Saturday, September 29, 2007

Aspartame "causes cancer" in strict laboratory testing. This is no surprise to people like me who get severe migraines every time I drink something that has aspartame in it, even without my foreknowledge. I've avoided the stuff for years just because it fucks me up.

"In fact, the results indicate that APM causes, in our experimental conditions, a) an increased incidence of malignant-tumor-bearing animals with a positive significant trend in males (p ≤ 0.05) and in females (p ≤ 0.01)"
Source:
http://www.ehponline.org/members/2005/8711/8711.html
Graph:
http://www.ehponline.org/members/2005/8711/tab2.jpg

Journalist Analysis of study:

The study uses a special hybrid of lab-rats which have a shorter lifespan than other creatures, and is susceptible to human diseases. They make it easier to perform important life-cycle studies over a more reasonable period of time. It takes 60+ years to study humans. The study was performed on young rats and continued until the last rat died. Because all things eventually die, obviously ALL the rats died from one cause or another. "Natural death" is usually due to system failure at some point. The biological machine is not perfect.

39% of the control group died of cancerous causes. This is not at all unusual or deserving of being called out as a problem, in that all rats were studied until death. Some things get cancer even without dosing them. Above 20ppm, a significant increase in cancer related deaths is proved. Nearly 60% died of cancer at the higher dosages, which are equal to drinking about 2 liters of soda per day for a few years if you're about 140lbs.

In other words, humans can be given cancer from asparame. It is now a "known carcinogen."

Again, the study isn't saying that *everyone* will get cancer from aspartame, but that it's an elevated risk, and it's absolutely an exposure to that risk. I choose to take that information as the same kind of warning given when I see a sign that says "bridge out."

Seriously.

D

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Everyone is talking about housing values lately. 40 year sales lows, highest foreclosure rate since the Great Depression, and ownership are all hot topics in the news. The news media today isn’t doing a very good job, and here’s why. They aren’t telling the whole story. I can’t blame them for not wanting to scare you, well actually, I can. Usually all the news media does is try to scare people into acting to benefit corporate ownership. Obviously, this sort of bad news is the kind of thing they don’t want to get too analytical about.


In 1940 the average sale price for a house was just under three thousand dollars. Almost 16 million homes, or 45.3%, did not have “plumbing”. IE, there’s a toilet in the back yard, washer on the back porch, and sink on the front porch. In other words, these were hand-built or literally home-made houses. People still built their own homes. The total US population was over 130 million.


Now we start to see some interesting deviations from the government’s own data, and I want very much to illustrate just how far the deviations are internally. Still in the 1940s, census.gov claims that 46.5% of Americans owned their homes. But, there were ~16 million without plumbing, and 17 million that had plumbing, for a total of 33 million homes give or take a few thousands. 130 million Americans divided by 33 million homes is not 46.5%, but a great deal less. Less than 25% of Americans owned their homes.


The only possible explanation for such a huge discrepancy is the way they measured the data. This is how most data is skewed by federal agencies, or independent “studies”, by fiddling with the standards used to measure the data. Census.gov is only talking about people living in a house. 45.6% of them own the house, the other 54.4% are house RENTERS. They don’t say how many of the owners owed the bank for a significant portion of the value of the house at the time.


This data obviously ignores anyone living in anything but a house, or some 97 million Americans, and about 76% of the population. Neither my own nor the US total population figures include transient homeless, illegal immigrants, or expatriots. They are not counted as people at all, unfortunately.


First of all, the government loves to manipulate figures by adjusting them for “inflation” but what inflation values do they use? It’s not stated. It’s also inaccurate to say that a 3K home in 1940s is equal to 30K in 2000 dollars, because although the dollar has certainly dropped value, it’s not matched by the inflation against earned income. True inflation is the loss of income. The dollar drops by 10 times, but the rate of pay has not increased by 10 times. Minimum wage in the 1940s was 0.30 an hour, and was 5.15 an hour in 2000. That’s an 18 times increase over 60 years, but homeowners have never earned minimum wage, and you can’t qualify for a home loan with such low income. The problem is that “median” income rose only $8,300 between 1970 and 2000, an increase of just over 1.2% over 30 years. I can’t find median income data from the 1930s or 40s from any source available on the internet, and the US Census hasn’t distributed that data or never gathered it.


Being as the data necessary for comparison is unavailable, I am forced to perform a scientific extrapolation. General economic data indicates that the median income increased during the missing data years. Economic statements by economic professionals indicate that except for the Great Depression and recovery period totaling about 7 years, there was general prosperity. Thus, it is acceptable to assume that the recent 30 year increase of 1.2% can be extrapolated back to at best, 1940, for an additional 1.2%. A total of 2.4% is believed to be ballpark but not accurate. In direct language, the income of home owners only increased by 1/5th in 60 years. Let’s round up, to absorb error, and claim a full 100% leap, or a doubling of income. Even had homeowner income actually doubled, it would not have kept up with a ten-fold increase in the price of a new home.


Yes, these values are not inflation adjusted but actual dollars fixed in each relevant decade. Fiddling with figures allows people to do one thing well, and that’s to tell a lie. Raw data may mislead, give an incomplete picture, but it’s nearly inconceivable that verified raw data would be false after 60 years of publications and review. Yes, adjusting for inflation gives a better view of the percentages relevant or proportional to modern values, but that’s only A POINT OF VIEW, not real data. No average house was sold for 30K in the 1940s. They sold for 3K. The dollar was worth ten times more in purchasing parity back then, but mislabeling the 1940 dollar amounts with 2005 values tells a lie. The percentage of a percentage is a goldmine of misinformation. Primarily, it represents the lie that earnings, taxes, and all other fiscal details were equal. They have never been equal.


