2018-10-29

ideas for general progress

some of them not so serious, just ideas know about path dependence and network effects

language

share a language

and do not use several hundred different ones almost exclusively in small localised areas. to avoid inaccessible knowledge and feeble understanding among people. make it possible to communicate internationally on almost native speaker levels. it is often underestimated how much effort it takes to learn a language well - it can easily take a decade. while one may be able to communicate in basic ways after a relatively short time, this is far from how and what native speakers can communicate. effective intercultural communication increases the communication bandwidth so to say and makes a significant difference to create deeper understanding, which helps us to lead discussions, be diplomatic, inclusive and compassionate. by opening up interaction with more people and cultures, reducing the diversity of languages makes the world bigger and richer. learning a language is also practically required when wanting to move to a foreign country, because of that, common languages increase mobility. just think about how difficult it is to move between different countries in europe and build a living in a new country given the language requirement. humans that do not understand each others language are like humans that never discovered language at all

it might be best to agree on the next best, most common language first and then strive to find and agree on a better language later example of cultural separation through language: the internet is separated into language bubbles. to demonstrate this, search for a foreign language string, for example something arabic. you will probably find that almost all of the results will be exclusively in the foreign language, that is another bubble. that is what the speakers of that language only see. different language cultures also have their own versions of popular internet services and social platforms and may have no need to interact with, or take much note of, for example, the anglosphere on the internet. this kind of diversity is actually harmful because it leads to a lot of duplicated effort, stiffles innovation that would come from the competition of ideas and extended market, fosters isolation and danger because countries can go to war, in which case speaking a different language would probably be a big advantage, but are we enemies?

having a country adopt the language of another country seems rarely considered. what would happen is perhaps just the following: more people are able to understand more people. i would advise to at least question fears of "cultural suicide" as a consequence of sharing, as well as the assumption that people must have different languages in different areas

  • create and prefer a language that is a more logical, less ambiguous and simpler. note that a word synthesis method is important for artificial languages. existing example languages: lojban, attempto controlled english
  • stop using multiple character sets, particularly the set of uppercase letters. they are redundant. using 52 letters when 26 are enough does not actually make things easier when also considering the costs. the few ambiguous cases are easily avoided with other simpler techniques. finding capitalised text easier to read is a matter of habit, approach and consistency
  • use a more straightforward and easier to learn script with more distinct characters for faster character recognition, maybe similar to a linear hangul
  • some latin letters might not be necessary

mathematics

use an ascii based mathematical notation. traditional notation is like being made for blackboards and uses many little "paintings" for symbols to save space, but because of that becomes time consuming to learn, more difficult to use with computers and more isolated for uncovering its meaning. this is a chance to make knowledge more transferable. use non-serif fonts and eventually english word variable names. consider how unacceptable it is to write computer programs with that many symbols and lack of meaningful variable names as is usual in mathematics, i would argue there is a middle ground that is better than what is common now. formulas may be efficient, the notation is not

time

  • stop it with daylight savings time. it is not worth it. the switching leads to psychosomal distress and accidents and there is no sufficiently good reason for it. contrary to popular belief, it does not create more time. if people were free to do so, most probably wouldnt start getting up an hour earlier starting summer time
  • disregard the notion of hours and minutes and use kiloseconds for measuring the time of day. that is, the last significant integer digit is 1000 seconds. the traditional irregular 24:60:60 counting is complicating, subliminally confusing and makes calculations difficult
  • disregard traditional calendars with years, months and date and use a single decimal number. split or divide the number for practical use cases

government

  • make laws available in easily machine processable formats, so far that it can be analysed and the complexity eventually controlled, like with a logic language. the style of language used for texts of law is pretty much a formal language, and the complexities of expression are especially important in the context of law
  • include the rationale in textbooks of laws. every rule needs a rationale, to not have to follow seemingly authoritan rules and as a notion of respect for the intellects of the people. the rationale itself is not a law, but it is valuable for law makers and other people to decide how much sense a law still makes, and to better educate about the complexities of the world that laws reflect
  • make an effort to simplify laws and to remove unnecessary ones
  • regulate where the market provably does not work for the people. tax externalities
  • where is political science nowadays? the fundamental structures of government that were created 60+ years ago can be positively improved with enough effort

