Tag Archives: Idea

How to Solve the Password Problem: Teach Kids When They’re Young

I came across an article a few days ago that explained how to teach humans to remember really complex passwords. As I was reading it, I couldn’t help but think that there’s an important piece to the solution to helping humans remember really complex passwords: habit.

When we first started using computers, coming up with a super-difficult password wasn’t necessary as we were usually just trying to keep our stuff protected from our family members. Then, it was trying to keep things protected from our co-workers. Slowly, that grew and grew until now, someone (or something!) on the other side of the planet can figure out your password and hack into your online accounts.

I wonder, if we were taught how to come up with complex passwords when we were younger, would there still be such a high percentage of people using easy-to-crack passwords? That is, if we only knew passwords to be in the form of “passphrases,” would someone still try to use a word as their password? While there would still probably be some, my guess is that the percentage would drop.

So, how do we teach our kids to use smarter passwords? Well, assuming that kids at some point are still taught how to type in school, I see this as the perfect opportunity to also teach them about how to use passphrases for accounts. Assuming that students will have to logon to a computer to use the program that teaches them how to type, this is the best time to imprint the habit of using an effective password.

Of course, this won’t solve the problem of all the people out there today who still use “password” or “1234password” for their password, but it will help to correct problem by not adding more people to the number of people who use poor password habits.


Extending this idea, there may still be some adults or teens out there who are still learning how to type. In these cases, we could have the software that is teaching them how to type also teach them about good password habits. If the adults are learning how to type in some sort of class, this could also be a good place to teach them about good password habits.

Room for Innovation in Wind Energy Industry

I was driving down the 401 in Toronto and I noticed a wind turbine setback from the highway. As I looked at it, I remembered seeing it when I used to live in Toronto over 10 years ago. That’s a long time. On one of my first trips across the USA, I drove north through the California desert. As you’d expect, there were lots of wind turbines. When I traveled through New Zealand, there were lots of wind turbines there, too.

The extent of my knowledge (at this point) of wind energy is that the energy is captured through the use of a wind turbine. And because of the structure of the turbines, there are lots of folks who oppose wind turbines. There concerns are understandable and shouldn’t easily be dismissed. That being said, I think about the abundance of wind on the planet I think that there’s gotta be room for innovation in this industry, right?

If I had to choose, my guess is that solar energy is going to be what revolutionizes energy on our planet, but while we’re still trying to perfect energy storage (batteries just won’t cut it), I have a hunch that there’s something we can do about the wind energy industry. I don’t have a grand idea to propose in this post, but there are many inventions or discoveries that come from people who weren’t working inside that industry. My guess is that I don’t have many readers who work in the wind energy industry, so it might be people like you and I who come up with an idea that revolutionizes the wind energy industry.

The next time you get a few minutes, think about the abundance of wind on the planet and how we might capture and store that energy. It just might be a million dollar idea…

If Laughter is the Best Medicine, Why Don’t Doctors Specialize in It?

A couple of weeks ago, I heard the old adage that “laughter is the best medicine.” And then I thought to myself, if that’s true, then why aren’t there any doctors of laughter? Is there an degree-granting institution out there that issues doctorates in laughter? Shouldn’t there be?

I realize that idea is a bit off-the-wall, but bear with me for a moment. If laughter is the best medicine, shouldn’t we have comedians/comediennes in hospitals? Can you imagine that a doctor doing their rounds consisted of going to a number of patients and telling jokes? Wouldn’t that be fun(ny)! I wrote about medicine in the 22nd century a few days ago — maybe by then, we’ll have doctors who specialize in making their patients laugh. Probably not, but wouldn’t that be something?

So the whole idea of doctors who specialize in laughing may be a bit too far, so then I thought, wouldn’t it make a good bit? That is, wouldn’t it make for a good stand-up comedy bit. I’m certainly no expert in stand-up comedy and I’m sure that stand-up comedians often get their friends telling them (hey this might be funny) even though it’s not, but I think, with the right comedian, that bit could be really funny. To make it really work, I think the comedian would have to be really serious when telling the bit (but isn’t that true of most bits)?

Now that I think of it, I don’t know what I’d rather see more: an article that details a clinic in some remote village that has an LD (Laughing Doctor) or an article that details a comedian that’s a big hit because of the comedian’s bit about a doctorate in laughing.


As an addendum to this, I saw a tweet this past week that makes the case that laughter isn’t just related to medicine!