A 1940 dollar was backed by gold reserves, was more easily earned, and spent harder. There’s no way to summarize that accurately with a bald percentage, especially not by simply inflating it. That’s what GINI indices were created for.


It would be more accurate, and far less misleading, to state all the charts in 1940 dollars. Then you begin to see the enormity of the distortion of data. Suddenly an average 2005 home is worth 4 million. Median income becomes 360K. Minimum wage rises to a paltry 120K. The cost of living is a factor, you say? Well, thanks for making my point for me.


The cost of living has risen at an average of 4.5% per year, a total of 142.5% just since 1975 (the earliest available figure.) Again, assuming a similar average rate back to 1933 (32 more years and entering the full-swing of the GD,) that’s approaching 300%. Cost of life has at least tripled, and that’s according to very mild government data. In reality the costs of living don’t adequately measure the impact on the poor or the middle classes separately from the rich upper class. A rich woman can cut her hair appointments in half when her unearned income has less value, but a poor woman can’t eat half as much.


In general, home sales are used as a rule of how well the middle class are doing, but how many people are middle class?, Though the exact numbers are debatable, the middle class has long been declared to be shrinking while home sales were increasing. The rich are buying more homes as investments and vacation homes and extended familial residences, but the middle class is scaling back to less expensive homes, or increasingly unable to afford one at all.

The housing crisis people are experiencing in 2007 is a culmination of almost a hundred years of inequity. When you squeeze the middle class you squeeze capitalism. Stock points don’t keep going up without productive earnings behind them. Speculation can’t bank on speculation. Companies don’t earn more when people have to spend less. Wasteful spending by the extremely rich will never replace the middle class. A company can’t sell enough yachts to balance the loss of blue collar jobs. France learned that when King Louis lost his head.


In fact, when only the top 5% of a nation is buying homes, those home would have to be selling at a rate of 1 million houses a year, at no less than 1 million per home, in order to replace the middle class. There is no existing economic plan which makes such a situation possible. 65% of all taxes are paid by small business. Almost 70% of all income tax is paid by the middle class. The entire concept of trickle down economy is as ludicrous as the concept that the Earth is hollow or that it’s flat.


A pyramid scheme is a pyramid, not just in name but in design, and by function. The people at the bottom get ruined, and America has turned our class diamond into a double pyramid (or an hourglass, depending on the point you want to make. It could be argued that Time is the crucial element.) A few poor, a few rich, and large middle class = vibrant economy. More rich, few middle class, and lots more poor = revolution. US banking and the SEC have been engaged in the longest running pyramid scheme in history. The working classes are the people at the bottom, set to pay all the bills due, and suffer all the costs.








Sources:


http://www.census.gov/popest/archives/1990s/popclockest.txt


http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/plumbing.html


http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/owner.html


http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/values.html


http://www.socialsecurity.gov/cola/automatic-cola.htm



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More Proof that it's all just Posturing.

Congress, The President, and the entire basket of snakes that is US politics, is nothing but a thin film of lies. This comes as a surprise only to Captain Obvious, Rod. But, lest I digress, here is more proof:

http://pageoneq.com/news/2007/Secretary_of_State_who_keeps_private_life_shrouded_coowns_home_with_female__0914.html

How could a woman with no male ties, living with and sharing financial accounts with a reputed lesbian, and close friends with many publicly out gay exroommates, sit silently by and watch as her party decimates gay rights? She gives speeches welcoming and praising homosexual public figures, but zips her lip when the Prez talks about the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. Gender/Preference traitor? Class traitor? Race traitor certainly?

How about NO to all of the above. "Condi" Rice is exactly the same as all other politicians: She doesn't believe a single word of what's being said. Politics is nothing more than the art of lying to the public. She doesn't get upset about laws restricting marriage because she knows it doesn't matter. The laws don't apply to her class of people anyway. She rightly understands that a legal definition of marriage is like a Catholic definition of Science, it just doesn't add up to anything.

Nothing matters in a political world where the next 4 year John sitting on the throne of our nation is just another pimp to big business and private interests. The laws will change every four years. Some laws change every two years. After 8 years, the John is disqualified from further pimping and has to let another John take over.

Every word uttered is a baldfaced lie meant only to placate voters, and confuse the news media, who report hawkishly on "official" pap as though it means something serious. Unfortunately, our legal system has claimed the right to seize people or property without reason, to kill without excuse, and to do as it damn well pleases. That's the larger problem.

Politics isn't any dirtier now than it was 200 years ago, it's just that now we have a government that, without international competition for power, feels that it is immortal and godlike. Thank whatever world powers that be, that Russia and China have had enough, and the EU is rightly pissed off at being pissed on. At last we have real enemies again, not barely-funded grassroots terrorist/freedomfighters throwing rocks, but nuclear armed opponents.

Now, the USA has to stand down and look sheepishly around in guilt, as the rest of the world has grown taller than we have, and is prepared to give us a financial wedgie that we'll never forget. Thankfully, there isn't a gods-damned thing we can do about it. That's a good thing.

D

Friday, September 14, 2007

Posted to Webmail at verizon.com

Verizon shouldn't be such a crybaby about the FCC rules actually being "open" or "fair." I am a happy verizon customer, and ALSO a happy google customer. I ALSO have an OpenMoko phone. There is more in this world than is dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.

You don't have to be a monopoly, or even an oligopoly, in order to secure customers and profits. Just offer things people want. Have none of you been to business school? I LOVE my FIOS and I'm not giving it up. I also want google and ANY OTHER COMPANY to be able to use the 700 MHZ spectrum. Quit trying to lock-out competitors because you're only going to fail spectacularly. Not even Microsoft can mess with Google. Their lawyers will eat you alive, and if you're not careful they could BUY your company.

