Friday, April 11, 2014

Table of Contents: Main

Note: Below is a mirror of what is available in the left hand column of this site. Thought it was time to create a dedicated page to host the main table of contents. I’ll leave this as the top post for the next week or so as we change gears from discussing mainly politics and economics to focusing on mathematics.

As the about page states, this site is a labor of love; presenting a personal perspective to help bring about positive changes for this ailing civilization that we have created.

Below you will find some of the main articles presented on this site over the last few years. They are neither recommendations nor condemnations, they are merely documenting a story unfolding in real time.

There are some overlaps within articles, and some repetition between sections, but since everything is connected, I believe it is appropriate to present the information in this light.

I hope you find the following discussion coherent and palatable.

Table of Contents

  1. Mathematics

  2. Privacy

  3. 420

  4. Politics

  5. Economics

  6. Science

  7. Environment

  8. Life and Death

  9. Entertainment

  10. Education

  11. Games and Gambling

  12. Psychedelics

  13. Technology

  14. Comic Books

  15. ASMR

  16. Miscellaneous

  17. Chycho TV

I. Mathematics

II. Privacy

III. 420

IV. Politics

IVb. Afghanistan

IVc. Africa

IVd. Armenia

IVe. Bahrain

IVf. Canada

IVg. Egypt

IVh. France

IVi. Iraq

IVj. Iran

IVk. Ireland

IVl. Israel/Palestine

IVm. Syria

IVn. Turkey

IVo. Ukraine

IVp. 9/11

V. Economics

VI. Science

VII. Environment

VIII. Life and Death

IX. Entertainment

X. Education

XI. Games and Gambling

XII. Psychedelics

XIII. Technology

XIV. Comic Books


XVI. Miscellaneous

XVII. Chycho TV

Monday, April 7, 2014

Heads-up Canada, B.C. Government Has Given Industry Access to Our Parks: A Drift Card I Found on the Beach

I. Industry Given Access to B.C. Parks

On 26 March 2014, to my disappointment and dismay, I found out that the Government of British Columbia had passed a bill that would drastically alter the management of B.C. parks (2, 3, 4).

Bill 4, the ‘Park Amendment Act’ of 2014 was introduced into the B.C. legislature on February 13 and became law on March 24:
“Bill 4 allows for industry (and others) to carry out ‘research’ in provincial parks related to pipelines, transmission lines, roads and other industrial activities that might require park land. It also reduces legal protection for smaller parks and enables film production in BC parks….

“Bill 4 seems to be premised on the idea park protection unreasonably constrains government and industry. That’s not consistent with the BC government’s claim that parks are a public trust, to be managed for the protection of BC’s natural environment, and the inspiration, use and enjoyment of [the public]. Our protected areas, and we as British Columbians, deserve better.”
The BC Liberals, “conservative and neoliberal” in their philosophy, headed by Christy Clark, once “a partner in a lobbying firm that was contracted by Enbridge and lobbied the federal government on the company's behalf”, passed this law for the benefit of industry without care or consideration for their constituents:
“Previously, a park use permit could not be issued unless the applicant could prove that the activity was ‘necessary for the preservation or maintenance of the recreational values of the park involved.’ Bill 4 removes this safeguard, allowing the Minister to grant a permit if it is determined that the research relates to ‘an environmental assessment or a feasibility study,’ or is ‘necessary to inform decision making around changing the boundaries.’

“A government document obtained in late 2013 via a Freedom of Information request revealed that the BC government is already considering boundary changes to over 30 parks, including for LNG pipelines and the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The Bill also removes certain protections from smaller parks.

“‘The government has sent a clear signal that it is open to having pipelines cut through our globally renowned protected areas’ said Al Martin, BC Wildlife Federation. ‘The Act will now allow industrial exploration in some of BC’s most beloved parks, placing them at risk.’”
Clark and her ilk have justified these detrimental environmental and social decisions based on lies and deceitful propaganda geared towards enriching their corporate partners:
“Two years ago, the province estimated that royalties from this fuel would reach $846 million in this fiscal year. In Finance Minister Mike de Jong’s recent budget, that was cut nearly in half, to $441 million.

“Three years ago, the spring budget pegged revenues from natural-gas royalties at $447 million. As that fiscal year ended, that figure was reduced to $367 million.

