"When You Go To See Something That Few People Have Seen And The Grass Blooms", I tell the packed crowd on RHOTRE, "and it's everything you imagined-but, nothing that you would have ever imagined, at the same time, Yo." #synchronicityAF (3.1k) - You've Got Hate Mail
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“When You Go To See Something That Few People Have Seen And The Grass Blooms”, I tell the packed crowd on RHOTRE, “and it’s everything you imagined–but, nothing that you would have ever imagined, at the same time, Yo.” #synchronicityAF (3.1k)

“When You Go To See Something That Few People Have Seen And The Grass Blooms”, I tell the packed crowd on RHOTRE, “and it’s everything you imagined–but, nothing that you would have ever imagined, at the same time, Yo.” #synchronicityAF (3.1k)

The fourth sun of RHOTRE passes the third sun as the moon of the planet forms a three star eclipse; the ultraviolet lights of the halo wash over the ground and the grass starts to bloom; this was the moment that I was waiting for; this is why I had brought my wife and HR here; this is it, I think–

Ah… this is life, Yo!

“Now, do you get it?”, I ask as I turn my head to my wife.

“It’s”, she starts to say then takes a deep breath, “beautiful.”

“Can we leave now, dad?”, HR asks as she turns towards the spacejet.

A pause; a glimpse of beauty manifest in sacred spaces leave vaccums of air as we gulp the oxygen to keep our heads grounded as the air escapes our lungs; one moment more, ok?, I think to HR and she gets the message, nearly, instantly.

“Yeah”, HR replies as she takes a step towards the spacejet, “whatever, Yo.”

The light returns to the planet as the eclipse ends and the blooms of the grass recede; not many people would ever see this, I think to myself.


HOW TO MAKE A MEDIA KIT THAT ROCKS

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What is the #1 thing that will make you stand out to potential blog sponsors and convince them that your blog is the right investment for their advertising dollars?

Two words: Media Kit.

Whether you’re new to blog sponsorships or a seasoned veteran, having a polished and professional media kit will give your sponsorship program an edge over bloggers with a similar audience, helping potential sponsors recognize the value of sponsoring your blog.

I’ll tell you straight: it does take a bit of time investment to put a great-looking media kit together, but once it’s done, you’ll have it for the rest of your blogging life.

So folks, this doesn’t have to be some terrifying project – it’s pretty simple, really. 10 steps and you’re done – so as soon as you’re finished reading, share this post with your friends and then get going.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MEDIA KITS

Umm…What’s a media kit?

So glad you asked.  It’s a document you put together that gives prospective blog sponsors everything they need to know about sponsorship with YOU.

And I need one?

Of course you do.  A great sponsorship kit is an amazing tool for communicating with sponsors, but it also shows them that you know what you’re doing.  A media kit is your best foot forward, professionally speaking (especially if it’s designed well)- and it will also help weed out businesses who really wouldn’t be a good match for your blog.  So you can quit wasting your time writing lengthy emails to “just anybody” who’s interested in sponsorship and focus on sponsors that will go the distance with you.

What goes in a media kit?

You might think it’s just dry, boring facts like your Google Analytics stats and your pricing, but if you stop there, you’re selling yourself short.  A media kit is an opportunity to show off the best of your blog: your personality, your style, and what makes your blog unique.

A great media kit is the gateway to the best sponsorship program with the highest rewards.  Period.

So are you ready to get started?

Let’s do this.

CREATE A MEDIA KIT IN 10 (EASY) STEPS

1. GATHER YOUR RESOURCES

This is the biggest hurdle to get over, but once you have everything you need in one place, it’ll give you momentum to finish the job.


How To Attract Blog Sponsors

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Here’s how I have attracted paying sponsors to my blogs and websites.

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In the last two newsletters I talked about the potential for making money from direct ad sales on your blog and your options to set-up a system to deliver ads and manage sponsors.

Now we need to actually find sponsors who pay us money to place advertisements on our blogs.

ADVERTISERS COME TO YOU

I’ll let you in a secret – Most advertisers who sponsor my blogs I didn’t proactively seek, they came to me.

Okay, yes, I already had some traffic and that exposure meant that advertisers naturally found my blog and realized that they might want to reach my readership through advertising.

