Numbers Game

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It’s 6:51 on the 26th of September and I thought I would write a little something before my morning walk.  I was doing a little bit of research on the new Apple Operating System iOS 7. Apparently it is causing nausea and dizziness, and from what I have read about exposure to wireless and cellular I am not terribly surprised. Interestingly, on the same page there is an ad for an article with a man and woman smiling widely, and the title is “The Top 5 Ways You Can Know if you are Getting Cancer.”  Over the past three or four years there are these tendencies to come up with these numbers – Top 5 of this, Top 10 of that, 3 Ways to Do this etc. What I feel that we are doing in this regard is that we are simplifying things to make it easier for people to understand important things.  I reflect on this in a totally different way due to the fact that I have in my life some young people. I have my grandchildren and great grandchildren in England, and closer to me physically is Wolfgang, my friend Alexandra’s son who is now two.

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It is incredible to see how much a young mind is taking in and how sophisticated that is to see. At the other end of things, for adults, we’re dumbing down people’s intellect in ways because we’re making it so simple to get news in incomplete or inaccurate ways. Let’s go to something physical here as an example.  A few weeks ago after a rain in Waiheke Island, I slipped on some mud. I hurt my left shoulder, and I had to stop doing weight training (that I do keep muscle mass on as most of us should in one way or another) for a while. As a result, my body lost a bit of strength. The point I’m making is that if we don’t exercise what we have, we atrophy. We all feel it in different ways. Mental exercise is no different.  If we keep getting things dumbed down, then our mental capabilities will atrophy as well. Sometimes I get biased against this – it does turn me off when I see the top ‘whatevers’ of anything because when there is a complex subject, which most are (especially cancer), the reality of that is that we need to go deeper into the subject to understand it more fully rather than blurting out a few tips and calling it helpful, because some may take this and think they have the whole picture when in fact it couldn’t be further from the truth.  Martin Luther King once said “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” and I find this relevant in the case that one may feel empowered by incomplete and often incorrect words written by online and print publications worldwide.

Concerning this Top 5 ad for cancer, I would advise all those that can to eat well, take into our bodies that which will add to our health, and keep our bodies strong, but would I put out an article saying ‘Top 5 ways to prevent cancer?” No, I wouldn’t, because cancer is complex and has to do with other things like history, emotional and spiritual state, environmental toxicity and genetic factors. Numbered blocks of information are making us less mentally adept.  When we need to know something, we should give it the time and mental effort to delve deeper than a metaphorical toe in the water of understanding.

Ecocide, Amplified

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Ecocide is a truly great crime, but is not classified as one yet.  Ecocide is the severe damaging or killing of part of our ecology – it can be presented in many forms. As I speak, many species are dying off. One thing that is really worrying at this point in time is the bee population, because whether we like it or not, plants are still at the bottom of our food chain and most of them require bees to pollinate them. Even if we eat the flesh of animals, they still require plant food.

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What brought the subject of ecocide to my mind, is thinking of a woman who is the daughter of Susie Newborn, one of the great Rainbow Warriors of New Zealand who forced major change in the views on preservation of the environment. These people are putting their lives on the line to preserve the environment and I have the utmost respect for them. The point here is that the daughter of Susie Newborn has a tattoo on her neck that mentions Shell in the Arctic, and thinking of Shell’s activities in the recent decades has always brought to me a feeling of utter disgust and dread.  They are heinous company with no morals whatsoever. They are at the root of the climate change that we are experiencing, and of course the melting of the ice caps.

Shell are now salivating about getting ready to drill in the Arctic. This is beyond a crime because if we look for instance at the terrible crimes that the Nazi’s committed, they were terrible, and anyone would cringe to look over photos of what happened during those years, or to hear the suffering of the millions of innocents who perished at the hands of their fellow humans.

Shell’s drilling in the Arctic is worse – what they are doing will affect the world for not millions, but billions of people – people, animals and plants in fact, and will make it impossible for life to thrive on Earth again. Unless we slow down the amount of fossil fuels that we’re using now, which we’re certainly not doing, these problems will continue for millenia, never mind decades or a few generations.

