And probably vice-versa too, although I’m not as qualified to say.

Some men and some women recognize this truth, others will disagree vehemently.  But I believe that those people have just a lot of cultural baggage.  In the end, in a primal, animalistic, and yet human way, everything men do, is for women.  The three main points: Men want to show they can provide, they will provide and they are better than other men.

Men work to get money, because money impresses women – superficially some might say, but the international survey that shows that on of the top attributes that women find attractive in men is the ability to provide material benefit, and you will see that it is more than superficial.  Women want, deep down, a man who can take of them, who can provide for them and their children.  It is genetically built in.  When a man has a lot of money, he is demonstrating he can take care of a woman.

Men are nice, because they often think niceness is how they can get girls.  Or that girls deserve to be treated well, especially the very beautiful ones.  Chivalry, the fairer sex, as much as feminists might say this is men trying to put women down, it is also men putting women on a pedastel.  Saying they deserved to served and pleased and protected.  Niceness is also a toply desired attribute by both men and women, because that means that the partner is willing to share, and work together.  Niceness demonstrating willingness to provide, while money demonstrates ability.

Consider chimpanzees, one of our closest relatives.  Their society operates in a male hierarchy where the dominant male gets access to all the females.  You have to fight off and often kill the alpha male to become the new dominant male.  This explains a lot about sports and competitions and agression in general.  Why do men love to compete, why do they like to fight, to see who is the best?  To show who is dominant.  Because the dominant male gets the women.  From baseball to rugby, from darts to a druken bar fight.  Competition reveals who is dominant.  Aggression shows who is dominant.  And winners show that they are clearly better than the other men they beat.  It proves they are worthy of women.  Related to dominance is prestige.

Senators, doctors, lawyers, airplane pilots.  These jobs bring in the cash, but they are also well respected, unlike drug dealers, restaurant owners, large farm owners.  Guys want to have prestigious jobs, because that shows they are dominant and it shows they have power.  Someone I know wants to be a neurosurgeon, because they are the most respected of surgeons and other people have to accomadate them.

Power is another way of demonstrating ability to provide.  I think that’s one of the reasons why men aspire to be powerful.  Some men might say they enjoy the feeling of power and respect simply for what they are.  They like feeling in control and able to influence people or events.   But what is this power, this influence for, if not to show women “I can make things happen for you”.

Of course, this thesis is too ambitious. Of course someone might play the violin just because they enjoy the sound.  But the guy who picks up the harmonica or guitar because “chicks dig a guy who can play”, or rock stars who sleep with groupies after the shows.  I’m sure there’s something to do with it.

And yes, some people really do want to help others simply because they believe its the right thing to do, but is it not also to demonstrate to a woman how sacraficing and noble they are, in hopes of gaining their respect and admiration?

And finally, sure studying quantum physics is not easy and maybe it is thrilling to finally work through that gender identity paper, but is it not also to show women “I am an intellectual, I posses something that others do not: brains.  And that will help me provide for you”.

So I lied. Men don’t do everything for women.  But behind many of the acts of men lie the desire for women.  (Even this essay itself, is a way of me showing other women that I am smarter or more thoughtful than other men).

It is not always clear, and men themselves may not be aware of it.  But evolution is powerful.  And the reason why we exist as a species is because the men and women were good at sleeping with each other.  Think about it. article: In a New York Times story about billionaire Warren Buffett’s relationship with Bill Gates and their common disdain for inherited wealth, Buffett bluntly dismissed the idea of giving the bulk of his billions to his three children.

“I don’t believe in dynastic wealth,” he said, calling those who grow up in wealthy circumstances “members of the lucky sperm club.”

Click here for full story.

What is the Lucky Sperm Club?

I think most people would say the Lucky Sperm Club are people who have been born into wealth, fame or power.

Paris Hilton. George W. Bush. (these are the two that come quickly to mind)

But I would argue that most people reading this post is also part of the Lucky Sperm Club. Not me, you think. I didn’t inherit a legacy of millions of dollars, chauffers, paparazzi or the ears of decision makers.

Well, consider that nearly half the planet consists on less than 2 dollars a day, or an annual salary of around 100 dollars.

Think about that.

Do you think you could blow through a Benjamin in a day, or at least in a week? You’re spending more than 3 billion people make in a year.

It’s almost like a coin is tossed before you come into existence. Heads, you have a good chance of growing up in a developed nation. Tails, you live a life of extreme poverty.

Takeaway: You, your family and everyone you know, is part of the lucky sperm club.

The New York Times has an eye-opening article caled “He Who Cast the First Stone Probably Didn’t” by Daniel Gilbert that says basically humans naturally misintepret other people’s statements and actions, causing them to retaliate, and retaliate harder.

