Canary in a Coal Mine 4

This series was about a little bird that saved coal miners from dying, saved people from being watched by authorities, and someday might save women from predators.

Yesterday I thanked all the women who have recently come forward about powerful men that have taken advantage of them.

Those who have the strength and resources to fight these monsters, I salute you.

For those who are truly weak, truly at risk, and without any resources at all, I wish to suggest a bit of technology that *might* help.  This is where our knowledge of behavior comes in handy.  We can learn from the canary that died in the mine and the canary that watches for government warrants.

We also see the number of women who have come forward against monsters in their midst, and knowing human nature, understand that these are but a small fraction of the total number of women those monsters preyed upon.

Consider this.  Give each young woman a canary as a gift.  She carries it on her phone.  If she’s too young or poor for a phone, let the canary live in a protected place that someone else cares for, on another phone for example, or a school computer.

Let that young woman (for she will surely be young) feed that canary regularly.  She will feed it with her love, her trust, and with assurances that she has not met any monsters.

Should she not feed that canary, it will die.  And those of us who care about her will notice.

We are not asking her for any details that will put her at risk.  Those are unimportant.  What is critical is that we know.  Once we know, we can start the process of hunting out that monster.  If we can do it without her involvement, so much the better.  If it requires her help, we can help her be strong.

But all of this must start somewhere.  Those women who have come out against today’s monsters have taken the next step.

I humbly suggest that this new “Confidence Canary” be another step.  Let every young woman be so equipped.  Let her know that she is never alone.

Thank you for reading.

 

Canary in a Coal Mine 3

This series is about how a little bird has saved lots of coal miners from a lack of air, and can even save people from being watched by a government that wants to know everything.

Today’s post is also going to be about a canary, but first it’s necessary to salute all the women who have recently come forward about powerful men that have taken advantage of them.

As a man, I salute all of you for standing up to these scum.

A long time ago women were stolen as prizes, sold to the highest bidder and treated like slaves.  In fact, it’s been so long that doing any of those things today are crimes.

If you are a woman who has had such a crime committed against you, I urge you to say something, do something, even hit something if necessary.  Letting these creeps go free and unscathed only means that they will do it again.  I don’t care if he’s a film mogul.  I don’t care if he’s an orange president.

Take them down.  You are woman.  I don’t know a tougher adjective than that.

You want backup?  There’s lots of guys like me waiting in the wings.  Trust me, I know.  Guys talk guy talk.  I’ve seen the guys who think they are above the moral code, and I stay away from them.  I also know the guys who would go to bat for a woman who wants extra muscle.

So, again, to all of you who have stood your ground and suffer the public attention such admissions attract, thank you.  Thank you for your courage, your work to make this a better world, your work to take down a scum bag, and your work to make this a better place for our daughters.

For my part, I would like to contribute some small idea that may help more women tomorrow.  Literally, tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

 

Canary in a Coal Mine 2

Yesterday, a little bird told me about how a little bird saved lots of coal miners from a lack of air.

Today, I’d like to thank a little virtual canary that saves concerned citizens from a lack of liberty.  These canaries are endangered, but only because bureaucrats like to eat them.  The canaries only eat virtual bird-seed, which is cheep and plentiful.

These endangered canaries live inside internet services that have records of our comings and goings on the internet.  If you don’t mind the government knowing where you like to spend your time, then you won’t care about the canary.  But if you would rather the government did not watch your internet use, then you will like to keep the canary alive.

The canary is a delicate creature.  And what happens is that the canary will die if the government tells your internet provider that it has to start telling them about your internet use.  By law, the provider isn’t allowed to tell you directly.  The idea is that the government doesn’t want you to know that you are being watched.  This makes sense.

But if you are a cautious sort, you do want to know if you are being watched.  So you keep an eye on this special canary.  It’s called a warrant canary.  If your provider has one, they will tell you where it lives.  You should check on it and make sure it’s alive and singing.

