Category Archives: Politics

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.

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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.

 

 


Bernie Sander on Drumpf’s 100 daze

Bernie, you’re relentless. We all love ya, but take a breath, sit back and reflect on the absolute absurdity of this “down the rabbit hole” situation we’re in.

“I know, I know, it’s hard to realize just how bizarre the country’s political landscape has become, but bear with me here…”

“You could not write this as fiction, you would be laughed out of the publisher’s house…”

“You wake up and think this is a twisted, impossible nightmare. But let me reassure you, this is real. And, yes, it is hard to take day in and day out, but we must prevail, so stay with me here…”

You need to personalize this. I know it’s hard for you; the facts, one would think, should speak for themselves. But “facts”? No, it’s not just the story — it’s how it’s told. Appeal to us as humans. Breath, laugh, roll your eyes — you do it once in a while — add some incredulous pauses to your expose’s.

But yes, do keep at it, we want to see this Press-a-dent (into the history books as the worse human being ever to take office) gone from our media feeds. We want to see this incoherent bloviating imbecile turned out to drool pablum in some retirement home.

Take a breath and laugh at the impossible absurdity of it all.


UBER + MADD

Who would love to create an app that keeps drunk drivers off the roads?

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers — that’s who.

We don’t need no UBER to commandeer the entire ride sharing economy. Lyft? Yeah, Lyft this!

What MADD might want to do is build their OWN app and offer DEALS through BARS around the world to get the app onto people phones and to provide a discount for app users IN THE BARS! Alcohol is CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP – and bars can afford to pony up a discount or three to those who use the app and hire MADDrivers to drive them home.

Mobile App for Drunk Drivers MADD!


Wag the Dog

The election of The Drumpf may prove to be an excellent lesson for everyone in the manipulation of attention and persuasion of an audience.

There’s no doubt that that The Drumpf personifies the intentional overt molding of the media. He knows how to play the media against itself. He knows how to divert focus from sensitive areas that might expose his nefarious activities to sensationalized, fabricated scandals that tear at our sense of decorum and virtue, that incite our moral outrage.

We would do well to analyze and master this man’s capabilities.

Wag the Dog is a 1997 film which illustrates how misdirection of the media can sway and cajole the populace into ignoring true scandal within an administration and instead adopt a false but compelling alter-narrative.

The Drumpf is master at this. It is odd however, that he — the dog — would be wagging himself. That is, the phrase “wag the dog” implies that it is the tail of the dog that is in control, and not the dog itself. On second thought, The Drumpf may indeed NOT be in control but is being directed by his minions. Rasputin whispering in the Tsar’s ear.

The lesson here is to both learn the craft of intentional misdirection, AND, to learn when to recognize it and to stay the course of investigation of the dog itself.