Look at the front page of yahoo.com. Go on, I'll wait, I'm only an email from a minor-league blogger. See? Crybaby, in big bold print. You aren't going to fool anyone.
[Update: Yahoo pinched the article from huffington:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/art-brodsky/verizon-the-biggest-cry_b_64430.html]
My advice to you is to drop the charade and realize that you now live in what the rest of us call the 21st century. The EFF and other major players are against you. My Senator is not your friend, because she knows that her largely-geekish constituents read fluently and are not afraid to sue the government. If you win the FCC ruling, I'll be among tens of thousands of geeks in Seattle petitioning to have the ruling overturned, and I'm a fan of your company.

Don't let Verizon become a laughing stock like AT&T, who is commonly referred to as the death star, AT&FU, and other wonderful things. Look at how SCO is ridiculed. Don't join that crowd, Verizon.

Compete, Listen, Invent, and Sell. If you do those things, you make Billions. How hard is it when companies can offer very little, and get paid so much? For the cost of a satellite or some cell towers, you get Billions. Enjoy it! And make sure you let your customers know how much you appreciate their money.

http://demopoly.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Zero to Deadly Hurricane in 2 days.

"Humberto strengthened from a tropical depression with 55 km/h winds to a hurricane with 135 km/h winds in just 18 hours" NOAA says. That's a 2.45 times increase in less than a day. This pales in comparison to anything, even the most massive F5 tornado, which can drop out of the sky with barely an hour's warning.

Two days ago there *was no* Humberto. In just over 48 hours, we had nothing, and two days later we have a hurricane slamming the coast, travelling completely across the Gulf of Mexico. That puppy was moving. From 11AM Wednesday where it first gathered together as a tropical depression, to Eastern Texas where it finally lost steam and dropped back down to a depression, Humberto wasn't just a fall storm.

The earliest traces of it were only scattered clouds Saturday afternoon. Four days later it has 55km/h winds and becomes a depression. Just hours later it's a Hurricane hitting the US coast. We've already had two Cat-Fives in just over a week. Humberto apparently spent more time on land as a Hurricane than it did over water. Should anyone worry? I'd think so.

Not that I'd live in Florida, but everyone from Texas to New York has reason to be concerned about 150MPH winds that hurricanes can bring, and sustain. These are killing winds. Any airborn item becomes a projectile that can kill. Anything not bolted down becomes airborn. Cars and buildings can be tossed. Huge yaghts can wind up miles inland from the wind-blown surge waters. What the wind doesn't break, the water does.

People saw what Katrina did, and now we know what havoc a category five hurricane can bear. Even inland states are not entirely safe from the hard weather, with torrential rains, sustained high winds, and damage to services. If there was ever a category six, it's easy to see that it could travel right up the mississippi and hit Canada, but we don't need to imagine as-yet unmaterialized hazards. There are record-setting hazards appearing already.

They're coming in faster, the season is longer, they're hitting land more frequently, they're growing faster, and the winds are higher speed. All the data points to an increase in the strength and chaotic nature of weather. I don't think people should gamble that their house can take 200+km/h winds, or that no windblown semi trailers won't come through their roof. The weather has changed, and now we have to build accordingly.

I think that economically depressed housing should be shifted and distributed across largely empty midwest states. Offer them new homes and build a few new colleges to drive industry. Make all new homes in hurricane zones meet stringent Cat-Five requirements just like California homes which have to meet earthquake codes up to 7.5 Richter. In other words, concrete and steel construction, elevated floorplans above surge levels, and no more building cheap condos on the beaches.

Anything less is just darwinian in stupidity.

Science:
http://www.hurricane.com/hurricane-radar-satellite.php
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

General Betrayus, Another GOP Shill.

From the coolest advertisement this year:
http://pol.moveon.org/petraeus.html

Comes this review, and take on America:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robbie-baitz/pack-up-the-moon-and-dism_b_64053.html

With which, I wholeheartedly agree, but have an additional point to make. He states, with stunning clarity that "There is tremendous overlap between neo cons and liberals in consciousness development so the lines are blurred. " Touche'.

I usually feel like the author James Burke of "Connections" fame when presented with such material, and today is no exception to this sensation. Why will become self evident. I need to explain my reasoning to the uninitiated before continuing with my point.

America, land of the Free and home of the brave, has always been based upon the rule of power. We [The national "we"- This used to confuse my literal-minded girlfriend MJ.] fought, stole, bribed or bought the land from various natives and countries. We then installed a government of equity for a reserved class of people, which at the time was rich white landowners. The government is self-correcting, because the representatives directly elected then choose the President from a qualified pool of applicants. A populist Hitler-type can't get elected. Or, couldn't, originally. But, I digress.

The people with the power, at the time, were the smartest, hardest-working, most educated people in the world. They had to be, anything less and America would have failed in the revolution, and we'd all be speaking French now. Let's leave that as an assumption, that they were smart and powerful.

As time went by, the push to a more literal Democracy occurred, a thing which the founders feared but believed that the best people would move forward and triumph. Logically, the smartest should always lead. It used to be true, then. Unexpectedly, in the late 1700s technology began to accellerate, and the iron age was born shortly afterwards. People without a great deal of brains, and often zero education, found historically unprecedented opportunities for wealth. In some cases, extreme wealth, as documented in "The Robber Barons."

Money became a goal unto itself, without morality or reason, and without limitations. Corporations sprang up which quickly began to gobble up local businesses. Macy's was the Walmart of the day. But, back then, a corporation had to sign a charter with the State promising to abide by "all laws" in order to exist. Failure to comply with regulations meant the dissolution of a corporation. Also, the now extremely wealthy Neuvo Riche had unpredictable power within local governments, such as the States and cities. There were little dicatorships, race riots, extermination of minorities, deportation of the poor, and many other sudden problems in cities that were simultaneously growing at astonishing rates.

