Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Best Music 1

This post is in keeping with the spirit of my recent post where I shared my new blogging goal of recommending things I like to my readers.

I want to share a few of the songs I've been listening to lately so that you can try them out and see if you like them too.

I don't have a whole lot to say about each song. This isn't intended to be like a music listening analysis report where I describe the rhythmic structure or tonal qualities of the music. I am just sharing some tunes I enjoy.

I want this to become a recurring segment, whether that be daily, weekly, or even having any regularity at all. It could be totally random.

Some editions of the "Best Music" series might have a genre theme, but for this first one I will not intentionally choose a theme.

I am simply going into my Liked Songs playlist on Spotify and picking out some winners.


The Best Music of My Week


Million Bucks by Smallpools

This song has such a great sunny day feel to it. The song is in my wife's "Daytime Brewery Adventure" playlist that we play in the car as we drive to breweries. The chorus has also amped me up during runs, keeping me going when I get tired.

"I've got all my money on you,
And though my dollars are few,
I feel like a million bucks,
And I give no fucks
When I'm with you"

All We Got by Sam F featuring Lizzy Land

This is a techno/EDM song that gets me hyped. I had never heard of either of these artists before, but I have since followed Sam F.

I actually found Sam F through his other music persona, "Dr. Woke". He has a song with Lil Phag, which I also had not heard of, but after looking into who they were I found the main artist name, Sam F. I use Spotify to find most of the music I listen to and lots of it is recommended to me based on other things I listen to. Then I follow down the rabbit hole looking into "Similar Artists".

Whippin by Kiiara featuring Felix Snow

This is a song I've known about for some time, but recently rediscovered it and have been listening to it a lot. I think I read somewhere that Kiiara was working as a clerk in a hardware store when she produced and released the song "Gold" from her bedroom. The song took off and became super popular, and she made enough money that she could quit her crappy job and do music full-time. This is a song I heard after I heard "Gold".

Ooh La La by Run The Jewels featuring Greg Nice and DJ Premier

I super duper love Run The Jewels! It is a rap duo made up of El-P and Killer Mike. I believe they were brought together while working on a project for Adult Swim or Williams Street. They are both incredible lyricists whose music is truly poetry. One of their songs "Lie, Cheat, Steal" is used as the theme song for the Netflix original documentary series "Dirty Money".

I heard this song at the end of the last episode in the third season of Ozarks. Something pretty violent and shocking happens in the last minute, then this song plays and it is a perfect pairing because of how opposite the two things are.

Bounce by Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott, and Dr. Dre

This song came out in 2007, so it is not new by any means. This song is sooooo good! The bass is really danceable and catchy, which makes sense when you realize that Dr. Dre was involved. He is the king of awesome bass lines.

This will make a really great dance party song. Fair warning: its pretty explicit and sexual.


Conclusion

I figure five songs is a nice round number to stop at. It is enough to have something to look into when you are done, but not an overwhelming amount. It also lets me save lots of great stuff for future "Best Music" posts.

Let me know what you think of any of these songs or if you had already heard of any of them.



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I Am Going To Become A Recommendation Engine

What do I have planned for this blog? What do I want the content I write to do for my readers?

Many people who give advice in the blogging niche talk about needing to write informational content which answers the questions your readers have. The strategy behind this advice makes a lot of sense. You want to have your content show up in the Google results when people are performing searches so that they will click on your site and read your stuff.

By writing informational and factual content, Google is much more likely to find something worthy of answering a search query and serve it up to searchers.

A blogger, or anyone who writes content for a website, should spend some of their focus and writing efforts on this type of educational content.

I think that I would like to spend some of my writing effort on another type of content as well.

I think that I could provide a lot of value to the world and to my readers by sharing my opinions on things I have tried so that they can benefit from my review and hopefully influence their decisions for the better. I want to tell people about the products I have tried, the books I have read, the television shows I have watched, the cities I have been to, and generally anything else that I have experienced that I can share with others.

I think that when people are about to do almost anything, they will perform a Google search to do a little research on that thing. They want to know what to expect and what to prepare for. They might want to know if it is even worth doing at all.

I hope that by sharing my experience, people will be better prepared to make their own choices about that thing.

I also want to serve as a content curator. I want to share with my readers about the things I have already found so that they might choose to explore them as well. I would be acting as a sort of discovery engine, a suggestion resource, a recommendation writer.

The world is so completely full of an infinite number and variety of things that it is absolutely impossible to find everything, and very difficult to even find all of the sorts of things you like. I hope that I can share my experience to save my readers the time of needing to sift through everything themselves.

I want to recommend those things that I have tried and which I want others to know about. I will treat my reviews and recommendations just like I were sharing them with a friend.

I have been thinking about this idea of sharing my experiences with things, and I have come up with a few themes that I want to become regularly recurring segments. While some of my recommendations will take the form of a focused review article where the entirety of the content is focused on one subject, some things just are not big enough to require a whole blog post to themselves. There are some things where I don't have enough opinions or feedback to even write 500 words. For those types of topics, I will combine them into a themed list post. I might share something like "The Top 5" of a given category.

