Tue, 11 March 2014
Bitcoin is immortal, so you might as well embrace it.
New technologies almost always follow a predictable pattern. They start off exclusive, expensive and as something that grants power to a privileged few, all while some lucky nerd sits atop an ever-growing pile of money at the top of the pyramid. But eventually, those very same pieces of innovation become cheap, ubiquitous and totally standard until they’re replaced by the next big thing. It’s happened so many times in the last couple of decades that it almost seems like a requirement. But every now and then, something so disruptive and novel comes along that it transcends all convention- The PC, the Internet, email, cellular phones Napster- the list goes on. Will the next addition to that list be Bitcoin?
In just a few years, Bitcoin went from a thought-provoking paper, to some clever coding worth a fraction of a penny, to “nerd money,” to disruptive technology worth billions, to the number one consumer of raw computing power in the entire world; 256 times more than the world’s top 500 super computers combined. Even more than porn. Yes, seriously. This has given rise to a guerrilla economy that circumvents the need for any traditional fiat currency. Sure, you can buy with it, invest in it, sell it, trade it and speculate about its future until your eyes bleed, but that’s far less exciting than the community that has sprung up around it.
Bitcoin is not just a defiant, decentralized currency. It has spawned a tangible, global movement of the most potent sort- smart, tech savvy, passionate, highly engaged and young. Every day, people gather by the thousands to discuss, teach, create and philosophize around it and in just a couple of years, this community has accomplished a considerable amount. They’ve given birth to new businesses, technologies and dozens of crypto-currencies. But, that’s just the tip of the ice burg.
Chris Ellis is one of the driving forces behind the crypto-currency, Feathercoin. He’s also a Bitcoin enthusiast and expert who has spoken extensively on the subject.
P.S.-You can now tip the show in Bitcoin!
Sun, 23 February 2014
There’s a stupid old expression that says “time is the coin of life, be careful how you spend it.” I’m not sure if there’s a soul on Earth that reads that and thinks “yes, I’m definitely spending my time in the wisest way possible.” After all, how can we? Life requires us to have many obligations we don’t really want to deal with- school, debt, jobs, families- they just seem to keep piling up, burying us in a stinky heap of duty (pun fully intended). But, every now and then someone manages to dig their way out of the rubble. Mr. Greg Carlwood would be one of them.
A couple of years ago, with nothing more than an idea, an anxious middle finger and a desire to better his life, Greg started his own show called The Higherside Chats. The show now boasts thousands of listeners from all over the world and it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations on the net for alternative media and conspiracy chatter. Oh, and it also enabled him to quit his fulfilling, soul-sucking day job in retail.
If you’d like to take the plunge into Greg’s deep and murky waters (you do), check out the following-
Sun, 16 February 2014
Compared to the rest of the world, the west has reached a very cushy state, but things haven't always been all corn, beef and football. Getting to this warm, chubby place required revolution, civil war and plenty of good old fashioned dissidence. Indeed, many heads were bashed in the name of liberties we now take for granted.
Thankfully, most of us don’t have to take to the streets to fight for basic rights anymore, but there's still plenty of controversial, if not totally backwards, philosophies being preached on all sides of the political spectrum. The government can still chill dissent, ban firearms, give unfair tax breaks to giant conglomerates, spy on us, tell us who we can and can’t marry, what women can and can’t do with their bodies, even mandate what substances we can and can’t use to explore our own consciousnesses.
We all have our own opinions with respect to the ethical, ideological and political debates surrounding such subjects, yet there’s only one that regularly lands thousands of people in handcuffs each year. Here's a hint- it's a little green plant. Inexplicably, with very minimal digging, it becomes obvious that cannabis has cultivated a persona and a legal treatment based almost completely on falsehoods disinformation and nonsense. Though more than half of our population (55-58% according to the latest polls) has woken up to this fact, the caricaturization, misunderstanding and demonizing never seems to end.
Our guest, Adam Scorgie has probably done more to shed light on the truth behind cannabis than 99% of humanity. (Which, I guess makes him a one-per-center of a different kind). He’s is one of the main driving forces behind the critically acclaimed cult-classic documentary film, The Union, the Business Behind Getting High and its upcoming sequel, The Culture High. Of course, there's so much more to this man, but you'll have to listen to learn more about that.
For more on Adam, check out the following-
Sun, 9 February 2014
We humans have an amazing amount of rational knowledge; painstakingly poking, prodding and measuring basically everything we can get our hands on for generations has brought us to some pretty concrete, indisputable truths about the way the world works. The rational human mind has cured diseases, coded the human genome and begun mapping the billions of neurons in our own brains. We have so much objective knowledge we forget that society is practically rotting under the weight of its own increasingly ill, obese, depressed mass.