People came to view this as the cost of Freedom and Democracy, a point pushed upon them by Media owners, IE the Newspapers. Even then the media were corporate owned and controlled. News in the USA has never been unbiased, not since the first moveable-type press went into service, and not since the telegraph first pinged-out codes over wire. The people as a whole thought, as they sank into record poverty, that this was "good business."

Then came the world wars, with the Great Depression between them, and all the evils of capitalism came home to roost, much to the chagrin of Ayn Rand. A "New Deal" was offered the public, one which swept aside some of the ills of capitalism with temporary reprieves, and the government embarked on a surprisingly wise productivity boosting program of self-investment. The quality of life in America rose until it surpassed all the known world, or so we thought.

Actually, during both WW1 and WW2, America and our allies had trashed most of the production capacity of the rest of the planet. Corporate leaders were also military leaders, and it was pretty easy to drop a bomb or two on a competitors facilities during both wars, not to mention the way we have a documented habit of bombing "Colleges, Universities, Hospitals, and Government buildings." [-N. Chomsky, 2005] The truth is, the US military had also conveniently destroyed all national and corporate competition to the United States, worldwide.

During the Cold War years, the US Military complex of joint-corporate leadership and industrialized nationalism rose to the height of power, controlling all US secrets and technology. It also began to exercise political power, and began the slow process of dumbing-down all education systems not tied into the elite military industries. Texas A&M, MIT, and other Universities with close military ties got billions, while all others began to experience funding setbacks. Public K-12 was pared back so rapidly that the new 1950's schools had trouble obtaining supplies to stock the schools. Desks were often donated by local businesses.

The average American became less educated with each generation, while the lazy and quite stupid super-rich reserved the "best" education for themselves. Fortunately for our future selves, they made some pretty large mistakes, not the least of which is the complete lack of a mathematics requirement for an MBA degree from places like Harvard. [They claim such requirements now, but people who can't do basic addition have somehow passed these classes. Bush can't even add single digits correctly without paper and pencil.]

The Uber-rich screwed up by assuming that all knowlege apart from business and management was unimportant. Anything too hard for them to master or control was unimportant, and the role of "research scientist" was born. People who were singled out to do the "hard" work of mathematics, physics, and medicine. Math really isn't hard, it's just that you've NEVER been taught how to fully utilize it. In reality, Calculus is no harder than History of Philosophy or Art Appreciation.

By the 1960s a baby boom entered US colleges and began to fill many "hard" fields with genius people. It's not that it was a genius generation, but just a big one consisting of an unusual birth rate, and as such their numbers are actually quite weak. It's not the "Greatest Generation" but the Most Wasteful Generation. There should have been TEN TIMES more geniuses, based on general population averages from previous decades. They're also known fairly accurately as the "Me Generation" for their selfishness.

Anyway, there was a surge in research, funded by billion dollar corporations and the US military complex. Companies like AT&T invented everything from the mouse to the internet by the end of the 70s, even though much of it wasn't fully public or commonplace until the mid 90s. Meanwhile, the rest of the world was playing catch up. They had to borrow in US dollars to pay our US companies to REbuild their infrastructures. By the time most of our allies had rebuilt, they owed the US billions in US dollar debt. This made the $ the defacto world currency for decades to come, and was intentional. The US formed the UN [On US soil, ignoring multinational pleas for a neutral property] and NATO and the UN Security Council, with the US in roles as solid, immobile leader on all fronts. The world still has to contend with the US being the chair on world politics, even while we constantly violate every UN charter ever ratified.

It wasn't until a few decades later, the 90s, that other nations began to find specialized strength where America had failed to develop. This is due to the lack of mathematical and analytical ability of our elite ruling class. The Harvard and Yale grads have a long record of exemplary failures in world and national politics, science, civil rights, and many other fields. Yet, they continue to rule our nation, and most of the world. We are led not by the smartest, but by the inheritors of vast wealth, who enforce their privilege through corruption, murder, and even genocide.

The US government abolished Corporate obedience to common law in 1963. Now companies can kill or maim, aid the CIA, and do anything at all, but only a single person will be arrested and the company is free to continue violating the laws. The scapegoat salves the public without actually punishing the behavior. It's a perfect crime.

The CIA formed during the McCarthy years, and the Secret Service after Lincolns assassination, but expanded to cover almost any aspect of secrecy in our government. The SS, aptly named, resembles their Nazi Germany counterpart in too many ways. People who might become powerful, or embarass our government, suddenly turn up dead from overdoses the next day. There are over TEN THOUSAND unsolved, and uninvestigated, murders in the USA every year.

Today, the USA is rated #47 out of the best 50 nations for education. #18 for health. Nowhere, on any list, in any category, is the US number 1 except: military strength, number of people executed, % of population in prison, and per-capita poverty levels. In fact, we are only #1 in bad ways. The singulare measurement of wealth is the sole "non-bad" measurement of the USA where we are first, and that is Gross Domestic Product, which is a specially contrived number that includes speculation and other non-real income. In truth, we're probably second to China.

Japan has more internet access. Mongolia has more freedom of press. Ethiopia has better education. Madagascar has better medical. In all important measurements of civil life, or freedom, the USA is far from #1. We are a stone's throw from being imprisoned just for speaking out against our government, and that's not better than China.

Our ruling class is a moron class, much like Marie Antoinette and company, educated only in how to be filthy rich, and little else. It's time to be off with their heads.

D

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Freegans, Vegans, and the Privileged Class

I read articles every day, sometimes hundreds a day, and one thing that has floated to the top of my consciousness is the fact that nearly all these freegan/vegan/othergan new-age hippie types originate, self-declaredly, from upper-middle-class "establishment." Their freedom to preach to us about the wages of sin originates from the very sin that they are preaching against.



