The new and improved www.theviralloop.com is on online.

Yes you guessed the URL right as its www.theviralloop.com and I’ve ported all the data over yesterday.  Still doing some programming work on it to improve a few things however for the most its up and running and I’ve even queued some posts. Thanks, Joe…

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Auld Lang Syne…

Every story has a beginning and an end, while every end really is a new a new beginning...

This one might be better known as “Old Angzine” today and is believed to have come from Auld Lang Syne which part of the Old Scot dialect meaning “Old long since”.  As its New Year’s Eve, figured it would only be appropriate to say good bye to 2011 in the same fashion which created it.  Ok, what do I mean by that, well its simple as last year I made a New Year’s resolution to write a blog post every day as I’m a believer to the fact that if you’re going to commit, then commit you should and that I did.

So basically everyday in 2011 saw a post, save for a couple screw ups in setting the release system back in March when I was still figuring out WordPress, however count wise there has been one for 364 days this year without fail (actually 398 in total). Sick, on vacation or where ever in the world I was, they still when out and it was no easy feat as I work on average 14 hours a day or more.

I also set some general rules of averaging around 500 words and in the beginning I tried to get fancy with italics and links however had to pull it back a little as time is the killer and its limited.  Also at the start I had a lot to say, as maybe first I should explain why did this to which will explain Auld Lang Syne.  As this year I turned 49, which means I’ve been on this earth 49 years and have started my 50th.  Well first I’m happy to be here, however second was while wisdom was setting in, I still felt that too much of the world was passing me by and didn’t want growing old to mean growing dumb or falling behind.

This is where the blog came in as to write 500 cognitive words a day was not an easy task as I had to take in information, digest it and turn it around with meaning.  Folks, I dare you to try it home as it anit easy. So here is the point, until today I had no clue about Old Angzine or Auld Lang Syne, however today I do as every day I learned something new which was the point.  However in the last three months or so I’ve notice that things have started to repeat a little and was the inspiration for the post “All Words Have Been Spoken” as frankly I didn’t have anything to say that day and that fact itself was something to say.

However it takes a lot of time to write this blog, a good hour a day as typically its starts its life on my iPad, in fact when something would hit me, I would write it down.  Then later I would look back and when “it” struck me, then it was off to the races to write the 400 extra words (I use the Chapters App on the iPad).  Then I would mail it off to my PC and in the evening before bed around midnight I would edit using MS word and Text Aloud to read the text to make edits.  This would all take about at least an hour, then there was posting and finding a graphic or creating one (readership doubled when I started adding graphics).

So do this 7 days a week and it works to your spending 1 working day a week on this which is a lot of time for someone who works 14 hours days to start with.  So I share this as it’s a perfect example of the theme behind the name The Viral Loop, as for me it’s nice a way to say Zero Sum  as to do this I have to give something up an what was that?  Well in fact it was several things, however one of the biggest one’s was exercise as in 2011 I’ve put on a good 20 to 30 pounds in 2012 I have to get it off and no I don’t believe in weight loss resolutions.

So does this mean the end to The Viral Loop, no however I’m going to drop back from daily posts more to weekly and no this will not be a resolution and will most likely do a little more and maybe a little shorter at around 200 to 250 for more “comment” pieces.  As I also plan to expand The Viral Loop brand a little to as I plan to move off WordPress.Com to my own hosting site as acquired the name THEVIRALLOOP.COM and will host it myself so look for changes there.

As one of the things I want to finish is a book I started about two years back titled “What’s In Your Pocket” which is a practical guide book to reading people and using that information in negotiations.  Also as a side bar, I’ve authored a number of books on various things over the past decade (most technical in nature) so its not a whim, yet doing a book is a lot a work, however they are exciting.  In addition, I’ve started a publishing company too that develops iOS Apps for Apple devices as well marketing web sites so yes life is busy and I need more time. (no I don’t sleep much at all)

The other interesting thing is readership is about 80 people a day visit, there is a group about 20 repeats the rest cycle in from Google searches which is one of the reasons I started the internet marketing business as Google is an amazingly powerful machine and will be a post in the future for sure.  My most popular post, the one on Polychromic Time, it the top read every week!  I have no clue why, however it is and the second for the longest time was the Lindy Effect however that has fallen off a bit in the past 3 months.

