Autobiography Complete

Last night, I uploaded the last chapter of my autobiography to zhaoism.org. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot in my first 25 years of existence. In the next few months I’m going to upload/convert it for Amazon, Apple iBooks, and Nook. But you can read the complete version on zhaoism.org.

I hope you enjoy it. I know some people have.

-Hiatt

Posted in Life, Literature Tagged , , |

The Human Race

Well, I just finished six weeks of intense school work. Now I have a week off so I plan on relaxing. But I also want to write about a more serious topic: the human race. I want to illustrate the human race first from a perspective of a new born baby then to the entire human population and its evolution. So let’s begin.

Let’s consider a human baby to have certain qualities at birth. I’m going to assume ten qualities to quantify: honesty, humor, respect, happiness, confidence, intelligence, compassion, discipline, courage, and openness. Every baby will have different levels in each of those qualities. Below is a bar graph showing an imaginary human baby possessing only these ten qualities. Of course, in real life, we have more than just ten qualities to describe a person. But for simplicity, let’s assume that these ten qualities are what really matters in terms of an imaginary human baby.

Human Traits

An Imaginary Human Baby’s Traits

When a baby grows up, he/she will be influenced by his/her environment, such as family, friends, teachers, etc. So, for someone who has a lower Compassion level, it will most likely to increase if he/she is exposed to the the proper education of compassion. Similarly, it can be said of Respect, and for other levels as well. So a person who is born in a less than ideal environment he/she can increase his/her potential if the environment changes for the better.

Conversely, if a person who was born with higher levels in certain qualities, then his/her potential may not increase as much if the environment doesn’t change for the better. It can’t become worse if we assume a child’s birth traits are set in stone in the beginning. But if we assume that levels of a trait can decreased below it’s birth levels, then someone with high Courage might become a coward later in life.

This is my analysis for one person. But the world does not consist of one person. So let’s consider the entire human population. The entire human population is about 7 billion. If we multiply the above example by 7 billion we get 7 billion babies. But we know for a fact that not everyone is a baby so the ten traits that I’ve identified for one baby would even out for the entire human population. Thus we have a graph that might look something like this:

Combined Human Traits

Combined Levels for Ten Human Traits

What I have here are just traits. In the above bar graph, the human race has the most Compassion and least Happiness, relatively speaking. Since I made up these numbers on the y-axis, the human race can potential have different levels of traits and, to me, this is completely arbitrary.

So what’s my point? My point is that no matter who you are, you are an unique human being who contributes to the entire human population. For example, Albert Einstein was a very intelligent man, thus he contributed a bigger portion on the Intelligence scale of the human race. But he might not be as courageous as the Unknown Soldier, or any known soldier, who has been to war. Thus Einstein contributed less to the Courage scale. We are all born with certain traits to enter the human race, and it is in a way a race to the top. The top of what? It is whatever scale you choose.

What may be more important in this article is how the human race develops over time. And this is related to each human’s skill and how it relates to the entire population. A good measure of skill is production of goods. Collectively, we call that the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of a certain country. But to get the whole Gross Product of the human race, we need to add up all the countries’ GDP. Below is a graph of the world’s GDP from 1960 to 2010:

World GDP

World GDP

As one can see, the growth is not linear. When I convert this to a log scale for the y-axis, then the graph is like this:

World GDP (log scale)

World GDP (log scale)

The linear relationship indicates the world works on a logarithmic scale collectively. One person might produce apples in a linear way but together we can produce apples many times over in a logarithmic way. This is the power of compounding. Below is the graph for the entire human population plotted over time:

World Population

World Population

The point of this graph is to show how “insignificant” a person is today compared to someone who was alive during the pre-Industrial Revolution. We are about 7 times less significant according to the numbers alone since there were about 1 billion people in 1804 and about 7 billion today. But the word significance is misleading because it could mean anything from fame to fortune.

So what is my point. My point is nothing. I’m saying that we tend to compare ourselves to other people, like how I did with the graphs. If I compare myself with the people alive today, I’m about 1 in 7,000,000. That is less significant than if I was born in the Industrial Revolution where I would be about 1 in 1 billion. But I doubt anyone would want to work in the Industrial Revolution era where you would most likely work in a sweatshop. A baby born today, on average, is luckier than a baby born 200 years ago. By luck, I mean the 200 year cumulative efforts of the human race that is evident today.

To conclude, be grateful for the fact that you are a human being and that you are still alive. You are making a difference. And if you think you are not, then make plans to make a positive change tomorrow. The world needs you. It needs him and her. It needs me. It needs us.

Posted in Life Tagged |

Copyright and Copyleft

Last weekend, I was at the Associate Dean’s picnic and I was talking with the professor of Business Law. We chatted about copyright and I asked him what he thought of Creative Commons. I didn’t get a clear answer from him so I decided to write this post about what I think about copyright.

Imagine back in the day there wasn’t any copyright, maybe in the days of the caveman era. No one signed a name, at least that we know of, to the Chauvet Cave drawings. No one knew which person made the Venus of Willendorf. But if we follow the the line of drawings and art, we know who painted the “Mona Lisa”. It was Leonardo da Vinci. Was that a copyright or just a statement saying that work belongs to me?

I suppose at its core copyright means protection of the work by the creator. I think this works in some situations and not in others. For example, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Along with the money he got from his invention through copyright protection, Bell formed what is now known as the Bell Laboratories. The lab is responsible for many great inventions of the modern era.

Then there is the case of Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine. He did not copyright his idea and many companies used his formula to eliminate polio.

As I am a student at a business school where a large portion of the student population is Mainland Chinese, I realize that copyright is just an idea. Some people believe it is necessary to protect their work. A Chinese friend went to see Metallica live in concert in China. I was surprised because Metallica is all about copyright and China is known to copy/counterfeit anything. I guess the money is too lucrative for Metallica to not to play in China.

Maybe the lack of a strong copyright culture in China is for the spread of knowledge, like in the Jonas case; whereas the strong copyright culture in America is for the protection of property and ideas, aka Capitalism.

I think copyright is at one end of the spectrum. “Copyleft” is at the other. Creative Commons is the opposite of copyright because artists can collaborate and create work without worry about the copyright law.

I am a fine art photographer in addition to a finance graduate student. However, I do not know if I should put my work under Creative Commons. I guess it all depends what other artists want to do with my work. Do I trust the general public with my work? I guess trust is another thing to think about. Perhaps I will do a social experiment with my upcoming photography exhibition. More info on that coming soon.

Posted in Business Tagged , |