OK, but he's some nobody. But still, Kennedy was often seen as the swing vote on 5-4 decisions. So let's check in on the blue checkmarks of Twitter, shall we:
Well, he is 81 years old and Neil Gorsuch seems like a pretty reasonable fellow. But oh well.
The articles are just as over the top by the way. This, obviously, is my favorite:
And much, much more.
Of course, the big issue the Left is worried about is abortion with gay marriage coming in a rather distant second. Abortion isn't one of my big issues, but I generally think it should be legal until the child is viable (around five months). In that respect, I like the British model. That being said, I dislike abortion pretty much all the time and while I know sometimes it's necessary (rape, health risks, etc.), I think it's best to usually try an avoid it.
But that being said, overturning Roe v. Wade would not make abortion illegal. It would simply return the issue to the states. Furthermore, Roe v. Wade (like gay marriage I should add) legalized abortion in a completely anti-democratic fashion. Aren't liberals always telling us what "democracy looks like?" I guess not.
Indeed, overturning Roe v. Wade would actually put abortion up to the vote. And no, men are just about as likely as women to support or oppose abortion (and men don't exactly get to choose whether to pay child support if they don't want to bring a kid into the world).
Furthermore, Roe v. Wade is an absolutely ridiculous ruling. The grounds for this ruling by the lower court was the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution, which states the following,
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
Yeah um, no.
The Supreme Court ruled based on the 14th Amendment, but it doesn't really matter. There's nothing in the Constitution that even remotely relates to abortion. And thus, it should obviously be left to the states. Although I don't hear many liberals, or conservatives for that matter, say that.
That being said, liberal angst is definitely increasing. Apparently the 85-year old Ruth Bader Ginsberg has some on Left a bit nervous:
The following is a Graduate paper I wrote on the Basadur Creative Problem Solving Assessment and related it to Gallup's Strength Finder test. It's always important to understand how you think and what your preferred method of problem-solving is. Too often, we try to force ourselves into styles we don't excel at, which significantly reduces our productivity.
The Basadur Creativity Assessment is a creative problem solving inventory designed to interpret a person’s preferred method of problem solving. It is broken down into four components:
An individual’s preferred method of problem solving is determined by scoring four words related to problem solving from 1-4 based on which trait best describes you (with 4 being the highest and 1 being the lowest). The test consisted of 18 such word sets, while we evaluated the results of 12 of those questions. Upon completion, we added up the total in each column to evaluate which type of problem solving technique best describes us. My results were as follows, with the average score listed in parenthesis:
As can be seen, my personal inventory leans very heavily toward the third category; Thinking. Of the 12 sets of four words, I selected a 4 for the Thinking category on nine of them and only one of them was less than 3. The Thinking word that I gave the lowest score to was “waiting,” which definitely can fit with someone who like to think. But in my case, I believe the low value I gave that word was primarily due to the fact that I do not like to “wait” to “think.”
Other words in the Thinking category I gave the highest ranking to included “Pondering,” “Responsible,” “Theoretical,” “Describing,” “Contemplating” and of course, “Thinking.”
For the other three categories, they were weighted pretty evenly with my average score ranging from 1.75 to 2.33. When charting this onto the circle graph Basadur provided (attached), it created a very elongated oval with one number stretching out much further than the others. From this, I would conclude that I lean heavily toward the Thinking approach to problem solving while relying on the other three techniques relatively evenly to buttress that approach.
This result fits in well with what I know about myself and have learned from other personality tests. For example, my results for the detailed Gallup Strengths Finder test are in harmony with my Basadur test. The Gallup Strengths Finder test gives a 30-minute series of “this or that” questions related to an individual’s preferences and compiles those results by listing 34 common attributes from strongest to weakest. My top five strengths were listed as follows:
Input, Intellection and Context all comport to a Thinking style of problem solving. Gallup defines the Input strength as follows,
“People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.”