I want to share music that I've been listening to. I want to share about books and articles that I've read. I want to share about podcasts. I want to share about movies and TV. I want to share about grocery store purchases. I want to share about consumer products I've used. I want to share about basically anything that I've experienced.

This type of content that I think I am going to focus on goes somewhat against the advice of big name bloggers that I should write informational content mainly, but I think that I might be able to offer more value with my recommendations and curation.

I think that such content will become a staple of this blog and be something I really enjoy writing.

If you have any feedback about my plans or about the idea of bloggers acting as filters for the massive amount of "stuff" available in this world, let me know about it in the comments!



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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

John Oliver's Last Week Tonight

One of my favorite things to do is to watch the HBO show "Last Week Tonight". The show is a comedy news program hosted by comedian John Oliver.

An advertising poster for the comedy news show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver sitting to the right of the title text


The show has been on for something like 7 seasons, which goes to show just how awesome and enjoyable it is.

You can watch the whole episodes by subscribing to HBO through your cable provider or HBO GO as a standalone streaming service. I don't do either of those things. I watch content from the show via the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel.

Their YouTube channel has little clips from the episodes, but it offers the main course from each episode. Each episode of the show starts with John talking about the week's current events in very short form, and ends with the majority of the program talking about one topic. That ending/main topic is available on YouTube.

For each episode, a specific topic is chosen, one that is usually focusing on abuse of power or a poorly devised system or a dictator or some bad-guy current event figure or just generally something with a problem in the way that it is. John Oliver then presents, in comedic fashion, the background facts and context for that subject, followed by some suggested solutions to the problem. Often the problem is so large or systemic that it can't really be solved by an individuals actions, but the suggestion of solutions is helpful.

The subject for each presentation is often something that you would never consider yourself or think to look into. They start out very lightheartedly and proceed to provide you with angering information about wrongdoing. It continues to build, telling you more and more unsettling information, to the point that you might feel hopeless that the situation can ever improve, and then John Oliver usually finishes up by telling you what can be done to fix things. Even in episodes where there isn't a solution to the problem suggested, he goes to great lengths to insult the bad person or thing, just so that something is different for his having covered the subject.

One example of that is when John Oliver talked about Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the president/dictator of Turkmenistan, and all the bad he does in his country and in his dealings with the rest of the world. The guy is a pretty big piece of garbage. But after telling you all the bad stuff he does, there isn't really a solution to suggest to you. What are any of us going to do about some dictator in another country? In the presentation we learn that Berdimuhamedov loves to earn Guiness Book of World Records records and he loves horses to a disturbing degree. He also was bucked off of his favorite horse while racing in a very public stadium, which really embarrassed him. John Oliver combined all of these details to seriously poke fun at the autocrat. He had a world record sized (largest sheet cake ever made) cake made that had a photo of Berdimuhamedov being bucked off his horse printed on it.

Clearly that didn't make anything better in the world, but it was funny and kind of stuck it to the dictator, if he even saw the episode.

John Oliver has made fun of the fact that his show often stresses downer and depressing subjects, and without his application of humor would be an unpleasantly sad show.

He has covered so many topics, things like Sheriffs, Xi Jinping, Opioids, Mobile Homes, Brexit, Felony Disenfranchisement, President Trump, Floods, and the NRA. So many topics. The last 5 episodes have covered the topic of the Coronavirus and Covid-19. He has been quarantined in his house because of the stay-at-home orders and has filmed them in isolation in his home.

So far there are 6 Coronavirus themed episodes.

The Last Week Tonight news show is by far my favorite news source and the new episode releases each week are something I always look forward to. Watching this show is one of my favorite things to do. The episodes are funny and entertaining, but they are also really educational and can keep you informed of current events.

I highly recommend this show! Give it a go!



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Sunday, May 3, 2020

Modern Family Series Finale

The show "Modern Family" has been on the air for a long time. The show has had 11 seasons and ran from 2009 to 2020. I wish I had heard about this show when it first came out and had been watching it the whole time. I only heard about it a few years ago, so I've only seen around 3 seasons.

This show is awesome! It is hilarious! It is so smart! The jokes are deep, relevant to the current events going on at the time, well interweaved throughout each episode, and come at you almost constantly. I am laughing almost the whole time I'm watching most episodes!

The whole cast of TV Sitcom Comedy "Modern Family" being interviewed under a backdrop of the show's logo.


But, all things must come to an end at some point. This show couldn't keep running forever.

The series finale was aired on April 8th, 2020.

The entire primetime slot on ABC was dedicated to Modern Family. There was a one hour long documentary special aired before the final episodes which covered the making of the show. It had interviews with the cast, the producers, the behind-the-scenes staff. That documentary was very interesting.