All in all it’s one heck of a ride this year and I’m looking forward to 2012 as I always like even numbered years as maybe it’s because I was born on an even year.  Either way I wish you and yours the best possible 2012 and will see you on the other side…

P.S. If your wondering, I’ve written around 238,000 word this year for this blog, and Yahoo Answers says an average entry novel is 80,000 to 120,000 words.  So folks this is basically two novels. 

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Dallas Redux…

We once used film cameras, drove manual transimison cars and read paper books. Ah the old days...

For those old enough to remember the Dallas TV series and the year the writers could not figure out how to end the season so they just made a “dream” sequence washing away the meaning of the entire season and pissing off the entire series viewership because it was if they wasted their time. This alone was interesting as this in the end as, hey Dallas was fictional.  So why where so many people upset when they were hood winked by the writers as isn’t this what fiction is about [make believe]?  However that isn’t what we are here to wax about  as its about what happened in 2007 around  Google’s legal dispute with a coalition of authors and publishers over Google Books which was put on the shelf while the parties hashed out a settlement agreement which was later announced in 2008.  However the settlement seemed to be anything but settled as  it attracted  a massive backlash which convinced Judge Denny Chin to reject the settlement earlier this year.

So here we sit after three years of pretending to work together to try and get the settlement approved, all parties are now back in courts and guess what?  Yes you won’t be surprised to know at each others’ throats as that’s why we pay lawyers right? However yet again, we aren’t here today to wax Family Feud style over this basic nonsense which this represents, however to discuss what it means to create “intellectual property” and release it into the wilds of the world if you will.

As at the heart of this is the fact Google scanned books (which they believed where copyright orphaned) and made the contents available on the internet.  As the one thing you will note that I’ve stayed away from is the commerciality of this as Google didn’t place a price on this by asking for money, however they are in the advertizing business and need content to drive visitors and one could see how this could be win/win as there is a problem out there that people are refusing to see.

This problem is that the printed book is dead done and over and the generations coming up will not know how to use them.  Laugh will you, feel free to however set your 16 year old behind the wheel of a manual gearshift car [if you live in the US] and bet dollars to donuts you get an interesting stare.  Second is hand them a roll of film and ask them to do something with it.  Least I also need to point you to the viral you-tube video of the young girl frustrated with the printed magazine as she tried to swipe its page to no avail.

It’s here in a world of unlimited search now powered by things such as Siri which knows better then me, that my two year old grandson will never know what that funny section [index] in the back of what was those wasteful single use devices which cost the life of many life giving trees just to end up in a landfill.  So the question begets us as do we allow many lifetimes of information to simply lay waste because of our jurisprudence, or is information really free…

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The Right Heads Right…

Whats the difference between the Great Chinese Firewall and SOPA, let see none...

As agreement on copyright law have never seen to break down neatly along partisan lines in the past, yet it appears today is different.  As here many of the key supporters championing the Stop Online Piracy Act are interestingly enough from the yes political right. Here legislation which is supported by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is enjoying support from none other than the right-leaning, corporate-funded organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Tax Reform.  Yes the typical big brother folks who you would think would be on the side of big media.  Hey wait a minute, isn’t “big media” a liberal left leaning institution after all?

Yet here is a lesson as a growing number of right-leaning individuals as well as organizations have come out vocally against SOPA. Even as of last week, the Heritage Foundation which is one of the nation’s most influential “conservative” think tanks senior researcher and fellow James Gattuso has published an article warning about the “unintended consequences” of SOPA..

