pricing scheme

Originally published at Jason's Fresh Produce. You can comment here or there.

iTunes is implementing a “popular songs cost more money” policy starting today. I propose the following program for any infinite good:

*All goods start at $.01. The early purchaser gets a deal!

*Cost increases by one penny (or some increment) with each purchase. So the second guy to buy pays 2 cents, and so on.

*Once a certain price point is reached (possibly just one penny), a “decay function” sets in, that starts dropping the price for each time unit in which no purchase is made.

In this way, a natural dynamic price equilibrium is reached, and your customers are always paying essentially what the market will bear. Early adoption (and thus experimentation) is encouraged. Popularity is rewarded. Time, the resource that is scarce, rather than number of copies, is priced by the market.

Friendly Fire

Originally published at Jason's Fresh Produce. You can comment here or there.

One of the main reasons I don’t own a gun is that I think the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits. I never want to accidentally shoot myself or a loved one. (I would, for those wondering, probably be willing to shoot an intruder in my home, which is one of the main reasons I’d consider owning a gun.)

But, someday we’re all going to be “chipped” with RFID (or similar) tags that our home recognizes and uses to turn on lights when we enter the room, lock the doors when we’re gone, and do all manner of wonderful things.

When this day comes, I’ll invent or buy a gun that recognizes my chip and the chips of my loved ones and refuses to shoot at them. Foolproof? No, I don’t think any system is really foolproof, but it would decrease the danger of accidental injury, which frankly is pretty small already, since we rarely if ever hear about someone accidentally shooting themselves.

socially awkward

Originally published at Jason's Fresh Produce. You can comment here or there.

Have you ever been in one of those situations where someone is talking just a little too loud? Maybe you’re a big hungover, or they’re a bit deaf; either way, it’s awkward to say “please lower your voice,” especially to a boss or someone who is already angry.

 To circumvent this social awkwardness, we need a simple gesture that can be discreetly made without interrupting the flow of conversation.  I recommend a gentle rotation of the speaker’s nipple, in the counterclockwise (if lower volume is desired) or clockwise (if more volume is desired.)

I envision possible misinterpretations of this gesture when it is intially introduced, but I’m sure all such misunderstandings will quickly shake out as the usefulness of the move is finally appreciated.


Crime Prevention: Magic Mirror

Originally published at Jason's Fresh Produce. You can comment here or there.

A friend of mine was recently infuriated by this article. The crux of the article is that anti-abortion activists are supporting legislation that will REQUIRE a sonogram before a woman gets an abortion. Basically, you make her watch the little heartbeat before she gets rid of the life inside her.

 While I don’t support the goal, I find the tactic ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING. Without legislating (the legality of the act of abortion), you can potentially massively alter the number of abortions performed. I imagine–without looking at any numbers–that this would be far more compelling than merely telling a woman “Your fetus has a heartbeat.” Even hard-skinned, logical, rational, pro-choice me would be hard-pressed to go forward with an abortion after watching my fetus’s heart beat.

The article calls this “emotional blackmail.” Indeed, I would agree that it brings emotion to the fore. And there are probably women for whom this would provoke wracking guilt, without changing the ultimate decision.

However, my question is: how can we use this other places? What if we could make a “magic mirror–” i.e., a real-time digitally-edited image– showing you experiencing the negative consequences of your actions.

Putting more twinkies in your cupboard? He’s a picture of you as a fat-ass. Smoking more cigarettes? Here’s a picture of you yellow-skinned and bent over an oxygen tank. Thinking of shop-lifting that sweater? Here’s you behind bars… wearing an absolutely fabulous sweater!

 My point is that humans are dumb, especially when making long-term decisions, but through technology we could harness that dumbness–by emotionally blackmailing people–and help prevent poor choices.

What if someone had showed the same girl on the abortion table a video of the fetal heartbeat right as she was about to engage in the act of creating one? How about instead of catching the problem too late, we put pictures of pregnant chicks on boxes of condoms? And put them at the front of the store? And instead of a price-tag on the box, there’s an advertisement for the state legal maximum of palimony payments?