Ed O'Neill, who plays the character Jay, said that when he was pitched the pilot script he originally turned it down because he didn't want to do anymore TV comedy series, but he eventually read the script and knew that it was going to be a really important and successful show, so he took the part.

The documentary was mostly recently filmed interviews as people talked about their history with the show and how they were saddened about the ending of the show. There were also lots of shots of behind-the-scenes moments from as far back as the first season.

We got to see just how much all the characters have grown since the first episode. It is visible in every character (nobody goes 11 years without aging at least some), but it was super noticeable in the children who grew up on the show. Manny Delgado, Haley, Alex, and Luke Dunphy, Lily Tucker-Pritchett, and Joe Pritchett all aged throughout the show.

The documentary made me want to start watching the show over from episode one even more than I already did. I have been watching the episodes as they air on Hulu, but on Hulu only the current season episodes are available, so hopefully after this season has been over for a few months all of the episodes will become available.

After the one hour documentary, the two last episode of the series aired back to back. It was a two part last episode split into two half-hour episodes.

It was really good, funny as is any of the Modern Family episodes, but it was also very sad. It was sad because of the story of the episode, but also knowing that the show was going to be over.

Almost as soon as the last episode aired, I watched the pilot episode, and the writers of the show clearly tried to bring everything full circle. There were several themes and phrases from the first episode that made it into the last episode. I'm sure that was intentional, but might have been missed if you hadn't recently watched the first season. I definitely encourage you to watch the last episodes and then start over with the first right away so that you can see those things that connect.

I really liked the last episode, but lasts are always hard for me. I get really attached and sentimental, and that definitely happened with this show. It was very sad.

Give the episodes a watch for sure, and if you can find that documentary about the show and its success over the last 11 years, watch that too!


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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

My Dream Life

Everyone has a dream life. A most ideal version of the future that they wish would come true. While everyone has a dream future, not everyone gets to live their dream future.

Lots of people don't get to live the most ideal version of their life. They instead have to settle for what they get in life, for their current situation in life.

There are even lots of people who so thoroughly believe that they don't even stand a chance at achieving their best possible future that they haven't given any serious thought to what a dream life would be. They couldn't even describe to a friend what they really want out of life.

Those people who haven't given themselves permission to dream can never reach their best life, because you can't reach something you aren't aiming for.

Well, I definitely want to live my dream life, my best life. So, the first step in that process is to dream. I need to think about what I want for my life. I have given this a lot of thought, maybe too much thought. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the future. But hopefully by writing it down and making it clear, I can get closer to achieving that future.

man using laptop on the beach. Dreamy lifestyle


Picturing My Dream Life


To really determine what you want your life to be, or what you want more of in your life, you should look at what it is that makes you happy. What experiences make you smile? What do you tend to look forward to?

If you can find those things in your life, you can try to turn those things up for your future.

For me, and for nearly everyone, one of those things that makes me consistently smile is travel. I really want to travel. I want to travel most of the time. I want to have the freedom of time and of money to be able to travel wherever I want whenever I want.

I see travel blogs and travel accounts on Instagram and I feel a longing for that.

I also really enjoy good food. I love going to restaurants. I love trying new foods and drinks. In my ideal future, I will be eating out at restaurants very often, like at least 5 times per week. I also think I would make healthier choices at restaurants if I were to go out more. When I only eat at restaurants occasionally, I feel like I should order something really tasty and something which I don't usually make for myself at home. That tends to be unhealthy food like burgers and steaks. If I knew that I'd be in a restaurant again very soon, I might be more inclined to order things like salads and wraps.

So, I would definitely be happier with my future life if I spent more time in restaurants.

I really enjoy taking my time in whatever I do. I hate feeling rushed. I hate feeling pressured to do things faster than I feel comfortable doing them. Things like work tend to make me feel rushed. So an ideal future would be very time-flexible, allowing me to work when I wanted to at a pace I liked.

I love to read, listen to podcasts, and watch TV and movies. I want to build into my future schedule lots of time to do those things. They might be unproductive in a conventional sense, but if you believe the purpose of life is to maximize happiness, and they bring you happiness, then it is sort of productive to do those things more.

I want to help people. Everyone feels good when they can feel like they've helped someone, and especially when you receive thanks for the help you've given. In whatever I do, I'd like to include some aspect of altruism or helping others to make my accomplishments more satisfying.

I want variety in my life, or at least the freedom to introduce variety into my life whenever I want it. I don't mind routine sometimes. It can feel good to know what is coming. The predictability can be comforting. But sometimes I get bored with the monotony of routine and just want to do something new. But because of responsibilities in life, such as work, I am often required to keep a certain schedule, and for years at a time.

Lifestyle Design


Most of the things I've found I want in a future dream life aren't all that hard to achieve. They are just simple lifestyle choices. The things that make it hard are a lack of money and of time. Lacking total freedom in those two domains effectively limits how much of these things I can enjoy.

