Archives for posts with tag: the more things change the more they stay the same

It’s still the 80s (well, maybe),

And Stryper is still rocking the long-hair.

Sorry
It doesn’t always make it starry
Maybe next time be more charming
So you don’t have to say Sorry

Actually, I was thinking of going a bit farther back:

What a mess the world is in, I wonder who began it
Don’t ask me, I’m only visiting the planet
This world is not my home
I’m just passing through

And,

Don’t forget, without love, you ain’t nothin’.

It is truly sad this song is still so relevant:

And your money says in God we trust,
But it’s against the law to pray in school;
You say we beat the Russians to the moon,
And I say you starved your children to do it.
You say all men are equal, all men are brothers,
Then why are the rich more equal than others?
Don’t ask me for the answer, I’ve only got one:
That a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son

Advertisements

In the late 70s, about the time I started driving, I sat in conversation with my mother, explaining how emerging electronic communications and information storage were going to revolutionize the world by making nearly all knowledge readily available to everyone; anyone who needed the knowledge would be able to access it in minutes, instead of spending days at the public library, as I had done a summer or two prior while researching wind-power and realizing even before my engineering training what a pipedream it was. (I rode my bicycle on those excursions.)

While my vision was significantly different from what the internet has become, the central tenet, readily available information and fact checking at a moment’s notice with easily afforded effort has become true beyond my wildest imaginings.

But has it made any difference?

When faced with a lack of knowledge, or when someone challenges an opinion, nearly everyone appeals to whatever authority they find appealing at the moment. They spout something like, “The greatest minds on the subject disagree with you,” and they go merrily along without ever bothering to think, and, especially, without ever bothering to consider the correctness of the objection, never questioning whether or not they themselves might be wrong.

In the late 80s, I wrote a paper for a college writing class extolling the self-evident virtues of email systems that were coming into their own, at least on college campuses and at research centers.

I detailed why the near instantaneous written communications capabilities would let us all respond as quickly or as thoughtfully as was necessary to maximize understanding and minimize confusion. We could respond immediately to urgent information, or respond with thought and deliberation when emotion seemed to be obscuring clarity.

Of course, email, text, video chat, social media, all have all those qualities, with limits, but no one uses them that way.

I eventually learned there was no substitute for the KISS principle in email. Brevity and abbreviation are forced in texting and twitter.

Still, writing used to involve rather thoroughly stated points with detailed information. It still does, but instant communications muddles more than elucidates.

I find that nearly no one uses Facebook for anything substantial.

I don’t understand that.

Facebook has a significant flaw in its apparently random way it calculates who to show posts to, and how it picks what it shows. I don’t blame Facebook for developing and evolving those picking-algorithms per client preference. Of course, they must maximize the user experience to keep them and to keep growing, but it eliminates the effectiveness of Facebook as an actual communications medium.

It is good for keeping track of family, friends, and acquaintances, but it sucks for trying to coordinate most anything, since it cannot be relied on to transfer information to all concerned.

Facebook would follow us if we changed.

If we used Facebook to try to be substantive, and tried to actually communicate, Facebook would figure out how to facilitate.

Sadly, I think it will never be. The decades have taught me that communication is hard. None of us really care enough about it with most people to make the effort.

That is doubly true, and doubly sad, regarding our politicians.

Scott Adams is correct. We don’t care about facts, we care about emotional motivators, and politicians know that and take advantage of it. We all complain about negative campaigning, but every politician knows it works, either because they succeeded using it or lost because of it.

Well, the flow stopped. So, I end. Let’s all try to communicate better.

Especially, when discussing in social media, let’s try to consider context, not just some point we want to make in response to some small aspect of what was posted. Also, try not to take things personal, but never dismiss how much your words can actually hurt. (I too often find I still need to work on these things.)

I wrote a little here: https://gottadobetterthanthis.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/ukraine-reminds-me-of-poland-of-1981/ and it is so hard to keep up with something so far away when we have such important things to talk about in the news over here, like whether or not Hillary is really sick, and what the President thinks about March Madness, to name but two.

I found this article from FEE http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/dispatch-from-the-ukraine-a-journalist-describes-the-unrest-from-inside#axzz2um0wpMG8

I’m pasting in the entire article from FEE, giving it one more page for posterity and the search engines.