It’s in his manifesto of sorts that Gattuso points out that SOPA would in fact undermine Internet security by delaying the implementation of DNSSEC by pushing Internet users to use offshore DNS servers to circumvent DNS blocks. The article also warned that this new government regulation of “search results” would be “the first step down a classic slippery slope of government interference that has no clear stopping point.”

While Gattuso takes no issue with “stealing” needs to stop [as in online privacy], he argues Congress should deal with the problem “in a way that does not disrupt the growth of technology, does not weaken Internet security, and respects free speech rights.”  As its here he doesn’t think SOPA fits the bill as just think about this way as SOPA will “censor” and yes I used the “C” word your DNS!  Do you know what that means?  Most “Joe” averages do not, however DNS (Domain Name Service) is the unsung hero of the internet which makes the internet “human” usable as without it would be nothing more than a bunch of octets.

It also mean the US Government would be encroaching upon the right to free speech there have been many discussions in the past too regarding DNS and the domain (pardon the pun) of free speech.   As the kicker here is there is nothing as Gattuso points out for users not to point their browsers to off shore DNS services.  So we’ve made a lot of ado yet solved nothing other than pushing more “authority” off American shores which is bad for commerce as yes liberals seem to forget without commerce there won’t be people to “legally” buy their products as they just tossed the baby out the 30th floor window with the bath water.

Yet you know what scares me even more, ok think about it for minute [insert pause here] as yes this is the US’s version of the “Great Chinese Firewall”.  As when you start controlling DNS, you start controlling the “free word” and we are a nation based upon our rights of “free speech”  and edification of DNS is no different than the banning of books because someone seems to think they know better…

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Ground Hog Day…

This morning I awoke to the sound of my Black Berry’s alarm going off as it does every morning (yes 7 days a week I set my alarm) and from their stumbled downstairs and made some coffee then it was off to check what catastrophes awaited me in the land of e-mail hell.  However this morning when my peepers popped open, it hit me like a ton of bricks!  Yes Groundhog Day, you know that [1993] movie with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell where he (Bill ) is a TV reporter and goes out to cover the Groundhog Day event and the then days just keep repeating over and over again?

When I first saw the movie almost two decades ago, I didn’t appreciate Danny Rubin’s (the author) story that much however over the interceding 20 years I’ve come to respect it.  As this morning when the Black Berry went off and the eyes popped open in the still predawn morning, the first thing in my head was “Groundhog Day”! It wasn’t the movie either as it was the fact that life is nothing more than reenactment of itself and only may venues change, yet actions typically don’t.   As if you follow this blog you know I get around a bit, around the world that is and no matter how far or long I go it’s all the same.  While minor pieces change, I still awake to my Black Berry, still look for a cup of coffee and especially still live at the mercy of e-mail hell.

At first it (the idea this morning that life is so much like ground hog day) brought a measure of sadness as like Murray’s character in the movie, Phil Connors who after realizing life is nothing more than a continuous rinse and repeat cycle becomes depressed.  However while laying there staring at the ceiling [wishing my e-mail away] also remembered how “Phil” after overcoming the rote realization of his destiny started to have fun with things as remember the armor car money and the “screamer”?  As I recall he even went on to learn the piano too, all again “within” the context of a “rinse and repeat” life style which gave me hope.

As there is no question that this movie [as many are] was a simple metaphor for life and Rubin had hit a little too close for me anyway as it became too obvious to quickly for my liking.  Yet after almost 20 years its had time to set in much like Alice’s Restaurant [again metaphorically].   Moving forward in time (after pressing the snooze button), as the sleep departed my eyes even more and the ceiling came into better focus, so did this and fact we all live in this repeating loop and the goal is not so much to make advantage of the macro, yet master the micro as if you watch the pennies the dollars will follow…

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Chopped…

Have you ever noticed there are more losers then there are winners?