If I want to achieve my dream life,then, I must find a way to generate an income that doesn't hold me to a particular schedule. That can be accomplished with an arrangement as simple as remote work, telecommuting, or freelancing. With those sorts of work I would still need to spend lots of time doing work in order to make an income, but I would have the freedom to do that work when and where I wanted to do it. I could travel and still do my work. I could stay up all night doing work and sleep during the day. I could take mid-day breaks to go on a hike and make up for it later.

That would be easy enough, but doesn't free me up enough to enjoy constant travel or leisure. For that level of freedom I would need to find a way to generate income that totally disconnects time from money. Instead of a system where I get paid per hour I work, I need to get paid for my investments or assets.

Making Money With Assets


I could invest in the stock market and collect dividends or harvest shares in order to get the income I'd need to live. I could start or buy a business with employees that do the work of the business so that I could just collect the profit. Those would both be totally satisfying and viable ways to achieve my desired lifestyle, but they both require lots of capital to invest upfront, which I lack. Money makes money, but it's kind of hard if you don't already have money.

So, I need to get some assets which make money, but which don't cost anything to acquire. If something doesn't cost money to acquire, it likely costs something in time and effort. The sorts of assets I'd be looking at would be intellectual property assets which would earn royalties or otherwise generate income over time.

I could produce music, write books, make art, make videos. Any of that stuff would be creating lasting assets which have the potential to create income. I would build my asset portfolio by building up a back-catalogue or body of work. These are all great options, and I might genuinely consider all of them, but I think the asset I'd most like to build is a blog.

This blog is my asset that I am working to build up. If I think of the articles I write as the product I produce, then I just need to work really hard at creating my business's output and I will eventually have a sizable asset which will be able to create passive income for me. Passive income is income that I continue to make from something I only had to create once, which totally disconnects the amount of money I make from the time I spent on the work. I can build something once and get paid forever.

I want to build up this blog so that it generates significant traffic, and with that traffic I want to be able to offer products that I create for sale. I could also recommend other people's products to my readers and make money through affiliate marketing. The way to increase my readership and website traffic, and therefore my earning potential from this blog, is to create lots more content.

Whenever I see a blog which is successful and which is earning it's author an income, it always has at least 100 articles written. Which makes sense. Lots of blog posts means lots of opportunities for people to find your blog. Lots of written work means a greater chance that you are writing about something that someone is searching for. If I want to achieve my dreams and my dream life, I need to write lots of blog posts and build up this blog so that it ranks well in Google.

I consider that portion Phase One of my dream life.

If I can create an asset that makes me money even while I'm not working, that would earn me the time and money freedom necessary to pursue all of the things that I love doing and which consistently make me happy.

Phase Two


But you should never be done striving for more in life. The pursuit of your goals bring great pleasure and satisfaction. My Phase Two would involve investing the money I've made from this blog into physical businesses with employees. Whether those businesses be in manufacturing, merchandising and retail, consulting services, or some other way to create value, I want to continue creating things in this world after my blog.

I don't want to buy into a franchise business. I want to start something from nothing.

I want to find something that is lacking in a given geographical area and build a business which fills that need.

I really want to be a serial entrepreneur. I want to get good at building up brands to the point where they are at least locally recognizable and sustainable, then move on to the creation of another brand.

One business that I'd love to create would be a coffee shop and bookstore combo. Obviously that is not a new idea. That business has been built countless times before, but I think it would be fun.

There is really no limits to the businesses I'd like to create. I want to build as many as possible.

Phase Two is all about investing my earnings from the blog into physical businesses which would require more startup capital than I would have had without the blog, and to further diversify my sources of income. Instead of relying on blogging income, I would then have income from lots of businesses. At that point I would hope to have more money than any reasonable person could spend.

Phase Three


That would be when I'd transition my attention to Phase Three.

Phase Three involves social good. I want to do things which help other people and society in general.

One way I really want to do this is by FDI or Foreign Direct Investment in poorer nations around the world. I want to take my money to poor countries and build businesses and wealth generation engines there in the hopes that the prosperity will spread throughout the region. I would also want to invest in the creation or improvement of infrastructure, such as roads, electricity, and internet.

I would also like to undertake philanthropic projects. I want to build things that communities need but which they cannot afford to build on their own. Stuff like parks, community centers, and auditoriums. I want to build the spaces that can bring people together.

I would also like to work on building up the supply of things people consider essential. Things only cost money because they are scarce. Scarcity requires a system of distribution that decides who gets and who doesn't when there isn't enough. Setting a price and charging money for things does a good job at that. But if things were so abundantly available, the supply was so huge that everyone could have all they want and there would still be more left over, then there would be no need to charge anything. Or the cost would be so low that it wouldn't be burdensome for anyone.

I want to increase the sustainable supply of all essentials to that point, to a point beyond a need for price and cost. For example, consider food. There is abundant variety in the types of food available. And people pay for what they want. You could consider the variety a premium option. But people die of starvation, which should be able to be totally avoided. I would like to produce some food item in such great supply that it can be given away for free. Any person who is hungry could just have that food, and in effect, starvation could be totally eliminated.