In the tradition of “Bottom line up front”, Pray for Ukraine!

Quoting FEE:

Note: Events in Ukraine in recent days have gripped the hearts of people around the world. We at FEE are appalled at the repressive measures being taken by the Ukrainian state against protesters, particularly young people who are active there in the movement for peace, liberty, and representative government. We sincerely hope that the brutality of statism, on vivid and tragic display at this very moment in Ukraine, will be crushed by the forces of freedom and with a minimum of bloodshed. Below, we share with our readers a moving account of what’s happening from a Ukrainian journalist who is in Kiev on the front lines of the current upheaval. We withhold his name for his protection.

—Lawrence W. Reed, FEE president.

Dear friends—especially foreign journalists and editors,

These days I receive from you lots of inquiries requesting descriptions of the current situation in Kiev and overall in Ukraine, express my opinion on what is happening, and formulate my vision of at least the nearest future. Since I am simply physically unable to respond separately to each of your publications with an extended analytical essay, I have decided to prepare this brief statement, which each of you can use in accordance with your needs. The most important things I must tell you are as follows.

During the less than four years of its rule, Mr. Yanukovych’s regime has brought the country and the society to the utter limit of tensions. Even worse, it has boxed itself into a no-exit situation where it must hold on to power forever—by any means necessary. Otherwise it would have to face criminal justice in its full severity. The scale of what has been stolen and usurped exceeds all imagination of what human avarice is capable.

The only answer this regime has been proposing in the face of peaceful protests, now in their third month, is violence, violence that escalates and is “hybrid” in its nature: special forces attacks at the Maidan (the central square of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital) are combined with individual harassment and persecution of opposition activists and ordinary participants in protest actions (surveillance, beatings, torching of cars and houses, storming of residences, searches, arrests, rubber-stamp court proceedings). The keyword here is intimidation. And since it is ineffective, and people are protesting on an increasingly massive scale, the powers that be make these repressive actions even harsher.

The “legal base” for them was created on January 16, when the Members of Parliament, fully dependent on the President, in a crude violation of all rules of procedure and voting, indeed of the Constitution itself, in the course of just a couple of minutes (!) with a simple show of hands voted in a whole series of legal changes which effectively introduced dictatorial rule and a state of emergency in the country without formally declaring them. For instance, by writing and disseminating this, I am subject to several new criminal code articles for “defamation,” “inflaming tensions,” etc.

Briefly put, if these “laws” are recognized, one should conclude: in Ukraine, everything that is not expressly permitted by the powers that be is forbidden. And the only thing permitted by those in power is to yield to them. Not agreeing to these “laws,” on January 19 the Ukrainian society rose up, yet again, to defend its future.

Today in television newsreels coming from Kiev you can see protesters in various kinds of helmets and masks on their faces, sometimes with wooden sticks in their hands. Do not believe that these are “extremists,” “provocateurs,” or “right-wing radicals.” My friends and I also now go out protesting dressed this way. In this sense my wife, my daughter, our friends, and I are also “extremists.” We have no other option: We have to protect our life and health, as well as the life and health of those near and dear to us. Special forces units shoot at us, their snipers kill our friends. The number of protesters killed just on one block in the city’s government quarter is, according to different reports, either 5 or 7. Additionally, dozens of people in Kiev are missing.

We cannot halt the protests, for this would mean that we agree to live in a country that has been turned into a lifelong prison. The younger generation of Ukrainians, which grew up and matured in the post-Soviet years, organically rejects all forms of dictatorship. If dictatorship wins, Europe must take into account the prospect of a North Korea at its eastern border and, according to various estimates, between 5 and 10 million refugees. I do not want to frighten you.

We now have a revolution of the young. Those in power wage their war first and foremost against them. When darkness falls on Kiev, unidentified groups of “people in civilian clothes” roam the city, hunting for the young people, especially those who wear the symbols of the Maidan or the European Union. They kidnap them, take them out into forests, where they are stripped and tortured in fiercely cold weather. For some strange reason the victims of such actions are overwhelmingly young artists—actors, painters, poets. One feels that some strange “death squadrons” have been released in the country with an assignment to wipe out all that is best in it.

