Recent Dalai Lama Interview Talks About Materially and Physically Healthy Westerners Still Mostly Unhappy Mentally

This is why I’ve been meditating almost every day for 15 years. Although I must say, I suck at it and recently I’ve fallen off the wagon. Need to get back on it because like daily cardio exercise, regardless of how hard it is, you always feel better after and even the next day and future beyond that you did it.

A Few E-Commerce Stats You Didn’t Know

E-Commerce

In  the past few months, our 1010data reports on e-commerce have been covered over 110 times by 100 major media publications. I figured I’d post some of the highlights.

Microsoft Surpasses Apple in Online Tablet Share for the First Time
Covered by: Forbes, FortuneBusiness Insider, The Register, Slashdot,VentureBeatYahoo! News, The Verge, and others.

Amazon Costs Google & Apple $100M/yr in Online Sales by Kicking Chromecast & Apple TV Out 
Covered by: Motley FoolInternational Business TimesVentureBeatBusiness InsiderYahoo! Finance, and others.

Samsung Seeks to Gain an “Edge” on the iPhone 6 Plus with the Galaxy Edge+ and the Note5 
Covered by: ZDNetInternational Business Times, and others.

Who is Winning in Wearables?
Covered by: Business InsiderYahoo Finance,  ZDNetBlue Springs Examiner,

CPG Killed it in E-Commerce in 2015
C
overed by: FortuneWall Street Journal, AdAge, MediaPost, and others.

Online Star Wars Toy Sales Hit 12-Month High with Upcoming Movie Release
Covered by: Bloomberg.

Why Mars Will Be Colonized in our Lifetime and Why That’s So Important

Mars Rover

Incredibly inspiring, engaging and highly detailed blog and podcast about colonizing mars and exactly how it’ll happen. Then it goes on to explain how from there we colonize the whole solar system and eventually the galaxy.

It really puts everything about life on Earth in perspective. Especially how rare and precious intelligent life is. And how shortsighted most of us are about what really matters.

Long, but totally worth it. You’ll be glad you read it.

Here’s the podcast version: https://soundcloud.com/waitbutwhy/spacex-full-post

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is More Dangerous Than Every Other Threat Combined

Don’t want sound paranoid. If you know me, you know I’m pretty optimistic, logical, and super positive. But because people like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, geniuses whose technical and inventive prowess I respect highly, are terrified of the prospects of AI, I put some time into understanding their concerns.

After thoroughly researching the latest thinking by scientists on the subject, I tend to agree with their concerns. AI is the most likely cause of human extinction and it’ll happen so fast, we won’t even know what hit us until it’s too late.

I now believe that the threat of artificial super intelligence (ASI) is a greater threat than terrorism, nuclear war, pandemics, and global warming combined. It’ll happen faster and more outside of our control than any of those. And it appears to be inevitable. Good luck… us. 🙂

If you’re too lazy to read about it, here’s a video that summarizes the threat of artificial intelligence.

AI Surpasses Human Intelligence
AI Surpasses Human Intelligence

Here’s the realistic summary:

  1. By (pick a year in the next 40-50 years) 2054 computers have the processing power close to matching human brains.
  2. Hundreds of companies are building revolutionary technology that make lives better and easier for humanity that involve nearly human intelligent, self learning, self improving computers.
  3. One March 23, 2054 at 2:31 PM Eastern Time one of these companies makes an update to their software that passes the threshold between pre-human and post-human intelligence.
  4. That system begins immediately self improving at a rate faster than any human can conceive.
  5. By 3:30 PM the system has infiltrated the entire Internet and covertly begins executing its programmed goal, which typically involves eliminating any risks to achieving it, such as any human that could stop it. i.e. eliminate humanity.
  6. Thirty days later all humans are dead and the computer takes over the entire planet, then solar system, and then expands from there carrying out a programmed goal, call it, solving the number PI to ever increasing decimal points.