I think something like salad greens produced in vertical indoor farms would have the potential to be produced in such abundant supply. Once the farm structure is constructed, the UV lights could be powered by renewable energy produced on-site, the salad greens continue to grow after being harvested, and the entire process could be mechanized so that labor costs would be very small. Salad greens are incredibly nutritious and would be a great food for people who are starving.

The salad greens could be made available totally free or for so little money that everyone could eat salad greens regardless of their financial situation.

I'd like to do that same thing with things like electricity, internet, and transportation.

These dreams are getting to be exceptionally lofty, and so some of the finer detail will be worked out if I get closer, but generally this is what I'd like to accomplish. I think that a person with a lot of money and a selfless desire to help others could vastly improve the world and society.

What I've described would be an exceptional life. It would be huge. I am almost certain I will never get to or accomplish Phase Three, but the pursuit of these goals is worthwhile in itself.

If nothing else, I will be blissfully happy if I can get this blog to earn a full-time living so that I can live with minimal stress and the freedom to enjoy each moment as I wish.


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Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Best Blogging Advice

I pretty regularly perform searches for things related to blogging and entrepreneurship. I do it because I usually end up learning something new, but also because it helps motivate me.

Whenever I feel like procrastinating or delaying my writing or content creation, I look for things (often blogger success stories) which help me keep my larger vision of running a blog with a large readership in mind.

I was doing that sort of motivational searching today and found a few great videos that share some great advice to bloggers about how to grow and find success. I started my search in YouTube for Yaro Starak.



Yaro Starak on Creating Pillar Content


Yaro Starak is an online entrepreneur and blogger who helped a lot of other bloggers get their start by teaching them how blogging and monetizing a blog can work through his "Blog Profits Blueprint". That Blog Profits Blueprint is a free e-book that he gives away in exchange for joining his email list.

I mostly know about Yaro because of his podcast, The Entrepreneurs-Journey Podcast, which was rebranded to The Yaro Podcast. In this podcast he interviews internet entrepreneurs, often bloggers, who have found a way to make an income on the internet. This podcast is something that often motivates me to take action on my blogging goals.

Today, I decided to search YouTube for Yaro Starak, hoping to find something inspirational. I found a clip from some conference he was speaking at where he talks about how to build what he calls "Pillar Content". Pillar content is the best, most useful stuff you've got to share on your blog, the sort of stuff that attracts readers to you. In the video he talks about what kinds of content can work as pillar content, and how to attract a following/readership.


He talks about the sorts of posts that tend to do very well in attracting readers. He mentions these types of content: How To, Definitions, Lists, and Opinions. This advice is helpful because it shows you many possibilities for ways to write content that will satisfy readers.

Another point he touches on is that people prefer content in different forms, and if you want to satisfy the greatest number of people possible, you've got to produce content in multiple formats. He calls this multimedia. He says that from a single piece of content you can produce a video, a podcast or audio, and a written blog post. Each of those sorts of multimedia will be the preference of someone, and you also increase your total content output.

His last point is my favorite. He says to publish content EVERY DAY. That is such an important thing to remember and commit to. While every day is a possibly unrealistic goal, a goal of publishing content regularly is critical. Search Engine Optimization and attracting an audience is best accomplishing by building a huge body of work.

I've read somewhere (I can't remember where now) that the way to look at each blog post you write is as a door to your blog or business. If you publish only one or a few posts, then you only have a tiny number of doorways for readers to find you. If you publish hundreds of posts, then you have lots of possible doors for people to find your content.

So, while lots of people giving out blogging advice will say that quantity isn't really important because it is all about quality, you must remember that quantity is what will ultimately bring you readers and traffic, so you've got to follow a schedule if you want to build that body of work.

So publishing content regularly, daily if possible, will help you achieve you blogging goals!


Carly the Prepster on Blogging Tips


I stumbled upon another video as a suggested video to the one I just talked about. This video was about blogging tips from someone who has made it as a full time blogger. This seems super interesting, so I was enticed to click.

The video is by someone I'd never heard of. The channel name is Carly the Prepster.


In the video she basically just talks about the things she would advise new bloggers to do or think about. She says she has been blogging for nine years, and so she's got some relevant perspective to share.

The first thing that really jumped out at me and made me want to listen to her was that she said you can, and maybe should, start with a free Blogger/blogspot blog in the beginning. She also mentioned using Squarespace or Wix as other free options.

This is in such stark contrast to most people talking about blogging and teaching people how to blog. Most people have an affiliate relationship with hosting companies, where if they can convince a reader to purchase website hosting through their link, they receive a payment. So, given that incentive, most bloggers say you should start with a paid blogging setup, and that might be good advice, but always seems a little self-interested to me.

She explains that your blog won't be likely to make any money early on, and so paying to run a blog that earns nothing might not be feasible. Starting on a free hosted platform will allow you to get started without having to pay any money or cover any costs. And getting started is just so important to gaining momentum.