One more characteristic detail: In Kiev hospitals the police force entraps the wounded protesters; they are kidnapped and (I repeat, we are talking about wounded persons) taken out for interrogation at undisclosed locations. It has become dangerous to turn to a hospital even for random passersby who were grazed by a shard of a police plastic grenade. The medics only gesture helplessly and release the patients to the so-called “law enforcement.”

To conclude: In Ukraine full-scale crimes against humanity are now being committed, and it is the present government that is responsible for them. If there are any extremists present in this situation, it is the country’s highest leadership that deserves to be labeled as such.

And now turning to your two questions which are traditionally the most difficult for me to answer: I don’t know what will happen next, just as I don’t know what you could now do for us. However, you can disseminate, to the extent your contacts and possibilities allow, this appeal. Also, empathize with us. Think about us. We shall overcome all the same, no matter how hard they rage. The Ukrainian people, without exaggeration, now defend the European values of a free and just society with their own blood. I very much hope that you will appreciate this.

Pray for Ukraine!

Read more: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/dispatch-from-the-ukraine-a-journalist-describes-the-unrest-from-inside#ixzz2um2Vz7IU

At FEE.org I found

Dystopias Seen, Dystopias Imagined

JANUARY 23, 2014 by SANDY IKEDA

(Read more: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/dystopias-seen-dystopias-imagined#ixzz2rX81nvjE) worth the while.

It was his crosslink to http://www.franz-oppenheimer.de/state1.htm, that has me writing.

Mr. Oppenheimer says, “There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one’s own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others. Robbery! Forcible appropriation! These words convey to us ideas of crime and the penitentiary, since we are the contemporaries of a developed civilization, specifically based on the inviolability of property. And this tang is not lost when we are convinced that land and sea robbery is the primitive relation of life, just as the warrior’s trade – which also for a long time is only organized mass robbery constitutes the most respected of occupations. Both because of this, and also on account of the need of having, in the further development of this study, terse, clear, sharply opposing terms for these very important contrasts, I propose i. the following discussion to call one’s own labor and the equivalent exchange of one’s own labor for the labor of others, the “economic means” for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the “political means.””

We all know that forcefully taking is wrong. (Coercion of any sort, all the same.) Oddly, nearly half of us think it can be justified by labeling it liberalism or progressivism and claiming it for the greater good, as though inflicting pain on a few is justified if the pain of many is lessened, even if that lessening is demeaning and dehumanizing to all.

We complicate things. The simple rule is to do what is right.

When I am wronged, I must first ensure I do not add to wrong. I must consider, first, how to not be part of the problem, and I had better do what I can to elevate the problem, if I can.  Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve added James Delingpole’s book to my “to-read” list. SPPI’s John Brignell reviews here:

How environmentalists are killing the planet, destroying the economy and stealing your children’s future. | The SPPI Blog.

We live in a better world because a few people have the fortitude to stand up and shout that the emperor has no clothes, or in this case, that global warming alarmism is a hoax. I thank my Senator, the honorable Mr. Inhofe, most of all. Alarmism has always been bad. This time it somehow slipped into the mainstream. I wonder if submission to despotism is in our genes?

I suppose what gets me most is how hard it is for the alarmists to see that their proposed cure is far worse now, and adversely affecting our children and especially poor children around the world today, than what their supposed disease is supposed to be in the distant future. Besides, cold kills. Warmer is better.

It also gets me that it has been far warmer in the distant past. There has also been far higher CO2 concentration in our atmosphere. Also, these two circumstances have generally NOT coincided.

We all know the ideal gas law, and we all know that it is very sound and well established physics. We should all know that it doesn’t work in your automobile engine. We have to modify the ideal to the reality of the combustion chamber. Doesn’t it strike us common folk as odd that the experts can’t realize that the ideal radiative physics needs to be modified when we are talking about our real world and its complex, interrelated living systems? For heaven’s sake, we live on a water planet. Perhaps it takes living in the great plains of the USA to truly internalize how important the oceans are. Here in the middle of nowhere, we are daily reminded of the extremes that can develop when there is no moderating ocean nearby. Good thing we have that honkin huge Pacific out west. It seems to work great overall, but things here in tornado alley get dicey on a regular basis.

 

How much time do we have?

