Category Archives: Talk

Talk about politics, society, science, computers, internet, psychology, and philosophy.

Who discovered America?

“Who discovered America?”
“Cristopher Columbus!”
“That’s wrong…”
“Ah, yeah! There were some Vikings before him…”
“That’s also wrong…”
“Really? Who do you believe discovered America?”
“Well, the native Americans… obviously… or to be more precise, the Pre-Clovis people… as far as we know today.”

Here’s a great discussion from on who really discovered America.

And to add to the non-Columbian theory of the discovery of America, there might have been Neanderthals/Denisovans in America some 130 000 years ago, as well!

Header image by Joseph Henry SharpChristie’s, LotFinder: entry 5073621 (sale 2003, lot 41, New York, 21 May 2008), Public Domain, Link

Repair and Replace

1.5 degrees

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) released the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C basically stating that 1.5°C will be bad, 2°C will be even worse, clearly indicating a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C should be preferred. The report also covers several “pathways” to reach that goal.

I must confess, I haven’t read the whole report. But I am still going to suggest one thing we could do to keep resource usage lower. I don’t even know if it would impact greenhouse gas emissions, but I think sooner or later it will have to be done:

Going back to a replace and repair culture.

Replace and repair


I like my things, from my kitchen table and refrigerator to my mobile phone and my Mac. However, they all seem to follow the same philosophy of being used for a few years and then thrown away.

Take smartphones for instance. A modern, watertight phone is glued shut to be watertight. Trying to replace the battery requires it to be “broken” open and then it might not be watertight anymore if you’re even able to get in open in the first place without it shattering…

And yet. From an energy consumption point, a smartphone battery should possibly not be used more than a certain number of years. It seems after 2-3 it starts losing its charge pretty fast. After 5 you pretty much have to keep the phone constantly charging.

I could buy a new battery for my older phones, but newer ones, e.g. iPhones, seems to require that I hand the phone in for service.

refrigeratorNot to mention that the memory or processor can’t be replaced at all.

Another example. Refrigerators and freezers. A refrigerator/ freezer should be replaced after a while. Because they might leak freon, and they will use more power to reach the same temperatures.

However, is it really required to replace the whole unit? How about a repair that replaces only the parts that may leak or over consume power? I don’t see how the case should have to be replaced as well… but sure, make it higher quality and one might be inclined not to want to replace it.

Twice the price / twice the quality

In fact. My basic theory here is that if the quality of things increased, and parts could be replaced to upgrade them and make the need to throw away and buy new decrease, the cost for nature would be lessened.

For instance. A mobile that lasted twice as long, would use half as much resources … I’d be willing to pay twice the price (obviously! :))

To make this happen, though, the mobile might need replaceable parts (memory/CPU/battery) but mobile manufacturers would also need to slow down with the new-model-race.

Sure, they need to make their money and compete and all…but the whole point here is that they have two choices (like any other manufacturer of “the model of the year”-products from cars to TVs and so on) either compete and make money today, to see pretty hefty climate effects tomorrow, or think about the climate effects today… and see a much brighter tomorrow.

Beyerdynamic gets it right!


Let me offer an example of what I’m talking about:

My Beyerdynamic earphones.

I got my first pair back in… I think it was 2003 or 2004. I got my next pair last year. Yup, that’s 13-14 years lifespan.

Sure, they cost me 1500 SEK (that’s about USD 165). Pretty steep for a pair of headphones (they are in fact pro studio quality) but then again, divide that by 13 and you get a price per year of about $12.

How many years does a regular pair of earphones last and what do they cost?

Maybe you have a pair that would be on par with my Beyerdynamic’s… or better… but then again… I made a mistake when I bought my new headphones, because, guess what?

Beyerdynamic-spare-partsThey have replacement parts for basically everything on the headphone… so my broken ear pads or the worn down headband cushion… I could easily have replaced only them.

Although, when I compared the old headphones with the new I realized the speaker elements in the old ones was pretty worn down. Literally no base at all. However…

You can even replace the actual speakers!

The only thing I think can’t be replaced is the plastic cups for the speakers. (But you’d pretty much have to jump on the headphones to break those…)

If every manufacturer followed this example the resource usage would be minimal!

Sure, studios might devour earpad cushions by the kilo, but they also have the option to keep them longer if they want to.

I believe in the new gadget economy, the price we should be most concerned about isn’t the price in money, but the price in resource usage.

And the best way to make that price as low as possible is to increase the quality and lifespan of products by embracing a replace and repair culture, rather than the use-and-throw-away culture we have now.

Besides, it would create new jobs.

Or, did you think I’d try to do the thing on the IKEA-compile-like image above myself? I’m pretty certain my earphones would never be the same again if I even tried…

Don’t turn the Customer Avoidance Setting to max

Important notice regarding CAF in ACE4:

Please note. When configuring Automated Customer Experience 4.0.4 (ACE4) do not set the Customer Avoidance Factor to 100%!

Unfortunately, as of this writing, with a CAF-setting of 100%, ACE4 will scare customers away, in severe cases resulting in massive customer loss and possible termination of business.

Please rest assured we’re working on solving this issue as soon and as efficiently as possible.

Proper Configuration

A correct level of the CAF-setting for ACE4 depends on how vital your product is to the customer. For nonvital products (such as lawnmowers, hair shampoo, and higher education) you have to be careful not to set the level above 50% or the customer might just give up on it entirely.

On the other hand, for vital products (such as shoes and mobile phones) you can safely crank that customer repellant setting to 90% or even 95% and enjoy a glorious day at work with next to no hassle from all those pesky customers, and know that if the system does let a customer through, you and everyone nearby are probably best off if you take that call before something blows up*…

* Please see our separate guide for proper CAF-settings depending on the type of product and likely volatility of the customer.

Insurance and Legal Coverage

If you have our expanded support package hate speech, misogynism, and death threats are all covered by the insurance policy. Unfortunately, bankruptcy and certain types of fraud** are not.

See the legal attachment for a full brief on the legal coverage and all insurance policy questions.

** As of this writing, we do not know if the fraudulent behavior of some installations of the system is due to this setting, interactions with other systems or improper configuration or handling. Further investigations are underway. In the meantime, please make sure to inform all your customers that “Captain Ahab” is not an employee of your company*** neither is he a Nigerian prince.

*** If captain Ahab is one of your employees, please contact us immediately!

Other Incidents and Interactions

There have been reported incidents where ACE4 and the Automated Spouse Service versions 1.1 to 1.2 have interacted in such a manner as to cause undue distress and mental harm to customers.

Since this is a central feature of ASS1 and only likely to have happened if these two systems were inappropriately installed, these incidents are unfortunately not covered by the expanded support package insurance policy.

To avoid this problem, please do not install ASS1 and ACE4 on the same server, and make sure to configure firewalls properly to prevent ASS from gaining undue and inappropriate influence over ACE.