“In the worst guess of all, then finance minister Colin Hansen’s 2010-11 budget forecast revenues from natural-gas royalties of $1.25 billion by 2012-13. Three years later, the updated figure was only 11 percent of that amount: $144 million. That’s a shortfall of more than $1.1 billion from the earlier estimate.

“Now Premier Christy Clark is predicting that the province will generate $100 billion in revenues from the export of liquefied natural gas over the next 30 years. But is this prediction as bogus as the government’s other claims regarding natural-gas royalties?

“Marc Lee, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, counts himself among the skeptical.

“‘I just don’t know that the economics will hold up at the end of the day,’ Lee told the Georgia Straight by phone. ‘The government has been making all kinds of bold claims about revenues and jobs and greenhouse-gas emissions that can only be considered propaganda. They’re not really anchored in anything real in terms of estimates going forward.’”
But I digress (2, 3, 4), here is the drift card I found on the beach.

II. Drift Card I Found on the Beach

I had to calm myself after hearing the news that the government of British Columbia, acting on behalf of industry, had amended the B.C. Parks Act to allow for pipelines and resource extraction (see above).

When my blood boils like this, my mind spins, and I find myself lost in fury. For me, the remedy for this turmoil is to go for a walk; at times extremely long and enhanced, at times short and sweet. This excursion was a mix of both, heightened but short, lasting approximately 3 hours.

I gathered some supplies, checked the weather, got my gear together, and headed out. I bee-lined it towards the core of the city, seeking industry. I was lost in thought almost instantly, trying to wrap my head around this insanity.

The smell of business and the sight of structures were surreal. I needed to ground, to find a sense of familiarity.

Being well versed in the realm of comics, aware of the cultural and historical significance of this genre, I found a couple of stores and browsed through their selection. Doing so dissipated my distaste for society, helping me to find the beauty of humanity, bringing me back to reality. It felt like a heavy burden being lifted.

I now felt the need to connect with the natural environment.

I found the busiest road in the city, the main artery, and headed out of the city center towards a park, knowing it would eventually lead me to the shore.

I got lost in thought again; trying to think rationally about what had just occurred and what the consequences would be.

My walk took me through trails, across a bridge, around a pond, allowing me to brush by bushes and mingle among the trees. I could breathe again.

As the vegetation and the remaining few scattered structures slowly parted, I heard the waves. The beach was in sight. My walk slowed, the tension in my body released. I could see clearly again.

Forecasts had called for rain, but the sun was shining. It was windy and brisk, mid-afternoon, around 2 pm. I was surprised to see so many people out and about; walking with their pets, holding hands, talking with friends, lounging, running, playing, laughing. It was beautiful. It was calming.

I found myself on the beach in a slow stroll, reflecting on nature, economics and politics, and how corruption and greed is running rampant within my community. I had focus again.

That’s when I saw a black question mark painted on a small pink piece of plywood beside my feet. I stopped, picked it up, looked at it perplexed, and flipped it over. It was a drift card of an ocean circulation study being conducted by the Salish Sea Spill Map project (see pic below - click to enlarge).
Welcome to the Salish Sea Spill Map

“Kinder Morgan plans to ship 400 tankers loaded with tar sands oil each year through the Salish Sea. If the oil spilled, where would it go, and what iconic and ecologically important places could be affected?

“This map is part of a research project to better understand the path an oil spill might take, and how far the oil could travel. This fall, we are dropping over 1000 drift cards at key locations along the tanker route from Burrard Inlet, and their recovery locations will help to create a series of maps showing different spill scenarios.

Get involved! Report a drift card that you’ve found. Or explore the rest of the website to see the map, find out more about the threats to the region, and take action.”
click to enlarge

I’m not sure if this was just coincidence or synchronicity, and I am still undecided as to what my next course of action will be. What I am certain of is that I am not alone and that I know my enemy.

So heads-up Canada, there is a study being conducted in British Columbia trying to improve our knowledge of ocean currents, potential oil spill trajectories, and to raise awareness of tanker traffic in the Salish Sea. If you find a small colored piece of plywood with a question mark on it from the beach, read the instructions and report the card; you’ll find out where the card came from and what it means.

The more data collected, the better we understand the consequences of this incursion and exploitation of our natural environment. Here is a map showing the location of where I found my card and where it was released (click to enlarge).

click to enlarge - source

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Would Bankruptcy Protect You from Being Prosecuted for Murder? Then Why Are GM and Its Officers Getting Immunity for Deaths That They Could Have Prevented for $1 per Car?

