Monday, May 18, 2015
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
I sense opportunity in changing the narrative to count as energy and technology, things that haven't been considered as so by the mainstream.
Food is solar energy. Energy from the sun is converted to a medium that powers living beings to move and grow and live. It still has far higher efficiency than PV, wind etc and is a storage medium.
Permaculture / organic farming is a technology that removes the fossil fuel dependence of food energy. Just because it may not immediately involve silicon chips and wires or handling of poisonous substances doesn't necessarily make this a non-technology.. We can instead look at its sophistications. Wind direction, terrain, light and shade, companion plants, 100% waste recycling, macro and micronutrients management through influencing soil microbes and beneficial insects (coming a long way from the simplistic N-P-K and kill-everything-else doctrines), designs that incorporate water management, location-specific micro-climate adaptation ... It takes farming to totally new levels of sophistication and productivity potential that make conventional fertilizer-pesticide farming and its predecessors look crude, backward and uncivilized.
To top it off, this technology has been proven to not just avoid or reduce CO2 emissions (which is the primary focus of, say, solar PV), but it actually reverses them, sequestering carbon back into the ground. So imagine a solar panel that while providing you with energy that's inherently storage-friendly, also pulls excess CO2 out of the atmosphere, and does not use rare earth metals or have a pile of embodied costs. That's permaculture technology. (Yes there are many other names of this but I suggest we just go with the one that more than one nationality's peoples are already familiar with)
So yes, do keep eyes open for renewables technologies, even forms that haven't been taken into account as yet by a mainstream that chooses to ignore innovations in the world's largest and most primary energy sector (food) when talking about energy.
PS: all technologies have a transition period, with early adopters investing more, feedback cycles for improvement, not getting immediate ROI, time taken for standardization, lack of available resources, learning curve, etc and the one mentioned is probably no different.
Monday, May 4, 2015
the following were detailed out:
1. What misunderstandings are there in the analysis of the problem?
2. What conclusion has been arrived upon and how it's problematic,
what would be the consequences if that conclusion were put into
effect? Specify how the misunderstandings if any are leading to a
3. In which stakeholders' interest is the advocacy being done in. Are
they meant to be stakeholders here to begin with, or are they just an
excuse? Are their interests being truly represented, and is the
advocated solution a true solution for them?
4. Which stakeholders' interests are being ignored?
5. Is there any common ground between the two stakeholders groups
mentioned, are there any similar goals, intentions or problems
6. Is there any genuine reason for the two stakeholder groups to be
pitted against each other?
7. Are there any background intentions behind what has been published,
any stakeholders who aren't being mentioned that would surreptitiously
benefit should the proposed changes be brought about? (example:
textbook publishers, private education industry, etc) Who gains if the
8. What is an alternative change to the status quo that rectifies
misunderstandings, if any, and serves the interests of both the
stakeholder groups mentioned
9. If the status quo is not to be changed and things are fine as they
are, then what are the clarifications that will clear away the
misunderstandings that led to a perception of a problem being there
and needing redress? Is there a motive for any stakeholder to maintain
Friday, May 1, 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
Keeping in mind that the heavy equipment and the drinks are high-value consignments whose cost cannot be covered by the insurance cover, the crew head instructs his staff to start with the crates having tissue boxes first.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
The Secrets to Nonviolent Prosperity: The Principles of Liberty
A Review of "The Secrets to Nonviolent Prosperity: The Principles of Liberty"
The new book by Trevor Z. Gamble - The Secrets to Nonviolent Prosperity (published in paperback and Kindle editions, 2011) - provides a welcoming introduction to ideas that go a long way toward resolving many of our contemporary problems and the deeper concerns behind them. Like many of us, the author realizes that something is amiss in the world. Then he takes us on a journey to find out what is wrong and how it relates to our understanding (or misunderstanding) of politics, economics, human rights - and ultimately, the idea of freedom itself.