units

general

  • use si units more commonly, specifically the metric system primarily. they have been defined in a more informed, consistent and simpler way
  • imagination finds a barrier at the lowest unit that is not multiples of another unit. unit-relational intuition gives more room to think and with that more creative possibilities. any simpler and more consistent unit definition is better to learn and use
  • metric value equivalents should not just be put in parentheses, because that tends to get ignored
  • maybe create new units for practical use derived from planck units

modern alternatives to outdated units

celsius: replaces fahrenheit

liter

  • 30 milliliter: liquid ounce
  • 5 liter: gallon
  • 2 hectoliter: barrel (all the various types)

gram

  • gram: ounce, troy ounce, troy pound
  • 0.5 kilogram: pound
  • 6 kilogram: stone
  • 1 megagram: us ton, imperial ton, metric ton

meter

  • 3 centimeter: inch
  • 30 centimeter: foot
  • 2 kilometer: mile, nautical mile
  • 150 gigameter: astronomical-unit
  • 9 petameter: lightyear
  • 31 petameter: parsec

second

  • kilosecond: hour, minute
  • km/ks: km/h, mp/h

megajoule > kilocalorie

  • the kilojoule is the si unit suitable for food energy, although the kilocalorie is still in common use on food labels
  • the joule is derived from gram/meter/second, whereas the calorie has a more complicated definition. table of competing calorie definitions here

bit, octet: byte

the byte is not even conclusively defined as being 8 bits long. the bit is the actual fundamental unit for bit counts

often better alternatives

  • radians: angular degrees
  • radians/s: hertz

education

  • have critical-thinking, logic and ethics classes in schools, early and repeated later on. learn what an argument is. few are more important than those subjects, yet they are traditionally not even included
  • teach students about the political system of the country. some countries fail to do this, possibly leading to more people who would quickly dismiss the current government without further thought because they can not imagine the sophistication it might have
  • teach students about important laws. it is assumed that people know the laws, but it is still uncommon for people to read a book of law
  • many people experience an education system that is more daycare and non-productive child labor, this should be avoided. school and university is often more stressful than working in a business - maybe school just tries too hard or the separation between learning and eventual application of the learned should not be so strict
  • consider that educational institutions act as a filter for types of people and think about specific school environments and consider if supporting a society of people that succeed in it is desirable
  • do not allow students to memorise things without understanding. it makes school an easy game for many kinds of the wrong people
  • stop forcing unnecessarily strict rules onto students. the number one rule should be: #(emphasis "no stupid rules")
  • repeat important topics a few years later. applying older knowledge can be a fun and welcome variation (or boring, but useful things tend not to be)
  • teach useful life skills. education currently includes little of the knowledge that is actually needed outside of school
  • give good lessons instead of homework. people need free time
  • watch episodes of planet earth or blue planet in the cinema with school
  • dont confuse mathematics with mental arithmetic
  • dont put much emphasis on group work. it often turns out that only one or a few people do most of the work in the end, and good people are dragged down by the irresponsible that cant be motivated by anyone
  • teach phonetics and the international phonetic alphabet
  • how about sign language as a second language

computer

  • develop an alternative to email communication protocols that is not as bloated and complicated. perhaps xmpp based. encrypted email communication is still not easy enough to do, and the email protocols are old and crufty. see how difficult it can be to install or configure email servers
  • update the typical keyboard hardware design. lots of unused keys make keyboards bigger than they need to be. create generic meta keys and use slightly more ergonomic keyboard designs
  • promote a better keyboard layout, qwerty is not the most efficient for english. i recommend colemak over dvorak. see carpalx keyboard layout research

programming

make well informed choices. do not just follow the marketing and popular opinion because it creates network effects that hinder change

more modular code

  • create more libraries instead of only executables
  • ensure free software licenses and state it, because users need to know what they can do, otherwise the work is inacessible
  • ensure documentation and source code distribution, otherwise the work is inaccessible

more freedom

  • abandon and avoid software patents. new companies need to be able to succeed if they produce good work, not only if they are exceptionally rich and time-consumingly adhere to patent rules and win legal fights. big companies collect several thousands of patents, for what, to prohibit innovation or for profit if they care. patents and copyrights are valid for much too long - tendencially: one step today, the next in 90 years
  • make use of the freedoms that permissive licenses give - copy, mirror, extend and re-use without remorse
  • do not say you "stole" when you incorporated a free licensed asset into your free license product
  • publicise more code under the gpl

