Friday, August 31, 2012

Mahatmas


  ‘Mahatma (Mahatman, Sanskrit)  “Great soul” or “great self” is the meaning of this compound word (maha, “great”; atman, “self”).

The mahatmas are perfected men, relatively speaking, known in theosophical literature as teachers, elder brothers, masters, sages, seers, and by other names. ...

They are men, not spirits – men who have evolved through self-devised efforts in individual evolution, always advancing forwards and upwards until they have now attained the lofty spiritual and intellectual human supremacy that now they hold. ...

They possess knowledge of nature’s secret processes, and of hid mysteries, which to the average man may seem to be little short of the marvelous ...
 
‘Especially are they called teachers because they are occupied in the noble duty of instructing mankind, in inspiring elevating thoughts, and in instilling impulses of forgetfulness of self into the hearts of men.

Also are they sometimes called the guardians, because they are, in very truth, the guardians of the race and of the records – natural, racial, national – of past ages, portions of which they give out from time to time as fragments of a now long-forgotten wisdom.

When the world is ready to listen to them; and they do this in order to advance the cause of truth and of genuine civilization founded on wisdom and brotherhood.
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Never – such is the teaching – since the human race first attained self-consciousness has this ... brotherhood of exalted men been without its representatives on our earth.
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And yes they are still here unknown to modern man except in very rare circumstances.

Their work does not need them to be known to the public.

Seldom is it helpful for them to be known to the public.
  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What's the point of being nice?

Vervet monkeys


Vervet monkeys are highly cooperative but they will attack an individual who acts selfishly. 
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Altruism and cooperation among humans and other animals are all very well, but what's to stop a few selfish individuals from taking advantage? 
Co-operative behaviour, particularly one-off acts of kindness by strangers (known as non-reciprocal altruism) confuses scientists. 
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Why does this apparently self-defeating behaviour persist?
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The importance of co-operation has long been acknowledged. 
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In the 17th century, philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote that life without co-operative social contracts would be, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. 
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In 1871, Darwin noted that, Communities which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members would flourish best, and rear the greatest number of offspring.
But the paradox remains: if natural selection favours self-serving behaviour and those who help others diminish their own reproductive success, why bother being nice?
At a recent lecture at the Zoological Society London (ZSL) entitled "Why be nice? Understanding co-operative behaviour in humans and other animals".
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First up was Nigel Franks rom the University of Bristol, who researches "colony-level cognition" in ants. 
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This en masse form of co-operation seems to be facilitated by "quorum sensing", where individual ants change their behaviour once they sense that a threshold has been met for a particular stimulus. 
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For example if enough ants have already adopted the new strategy. 
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In this regard ant society can be understood as a "super organism".
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With some 10,000 species, a biomass equalling that of humanity and ant ancestry dating back over 100m years, the evolutionary success of the co-operative ant is clear.
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Next up was Andrew Young from the University of Exeter, whose research on long-tailed tits supports "kin selection theory": the birds always favour co-operating with relatives over non-kin, said Young. Among mammals, the naked mole rat is the most co-operative breeder of all mammals. 
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But there's no evidence among non-primate mammals that self-serving cheaters are ever punished.
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Among primates, however, there are examples of cheating being punished. 
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In the 1980s, Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth observed that if a wild vervet monkey discovered a fruiting tree but did not make the "food call" to alert the rest of the troop, and was later caught eating the spoils alone, the self-serving monkey received a beating. 
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Research at Frans de Waal's labiratory at Emory University last year revealed that dogs and monkeys favour co-operation and refuse to participate in unfair social exchanges.
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The third entertaining lecture, given by Redouan Bshary of Neuchatel University in Switzerland, examined the fascinating social contracts between cleaner fish (wrasse) and their clients (grouper fish). 
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Cleaner fish co-operate by removing parasites from much larger predator fish. 
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But as wrasse are partial to the protective mucus on the skin of clients, they would rather bite them than feed on parasites. 
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What inhibits them from doing this?
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Bshary observed that when client fish have a choice of cleaner fish, cleaners are less likely to bite their customers, and where client fish are visible to other cleaner fish they are less likely to eat cleaner fish. 
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It would seem social reputation is a significant factor in maintaining social contracts between species of fish, as it is between humans.
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But co-operation within species works differently. 
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Wrasse are born female and change sex if they grow large enough. 
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Males have a harem, and they control the female when she tends to clients. 
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If the client doesn't find the service agreeable and swims away the frustrated male wrasse will attack the smaller female. 
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This keeps female wrasse highly co-operative and less likely to bite the client and more likely to give an excellent grooming service.
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This behaviour by the larger male deprives the female wrasse of food, keeping her a small, controlled breeding partner. 
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But if the female stops co-operating and self-serves by biting clients, she can grow, change sex and fight off her ex-partner and take control of his harem.
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The final speaker, Simon Gachter from the University of Nottingham researches human group co-operation versus individual interest. 
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In trials staged in 16 different countries, with no chance to punish selfish behaviour, co-operation quickly failed. (Incidentally, Danish participants were the most co-operative and Australians the least co-operative.) 
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G├Ąchter said the conclusion he drew from this was that punishment of cheaters is necessary for co-operation to thrive.
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He added that social contracts are influenced by culture and so the extent and nature of co-operation depends partly on where you live.
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I would add here that personality type and gender also have an effect on levels of pro-social behaviour. 
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Research by Mark van Vugt at the University of Amsterdam suggests that female behaviour is less hierarchical and more co-operative than that of males. 
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In his book Naturally selected, van Vugt claims that the inclusion of just one woman on a board of directors makes the company 20% less likely to go bankrupt.
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Carole Jahme  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Two truths from Masters