It should be obvious by now that corporations have more rights than humans in the United States, but GM’s corporate and executive immunity from civil and criminal liability and prosecution for putting shareholder value ahead of safety is mind boggling; that there is even a debate about this is insane:
“GM is a different legal entity than the one that filed the 2009 bankruptcy that shook the U.S. economy. The so-called new GM is not responsible under the terms of its bankruptcy exit for legal claims relating to incidents that took place before July 2009. Those claims must be brought against what remains of the ‘old’ or pre-bankruptcy GM.

“But the proposed class action, filed in federal court in California, said plaintiffs should be allowed to sue over the pre-bankruptcy actions, ‘because of the active concealment by Old GM and GM.’”
If GM is allowed to buy their way out of this mess by settling out of court and taking no responsibility for the death and misery that they caused, then we know that the status quo of protecting the rich is intact (2). The question is, will this spark light the tinderbox that will begin the dismantling of this inverted totalitarian state, or will we let them get away with murdering innocents for a $1 part?
“In recent months GM has recalled millions of cars after acknowledging faulty ignition switches shut down engines and disabled airbags. The defects have been linked to at least 13 deaths and possibly hundreds. Internal GM documents show that the company decided not to change a defective ignition switch redesign in 2005 because it would have added about a dollar to the cost of each car.”

Ex-Auto Safety Head & Parent of Dead Victim: GM CEOs Should Face Prison for Covering Up Safety Flaws

I’m not sure what the future holds for the United States, but poverty and cruelty for the majority and enrichment of the oligarchy appear to be in the books:
“In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 35% of all privately held stock, 64.4% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top ten percent have 81% to 94% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and almost 80% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.”
click to enlarge - source

Monday, March 31, 2014

Google’s CEO Larry Page on Improving the World, NSA, Security, and Tesla: TED Talks Interview That Can Make You Smile If You’re Oblivious or Make You Want to Vomit If You’re in the Know

The following TED Talks interview with Google CEO Larry Page will either give you a warm fuzzy feeling all over, or turn your stomach making you feel nauseous to the point where you want to projectile vomit all over your screen.

Larry Page: Where's Google going next?

I. Larry Page on Improving the World

Now don’t get me wrong, Google has done some good, but why are we expected to dismiss the bad? For example, when Larry Page so valiantly smiles and states that:
Larry Page: “It kind of takes a while to get these projects going, but, you know, I’m super excited about the possibilities of that, improving the world… making life better.” - at approximately 15:45
So are we to forget about the fact that Google, Apple & the biggest tech companies colluded to fix workers' wages:
“Some of Silicon Valley's biggest names, like Apple's Steve Jobs and Google's Eric Schmidt, were directly involved in a wage-fixing agreement between their companies. That's according to analysis of confidential internal Google and Apple memos reviewed and published by the news site PandoDaily. They found that it wasn't just Google and Apple who were guilty, but dozens of other tech companies were also involved, affecting the salaries of more than a million employees….

“So Steve Jobs goes to Google, which is the big high-flying company at the time in 2005, goes to Google's Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin and basically says, you guys are recruiting my guys. If you don't stop it, we're going to go to war. And generally war in Apple's Steve Jobs' mind means patent infringement lawsuits, frivolous or otherwise.

“So the Google guys backed down. They agreed to a non-recruitment, non-solicitation secret agreement. In the emails that have been revealed later in court documents, you can see that Eric Schmidt, CEO at the time, was worried. He understood, clearly, that it was illegal. You're not allowed to have these cross agreements like this.

“But, nevertheless, it started expanding and expanding from there because it worked in their interest.”
Now ain’t that a kick in the head for the million plus people whose wages were stolen by one of the largest companies in the world colluding with some of the other largest companies in the world to scam their employees from what they should have been paid?
"U.S. companies outside of the finance industry are holding more cash on their balance sheets than ever, with $1.64 trillion at the end of 2013. That’s up 12 percent from the prior record in 2012, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report today. Technology led the charge, with Apple Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. (GOOG), and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) topping the list of cash-rich companies."

How Google, Apple & the Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages

II. Larry Page on the NSA

If that’s not enough, then how about when the conversation about privacy, Edward Snowden (2), and the NSA (2, 3, 4) begins and Larry Page with his puppy eyes tries to imply that Google was taken advantage of by the NSA:
Larry Page: “For me, I guess privacy and security are very important things. We think about it in terms of both things, and I think that you can’t have privacy without security. So let me talk about security first because you asked about Snowden and all of that, and then I’ll say a little about privacy.

