Category Archives: Politics

I give you ONE wish

Here are the rules:

You get one wish.

It will come true the moment you utter the sealing spell “that is my wish.”

It must be specific, that is, enactable by an omnipotent being (me). Meaning, it cannot be vague, “I wish for world peace.” (What would that mean? And how would any omniscient, omnipotent being apply that to the Universe?)

It can apply to any era in the history of the Universe; to any aspect of existence, any land, sea, creature, peoples or culture.

Go.

For thought fodder here are a few that you might consider. If multiple folks pick similar wishes then I’m sure they will eventually come true. (OK, this might not be possible, but, hey, we’re all living in a material, I mean, virtual world, right?)

  1. I wish that the physics of matter made it impossible for life to evolve.
  2. I wish that altruism balanced aggression in the natural order.
  3. I wish all planets that could harbor life, did harbor life.
  4. I wish that humanity was not alone in the universe and that we would discover this tomorrow.
  5. I wish that telekinetic power was possible.
  6. I wish unicorns existed today.
  7. And elves, flying dragons, 2nd law of thermodynamics defying physics existed too.

 

 


Do you love your slavery?

Aldous Huxley had to have been one of the most prophetic seers ever there was:

“Actually love his slavery… actually happy under the new regime.”

And here we are. The drugs and communication techniques — the internet being both — are controlling and placating us. Are we beginning to love our enslavement?

Here is evidence of how we will embrace our chains and shackles:
“In one 2015 [patent] application, Google, which also owns smart-home device maker Nest, described a smart-home system that could be configured to identify emotions through “audio signatures of crying, laughing, elevated voices, etc.,” or send an alert when a child who was home alone got up to “mischief” based on whether the child was unusually quiet or active.”

“Oh, yes please, monitor the sounds within my home to determine whether I or my loved ones are happy or undergoing stress of some sort.” (And when you do, pipe in soothing, mind-control music+ads, auto-spray a calming agent into the air and/or auto-drone deliver a set of pharmaceuticals so that we might reduce the angst in my household.)

A “safe” environment may be the last thing we really need in our lives.

We are our own worst enemy.

 


Country size: An interesting perspective

 

RelativeSizesOfCountries

Here’s a curious image.

I’m not sure I recall where I found the site on which I built that, but, what it allowed me to do is drag countries around to see their relative sizes. (Alaska is rotated to bolt to the US.)

I lined all the biggest along the equator, from largest on down. You’ll notice that those countries managed to fit along the equator just as you see — end to end — all the way around. Now, wouldn’t that be a curious world to live upon; with seas between each of nine continents, and oceans above and below and of course all of the remaining 190 odd countries stuck to the tops and bottoms of those nine (lots of Africa and South America to distribute.) But the tops and bottoms all being oceans — just two of them.

An interesting adjunct to this sequence would be to compare the populations for these countries, given their general shapes, and line them up according to that metric. Hmm, I may have to do exactly that (I’ll hunt around). (Of course there would be countries that show up here that are not shown, vis-a-vis population rank.

I’m struck by the comparatively equivalent sizes of Canada, USA, China, Brazil and Australia. Within 20-30%, they’re about the same land mass.

Just imagine if we could terraform Earth to look like this? Before we terraform Mars, maybe we should consider doing something about living on what we’re not using already…

 


On Monuments

[wikipedia]: A monument is a type of structure that was explicitly created to commemorate a person or event, or which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, or as an example of historic architecture. The origin of the word “monument” comes from the Latin moneomonere, which means ‘to remind’, ‘to advise’ or ‘to warn’.


Perhaps, monuments, as we know them, should be elevated above the concept of commemorating people or events that are political or state oriented.

This means all war memorials, fight or battle memorials, democracy or communism memorials, religious, race or gender memorials — should be downplayed in our human consciousness. After all, every one of those types of monuments represents a divisive line between people.

Instead why not raise monuments to scientific and technological discovery and progress?

  • Where’s the monument to DNA?
  • I’d like to see a monument to Penicillin, the Polio vaccine, the eradication of smallpox.
  • How about a monument to the microscope, the telescope, the radio, the microwave, the x-ray, the rocket?
  • Ohm, Volt, Ampere, and all the other measurement names we get from the discoverers.

There are hundreds of discoveries and inventions — and the discoverers and inventors — who should be commemorated above and beyond those we currently hold in high esteem; those we currently have built monuments for.

Put Science on display as a monument.


The Age of distraction

We now live in the Age of distraction.

How long can you go without reading email, listening for or checking your phone, checking facebook or twitter or the news or paying attention to your pets, or your kids or your partner, your co-workers, or your boss or the idiot driving the Hummer behind you?

Let’s realize that we WILL be distracted. So, let’s prepare for it. Plan for it. Or even better, intentionally include it in our calendar, in our day-planner, in our personal rhythm of work or play.

It’s not going away you know. In fact, I’d wager it’s going to get worse.

We Will Be Distracted.

However, by WHAT will we be distracted? That’s the question now isn’t it?


Know that distraction is a political tool.

While I’m nefariously negotiating with drug companies, tobacco companies, investment banks… Or if I’ve got collusion with such corrupt entities to hide, or, (hold your breath), I’ve got interests with foreign antagonistic country’s agents or leaders… Then I had better give the people something to get riled up about, over there — while I go about my business, over here, out of the limelight.

While we all get twisted up regarding the latest media promulgated HOT TOPICS of the day, remember, the insidious agents of our current government are secretly planning further subterfuge, erosion and destruction of our country’s ideology.

Yeah, we’ll be distracted by these. But don’t let it become a permanent distraction.

Plan to get back to the work at hand, plan to get back to what matters.