We definitely have to make ecocide a crime  of very serious consequences, at least on par with those people on the Nuremburg trials, for it is much worse of a crime in magnitude, and Shell should be in the hotseat immediately the way those malicious humans were.

No War in Syria

I just read an article by a man name John Pilger who is a British journalist and an exceptional one at that. In the article he talks about the farce of what the US government is trying to do in regards to bombing Syria. I read this piece just after reading a piece for the New York Times written by President Putin of Russia, basically reaching out to the US people who are against the bombing of Syria.

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            In Pilger’s article, he goes over how the US wants to bomb Syria because the Syrian government is apparently is using chemical weapons against civilians, which is a terrible thing to do.  Here is a particularly shocking extract from his article:  In 1970 the Senate reported: “The US has dumped on Vietnam a quantity of toxic chemical (dioxin) amounting to six pounds per head of population.” This was Operation Hades, later renamed the friendlier Operation Ranch Hand – the source of what Vietnamese doctors call a “cycle of foetal catastrophe”. I have seen generations of children with their familiar, monstrous deformities.”

It is illegal by The Geneva Convention to use white phosphorus against civilians, which is what is happening in Syria. People in the United States and Israel have done it as well. So here is the United States justifying bombing Syria because supposedly the Syrian government is using chemical weapons against its civilians, and using chemical weapons is absolutely atrocious.  I became a citizen of this country because I believed in it and I loved someone who lived here deeply enough to want to stay, and now it’s almost hard for me to believe that I’m here.  I will use this time while I’m here to help as much as I can because my main goal in life at this point is simply to make the world a better place for my family and everyone else’s family.  I am one person but I am very strong and very determined, as is my helper in the world, Alexandra. Thank you.

Work From Home

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            It’s estimated that at rush hour there’s over 2 million cars on the road, usually occupied by one person. Certainly Los Angeles is a city of cars, and cars are a mark of your individuality, but we’re in a situation where the greenhouse gas situation in the world is getting worse even though Los Angeles itself has done some good in their anti-pollution campaigns throughout the years. There are also the health effects aside from direct pollution of sitting in a car for one to over four hours a day, and also the matter of a very possible earthquake happening. If there were that many or more cars on the road devastation would result aside from those directly associated with the quake itself. Let us not forget Hurricane Katrina where even though they knew the hurricane was coming for days prior, the infrastructure simply was not good enough to get everyone out in time, even though New Orleans is considerably less populated than Los Angeles.

            I really think that if we got a far seeing mayor in Los Angeles, I would actually ask that they mandate people to work from home where it is possible. In most cases people want to do this as well. The traffic and pollution as a result of unnecessary commuting is senseless and short-sighted. Business owners will have to trust their employees, as I think that like everything in life, when trust goes away what will be left is sever monitoring which does not work for anyone in the end.  We’re now getting to a point where what George Orwell wrote about in his book 1984 is coming to be in many cases.  The new iPhone 5S for example is a walking notification device of where you are, what you’re doing, what steps you’re taking and all sorts of things. I have nothing to hide, but I believe it’s a human right to have some privacy.  As we’re being funneled with NSA activities… oh but that’s a different subject.  ]

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Particularly in LA where people can work at home, and with the state of the planet as it is, everyone who can should work at home, and this needs to be mandated at the highest level. Business would adjust – there would be a much needed reform in fact. The money saved in gas, time, the extremely expensive high rise office blocks or even small office space costs, the power consumed by lights left on all day and night – this alone should have businesses scrambling to get their employees set up at home. I think we are already very much heading this way, but if it were mandated, we could move along this path much quicker and with less opposition.

Inanimate Objects

As I was waking up this morning, with a nice warm blanket and head on a soft pillow, a notion came into my head. I thought, “Why is it that human beings, even towards animals, find ourselves superior to them and to what we term inanimate objects?” Everything is changing, just in the same way as we are, each second, minute and hour that passes. If we think of a tree, which we know is alive, but doesn’t move aside from growing at what we would perceive as a very slow pace, we wouldn’t think of a piece of furniture made out of that tree as also alive, but actually devoid of life. 