Thinking requires something to think about, so it makes perfect sense that I would crave knowledge and information with which to aid my decision-making process. On the other hand, my lowest scores were for the following:
All of these strengths (or in my case, weaknesses) are generally more collaborative and impulsive. In other words, they are not related to Thinking in a direct way.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Thinking
As with any other problem solving method, Thinking has its own strengths and weaknesses that someone who prefers this technique must be aware of in order to fully utilize its benefits while diminishing its downsides.
The greatest advantage to a Thinking method of problem solving is that it is thorough, careful and not impulsive. These are important advantages, as a paper by psychologist Nour-Mohammad Bakhshani, states that “impulsivity is characterized by unplanned risky behaviors, and making up one’s mind quickly.”
And furthermore that,
“From a behavioral perspective, impulsivity includes a wide variety of actions that, are immature, dangerous, inappropriate to the situation and done without consideration, which usually bring about negative consequences”
Indeed, in the famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, it was found that kids who were able to delay gratification did far better in life. The experiment asked kids to sit in a room with a marshmallow for 15 minutes and not eat it. Those who held out would get two. Most failed, but some were able to delay gratification and wait for the second marshmallow. When the researchers followed up with these kids many years later, those who had held out for the second marshmallow had significantly better life outcomes. This was taken as evidence that the ability to defer gratification is a critical skill in life outcomes.
While using the Thinking method of problem solving probably only tangentially relates to the ability to defer gratification, it does show an enthusiasm for gathering information, thinking it through and making decisions gradually rather than impulsively. Impulsive decisions are often poorly thought out, miss key details, are overly risky and lead to poor outcomes.
That being said, there is also an inherent risk in such a problem solving process. The risk is what is often colloquially referred to as “paralysis by analysis.” The future is unknown and no course of action can ever be guaranteed of success. Furthermore, there will always be more contingencies that could be thought of or improvements to any plan that could be (or could have been) implemented up front.
At some point, a decision needs to be made and the process needs to be executed. Thinking about a problem too much can create an endless maze of possibilities that are difficult to rectify. It can also create a sense of paranoia that “I’m missing something” which can accentuate that fear and result in procrastination.
It should also be noted that simply thinking about a problem more is in itself a course of action. And it very well might not be the best course of action. Thinking about a problem too long could cause unnecessary delays that could wind up being costly or even ruining a project when a “good enough” solution would have sufficed.
Fortunately for myself, I have a fairly evenly distributed Basadur score on the other three problem solving approaches that I can use to buttress my Thinking style. However, it is critical for me to keep at the top of my mind that my preferred style of problem solving can lead to over-thinking, procrastination and unnecessary delays if I am not careful.
Utilizing timeframes and deadlines would likely diminish these negative effects. In addition, partnering with more action-oriented individuals on team projects would be helpful. Such collaborations would be beneficial as the action-oriented individual would push me ahead while I would hold back any overzealous or impulsive decisions from being implemented without having been thought through and researched appropriately.
Previous Grad Papers: 3D Printers
With the recent spate of horrific “Incel” (Involuntary Celibates) terrorist attacks, some discussion has been pointed at the “distribution” of sex so to speak. Ross Douthat got lambasted for an article cheekily called the “The Redistribution of Sex” and Jordan Peterson got taken out to the woodshed for using the term “enforced monogamy.”
The idea behind both Douthat’s and Peterson’s point, of course, was not to “doll out women” as many of their critics would claim. (Of course, this would also require “dolling out men,” though many of Peterson’s critics are silent on this matter.) Indeed, Peterson used the wrong term, the correct one is “socially imposed monogamy.” The idea being that when monogamy breaks down (as it is in the West, with close to 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce and 40 percent of children being born out-of-wedlock), that a state of de facto polygamy emerges. Polygamous societies have repeatedly been shown to be more violent and why wouldn’t they be? In such societies, many men are locked out of finding a mate and the “winner-takes all” stakes leads to hyper competition and thus, violence.
