In the US whether you hug or shake hands depends on intimacy. If I'm greeting an old friend we'll hug but if I'm greeting a stranger we'll shake hands. It gets awkward somewhere in between where it's not obvious which is appropriate or where the two people have different ideas about their shared level of intimacy, but that's unaviodable in human interaction.
What I don't like about this system is that it also depends on gender. At the same level of intimacy two women are more likely to hug than a man and a women, who are more likely to hug than two men. If I meet a man and a woman who I know equally well, it can be normal to shake hands with the man but hug the woman.
We should have a convention for deciding whether to hug or shake hands that doesn't depend on gender. How can we get there?
At some point in the future we may be able to scan someone's brain at very high resolution and "run" them on a computer.  When I first heard this as a teenager I thought it was interesting but not hugely important. Running people faster or slower and keeping backups came immediately to mind, and Wikipedia adds space travel, but those three by themselves don't seem like they change that much. Thinking speed doesn't seem to be major limiting factor in coming up with good ideas, we generally only restore from backups in cases of rare failure, and while space travel would dramatically affect the ability of humans to spread  it doesn't sound like it changes the conditions of life.
This actually undersells emulation by quite a lot. more...
Every dollar I spend on myself is a dollar that could go much farther if spent on other people. I can give someone else a year of healthy life for about $50  and there's no way $50 can do anywhere near that much to help me. I could go through my life constantly weighing every purchase against the good it could do, but this would make me miserable. So how do I accept that other people need my money more without giving up on being happy myself?
For me the key is to make most choices donation neutral. more...
In the cafeteria at work there are many varieties of milk, differing in their fat content: skim, one percent, two percent, whole, and half and half. It's annoying to keep all of them in stock with all their different expiration dates and speeds of use. So why not make a machine that holds skim and half-and-half, and can dispense the desired ratio? more...