Author Archives: Justin Lee Hanks

About Justin Lee Hanks

Artist, Existentialist, Nemophilist,

The Quickly Emerging Renaissance of Self Driving Cars

Self-driving cars can help us re-imagine our world. 

In 2014 Dr. Bran Ferren, a polymath inventor hypothesized in a TED Talk that the driverless car will be the next Pantheon. Driverless cars will allow people to devote capital toward other endeavors.

During his speech, Dr. Ferren said, “Pantheons inspire simply by seeing and experiencing them.” The Pantheon combined art and engineering to create an extraordinary building that required less overall capital than other buildings its size. The original structure still inspires today, and it was built over 2000 years ago.

What do other people think?

Kevin Roose of the New York Times wrote an article on October 31st, 2017 about Waymo, which is a division of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. The title of the article is, “In Self-Driving Race, Waymo Sets Its Own Terms.”

After taking a test drive in a Waymo car we learn that “it encircled a roundabout, waited patiently for pedestrians to cross the street, and dodged traffic cones and bicyclists with ease. It felt slick and polished, and gave the sense that it might be ready for public consumption very soon.” The hollow city Waymo has created on an abandoned air force base even includes potholes.

Waymo is not in this venture alone. Kevin writes about the many companies who are competing to be the first success story in this new frontier. “Ford, which has partnered with Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company based in Pittsburgh, plans to put Level 4 autonomous vehicles on the road by 2021.”

 

How close are we to having driverless cars?

We are very close to having a world of fully automated cars. Waymo is in the lead with level 4 autonomy, which no other company has yet. This means that the car is completely free from needing human interaction.

Regardless of who is first this is very exciting news for the future. People will be able to use the time and energy normally needed to operate vehicles and apply this to more useful endeavors.

Our Internet Rights and Freedom: Going…Going…Gone

Why should you care?

A free uninhibited internet provides an environment for exponential growth in:

  • Education
  • Free speech
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Engagement
  • Social Mobility

The internet as we know it is in great danger.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality is the internet as we experience it now. It is neutral. No company has the right to determine what websites receive advantages. For the most part, all websites are on equal footing. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking swift action to reclassify the current definition of the internet. The new rules proposed by the FCC will loosen regulations on private companies allowing them to determine what websites will be faster.

Authorities on Net Neutrality

The New York Times wrote an excellent article titled “Who Invented ‘Zero’?,” which talks about the implications of dismantling current net neutrality regulations.

 of National Public Radio (NPR) wrote an article titled “FCC Votes To Begin Rollback Of Net Neutrality Regulations,” where she writes a great summary about “net neutrality:”

“The term net neutrality has come to encapsulate the idea that Internet providers such as Comcast or Verizon should treat all web traffic equally and fairly. This means they can’t block access to any websites or apps, and can’t meddle with loading speeds. The 2015 rules also included a ban on so-called paid prioritization: the idea that Internet providers shouldn’t give special treatment to apps and websites that pay extra.”

What does the ACLU Say?

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 

“New technologies now allow telecom companies to scrutinize every piece of information we send or receive online — websites, email, videos, internet phone calls, or data generated by games or social networks. And they can program the computers that route that information to interfere with the data flow by slowing down or blocking traffic and communicators that they don’t like, and speeding up traffic they do like or that pays them extra for the privilege.”

What can you do?

Reach out to your Congressional representative and spread the word.

Meticulous Pruning of Securities Regulations: Using Technology to Become More Efficient

What’s happening?

The changes proposed by the staff of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are:

  • Revising securities regulations regarding financial disclosure.
  • Simplifying the disclosure process. Changing exhibit filing requirements.
  • Incorporating technology to improve access to information. Requiring data tagging for items on the cover page of certain filings and the use of hyperlinks for information that is incorporated by reference and already available.

Why is the SEC making changes?

These revisions cut down on time, which saves money. Also, it reduces duplication, which decreases storage needed.

Why should you care?

Disclosure requirements have been mandatory in the United States since the 1930s. The reason this is important is so investors like you know where your money is going. Before regulations were put in place any company could say they were doing very well financially even though in reality they may not have any money.