In other words, Vegans are typically extremely hypocritical. It's neither free nor easy to be a vegan, and requires extensive high-level networking to be a freegan on top of that. It's something that only a college-educated person could really pull off. The average street kids rummaging through garbage and begging for change, many of whom I'm close friends with, come from very upscale neighborhoods. One of the dirtiest "kids" I know who's 22, bruised, aggressive, vegan, and loves drugs, has parents on Camano Island. He begs for change in Seattle, and he's in many ways a pretty nice guy, apart from the routine drug problems.



I say routine because I'm talking about pot and cheap pills. Another product of a largely affluent middle-class is our war on drugs, which like most wars has been a horrible failure. You can declare a winner by killing someone, but the problems that started the conflict are not resolved. America is so spoiled that the rich kids float around intentionally living on the streets. But, that's not the full story.



We'll call him Paul. His very wealthy parents live on an island that requires a substantial income. He goes home whenever he needs medical, more pot, or just gets tired of sleeping in a blanket under a bridge. His parents think he's "creative." He beats up people who owe him money and abuses drugs heavily. He is the typical kid on a corner in hip areas like Capitol Hill and "the U" Ave. This is no work of fiction, and I see him at games on UW campus.



They tell us to live without gas, meat, oil, and whatnot, but Paul's parents own stocks in large corporations, and he's got a trust fund. Eventually he'll inherit a small company, and at least one property, for which he has never worked a day in his life. What does Paul know?



Mommy and daddy's lawyers prevent most wastrel kids from blowing the wad by feeding them an allowance from an endless trust, one that is based on the economy of American power, and upon the destruction of wildlife, forests, oceans, and HUMANS. Yet, these same privileged new-agers, also known as Trust Fund Hippies or trippies, are well-named. "They be tripping."



The most resonant expose' I've ever seen was Penn and Teller's Bullshit show about Vegans, where they exposed the wealthy roots and ironic privileges that these same people exploit in the act of going to DC to lobby for veganism. They're blind stupid, liberal in the sense that embarasses even me (an uberliberal myself,) and give health food a bad name.



At work they've created an ultra-sensitive lobby group that has entire sections of the kitchen segregated so that none of the impliments, grills, or pots have ever touched meat. Because you know, dense stainless steel retains so much grease when it's heated and washed. Not. There's MORE GREASE IN THE AIR of any restaurant with a grill, than on a washed spatula that once flipped a burger. These IDIOT Vegans are forming a new religion, where they have the right to dictate nonsense to every one else.



I smile as I watch them inhaling the greasy meat fumes from the open grill nearby as they loudly order a spirulina and soy patty, cooked specially on a green grill section and touched only with green colored utensils. Morons. There is no evidence, zero, that living without any meat is actually more healthy or even desirable. We are omnivores and require a small amount of meat to survive. We still have large Canines. You know, the kind of teeth that have one purpose: Tearing meat.



They grab for media attention, write books, influence politics, and infect our workplace. If it were based on any field of science I'd be all behind it, but it's not. It's a religion. A blind faith that eating meat is somehow bad, amoral, immoral, or otherwise wrong. The belief is based on a puritanical view of the world and actually denies significant scientific fact to the contrary. In short, a religion, as I have said.



Now, I don't have the right to force all my coworkers to bow to Buddha, my own favorite, nor do the mormons or catholics have the right or the gall to force all of us to say prayers or get rid of the caffeine in the workplace, but Vegans actually want to stop OTHER PEOPLE from practicing their own beliefs. The friends I have at work are college educated, and some of them are cooks, and what they have to say about the Vegans is disturbing. The cooks complain to me about being bitched out publicly, in very poor form, by any level employee who is offended by what is offered on the menu.



Every cafeteria I've ever been inside, in my entire life, has had a salad bar. Diversity is offered to suit hindu, jewish, and non-food-biased people, et al. There's something for everyone to eat. Nobody tries to force Jews to eat pork, but the Vegans want to force everyone else to stop eating anything but what the Vegans approve of. It's gone so far that the cafeterian manager in one building is complaining about the horrific expense of having to construct not one, not two, but three different cooking facilities in each cafe.



When an industrial dishwasher cleans dishes, including pots and knives that may have "touched meat", they reach a temperature in excess of 400 degrees. They clean with steam. The utensils all have to be able to withstand direct contact with red hot metal, and steam. No molecular remnant of living tissue could possibly remain. I know the staff and some of the cooks, and those kitches are extremely clean, because they are often randomly-inspected by the state.



But, back to my point about privilege, it's apparent that logic and hypocrisy are alien concepts to these new-agers. Those who've never worked a day of labor feel free to tell the world's poor how to live their lives. This despite the fact that in most other nations, the very act of eating every day is a challenge, and choices are slim. I'm more concerned that the world eat, have medicine, housing, and education.



Being poor is expensive. This has been proven over and over again, so much that I'm surprised anyone fails to understand it. Rich people get things for free. Rich people deduct expenses. Rich people buy in bulk, Rich people can order from far away. The poor, even in America, do not have these options. They eat the cheapest local food, which is higher in fats and starches, and have small refrigerators which generally allow fresh produce to spoil within 3 days. Thus, to eat a simple vegetarian diet, a poor person has to shop frequently, at least once every three days, and throw away a lot of food.



Guess what? They can't afford to do that.



Vegetarianism is too expensive for most people to afford. The middle class morons will stand up and say "But I can do it, so can they." No, they can't, you idiot. The simplest of all neo-fundie new-ager religions is vegetarianism, in which people eat meat occasionally but feel bad about it. Even this form of food-religion is too costly for someone living on 650.00 a month fixed income, or minimum wage. I grew up poor. I know. I used to get upset about how fast things went bad and how often I had to shop to keep veggies in the fridge. I couldn't do it, and I switched to canned goods.