more interfaces: libraries, http, command-line

file formats

xz > bz2

au > wav

  • au is much simpler
  • .au is, fortunately, possibly the simplest audio format to date and does just what it should. it supports up to 4,294,967,295 channels with up to 4,294,967,295 samples per second, infinite length and various (sample) formats, has barely any overhead (32 bytes per file), is simple to develop with and commonly supported by audio players, and it is a free format .wav is not nearly as uncomplicated for the same task

vorbis > mp3, acc

  • vorbis archieves better sound quality with lower file sizes
  • mp3 is not a free format. mp3 support costs licensing fees for any codec/playback implementor

flac > ape, aiff, wav

  • for losslessly compressed integer audio data
  • flac has half the size as uncompressed pcm audio and is a free and open format for everyone to use without fees

business

  • use ethical banks. generic banks do not disclose their unethical investments
  • school qualifications or degrees should not be a hard requirement. it filters people by how well they are or were adapted to the school environment only, if anything
  • consider a worker cooperative or limit the salaries by ratio to the lowest paid workers, under the assumption that any employee should benefit from the companies profit or that noone should be seen as this much more or less valuable in relation. businesses should improve society
  • work should never be required to be more than 50% of the wake day

europe

  • reduce prices for sending packages in the european union. currently it costs about 14 euro to send a package to a neighboring country, that is prohibitively much
  • create a federalised european state, which will be able to act substantially more efficient in some areas because of some limited cross-border powers and oversight and bring people together because they are dealing with the same government. improve election system, military, fiscal, inter-state intelligence and outer border control

other

  • prefer renewable energy. coal power plants are killers
  • strive for the mainstream to be more intellectual
  • stop the noise pollution from hitting bells and muezzin calls many times every day. it should be understood that this loud and occasionally stressing noise is beyond religious freedom. (for example, nine in the morning, stressed and late for the bus running, while the bells ring like a war is at the doorstep). it also reserves city areas to the deaf, hyposensitive and religious
  • save water, freshwater is too important and too rare to waste it. a water crisis is no fun and who wants to accelerate its emergence for future generations?
  • remove the meaning of the weekend, regard all days as work days and increase the number of lawfully required vacation days to a corresponding amount
  • promote a reduced hours work week for those who would want that. consider universal basic income, with smart regulations
  • think about overpopulation
  • use more customisable file formats for academic publications, something where one can change the font for example or reflow text on mobile devices
  • cryptocurrency as a value storage for automated online transactions

use meal replacement beverages

  • for example powder shakes that contain all nutrition needed
  • quick to consume for more time for more worthwhile activities, more nutritious, removes hunger quickly, fullfilling meals, easy to store months worth of food, longer shelf-life, benefits from reduced animal farming, saved resources from food preparation, more of it can produced easier and cheaper to avoid hunger in the world

veganism

  • saves suffering, water, space, food, greenhouse gases and other pollution

housing

  • create many particularly cheap, small and well governed apartments. today it is difficult to find a cheap apartment even if it does not need to be large, and many countries have laws that may even forbid citizens to live in small apartments. housing should be cheap
  • offer apartment rental contracts with a guarantee on quietness
  • support the creation of communities in neighborhoods that actually know each other and can organise. people that can not communicate well can not act effectively against bad neighbors or threats. there are many multi-party apartments in the world where the people living there only meet once by coincidence every few years when busy in the stairhouse or elevator, otherwise only when specifically ringing bells and, if they are home, interferring in this way with peoples life. not everyone wants to become best buddy with every or any neighbors and go out with them or have hour long small talk. this can be cumbersome and in many ways impractical and therefore leads to weak communities. what is often missing is a better way to communicate, perhaps via well managed online services provided by the house managers

other

risc > cisc systemd > upstart

little-endian > big-endian

big endian might somehow correspond to how humans traditionally write numbers (from right to left), but little-endian keeps the significance order of octets corresponding to the order of words

gpl > bsd, mit

  • free software license
  • supports freedom of information other licenses support making future developments of software closed-source again (non-copyleft), which is a more temporary solution