The argument as to why a society becomes de facto polygamous when monogamy breaks down is partly because men, particularly elite men, want to “spread their seed” will do so if permitted. But it’s also partly because many women will focus most of their attention on the top males. It’s well known that men’s sexuality is rather shallow, but it’s also true, at least to a degree, that women “want the best.” Indeed, an OKCupid study found that women rated 80 percent of men as being “below average” in terms of attractiveness and another study found that adding a zero on the end of a man’s income increases his attractiveness by 2 points on a 1 to 10 scale. Another found that “better-educated women still prefer higher-earning husbands.”
I don’t feel the need to cite any studies regarding men’s general willingness to have sex with multiple women as I don’t think I’ll get much pushback there.
And while both these men’s arguments have been misconstrued (although, in fairness to Peterson’s critics, he stated his position horribly), they miss the even bigger problem in my judgement. Sex has become a societal obsession.
Everywhere you look, sex is being thrown in your face. In movies, TV, the media, through random clickbait articles, etc. Porn is piling up on the Internet while porn romance novels are falling off the shelves of the local book stores Amazon. In this media-created world of make-believe, impossibly beautiful, skin-clad women are having sex with impossibly handsome, farcically charming billionaires over and over and over again. Everything is about sex and everyone is having sex all the time.
As far back as 2001, studies were showing the amount of sexual content on TV was increasing, with “68 percent of television shows during the 1999-2000 season [containing] sexual content.” It’s only gotten worse since then as we all know that “sex sells.” And the Internet has certainly exacerbated this. Indeed, social media seems to be linked to increased sexual risk behaviors.
Then add in the Fear of Missing Out problem with social media. Scroll through your feed on Facebook and you’ll see friends getting married, going on exotic vacations, starting a new relationship, getting that great new job, etc. You only see the highlights though, which wildly distorts the average. You’re almost certainly not actually missing out, you’re Facebook feed is just gaslighting you.
The Incel “community” of angry, misogynistic men who hate “Chads and Stacy’s” for having what they believe they can never have is basically irredeemable and deserves nothing more than contempt and mockery. But regarding literal incels who don’t describe themselves as such, I would say empathy is called for.
It sucks to be rejected and feel unloved, unwanted and uncared for. And rarely do these guys get anything but additional scorn from their peers while having their masculinity called “toxic” by some of their teachers. If there is a male equivalent of “slut shaming,” it would definitely be “virgin shaming.” Men get shamed for not having enough sex while women get shamed for having too much. Which makes some evolutionary since “males display and females choose,” at least most the time. If men are bad at displaying, well, they’re losers. If women take virtually any suitor that comes their way, well, they’re losers.
But just because it makes “sense” doesn’t mean this mindset isn’t extremely pernicious.
And the sense of worthlessness that literal incels (not the online group) feel is compounded even more by the sex that’s dripping from every pore of American society. There is this weird sense that “everyone is getting laid all the time, except for me.” Thereby, “I’m the odd one out. I’m worthless and the world has rejected me.” Often this leads to depression and self-hate. It possibly underlies the male suicide epidemic that gets far too little attention. But if these feelings fester, especially when mixed with a noxious online “community,” it can lead to an externalization of that self-hatred.
“The world hates me, so I hate the world.”
“Women have rejected me, so I hate women.”
“Chads get all the girls, so I hate chads.”
And on and on it goes which can only lead to a life a hateful, self-inflicted misery at best and homicidal terrorism at worst.
And it’s all based on a demonstrably false premise.
In the real world―not the glitzy world of Hollywood dripping with beautiful women and handsome men having sex with each other like rabbits―the amount of sex in society is going down… a lot! According to a study that analyzes the General Social Survey, in 1995, the average American had sex about 65 times a year. In 2014, that was down to 53.
And high schoolers most certainly aren’t just getting it on. A study by Dr. Cora Breuner found that “only 42 percent of girls and 44 percent of boys aged 15 to 19 reported having sex at least once.” Another study by the Guttmacher Institute, found that the median age people lose their virginity is “17.8 years for women and 18.1 for men.”