So I’ve been home for the holidays a bit and the TV has been on  in the background in the evening and I’ve across an interesting show on the “Food Network”. As the later alone is interesting in that there is enough social effluence for a “food” channel in a country which is suffering from obesity however that’s for another day.  So back to “Chopped” the show as for those who aren’t aware of the show, it’s pretty simple as there is a host (Ted) with three judges who gang up on four competing chefs.

Each of these Chef’s are typically “Executive” Chefs which mean they don’t work for the Golden Arch’s if you know what I mean as the challenge is to cook a three course meal (appetizer, main course and dessert) with surprise ingredients.  Yet what struck me is after sitting through one of these in the background is by the time we got to the second (it was a holiday marathon), the question became why?

So your saying to yourself because “if” you win there is a huge (bragging rights and employment upside) and you’re right again [only] “if” you win. However what I noticed is you won’t well let’s put it this way three (3) of the four wont.  So this became an epiphany as well as good business analogy about losing as the show is more about creating “losers” then “winners”.   So let’s start with the basics and I will try to keep the math down to a low roar.

As first off, with four (4) contestants there is a 1:4 chance of winning, while a 3:4 change of losing so if someone came to you with those odds of investing your money would you take them up as its all or nothing.  Well let’s hope not, then second is  the social axiom “there is always someone out there better then you”, so since the show down is 1:2, means the odds of the next person being better then you is 50% therefore the 1:4 chance (which un-weighed statistically) is more like 1:8 (in round numbers) as we now have to “weigh” our chances of success. So the majority of the people will lose.

Alright your sitting back and saying, no kidding Campbell that the idea is people will “lose” and to this I say bingo your starting to get it as in these types of competition we don’t watch for the winner we really watch for the losers!  Now there is this whole thing of the psychology of the underdog we could get into, however don’t have the time right now as the point is why you should always avoid these types of things in life.

As in general the “losers” have further to “falls” then the winners do to climb as can you see a restaurant advertising they have a head chef who was “Chopped”?  Not me baby, that means these folks [on average]  will be stuck in a “B” class existence the rest of their careers (again we are speaking in averages).  Yet you may be saying what about athletes, as they compete and lose yet compete another day.

Well it’s the later which is the first key, as again on average an athlete get multiple chances to compete whereas these chefs do not, so there is a huge change in the distribution of risk as the number of opportunities for success change the weighting, and the second is they are not competing in their field of [end] employment which is the big catch here if you will.  So if you’re a budding chef [or business person], just something to think about…

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And Go Daddy Bends…

Never make the mistake to think your your more then your customer base as you are your customer...

Ok for those that have been living under a rock, supporting SOPA, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” currently working its way through the U.S. Congress.   As basically this is a group of stodgy old timers who can’t get with a new thing and want us to live in the past.  Now as I’ve waxed before stealing intellectual property is still stealing, however as we’ve discussed on these pages in the past its time for a new modus operandi if you will as change is good, however one ISP found out the hard way and there are two lessons to be learned here.

Go Daddy is no longer supporting SOPA, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” as its been under significant pressure from an Internet-wide boycott which has convinced the  domain registrar to give the open Internet movement an early Christmas present [as I’m writing this on Xmass day] by dropping its support for the Stop Online Piracy Act.  In a released statement the ISP giant said the following:

“Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation—but we can clearly do better,” Warren Adelman, Go Daddy’s newly appointed CEO, said. “It’s very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it.”

However least you think that GoDaddy’s [embarrassing] retreat was all on its own, as it had a little help with a boycott which started on last Thursday and rapidly spread to the broader Internet. Even GoDaddy’s competitors got in on it by offering special deals with promo codes like “SopaSucks” to entice the willing to swap out GoDaddy. As Initially, GoDaddy had their head stuck in the sand [mistake number 1 in denial]  as they said they got a few emails which appeared to come from the boycott prompt, yet they didn’t see any impact to their business (yet)”

However this was their second mistake this POed their user base and drove the increased impact on their business which began to be more obvious [dollar wise] on Friday as people started to vote with their feet.

