Ben Hargreaves

Finding a job
Saint Paul, MN, United States

About Ben

Areas of Expertise

Entrepreneurial Business, Non-profit

I'm passionate about

The ability for each and everyone to create and improve their world and the world of others.

Talk to me about

Individual rights, democracy, the US Constitution, technology, cyborgs, business, and Manchester United.

Comments & conversations

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Ben Hargreaves
Posted over 3 years ago
Does the UN Security Council Resolution 1970 provide immunity to mercenaries hired by the Gaddafi regime?
Ok, here is my attempt at an answer, if anyone with expertise sees it, let me know if I'm correct. As part of UN Security Council Resolution 1970, the Security Council has referred all war crimes in Libya since 15 February 2011 to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court [see Article 4 of the resolution]. In accordance Article 25 of the UN Charter, all Members of the United Nations agree to carry out the decisions of the Security Council. This means that all UN Members are obligated to comply with the ICC, or risk suspension of their UN membership by the Security Council. Specific nationalities of mercenaries mentioned in the article are; Algeria, Ethiopia, and Tunisia, all of which are UN Members, and must comply with all Security Council resolutions. It is standing US policy that US nationals do not fall in the jurisdiction of the ICC, and the US rescinded all obligation to the ICC in 2002. As such, the US does hold permanent veto power in the Security Council, and used the threat of veto to guarantee a clause in UN Security Council Resolution 1970. As I interpret this clause, no citizen of any non-ICC member nation falls in the jurisdiction of the ICC as it relates to action taken in Libya "established or authorized by the Council." I read that as referring to peacekeeping missions as part of Resolution 1970. This would void any obligation countries have to the ICC as it relates to UN membership during peacekeeping missions in Libya. This does not provide immunity for mercenaries hired by the Gaddafi regime as those citizens are not part of any UN peacekeeping missions. Therefore, the assertion in the Telegraph piece would either be misleading, or blatantly false. I do not have a law background, nor a international law background, so I could be way off. Hoping an expert could weigh-in and clarify for me.
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Ben Hargreaves
Posted over 3 years ago
William Gibson said "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." What futures have you seen that are here, but unrecognized?
The boomers scare me, largely because I don't know what they want. The Boomers: 1.) There are a lot of them, 2.) They arguable have the most lose (especially if living off of some sort of fixed income), 3.) They will have a lot of time on their hands (especially to become politically active), 4.) They are not me generation (and therefore cannot necessarily be relied to understand my generation). Does the future really belong to the youth, or to the Boomers?
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Ben Hargreaves
Posted over 3 years ago
William Gibson said "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." What futures have you seen that are here, but unrecognized?
"And end" sounds to ominous. How about the evolution of the education system? The idea of entirely removing children from schools sounds cruel to me. The live action social interaction with peers and instructors is so valuable. Augmenting that experience with advances in our ability to disseminate knowledge and I feel something truly powerful can come to life. Unfortunately, it seems in the US we may need to wait for the pains of state and local budget crisis to subside before investing in the evolution of our education system.
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Ben Hargreaves
Posted over 3 years ago
Could we do without patents and copyrights? Would that be fair? Would there be motivation to innovate?
I'm not entirely clear on your reply, but here is my attempt to reply to your reply. If the market is willing to wait to purchase something produced using the patent, then is the patent worthwhile? Public protection should be reserved for something that will have meaningful public impact, which could, arguable, be measured by profit in a capitalist economy. Also, the anticipated lapse of intellectual property rights exists today and seems to have a positive economic impact, if allowed to occur. I have no data on this, but anecdotally I would reference the ramping up of production on Mickey Mouse memorabilia by companies not licensed by Disney every time that particular copyright is due to lapse (which it inevitably never does). I could also anecdotally refer to drug patents and generic versions. Drugs have a clear patent term that is public knowledge, but the non-generic drugs are still purchased, if they are a necessity, before the patent has lapsed. Data on the sale of drugs leading up to a prior to the lapse of a patent would be interesting in terms of this discussion, and I may try to find something to that end. As far as inefficiency, unfortunately that is reality that can only be mitigated, but cannot be removed. Unless we find ourselves in the Utopia you mentioned previously. Until then, I look forward to further discussion.
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Ben Hargreaves
Posted over 3 years ago
We spend 3 billion hours a week as a planet playing videogames. Is it worth it? How could it be MORE worth it?
