About Paul

I’m a Detroit expat recently returned from Tokyo living in Chattanooga. I’m a consulting security professional and father of two. I promise that my views and politics are mine; not yours or my employer’s or anyone’s. I follow no party or affiliation or anything. My things are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license unless otherwise stated.

Scenarios, delivery edition

Status

One finds an unexpected delivery on the doorstep. Upon verifying it was not a forgotten purchase, the global retailer is contacted.

“Thank you for your concern,” the chatbot says. “We’ve already sent a replacement to the intended customer.”

“That’s great for them,” you say. ”But I’ve got this thing by my front door that I didn’t ask for.”

“You’re free to dispose of it,” says the chatbot.

“But I don’t want to touch it. It’s not mine. It’s not something I ordered. Can’t giant retailer send someone out to dispose of it?”

“No.”

“But what if it contains materials that requires specific handling and disposal? Are you saying that cost and responsibility is on me?”

“We contract with third parties on deliveries so there is no way for giant retailer to dispose of it. But, good news! We’ve determined that the package is fine for you to dispose of yourself. As we said, the intended recipient is getting a new delivery.”

“That response does not fill me with confidence.”

That response also does not answer the question.

If a package from one of the global retailers, delivered by one of the global delivery retailers or the local post, arrives at your door but is not meant for you and contains hazards materials, who has the responsibility for disposing of it and who bears the cost?

I would think the analogy would be someone in a truck pulls into your driveway, dumps a barrel of toxic waste in your yard, and drives away. Your home security system recorded that the truck is from Acme Trucking, the barrel had a Zephyr Chemical sticker, and you caught the dumper’s face.

Who’s responsible for the clean up? Who bears the cost?

What if the barrel was full of eels? Or rubber bouncy balls? Or micro plastics? Or a dead human body? Or pudding?

Scenarios

Let’s do a thought experiment!

Albert is in a car accident. Albert might die. Albert has an advance directive that states his doctors must not be vaccinated for COVID-19, must advocate for the horse dewormer Invermectin (sp?) as a treatment for COVID-19, and all medical treatment options must go through Mehmet Oz’s team first. Let’s say Albert’s family agrees.

How does that play out?

In another scenario, Albert sets up tests to ensure such a doctor as described above does not treat him while he’s out of it. Let’s say Albert’s family agrees.

How does that play out?

What happens if the directive and the family don’t agree?

What happens if the directive and the family agree but the assigned doctor doesn’t?

To be clear about me, my organs should be donated. I want all of my health care staff fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and everything else appropriate for where I’m getting treatment. No celebrities should be involved in my case. All of my medication must have scientific backing for use in people and none of it should include horse de-wormers.

If my organs become tainted because someone deviated from my wishes I will terror haunt them brutally until they have no choice but to shuffle off their mortal coil. And then I will hire a demon to haunt them in purgatory because I’ll be that pissed off.

I’ll find a lawyer to put that into actionable language.

Airport refugee

Delta’s change in lounge policy will move me further from using them as my preferred airline. While the lounges are crowded, limiting the duration to 3 hours before departure (not boarding) will do little to alleviate the problem.

Often I occupy a spot in a lounge for a long time. Here’s a list of some of the reasons why:

  • On standby for an earlier flight
  • Traveling to the airport with others (co-workers, family, etc.) where my flight leaves after theirs
  • Bad weather inbound
  • Holiday crush
  • Delayed or canceled flight
  • Hotel checkout time
  • International travel
  • Something about my work calendar that needs me in a place with power, good wifi, and relatively low noise at a specific time unrelated to boarding
  • When I arrive, needing to wait for co-workers, family, etc. so we can carpool to the destination

The list goes on. Other business travelers and those frequently taking to the air may have others.

I have ideas for Delta (and AMEX) on how to address lounge overcrowding, at least a little bit:

  • Expand the Priority Pass access to include airport restaurant access and/or gate delivery food service
  • Have a service desk for things like standby flights, rebooking, etc. near the check-in desk
  • Staff the toll-free service numbers, social media response, and in-app chat so flyers can get fast help
  • Have separate policies for domestic and international lounge access
  • In international gateway airports, partner on a separate international lounge (like in Atlanta) and offer arrival lounge access
  • Take reservations

The list goes on. Mostly my ideas revolve around people. So far, that seems to be one area outside of investment.

It’s easier to blame customers, in the short term. How dare they use our product!

No Tuition hike at Chattanooga State/Cleveland State

No Tuition hike at Chattanooga State/Cleveland State:

TENNESSEE (WDEF) – In a year of rampant inflation, it is not hitting Tennessee’s tech and two year colleges.

The Tennessee Board of Regents voted on Friday to hold the line on tuition next year at Chattanooga State, Cleveland State and local TCAT schools.

The also suspended online course fees for the second year in a row.

(by Collins Parker)

This is great news for students’ bottom lines. I hope this doesn’t impact the quality of the classes or the infrastructure in place to support them.
 
Full disclosure: I’m enrolled at Chattanooga State.

There’s no sense to calling the Sacramento Golden State (?) Warriors “Dubs” unless you’re a huge Bush 43 fan, think the problem with the overuse of Watergate is the “water” part & like dreaming about how wacky or waltz-y or wallow-y dubstep might be

Budget Culture and the Dave Ramseyfication of Money

Budget Culture and the Dave Ramseyfication of Money:

Budget culture is the damaging set of beliefs around money that — like so-called diet culture does for food and bodies — rewards restriction and deprivation, and promotes an unhealthy and fantastical ideal of financial success. …

The broader problem with budget culture is its emphasis on individual responsibility and insistence on ignoring the varying levels of access and privilege in our world. It vilifies and oppresses anyone who doesn’t live up to the ideal, regardless of their circumstances. And that ideal is, unsurprisingly, rooted in maleness and whiteness in the way many of our cultural ideals are. … 

But all we’re really doing is peddling the same worn promises wrapped in a veneer of language around “wellness” instead of “being rich.” The brass tacks of advice for financial wellness still emphasize restriction and individual responsibility, and “getting our act together” is still predicated on the fantasy of being rich. Because actually countering budget culture is a tall order, for individuals and society.

It requires: 

  • Getting comfortable not knowing the “right” answers.
  • Changing not just how you talk about money to others, but how you use money in your life.
  • Pay transparency — with your friends, communities and colleagues, and in job descriptions.
  • Seeing and acknowledging your privilege.
  • Rethinking how we compensate for every kind of labor.
  • Framing taxes as sharing privilege, not impeding personal wealth.
  • Admitting net worth is an imaginary number.
  • Creatively supporting people with financial need and protecting them from the tyranny of credit reports.
  • Reckoning with the fact that the American Dream of homeownership relies on hoarding stolen wealth.

It’s… a lot. 

It sure is.

Trustless

Let’s all call cryptocurrency, NFTs, and web3 (in all of its poorly defined sense) a sunk cost and move on.

Trustless:

But beware of tech bros preaching decentralization. Technology has been promising to eliminate the middleman for decades, only to present new middlemen — in this case, new actors asking you to transfer trust and wealth from one institution to theirs. Crypto enthusiasts spent 14 years and tens of billions of venture capital dollars trying to create a trustless financial system with no middlemen. Status? See above: Celsius.

Crypto’s dirty little secret is that it’s no more eliminated the need for trust than it has replaced the U.S. dollar. (Sorry, Jack.) Its core rhetoric is in the Reaganite antigovernment creed … “Don’t trust the Fed.” Don’t trust anyone, they told us. But this is bullshit. I mean bullshit3. When crypto went mainstream in 2020, it appended a new line: “trust us.”