“I think, for me, it’s tremendously disappointing that the government sort of secretly did all this stuff and didn’t tell us. I don’t think we can have a democracy if, you know, we’re having to protect you and our users from the government for stuff we have never had a conversation about.… and I think we haven’t had that conversation, so I think the government has actually done itself a tremendous disservice by doing all that in secret.” - approximately 11:00
This is when Charlie Rose asks the following question/makes the following statement:
Charlie Rose: [The government] “never coming to Google to ask for anything?”
A reasonable comment by Charlie Rose considering how Larry Page was spinning the conversation, but this ended up pushing Page between a rock and a hard place, so he was forced to clarify:
Larry Page: “Not Google, but the public.”
This statement appears to be an admission that Google knew what was going on, but that’s me reading between the lines, so if you’re the trusting sort that would be inclined to believe Mr. Page when he states that the government did this in secret, then the following little fact, that Google gave NSA direct access to its servers, might convince you otherwise:
“The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

“The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says….

“Some of the world's largest internet brands are claimed to be part of the information-sharing program since its introduction in 2007. Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan ‘Your privacy is our priority’ – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007.

“It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online….

“Companies are legally obliged to comply with requests for users' communications under US law, but the Prism program allows the intelligence services direct access to the companies' servers. The NSA document notes the operations have ‘assistance of communications providers in the US’.”

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and the creepy line of privacy

"A Massive Surveillance State": Glenn Greenwald Exposes Covert NSA Program Collecting Calls, Emails

Google CEO Eric Schmidt on privacy

III. Larry Page on Security

As for when Larry implies that he is concerned about protecting the integrity and security of the Internet, it is common knowledge that NSA has weakened both, in turn seriously hurting American technology companies. As Bruce Schneier has pointed out:
“I think about this all the time with respect to our IT systems and the NSA. Even though we don't know which companies the NSA has compromised -- or by what means -- knowing that they could have compromised any of them is enough to make us mistrustful of all of them. This is going to make it hard for large companies like Google and Microsoft to get back the trust they lost. Even if they succeed in limiting government surveillance. Even if they succeed in improving their own internal security. The best they'll be able to say is: ‘We have secured ourselves from the NSA, except for the parts that we either don't know about or can't talk about.’”
In a recent interview, Ben Wizner, the director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, confirmed Bruce Schneier’s concerns, that NSA’s program is not about creating a “secure cyberspace” but about compromising security; creating backdoors so to eliminate privacy:
“Wizner says that the documents handed over by Snowden to journalists have sparked two different debates: one about law and policy and what Congress should do, and another among the tech community about the way their security has been compromised by intelligence agencies, with the weakening of encryption standards and finding weaknesses in tech giants’ data centers to suck up information.

“‘The tech community, particularly people worried about security, has been radicalized by these disclosures. They now see that their threat model needs to include the NSA as an adversary if they are going to protect their systems,’ says Wizner.”
Edward Snowden and ACLU at SXSW

IV. Larry Page on Nikola Tesla

And for the straw that broke the camel’s back, Larry Page’s comment that compelled me to create this post was the one he made about Nikola Tesla:
“I think invention is not enough. I mean, if you invent something – Tesla invented electric power that we use – he [had trouble getting] it out to people. It had to be done by other people. It took a long time. And I think, you know, if we can actually combine both things, where we have innovation-invention focus plus the ability to really – company that can really commercialize things and get them to people in a way that’s positive for the world, and to give people hope.” - approximately 19:00
This is the comment that made me want to vomit. Anyone who is remotely familiar with what the oligarchs of that period and the banking institutions did to Tesla; how they destroyed his life, stole his inventions, ridiculed him, tried to wipe his name from history, relegating him to a distant whisper on the mouths of scientists and enthusiasts - for anyone who knows what the government, Wall Street and their minions did to one of the greatest minds to ever walk this earth, the man that brought us electricity and much more, the man that had a dream of providing the world with free energy for the betterment of society not for increasing shareholder value to enrich oligarchs, Larry Page’s comments about Tesla would also make you want to vomit.

If you would like to know about Tesla, then the following documentary is a great introduction: “Tesla: Master of Lightning”

Nikola Tesla - Master Of Lightning