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May 31 2008

Top 10 Ideas

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Here are the top 10 ideas I’ve run across for making the world a better place: (sorry if they aren’t exactly 10)

  1. Truth in Fundraising Legislation. When someone is requesting or accepting donations, require that they explicitly name the Tax ID of the receiving non-profit or political organization, along with the percentage of the donation that will be delivered to the organization. Under today’s laws, someone can ask for a donation and keep the bulk of the donation for themselves. We’ve managed to do truth in labeling for foods, why not fundraising?
  2. Micro-philanthropy as a way of increasing global participation in philanthropic activities, simultaneously increasing our feedback of who/what is trustworthy, as well as what’s working.
  3. Make parents responsible for their kids vaccinations. Make parents sign a statement that they are “making their child susceptible” to a virus, rather than “opting out of a vaccination” And if their child subsequently infects others with that virus, make them responsible for the damage they have caused.
  4. Figuring out the Good Ancestor Principle. Jonas Salk said, The most important question we should be asking ourselves, is “are we being good ancestors?” How do we shift our perspectives and metrics to that of the future looking back at us?
  5. A Language of the Positive. We have enormous intellectual capacity built up around the notion of what’s failing. Doctors have 1.2 million terms for how to be sick, for example. But we don’t have the corresponding language for that which is positive or life-affirming
  6. Century Movies. One way to look forward is to imagine that we are actors in a movie that will be shown to our descendants 100 years from now. I’ve invented the notion of a Century Movies to capture daily images that will be assembled into a time lapse movie to be completed 100 years from now.
  7. Electronic Vote Counting Reform. I once worked as a systems analyst at the County of Riverside, California, doing the vote counting system. I was one of the designers of the information security system for the medical records of all Veterans and active Military personnel, and certified this system through the high level US Government security organizations. I think that our Electronic Vote Counting system is an absolute mess, and can’t believe that we are turning over our most basic democratic process to a few commercial companies. A foreign country no longer has to invade the US to take it over, they can just buy a few vote counting companies.
  8. Get Rid of Third Class Mail, Pennies, and adopt the Metric System. How does we calculate how many teaspoons are in a gallon, or 5/8’s of an inch there are in yard? The US, Myanmar, and Liberia are the only countries in the world that are still using whatever you call our messed-up measuring system. Its way past time for us to move to the metric system. While we’re at it, let’s get rid of junk mail and the huge ecological damage it is causing in both its delivery and disposal… or at least give US citizens the ability to opt out of this wasteful system. And while were freezing over hell, let’s also take pennies out of circulation – they cost more to produce than they are worth.
  9. Rate restaurants on Conversability. I know I’m an old grouch, but I like to converse with my dining partners when I eat. This means tolerable ambient noise levels, not crowd roar amplified by hard surfaces, quiet or no music, and kitchen noise clatter kept in the kitchen. I’d just like to know the noise level in a restaurant before making a reservation, is all I ask. I’ll choose from their.
  10. Full Cost Pricing. If Costco wants to package a tiny object in three layers of protective plastic that requires a razor knife to open, they and their customers should pay for the full cost of disposing of all that !@#$%^ plastic. Same goes for those plastic bags that now litter the landscape all around the world.

<end of Tom’s rants>

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