The number of sex partners people have is also wildly exaggerated. The National Health Statistics Report notes that the median number of lifetime partners for those between the age of 15 and 44 was “for women is 3.2 and 5.1 for men.” Finally, another study has shown that “hookup culture” is basically a myth.
Sure, sex is fun and intimacy is important, but they are not the only things in life. Lots of things are fun; rollercoasters, getting drinks with friends, going on a vacation, playing basketball, playing music, whatever.
And while it sucks to feel unwanted, it’s not a permanent state of being. To all the incels (who don’t describe themselves as such) out there, give yourself a break! There is no avalanche of sex out there that you’re missing out on and even if there was, sex just isn’t that important, despite what the media wants you to believe.
There are plenty of people out there that feel alone and unloved and virtually everyone does at some point in their lives. You’re not alone in this feeling and it gets better with time. After all, the changes people go through during puberty make it the worst time to deal with such rejection, but puberty ends.
Focus instead on improving yourself. Focus on your grades, improving your skills and finding enjoyable hobbies. And try making friends, especially with those of your own gender where you don’t have to worry and sort of sexual tension nor exclusiveness. People can only have one boyfriend or girlfriend, but they can have many, many friends. Don’t waste your life being angry at what you don’t have. And for the love of God, get off the Internet and have some actual fun!
Focus on yourself and what you can control. With time, your confidence will grow and maybe then you’ll be ready for a relationship. Or maybe not. What does it matter? Sex is just not that important!
So as one might expect, the whole "crying migrant child" who was brutally torn away from her mother by the evil Trump regime that resulted in this Time Magazine cover...
...wasn't exactly all it was made up to be. From The Daily Mail,
"The father of the Honduran girl who became the face of the family separation crisis has revealed that he still has not been in touch with his wife or daughter but was happy to learn they are safe.
"Denis, who works as a captain at a port on the coast of Puerto Cortes, explained that things back home were fine but not great, and that his wife was seeking political asylum.
"He said that Sandra set out on the 1,800-mile journey with the baby girl on June 3, at 6am, and he has not heard from her since.
"'I never got the chance to say goodbye to my daughter and now all I can do is wait', he said, adding that he hopes they are either granted political asylum or are sent back home."
Not exactly Mother-of-the-Year material there. And then check out this correction from the aforementioned Time Magazine,
"Correction: The original version of this story misstated what happened to the girl in the photo after she taken from the scene. The girl was not carried away screaming by U.S. Border Patrol agents; her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together."
Kinda makes me feel like posting this:
And while the policy to separate children at the border is a bad one, it's not exactly obvious what to do about differently. Furthermore, it's not like these facilities are "concentration camps" and "literally Hitler" or whatever. From the National Review,
"When a migrant is prosecuted for illegal entry, he or she is taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals. In no circumstance anywhere in the U.S. do the marshals care for the children of people they take into custody. The child is taken into the custody of HHS, who cares for them at temporary shelters.
"The criminal proceedings are exceptionally short, assuming there is no aggravating factor such as a prior illegal entity or another crime. The migrants generally plead guilty, and they are then sentenced to time served, typically all in the same day, although practices vary along the border. After this, they are returned to the custody of ICE.
"If the adult then wants to go home, in keeping with the expedited order of removal that is issued as a matter of course, it’s relatively simple. The adult should be reunited quickly with his or her child, and the family returned home as a unit. In this scenario, there’s only a very brief separation.
"Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children."
It's when the migrant seeks asylum that things get messy. It can take a while and if you let the person go (i.e. "catch and release), you'll rarely ever see that person again.
And while not ideal, it's not like these facilities are decrepit cesspools. The pictures of the facilities appear to be at least adequate. Furthermore, remember all those horrible photos of "caged migrants" floating about the Internet by liberal journalists? Well, those were from 2014 and 2015 when Obama was president.
Honestly, can we please tone down this perpetual outrage machine?
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
Star Slate Codex
Consulting by RPM