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8 Unpopular Takes (and What We Should Be Doing Instead)

Here are 8 things I suspect would go against popular opinion (science/politics/eh, whatever), and what we should be doing instead.

    1. It's time to stop guilting regular people about climate change

    To be clear, I'm not a denier. I 100% believe that man-made emissions are changing the global climate for the worse, and we need to fix it. However, it's time to stop laying the guilt trip on all of the "western citizens of the world." Grass-roots, whole-society, no-household-left-behind isn't going to work, and here's why.

    1. The biggest contributor by far is Asia, and western global leaders ignore that and continue to guilt trip the west. You want to work on carbon emissions? Start in Asia, not the west.

    2. Until the system is set up to make green energy convenient and financially attractive for regular people, it's not happening. $60k worth of solar panels on every roof (or a $100k roof) is not the answer. A $55k car isn't the answer. Vegan isn't the answer. Guilting people away from using the products and services that are ubiquitous and affordable isn't the answer.

    So the smart people and upper class tell the middle and lower class, "Buy all this stuff and all these services we've made for you. But stop using them! For the love of God, stop using them! You should be ashamed of yourself to drive your car, surf on your smartphone, heat your home, build a cement foundation or drive on a cement road, eat the meat we've made affordable. How dare you!"

    Here's what we should be doing instead: Keep the smart, passionate people funded and focused on the big picture solutions -- nuclear, better solar, batteries, new ideas, etc.

    These solutions must address 2 areas:

    1. Financially compelling

    2. Easy and ubiquitous

    Another thing we should be doing: Make product development accountable to climate change -- financially. The various "green stickers of approval" have no teeth. Let's make some real incentives and downsides. Asia will do what makes sense for them financially and politically. Let's work on making it both financially and politically attractive to do the right thing and financially and politically unattractive to do the wrong thing.

    It's time for the moral superiority guilt trip to stop.

    2. Tesla, Rivian, Lucid, etc are not the answer or even an important part of the solution

    I don't mean EVs as a concept. EVs are amazing. I mean those companies specifically.

    For any politician, smart person, or upper classer to say, "you should buy a Tesla," just reinforces how out of touch they really are.

    These companies' products are too expensive for the masses, and they're not interested in the business model of making cars regular people can afford. A Model 3 is $50k+ in practice, even used ones. Rivian? Starts at $70k. Lucid? Starts at $77k.

    Tens of millions of sub-$20k cars are bought and sold each year. These are the vehicles on which the population runs. That's not changing anytime soon.

    What about the legacy manufacturers? Although they are playing around in EVs, they don't offer anything financially compelling either and probably have no incentive to do so in the near future because of the current business model they employ. The car-selling and driving infrastructure are set up for pushing gasoline cars.

    What should we be doing instead?

    1. Somehow, a sub $20k EV must become a reality (the used market is perfectly acceptable solution).

    2. Increase the range. Decrease the charging time.

    3. Increase the charging infrastructure

    4. Millions of ownerless, driverless, inexpensive Evs all over the place.

    5. Refactor the current gasoline car business model

    3. Elite Colleges Aren't (Usually) Worth the Money

    Except for a very few specific areas of study, your major matters much more than the school name.

    What should we be doing instead?

    1. Go to local and state schools.

    2. Disincentivize the elite universities (and all universities) to continue to raise tuition beyond ordinary inflation.

    3. Cut down on administrators, admin costs, and the over-beautification of campuses.

    4. Utilize online and hybrid models to increase enrollment, cut costs, and further the geographic reach.

    5. Subsidize university education through corporations and other institutions and disincentivize student loans.

    6. Abandon college ranking systems such as "US News and World Report"

    4. Less kids should go to college

    Throw the statistics away. You can ignore them because your child is not a statistic. He or she is an inidividual with particular curiosities and talents. The career goal for your kids is to convert those particular curiosities and talents into working skills.

    College is one way to do this, but not the correct way, or most cost effective way for many kids. For some, it is, but not for all.

    Boys/men are starting to figure this out. College enrollment for girls is growing and it's shrinking for boys.

    What we should be doing instead:

    1. Dismantle the stigma associated with the non-college path

    2. Stop requiring college degrees for jobs that, let's face it, don't require college degrees

    3. Encourage and incentivize the non-college path for those to whom it makes sense

    5. Kids should talk to strangers

    We're creating a generation of fearful adult children who have little interpersonal and social skills, nor empathy and respect for those who are different than themselves.

    Most strangers are not dangerous. Most strangers are not serial killers or rapists, or kidnappers. Yes, a few are, but your child's chances of running into one are almost 0.

    What we should be doing instead?

    Teach and encourage your children from a very young age to talk to people they don't know and aren't like them.

    6. Your kids need to fail, forget their homework, and get detention in school

    Failure and disappointment are both critical learning tools. Life is about failure, learning from that failure, and moving forward. Elementary, Middle, and High Schools are the perfect places to learn about failure because they are low-risk playgrounds.

    What is the long-term downside if your 6th grader forgets his homework and gets a zero? Literally nothing. It won't affect his college opportunities or his record or his ability to excel at anything in life. He or she will experience some short-term emotional turmoil, which provides an excellent learning opportunity. However, if the parent steps in to solve the problem and protect him, the downside is that this opportunity for learning has been wasted.

    What should we be doing instead?

    1. Left your homework at home? Get a zero.

    2. Didn't study for the test? Take it and fail it.

    3. Forgot your lunch or money at home? Don't eat (or beg and borrow what you can).

    4. Do the crime? Do the time.

    5. Parents stop intervening.

    7. Stop following your passion

    “Follow your passion” is not lousy advice because no one should. It’s lousy advice because it can easily be used as an excuse not to take control, start doing something, and get good at it.

    What should we be doing instead?

    Always, in everything you do, bring your passion with you. Passion is a choice. Make the choice to engage with what is right there in front of you.

    8. The Metaverse Won't Happen

    Facebook/Meta is betting on the wrong horse. They're betting on the "Ready Player One" version of the metaverse -- Virtual Reality (VR). That sure is a cool idea for a book/movie, but it just isn't going to happen like that.

    If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that real, in-person human-to-human connection is critical to our lives. VR is a cool toy for things like games.

    What should we be going instead?

    Double-down on Augmented Reality (AR).

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