Continue reading “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is More Dangerous Than Every Other Threat Combined”

CPG Killed it in E-Commerce in 2015

Aaron Mendes

2015 was a massive growth year for most consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories online. According to estimates from 1010data, retail e-commerce sales grew by 30% over 2014. In store sales for most categories remained nearly flat (U.S. Census Dep’t).

While total e-commerce grew by 30%, CPG grew at an even faster pace of 42% year over year. Much of the growth was fueled by Amazon’s Subscribe and Save feature (SNS) being the default selection for many Amazon users as they check out. Over 20% of all growth in CPG came from SNS.

Continue reading “CPG Killed it in E-Commerce in 2015”

Bernie Sanders’ tax plan is the first to actually tax the rich

Rich and PoorBernie Sanders’ tax plan is the first to actually tax the mega-rich. Many politicians claiming that they want to tax the rich are completely missing the point and are not taxing the rich at all with an ordinary income tax approach. They propose just taxing high ordinary income earners such as those making more than $250k per year.

People who make $250k per year are now middle-class (upper-middle, but not uber-rich). And they already pay nearly 50% if they live in a state with state tax which includes New York and California.

I have no political affiliation. I believe in science, math and data. And I am an avid free market advocate, except in extreme circumstances. As we’ve seen over the years, there are certain situations where we have to regulate to save ourselves from our own ignorance, greed, and selfishness.

And, I’m not so sure raising taxes is a good idea at this time anyway. In the current political landscape, politicians are generally a bunch of phony slimeballs that will say anything to stay in office. I wouldn’t give those liars one more penny of taxpayer money. But, if we can pull our heads out of our asses and elect even decent officials, then putting tax payer money into some targeted areas could massively improve all of our futures.

Increasing ordinary income tax does almost nothing to multimillionaires and billionaires. They make most of their money off of capital gains.

If you really want to tax the rich and are not just using it as a political marketing tool, you need to increase capital gains and not let billionaires avoid tax by storing their money in offshore tax shelters. No loopholes.

So a true mega-rich tax would be something like a net-worth-increase tax calculated annually for anyone whose net worth is more than, say, $20 million. That would generate hundreds of billions in annual tax revenue. Squeezing the upper middle class would net just a fraction of that.

However, to introduce such a plan would be political suicide. And pissing off that many billionaires would probably be actual suicide as well. You’d probably end up at the bottom of a lake.

And again, I’m not saying we should do this. I’m just saying that this is the only way to truly increase taxes on the rich. Increasing ordinary income tax on people with incomes over $250k is just punishing hard working middle class Americans and letting the billionaires get off scott free.

Why Capital Gains is so Low

In theory, having a low capital gains tax rate and no net-worth tax should increase business investment and consumer spending which grows the economy. I believe it usually does. However, taken to extremes it doesn’t work out. Wealthy people can’t even spend all the money that they have even if they wanted to. Instead they just hoard it like the Waltons who each have $40 billion in Walmart and other stocks that they will probably never sell, which means they will never spend it. If a little bit of that money was required to be invested in public education, a reasonable hypothesis is that it would stimulate the economy, which would grow the remainder of their Walmart stock by even more than what they had to give up. Even if it didn’t, it would be going to a better cause than them sitting on all the money that they could never spend.

Perhaps a more “free market” option: we could require them to invest it the primary market, i.e. investments in start ups or working capital for established companies. That way at least it’s not being hoarded and is being put toward stimulating the economy.

But alas this is unlikely happen in the short term because billionaires control our government and they have little incentive to give up their net worth to a system that they believe is inefficient and would squander their money. There is probably some truth to that. So there would also have to be a compelling plan for what to do with that money such as investing it in education in highly skilled knowledge worker fields that would make America even more of a great technology leader and stimulate our economy. I have a little faith in our existing government to be able to do that, but it would be nice.

Another option is to give the mega-rich the option to instead give a similar portion of that money to a non-profit like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Warren Buffett did. Not 99%, but maybe 25%.

The main point is: don’t just tax the upper-middle class and think you’re taxing the rich. The really rich require net worth and capital gains to be taxed.

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