Do not believe anything
Because it is said by an authority,
Or if it is said to come from angels,
Or from Gods,
Or from an inspired source.
Believe it only if you have explored it
In your own heart
And mind and body
And found it to be true.
Work out your own path,
Through diligence.
-Gautama Buddha



Yet another is this one
When you find the way

Others will find you

Passing by on the road

They will be drawn to your door

The way that cannot be heard

Will be reflected in your voice

The way that cannot be seen

Will be reflected in your eyes

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A real game changer





The 3D printing world is filled with do-it-yourself nerds and creative types.
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But now there are some new, more aggressive entrants looking to join the desktop manufacturing community: the U.S. military’s special operators.
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The United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) announced on Monday that they’d like to buy a 3D printer.
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Specifically, they want to get their hands on a Stratasys Dimension BST 1200es series 3D printer.
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The printer, a cabinet-sized machine that retails for about $25,000, fashions objects on demand using ABS plus thermoplastic
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It’s all part of a revolution that’s sweeping through the manufacturing world.


At the entry level, companies like MakerBot offer machines that an average user can afford and use to forge neat stuff like Death Star Models. 
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It isn’t just for the do-it-yourself crowd, though. 
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At the high end, car manufacturers have used the technology to help build concept cars for the automotive industry.
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The defense world has also taken note of the possibilities offered by 3D printing. 
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In March, the Defense Department’s blue sky research outfit, Darpa, announced they’d like to get into the desktop manufacturing business. 
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Their plan was to have swarms of mini robots use 3D printing technology to stamp out multifunctional metamorphic and programmable materials..
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But what would SOCOM want with a 3D printer? 
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The command’s announcement doesn’t say. 
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And they’re just looking for a single printer – so, most likely, this is a chance to experiment, not to go operational.
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Still, the battle implications are enticing: 
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Scientists in the U.K. have already used 3D printers to make a small, two meter wingspan unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that flew as fast as 1000 miles per hour . 




The team designed the drone in two days and printed it over the course of five days. 
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That kind of short lead time between design and manufacturing can allow designers to quickly test out new ideas and prototypes.




In fact, Dimension, the manufacturers of the printer model SOCOM wants to buy, have already shown that drones and unmanned platforms can be made with their own printers. 
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The company’s Extreme Redesign contest lets middle school, high school and college students submit their own innovative designs to be manufactured by their 3D printers. 
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This year, second place went to a design for a small flying  quadrotor. 
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The unmanned four-rotor mini-helicopters are useful as defense and law enforcement surveillance platforms.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Methane


A new source of methane – a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide – has been identified by scientists flying over areas in the Arctic where the sea ice has melted.


