Valuable lesson #16: Most people don’t feel.

July 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I ask questions, I am genuinely curious to hear the answers. How are you today? Don’t say fine. Tell me what you were anticipating to be stressful at work today, or what you are looking forward to doing this evening. My favourite question to ask is “What are you passionate about?” It stumps people most of the time. This upsets me because I don’t like to see a disconnect between someone and what makes them the most happy and curious in life. Your passions should always be within arm’s reach. Once I get the ball rolling and someone begins opening up to me, I like to think that I’ve lightened their mood and distracted them from whatever negative thoughts were tossing in their heads. Maybe when they’re done speaking to me, they continue the conversation within themselves. Perhaps they had lost touch with what they are passionate about and I helped rekindle their fire.

I initially wanted to write about what was a long distance relationship between my boyfriend and I, but is now local. 286 days in our first year were spent with him in Ottawa and me in Vancouver. I’m also passionate about science (physics, biology, evolution), hockey, Sweden, feminism, body positivity, blood donation, and awareness of depression and anxiety.

So tell me: What are you passionate about?

I want to start interacting with the readers and writers of the Listserve by sending emails. Maybe it’ll become a passion of mine.


“I’ve amassed a lot of experience that tells me most people don’t give a fuck about most things, but bless my heart I am still trying not to believe it.”
– Colleen


Valuable lesson #15: I don’t even know anymore.

July 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

My American dream : Route 66
Posted on July 13, 2012

Happiness is to achieve your dreams and enjoy the road. These words are dedicated to a dream that begun 7 years ago, during my first days in university. There, one day, Maria and I decided to embark in the adventure of crossing the United States through Route 66.

Route 66 is the mother road of America, it is the road of hopes that crosses 8 States from Chicago to Los Angeles, Route 66 is a magical experience that lives and will live forever, in the heart of those who once lived the adventure.

It was almost a year ago, after graduation, when the dream became true. María and I set forth to on the trip that changed our lives. Every single mile from Chicago to Los Angeles was magical. The adventure lasted 35 unforgettable days and it was during that time that we realized we lost part of our hearts there.

The dream is still alive inside us, and that’s why we are so sure that Destiny has kept a place for us on Route 66. Times may change, but Route 66 is alive and kicking like never before.
I’d like to say goodbye with the words of Jack Kerouac

“I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.” Jack Kerouac, On the Road


“I had this great road trip one time.”

– Álvar

Valuable lesson #14: If you can’t fix the problem, be it.

July 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Are you angry?
Posted on July 12, 2012.
When I was young I was angry.
So much seemed to be wrong in so many parts of the world – I didn’t know what to do, I just knew I wanted to do *something*.
Yet changing the system seemed impossible for millions to bring about, never mind one angry teenager.
5 years ago, a small thought changed my life.
I realised ‘the system’ – with its business, jobs and money – is not the problem. It’s just a tool.
Most use that tool to prosper regardless of their impact on others – but you don’t have to.
I started a business that finds ways to use the web – something I knew a lot about – to improve lives.
We make a profit so we can pay fair wages, and reinvest what’s left into doing more good.
This is a “social enterprise” – it puts people, not profit, first. I think the world would be better if every business were replaced with one.
I’m not noble or brave enough to give everything I have to charity – or to fly to a more needy country to lend a hand. But every day I do a job that I know makes the world a little bit better instead of a little more unfair.
I’ll never make much money from it.
But I feel rich – and a whole lot less angry.


“I used to be angry about how our economic system has royally fucked the world. I got tired of feeling bad, so I decided the system was okay and now I feel a lot better.”
– Matt
For a small intro on how social enterprises and charity reinforce the status quo, click here (or better, here).

Valuable lesson #13: MIT Professor reinvents the blog.

July 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m a professor at MIT; I study how people share information online and am optimistic about better communication helping to create a better world.  But paradoxically, as ever more novel communication technologies are emerging, there are serious breakdowns in meaningful communication.