Canned vegetables have very little nutritional value compared to fresh. You eat, and still feel hungry. The taste is second rate. Foods that require little preparation and are dirt cheap are what I had to get. I only had 50.00 a month I could eat on, and I worked full time. As a college student I once lived for months on ramen and baloney.



I'm not saying that poor people are forced to eat McDonalds. That's insipid. I ate pretty well. I also live in the most wealthy nation on Earth where I can eat 24 hours a day. Food is such a low denominator that it's become a religion, whereas in Africa it's more like a gift from God.



I'm sick of reading about how some rich skinny bitch gave up her BMW to eat healthier and "live green." That's nice for you, you lazy stupid bimbo who'se already prostituted herself to a major corporation. How hypocritical of you. How many stocks do you still own, by the way? Did you ever actually lift anything yourself in your entire life besides your own ego?



D

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Amazingly Bad News

It's never any shock to me that astonishing bad grammar, flawed reporting of everything from inaccurate data to raw speculation, and the presentation of political and moral views as fact continue to be the very essence of Big Media News.

In this article, http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=local&id=5646058&ft=lg, an obscure professor from a notably liberal University presents an improbably bad, poorly worded, and questionably illegitimate bastard child of Faux News style. The data isn't given, one of those "I'll release it tomorrow" quotes are thrown out instead. Why not write the story tomorrow when you can check the data? The reason is that the data isn't ever going to be printed unless it reflects the bias of the reporter.

On a daily basis, I'm seeing news reporting quoting data that hasn't been released. In all cases, without exception, I've never seen the data the following day in any print media or BMN, anywhere.

This is raw histrionics. This is politics, scaremongering, and FUD. That ABC practices FUD is about as surprising as discovering that the Christian-leaning Disney corporation is one of the worst employers to work for. I have family and friends who do or have worked for various Disney companies and none of them have anything positive to say about their employers. In fact, most overtly religious companies that I've dealt with or conducted business with are decidedly unpleasant, reactionary, thoughtless, and greedy. They place their morality on a higher priority than accuracy or competitiveness or any other business acumen.

It should not be a surprise that a company which chooses to elevate individual morality to a higher plane that professionalism, that the quality of that business is less than desirable. Contracts are not honored, completed, filled, etc., and the company is likely to simply offer an apology and expect full payment.

Thus, it should also not be a surprise that BMN never print any critical news or anything which shines a less than glamorous light upon their monopolistic oligopoly of media corporations and the respective inter-corporate masters.

Of all [read: 100%] news media, it's well documented that only FOUR companies control ~96% of them. The uncontrolled news media?: Bloggers. Tiny local papers which are privately owned or do not issue stocks. Really REALLY small print runs like High School papers.

So, the only real unbiased news out in the world today is that FOUR PERCENT, which you'll have a hard time finding. Sites like Reddit, digg, and fark, among others, promote BMN over blogs or smaller papers almost exclusively, even though they are ostensibly fed news items by the general public. The reason for this is assumed to be a desire for popularity or eyeballs by bloggers who post links to traditional media just to get people to read their page, rather than writing original news articles. Even most original blog articles are just short stubs premiering a traditional BMN link.

Nobody seems to link to the local college paper, or some jane-jill [billy-bob] independent print media, or even a really good blog. The best blogs are not the most popular ones. Wil Wheaton, although very articulate, usually posts minor and personal minutiae on his blog, and is largely concerned with self-promotion. It's not a great blog for news, but passable. Yet, his blog is hugely popular, much more so than say, gnn.tv which actually publishes unique news articles, fresh news, and lengthy editorials.

Yes, I'm somewhat promoting gnn.tv by quoting it, but I get no reward for that. It's necessary to mention an example. I'm sure there are others. The point is that popularity is actually low quality. Pop = Crud on a 1 to 1 ONTO basis, mathematically speaking.

Just because lots of people read it doesn't mean it's good. The same rules which apply to Television apply to News. South Park remains very popular, but it's scatological humor, and intensely childish self-deprecation. It's not great comedy nor does it present edgy or interesting ideas like say, The Daily Show with John Stewart.

With news the problem is amplified by the fact that most of the highest priority news is bad news. People need to be alerted to human rights abuse, weather, disasters, elections, and other such disturbing information. Little of it is really very happy or uplifting. Only Friday, after weeks of negative press, is there a hopeful article about the dismissal of a large portion of the Patriot Act. People need to learn to accept and deal with life.

Life isn't all pretty roses and shopping at the mall for the latest fashions and electronics. Life is the good the bad and the ugly, the eventful, and the trivial. People get shot. Elections get rigged. People can't live their lives with their damn heads in the sand and ignore reality, or we wind up with a President like Bush.

"Reality is known to have a strong liberal bias." - Stephen Colbert.

D

Thursday, September 6, 2007

No ads here, thanks.

Blogger now allows 'adsense'lessness. That's nice, but I don't allow it. I pay for the privilege to blog and I'm not interested in financial rewards for what amounts to my own opinions. If I want money I'll post links to my novels or a donation button.

So many bloggers are intent on "A listing" by getting linked by other bloggers, and it's a vicious circle not unlike the once-great US media corporations engaged in before their much deserved death of readership, the "approved sources." The very idea of an "A list" of bloggers is an insult to blogging. I reject it. I do not seek your approval and do not want your links. It is anathema.

I do not need to be validated by others.

The only possible validation is readership based on raw unique hits, not links to other media, which can and HAVE been contrived by spurrious and clique-ish groups of bloggers whom all link back to each other in the hopes of improving their ratings. That's like ABC quoting BBC and assuming that the quote is genuine and newsworthy, that the reference itself validates the story, or that ABC has in fact done anything at all.