Not so this source of methane has been known about for many years


The researchers found significant amounts of methane being released from the ocean into the atmosphere through cracks in the melting sea ice. 


They said the quantities could be large enough to affect the global climate. 


Absolutely.


Previous observations have pointed to large methane plumes being released from the seabed in the relatively shallow sea off the northern coast of Siberia but the latest findings were made far away from land in the deep, open ocean where the surface is usually capped by ice.


Eric Kort of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said that he and his colleagues were surprised to see methane levels rise so dramatically each time their research aircraft flew over cracks in the sea ice.


"When we flew over completely solid sea ice, we didn't see anything in terms of methane. But when we flew over areas were the sea ice had melted, or where there were cracks in the ice, we saw the methane levels increase, Dr Kort said. "We were surprised to see these enhanced methane levels at these high latitudes. Our observations really point to the ocean surface as the source, which was not what we had expected," he said.


"Other scientists had seen high concentrations of methane in the sea surface but nobody had expected to see it being released into the atmosphere in this way," he added.


Methane is about 70 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat. 


However, because methane is broken down more quickly in the atmosphere, scientists calculate that it is 20 times more powerful over a 100-year cycle.


Read that sentence again 




The latest methane measurements were made from the American HIPPO research programme where a research aircraft loaded with scientific instruments flies for long distances at varying altitudes, measuring and recording gas levels at different heights.


The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, covered several flights into the Arctic at different times of the year. They covered an area about 950 miles north of the coast of Alaska and about 350 miles south of the North Pole. Dr Kort said that the levels of methane coming off this region were about the same as the quantities measured by other scientists monitoring methane levels above the shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.


We suggest that the surface waters of the Arctic Ocean represent a potentially important source of methane, which could prove sensitive to changes in sea ice cover," the researchers write. 


"The association with sea ice makes this methane source likely to be sensitive to changing Arctic ice cover and dynamics, providing an unrecognised feedback process in the global atmosphere-climate system," they say.


Climate scientists are concerned that rising temperatures in the Arctic could trigger climate-feedbacks, where melting ice results in the release of methane which in turn results in a further increase in temperatures.


"We should be concerned because there's so many things in the Arctic where the warming feeds further warming. There are many things in the Arctic that do respond to warming," said Euan Nisbet, a methane expert at Royal Holloway University of London.


And as they say "get used to it" because man cannot change or challenge nature going about her business
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All part of climate change which has been going forever on this planet.
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Might be useful to check when this last happened and what we can learn about that time.
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Next a methane tax.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Rice Video



So simple
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So easy to understand
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Have a look


Gmail - View The Rice Video - antonyj7@gmail.com:



Do you still believe in Global warming?
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Climate change is fine, it has been going on forever.
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Global warming is just another lie.
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A lie to enable governments to tax more
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Methane will be next up