Mr. Gamble opens his book like the 12th-century thinker, Bernard of Chartres, by acknowledging his debt to writers who came before him - political scientists, psychologists, and economists who enabled him, in effect, to stand on their shoulders so that he can see a bit farther than they did. And the first thing he sees is that we can do away with the tiresome convention of thinking about politics in terms of "left" and "right" with all of the name-calling that goes with it. And it's not enough, says the author, to point to the villains of history to find out why things have gone wrong. After all, every nightmare-toting dictator in the history of the world was able to get there because he (or she) had plenty of followers willing to do the dirty work. In other words, it's not just them...
In his next chapter, Gamble identifies the concept of "human rights" as a basic source for gaining insights into and unraveling the problems that surround us. He explains and adopts the excellent definition of rights laid out by Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe: self-ownership. Consequently, he defines the most important human right as the right of ownership that one has over one's own body. Better yet, he explains that it is the only self-evident "right" that we can have, and from it, he deduces our ethical concepts of rights to personal property and the constellation of ideas that come into play with that realization. In doing so, he explores the non-aggression axiom that lies at the basis of all fruitful and peaceful human interactions - stressing, as he does so, the inviolability of all human beings as ends in themselves.
Once he has marked out this intellectual and ethical territory, he goes on to explore topics such as equality, property rights, government entitlements, collectivism, majority-rules politics, the natural environment, third-world poverty, and related issues. This would be a daunting task if he didn't do two things that make his book particularly enjoyable to read.
* First he enlivens his narrative by breaking it up with fascinating quotations from figures that loom large in literature, politics, and history. What makes his use of these quotations especially useful, however, is how and when he inserts them into the text. These quotes appear in the most unexpected places, and they call a complete halt to our thinking - forcing us to engage our minds and question our assumptions. The reader is continually shocked by the unsavory pedigree of words uttered by a number of "favorite" American icons. At other times, these quotations simply reinforce what Mr. Gamble has attempted to explain. All of them, however, are delightful in the context of the narrative and well worth the price of the book.
* Second, he ends each chapter with a section entitled "I Object!" It's the author's way of entering into a dialog with readers who may disagree strongly with the things he has been writing. By including these objections, Mr. Gamble anticipates some of the most common complaints that can be registered against his viewpoint, and he addresses them fairly. This alone sets him apart from writers who are so convinced of their brilliance that they can't imagine anyone disagreeing with them about anything.
Once we are grounded in the ethics of self-ownership and non-aggression as the bases for constructive human relationships, Mr. Gamble's remaining chapters address the following topics:
* Money, central banking, hard currency, debt, and the source of inflation and economic manipulation
* Taxes and their meaning in our lives and in our relationship with others
* The real meaning of profits, capitalism, democracy, and the nation-state
* The how and why of bailouts, price fixing, tariffs, innovation, labor unions, social security, and tax-funded undertakings
The penultimate chapter is one of my favorites. The author devotes it to dispelling a good number of commonly held myths. Among them are favorites such as the following:
* Self-sufficiency (a favorite of nationalists)
* Local buying (its good and bad points)
* Inequality and its value to us
* The idea that one person's loss is another's gain
* Free trade and its imposters
* Employers as tyrants
* The meaning of capitalism vis-à-vis communism
In his final chapter, Mr. Gamble asks a thought provoking question: what should we do? He clearly wishes to see improvements come quickly, but how are we to accomplish change? Hint: not by depending upon promises by politicians. After exploring a number of different approaches to change, he seems to choose the route that all of us are capable of enacting - changing how we ourselves interact with others and calmly discussing our insights with friends and acquaintances. This is not a call for destroying or compelling or storming or squatting. It is a call to reasoned discussion and an invitation to make changes in our own lives - including how we interact with our own children.
And that brings us back to where we began, doesn't it? After all, if we can raise a generation of children who have been respected and treated as inviolable human beings, won't they be able to stand on our shoulders and see even farther than we do? And if you are passionate about human rights and liberty (but find it difficult to express yourself), The Secrets to Nonviolent Prosperity can do your talking for you. Try it, and see for yourself.
