Friday, June 26, 2009

Ron Paul & Dennis Kucinich are Right

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Food, Inc.

This looks like an absolute must see. A couple of years ago, the NY Times came out with a devastating magazine article (I wish I could remember the title, dammit) detailing the horrors of US food production with emphasis on cows, chicken and pigs as all three species are systematically turned into frankenfood laced with antibiotics, excrement and steroids. After reading the reviews of Food, Inc, it appears director Robert Kenner has performed the same service using film as the medium of choice.

If you’ve read either “Fast Food Nation” or “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” you won’t be surprised by what the movie shows and tells about the killing floors and soybean fields. Chances are that you’ll still be appalled, which is to Mr. Kenner’s credit. Much as Mr. Schlosser does in “Fast Food Nation,” the movie takes a look at the animal abuse in industrial food production — including clandestine images of sick and crippled cows being prodded to join the rest of the ill-fated herd — but its main focus is on the human cost. It’s a cost visible in the rounded bodies of a poor family that eats cheap if filling fast-food burgers for breakfast and in the obscured faces of farmers too frightened to go on record about Monsanto, the agricultural biotech giant.

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” - Benito Mussolini

Words Cannot Describe...


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Wandering Mind

Although he published 300 scientific papers, Einstein couldn't easily describe the way his mind worked. "A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way," he once said. His thoughts moved "in a wildly speculative way." As a theorist, he sometimes solved physics problems by imagining himself riding alongside a light beam or falling in an elevator. "I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes and I may try to express it in words afterwards ...I have no doubt that our thinking goes on for the most part without the use of signs and, furthermore, largely unconsciously."

When reading this quote, I was struck by the non verbal creative process of Einstein and how it relates to Duke Ellington's notion of thinking in colors while composing. In Arthur Koestler's seminal work, The Act of Creation, Koestler often talks of ineffable flashes and how they can never be forced but rather come forth only when the mind is receptive to new ideas. "The three panels of the rounded triptych shown on the frontispiece indicate three domains of creativity which shade into each other without sharp boundaries: Humour, Discovery, and Art."

To that end, the WS Journal article titled A Wandering Mind Heads Straight Toward Insight confirms that day dreaming & play linked to postivie thoughts rule.

To be sure, we've all had our "Aha" moments. They materialize without warning, often through an unconscious shift in mental perspective that can abruptly alter how we perceive a problem. "An 'aha' moment is any sudden comprehension that allows you to see something in a different light," says psychologist John Kounios at Drexel University in Philadelphia. "It could be the solution to a problem; it could be getting a joke; or suddenly recognizing a face. It could be realizing that a friend of yours is not really a friend."

These sudden insights, they found, are the culmination of an intense and complex series of brain states that require more neural resources than methodical reasoning. People who solve problems through insight generate different patterns of brain waves than those who solve problems analytically. "Your brain is really working quite hard before this moment of insight," says psychologist Mark Wheeler at the University of Pittsburgh. "There is a lot going on behind the scenes."


A positive mood makes an insight more likely, Northwestern University researchers reported in "A Brain Mechanism for Facilitation of Insight by Positive Affect" in the March edition of Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience."


They're not particular about whether you're playing a flatted fifth or a ruptured 129th as long as they can dance to it. - Dizzy Gillispie

Monday, June 22, 2009

Betelgeuse


"Betelgeuse is nearing the end of its life as a red supergiant. The bright, bloated star is 15 to 20 times more massive than the sun. If it were placed at the centre of the solar system, the star would extend out to the orbit of Jupiter.

Sounds like US debt doesn't it, particularly considering the fact our massive debt has been artificially supported for years because of the reserve status of the dollar and the notion the US was a safe haven for foreign investment due to it's inherent political stability, notions that are becoming increasingly tenuous when Peak Oil and Wall Street Malfeasance are factored into the equation.

We are in very big trouble and it's time for Obama to tell it like it is. Doing business the same old way no longer works and a big time makeover on US governance is in order before it's too late. BRT has talked about this for quite some time regarding banks and how the Fed runs this country, statements proven to be true as seen by bank bailouts and the inability to audit the Fed while the US Treasury continues to send our money into a black hole never to be recovered.

To read a truly original take on the economy, click here to read Dmitry Orlov's amazing piece titled Definancialisation, Deglobalisation, Relocalisation. You will NOT be disappointed.

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." - Thomas Jefferson

The Taxpayer's Gift

"The Ouroboros often represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end (See Phoenix). It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished."