Friday, August 24, 2012

How we move



People's movements were not as random as predicted
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The whereabouts of more than 100,000 mobile phone users have been tracked in an attempt to build a comprehensive picture of human movements.
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The study concludes that humans are creatures of habit, mostly visiting the same few spots time and time again.
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Most people also move less than 10km on a regular basis, according to the study published in the journal Nature.
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The results could be used to help prevent outbreaks of disease or forecast traffic, the scientists said.
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"It would be wonderful if every mobile carrier could give universities access to their data because it's so rich," said Dr Marta Gonzalez of Northeastern University, Boston, US, and one of the authors of the paper.
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Dr William Webb, head of research and development at the UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, agreed that mobile phone data was still underexploited.
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"This is just the tip of the iceberg," he told BBC News.
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Researchers have previously attempted to map human activity using GPS or surveys, but it is expensive.
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All of the mobile phone data was collected anonymously
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The study tracked 100,000 individuals selected randomly from a sample of more than six million phone users in a European country.
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Each time a participant made or received a call or text message, the location of the mobile base station relaying the data was recorded.
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The researchers said they were "not at liberty" to disclose where the information had been collected and said steps had been taken to guarantee the participants' anonymity.
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For example, individual phone numbers were disguised as 26 digit security codes.
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"Furthermore, we only know the coordinates of the tower routing the communication, hence a user's location is not known within a tower's service area," they wrote.
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Each tower serves an area of approximately 3 sq km.
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Information was collected for six months. But, according to the researchers, a person's pattern of movement could be seen in just three.
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The vast majority of people move around over a very short distance - around five to 10km.
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Then there were a few that moved a couple of hundred kilometres on a regular basis.
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The results showed that most people's movements follow a precise mathematical relationship - known as a power law.
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The second surprise, was that the patterns of people's movements, over short and long distances, were very similar: people tend to return to the same few places over and over again.
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Why is this good news?. If we were to build a model of how everyone moves in society and they were not similar then it would require six billion different models - each person would require a different description.
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Now, modellers had a basic rule book to follow, he said.
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This intrinsic similarity between individuals is very exciting and it has practical applications, said Professor Barabasi.
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For example, Professor John Cleland of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Disease (LSHTM) said the study could be of use to people monitoring the spread of contagious diseases.
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Avian flu is the obvious one, when an outbreak of mammalian infectious airborne disease hits us, the movement of people is of critical concern.
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Dr Gonzalez said that traffic planners had also expressed an interest in the study.
Sensor overload
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Although the scale of the latest study is unprecedented, it is not the first time that mobile phone technology has been used to track people's movements.
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Scientists at MIT have used mobile phones to help construct a real-time model of traffic in Rome, whilst Microsoft researchers working on Project Lachesis are examining the possibility of mining mobile data to help commuters pick the optimum route to work, for example.
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Location data is increasingly used by forensic scientists to identify the movements of criminal suspects.
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For example, the technique was used by Italian police to capture Hussain Osman, one of four men jailed for the failed suicide bombings in London on 21 July.
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Commercial products also exist, allowing parents to track children or for friends to receive alerts when they are in a similar location.
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These types of services and projects will continue to grow, Dr Webb believes, as researchers and businesses find new ways to use the mobile phone networks.
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There are so many sensors that you could conceivably attach to a phone that you could do all kinds of monitoring activities with.
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For example, Nokia have put forward an idea to attach sensors to phones that could report back on air quality. 
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The project would allow a large location-specific database to be built very quickly.
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Ofcom is also planning to use mobiles to collect data about the quality of wi-fi connections around the UK.
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I am sure there will be tens if not hundreds of these ideas emerging over the next few years, said Dr Webb. 
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Jonathan Fildes - BBC

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Goods = Happiness


The use of the word "goods" to denote the saleable products of human activity reveals some very deep assumptions.
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First, harking back to agriculture, it suggests that goodness comes from human manipulation of nature and not from nature itself.
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A good is something produced, extracted from its original place in the ground, the water, or the forest and then subjected to other forms of processing.
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Unimproved, nature is not good.
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Oil in the ground or a forest left standing are invisible to economic accounting: they are not yet "goods", just as unpaid mothering is not yet a "service".
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A second implication is that if something is good, it can be assigned a price—commoditized, bought, and sold.
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Got that?
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Our definition of a "good" is that it is exchanged for money.
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Money = Good.
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That some good things are not yet commodities merely means that the conversion of social, cultural, spiritual, and natural capital is not yet complete.
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Good news for anyone but an economist.
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From the economist's point of view, the equation of economic growth with more and more "goods" adds a note of moral imperative to the quest for economic growth.
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More and more goodness, goods = more and more happiness.
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Do you still believe that?
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Charles Eisenstein

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

You started it



A guy walked into the local welfare office to pick up his check.
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He marched straight up to the counter and said,
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' Hi. You know, I just HATE drawing welfare. 
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I'd really rather have a job.'
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The social worker behind the counter said, ' Your timing is excellent.
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We just got a job opening from a very wealthy old man who wants a chauffeur
and bodyguard for his beautiful daughter.
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You'll have to drive around in his 2009 Mercedes CL, and he will supply
all of your clothes. 
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Because of the long hours meals will be provided.
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You'll also be expected to escort the daughter on her overseas holiday
trips.
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This is rather awkward to say but you will also have as part of your job
assignment to satisfy her sexual urges as the daughter is in her mid-20's
and has a rather strong sex drive. 
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A two-bedroom loft type apartment with plasma TV, stereo, bar, etc. located above the garage will be designated for your sole use and the salary is $200,000 a year.'
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The guy, just plain wide-eyed, said, 'You're bullshittin' me!'
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The social worker said, 'Yeah, well, you started it.'