Perhaps that’s because humanity’s quantifiable victories are rivaled only by the crushing defeat our subjective, inner-selves have suffered. We give little credence to our, unique experiences, yet it’s they that truly define and satisfy us. Indispensable, unquantifiable phenomena like our relationships with others, ourselves, and even the meaning we find in life itself are the things we will inevitably lay thinking about as we take our last breaths, still they take a backseat to mundane accomplishments we will one day find trivial.
If, however, we consider ourselves to be both objective and subjective beings, living in a world that is both objective and subjective, we encounter an interesting paradox. We find that each is necessary and useful for shaping a fully-realized life. Philosopher and author Tim Freke calls this “paralogical thinking.” If we embrace the paradoxes that surround us, he states, we’ll begin to find mystery, meaning, fulfillment and wonder.
For more on paralogical thinking, Tim’s books and other philosophies, click the magical blue words below.
Fri, 24 January 2014
Truth. Is there even such a thing? At times, objectivity seems like a given, but with a deeper look, we often find shades gray and learn that the “truth” looks quite different depending upon your point of view. But, is there such a thing as a greater, transcendent, immutable truth? Something we can know and take solace in, maybe even aspire toward throughout our lives? Obviously there’s no clear answer, but if it does exist, you’re sure as hell never going to find it without looking.
For Android Jones, catching a glimpse of that deeper truth required sacrifice, toil and even grief. But, now that he’s scratched the surface of it, he strives to foster a deeper relationship with truth by channeling it in every piece of art he creates. As esoteric and ambitious as that may sound, take one look at Android’s recent art and you’ll find that somewhere within his delicate dance of color where the micro and macro merge it becomes clear that he’s expressing something of a higher order.
For more on Android’s art and his personal philosophies, check out the following:
Tue, 14 January 2014
I have some bad news. The kind of bad news you’re actively putting off thinking about at this very moment. Fear and misfortune are lurking just around the corner. Something bad can and will happen to you, it’s just a matter of time. As if that weren’t bad enough, most threats to our well-being are totally beyond our control. So, now that you’re thinking about it, how will you react? Put it out of your mind? Curl up into a ball and try to hide from it? Or think to yourself, why not just leave life’s unpleasantness until the last possible second?
The fact of the matter is that we fortunate first-worlders need a reality check. The societal armor that surrounds us makes us soft, detached and totally unprepared for life’s inevitable nastiness. We rarely if ever confront the dead, the suffering or the starving, though we intellectually know the ills of the world are coming for us all sooner or later.
This is one of those moments: will you choose the blue pill or the red pill? Will you try to suppress the fear by going back to watching ESPN and eating beef jerky until the wheels fall off? Or will you wake up every morning embracing the risks, thinking about how you can grab your day by the balls and squeeze every last bit of impermanent happiness out of it?
Truth be told, I’m far from an expert. I owe most of this insight to this week’s guest, Daniele Bolleli, who as it turns out, is no stranger to fear (or grabbing life by the balls). In fact, he’s writing a book about it (fear, not ball-grabbing). Daniele is the author of several books including Create Your Own Religion and On the Warrior’s Path. He is also a professor who lectures on history and philosophy. As if that weren’t enough, he has his own podcast, The Drunken Taoist. Above all else, he’s unbelievably humble and down to Earth.
Tue, 24 December 2013
JET PACKS. CATS. REVOLUTION
True innovation is rarely foreseeable. If yesterday's notions about the future were even close to the mark, we'd be flying around in our cars or wearing jet packs and living in floating houses. Instead, we carry around yesterday's equivalent to a super computer in our pockets and use it to look at cat memes, take pictures of sushi and enable revolution. Technology has become weird, it eludes definition and form and the more deeply intertwined we become with it, the more ethical dilemmas we run into.
Just as today's digital mainstays largely evaded foresight, so too will the truly important and disruptive technologies of the tomorrow. Yet, I will always be compelled to wonder what's next and, perhaps more importantly, how it will change what it means to be a human being.
Luckily, this week, I have someone much more competent and qualified than myself to bounce my inane ramblings off of, Bianca Bosker. She's one of those people who's close to my age that just makes me feel self-conscious because she's accomplished so much more than I have. She's the Executive Editor of Huff Post Tech and the author of a very fascinating book called Original Copies. Make sure you give her a follow on Twitter, check out her book and keep up with her work on Huffington Post.