The Ouroborus and zero have always fascinated me as both tie together seemingly opposite concepts in elegant fashion. With Zero, nothing and infinity reside side by side while with the Ourborous, renewal and futility rule.

In science, Fredrich Kekule dreamt about the snake and linked it to atomic structure.

"At Kekule's time, scientists believed that the structure of atoms was 'unknowable' as they believed that anything which acted with atoms created a reaction thereby keeping the atomic structure in constant flux. Kekule, however, doubted this hypothesis and spent years studying chemical structure. The exact nature of the structure eluded him until one evening when he let his conscious mind go and allowed his unconscious to take over.

Kekule claims that he stopped writing and dozed off to sleep. He saw atoms whirling and dancing before his eyes. The atoms then began to reassemble themselves into long rows that seemed to move about in a snake-like motion. As he watched the snake dance, the vision progressed until the snake formed itself into an image he had seen years before at the 1850 murder trial: the snake devouring its own tail.

Kekule states that he awoke as if struck by lightning. He realized in a flash that the problem he had worked on for years had been solved not by studying, but by the serendipitous intervention of a dream."

When looking at how the banks run the US, one sees the Ouruborus as the symbol of futility...

"Goldman Sachs Group Inc is on pace to make record bonus payouts after a robust first half, the Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday."

Why?

"Let's remember that Goldman got roughly $10 billion in AIG-funneled money to "settle" CDS that their CEO said was a fully-hedged position and which would have had no material impact if AIG had gone down, mostly because they had collected nearly all of the hedge before AIG got in serious trouble.

That is, they got paid twice - once with their hedge (good move guys) and again by government fiat, directed by Henry Paulson who coincidentally used to run Goldman.

Also note the size of the first-quarter profit, multiply by four (assuming equally good results) and then compare against the "extra" payout through AIG to figure out whether there would be any bonus pool absent that payment.

Looks to me like the US Taxpayer is funding all of Goldman's bonuses, never mind this ditty:

Last week, the firm predicted that President Barack Obama's government could issue $3.25tn of debt before September, almost four times last year's sum. Goldman, a prime broker of US government bonds, is expected to make hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from selling and dealing in the bonds.

Nice, eh? Do Treasury's bidding, get paid for it, get an extra $10 billion from the taxpayer as a gift to cover a bet you had already hedged against default, and pocket it all.

Change we can believe in - yep, we'll steal even more than we did under The Bush Administration!"


The Fix is in but we already knew that, right?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Quiet Conversations

"Sagebrush is a coarse, hardy silvery-grey bush with yellow flowers and grows in arid sections of the western United States. It is the primary vegetation across vast areas of the Great Basin desert. Along rivers or in other relatively wet areas, sagebrush can grow as tall as 3 m (10 feet), but is more typically 1-2 m tall.

Sagebrush has a strong pungent fragrance, especially when wet, which is not unlike common sage. It is, however, unrelated to common sage and has a bitter taste. It is thought that this odor serves to discourage browsing."

But the real point to the story is the fact Sagebrush communicates and engages in "Self Recognition"

"The sagebrush communicated and cooperated with other branches of themselves to avoid being eaten by grasshoppers, Karban said. Although the research is in its early stages, the scientists suspect that the plants warn their own kind of impending danger by emitting volatile cues. This may involve secreting chemicals that deter herbivores or make the plant less profitable for herbivores to eat, he said.

What this research means is that plants are "capable of more sophisticated behavior than we imagined," said Karban, who researches the interactions between herbivores (plant-eating organisms) and their host plants."

For us, air carries sound to enable vocal communication, for plants, air acts as a contact point for communication.



"We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends.
We turn clay to make a vessel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends.
We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends.
Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not."
- Tao Te Ching

A Good Black Swan

“We propose ways of harvesting oil from diatoms, using biochemical engineering and also a new solar panel approach that utilizes genetically modifiable aspects of diatom biology, offering the prospect of “milking” diatoms for sustainable energy by altering them to actively secrete oil products,” the scientists say. “Secretion by and milking of diatoms may provide a way around the puzzle of how to make algae that both grow quickly and have a very high oil content.”

The research sounds right, now only if it can be scaled.
ay, there's the rub: - Hamlet
Click here for more info.

Culture 101 :)

Get Fuzzy

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hemp, the Wonder Weed

Hemp, the non stoning cousin of Cannabis, is pretty amazing stuff. To whit...

