The transportation coordination app Uber has been embroiled in scandal lately. It was said that one of their drivers hit a family of immigrants crossing the street in San Francisco, killing a young child. While the driver was used by the Uber service, there were no paying passengers in the car at the time of the accident, which Uber says places them out of the scope of responsibility. There have been other gripes about pricing, regulation, and other crap, but the bottom line is this: the Uber app is a great idea that turned into a great business regardless of the controversies it is facing.
There are pitfalls to any venture in business, but especially if that business involves driving. Driving is dangerous to and for everyone, that's why we pay a fortune for car insurance, and why driving is so heavily regulated. Uber did not sidestep any regulations intentionally as it seems that cities don't know how to classify the business of Uber let alone regulate it.
As new technologies and services arise, the powers that be need to adapt to incorporate these things into similar industries that already exist, making sure that it can function without being bogged down by government. People who think that Uber should be shut down or mercilessly attacked must not know their history. Many, many businesses faced huge controversy at the start, and because of those controversies it was changed and formed into a safe, successful, and profitable entity.
Sure, Uber needs to make changes and tweak its model to "fit" into society. It's a great service, so I think we need to help guide it instead of calling for its closure. Look at it for what it's worth: a much-needed service dedicated to convenience. I am sorry for the loss of that immigrant family, but I don't think Uber is really at fault. Any other criticism is criticism that any business faces. That being said, I wish Uber all the luck in the world.
Oh, and I hear the CEO is getting testy in interviews. I would too if my brand was being attacked. Stay strong, Travis Kalanick! You'll make it through!
I'm not a huge fan of Glenn Beck, but I really appreciated this discussion about the Common Core. The Common Core will dictate what every student in the United States should know at the end of each grade from Kindergarten through 12th grade. In this YouTube segment, it is implied that Bill Gates (Microsoft), Yahoo, and Google are dumping millions of dollars into funding for the Common Core Initiative so that students will be educated in the ways of working for Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and the like.
Students, under the direction of teachers who have been taught everything they need to know to prepare students for work in technology related fields, will be funneled into huge corporations as employees that push power to the higher ranks. This will ensure that competition in the form of new upstarts will cease, and these already powerful corporations will become more powerful, and are guaranteed that power for years to come.
This scares the hell out of me. Topics like this have been written about by authors for centuries, and the books they produce have been labeled as dystopian fiction. This isn't fictional, this is real. Welcome to the United Corporations of America.
Further reading: Common Core Initiative Page, Wikipedia Common Core Page
Last night, I was watching documentaries on Netflix with my boyfriend Corey. One of them was called "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream," which features clips of Ayn Rand speaking about her vision of Laissez Faire Capitalism. This brought me into research mode, wanting to find out a little more about the Ayn Rand Institute. I have loved Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" for years, but I never knew that ARI was a political powerhouse. On my quest, I came across an article George Saunders had written for the New Yorker called "I Was Ayn Rand's Lover."
I had known about Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden from reading her many biographies, in particular "The Passion of Ayn Rand." It creeped me out quite a bit back then, but now to see that she prowled on more than one innocent young man left me with a sour taste. If you know Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, you wouldn't be too surprised that Nathaniel Branden was a target on her radar. To hear Saunders recount his having essentially been "raped" by her was a little off-putting to say the least, but his developing jealousy over Ayn having set her eyes on a young Paul Ryan disturbed me. It wasn't his feelings of jealousy that disturbed me, rather her voracious appetite for bedding young men in late puberty is what was particularly disturbing.
So, we now know of three men in their late teens who were successfully pursued by Ayn Rand. There are probably plenty more, but my interest stops there. Seeing Paul Ryan run wild with Ayn's version of Laissez Faire Capitalism as it pertains to our present day economy was like being punched in the gut by Ayn Rand herself. All of her theories sound good as just that -- a theory, but when put into practice as Paul Ryan has done as a congressman, they are truly frightening. I don't know what plagues me more: the affairs with young boys, or being disillusioned by Paul Ryan's crazy plans for American prosperity.
To understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to do a little research. Most of it can be done by watching the "Park Avenue" documentary, reading "Atlas Shrugged," "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (also a film), and then reading George Saunder's New Yorker piece (which is very well-written, I might add). It amounts to a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, I'll bet, because that's what I'm feeling right now. It can all be summed up in one word: UGH!
Watch the entire "Park Avenue" documentary:
Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden's wife) on The Passion of Ayn Rand:
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.