If you check on it one day and that canary is not singing, then you know you are officially being watched.  That’s all.  It’s a great device that not many of you may know about.  But it’s there, and it’s worth keeping alive.

More importantly for us students of behavior, we can learn from this old fashioned idea that has been incorporated into modern technology.  What can we learn?  Stay tuned!

 

Canary in a Coal Mine 1

“A little bird told me so” is a phrase I used to hear as a kid.  Not sure what little birds I was listening to back then, but the phrase is perfect for this week.  This series has to do with canaries, little birds that are sensitive to how much oxygen there is in the air.

There was a time when brave men went deep underground to tear apart rocks we call coal.  Back then we burned coal to heat homes and make bread.

One of the many dangers was the possibility that the miner’s air supply would falter, killing everyone in the mine.  This happened often enough.  So an early warning device was created.  If that device “went off” everyone in the mine got out as quickly as possible so that the problem would be fixed.

That device was a canary.  The little bird would go down in the mines with the miners, and if the oxygen levels were too low, the canary stopped singing.  No singing meant the canary was probably dead.  That meant death for everyone else wasn’t far behind.

Hence the term, canary in a coal mine.  And that’s how the little bird really told them so.

Next, how canaries are working again to keep us free from government surveillance.

 

 

Lunar Comedy

There are a lot of people out there who believe that the future of the human species relies on getting us to live in places far, far away. Not just in Hawaii, but on the Moon, or Mars. Or even further away than than.

The Moon seems like a good place to start, though, because it’s so close. Close is relative. It’s not as close to me as Florida, but it’s the closest thing that is not Earth. So let’s pick on the Moon for now, as being the next best place for people to live.

What should we call people who live on the Moon for their entire lives? Mooners? Moonies? Lunars? Lunies? Lunarians? For now, I’ll call them Loonites. No reason, except that it sounds funny for now.

Funny. That’s a hot topic. Funny wasn’t always hot. There was a time, not so long ago, before television, where funny was something that people saw once in a blue moon. Only the richest people could afford live funny time, in the form of a court jester.

Being a court jester wasn’t an easy job, either. If you were a court jester, you had an incredibly tough audience of one person, the King. If the King liked you, you had a good night’s sleep on a full stomach. If you had a bad day and the King didn’t like you, there was a good chance you’d be dead!

Nowadays it’s not as tough to be a comedian, but sometimes it feels that way. The difference is that comedy is the King, and comedians have become Kings in their own right. The best of them can make millions of dollars a year. In many ways, we can consider today’s society a society of comedy.

Which brings us back to the Moon. Lunites are going to be very busy. They will be working hard to survive, mining minerals for the people on Earth, working solar energy farms sending electricity back to the home planet, and continually digging new tunnels in order to expand their cramped living conditions. What will the Lunites do for fun?

It’s a good question. We don’t know. We do know that there were people just like the Lunites, living in the Boston area a few hundred years ago. They didn’t do much for fun because they were busy trying to survive for many decades. The Pilgrims were a pretty “grim” people for quite a few years. If you read some of the things they considered funny, you probably wouldn’t even crack a smile.

My guess is that the Lunites are going to be even busier than the Pilgrims. They won’t have as much free time, let alone time to spend having fun. They will have to spend more years making sure they can survive, because of several things. First, they won’t have other natives to help them, like the native Indians helped the first Pilgrims. Second, their mother country isn’t a few thousand kilometers away to keep sending more people or food. The Lunites’s mother country will be almost half a million kilometers away. Thirdly, the Moon won’t be full of resources that the Lunites can harvest easily. Vital things like water and air are going to have to be pulled by force from the Lunar soil. The Pilgrims were able to easily breathe the air, find a nearby fresh-water stream, and hunt fish and birds for food.

So, what will the Lunites do for fun? I don’t think they will do very much. I think they will be known as a very boring and busy people for many generations. Earth people will make fun of them for being different, and this will start a process where the Lunites truly become a society different from Earth.

These are my thoughts. What are yours?