"Industrial hemp has many uses, including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, and fuel.[1] It is one of the fastest growing biomasses known,[2] and one of the earliest domesticated plants known.[3] It may be environmentally helpful, for example hemp requires fewer pesticides,[4] no herbicides,[5] controls erosion of the topsoil, and produces oxygen. Furthermore, hemp can be used to replace many potentially harmful products, such as tree paper (the processing of which uses chlorine bleach, which results in the waste product polychlorinated dibensodioxins, popularly known as dioxins, which are carcinogenic, and contribute to deforestation), cosmetics, and plastics, most of which are petroleum-based and do not decompose easily. "

To add fuel to the fire, :) here's a blurb from Alternet:

"In terms of sustainability, there are numerous reasons to grow hemp," says Patrick Goggin, a board member on the California Council for Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial-hemp advocacy group.

Goggin launches into its environmental benefits: Hemp requires no pesticides; it has deep digging roots that detoxify the soil, making it an ideal rotation crop -- in fact, hemp is so good at bioremediation, or extracting heavy metals from contaminated soil, it's being grown near Chernobyl.

Hemp is also an excellent source of biomass, or renewable, carbon-neutral energy, and its cellulose level, roughly three times that of wood, can be used for paper to avoid cutting down trees, an important line of defense against global warming.

When it comes to hemp, environmental gains are inexorably intertwined with economic ones. The auto industry, hardly synonymous with being green but which has had the research dollars to apply new technology, can vouch for Goggin. For years European car makers have been using hemp-fiber-reinforced composite materials to replace fiberglass and in other components, such as door panels or dashboards. And now their American counterparts have joined in."


"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt". - (Act I, Scene IV). - Measure for Measure - Shakespeare

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Complexity Squared

It appears the Infrastructure! focus on the June 14, 2009 issue of the NY Times Sunday Magazine has struck a nerve with many people in the blog sphere as it covers interesting aspects of the underlying costs and complexities of civilization starting with data overload and ending up with urban renewal and high speed train access in America (???). Regarding the data bit (no pun intended), it's rather obvious the web has changed computing forever.


"Data centers worldwide now consume more energy annually than Sweden. And the amount of energy required is growing, says Jonathan Koomey, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. From 2000 to 2005, the aggregate electricity use by data centers doubled. The cloud, he calculates, consumes 1 to 2 percent of the world’s electricity.

Much of this is due simply to growth in the number of servers and the Internet
itself. A Google search is not without environmental consequence — 0.2 grams of CO2 per search, the company claims — but based on E.P.A. assumptions, an average car trip to the library consumes some 4,500 times the energy of a Google search while a page of newsprint uses some 350 times more energy. Data centers, however, are loaded with inefficiencies, including loss of power as it is distributed through the system. It has historically taken nearly as much wattage to cool the servers as it does to run them. Many servers are simply “comatose.” “Ten to 30 percent of servers are just sitting there doing nothing,” Koomey says. “Somebody in some department had a server doing this unique thing for a while and then stopped using it.” Because of the complexity of the network architecture — in which the role of any one server might not be clear or may have simply been forgotten — turning off a server can create more problems (e.g., service outages) than simply leaving it on."

In comparison, consider mass transit in America or the lack thereof...

"This is a story not about Amtrak but about trains, and the problem with any story about trains in America is that you often find yourself thinking about Amtrak, and you often find yourself thinking about how nice it would be if you weren’t thinking about Amtrak. This is especially true when you’re actually riding on Amtrak, which happened to be the case one morning in March when I boarded the Pacific Surfliner in downtown Los Angeles for a 500-mile trip, mostly up the coast, to Sacramento. Anyone who lives in California can tell you that this is folly: other ways of traveling from Los Angeles to Sacramento are quicker and less frustrating and not much more expensive. You can fly in 90 minutes for around $100. Or you can drive in six hours for less than $50 in gas. For $55, my Amtrak journey was scheduled to take at least 12 hours 25 minutes. With any luck, I would arrive there by 9 p.m. And it was fairly obvious to me that I would need some luck, because my ticket to Sacramento had not bought me a train ride, exactly, but a train-bus-train ride. In San Luis Obispo, I would get off the Surfliner and board an Amtrak bus; in San Jose, I would get off the bus and board a different train to Sacramento. There was little room for error: a slow train and I would miss the bus; a slow bus and I would miss the second train. It’s true I could have taken other trains to Sacramento instead, but these had their own drawbacks. The Coast Starlight, for instance, which runs north along the Pacific Coast from L.A., doesn’t involve any buses, but travel time is an estimated 13 hours 44 minutes. What’s worse, the Starlight, a k a the Starlate, is a train of such legendary unreliability that it is not so much a train as an anti-train. In the past it has been known to run 11 or 12 hours behind schedule and post an on-time percentage in the single digits."