There are plenty of blogs in a similar situation to where I was, but are throwing away potential revenues from direct ad sponsors because they make it too difficult to find advertising options.

Since you subscribe to this newsletter I hope by now you have some traffic, so be certain you follow the instructions below to give yourself the chance of attracting advertisers by having them come to you.

CLEAR ADVERTISING OPTIONS

Even if you have little traffic it pays to have clear “advertising” or “sponsor” link in your blog navigation area links or somewhere at the top of your blog. If there is any chance someone might be interested in giving you money to sponsor your blog you have to make it a no-brainer for them to figure out how to do so.

Create an advertising page, explain the options you make available for sponsors, list prices, payment methods, traffic statistics about your blog, talk about the demographics you attract to your blog and what benefits you provide to potential sponsors.

Put together clear sponsorship packages that outline what the sponsor receives and how much it costs. Then, and here is the KEY point that most bloggers do not do – put a simple “buy now” or “order” or “purchase” or “make payment” link at the end of each package.

Link the buy now button directly to a payment processor like Paypal.com or 2Checkout.com or a shopping cart system like 1shoppingcart.com (read my review of 1shoppingcart here) and make it very easy for sponsors to give you mon-ey.

If you put up barriers, and a barrier might be something like asking the potential sponsor to email you to “negotiate” first, then you miss the potential for spontaneous decisions.

Make it straight forward for sponsors to make a decision, give them all the information they need and make the purchase process completely automated so the sponsorship payment can happen without your direct involvement.

PROACTIVELY SEEK SPONSORS

If advertisers are not knocking down your doors eager to give you money then you need to be a little more proactive seeking sponsors.


The Difference Between Making Amends and Making Apologies

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There is no shame in making mistakes or in recognizing them. In fact, those who are able to stand on their own and admit their wrongdoings are courageous and admirable people. From the cradle to the grave, we will all make errors in judgment and struggle to find a way to make peace with those whom we have wronged. In many instances, a sincere apology will suffice. However, when misdoings are results of addiction, a simple I’m sorry, will not do. Consider making amends

If you are working a 12 step program, than we suggest talking to your sponsor about these kinds of things. He or she will be able to guide you on your path.

What are the Differences between Apologizing and Making Amends?

There are many profound differences between giving someone an apology and making amends with them. Simply put, an apology is like putting a band aid on a wound; it covers the source of the pain until it eventually disappears. When you make a sincere apology to someone that you’ve hurt, it makes you both feel a little better but it doesn’’t really do anything to correct the situation that you have caused. People who have made reckless decisions due to addiction cannot simply un-do the pain and often irreversible heartache that they have caused by issuing a simple apology. In most cases, the victim of the abuse, neglect, or crime will need a much more prolific and profound interaction with you before any attempt at reconciliation can be made.

Making amends is the best way to reconnect with the people who have been deeply hurt as a result of your actions. Addiction has the ability to irrevocably sever the most intimate bonds of family and friendship. Whether your goal is to amend a family relationship, a work relationship, or to humble yourself before others whom you have offended, making amends is an important step toward rectifying a broken situation.

Part of the reason why taking inventory is so important is so you can be self aware and know when you are acting in a way that could be harmful to another person.

The Importance of Making Amends

Making amends is an integral part of personal growth and healing. It is so imperative to make amends with those people whom you have wronged that it is outlined, clearly, in Alcoholics Anonymous. Steps eight and nine of the Twelve Steps specifically call for amends.

What are the Types of Amends?

Direct Amends deal with taking personal responsibility and confronting the person whom you want to reconcile with. You will intimately discuss the reasons why you did what you did and you will fix, re-pay, or repair any physical damage that you have caused, to the best of your ability. An example of this would be repaying a debt or repairing or replacing broken or damaged items.

Indirect Amends are ways to repair damage that cannot be physically undone.


22 Things Happy People Do Differently

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This article is from Chiara Fucarino. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to address those with clinical depression or other mental illnesses.

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a person living in the slums of a third world country could be happy and content. I have spent plenty of time amongst both groups to have seen it first hand. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”


“So”, I ask HR as she opens the front door of our house on Dorinto, “are you happy that you went?”