Not everyone's work provides the "fun" you describe. For some, work is an utter pain. For others there is little to no work. I worry that the assumption can become that because a person is a gamer they are broken. But consider, as the OP has positioned, that it is our reality that is broken. I would be interested to here more about what it is you do for "work". I get the sense that skills learned by someone gaming in a dark basement could be utilized in your "work". Anyway, consider the author/OP's original premise.
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Ben Hargreaves
Posted over 3 years ago
Could we do without patents and copyrights? Would that be fair? Would there be motivation to innovate?
Here is my idea, and this is a topic I am not extremely well versed on, so take it for what is it worth. I propose a compromise that maintains patents, but modifies the terms to prevent abuse, while adhering to capitalist thinking (why protect it unless for capitalist reasons). I propose a length of patent that is dictated by profits. Imagine a bell curve with the vertical axis being length of time, and the horizontal axis being profits. At the low end of the curve you will have a patent that does not produce much in the way of profits which probably fall into one of two categories (1) not a good idea so no one purchases thing utilizing the patent, or (2) those holding the patent are not capable of effectively utilizing the patent. The low end of the curve would also serve to ward off those who simple want to sit on a patent to prevent innovation or to in essence extort money for its use. Use it or loose it. In the middle of the curve you will have patents that produce meaningful profits. This would imply that the patent has value to the public, and therefore they are purchasing it. The presence of the diminishing length found further along the curve would also encourage patent holders to provide the result of the patent to the public at a lower cost, making the innovation easier utilized by the public. At the high and of the curve you would have patents that produce large profits. It stands to reason that if you make a lot of money off of the patent, then it is a meaningful and beneficial idea. The length of the patent may be shorter, but the profits are better. This would ensure that truly innovative ideas make it into the public domain for public consumption and benefit while they are still meaningful. Two counter-arguments I could see are (1) too much government interference and (2) difficult to track. My abbreviated responses: (1) It is a PUBLIC patent and not required, private protections are possible (e.g. Coca-Cola and KFC); (2) the IRS.
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Ben Hargreaves
Posted over 3 years ago
We spend 3 billion hours a week as a planet playing videogames. Is it worth it? How could it be MORE worth it?
There needs to be more outlets than simply the video game. Anything, if it is your only thing, stands a decent chance of ruining your life by taking you away from living. Video games can be an enhancer and a tool when you have the opportunity to apply the experiences gained from them to something else. I feel that is part of the OP's original premise, that reality is broken because it does not provide us those outlets. That may or may not be true.
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Ben Hargreaves
Posted over 3 years ago
We spend 3 billion hours a week as a planet playing videogames. Is it worth it? How could it be MORE worth it?
I agree with the OP/author's premise, at least in part. I've been unemployed for several months. Before then, my reality was filled with problem-solving, teamwork, and goals. Since losing my job I have been playing a fair amount of video games, largely as an escape, but also to replace missing aspects of my day-to-day life. In my virtual realities I can experience challenge, teamwork, creation, and a general sense of accomplishment that has been lacking in my reality. As my unemployment has dragged on, I have desired to get back into pencil and paper RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons, which I played in high school. These RPGs are the foundation of the deeply immersive and progress oriented video games of today. I know one reason I want to participate in these types of games is to further correct the errors in my current reality. What I wish non-gamers understood is the tremendous learning potential that games like these hold. Games provide not only an escape, but an accelerated learning experience. Playing Dungeons & Dragons in high school taught me about using teamwork to reach goals, especially to utilize strengths and mitigating weaknesses. Knowing how to ensemble and best utilize each member of a team is a valuable skill. I was able to explore, use, and hone this skill at a young age. In a few 3 hour gaming sessions I was able to experience what would have taken me months or even years to experience in school or a working environment. Not only does gaming allow me to improve upon my daily reality, but it allows me to improve upon the wider realities of learning and experience. You know you're playing a good game when it draws you in. It's then that you know the game is fixing some part of a broken reality. I don't know that reality is broken, but everyone's reality is definitely flawed at times. That draw can also be dangerous. But the value of video games is to provide something that most other forms of "entertainment" cannot; the best teacher, experience.