Now that we know Amtrak is a raging success, Remaking Paris explores the enormous difficulties of remaking the 'burbs' into something decent, a task which will cost the French billions and take years to finish.

"One of the first things Sarkozy did after he moved into the Elysée Palace was to convene a meeting of prominent architects and ask them to come up with a new blueprint for Paris. “Of course,” he said, “projects should be realistic, but for me true realism is the kind that consists in being very ambitious.” His job was to clean up the city’s working-class suburbs, and at the same time build a greener Paris, the first city to conform to the environmental goals laid out in the Kyoto treaty.

The results, a year later, may be the beginning of one of the boldest urban planning operations in French history. A formidable list of architects — including Richard Rogers, Jean Nouvel, Djamel Klouche and Roland Castro — put forward proposals that address a range of urban problems: from housing the poor to fixing outdated transportation systems to renewing the immigrant suburbs. Some have suggested practical solutions — new train stations and parks — while others have been more provocative, like Castro, who proposed moving the presidential palace to the outskirts.

The architects will continue to refine their ideas over the next year, so it is unclear what form the final plan will take. And Sarkozy has yet to say how he would pay for such an ambitious undertaking. Whatever their chance of being realized, however, these proposals force us to rethink what it means for Paris to be Paris, and how to fix our faltering cities. At a time when “infrastructure” has become a catchword of politicians around the world, these plans offer a glimpse of what a sustainable, more egalitarian city might look like and the role government might play in shaping one."

After reading all of this, I am forced to ask inconvenient questions like, who will pay for these projects (and others like these) and is this the right way to go? Building high speed train service in CA will cost a cool 33 billion while Obama has proposed 13 billion to do the same for the US as a whole.

  • Question, how much does CA get and do they have the funds to pick up the slack, especially when CA is broke, (like the US) and lacks the wherewithal to do anything of consequence.
  • Question 2, how many people will use the service and what impact will the emergence of web driven telepresence and immersive tech have on travel itself and...
  • Question 3, would CA benefit more by repairing the current service to make it reliable and efficient and charge a nominal fee like $10 to encourage use of same thus saving billions of dollars it doesn't have while reducing pollution and the use of cars on it's overused interstate highways. In fact, wouldn't it be better to rebuild mass transit without resorting to high speed tech because existing tracks will not work and the cost for same, as seen by the NY Times article, is totally out of hand.

It's food for thought.

Another reason for hesitation on believing whether any of this wonderful stuff will happen centers not only on the fact peak oil is alive and well (and no longer providing cheap money to the economy) but also on tech itself because rolling out cheap, efficient and reliable technology able to replace the oil driven systems of today will be am extremely expensive and heart wrenching process at best due to the inherent vagaries of the real world. Read A Telling Statement to see why.

Living within one's means is a good thing, something I intend to learn more about after chancing upon the gem seen below. Looks like another $26.40 will leave my pocketbook in pursuit of reading something truly worthwhile like Leon Kier's The Architecture of Community.

"This book is Mr. Krier''s gift to the coming generations-who, otherwise, have been left saddled by us with little more than extravagant debts in every way you could imagine. They are going to have to inhabit what remains of this planet, along with whatever remains of its resources, when we are gone, and Mr. Krier''s heroic, often lonely labors, have produced this indispensable beacon of principle and methodology to light their way home." (James Howard Kunstler from the book's afterword )

The Mystery of Banking

A must read.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Dilbert.com
This sums up my feelings about Dick Cheney as he runs around trying to find out if he's human.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Be Bold

"Federal internet regulators wants your help coming up with the first ever, national broadband plan — which they must deliver to Congress next February. At stake are billions of dollars in government funds, the nation’s standing in world broadband rankings, the digital divides between rich-and-poor and town-and-country, and perhaps even the future of the U.S. economy.

President Barack Obama has called for the United States to become a leader again in internet access — now that the nation pitifully trails Europe, Japan and Korea in both speed and affordability."