Barnum meets Biomimicry

Originally published at Jason's Fresh Produce. You can comment here or there.

The proper quote by H. L. Mencken, not P.T. Barnum, is either “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public” or “No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

Or, I guess, underestimating the willingness to spend on fashion.

 On a separate note, this guy is awesome, my new favorite animal.

How can we combine these things?

Well, given that some women will buy 50 pairs of shoes, can we make a single shoe that has chameleon qualities? Really, how hard is it to change colors? We can make invisibility cloaks; surely someone can cobble together a shoe that matches the dress and purse!


Originally published at Jason's Fresh Produce. You can comment here or there.

I just had a sweet idea.

You’ve seen cartoony representations of people filling up helium balloons and floating away.

There’s even the priest who attached a bunch of weather balloons to a  lawn chair and got himself killed.

But how much would it really take to just, say, shave 50-75% off my weight? I could wear this “balloon harness” and bound around a field like a man on the moon! What would my vertical be if I only “weighed” 50 pounds?

I feel this would be awesome.

Bright Future

Here is my vision:

*First time home buyers who purchased after July 2008 can get a $7500 "interest free loan" on their taxes this year as part of Bush's incentive to prop up the housing market

*Many of these people, like me, did not factor this money into our home buying purchase, but will be more than happy to take the money

*Installing solar power in the home costs a lot of money up front, at least, say, $7500


I'm going to try to get a group together (hopefully in my neighborhood, which is a new development and therefore probably has a lot of new purchases), to get a group deal on solar.

Pushing it further, maybe I can get some media coverage for this project and make it even bigger than my neighborhood

Going further still, maybe I could get the state and federal authorities--those granting incentives--involved and see how we can most efficiently use and distribute the money available for subsidizing solar

Going even further, maybe I can get charitable organizations involved to help spread the word and further subsidize and or maximize the amount of solar power being installed!

Anyway, I like to dream big. I have a guy coming out to the house on Friday to discuss solar installation. I'll pitch him the ideas and see what he says.


Originally published at Jason's Fresh Produce. You can comment here or there.

Conspiracy Theory with Mel Gibson was, in my opinion, a very enjoyable movie, but disappointingly low tech.

Lots of movies and cop dramas nowadays have the archetypal tac board with obsessively clipped newspaper articles and colored bits of string connecting seemingly disparate elements into a terrifying whole.

Surely there is software that can come up with better conspiracy theories than any human being. We have giant databases of information, so let’s start using them to come up with bizarre and improbable connections that reveal the true nefariousness of those in power (whomever they might REALLY be!).

Finally: fixing the prison system

Originally published at Jason's Fresh Produce. You can comment here or there.

The prison system sucks. It is a binary operation where you’re either in or you’re out, and the abrupt transition doesn’t do anyone any favors. I have finally figured out a solution.

1) Prison sentence will now be in the form of “points” instead of in years.
2) Each day a prisoner is incarcerated and he meets expectations, he will earn one point.
3) Misbehavior will result in earning no points.
4) Good behavior will result in the immediate and non-retractable award of additional discretionary points (up to some reasonable maximum number of points per day).
5) Education, additional work, charity, and therapy can result in additional points awarded.
6) While in the system, your “prisoner level” will rise with your points, and you will be housed accordingly. “Good” or “high level” prisoners will get the advantage of living with other good prisoners, which will foster a group mentality towards doing good. The best prisoners will get additional privileges and responsibilities which more closely approximate “real life,” which will ease the formerly binary transition from “in” to “out.”

Thus, it will be necessary to “graduate” from prison much like we graduate from school, and the process will be one of growth (or stagnation, for the incorrigibles).

I think the daily reminder of the reward of good behavior will be more of an encouragement than the inevitability of a time-based sentence. And come on, everyone likes leveling up!