Category Archives: Society

Uber replaced with blockchain

[This was a naive post. What I envisioned was a location based “payment for service” concept like TaskRabbit but fully genericized. Rather like an all in one Paypal/Venmo + Uber/Lyft + Taskrabbit/Fivvr + Angieslist/Craigslist. An any-location “I need this — will pay $X for it” service that provides the means to connect providers with consumers. • I need a ride to… • I need a dog walker… • I need to move a piano… • I need someone to fix my sink… • I need a cord of firewood delivered. • I need *something* at my location who can help me? Why all these independent silo-services need to exist when a single all-in-one service would do — baffles me.]

Could Uber be replaced with blockchain?

It seems that the only purpose of corporate Uber is to provide global management of Uber drivers and rides, create the server infrastructure to host the data and payment mechanism, and take half to two-thirds of a driver’s earnings.

I wonder if such a service couldn’t be total democratized through blockchain technology?

“BlockRide” would:

  • Be hosted on a gateway only cloud system that provided communication between BlockRide app instances.
  • Be a standalone application which provided both driver and rider connectivity through the cloud gateway. The mobile app would be leased by both drivers and riders at some rate that would go to support the cloud infrastructure. The app would provide peer-to-peer communication for transaction finalization.
  • Be regionally distributed – blockchain databases would be divided by region based on GPS.

Ride requests would be posted into the cloud, for a region, and drivers would bid to win riders. The transaction would be posted-pending at the time of the win and sealed as a blockchain transaction at the time of rider seating. Various payment methods would be built into the app to facilitate funds transfer. Bitcoin is an obvious addition to this process.

Driver reputation and liability would be managed by the drivers themselves. Other services would probably spring up to create “driver guilds” and Yelp style recommendation platforms. BlockRide could facilitate some of this reputation management, rather like Youtube channel likes/dislikes. (Rider reputation could managed too.)

The regional blockchain databases would store the transaction records for an entire region, city or county. Anyone with a registered instance of the application could review transactions for the region in which they are currently operating.

Drivers and riders would communicate their peer-to-peer transaction with at least N other nodes participating in the loop.

I’m not well versed in blockchain technology which means I’m probably making incorrect assumptions about the way such a service would work. Other’s knowledgeable about the concept could correct me.

Ride sharing seems like an appropriate blockchain supported service. Uber may have started out as a egalitarian, distributed system, but it certainly hasn’t stayed that way. Perhaps it’s time for the real Uber to stand up and put the power back into people’s hands.

~~~

Thinking about this, I wonder if TaskRabbit or Fivvr already do this? If not, perhaps this model could be applied to any location based “service for hire.”

 


Sex.Food.Rush.Chill

Sex.Food.Rush.Chill.

What else is there? Really?

Epicurus — that devil-dog from 300BCE — would have stepped back from such a statement. He would have shaken his head like a dog, olive oil and bits of sardine flying, his wang hanging out of his toga and said with authority — let’s party!

Sex: If you’re not driven by your hormones to procreate — then why are you even here? (Even it no progeny could ever come of your libidinous acts.)

Food: There are so many flavors, textures, and culinary sensations that obesity should be a badge of honor, not a shroud of shame. Oh, and Al-Ko-Hall – straight up!

Rush: The need for speed, death defying feats, an adrenaline high and risk — it’s all about the risk baby.

Chill: You need time, we all need time to pontificate. Sit back, puff a doobie, gaze at the sunset, the stars, or each other and just contemplate all of it — or none of it.

Sex.Food.Rush.Chill

 

 


How was your day?

In as few words possible describe your day. Don’t mistreat it. Don’t embellish. Extract its essence and stream it into our minds.