Blogging at Genuine Thriving: Moving in a New Direction

When I first started this blog over a year and a half ago, my intention was to write ‘articles’ that could — theoretically — appear in magazines or newspapers. Of course, the quality of the writing and some of the series I’ve written (, among others) might render the articles unacceptable for print. As time passes and the amount of demands on my time grows, I’ve found it harder and harder to sit down and write a well thought out article. That’s not for lack of , but more for lack of time.

This past week, I came across a couple of articles/posts on the internet ( and ) that made me rethink my ‘strategy’ for writing here at Genuine Thriving. Both of these posts were motivated by the recent “self-plagiarizing” by Jonah Lehrer. There seems to be opinions from both sides (he did vs. he didn’t) and others who think that the argument should be framed completely different.

As a result of some of these revelations, I thought I might change the way I write here at Genuine Thriving. Instead of waiting until I am able to dedicate enough time to write a well-thought out article, I might just write more posts similar to the one of my more recent posts with a . More accurately, I think I’ll begin doing a post whenever I get an idea.

Instead of waiting to fully cogitate on the idea, I’ll simply post the idea and my initial thoughts about the idea. In this way, the blog will serve more as a storehouse of ideas rather than a collection of seemingly well-thought out articles. I think by doing this, there will be a lot more posts in the coming future. I’m looking forward to this new switch and I hope you will, too.

Tying up Loose Ends: Or, a Mishmash of Ideas in one Post

It’s been awhile since I wrote a post () and even longer since I wrote consecutive posts ( and ). Obviously, I’d like to have written more, but that’s just not how things have worked out. Regardless, I thought it might be a good idea to write a “post of posts” of sorts. That is, I’ve had a list of “ideas to write about” for over a year. Some of the things on the list are recent (thought of in the last few months) and some have been there for at least 9 months. As a way to inject some fresh energy into that list, I thought I’d write a post where I spent some time talking about a number of things on the list — rather than writing a post about just one of those ideas. Hope you enjoy!

It’s Kind of a Funny Story () – I saw this movie awhile back and thought it was rather good. The premise is that a teenager checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward. Some very serious issues are addressed and I think they were done so in an appropriate manner.

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never () – This whole list won’t be of movies, but I thought I’d group the two. I saw the “Justin Bieber Movie” sometime this past summer. I didn’t really know too much about Justin Bieber, just that he was pretty famous with the younger age groups. While this movie wasn’t necessarily an unbiased biography, it definitely did showcase how much hard work Justin invested in himself. Hard work (by itself) will not get you where you want to go all the time (for example: ), but it will go a long way to getting you where you want to be.

What if the car (automobile) were invented today? – I wonder if the car were invented today, would we accept it as is? Meaning, given everything that goes into making the car and everything that is affected because of the car (read: environment), I wonder if consumers would accept it as a product.

Nordic spas – This past summer, just before moving to DC, I spent some time at in Quebec. It was the first time that I’d seen the idea of (hot, cold, hot) in an establishment. Growing up in Canada, it was a common thing — in the winter — to sit in the hot tub for awhile, jump in the pool for a minute (or the snow!) and then get back into the hot tub. I remember trying to find some scientific evidence to back this up as a (positive) thing for the human body, but I couldn’t find anything. That’s not to say that there isn’t any out there.

Blowing in a dog’s face – I find it interesting that dog’s don’t like it when someone blows in their face — but — they can’t wait to stick their head out the window when you’re driving down the road. I wonder if this has something to do with carbon dioxide (on the exhale of someone blowing in their face) vs. oxygen (from the car ride).

Jaywalking – Intuitively, I would think that laws against jaywalking would have been written with a focus on keeping pedestrians safe. Believe it or not — this was not the case. I forgot where I heard it (maybe NPR?), but did you know that jaywalking was — in a way — instituted because of the automobile associations lobbying legislators? In doing some research for this (part) of this post, I found from three days ago talking about this very thing.

Visioning for a job? – Have you ever noticed how couples plan for a baby? Even before they’ve conceived, (sometimes) they’ve bought the crib, painted the room, and are in a sense, planning for this new part of their lives. I wonder why this is normalized, but doing the same thing for a job is viewed with some disdain. Why shouldn’t someone wake up and get dressed as if they’re going to work (even though they may not be)? They could even go to the “office” (library?) and prepare themselves for work.

Secret to happiness – Short and sweet. The secret to happiness is not wishing things were different from they currently are.

