Business & Creativity, Movies, Books & TV Shows

Digital Colonization

I just re-read the article: The goal is to automate us: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism.

The following statement by Shoshana Zuboff scared me more this time than the first time I came across it…

“Digital natives” is a tragically ironic phrase. I am fascinated by the structure of colonial conquest, especially the first Spaniards who stumbled into the Caribbean islands. Historians call it the “conquest pattern”, which unfolds in three phases: legalistic measures to provide the invasion with a gloss of justification, a declaration of territorial claims, and the founding of a town to legitimate the declaration. Back then Columbus simply declared the islands as the territory of the Spanish monarchy and the pope.

The sailors could not have imagined that they were writing the first draft of a pattern that would echo across space and time to a digital 21st century. The first surveillance capitalists also conquered by declaration. They simply declared our private experience to be theirs for the taking, for translation into data for their private ownership and their proprietary knowledge. They relied on misdirection and rhetorical camouflage, with secret declarations that we could neither understand nor contest.

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Business & Creativity, Jibber Jabber

Burning Plastic

Just read “Is burning plastic waste a good idea?” from National Geographic.

This article has a Western view and opinions on the matter. From that perspective, the pros-and-cons as regards to plastic incineration is discussed with a slight bias against burning. I say it boils down to the question of, ‘who will be the ones burning the plastic?’. Because there is a huge difference in technology and environmental standards on how plastic waste is dealt with in a West European country compared to a third world country in Asia.

When I think in terms of the city I am living in right now, then it should be a good idea. The incineration of plastic which formed part of the city’s waste will turn into energy that is fed into the warmtenet, providing heating to schools, the a youth center, the fire brigade and several residential apartments. Better that than having wind-blown plastic bags hanging from the tree branches in the Gavers or floating down the river Leie. And let us all hope that the scrubbers and filters will always work effectively at the Imog.

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Business & Creativity, Food & Drinks, Health

Eating Well

There is an English television program called Eat Well For Less, which D and I enjoy watching if we come across it by chance. The topic of eating well has always been an important aspect in our European Asian household. Whereas, the theme of eating healthy and on the cheap further intrigues me.

D and I have already been applying a lot of the tips and tricks mentioned in the television program. We have switched to cheaper white goods when it comes to basic food items like milk, sugar, flour etc. When it comes to meat and fresh produce, good quality makes up for the reduced quantity. I cook most of our meals and only eat out occasionally.

In my opinion, gradual minor lifestyle (habits) changes is the key to great, healthy, budget eating.

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Business & Creativity, Simplify

Mindful Removal

Last week, D and I dismantled one of our guestroom beds. Amidst some huffing and puffing, we managed to moved all the parts downstairs.

This afternoon, D’s parents came by to pick up the self made bed frame. This will go to our niece who wanted a two-persons bed. D placed pictures and information of the old latex mattress online to be sold for almost nothing. If it does not get sold in a week, we will haul it to the charity shop or the recycling park.

At this moment, D is at the local charity store getting rid of our two worn out office chairs. Today turned out to be a day that we got rid of stuff we no longer need anymore. Unclutter the space, thus uncluttering the mind…

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Business & Creativity, Flashbacks

Artwork

D and I both have artworks which we have stored away in the attic for years. We have to sort through these and find ways to show case the good ones throughout our home. This is especially true in D’s case because he had spent decades of his student life creating them. It is such a pity to put away and forget about the lovely work which were completed with effort, time, passion and creativeness.

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Belgium, Business & Creativity, Numbers

Savings Interest Reduction

Yesterday, I received a notification from my bank announcing yet another savings account interest rate reduction, effective the first of September. I do understand that this has much to do with the upcoming recession and the overall slowdown of the world’s economies. But mind you, this is the same bank that have emailed me several times in the past, encouraging me to open an investment account with them.

I have been shown graphs and projections of how my money will almost certainly grow in the investment account, and how sorry my savings account balance will be in comparison. If the investment department of this financial institution is so confident, why is it not using my savings to invest in things that pay better returns, thus making money for both of us? Instead, I was prompted with all sorts of marketing tricks, and lured with small cash gifts. There has been quite some efforts on their part to make me move my money from savings to investment.

Again, why can they not just use my savings (or part of it), invest and make profit, charge a small commission, and then pay me better interests?! I am not smarter than a financial institution, so there is no way I am sticking my head out into the chaotic free markets. So…what the heck?

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Business & Creativity, Food & Drinks, Numbers

Three Ninety Nine

I started using Too Good To Go a week ago. Yesterday, I bought my second surprise bag of grocery. The economical advantage is obvious because I am paying only a third of the cost of food I receive. The environmentally aware part of me is proud to be saving some food from being toss away. Admittedly, there is a teeny tiny part of my brain that is telling me that this is not a perfect deal. I am quite aware that I am consuming more, and of things that I usually do not have on my grocery list. I am eating more because I do not want to waste any of the expiring food.

So yeah, I know that the €3.99 I pay is the thin line separating me from a true dumpster diver!

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Business & Creativity, Numbers

Economics Of Currencies

The Chinese Yuan was purposely allowed to devalue to its lowest level since a decade ago. All this because of a stupid and ongoing American Chinese trade war…

Twenty-four hours ago, the EUR/USD exchange was at 1.1096 and today this particular exchange rate is at the 1.1210 point.

Big economies which depend on each other, should not be getting themselves into ridiculous quarrels.

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Belgium, Business & Creativity

Consumption Idiosyncrasy

July, the sales month, has ended yesterday. Business news reported that it had been a good month for summer outfits. There was of course the mention of the challenges that traditional retailers faced from online competitions. And then there was the announcement, that instead of shredding their unsold items (an on-going and horrible deed!), some businesses will be donating these items to charities.

Oh joy, some of us are not destroying new unsold clothes anymore. And then, my question is: wait, which charity?

Will we be sending these unsold items back to where they came from? Are these donations going to poor third world countries, which labour and resources we have already taken advantage of in the first place?

Imagine that you are a factory-line seamstress who earns €5 a month, working 10-12 hours a day, everyday of the week. I wonder how it feels to receive a bag of donated clothes that you have sewn with your own hands?

We need to change our minds significantly when it comes to consumption. Let’s not act like idiots and start watering our plants with energy drinks….

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