Background

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, it will be adjusting regulation S-K, which lays out the reporting requirements for publicly traded companies.

The change comes from amendments signed into law under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation website, “The FAST Act authorizes $305 billion over fiscal years 2016 through 2020 for highway, highway and motor vehicle safety, public transportation, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials safety, rail, and research, technology, and statistics programs.”

What do the authorities say?

Each of the three current commissioners has agreed with the proposed changes presented by the staff of the SEC.

Commissioner Michael S. Piwowar had this to say:

“We have been asked to “scale or eliminate requirements . . . to reduce the burden on emerging growth companies, accelerated filers, smaller reporting companies, and other smaller issuers, while still providing all material information to investors.” Further, we have been directed to “eliminate provisions . . . that are duplicative, overlapping, outdated, or unnecessary.”

The proposed amendments respond effectively to our mandate under the FAST Act to prune the regulatory orchard. I choose the word “prune” carefully. The object of these amendments is to shear away dead limbs and overgrown branches, thereby improving the fruitfulness and health of the trees. Today’s amendments are not an exercise in slash-and-burn clearcutting. They are incremental changes—a snip here, a snip there—designed to shape and guide the healthy plant so that our disclosure regime will continue to bear fruit.”

Conclusion

Delicate pruning of regulations seems extremely important for an organization that so many people depend on. Keep an eye on SEC press releases to stay informed. See how future revisions might impact you.

Meals for Less Than $5 #3 Mac N’ Cheese Yum Yum

White Cheddar Cheese Alfredo w/ Lima Beans and Spinach

Time in kitchen: 7 minutes at most

  • Put water on stove top leave the kitchen
  • Come back 8 minutes later
  • Put shells in water
  • Set timer for 5 minutes
  • Put frozen Spinach & Lima beans in microwave
  • After 5-minute timer goes off turn microwave on for 2.5 minutes
  • Strain pasta when microwave is done
  • Put margarine in bowl of veggies, salt, and pepper, then let sit
  • Put 1 tbsp milk in pot from boiling water
  • Pour cheese packet over milk
  • Put pasta back in pot with milk and cheese
  • Fold pasta with spatula incorporating cheese and milk
  • Pour pasta into container of choice
  • Mix veggies and pour into container of choice
  • Save leftovers to microwave next day
  • Done!

 

Total Cost: $1.28  ——– That’s Right!

Alfredo Shells from Whole Foods: $1.19/3 = .40 cents

Frozen Spinach from Whole Foods: $1.69 per 16oz/ 5 = .34 cents

Organic Frozen Lima Beans from Whole Foods: $2.69 per 16oz/ 5 = .54 cents

 

You might be saying, “but what about the protein?” There is an enormous amount of protein in lima beans, as well as 10g per serving of mac n’ cheese.

To which I say, “there is an enormous amount of protein in lima beans, as well as 10g per serving of mac n’ cheese.”

Enjoy!

 

Dinner for Less Than $5 #2 Vegetarian Chili Frito Pie

Amy’s Vegetarian Chili w/ Fritos, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Onions (optional), and Chives

Time in Kitchen: 10 Minutes or less

I timed myself and took 8 minutes including going to the garden and getting chives and taking photos

Total Cost: $3.8

Amy’s Spicy Chili: $4.49/2 = $2.25

Fritos: $3.69/4 = .93 cents

Crate and Barrel Cheddar (use the cheap stuff it melts better): $2.99/10 =.30 cents

Onion: .60/10 = .06 cents

Sour Cream: $3.89/ 15 = .26 cents

Chives: Nearly free

Side Note:

A dollop of sour cream is called a quenelle when it is shaped like a fancy football.

Picture of Ingredients:

IMG_7805

Postal Worker/Photographer

While I was sitting in the post office waiting to submit my passport application, I watched as the postal worker became full of life every time he had an applicant who needed their photograph taken. He had a bit of a bounce in his step as he grabbed the camera. “Tilt your head up. A little bit less. That’s it.” He reviewed each picture meticulously while we waited patiently.