Evolution of the electric car – I wonder if there’s a special (or one in the works?) on the evolution of the electric car. I remember reading that the electric car was first invented in the 19th century, but fell out of favor when the internal combustion engine was invented (see: ).

People’s relationships to their body – It’s interesting to see how people relate to their body (in general) in comparison to how they relate to their body at a place where the body can sometimes be more prominent (at the gym or the beach).


That’s narrowed down my list to four! Three of those are “recurring posts” (, , and personality tests). There is one post that I do want to dedicate some time to, so I didn’t want to shorten it here. Look for it in the next little while.

Watch Your Favorite Team: From The Other Side

Truth be told: when I first started blogging here and I wrote down a bunch of categories that I thought I would write about, I thought I would have a harder time writing articles that weren’t about . Today’s post will be my 10th in the sports category, which is still 7 behind the and categories (both have 17 each), and last among the 11 categories here at Genuine Thriving.

Six or seven years ago, I was at a sports lounge watching one of my favorite teams play. There was something different this time, though. Instead of watching my team on the “home” network where I usually watched them, I was watching them on the network of the other team. At first, this might not seem like anything special, but as I continued to watch the game on this network, I noticed something: a home-team bias. The odd thing: it wasn’t a bias for ‘my’ team.

It was a home-team bias for the “other” team. And it was pretty blatant, too. There was a controversial call (and it was really close), but the announcers were saying that it was an “easy” call in favor of their team. At first, I was a little surprised that they could be so biased. I always thought that announcers were supposed to be “unbiased” or at least not display their biases, while on-air.

A little while back, I wrote about . The quote to start that post was from a scientist who has won a Nobel prize for his work in this area: “You will learn from others around you being skeptical more than you will learn by becoming skeptical.”

This may take a bit of abstraction, but let’s think about how we can apply this to the scenario of watching your favorite team from the ‘other’ side. Typically, the announcers for your favorite team will develop a relationship with the players on said team. When announcing, they may display (unintentional) biases towards your team. However, if you were watching on the other team’s network, the announcers just might see things that the home-team announcers won’t (because of their biases).

I realize that it’s not always possible (or easy) to get a hold of the opposing team’s broadcast of the game. However, I would encourage you to try it once or twice. The first few times I did it, I learned some interesting things about ‘my’ team. Why? Mostly because announcers like to supply “interesting facts” about the opposing team. As a result, I learned things about ‘my’ team that I wouldn’t have ever heard had I only ever listened to the regular broadcast.

I know that for some sports, this really isn’t possible. For American football, the games are usually nationally televised on either FOX or CBS, so there isn’t a blatant bias by the announcers for one team or the other. However, for sports like hockey, baseball, and basketball, there are usually local broadcasters for the game.

What if Every Major Religious Holiday Were a National Holiday?

There were a few articles (, , and ) in The Economist over the last few issues that got me thinking about religion. And not any one particular religion — all of them — and how they might be very much interrelated. At the same time, I often think about the growing . It seems the ways of balance has completely gone out the window.

There are lots of different explanations as to why people continue to overwork themselves. One from this claims that Americans mistake overwork for good work. Meaning, they think that if they work harder (they’ll be working better). by way of a calculator that lets you visually see how much time you’re spending on a variety of activities, which include: work, sleep, leisure, chores, meals, commute, etc.

Another contribution to the nature of overworking is the amount of holidays that people are ‘allowed’ to take. In some countries, it’s pretty to have 6, 7, or 8 weeks as holidays. We could also say the workweek itself is a pressure to work harder. In France, they have a . There’s also the idea that you need to work longer hours in order to .

Circling back to my initial point about religion: there are certain days in countries that are designated as . In the US, for instance, Easter and Christmas are holidays for which it is illegal to mandate that someone needs to be at work. According to , there are an assortment of religions represented across the United States.

So, my “big” idea: make all the major religious holidays national holidays.

When I say national holiday, I mean that these are days that are mandatory days off for businesses. I realize that this kind of idea would take an enormous amount of planning, that there would need to be legislation passed, that we’d need to define “major religious holidays,” and all that jazz, but just think about it (abstractly) for a moment.

Think about the extra days off to spend with family. Think about the prospect of religious acceptance for the younger generations. Instead of just “taking the day off and ,” parents could spend the day with their kids explaining to them what the major holiday means to that religion. Or, if there were no kids, the adults could take the day to learn about the culture and religion for the holiday. This could definitely foster a greater sense of compassion and empathy between people of different faiths.