So why did GoDaddy  do this in the first place, well they say “In changing its position, Go Daddy remains steadfast in its promise to support security and stability of the Internet,” the company’s Friday statement reads. GoDaddy says it has removed past postings expressing support for the legislation from its website.”

So has GoDaddy really changed their colors, or is it just pandering to it user base as can a (GoDaddy or any other) fundamentally change as remember when you were a kid and your mom told you to say you where sorry, but you really weren’t, ya remember that don’t you…

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Zero Sum Fat, If There Is Such A Thing…

There are somethings, then there is a stolen smile...

Before going down this road as you’ve had a day to get over the gasps and groans over how could say such a blasphemist thing after all right? However lets look at what “zero sum” as its Christmas and the world is full of holiday cheer right?  Well Zero-Sum is a simple concept, as no matter whatever you do the answer is zero, pretty simple stuff right?  So if your do some [perceived] good there will be a similar amount of “bad” (assuming there is such a thing as good and bad).  As let’s take a minute to  look at the concepts of good and bad, so let’s play a game if you will.

I have $100 to give to you or your neighbor, so I pick your neighbor and not you, so “good” for them and “bad” for you right?  If we reverse it, then “good” for you and “bad” for them, however change up the game and I give you both $50 instead.  So now it’s both [in equal parts] “good” and “bad” for both of you as you both could have had more and less so your winners and losers.  Believe you get the idea, however another change up, what if your neighbor didn’t know they lost the opportunity for $100 and I gave it to you, would it still be “bad”.  As the saying goes, “one man’s meat is another mans poison”.

However the biggest zero-sum game I know is in fact mortality, as we leave the world with no more then we came into it with.  Now some of you smarty pants our there might get the bright idea that we leave behind “information” however you would be wrong as since law of conservation of energy says matter cannot be created nor destroyed only, so what has existed will exist  as it has existed.

If one was a really good debater, they may say we then leave behind order, however the retort would be order is lost to entropy so check and mate.  However, the greater concept of Zero-Sum is not the argument today its more so the application as there is a loop in our argument as if you know your living in a dream then are you really dreaming?  Here understanding that the game is zero-sum simply means there are new rules as the goal is to optimize the loop to the goal.  For example there is no way to stop global warming, so the next best thing is fit the goal to the loop [zero-sum works in both directions] so we need to figure out how to make the most in moment.

Now many will take this and say its exploitation and that’s so we should just go back to pillaging and robbing right?  Well not so, as if I pick a flower and hand it to my lovely wife [who I love more than the world] and make her smile, the equation says someone lost a flower, yet I’ve stolen a smile and feeling in my heart which is irreplaceable.  So which is worth more…

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Back to Fat…

Calories by an other name are Carbohydrates...

So yesterday we where waxing about the topic of fat and that now in  South Africa people are both starving as well as dying of obesity as how can a dichotomy of this nature manifest itself?  Yet to understand this, we need to back up a bit to better understand this as it is one of the main reasons which I started writing this blog in the first place.  As one of the key things I’ve learned is people do not understand there is an “effect” to their “cause”, as they see the world in monochrome as each action is an independent action.

However our friend Sir Isaac Newton was very clear that for every action there would be an “equal and opposite reaction” so in short backing up the second law of thermodynamics which says there isn’t a free lunch in say burn a log, while you’ve changed its ‘state” it’s matter still exists and therefore still is a log.  Yet the dualities of these “actions” are also not independent as many times the “effect” can drive the cause.

Moving back to the physical world for a moment, let’s use the example of the “machine gun” as it has no external power source, yet will keep firing so long as it has bullets.  As its “action” is the firing of the bullet and its “effect” is the recoil and here it uses the “recoil” to fire the next bullet.  In turn it creates a causal cycle which builds in speed until some physical limit kicks in to hinder it.  This in turn is a perfect example of a “Viral Loop” which grows very fast and can end just as quickly as in the gun when the bullets run out its an immediate stop.