~~~

Go.

~~~

Our world spun its circular return. I blinked and woke up here, barely moved. Is this today or tomorrow? The rain would know. Soon drops will drown the dry tracks of my children’s tears. Or are they my own?

Food and drink slurped as sustenance, its colorful countenance belying its eventual fate, ooze of an odiferous sort — like the stink of diesel, or the burning of tires along the highway.

I went, I wavered beneath florescent lights. I found the keys and tapped them murderously. To no avail — they remarked en masse that my words together failed to shift the opinions on all office topics lovingly pinned to the break-room wall.

The sun arced without my permission. When I dared look at its progress, glares from cubemates bent my neck back to my flickering screen. A screen that aches for silken sheets and glistening bodies but must suffice with sheets of tables and dull characters spelling out quarterlies and bottom lines.

My day is done. The dollar slotted, the handle pulled, the rollers flashed cherries and jokers and spades, it twirled and slowed, the last wheel clicked empty. I jangle my change, a few dollars more it seems.


Emailing the dead

Dear Janice,

Why haven’t you returned my emails? You don’t text me, nor twitter. What’s up?

Hello? Janice?

Google will never delete your account. It will continue to accumulate email long after you die. Consider all the accounts you will leave gathering correspondence years after your fingers have ceased to digitally transmit. The Archive of the Dead. Talk about a Dead Letter Queue.

Think of all the millions of accounts that, right now, continue to collect their penis enlargement, their Nigerian prince, their Russian wife emails. And consider all the languishing friends and ancient lovers seeking to reconnect. The forgotten business associates, the friends of friends who read your book, saw your paintings, wondered about your clever children — their communiques swallowed by the pit of an abandoned account.

Dear Mole,

I’m slumbering here, terra-incognita, considering your inquires as I softly chuckle at the thought of sharing your subterranean abode. Why the urgency? Do you sense the closing of doors? The drawing of curtains? Will our letters find each other in the Ether-space once you surrender your daily toils? Or will the silicon memory that embodies our digital personas petrify, become crystal quartz again as the eons enfold us?


Alita: Battle Angel – loved it

My son and I went to see this movie — during the day — and we had the entire theater to ourselves. I went in knowing absolutely nothing about the story or the history of this film. It was a great way to see it.

We both loved it.

My son didn’t know about the concept of the Uncanny Valley so later I explained it to him. Alita’s character exposes this theme but it’s nuanced — the feeling wavers all throughout the movie. And I think that’s appropriate. The girl is NOT human. She is Other. And it shows. Yet she emits such expression, such engaging behavior that you can’t help but be attracted to her — despite her otherness.

I highly recommend this film.

https://www.engadget.com/2019/02/16/alita-battle-angel-review-uncanny-valley/

 

 


Why so many flavors?

Buffet

[Flickr: Commons Image]

Humans, in fact most animals, could survive given the bare essentials of nutrition: Some grains, some beans, some earthy greens and maybe a few eggs. Pretty basic, nearly tasteless stuff. So, why do we have such refined sensibilities with regards to taste (and smells)?

There are literally millions of ingredients, spices, recipes, mixtures, and cooking methods all producing exotic, intoxicating, alluring odors and flavors. It seems overkill. Thousands of culinary media stars (over the years) continue to entice us with the promise of just one more umami taste, one more Maillard enhanced sensation. Sheesh! Talk about the absurdity of The Excess.

If I were designing a brand new biological creature I’d focus on a binary eating process:

  • Will this kill me (or make me ill), or not?
  • Will this enhance my nutritional energy quotient, or not?

There, done.

With such a process, a vast swath of beneficial food stuffs now opens up for such a creature to leverage. Think: super goat. The whole concept of “squeamishness” would vanish.

“Oooh, I can’t eat that.”

“Well, sure you can. It won’t kill you, or make you sick, and it will keep you alive for another day and a half.”

Does today’s food culture seem excessive and absurd to you?


Point System: keeping score

We all live by and adhere to a bevy of social contracts.

One of those contracts is the equity of gift exchange. If I take you for lunch, you must, eventually, take me for lunch — or breakfast, or drinks or… Whatever it is, it must roughly equal the value offered in the original transaction. If you spring for a fancy dinner, the onus of return has now shifted back to my shoulders. And so we live, social debt flowing to and fro.

Until one side takes, the other side gives and an unbalanced ledger results. I borrowed your lawnmower, your shovel, your chainsaw and never repaid you in kind.

Without effort from my side, this slight will grow and fester. An unspoken feud may molder and spawn, like some fetid mushroom pushed up through rotting soil.

There is however, one system which lives for an unspoken unbalance: The Mormons.

The Mormons have a charity point system; they must do good deeds, in excess of those good deeds done back onto them. When we lived in Utah, we confounded them and their points-for-heaven tally sheet. We would be our neighborly, good-natured and giving selves; going out of our way to help and assist and donate whatever we could — simply because that’s how we were wired. They, in turn, would try and surpass normal social mores and attempt to double up in pious points.

Now, to be fair, I’m sure this equanimity generally stemmed from the aforementioned social contract. But, on occasion, we were well aware that we’d flummoxed a number of our neighbors with excessive kindness, a gift that tipped the scales in a way that no doubt confounded them no end. We were, after all, the infidels of the neighborhood. The score could not be left teetered so.

Eventually, the weight would shift and we would accept that to remain amicable, we must be a smidgen in arrears; they were headed to heaven, we realized, and the score must tip in their favor.