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All of the things that are around us we term as alive or not alive, and things that we can’t see like air, are comprised of atoms. Within the atoms there are protons and neutrons. They actually form the nucleus of the atom, and surrounding the nucleus are the electrons. Everything that we see, and even can’t see (the things that are off out of the field of our vision in the light spectrum), are all comprised of atoms. Nothing is inanimate – everything is made of the same basic atoms.

Let’s say I walked away from my comfortable bed this morning, and didn’t come back for 50 years, and no one else came in here for that time. The blanket and pillows I so fondly woke up in wouldn’t look the same – they would at least be covered in dust, and they may be starting to decay.  There might be mold growing in and on them since it can get damp here. Nothing is inanimate. Everything is doing something or having something done to it. If we can grasp this concept fully, we’ll become far more aware that humans (and even animals, plants etc.) are not the only life form on Earth, and at that, surely not the only ones worth living. At the very basis of all of this is that there really is no such thing as an inanimate object – an object with no form of life whatsoever. We and everything around us is comprised of atoms that are in constant motion, and should respect the energy of life in every form.

Inconvenient Conveniences

It’s the 3rd of August and I read yesterday that the FBI are putting Malware (malicious software that hackers use) onto mobile devices so that they can spy on the owners of the devices or those around them. This isn’t conspiracy theory – it is now widely known. It made me think about a word that has been increasingly used in my lifetime, the word ‘convenience.’ It means a lot of things, but in this case I would like to apply it to appliances and latterly devices and vehicles.  We use appliances, devices and vehicles to make our lives easier, or more convenient. I have done that a lot of my life, and am still doing it.  I try to avoid using a dishwasher, and intend to start washing clothes by hand, not because I want to go back in time, but because one way or another, we’re not going to be able to rely on such devices forever. I have given up using a car most of the time in my life on Waiheke Island, but I do borrow a car for special circumstances.

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I personally remember the days when we dried clothes using a ringer – two rolling pins right next to one another, turned by a handle and the clothes would go in between, ringing the water out.  The concern that I have about devices, is that we’re becoming much too dependent on them, at the loss of our own intellect in some cases. We can and do become like sheep, waiting for the next iPhone or Samsung or vehicle to come out, buying new things because they’re more chic, more powerful etc. All of these devices of convenience have a tremendous cost, as we’ve discussed in other blog pieces: pollution or the waste of the device itself. We don’t need a new phone every time one comes out.  Every time a new movie comes out there’s a herd mentality caused by marketing that drives people to see it. What I don’t think is proper and in fact downright destructive is the act of marketing to children. I’m not a great fan of marketing in general, but I do realize that we have to do that if we have a business or if we want to sell things. I do it in my own way, which is not so much advertising, by going to conferences and things that pertain to the field that I am in.

Appliances, devices and vehicles of convenience should be seen as separate from who we are, not part of our us. Unless the energy situation happening in the world today is resolved by something like cold fusion, or we accelerate the use of sustainable and renewable energy, we have to take care not to get too pulled in to the convenience of appliances, devices and vehicles.

Enclosure

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Enclosure, always in a sentence or a paragraph, or even a page typically refers to a phase that took place in Europe, in Holland initially, becoming prevalent in Britain as well.  Enclosure was an act passed by parliament which had the effect of confiscating all of the land owned by family and communal farmers. The farmers weren’t necessarily the kinds of farmers we see these days with multiple thousands of acres and factory farming and all of the terrible things like slaughterhouses. They were small farms that took care of their animals before they were killed for meat, if they were.

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Before the Enclosure Act was passed, which I believe was in the 17th century, land was typically allocated in strips to families and communities so that they could subsist from the food they produced.  The British government and the lorded gentry decided to take the land back and create what are known as Enclosures, which are basically amalgamations of all of the family and community allocated land strips into large fields. In fact, the whole famous ‘patchwork quilt’ look of the fields in Britain when you fly over it, was created by nothing more than a land grab with no justification. It coincided quite quickly with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution which started at the end of the 1700s. Those two things had the effect of having people migrate from rural areas into cities in order to find a place to live, and now work in a much different way than they had before.