How opposing one defective Car model doesn't make one anti-technology [GM issue explained for technology lovers]
The present GM varieties being marketed, those being in focus, are defective models that a company shouldn't be pushing to market. Kind of like releasing a car model whose braking system the company's management internally knows tends to get defective after the first 10,000kms, so they decided to test the car only for 1000 kms. Results were positive so it went into production and is now being aggressively marketed. The industry regulator believes that there is no further independent testing of the car needed since they already know that it is safe, from the 1000km test. The top boss of the regulatory commission happens to be the car company's former high-level employee. Oh, and IPR (intellectual property rights) laws ban any third party from conducting any kind of tests on the car, they're quite strict about that. If you as an independent consumer try to conduct any test or research on this car model, you're likely to get sued and loose everything you have in lifelong litigation, and your research results likely cannot be accepted as evidence. Hence, the car company isn't doing the tests needed and isn't letting anyone else do them either.
The car is now released for open trials, which isn't actually a test for safety; it's one for studying financial potential and performance metrics. But people are led to falsely believe it's a safety test and the car company likes it that way. This test isn't being conducted in separate off-limits proving grounds or Top Gear style retired airport runways where the car being tested wouldn't interact with normal civilian traffic.. several units of the car are actually being driven actively all throughout the country, including on the streets you cross everyday, highways, expressways, AutoBahns etc, by regular people and with children in the back seat. The law of the land has exempted the company from any liability or any obligation for call-back or money-back should anything unfortunate happen, since the regulatory agency has already declared it to be safe. No one wants to talk about what will start to happen when the users of this car cross the 10,000km mark. Right now there are very few first-buyers who have, and the company is quick to respond to any complaints with the standard "it's the driver's fault, we are not liable" reply.
So it's not like the flagship products of the GMO sector have "a few chinks to iron out". The very technologies they are based upon have lost their core USPs in light of emerging realities, and have become redundant. You can't make an improved version of a floppy disk : it's pointless, you need to go back to the drawing board and look at the whole thing again from an improved understanding of the science of food.
http://gmoseralini.org/ : this European scientist repeated Monsanto's same feeding trial on rats that had "proved" safety of their GM products, but made one tiny alteration: He ran the experiment for 2 years instead of Monsanto's 3 months. (after which their opposition to independent testing really kicked in!) The result : After 2 years of eating them, those GM foods seem to be the exact opposite of safe, and the rats that managed to survive the feeding trial are just not what you'd call "perfectly healthy". To this day, Monsanto is refusing to accept the research's results, but not daring to repeat it, which would have been the scientific way of proving something wrong, which happened to them (Seralini repeated their study and got disputing results). They even terminated another long-term study of theirs midway and refused to share the results with anyone. So for someone who supports science, it's worth questioning which side of science are GM producers on? If they are pro-science, then why are they and their supporters opposing independent scientific research?
Result? Organic won hands down. Greater yield per unit area, lower costs, lower inputs, lower CO2 emissions, negative damage to soil (ie, soil health improved year on year). Everything that the world's scientists and our governments have been desiring from a technology to grow food, delivered without the pesky patents or high input costs. And what's more, it's an industry alternative that while lowering the bottom line, actually creates more jobs (with zero work related illnesses) at the same time! Organic technology has much higher job creation opportunities, while simultaneously having much lower costs than GM technology! Now you'd object that this organization might have had some bias (but apparently Monsanto conducting its own tests has no bias). May I point you to the scientific method : The best way to prove a research study wrong is by repeating the experiment as defined and publishing your results.
And that's pretty much what all your "anti-technology" friends are trying to tell you. Nobody's being anti-technology. They're just warning about defective products that can cause irreversible harm. That is all. On the other hand, they are also actively supporting organic technology which seems much more promising, so it would be nice if we didn't have anti-technology and anti-science people and mega corporations unnecessarily harming progress.