Carly says that for the majority of her time blogging, she used a free Blogger blog, and that she had only a couple years ago switched over to a paid, self-hosted Wordpress blog.

Using a free blogging platform didn't hold her back from achieving success, and so it shouldn't be a sticking point for others.

She also talked about the importance of simply getting started. She jokes that it seems too simple, but that it is incredibly important to do it. Just start. Start creating content. It takes practice to get better at writing and crafting headlines and writing with SEO in mind. And you don't get practice until you start practicing.

And SEO and ranking in search engines often takes a lot of time, so the sooner you get started, the sooner you will see results.

And Carly, like Yaro, talks about the need to produce LOTS of content. She said that people often say to focus exclusively on quality, but she said to work on quantity as well. You must have a large amount of content to get a readership of any size. Publish content regularly. Have publishing consistency.


Victor Pride of Bold and Determined Talks About Strategy


I next found a blog post and video where a guy named Victor Pride, author of the Bold and Determined blog, talks about what he would do if his whole blogging business disappeared. He also restricts this thought experiment to a situation where he wasn't allowed to start another blog, so he focuses on creating videos for YouTube, but I think this strategy works just as well if being applied to a blog.


Victor is a bit abrasive in his sharing of strategy and advice, but the content of his advice is good quality.

He said that if he lost his blog and wasn't allowed to start another blog, he would start a YouTube channel. He would record and publish a video EVERY DAY.

He said that for a full year, the first year, he wouldn't worry about quality. He wouldn't worry about poor editing or bad sound or even grainy video. He said that if it was possible to avoid bad quality, he would do it, but the priority is to amass a bulk of content that viewers could find, consume, and connect with.

After producing a video per day for a year, he said he could slow down and improve the quality of the videos he publishes, because at that point people would actually be finding and following his channel.

Then he talks about monetizing the traffic you've built by writing a book to sell and becoming an affiliate marketer.

My biggest take away from this video, though, is the urgent need to constantly produce content, to build up lots of content, because that is the source of building traffic.

This video was embedded in a blog post on his site where he talks about how to build a business and make money by being yourself on the internet.

The content of that page went a little beyond what the video talked about.

His idea to make money by being yourself reminds me a lot of the Youpreneur model that was created by Chris Ducker (I encourage you to look into it if you've never heard of it).

The key of Victor's blog post was to create content (whether that be blog articles, podcasts, videos, or whatever) that essentially documents your life and your reality.

You don't have to pretend to be something you aren't, or to inflate your personality.

People will be interested in you exactly as you are. You just need to share who you are so that people can find you.

Write about what interests you, what you do, what you like.

Again, it's about creating lots of content.

He says that it might sound like a cliche to say "Consistency is Key", but that is because it is true. Creating lots of content is the only way to find the success you seek.

With the power of the internet, anyone can be a celebrity or a media company. You just need to craft a message, create content, and share it. You will make money by sharing lots of content.



I thought each of these three videos were very motivational and helped push me to continue work on my blog. I really want to share them with you so that you may pick up some great blogging advice and strategy and feel driven to take action towards your goals! And certainly follow check out the original videos so that you get the full content and don't miss anything, because I really just summarized what they talked about.



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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Geothermal Energy is the Renewable Energy Answer


Renewable Energy Choices

The world runs on energy. 

Without a steady supply of ready-to-use energy, the world would fall apart very quickly. 

The progress humanity has achieved and the abundance and standard of living we’ve become used to is possible because of available energy. When we discovered fossil fuels and the many sorts of products that could be distilled from crude oil, we had found our cheap and abundant energy source which would power invention, innovation, and industrialization. 

Fossil fuels have been abundant and cheap and therefore have been factored into the use of anything whose priorities have been widespread adoption, mobility, and cost-efficiency. Most notably, fossil fuels are heavily used in the production of electricity and in powering transportation in the form of cars and trucks.

Fossil fuels have a major downside, though. They aren’t renewable. When we’ve used all there is, there won’t be anymore coming around. If one totally ignores or sets aside the entire issue of global warming/climate change and just focuses on the ability of an energy source to be renewed and therefore infinite, we still need to think about what sort of energy to replace fossil fuels with. It would be foolish to continue on with the status quo without forming some sort of long-term plan concerning our future energy needs.

There are quite a few renewable energy options to consider. Most of them have merit, and some are maybe not the best option as a total solution but are the best when considering a specific application.


Electricity


One option is to switch everything that is powered by fossil fuels to electricity. This applies heavily to the application of cars and trucks. If instead of powering those personal transportation solutions with gasoline and diesel, they were able to be run using electric motors fed by battery, then we would greatly reduce our need of fossil fuels. 

This would be a great thing for progress but does have some major limitations. 

Firstly, battery technology is not as advanced as would be ideal. Even the highest range electric vehicles have a significantly shorter range than standard gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles. Electric cars and trucks would be great for people who have a need to travel shorter distances, somewhere under 30 miles between charges. 