So what does all this have to with obesity in South Africa you ask, good question as this is a text book example a cause in effect  scenario playing itself out in society where we can see it.  As unfortunately, social loops are too large to be easily seen and lead “uni-blindness”   meaning we see only one the “cause” side of the equation.

So you want to solve hunger right?  Noble cause to say the least, so how are you going to tackle it is the question as economic (be functional or token denominated) systems are always the limiting factor. So with limited resources you want to supply the most for the least right?  So you buy the highest caloric staple for the dollar you can, correct?  Well what happens then, ok the first when dealing with carbohydrates, it is easy to overrun the calories which the body needs as the basal rate for an average adult is about 11 calories per pound, per day so a 160 pound person at rest would require only 1,760 calories per day. So round up to about 2,000 and  anything over that is going to fat production an yes, all calories are not created equal.

As without going into a lot of nutritional and metabolic mumbo jumbo the human has a hard time with “complex” sugars (another phrase for crabo’s) as its designed to burn simple sugars so  it likes to convert them to fat first then simple sugars so you get the picture.  The piece you might of missed is above I shared that basal caloric needs are based upon body weight and therefore as body weight rises so does the need for more calories so is a negative cycle forming here or what.

Finely (for today’s post) is when high carbohydrate food is “handed out”, less effort needs to be applied [on aggregate] to obtain those calories so the need actually falls yet the availability rises.  Again not a good cycle as we are now “fattening” people even more and all we wanted to do is feed the hungry right?  Well, you have to remember the world like it or not is “zero sum”.  Whoa you say Campbell,  zero sum really!  Well we will pick that up tomorrow…

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And We Just Keep Getting Fatter…

Its interesting to understand how the body handles sugars...

Obesity fascinates me as it carries with it a ton of social “tells” if you will about how things work within that “society” as in general “obesity” is not a [in general] a natural act. Yes you read that correctly as in nature how many “obese” animals do you see where man hasn’t lent a hand? Case in point is my back yard, as a couple months ago we had several [White tail] deer come in so the wife started feeding them. After she started so did then neighbors and so on, so now you guessed it we have chubby deer and not only a fact of the number of people feeding them, it’s more so “what” we are feeding them. As prior to dinning at the Campbell household, their staple food was “grass” which was low in caloric value and high in fiber [meaning it moved quickly through the gut further reducing caloric absorption], yet we have altered their diet feeding them shelled corn. Yes, we have introduced them to a high caloric low fiber diet which is costly so what have we also done? Well of course, tossed in a good round of carbohydrates too in the form of deer kibble further raising the caloric count!

Yet more so back to my main point as what got me on this was an Economist article titled “Fat is bad but beautiful” which discusses the rapid growth of obesity in South Africa. As even though the goes that 40% of its 50m people live off less than $2 a day, South Africa has become one of the world’s fattest countries. As an amazing Six out of ten (60% majority) South Africans are now clinically overweight or obese. Additionally a quarter of teenagers and one in six children under nine are too as the story starts out to tell us of the death of 250lb nine year old boy of heart failure. So how can a society which lives on $2 a day be obese you ask?

Well that in itself is the answer as the poor here are damned if they do and the same if they don’t. As yes fast food (including processed) is booming there because it is cheap and it is empty. What do I mean by empty, well in short nutritional value as what we’ve figured out how to do is chain together long form sugar to create carbohydrates which carry no “nutritional value”. So the question is why do this, simple its cheap in fact very cheap and that is one of the reasons the poor pay if you will as its either no food or well obesity. As the human body was not designed to take in the levels of [man made] carbohydrates which we provide to it today on top of we are far less active then our forefathers where so again as a whole society needs less calories today than in the past, yet today we have far more calories available to us than any time in our past. As its this shift in affluence and what it means to society that we will tackle tomorrow as we are what we eat, like it or not…

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