In virtually every human society, “He hit me first” provides an acceptable rationale for doing that which is otherwise forbidden. Both civil and religious law provide long lists of behaviors that are illegal or immoral — unless they are responses in kind, in which case they are perfectly fine.

Legitimate retribution is meant to restore balance, and thus an eye for an eye is fair, but an eye for an eyelash is not. When the European Union condemned Israel for bombing Lebanon in retaliation for the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, it did not question Israel’s right to respond, but rather, its “disproportionate use of force.” It is O.K. to hit back, just not too hard.

He goes on to describe an an experiment where two people are paired up and push each other lightly. The goal is to return the other’s push with equal force, again and again.  However, it will spiral absurdly out of control until everyone is shoving each other while claiming they are just trying to push with equal force.  Gilbert tells us why.

Research teaches us that our reasons and our pains are more palpable, more obvious and real, than are the reasons and pains of others. This leads to the escalation of mutual harm, to the illusion that others are solely responsible for it and to the belief that our actions are justifiable responses to theirs.

None of this is to deny the roles that hatred, intolerance, avarice and deceit play in human conflict. It is simply to say that basic principles of human psychology are important ingredients in this miserable stew. Until we learn to stop trusting everything our brains tell us about others — and to start trusting others themselves — there will continue to be tears and recriminations in the wayback.

This reminds me of my high school graduation speech where I said roughly – “What is the point of getting back at your enemies? They are still people too, with their own hopes and fears.”  What I’m saying here is that in every encounter, peacefulness is a better position.

I also read a short story by an aikido master when he was younger. He tells us how he wanted to prove his aikido skills and he thought he would finally have the chance to do so with a drunk he sees on the train.  But right before they tussle, an older man calls out to the drunk, starts talking to him gently about sake, his family, and let the drunk man lament over his dead wife and lost job.  This older man reached out with love and peace and subuded the drunk without a fight.

The Takeaway : Peace and love is greatly preferable to violence because violence escalates.  We can only hope to hear about an escalation of peace. 

PS: Gilbert’s last comment on trusting others is something seen throughout his research.  In his book Stumbling on Happiness he explains how people would make more accurate predictions about how they would feel after an unknown activity if they just had someone else who had done it tell them about it compared to someone who knew all about the activity and had no opinion. I might make a future post about this.


About a week ago, I spent about an hour talking with a homeless man named JT on the way home. In this conversation I learned a whole bunch of things I didn’t know about the homeless.

Yes, JT did things commonly associated with homeless people: he was out begging for money, he told me he does drink, (although less than he used to), and he slept on benches and buses. But, I learned some things that surprised me.

Continue reading

And are good for the rest of us.

Who Killed the Electric Car? tells the story of the EV-1, GM’s electric car introduced in 1990, which was built to fufill the state of California’s Zero Emissions Mandate, which required every car company to make a car that had zero emissions.I’m not going to go into how it was made or the specs, but needless to say, the people who were able to lease the car loved it. Smooth quiet ride, quiet, speedy engine. You hear them talking about the car like it was their child. One of my friends who I saw the movie with was snickering during those scenes, but I saw the feelings as totally understandable. People can get attached to inanimate objects.

The movie then goes on to show how oil companies, car companies and the state of california worked to get rid of electric cars.

  • Electric engine = no gas. No gas means less money for oil companies
  • Electric engines = no internal combustion engine, which means less money for car companies
  • Selling an electric car as “clean” means admitting your other cars are “dirty”
  • Electric cars have little maintenance issues

So what did car companies do? They make really crappy ads where the car is tiny and talk about what the electric car is missing – spark plugs, gas powered engine, etc. Oil companies pushed for a new hydrogen fuel cell that they would provide at filling stations.

I saw the documentary Who Killed The Electric Car? last night and it was definitely eye-opening. Like many other people, I thought that electric cars were inconvenient and had limited range. I thought surely that if electric cars had not hit the market yet, it was because of some flaws in the technology and design.

I thought wrong.

The point is here, the reason why electric cars aren’t on the road aren’t because they are bad, it is because they are too good. We need to get electric cars back on the roads more than ever. And people are trying. I remember seeing a link for “hacked Prius gets 100+ mpg” and it was talked about in the movie. That Prius had a partial electric charge.

Some people might say that electric cars are just as polluting as gas cars because electricity comes from buring coal. But if we start switching to wind or solar power, then the pollution goes away. Using gas cars means even with 100 mpg, every 100 miles releases 19 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Electric cars are the future.


Wikipedia Entry for EV-1

Apple Trailer

Plug-In America Movie Review

GM Blogs – a google sponsored link