There have been major advancements in battery technology (at companies like Elon Musk’s Tesla) which have increased the range of electric vehicles, but many people would drag their feet in purchasing a fully electric vehicle because of the range issue. So, if the electric car were to find widespread consumer adoption, the range and battery issues would need to be resolved.

Secondly, switching from fossil fuels to electricity doesn’t really eliminate the use of fossil fuels, it just changes where the fossil fuels are being burned. Most electricity is produced in power plants that run on coal. When you charge your electric car at home between trips, you are storing in your car’s battery electricity which was produced with fossil fuels. While concentrating the combustion of fossil fuels to fewer central locations could help by allowing greater efficiency, it is still not a total solution.


Solar


Another option is solar energy. There are two major types of solar energy production. There are photovoltaic cells and there is thermal solar.

Photovoltaic cells produce electricity when they are exposed to sunlight because the photons excite the atoms in the cells and cause electrons to flow. How awesome?! It’s like a magic sheet that just makes electricity when you shine light on it. It seems like a satisfactory total solution. 

Photovoltaic cells would be a great option in many instances, but this technology has difficulties to overcome. The PV cells are difficult and expensive to produce, making them an unsavory upfront investment. The production of PV cells requires toxic materials which are difficult to obtain and are finite, so we won’t be able to make an unlimited number of PV cells.

The other form of solar is thermal solar. Thermal solar takes advantage of the heat the sun gives off. 

Thermal solar can be engineered in many configurations, but one option is to arrange a bunch of mirrors to concentrate the power of the sunlight across a large area into a small, central spot. The focus of all the heat energy would be oil or water in a sealed tube which would heat up, expand, and spin a generator’s turbine. As the expanded fluid moved the turbine it would cool down, contract, and be moved around through the piping back to the place where the mirrors would fill it with heat again. 

One other configuration of thermal solar, which doesn’t have electricity as a product, is to cover the roof of a house with tubes filled with fluid which would absorb the heat from the sun, then circulate that heated fluid throughout the house to heat the house. This would prevent the use of electricity or natural gas in heating the home.

Both of these solar energy designs suffer from the same weakness – they only work when the sun is out. They stop working if it is nighttime or if it is cloudy. If a system were totally reliant on solar energy, then there would be regular cycles of power outages. The surplus energy created while the sun is shining may be stored in batteries for use during periods of darkness, which could realistically overcome this objection. Even still, solar energy works well as a supplemental source, a piece of the puzzle, but it won’t work as the only source.


Wind


Wind energy is another possibility. Wind energy can be harvested using large windmills which have fans that catch the wind and spin a turbine which produces electricity. These large wind turbines can create a lot of energy, and so seem like a great option. 

However, wind turbines only work where there are usually strong winds. There are places where it just isn’t ever that windy, and so the wind turbines would produce next to nothing. And even where a typically windy site is found, the wind isn’t constant, so there are times when the turbines won’t spin. 

The windmills are sometimes protested by the people who live near them because they are seen as eyesores, giant ugly sticks. They are resisted because they can make constant scraping sounds as they spin. They are large, expensive, and difficult to construct. Because of their limitation, they also won’t work as a total solution. They would work well if placed in concentration in locations where there is ample wind and then that energy is distributed to as wide a space as possible.


Hydroelectric


Hydroelectric energy, mostly harnessed using dams, is power created using the flow of water. Turbines connected to wheels covered in paddles can be placed in a river and the flow of water would engage the paddles, spinning the wheel and turbine. This could produce some electricity. 

On a massive scale, and to improve efficiency, large hydroelectric dams are built, stopping up a natural river, and ensuring that every drop of water that passes through applies energy to turning turbines. The water is routed through large tunnels or pipes and once it has turned the turbine, it is let go into the river on the other side. The essence of this, of course, is the force of gravity which is always pulling water to a lower point. This provides a massive amount of electricity and is very constant and renewable. 

The major drawbacks to hydroelectric power are its ecological effects and its location limitations. The dams built to help harness the power of flowing water interfere with the natural movements and lifecycles of fish and other wildlife. And rivers which have a sufficient volume of water to create electricity are limited in number, and most have already been tapped as energy sources. They provide a lot of electricity, but there isn’t much room for growth.


Tidal or Wave


Tidal or wave power is energy collected from the motion of waves in the ocean. The waters of the ocean ebb and flow because of the gravitational pull of the moon. As the moon travels around the Earth, it attracts the bodies of water, and then when it moves far enough away, the water returns to its original position. This constant pull and release of the massive bodies of water hold lots of potential energy. 

Underwater turbines or articulating see-saw type contraptions are used at the coasts to harness the tidal energy. The movement of the water is used, acting on the contraptions, to spin turbines which create electricity. 

The problems with this technology are similar to that of hydroelectric dams: ecological harm and location limitation. The fish and plant life are affected by the presence of these generators. And the places where tidal energy would work the best are along the coasts where land meets ocean. There is a lot of coast available, but it wouldn’t do much good for landlocked nations or communities far from the ocean.


Alcohol and Biofuels


Alcohol and biofuels have been suggested as possible replacements for fossil fuels. These two products would work in most automotive engines with few alterations. So, in terms of adoptability, they would be pretty easy. 

Alcohol is made by fermenting things that contain sugar to create a first-round alcoholic liquid, and then distilling that until you have concentrated, flammable alcohol.

Biomass is similar, but requires any plant material that contains fiber (most plans recommend wood, grass, or corn fodder because of the abundance of the material and the fiber content) and that material is either fermented into a diesel-like product that has a high octane rating and so explodes under great pressure, or the material is simply burned to produce heat.

Both alcohol and biomass can be used in automotive applications or in electricity-generating power plants. These options are great because they are able to be produced anywhere and at almost any scale because plant material and sugar occur everywhere on the planet and fermentation, distillation, and combustion can happen anywhere. 

These products are very mobile, allowing them to power moving vehicles. The products are carbon-neutral, or nearly that, because the material being burned has spent its whole life consuming and trapping carbon from the atmosphere.

There aren’t as many detractor points for alcohol and biomass as there are for some other alternative energy sources. One might be that the process for creating these products is very active, requiring constant collection of material and the never-ending processing of that material. 

While all the material used can be scrap from other processes, making use of what would have otherwise been waste, it would probably be more efficient to grow whole crops intended for these sorts of fuel production. This use of crop land might take away from food crops and might cause a shortage of food or an increase in food prices. Overall, I think this is a very viable solution for many of our energy needs.

There are likely more alternative energy possibilities available, but I don’t know much about them, and they might be so niche that they aren’t worth discussing here. My main purpose in talking about the alternatives I have is to essentially say that they aren’t going to work as a total energy solution, all building to my final alternative, which I believe will work as a total energy solution.


Geothermal


Geothermal energy is the best sort of renewable energy possible. 

The Earth is in constant motion, always rotating very fast, and the inner core, outer core, and mantle layers of the Earth move past each other causing friction. All of this friction caused by a huge amount of matter moving quickly and ceaselessly creates a tremendous amount of heat. The heat at the center of the Earth is so hot as to keep metal in a liquid state! This heat is always present, constantly being produced and renewed, and expected to be around as long as the Earth is. 

Geothermal energy is harvested by drilling a hole extremely deep into the Earth, past the Crust and into the Mantle. The hole is fitted with piping that allows fluid to be pumped down into the extremely hot layers of the Earth, where the fluid boils, expands, and is returned to the Earth’s surface, to the power plant, to run through a steam engine turbine to produce electricity. The same fluid cools and is re-pumped back into the Earth. 

There are many possible configurations and differences between setups, some requiring more or less construction, some requiring deeper holes to be drilled. I’m not intending to teach the specifics of how to build a functioning geothermal power plant, just a simple overview.

Geothermal is such an excellent choice for a source of renewable energy because it checks all the boxes. 

It is infinite and renewable, as the heat within the Earth will continue to constantly be produced. 

The power plants that harvest the energy can be build nearly anywhere on the planet. It might be easier to build them where the distance to the Mantle is shortest (so not on mountains), but the Mantle exists under all the Earth, and could even be harvested from the ocean (though that wouldn’t probably be practical). 

There is nothing toxic involved in the process and it is totally carbon-neutral because nothing is being burned. There would be much less maintenance required for this sort of power plant because of the lack of a combustion chamber, and no need to clean or filter any exhaust products. The water or fluid being used in the turbine will be constantly recycled and so won’t need to be treated or replaced. 

This energy source is extremely powerful and limitless. This would work very well to create electricity but wouldn’t directly apply to cars and trucks without switching to electric cars that run on batteries.

While a combination of all these options would probably work the best, diversifying our investments in energy and allowing experimentation in many directions, I think it isn’t necessary. I think we can narrow down to geothermal for all electricity production, electric vehicles which run on battery storage which can use the geothermally produced electricity, and for any vehicles not running on battery power, alcohol and biomass can be used.

Geothermal seems to be a perfect and total solution to our energy dependence problems as well. Each country depends to at least some degree, on trade with foreign nations to obtain all the energy they need. They work to import and export fossil fuels. But with geothermal, the power plants can be built anywhere, so each nation can have their own supply.

I don’t really see why there is any further discussion about where to invest green-energy dollars. Geothermal is the solution. It is renewable and independent. It is clean and safe. It doesn’t require any strange or rare materials. I see no downside. 

I think a real, firm step towards a real-world, literal utopia would be to invest in geothermal, and continue to do so to the degree than electricity becomes nearly free. Once humanity has its energy needs fully satisfied, it can set its sights on accomplishing bigger goals.

Please tell me what you think in the comments. Am I wrong? Am I mistaken? Do you agree?




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