The United States shows an ever-widening schism between political left and right who refuse to even talk to each other, let alone compromise in tackling national challenges.  Blogs are hyper-partisan, speaking only to the true believers and reinforcing their preconceptions.   Social network tools like Twitter and Facebook are great for chatting with friends about inconsequentialities, but actually decrease our tendency to pay attention *outside* our social circle.  When is the last time you used social media to change the mind of someone who disagreed with you about something that actually mattered?

I signed up for The Listserve to help me think about tools that could enhance communication among strangers.  It’s great to communicate to a huge group of listeners.  But what’s next?  How could this turn into a multi-way conversation?  What about a blog where one random person posted every day but everyone could respond in the comments?  With 20,000 people on the list, how could we handle everyone talking at once?  What are the tradeoffs between picking a random sender versus using social moderation to choose the “best” one, whatever that means?   How could this large group work together to map out the pros and cons of an important issue and decide on a best policy?


“I miss the careful nuance of the situation (which in fact pertains to open and closed communities and content) and just quote The Filter Bubble instead. As such, I am entirely unaware of the subversive content on sites like Twitter, where people challenge problematic social standards daily. My solution is to have these random emails on an open blog instead! If only someone would, like, set up a WordPress or something and the content was there so that people could comment and critique it…”
– David

Valuable lesson #12: Another Australian guy has it pretty good.

July 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Get on with it and have an adventure.
Posted on July 10, 2012

These days, life changes faster than people could possibly imagine. Think back to the start of 2011. between then and now, were you expecting half of what happened? A quarter? I certainly didn’t.

In that time, I’ve moved out of home, lost a loved one, decided to drop out of university, started a band, worked full time in IT Support, thrown the biggest concert of my life, moved from Australia to Edinburgh, traveled on my own for the first time, made a brand new set of friends, worked in Recruitment, and most recently, entered voluntary unemployment.

I was mugged twice, robbed once, injured myself countless times, spent more money than I should have, ended more friendships than necessary, started ones I would later regret, felt the saddest I have in my life, and took the stupidest risks yet.

Do I regret it? Not one jot. Would I rather have known these things would happen to me? Not if you paid me. Part of the fun of a movie is not knowing the plot beforehand, and why treat life differently?

All I can say to those who read this is not to plan too far ahead. Let life’s little uncertainties choose a few things for you. Sit back and observe the world for half an hour, and notice the little odd things. It’s not always nice, but it’s always interesting.


“I moved to the other side of the world on a holiday so long I call it “voluntary unemployment”. So, either I planned for this, in which case I’m lying to 20,000 people and advising them to do the opposite of what worked for me, or I’m very wealthy indeed. In which case I should just fuck off and stop talking about myself. But I won’t.”
– Alex

Valuable lesson #11: Your Vote Counts.

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Every Vote Counts
Posted on July 8, 2012
I think people these days, for the most part, have been tricked into believing that their vote doesn’t count. But it does – your voice counts. You need to make sure that you pay attention to what affects you directly. If you don’t vote, you’re giving up your right to direct what happens to and around you. Figure out what representative (and by representative I mean anyone for whom you can vote to hold public office) best represents your views on the world, how you want the world to be, how you see the world progressing, and vote for them. It’s quite simple.

Over half of the subscribers to the Listserve have elections coming up in their respective countries, but this email isn’t just for them, it’s for everyone to keep in mind. Having a voice in shaping the future of your country, however small you think it may be, is something truly revolutionary. Indeed, few times in the course of history have conglomerations of people been able to direct the fate of their nations, and as such, this right (to vote) should not be taken for granted. Of course, people differ in their views for how they think their countries should progress, but in closing I think this quote from Voltaire will be to most people’s liking: “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”


In a fantastic and unprecedented move, this guy David actually sends us something worth reading and thinking about. Enjoy!

Valuable lesson #10: Kill yourself.

July 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Win win
Posted on July 7, 2012

If every person who’s convinced that there’s a glorious and eternal afterlife would take a voluntary shortcut right now, many global problems that humanity is facing would be a lot easier to solve.


“I’m an internet atheist and I believe that humanity would be better if a large number of people killed themselves. Me? Oh, no, hahaha. Some other people.”
– Frank