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What price?



Never in our lives has there been so much uncertainty about so many things
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Think about it.
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The climate.
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The world economy.
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Job security.
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Relationships between men and women.
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Super-bugs.
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Political ineptitude.
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And the list goes on.
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What is not on the list is the almost certain appearance of the unexpected.
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Throughout history major changes have kicked off when some unexpected event lit the fuse.
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Personally we expect no different this time.
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Somewhere sometime soon some unexpected event is going to be the catalyst for greater changes.
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It is argued that you cannot plan for the unexpected.
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It can be argued that way but not very convincingly.
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The unexpected has always played a major role in human affairs.
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Not just for the planet but for us as individuals as well.
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Think about your own life.
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How many times has the unexpected altered your life?
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We would guess that many of the major changes in your life came about from unexpected events.
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So what will the price be for doing nothing now?
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Maybe greater than you think.
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Just one small example where a little thought can save you pain and maybe more.
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Recently the cash machines where I was visiting froze.
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That is to say none worked.
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That is to say all over the country the ATM's did not work.
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And of course this happened over the weekend.
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No banks, no ATM's where I was.
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I got bye however as I had sufficient cash.
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What if you could not get to your money?
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What if your money is worthless over night?
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In Europe we are doing a pretty good job of making life for ourselves more and more difficult.
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Will the Euro survive?
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Just a thought have some cash or other negotiable means of exchange hidden somewhere where you can get at it.
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Our world is so dependent on electricity, electronics and systems.
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If one or more go down life as we know it goes down too.
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And maybe this is the real point life as we know it is changing.
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How and in what ways is not clear yet.
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The pace of change is accelerating.
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In such times it makes sense to be able to function if your usual sources of money are frozen or do not work, for whatever reason.
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Plan to be able to function without recourse to your usual supply sources.
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Be they money, food or whatever.
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The unexpected will happen.
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It just need not knock you out.
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Be prepared.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nuisance communications - C




Tips for handling telemarketers 


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Three little words that work!!



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The three little words are: 'Hold On, Please...' 



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Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off, instead of hanging-up immediately,  would make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that basic sales would grind to a halt.
Then when you eventually hear the phone company's 'beep-beep-beep' tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task.
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These three little words will help eliminate telephone soliciting.
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Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end?
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This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone.
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This technique is used to determine the best time of day for a 'real' sales person to call back and get someone at home.
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What you can do after answering, if you notice there is no one there, is to immediately start hitting your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 times as quickly as possible.
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This confuses the machine that dialled the call, and it kicks your number out of their system.
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What a shame not to have your name in their system any longer!
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Junk Mail Help:
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When you get ads enclosed with your phone or utility bill, return these ads with your payment.
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Let the sending companies throw their own junk mail away.
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When you get those 'pre-approved' letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope.
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Most of these come with postage-paid return envelopes, right?
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It costs them more than the regular postage, 'if' and when they receive them back.
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It costs them nothing if you throw them away!
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The postage was high before the last increase and it is according to the weight.
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In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage-paid return envelopes.  
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Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express or Visa.
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Send a pizza coupon to Citibank or Barclays.
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If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their blank application back!
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If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them.
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You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to keep them guessing!
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It still costs them money to receive their mail shot back again..
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The banks and credit card companies are currently getting a lot of their own junk back in the mail, but it would be nice to overwhelm them.
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Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all they're paying for it....Twice!
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Let's help keep our postal service busy since they are saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits, and that's why they need to increase postage costs again.
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You get the idea!
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If enough people follow these tips, it will work.
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I have been doing this for sometime now, it does not take much time, and I get very little junk mail anymore.