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Dave Cortright
Silicon Valley, CA
Technologist · Designer · Environmentalist · Conservationist · Vegan · Singer
Recent Activity
If you end up with a page that is stuck or endlessly trying to load when logging onto a WiFi network while traveling, it very well might be because of the way Internet security works these days. By going to, your browser can immediately connect without getting stuck on... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Info Tech for Non-Profits
I just created an email with some images that I wanted to be clickable links. Maybe it's me or some weird extension conflict in my browser, but I couldn't get it to work. If I just select the image and clicked the link button (or Ctrl+K), either the selection would... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2019 at Info Tech for Non-Profits
Modern medicine has only been around for a brief instant in the history of humanity. Penicillin isn't even 100 years old. And yet somehow we've been able to survive and even thrive for the vast majority of our existence. How is that possible? Our bodies naturally have systems in place... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
One of the most profound results in all of social psychology is that of Solomon Asch’s conformity research. In a group of 8, if the other 7 members of the group all coalesce around an answer that is wrong, the 8th person will conform to the group consensus on at... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
I’m a big fan of the Principle of Parsimony, otherwise known as Occam’s Razor. A razor is simply a logical concept that eliminates unlikely explanations for a particular conjecture. Here are a couple that I find gratifying. The Holy Grail is really the cup of a carpenter: Deducing the location... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
I previously blogged about how there are no “bad” emotions, and in fact all emotions exist for a reason (otherwise natural selection would have weeded them out long ago). The common pitfall we have is we naïvely want to minimize pain and maximize pleasure (or contentment). So when an emotion... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
Humans were designed to live in bands of 30–45 members. Now we live in a world where you can come into contact with hundreds or even thousands of people every day, and orders of magnitude more if you count virtual interactions. Our brains simply aren't designed to manage a network... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
I understand the sentiment behind the adage “Live every day as if it were your last.” It’s a way of saying be more present and enjoy the moment now. Don’t delay all of your gratification. Others have already pointed out some of the flaws in this reasoning. The primary being... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
All of the wildlife conservation non-profits I support do extensive work in the field, whether it is working with the community or doing research. Standard consumer electronics don't stand up well to the harsh conditions. But rugged versions design for military or mining are too expensive for the budgets of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2019 at Info Tech for Non-Profits
John Bowlby developed the concept of the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA). It is the set of environmental factors that constrained and directed the evolution of a particular species. For example one aspect of the the EEA for polar bears is a cold environment of snow and ice. That led... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
I remember watching The Mystery of Happiness hosted by John Stossel with my dad back in the '90s (it first aired April 1996). It's well done—there’s a lot of great data in there and it holds up to the test of time surprisingly well. One segment that is particularly insightful... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
I just started using YAMM with one of the nonprofits I support. We wanted to use emoji in the subject line to help increase open rates. Unfortunately YAMM with GSuite accounts only support a very limited set of emoji 😞 But I found a workaround: add your org’s GSuite address... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2019 at Info Tech for Non-Profits
LinkedIn offering free space to Bay Area nonprofits. LinkedIn's community center, InCommon, is on the ground floor of its San Francisco building. LinkedIn is introducing InCommon, a 1,400-square-foot space in its downtown San Francisco building available free of charge to nonprofits, on Tuesday. Unfortunately that’s all of the article I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2019 at Info Tech for Non-Profits
As I’ve been talking to people about my idea, I’ve realized that the “razor” concept is too obtuse to be useful. There is a razor aspect to the concept—anything that wasn’t a part of the environment of our ancient ancestors is by and large unnecessary for overall happiness and well-being.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
Yes, it used to work but Amazon appears to be cracking down. One workaround you can try is to put up affiliate links on a page of your site and then direct supports to go through there. Adds more steps, but worthwhile for larger items.
I recently helped a neighbor build out a custom gaming PC. After putting it all together, it initially wouldn't even power up. Chalk up a bad power supply for that. Once replaced though, the computer still wasn't showing anything on the display, despite all of the components hooked up and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2019 at Info Tech for Non-Profits
Just came across this article in Nat Geo (Feb 2013) on the diets of our ancestors. One key point missing in the article is the importance of cooking in our ancestors’ diets. Cooking food helps break it down before it enters the body, thereby reducing the amount of work the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
Humans—and every other organism—are adapted to survive, thrive, and reproduce in a particular set of conditions. Psychologist John Bowlby called this the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptation. Given that the last major update to our genetic code was roughly 50,000 years ago (at the latest), then it stands to reason that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
In the world of computers, a real-time operating system is designed to process data and react to it in “real time”, with allowable delays not much more ⅒ of a second. In many ways humans (and all other animals for that matter) operate using a real time OS. The world... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s series Chasing Life has some great examples of ways in which people all over the world are living their lives more aligned with how we were designed to thrive. A tribe in the Bolivian rainforest exemplifies pretty much all aspects of it. Dr. Gupta went there primarily... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
I remember reading Walden when I was younger and fantasizing about a simple life in nature. It sounded so romantic. After my girlfriend quoted from it recently (“to live deliberately”), I went back to see again with fresh eyes the components of his journey. The thing that strikes me is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
I think the title of this post can sum up a lot of of the “progress” we have made throughout civilization. And I want to be clear there is a lot of good that has come from civilization; we wouldn’t have made the changes and kept them otherwise. However there... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
One of the biggest ways that modern society differs from hunter/gatherer tribes is that we live in much smaller, more isolated groups. The bottom 2 levels of Maslow's hierarchy can be had with minimal social interactions. You just need money and some perfunctory niceties. And let me be clear, there... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
Someone in the crowd shouted “Why are you doing this?”… The [shooter] responded, “Because I’m really angry.” This is a good overview of the Dunbar Number, and—equally important—the levels of intimacy that make it up. Here's a kid who has anger but has no skills on how to manage it... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright
Bowlby’s Razor—The closer your lifestyle aligns with key aspects of our modern ancestors at the end of the Pleistocene, the healthier and more fulfilled you will be. I’m still working on an optimal definition for this concept. That one will suffice for now.* The insight that led me to this... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2019 at KPAO by Dave Cortright