It's official, we're a year old and we've got all of you beautiful listeners to thank. Year one brought in thousands of downloads from over 60 countries and I truly couldn't be more pleased. To help us hit 2014 ten times stronger, join our community on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe on Itunes if you like what you hear.
Happy New Year!
Mon, 16 December 2013
Each journey we take starts pretty much the same way. We get an idea, then we daydream about how it will go: “If I do this, then I can do that, I just have to do this and this, then I’ll be this, or have that,” we think to ourselves (you can fill in the blanks with your own scenario). But, of course as quickly as we take the first step toward starting that journey, we find that the road is longer, more nuanced and fraught with the unexpected than we ever could have imagined. The bulk daydreaming is almost always good for nothing.
For me, this has held true on every significant journey I’ve embarked upon, whether it was moving over seas, joining a band starting a relationship, or starting this show. I’m even tempted to say it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we do it.
But, some experiences impact and define us on such a deep level that they fundamentally change us for good. Things like war, loss or a deeply meaningful epiphany. In my case, these experiences are quite slippery. There are few solid moments I can point to that have shaped the person I am, but then again, I’ve never been to war, lost someone close or had a true, deep seismic shift in consciousness.
Then, there’s my guest, Timothy Amoroso, who makes all my little life-lessons seem trivial. He’s been to war, he’s felt the sting of loss and he’s experienced true, life-altering psychological and philosophical changes.
In a very brief nutshell, Tim’s most important journey started when he signed up for the Army. He made the cut as a Ranger and served three traumatic tours in Afghanistan. The things he did and saw changed him forever.
When he got home, Tim was diagnosed with PTSD, given antidepressants and sent on his way. The pills didn’t help. Every day life was still nearly unbearable. Searching for options, Tim heard about and attempted to partake in an experimental and controversial MDMA therapy through MAPS, but the waiting list was unbearably long. Tim took matters into his own hands and took various psychedelics as a means to treat his symptoms; it worked. His experiences with those substances were so profound that they reintroduced him to emotions that he hadn’t felt since he’d been home. Tim now has the kind of purpose, strength and focus that few of us have. He’s now working toward degrees in Neuroscience and Psychology in hopes that he can spread the word about the medical viability of these substances through a scientific lens full-time.
There’s so much more to Tim’s journey, so be sure to check out the episode.
Interact with Tim through his website.
To learn more about the effort to help PTSD victims through MDMA assisted therapy, visit MAPS.
Sun, 1 December 2013
For creative people, modern society provides you with an interesting paradox. You need the infrastructure it provides to support you and give you meaning, yet its design includes so many barriers and obstacles designed to keep you on a well-worn path that it’s inconvenient, if not nearly impossible for many of us to get off of it to pursue our creative goals.
However, if we’re bold enough to roll the dice and lucky enough to end up with the right numbers, the success we taste is so intoxicating that all the toil was worth it. For those of us that aren’t so lucky, a taste of failure spurs doubt. We don’t want to have to deal embarrassment, ridicule or starting all over again. So what do we do? We rush back to that familiar, well-worn path.
The road less traveled is so for a reason. If you’re to plunge into its depths, you must do so with commitment and fortitude and skill. We must view each defeat as lesson to be learned from, not an excuse to run away.
My guest on this episode, Michael Drusch is well removed from the familiar path. He’s a young, inspired man with his own isolation tank and a vision. I believe him when he says he’s determined to turn that tank into not only a living for himself, but a tool that nurtures and enlightens the community.
Now sharpen your blades and hack your way off the path!
Wed, 20 November 2013
If there’s one thing that really gets to me, it’s the stereotypical “rock star” persona, especially in this day and age when there’s so little separating the artist from the consumer. You know the type, they’re usually a front man who stinks of a mixture of inebriated co-eds and cigarette smoke, all while exuding the perfect level of jaded indifference and aloofness. As much as I’d love to remind them all that they’ll never be thrust into the line-up of Motley Crue a week after the release of Doctor Feel Good, or the facilitator of new wave of Beatle mania-like hysteria, I find it best to ignore them.
Rest assured, our guest, Harry Lee, is far from an archetypal rock-douche with delusions of grandeur. He’s a thoughtful, straightforward, honest guy who’s thankful for all the success he’s had, and mark my words, there will be a lot more of it to come. Take a moment to check out Harry’s band, Waylayers, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. It’s the kind of Electro-Indie-Pop that’s sure to fill a nice little hole in the rotation on your local alternative station.
Grab their latest record, Fault Lines on Itunes, follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook.
If you have some love left, follow Midwest Real on Twitter, like us on Facebook and tell your friends!