 


Aristocracy stymied corptocracy

European countries do not kowtow to corporations the way the United States does. In the US, the corporations own the politicians and they do the bidding of the plutocrats and the oligarchs — you know, the share holders and board members.

But European countries don’t let corporations run the show. And I wondered why this is.

Could it be that because Europe has had the bad taste in its collective mouth regarding kings and queens through the ages, that when it came time to form democratic governments they KNEW how to construct rules of government that limited the power of the powerful?

In the US, the new aristocracy are the corporate plutocrats that run and pay for government. The Koch asshats, and their ilk. When the corporations were just beginning to become “a thing” in the US, the likes of the robber barons, the train tycoons, the oil and steel magnates (Rockefeller and Morgan) we tried to handle them and the monopolies they formed (as all true capitalistic enterprises will eventually try to do). But when dozens, then hundreds and then tens of thousands of corporations and the power they wielded rose and demanded control of the country, its resources and its wealth — US Citizens had NO IDEA what to do? Why? Because we’d never had tyrants trying to run our lives for century after century.

So, is the United States just an aristocratic victim in the making because there’s no way that the plutocrats in power are going to relinquish that power? Or, like Europeans, can we learn to control the corptocracy?


Courtesy Space

I LOVE driving in traffic! No really, I do. And here’s why: I leave Courtesy Space in front of me when I’m driving in traffic. What is Courtesy Space? I’m sure you can guess, but formally what this EXTRA gap between my car and the car in front of me is is an area the assholes impatient of the world feel compelled to commandeer. This space is a gap where folks can merge into when we have to zipper (on-ramp merge). And this space is a cushion which I allow to be squeezed as those in front of me come to a halt while I gradually slow down, keeping those behind me moving, until — quite often — the car before me starts moving again and NEITHER I nor ANYONE BEHIND ME had to STOP!

I call this Courtesy Space. Now, don’t get me wrong; without traffic I’ll gladly drive speed limit + 5mph (on average and on the highways, speed limit or lower on side streets). But in traffic, this is how I drive.

If we all gave each other Courtesy Space THERE WOULD BE NO TRAFFIC PROBLEM. Really.

Here’s the evidence:

CourtesySpaceCalc

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12wHZCrd8AqG0Ob9mjbWenNGpfHUe4ruGYVeUcePHXP8/edit?usp=sharing

Now, this is going to hurt a little bit, but I promise, it’ll feel better when I’m done…

  • Let’s take a 1 mile stretch of highway.
  • On that single lane highway we’ll line cars up, end to end.
  • If we estimate a car is 20 feet long (on average: motorcycles, trucks, SUVs,  delivery, etc.) then we can fit 264 vehicles on that 1 mile stretch.
  • Now, let’s pretend this is a traffic situation and we will slowly roll these 264 cars along at 1 mile per hour (We’ve all been there right?)
  • Then, in 1 hour, we will have moved 264 cars 1 mile,
    or: 264 MHVs – Mile Hour Vehicles. (The left most green square above.)
  • This becomes our baseline for comparison.

With me so far? You’re going to feel a slight pinch in this next part.

  • At 1 mph, let’s say this travel mode is “safe” — having a Caution Factor of 0.
  • Caution Factor is simply a multiple of average car length, in this case 20, that is:
    • CF-0=0 feet
    • CF-1=20 feet
    • CF-2=40 feet
    • CF-3=60 feet…
    • CF-8=160 feet, or 8×20.
  • Caution factor can be thought of as Courtesy Space.
  • Now let’s take those same 264 vehicles on our 1 mile stretch and get them moving at 5 mph. Remember — this is traffic and we have drivers driving these cars.
  • At 5mph we *could* get 1320 MHVs, but we can’t possibly allow cars to travel bumper to bumper without problems so the Caution Factor of 0 is red — no good. And, I’m going to figure that even if we increase the factor to 1 (we’ll leave a whole car length in between each car) that is STILL not safe. So Caution Factor 1 is red also — no good.
  • But at a Caution Factor of 2, that is, 2 times the vehicle length (40 feet in front of each car) well, THAT is safe. And that’s our second green field with 440 MHVs.
  • We got 440 vehicles to go 1 mile in 1 hour with this configuration (5 mph and 40 feet of Courtesy Space.)
  • That’s a lot more cars and no accidents or road rage.

But we can do better… Let’s skip to the far right.

  • Let’s boost the speed to 60 miles per hour!
  • BUT, let’s boost the Courtesy Space by a factor of 8 (a total Courtesy Space of 160 feet between each car.)
  • 160 feet — that’s TWO TENNIS courts end to end. That’s so much space you could put 8 other cars in there.
  • BUT DON’T! That’s our Courtesy Space — we NEED that space for our buffer zone. So, how many cars can we get to travel 1 mile in 1 hour with this configuration?
  • 1760! That’s more than SIX times as many cars as the 1 mile an hour crawl.
  • BUT, BUT look at all that empty space between cars. LEAVE IT!
  • This is the point. By increasing the space between cars * AT SPEED * we can increase the carrying capacity, the Mile-Hour-Vehicles that a road can carry.

(A minor point: Look at that number right next to that 1760: “29” cars per minute. Think about that: car #1 goes by, one-mississippi two-mississippi, car #2… That’s one car every two seconds. Hmm, could that be the two second driving space rule we heard about way back when we were being taught to drive?)

We don’t need more highways? We don’t need road-rage management. What we need is to realize that highways are not parking lots — we don’t add capacity for standing cars. We need to measure traffic by the metric Mile-Hour-Vehicles, that is, how many cars can we get moving as quickly and as safely as possible. Using this measurement we can see that the best way to cure our traffic ills is through Courtesy Space.

Thanks for your time. Here’s a band-aid and a lollipop.