To that end, Wired put together a letter containing some excellent suggestions, the most important of which is... Be Bold.

"For instance, many readers support a model where the internet’s pipes aren’t owned by ISPs anymore. They’d rather multiple companies be able rent the shared lines and compete on service, a model that has worked in Britain. Australia uses a version of that model to build a national fiber and wireless network that will serve all Australia." (This model also applies to Japan and Korea as well.)

"Others argued that cities that want to lay their own broadband should be allowed to do so, and the nation’s incumbent telecoms need to stop fighting them at the ballot box and in court:

“We need to stop giving these companies this freedom to stop or delay buildouts of municipal fiber networks. If I had enough money to fund UTOPIA in Salt Lake, I’d jump on it in a heartbeat but I know that I would be facing at least a 2 or 3 year battle in courts with Qwest and Comcast…. If they’re not going to take us on the path to true broadband access then these companies should step aside!”


Last but not least, the article points the way for us to make comments of our own by clicking here.

Who knows, perhaps the government might actually get this right with a little help from people like you and me because after all, the nation's future depends on it. :)

A Billion & Counting


For forty years, computer scientist's have longed for reliable memory able to stand the test of time. Looks like they may have it if this tiny tech scales to real world proportions.

"When it comes to data storage, density and durability have always moved in opposite directions - the greater the density the shorter the durability. For example, information carved in stone is not dense but can last thousands of years, whereas today’s silicon memory chips can hold their information for only a few decades. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have smashed this tradition with a new memory storage medium that can pack thousands of times more data into one square inch of space than conventional chips and preserve this data for more than a billion years!"


Rust never sleeps. - Neil Young

Neither does tech - RM

Friday, June 05, 2009

Exihibit A on why the Political System is Broken

"As the health insurance industry and its defenders in Congress lay out their case against permitting a public option in a reform bill, perhaps their most curious argument is that some 119 million Americans are ready to dump their private plans and jump to something more like Medicare – and that’s why the choice can’t be permitted.

In other words, the industry and its backers are acknowledging that more than
one-third of the American people are so dissatisfied with their private health insurance that they trust the U.S. government to give them a fairer shake on health care. The industry says its allies in Congress must prevent that.

The peculiar argument that 119 million Americans must be denied the public option that they prefer has been made most notably by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which is one of two panels that has jurisdiction over the health insurance bill.


“As many as 119 million Americans would shift from private coverage to the government plan,” Grassley wrote in a column for Politico.com. That migration, Grassley said, would “put America on the path toward a completely government-run health care system. … Eventually, the government plan would overtake the entire market.”


Grassley’s logic is that so many Americans would prefer a government-run plan that the private health insurance industry would collapse or become a shadow of its current self. That, in turn, would lead even more Americans entering the government plan, making private insurance even less viable.


Rarely has an argument more dramatically highlighted the philosophical question of whether in a democracy, the government should represent the people’s interests or an industry’s."


To see another BRT take on this issue, click here.

" The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. " - I. F. Stone


Addendum: The press SP blackout continues unabated as seen in Media Channel's article titled. Media Quarantine of Single Payer Continues.

Oh, I forgot, Congressional Health Care is single payer. Seems what's good for the goose is not for the gander.

Addendum II: People are starting to speak up as Single Payer gathers steam. It appears the commercial approach to this governmental problem is starting to lose steam in spite of Obama's support. One can only hope.

Addendum III: "Less than a month after 13 single-payer advocates were arrested protesting the exclusion of single payer, it is at the table in both Houses, making progress while the multi-payer pro-insurance reform is faltering."

Zeitgeist may be in play here, don't you think? :)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Telling Statement

Industry Fears Americans May Quit New Car Habit

When reading this NY Times article, I was struck at the arrogance and stupidity of car manufacturers designing cars to self destruct in order for us to buy new ones. Year after year, the gripes would pile on GM, Chrysler and Ford regarding equipment that simply did not last, where craftsmanship took a back seat to marketing while easy credit based on oil would enable people, in George Carlin's words, to buy crap they don't need with money they don't have.

Welcome to the new broke America where innovation has taken, hopefully, a temporary vacation while stupidity, passivity and greed reigned supreme using god as the mantra to put forth empty platitudes extolling America's so called manifest destiny onto a world changing faster then thought possible thanks to tech and the web, engines of creation developed by a tiny segment of the population who ignore the ongoing BS mouthed off by a significant segment of the willfully ignorant who call themselves Americans.