It seems to me that Christians have always viewed the future as limited. Not in the sense of eternity. We view that with hope, but in the sense of this present world. We look at it as coming to a close. Read the rest of this entry »

So unbelievable! How could rational humans living today depict themselves burning books? Doesn’t this provide sufficient evidence that the alarmist cause is radical, dogmatic, religious and ideological hysteria of the worst type, the murderous, genocidal type? This really is case-closed for anyone who has not already drunk deeply of the kool-aid.

Watts Up With That?

From the Fahrenheit 451 department comes this indictment of California’s higher education’s “tolerance” for opposing views. When I first got the tip on this, I thought to myself “nobody can be this stupid to photograph themselves doing this” but, here they are, right from the San Jose State University Meteorology Department web page:

SJSU_bookfire

The caption from the SJSU website reads:

This week we received a deluge of free books from the Heartland Institute {this or this }. The book is entitled “The Mad, Mad, Made World of Climatism”. SHown above, Drs. Bridger and Clements test the flammability of the book.

Maybe they just can’t help themselves, note the pictures on the wall.

Here is a screencap of the website relevant section:

View original post 95 more words

“We need to be asking what political and economic factors are conducive to seeing real displacement. Just developing non-fossil fuel sources doesn’t in itself tend to reduce fossil fuel use a lot — not enough. We need to be thinking about suppressing fossil fuel use rather than just coming up with alternatives alone.”

Mr. York left out something important, something he implies that will be needed for suppression of fossil fuel use. He left out police and military force. We, the citizens, need to guard against such.

This isn’t new. EPA puts out a graphic and information regularly that shows it:

http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/aqtrends.html

The graphic specifically is here:

http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/images/comparison70.jpg

The take-away is that energy use tracks population despite efficiency gains, with a recent drop for regulatory and economic reasons, but miles-driven tracks with GDP, and GDP growth exceeds energy use growth because of efficiency gains. Hmm… Not hard when you think about it a little.

Regarding regulations, the graphic also shows that the air quality has improved EVERY YEAR since 1970. We have cleaner air than has ever been in our lifetime. Yet, the politicians, and especially the bureaucrats, say we need more regulation. I think it is obvious we passed the point of diminishing returns long ago. Our regulations are harming more people than air pollutants now.

Watts Up With That?

From the University of Oregon a clue as to why green energy isn’t making much inroads. For example, compare these findings to what we learned recently from Matt Ridley about the big fat zero of wind power in the bigger scheme of things.

Wind and other alternate energy is essentially no more than a rounding error.   – Anthony

Focus on technology overlooks human behavior when addressing climate change

Study shows it takes 10 units of alternative electricity sources to offset a unit of fossil fuel-generated power

EUGENE, Ore. — Technology alone won’t help the world turn away from fossil fuel-based energy sources, says University of Oregon sociologist Richard York. In a newly published paper, York argues for a shift in political and economic policies to embrace the concept that continued growth in energy consumption is not sustainable.

View original post 537 more words

Since Willis wrote it, it is obviously worth reading. Also, it goes with my recent comments on perspective. 33 years is a long time in our world, in our lives. It is amazing to think how far computers have advanced in my life time. It is discouraging that software stays ahead of the computing power. (My poor eight year old machine can hardly load typical web pages anymore.) So, I post a bit of perspective with regard to human understanding of the atmosphere of our planet. The bottom line is we may not even have started thinking about it properly yet. I do think we under estimate the effects associated with living organisms. Yet our pride makes us over estimate the effects we humans have, and we tend to grossly over estimate how much effect we can determine to have.

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Under the radar, and un-noticed by many climate scientists, there was a recent study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), commissioned by the US Government, regarding climate change. Here is the remit under which they were supposed to operate:

Specifically, our charge was

1. To identify the principal premises on which our current understanding of the question [of the climate effects of CO2] is based,

2. To assess quantitatively the adequacy and uncertainty of our knowledge of these factors and processes, and

3. To summarize in concise and objective terms our best present understanding of the carbon dioxide/climate issue for the benefit of policymakers.

Now, that all sounds quite reasonable. In fact, if we knew the answers to those questions, we’d be a long ways ahead of where we are now.

Figure 1. The new Cray supercomputer called “Gaea”, which was recently installed at…

View original post 2,122 more words

%d bloggers like this: