Slope of Hope Blog Posts

This is the heart and soul of the web site. Here we have literally tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. You can also click on any category icon to see posts tagged with that particular category.

Bad Blood Book

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At the risk of getting all Holden Caulfield-y on you, I really hate phony. Anything fake or phony drives me to distraction. Dyed hair. Insincere compliments. Ulterior motives. Plastic surgery. Anyone or anything constructing a facade just rubs me the wrong way.

And that is the principal reason I have written so many posts about Theranos (this is my eleventh one) even though it was never a public company and there’s nothing to chart about it. Some have even wondered out loud if I’m obsessed with Elizabeth Holmes. Far from it. First off, take my word for it, she isn’t my type, and secondly, I don’t get all tingly about baritone-voiced business criminals. Never been a turn-on. Honest. (more…)

Something I Learned

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Back on the 21st, I wrote an extremely brief book review about Sapiens. “Review” is probably too highfalutin a word, though, since I did little more than paste a few paragraphs from the Amazon site and wrote that I really enjoyed the book. I wanted to say something meaningful, but I was being lazy and just tossed it out there as a post to close the day.

However, Strawberry Blonde made this comment (I think she has ESP):

sb

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Sapiens

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For Christmas, my son bought me a copy of the book Sapiens which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ll once again be a lazy bum and share with you Amazon’s own description: “One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only oneā€”homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?

Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
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Taking a Page from History

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Some of you know that I wrote a history book called Panic, Prosperity and Progress. The first chapter of that book discusses the “Tulipmania” of nearly 500 years ago, and since it seems no one can conjure up a better analogy for the Bitcoin mania going on than the aforementioned tulips, I thought I’d share a page from my book with some highlights. I thought of this particularly since Bitcoin futures (!!!) start trading within days, just like tulip futures were invented all those centuries ago.

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Dot Con Revisited

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On my crowded bookshelf of history texts is one book called Dot Con, which recounts the build-up to, and the bursting of, the Internet bubble. I hadn’t read this book in many years, but I pulled it from the shelf yesterday to thumb through it, since we seem to be living in identical times right now (although with a far more pervasive and much, much bigger, bubble). Here’s one quote I typed in for your reading pleasure. You’re welcome.

All speculative bubbles go through four stages, each with its own internal logic. The first stage, which is sometimes referred to as the displacement, starts when something changes people’s expectations about the future…….a few well-informed souls try to cash in on the displacement by investing in the new vehicle of speculation, but most investors stay on the sidelines.

The early investors make extremely high returns, and this attracts the attention of others. Next comes the boom stage, when prices are rising sharply and skepticism gives way to greed. The sight of easy money being made lures people into the market, which keeps prices rising, which, in turn, attracts more investors. Eventually, those upstanding citizens who haven’t’ joined in the festivities feel left out. Not just left out. They feel like fools…..

Boom passes into euphoria. Established rules of investing, and often mere common sense, are dispensed with. Prices lose all connection with reality. Investors know this situation can’t last forever, and they vie to cash in before the bubble bursts……a larger and larger group of people seeks to become rich without a real understanding of the processes involved. Not surprisingly, swindlers and catchpenny schemes flourish. Finally, inevitably, comes the bust. Sometimes there is clear reason for the break; sometimes, the market implodes of its own accord. Either way, prices plummet, speculators and companies go bankrupt, and the economy heads into recession. A few months later, everybody looks back in amazement, asking, ‘How did that happen?'”

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Book of the Year

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Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a laudatory post about I book I was halfway done reading called The Patterning Instinct.

Now that I’ve finished reading the entire book, I want to say once again that not only is it terrific, but it’s got to be one of the best books I’ve ever read. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. It delves into Western Philosophy, Eastern Philosophy, ethics, science, history, religion, racism, the exploitation of man, ecology, international relations, the age of the explorers…………it is a smorgasbord of information woven together into a volume which is educational, inspiring, and sobering.

I’m not sure what else I can say except………buy it and read it!