On reddit.com, digg.com, fark.com, and countless other news lists I see the same stories reposted daily, weekly, and even months later by different bloggers, but also by other commercial news media. Alert! Danger Will Robinson! You're playing their game, and this is a game that the commercial entities know all too well, for they invented it.

The effort to promote old news or non-news items in order to get 'hits' is itself a sign of a weak, corrupt, and pointless system that was 'gamed' a long time ago. The A-list is a failure by design. Google, Yahoo, and other search engines also use the numbers of linkbacks and crosslinks as a methodology of "honestly" rating popularity of a page, but we've already revealed that this is a broken system which is easily manipulated. They should go back to simply revealing content, and stick to kill-filtering the abusers.

Damn them all, I might have to code a new search engine just to save the bloggers from themselves.

D

Friday, August 24, 2007

Open Letter Followup - Palm? Where are you?

Excerpt of my Email to Palm is at the bottom.

I read engadget randomly, as I do most other good sources of consciencious bloggers, technorati, wil wheaton, et al. The open letter to Palm struck a chord with my business heart. I've been a retail manager for decades, all to fund my 30+ years of college education, all of which resulted in my being employed by a major software company. Life is good. Anyway, back to the point, I remember how hard Palm kicked 'Burro' back in the day. Every communication company reacted, in fear, to the Palm threat. Suddenly, companies like HP and TI were coming out with handheld devices, most of which totally sucked dirt. I still have a Casio and an HP craptastic, whose batteries [almost impossible to find] are no longer holding a charge. You can't just put AAA cells in these things, unfortunately.

That brings me to my purpose for contacting Palm, because I'm sick of hardware lockouts, software lockouts, and companies that focus on fleecing the consumer. Why does every damn phone on the planet have a unique charger? RIM had the brains to just use a USB port. They rocked, and that's one of the selling points that caused me to choose their 7100t model over six other phones at HALF the 300.00 price. I didn't have to buy a super-special charger destined to fail in six months. In fact, the RIM phone came with a USB cable. Ta-da. Batteries, chargers, cases, earphones, and accessories would sell BETTER [read that again AT&FU, better!] if they were ISO standardized. There's no reason on Earth why all accessories can't be USB and/or Bluetooth, except one: Greed.

Speaking of uber-greed, T-mobile actually LOCKED the Bluetooth functionality so that the 7100 was practically useless for the stated purpose of purchase; I wanted a phone to interact with my Toshiba laptop. T-mobile stated that the phone HAD NO MODEM. Well, I went online and found the instructions for unlocking it and used the non-existant modem for over a year and half to go on the internet with my Laptop. The thing that finally pissed me off was watching my college buddies just lay down their Motorola phones and wirelessly go online via the phone with their laptops. I had to set up with cables, and it wasn't quick. I sold the RIM phone for a few bucks because the company couldn't sell me an UNLOCKED phone.

I've already paid, sight unseen, over 500.00 for an open hardware phone that isn't even guaranteed to work. I'd rather have to fix it, order parts, fix it agian, and then load the OS myself, in order to have a working phone, than go back to proprietary systems that are aimed at blocking the consumer from competitors.

You're talking to a businessman. I've owned a few companies myself in my time. My family has owned bowling alleys, diners, retail shops, and more. I worked in most of them at one time or another. I'm now planning for commercial ownership in 2008 as a part of my retirement. I'm no stranger to the need to make a profit.

There's one thing I am a stranger to though, the need to screw the customer. Somehow, over 30 years, I've managed to make a living without once ever cheating anyone, at all. I've given refunds that were undeserved just to maintain the peace with customers who were upset. It's better to give back a few bucks and salvage a customer. You don't make more money by saying 'No' to your clients. You make more money by saying one word: Yes.

D



RE:http://www.engadget.com/2007/08/21/dear-palm-its-time-for-an-intervention/
I have an OpenMoko phone on order. I've just laid out over 500.00 just for the chance to actually play with an open source phone. I'm not alone. I eagerly await the chance to review it, and I've ordered SIM for it from the UK. [hate US telcos passionately, esp AT&FU.]

{Here's a side note, never let your company's icons become the death star equivalent. People have good reasons to hate that company.}

I used to want a Palm so bad that I'd scour used and pawn shops looking for them, but then the BB7100t came out and I bought it, to the tune of over 300.00. I never actually GOT a Palm, largely because of advertising, features, and software.

Here's another tidbit: Bloggers buy the stuff they review. We are both consumers and media, and we aren't paid to report, but rather we pay for the privilege to report. I have an ad-free site that I happily shell-out over 300 a year to maintain. Nobody owns me.

So what's the story Palm? Here's an opportunity for you to talk to bloggers directly. I'm actually mid-way through an advertising plan where I'm *paying* to increase eyeballs and improve readership. A killer article on Palm would sweep the 'nets.

Demopoly

Monday, August 20, 2007

Survival Tips and Tricks

Part Two: Disclaimer.

As a Navy vet I've been through the standard USN ocean survival course, desert survival, and emergency preparedness training. Most Navy recruits are fairly close to becoming EMTs after they've completed basic training, and I could have gone to work as a Lifeguard if I'd wanted that career. However, I take my own advice and never rely on my own information alone when giving out advice. Some of my advice comes from military experience, some from FEMA, some from the Red Cross, and some from sources like "Cap'n Dave."

http://www.captaindaves.com/dl-list/dl1-toc.htm

As a Los Angeles resident I've done my fair share of mountain climbing, spelunking, surfing, skating, geocaching, and camping. Again, I combine my own experiences with the wisdom of others before offering advice. The US Geological survey is always your friend; Get your maps, equipment lists, and skill requirements in that one site.

Part One: Advice.

This section is parsed into logically advancing difficulty from most common to least common likelihood of incidence.