“Not really”, she says as she takes a step towards the living room, “but, I think that one day I will be.”

I laugh a bit; she’s figuring it out; it’s not always about what’s going to make you feel good in this moment–one day, when you look back, you’ll be glad you went, Yo.

“Hey”, HR calls out from the living room as I pull the bread out of the cupboard, “thanks.”

“And, that would be the last time that I saw her”, I tell the packed class on RHOTRE, “later that day, I would go to on a detective case and when I returned home–she would be gone.

“Oh, dad”, a voice says from the crowd in the packed auditorium, “why are you always so dramatic? I told you that I had to return to school. It’s only been 2 days, Yo.”

The crowd laughs; I blush a bit; I DO make things super dramatic, right?, I think to my wife.

A bit, my wife thinks back to me.

“Ok, back to the lesson”, I tell the class through the microphone in my kitchen and my voice is transmitted to the audiotium.

“So”, I tell the class as I take off my reading glasses, “artificial intelligence and where it went wrong.”


We Don’t Want AI That Can Understand Us – We’d Only End up Arguing

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Machine Intelligence

Forget the Turing test. Computing pioneer Alan Turing’s most pertinent thoughts on machine intelligence come from a neglected paragraph of the same paper that first proposed his famous test for whether a computer could be considered as smart as a human.

The original question, “Can machines think?” I believe to be too meaningless to deserve discussion. Nevertheless I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.

Turing’s 1950 prediction was not that computers would be able to think in the future. He was arguing that, one day, what we mean when we talk about computers thinking would morph in such a way that it would become a pretty uncontroversial thing to say. We can now see that he was right. Our use of the term has indeed loosened to the point that attributing thought to even the most basic of machines has become common parlance.

Today, advances in technology mean that understanding has become the new thought. And again, the question of whether machines can understand is arguably meaningless. With the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning, there already exists a solid sense in which robots and artificial assistants such as Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri are said to understand us. The interesting questions are just what this sense is and why it matters what we call it.

Defining Understanding

Deciding on how to define a concept is not the same as making a discovery. It’s a pragmatic choice (usually) based on empirical observations. We no more discover that machines think or understand than we discover that Pluto isn’t a planet.

In the case of artificial intelligence, people often talk of 20th-century science fiction writers such as Isaac Asimov as having had prophetic visions of the future. But they didn’t so much anticipate the thought and language of contemporary computing technology as directly influence it. Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics have been an inspiration to a whole generation of engineers and designers who talk about machines that learn, understand, make decisions, have emotional intelligence, are empathetic and even doubt themselves.

This vision enchants us into forgetting the other possible ways of thinking about artificial intelligence, gradually eroding the nuance in our definitions. Is this outweighed by what we gain from Asimov’s vocabulary? The answer depends on why we might want understanding between humans and machines in the first place. To handle this question we must, naturally, first turn to bees.

As the philosopher of language Jonathan Bennett writes, we can talk about bees having a “language” they use to “understand” each other’s “reports” of discoveries of food. And there is a sense in which we can speak – without quote marks even – of bees having thought, language, communication, and understanding and other qualities we usually think of as particularly human. But think what a giant mess the whole process would be if they were also able to question each other’s motives, grow jealous, become resentful, and so on like humans.

A similar disaster would occur if our sat-nav devices started bickering with us, like an unhappy couple on holiday, over the best route to our chosen destination. The ability to understand can seriously interfere with performance. A good hoover doesn’t need to understand why I need more powerful suction in order for it to switch to turbo mode when I press the appropriate button. Why should a good robot be any different?

Understanding Isn’t (Usually) Helpful

One of key things that makes artificial personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa useful is precisely the fact that our interactions with them could never justify reactive attitudes on either side. This is because they are not the sort of beings that could care or be cared about. (We may occasionally feel anger towards a machine but it is misplaced.)

We need the assistant’s software to have accurate voice-recognition and be as sensitive to the context of our words as possible. But we hardly want it to be capable of understanding – and so also misunderstanding – us in the everyday ways that could produce mutual resentment, blame, gratitude, guilt, indignation, or pride.