Safety Check – More than Peace of Mind

I woke up this AM wondering if I had somehow messed up my settings – Facebook was notifying me that one of my friends was reported safe from some game called Nepal Earthquake. 

It only took me another minute or two of checking my morning news to learn that it wasn’t a game, that a 7.9 earthquake had struck Nepal and not only was one of my friends there, but that she was safe.  

Like a vast majority of those utilizing this feature for the first time today, I was on the receiving side of the information and I was very glad to know the was safe. 

But it wasn’t that long ago I was on the other side.  

In April 2013 I was in Boston during the marathon bombings and instead of being reassured that someone I loved was safe, I was the one doing the reassuring. 

Within just minutes of the bombs going off my phone was filled with texts, tweets, Facebook messages and calls of people that cared about me wanting to make sure I was safe. 

While I felt loved, at the time I was much more focused on the immediate crisis: what was going on? Where should I go? Where were my family and friends I was meeting up with near where I had just heard explosions?

Thousands of people were going through the exact same situation and within minutes the cell networks were either overloaded or being controlled by law enforcement to ensure no one was using them to trigger bombs remotely (note: I never went back to find out if that was true, but during a crisis person to person information, speculation and any thread of information turns into a game of telephone).

When I did get messages or connection, it seemed like it was only friends from around the country asking if I was ok, but I couldn’t get through to my parents (who I was supposed to meet at the finish line) or my friends in Boston (who had been finishing their race around the time the bombs went off). 

To be clear, I don’t blame anyone at all for reaching out. I am very happy to be loved and appreciate how scary it must have been for the people that loved me to know I was somewhere and could have been hurt. 

But in an emergency your phone is a critical lifeline and its connection is supremely precious. While I know now that I was in a safe place, I didn’t know that at the time. I was working to deal with that was happening at that moment and those plans, information and communication with friends and family there had to be top priority. 

But our phones can’t tell the difference between essential communications and nonessential – so it was frustrating and scary to receive nonessential communications when I had essential things I couldn’t do because my phone was overloaded. 

That’s why I’m very happy Facebook has created this feature: It allows those in crisis situations to notify others they are safe and the people that care about them to know if they are ok without individual messages. 

The reach and ubiquity of Facebook can not only provide peace of mind on a large scale but it can free up the phones and networks of those in crisis situations to use them for their immediate critical needs.

NPR Hip-Hop’s Microphone Check

If you love Hip-Hop, culture or artistry you should be listening to NPR Hip-Hop’s Microphone Check with Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Frannie Kelly.

In a genre who’s headlines are frequently submerged in Jesus piece size rankings, booty clap competitions and fake beefs, Ali Shaheed and Frannie not only provide historical context and expertise, but expertly craft the kind of deep, personal discussions other NPR shows like This American Life are known for.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Two great episodes to start with: J. Cole and Dante Ross.

Kings and Jokers

Everybody was saying, “This is the worst year for hip-hop. Hip-hop is terrible this year. Nobody’s selling.” And that — forget the sales. “Nobody’s good. The albums are trash.”

J. Cole on NPR Hip-Hop’s Microphone Check

Every year is the worst year in the history of Hip-Hop. Every year is the dumbest year in tech. Every year culture hits a new low and we can find 100 songs or shows or products or anything to confirm our suspicions that the sky is falling.

But our worsts don’t matter. Our trivialities don’t stick. They may have a bad odor, but the wind blows them away.

Our greatness is what endures and our quality is all that transitions into timelessness. Today’s trivialities rarely even make it into tomorrow’s trivia.

So if you want to see what’s important. If you want to know where things are going. Or if you want to judge the state of a scene or an ecosystem:

We shouldn’t judge our quality by our jokers, but by our kings.

End of Life in the ICU – Jessica Zitter M.D. on the Epidemic of Treatment

“I knew this patient was going to die. I knew whatever procedure I was going to do was just going to keep her husband away from her for the last two hours of precious time she had left.”

Sometimes the most compassionate treatment a doctor can prescribe is to stop treating the illness and talk to the patient and family with compassion and empathy.

Even if you aren’t a doctor, this presentation from Dr. Jessica Zitter will change your perspectives on death and dying and give you a new perspective on the “concerning tendency of of doctors to hide behind interventions rather than to talking to patients.”

(her talk starts at 3:20)

Hacking Mixes // DJ Hakobo AKA Jacobo Juarez

Sat down with the legendary DJ Hakobo to talk vinyl, discovery and a bit about merch too. Hope you enjoy.

Legendary Merch

As part of Hacking Mixes you’ll also be trained and evaluated by a few civilian specialists. The civilians are here because they are our very best source of information on great music. One of the most qualified is our friend Jacobo Juarez, callsign “DJ Hakobo.” He has a Ph.D. in muso-physics and he’s also a civilian contractor, so you do not salute him. But you’d better listen to him because the Pentagon listens to him about your proficiency.

Today Hakobo is going to take us through his nearly decade-long parties in SF, the criteria he uses to keep his taste a year in front of the competition and his choice cuts for all time classic vinyl records

It’s all yours, Hakobo.

– Ed

What are you building/making/creating/performing these days?
Musically we are gearing up to have Soul Slam SF 10, our yearly summer Michael Jackson vs Prince party w/DJ Spinna

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Hacking Mixes // Happy Birthday Dilla

Wrote a few words about Dilla.

Legendary Merch

I won’t do that trite “its impossible to write about Dilla” thing because it isn’t true.

These days it’s easy to write anything you want about the producer, beatmaker and occasional MC – and lots of people do.

As he transitioned from underground to appreciated to revered to worshipped there been no shortage of bandwagon jumpers – and no shortage of people trying to add their words to the dream of Dilla whether it was true or not.

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Eminem – Lose Yourself Demo

Eminem’s Lose Yourself is one of the all-time classic tracks we will surely be listening to 40 years from now during the World Series or Superbowl. As part of his celebration of his new album ShadyXV Eminem has given us a peek behind the curtain at one of the early demos of this iconic song.

What is so amazing about this track from Eminem is how good it is. Even for a demo it’s polished. The verses are classic Em and, like many of his great verses, uses complex structures and rhyming schemes for entire on-theme verses.

There’s little throw-away and no filler.

But it isn’t even close to what ended up being released.

Great writers are great editors, and great rappers are great writers. So Eminem rewrote, edited, rewrote and kept making it better until it was great.

So often finished products are so perfect that it seems they came out formed that way – like inspiration delivered flawlessness – but that’s rarely the case.

For anyone else, this would be so good they’d be happy, pat themselves on the back and release it. But good isn’t good enough for Eminem.

Don’t be good. Be great.

Want to grab some Eminem vinylMy company Merchbar has the 8 Mile Soundtrack vinyl and will soon have the ShadyXV vinyl in the Eminem Store on Merchbar.