In reading about the false recovery mavens vs. the doom and gloom guys, (I lean toward the latter with reservations...) one sees a lack of nuance and common sense in trying to understand just what the hell is going on. For starters, here's a partial list of conditions and facts you rarely see in network news.

  1. Black swans are everywhere as quantum theory and chaos dictate unexpected events of tremendous impact rule. Rogue waves are a perfect example of this as is the blowback caused by the elimination of the Glass Stegall act courtesy of Bob Rubin and Phil Gramm.
  2. Stuff that works in the lab doesn't always equate to success in the real world. (read No. 1.) as gotchas abound in the chaotic reality in which we inhabit. Just take solar energy where it's a researcher's paradise and a manufacturer's nightmare due to the fact new breakthroughs are being discovered on a daily basis thus inadvertently delaying the manufacturing of really powerful solar energy hardware because nothing is worse then spending millions on a tech made obsolete even before the first product reaches the marketplace. Note: Once research finally centers on a set of cost effective, highly efficient and easily manufactured materials able to be configured in many different ways, solar will eventually become the biggest industry in the world, an impact that will, in part, free us from the tyranny of oil and coal. Time frame, 5-10 years.
  3. The financial system is broken. Factoid 1. We pay interest whenever we burrow our money from the Fed and the IRS is the agent collecting said interest. Factoid 2. The Fed cannot be audited. Factoid 3. The Fed is a private cartel protected by government. Factoid 4. The Treasury is on the hook for 12.8 trillion dollars with the majority of funds going to WS banks. Factoid 5. Derivatives created by the 5 biggest Wall Street Banks tally over 180 trillion dollars while the world's GNP is 56 trillion. (BRT has this data, just search and ye will find. :))
  4. The political system is broken. Politicians take orders from lobbyists and corporations as these parties fund their endless reelection campaigns, thus obtaining loyalty at public expense as seen by Congress ignoring the will of the people regarding bank bailouts and single payer health care.
  5. This economic crisis is NOT the same as in 1929 because in 1929, the US had money, oil and the best mass transit system in the world. (The depression was caused by the Fed tightening up the money supply, thus eliminating credit because without burrowing, there is no money.)
  6. Tech advances at double exponential rates but rolling it out into the real world at large enough scales does not (See no 2.)
  7. The inherent complexity of modern civilization is exceedingly fragile. i.e., the action of one errant car can totally stop traffic on any interstate highway at any point in time.
  8. Tech is far from perfect because we build it. Any questions?
  9. Global warming is the game changer writ large.
  10. The disconnect between tech, finance and politics is accelerating with no end in sight.
  11. Reality is a communicative/transaction process e.g. The photon, (light) carrier of the electromagnetic force, impacts every aspect of our existence. Without carrier particles such as the photon (gravitons/gravity, gluons/strong force, W & Z particles/weak force) the universe, and the information contained within it, would cease to exist.
  12. The singularity is near if we have enough energy and capital to make it happen, something many techies conveniently ignore while expounding on this exciting (and somewhat disquieting) prospect.
  13. Religion & government, it's all about control because it's much easier to comply and accept then to resist and question.
  14. Peak oil is here, something we must deal with if we are to survive as a viable species.
  15. One cannot predict the future due to the law of initial conditions, quantum theory and chaos.
  16. Governments lie - IF Stone
  17. We can make a difference if we have the courage and vision to do so.
  18. Education is the key to surviving in the connected and chaotic world of the 21st century.
  19. Creativity resides in everyone. The trick is finding where it resides and encouraging people to express it.
  20. Language and environment define how we view reality.
  21. The most intense advancement in tech happens in time of war.
  22. The military/industrial/congressional complex, in conjunction with the banks, are bankrupting the country. Just look at the budget and bailouts to see why.
  23. The status quo is no longer acceptable if this country is to survive. It's time to take our country back before it's too late.
  24. The next 30 years will be difficult at best because fundamental change is a bitch to deal with. Just ask the Romans (and many others) about this fact as nothing is too big to fail.
First Contact, the best Star Trek flick made prior to the 2009 edition, shows the world of 2063 to be a place where sustainability remains problematic while tech marches on as seen by Dr. Zefram Cochrane's development of warp drive. It's frontier time in the dawn of a new age where optimism, tempered by practicality, points the way to a future that can benefit us all.

Being stupid and consuming no longer works, being intelligent and resourceful does, always.

Friendship
The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money. - Mark Twain