We touched on those cities before in a previous blog post. Cities have been a terrible thing for both people and for the earth. We have covered up the earth with concrete and tarmac – earth that we could be growing things in and when we concentrate people into an area so densely, what we tend to produce is crime (because no job is guaranteed obviously), and toxic environments, and people then tend to experience ill health. There is no ease in this lifestyle, hence the cropping up of ‘dis-ease.’

Really the criminal act of the British government and lorded gentry in taking land from people who were simply feeding themselves and one another, and then offering for them to even buy it back at a price they couldn’t afford, was instrumental in the migration of people to cities and then the creation of the Industrial Revolution. This spurred a huge change to create the world as it is today in many ways, and has not been beneficial to humans, animals, plants, any other forms of life or the earth itself.

What About the Children – Part II

(Continued from Part I)

I think that if we can help children to realize why we ended up where we’re at in present day world issues, rather than prescribe our own kinds of thoughts, we feel that this we can help them by showing them how the issues have come about, and thereby they may realize on their own what needs to happen now. 

We are currently evolving a series for children called Blue Marble: An Eco-Fable. This series is based in the present, but it looks back over why certain things have happened in the world.  If we take the example of water, and the fact that we need to drink it to survive, we also take heed of the fact that world water supplies are less than they were. To qualify that, there is no more or less water than there ever was on Earth, but it’s in different states and it’s still constantly changing. An example of that would be fracking, which damages ways by rendering it undrinkable, and it also pollutes whole aquifers when the chemicals used in fracking permeate porous rock. It doesn’t make any sense to live as we are currently, consuming the Earth’s resources and seriously damaging natural processes that we need to get and keep as they were if we are to live a meaningful life.

It’s incumbent on all of us who have children, or have friends who have children, to help them understand what has happened and what can be done.  A lot of the education out there is really inappropriate as to what the reality of the world is today. Another aspect of that is that because of the dwindling wealth of the United States and other places students are now coming out of college and university with immense debts which they’ll have trouble paying off in their lifetime. They’re often armed with the wrong knowledge too that is based on an industrial society which has many offshoot needs as a result of that such as law. I read an article today on some repairs being done to the San Francisco bridge. Most of the work is actually being done in China. At the end of this, please consider the children in any and everything that you’re doing, even if you’re working in fracking, or any harmful industries. Put your hand on your heart and think about what the children will inherit as a result of what we’re doing. We need the majority of humans to feel the same way, and I know it’s hard when you’ve got bills to pay, but just think about what the effects of these things is going to be on the future, and begin moving towards a better way to tell the future generations “I did everything I could once I figured out that we were on the wrong path.” Thank you.

 

What About the Children? – Part 1

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There’s a lot of information on this blog of things we’ve found, and we’re always open to any comments or corrections. We are very careful about what we do and what we put out here. We research things and though we don’t ‘dumb down’ a subject, we try to put things in terminology that most people understand rather than blather on in terminology and complex concepts that mainly those involved directly in those fields understand wholeheartedly.

            This post is about children. Nobody knows what the future will be, not even the next 30 seconds, only what is happening at present. Humanity as it has evolved has evolved with a need to plan the infrastructure of their way of life. What we do when we’re putting the blog pieces together, we look at what is happening now, when it’s appropriate what has happened (if it’s a pattern), and what the future might hold as a result of present and past actions. What seems to be the case in some countries at the moment is that the next generations are going to face a less prosperous time than previous generations have. In many countries and in many ways, that has never been the case before. To give one example, the United States is still incredibly powerful and very wealthy in comparison to other countries. Unless you’re in the top of the financial world however, things are now going backwards. Not to be anything of a pessimist, as I am not and Alexandra isn’t, but all business is about making things better for other people (I have my way of doing that in the server world and other ways), but the main concern is for the children now and the children of the future. Alexandra has a young son, Wolfgang who is just beginning his life as a toddler, and I have two great grandchildren who are babies.  I’ve always loved children and I’ve always felt that those who misbehave on regular basis have come across problems in their lives and that is a great tragedy, as I don’t believe that people come into this world with malice in their heart. Children become what they are because of what is around them.

            The one good thing about the world is that hopefully, no matter what happens in terms of wealth distribution, it’s still possible to love a child, which we see many instances of in poor countries where children are also loved deeply. Wealth is absolutely not necessary to bring happiness and bonding. Alexandra and I are both very motivated by what children are likely to face and we feel that if they have a good idea as to how we got where we are, it may give them a good chance of dealing with the future that they live in, which will likely be different. If we just take something obvious that’s happening to the human race like climate change, we’ll see that we have raised the global temperature by 1%, so the world at this point is very different already than it was even 50 years ago.

(…to be continued)

Dollar, a Reserved Word

This article will relate to quite a few articles I have been reading on the past few days relating to finance, world finance and how the United States plays into that and how things could be quite difficult for the USA in the not-too-distant future.

            The world’s reserve currency is the US Dollar. It has been since pretty soon after I was born or not long after.  It used to be the British pound, but changed at that time to the dollar.  There’s a couple of things that we touched on in previous blog pieces, but they’re worthy of repeating. Let’s take China and the USA.  China, although it’s a totally different political system and population size, its economy is rapidly approaching that of the USA. In the not too distant future China will overtake the US economy as the world’s largest economy and this is inevitable due to its growing population. In China, banks are only allowed to loan up to 75% of its assets, where in the US that percentage is 900% (and people also save a lot more in China than they do in the US).  That’s one of the reasons that the financial institutions in the states are deathly afraid of a run on the banks, or many people taking all of their money out.  The reality is, is that 10% of the people actually getting their money would be a lucky figure. The money simply is not there.

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         There’s another number that is climbing daily which is worthy of note, and that is the size of the US total government debt, which now stands at an astronomical  59.6 trillion dollars, that equates to over $748,000.00 per US family.  That is a mind-boggling amount of money, which will have to be paid or dealt with in one way or another. As a note point here the US Debt Clock is a good reference point http://www.usdebtclock.org/ The way that the US is able to continue operating is because they keep on printing money, as they hold the world’s reserve currency.  Typically the amount of money kept in circulation used to depend on gold reserves held by the country. Nobody really knows how much gold is being held at Fort Knox (where the US holds its gold reserves), but there are many numbers thrown around in estimation. Obviously the reserves do have a slight bearing on the US dollar, but not in the way that we would expect – at least not anymore.

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            Sometime back in the early 1970’s, the US changed its focus on what the dollar was backed by, and instead of being backed by gold, it became backed by oil.  All purchases of oil in the world are purchased with US dollars.  Just say you’re a country that wants to buy oil (and most do), you would have to buy US dollars first.  Basically to refocus what I’m saying here, the US is able to carry on with the immense amount of debt that is has at a Federal level, by printing more money, which doesn’t have anything behind it, in essence forging money (as it is created out of thin air).

The likely consequence of all of this is that the dollar will lose its position as the world’s reserve currency and that will have quite dramatic consequences in the US as they won’t be able to simply keep on printing money to finance the debt.  When I realized that the US currency is dependent on oil, now you start to see quite clearly why the energy companies are so deeply engrained in the US government, and also why the US has taken either direct or indirect action in the countries that hold oil reserves. To add to this, in 2000 Saddam Hussein decided that he wasn’t going to sell his oil in dollars anymore, but in Euros. Not long after that, the US invaded Iraq in the pretense that they had some sort of linkage to 911 and held weapons of mass destruction, both of which proved to be lies.  To round off this piece, one of the biggest threats that the US faces is the loss of its reserve currency status, and that could well happen, as it happened to Britain with the pound, and if that happens, the US will not be a pleasant place to be, to say the very least…