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Yodeller

Welcome to the Yodeller: my ongoing project to try and write something every day. You can read more about the background from here. If you are a new reader you might want to start from the beginning.

I thought I made a mistake

Yesterday I wrote about some wealthy individuals. Later thinking back to that post I realized I had made a mistake stating Rockefeller as wealthiest man in modern history. The fact wasn't about his ranking, but my use of the time period. 

Now, I recalled modern history only starting from 1945, eight years after his death. So it would have been a stretch to state him as wealthiest in modern history.

But it wasn't that. Now, the modern history spans all the way back to 16th century. The term I was thinking and which starts from 1945 is the contemporary history. So no mistakes there after all, I just got those terms mixed up.

However, me being me, I still had to double check whether he still was the wealthiest person during that era. Turns out I was wrong after all! During the modern history era John D. Rockefeller only ranks number 2 in the wealthiest list.

Just at the beginning of the modern era there was a German merchant, miner and banker named Jacob Fugger who's net worth adjusted for inflation was even greater then Rockefeller's. He was quite appropriately called Fugger the Rich. That leaves Rockefeller only the richest person in post-industrial revolution era. Poor John.

Btw. none of the current day billionaires make it into the top 10 of that list (yet).

The art of giving

If I donate 10€ to the charity it's not much, both for my personal finances and for whatever organization would receive that money to share it with those in need. It's not much and considering I belong to the top 10% of the wealthiest people on earth I should share what I have. Still, I don't earn that much so that I could give much more than that without it affecting my or my family's finances.

Me donating that 10€ is roughly equal to world richest 1% giving out millions. Even if they give out tenfold it wouldn't make any change in their daily lives. And some of them do. Not only tenfold but some are committed on giving away most of their wealth by the Giving Pledge which is to date accumulated over trillion dollars in pledges from some of the wealthiest individuals on the planet.

Bill Gates has already donated over half of his fortune, yet he's still the second richest man alive. His net worth has only gone up so basically he's richer than he was when he started really working for giving out his fortune. It's not as easy to just give away billions.

Even Gates' donations pale in comparison to those made by the wealthiest man in modern history: John D. Rockefeller. During his lifetime he gave away over 500 million dollars, which adjusted to inflation would be more than Bill's and Jeff's net worth combined today. This was still only half of what he had.

The true hero and master philanthropist is Chuck Feeney. This duty-free shopping mogul has given away (almost) all of his fortune after working hard for 38 years to achieve that goal. Only leaving a modest 2 million fund for him and his wife to live comfortably until the end of their days. While his donations might pale in comparison to those made by Gates or Rockefeller the fact that he gave away basically all of his 8 billions is just mindblowing. 

You, the product

"If you are not paying for it, you are the product being sold". That holds true for many today's digital services. There is no shortage for free services that are willing to take you as one of their products.

What this is generally thought to mean is that your data is the product that these companies are selling. Your preferences and usage patterns are worth something for the right party. While that doesn't sound too bad, considering the service you get in return and perhaps an appropriate ad for a product you probably are interested in as a bonus it's unfortunately the whole truth.

The most valuable asset in this productized you is actually your behaviour! Yes, you are not only being profiled, but the aim is to change your behaviour. Sure, commercial entities only want to change you into their loyal customer, but imagine the potential of this subtle change in the hands of some irresponsible political entity. How they could affect the general opinion in their favour and make them seem like the better option.

Good thing this hasn't happened yet...

Weird dreams

It's not uncommon for me to see weird dreams. Sometimes I even remember parts of those dreams when I wake up. Like this time. But this time it was weird for a different reason (in addition to just being weird, that is).

There were actually three (or four) separate dreams. But they were all connected. It was like they were episodes from the same tv show: same characters, same basic idea and just different story. The last story was in two parts, just like those season finales often are. There was even a recap from last episode in the beginning of the final one. I wonder when will the next season come out.

Maybe I have been watching too much series from streaming services lately if my dreams are also starting to be like one.

Posts from the future

After the latest update and change from cowriters to writelier it seems I have been writing posts from the future. For some reason the posts show the next day as their publication date. I haven't checked whether this is only an issue with posts written later in the evening (which would kind of make sense) or all posts regardless the actual time of writing.

Luckily it hasn't affected my streak, even though there should be a jump somewhere around the switch over date. Only thing bothering me is the notification that I haven't yet written today persisting on the page despite the fact that I just posted and there should be the post from the day before that should be posted under today's date. But neither of those seems to count for the timer.

Writing any code dealing with datetime is one of the most challenging tasks in programming. Despite it being an integral part of so many applications it's still really easy to get wrong. There is just so many odd border cases that need to be considered, all the different timezones that need to be accounted for and so on.

I almost think that it would probably be easier to switch over to global time and date system that would solve all those issues than get one software handling all the possible datetime issues correctly.

 

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