Power Outage or Supply Blockage.

All most people need is a good source of clean water. In Urban and Inner city areas water isn't as easy to find unless you live near the reservoir or a stream. Here are some quick rules for survival.

Get two milk jugs, rinse them, and fill with water. Two jugs for each person in the home equals about four days of drinking water. These can be stored for more than a year, but I'd recommend refilling them once a year on New Years day or some other memorable occasion.

The average American home has enough food in it to last for more than a month. Leave the refrigerator closed for the first 8 hours. If the outage continues, then you want to begin consuming all the refrigerated food first, followed by all the frozen food. Refrigerated food that begins to warm will be bad within 24 hours or less, depending upon the food. Eat dairy and raw meats first (after cooking the meat of course.) Dispose of any food that goes bad in OUTSIDE trash receptacles. Don't eat when you are not hungry, just try to use up the perishables first.

DO NOT tamper with your water heater or fire hydrants, or any other utility such as power lines. Such activities could be fatal and are likely to be illegal. If the water has been off a long time, you'll want the water heater water for flushing the toilet. Don't drain it to drink out of, drain it into a bucket and use the bucket to fill the toilet reservoir. IF you have an outside source of "dirty" water such as a muddy stream or rusty water line, use THAT for flushing, and then you can drink from the water heater.

Ideally, you'll want to locate a source of fresh or filtered water, but most cities begin distributing bottled water by the second or third day anyway. Don't panic, just state your needs to the field workers. 90-some percent of all power and water outages are less than 4 hours in duration.

For the paranoid or the overachiever: Get a water filtration unit that you could use when camping. Stock a few crates of bottled water. A flat of ramen wouldn't hurt as a backup food source.

Earthquake, Hurricane, Tornado.

Damage caused by disasters can be more severe, lasting from a week to several months. The worst case on record is Hurricane Katrina. Here, again, the Government responds, and in force. Water, relocation, rescue, and other operations are typically enacted within 12-24 hours. The local government is usually incapacitated. State and Federal forces generally step in to provide service and safety.

Again, the thing you need most is water. Secondly, you need food. Tertially, you need toiletries. It's not impossible or expensive to stock up on these items yourself, and many homeowners do keep more than a month's supply of essentials (think of a 4 week camping trip) in the garage.

One other thing you'll need is to promote safety while at the same time being helpful. Rich people who distribute food are never raided or looted, it's the shopkeeper that people hate, or whom has lots of goodies in the window, that gets 'smashed and grabbed.' There's no reason to feel that you need to be armed or should fear the people around you. Humans are unusually cooperative and protective when disaster strikes. The media presents an image of looters and rioting that is far in excess of the realities of these situations.

Avoid touching any power lines or utilities. Do not scavenge or loot. ASK for help, loudly if necessary. Share resources that work, such as if your house still has power, water, or phone. Stay off the cell phones and home phones if there isn't a serious need to use them, as these facilities are often hard-hit, and emergency workers need the airwaves. Really.

Work with neighbors in small groups to obtain help, distribute whatever resources are gifted, and always listen to the service workers or national guard.

Government Failure, Anarchy, Revolution.

Think back to the Great Depression. Those circumstances were fairly dire for some people in some states. This is unlikely to ever happen again in our lifetimes, but even so it doesn't hurt to be prepared. A little paranoia won't hurt you.

Keep a small amount of gold or silver, or cheap gems in a house safe. These will help you survive temporary money-system failures with amazing ease. There are stories of widows auctioning jewels for food, etc. Be prepared for value systems to shift radically. Items that perish are less valuable than items that do not.

Don't bother to arm yourself more than you already are. Economic crashes rarely result in revolution or open fighting in the streets, and never since the French Revolution has this happened. The average household has enough items in it to create a respectable variety of weapons, if you think about it. I'll leave that topic to others more paranoid than I.

Generally, what happens is there is a bottoming out of valuation, followed by a graduated recovery. Severe economic damage only changes the level of activity. People don't stop buying and selling, but the prices change and the circumstances shift. You'll learn to be more thrifty and careful.

Drop all nonessential activities and spending. Eat cheaper, grow as much of your own food as possible, and cease entertainment activities like "shopping" and "nights out". You'll be fine. Ghana, Estonia, Bavaria, and a dozen other countries have been through exactly these circumstances and they're doing better year after year.

It's more important to pay attention to the local economy, people who need help, and building back a positive infrastructure.

Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical warfare.

In these cases, we're probably toast. Should you be lucky and survive, there are priorities, and you need to figure out what happened. A portable FM radio should provide needed emergency information. In the case of all three events, you're best-off if you stay indoors, if your shelter/home survived. The longer you can stay inside the better you'll fare.

If you travel outside, you'll face radiation, concentrated contamination areas, exposure to biologicals, as well as an increased risk of causing harm to yourself through accidents. Think about it. Thousands, or millions of other people will also stupidly be wandering about, looking for trouble, looting, assuming that the government is dead and all laws are void.

The government will not be dead. The ability of the government to protect you is probably dead, however. That doesn't mean that there won't still be national guard who'll shoot looters or defend federal buildings. Therefore, the best advice I can give is be prepared to remain indoors, quiet, and don't attract attention to yourself for the longest possible time.

Speak and interact only with uniformed people or people driving City or State or Federal vehicles. Going outside just to visit your neighbors could be the last thing you ever do if there is radiation, viral, or chemical pollution outside. Do what the radio tells you to do. This is absolutely positively the only time I'd advise anyone to trust the government. They're the ones who have to deal with the mess. Granted, Katrina wasn't a golden example of how to handle a disaster, but that's a specific example and a localized disaster complicated by levees, below sea-level lands, and other long-term problems which had never been addressed.

D

Wednesday, August 15, 2007