The Menace From Beyond The Grave Situation

While we set our supercomputers to analyse processes that heat our CPUs surreptitiously, we give you another list of books added recently to our old-fashioned library of paper-and-ink products:

  • Facts on Aviation For The Future Flyers Of Tennessee, (c) 1944 Tennessee Bureau of Aeronautics, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Submarine! The Story of Undersea Fighters, by Kendall Banning, illustrated by Charles Rosner, (c) 1942 by Artists and Writers Guild, Inc., printed in the United States of America
  • The First Book of Moses called Genesis, translated out of the original Hebrew and with the former translations currently compared and revised, set forth in 1911 and commonly known as the King James version, pocket edition by American Bible Society (instituted in the year 1816), New York
  • Stamp collecting book by Richard Hill, Sunset Trail, Knoxville 18, Tennessee, manufactured by U.S. Government Printing Office
  • History of America, by Carl Russell Fish, Professor of American History, University of Wisconsin, illustrations by Leon D’Emo and Will Crawford, (c) 1925, 1928 by American Book Company, Made in U.S.A., owned by Ralph Eldridge, Knoxville Central High School senior 1932
  • The Kingsport Strike, by Sylvester Petro, (c) January 1967, Arlington House, New Rochelle, NY
  • International Atlas and Gazetteer of the World, containing a new and complete Descriptive Gazetteer of the Principal Countries of the World together with a complete collection of up-to-date Political Maps of the World, Statististical [sic] Tables, Census Figures, Air Line Distances, etc., (c) 1935 by C.S. Hammond & Co., Inc., Map Engravers, Printers and Publishers since 1900

Meanwhile, our staff in the Department of Dastardly Deeds has developed a potential storyline for us to follow:

By experimenting with chemical formulae, scientists have perfected the ideal poison letter.  Soon, they will infiltrate the labs of laser printer cartridge manufacturers, change the ingredients of the cartridge contents and release the newest formula into the homes, factories, offices, Internet cafes, construction trailers and libraries of the world.

Then, when the time is right, they will activate the signal that tells the cartridges to print a special circuit on paper.

The circuit, combined with the special ink that, after being heated and fused to the paper, uses the release of heat as the paper cools to send a strong enough “charge” to a blob of ink in one corner of the paper to achieve a minor goal of the Department of Dastardly Deeds.

The scientists have asked us not to reveal their goal at this time.

We won’t, because we have to figure out if their goal aligns with our major milestones before we decide to increase or eliminate their department budget.

While that’s going on, we’ll let you know that the brain circuit reconfiguration we’re testing on Jesse Jackson, Jr., may work this time.  We have tried similar experiments on other members in the public eye (refrain from referring to our previous work as “lobotomy,” electroshock treatment, drug cocktail service, etc.), in order to keep them in line with our milestones.

Those who haven’t stayed on message have been moved aside (again, refrain from referring to our previous work as  “failing the newspaper test,” “assassination,” “drug overdose,” suicide, not seeking reelection, retiring unexpectedly, etc.).

Managing a planet is distracting, we admit, but, on days when we’re bored, it provides an entertaining respite from looking back at this time period 1000 years in the future while trying to live a fulfilling life 1000 years from now, too.

A Confession To Make

I have a confession to make.

For several months now, my wife and I have been listening to the Harry Potter book series on audio CD while we’ve ridden together in my wife’s Toyota Camry.

Tonight, we finished the last CD of the last book, coincidentally in the first full week of release of a film starring Daniel Radcliffe.

No more ‘arry Potter voice impersonations by Jim Dale, a great reader and probably the best parent a kid could have read a book at bedtime.

Now I can get back to writing the life of seven billion without having a mental comparison of my writing against that of the children’s book author, J.K. Rowling.

Of course, my wife and I will ride in unusual silence when together in her car.

Time to return to the story where my contacts around the world feed me their autobiographical snippets that often involve us common folk and sometimes the lives of those who claim to be our leaders.

Together, we can tell it like it really is, no matter how messy, uninspiring or truly coincidental, and not how others would have us rewrite the narrative of our lives into so-called biographical/purposeful history.

All while leaving space for us to have hope and plan for a better future.

My job here’s not to be popular or well-liked.

In fact, it’s not a job at all.

It’s who I am.

Who I say I’m meant to be.

Just like the other seven billion of us, eh?

BTW, I went to the doctor’s office earlier this week to see about a viral infection called bronchitis and was prescribed an antibiotic.  If nothing else, I guess I’m “curing” my GI tract.

If you want reform…

A friend on facebook wants to reform her national government.

Kathy, if you want reform — that is, to make significant changes to the way tax revenues are spent (and possibly, collected, decreasing the debt load) in your local/state/national government — look at the numbers.

And, while looking, ask yourself what you’re willing to give up, both now and in the future, if reform to you means lowering the total expenditure.

For instance, here’s the pie chart of U.S. total spending for FY 2011:

Perhaps your  local political entity has a similar, easy-to-view breakdown of the way tax revenues/debts are supposed to be divided.

Where do you want to see changes made?

Where are the areas that change will be most effective for you and your sub/culture?

Can we manage government budgets as if they’re our own households?

What is a manageable public debt load?  After all, who’s going to call in your government’s debt?  Has your government’s debt been called in?

If bankruptcy is not an option, is eliminating the wishy-washy ratings agencies a good starting point?

More later.

Time for lunch and a few good books to read, including an ebook titled “Three Cups of Deceit – How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way,” by John Krakauer.

= = =

Thanks to Joe and Harold at KCDC; Tee Aundra at Krystal.

Ancient quote of the day

Although the times were warlike and the fates
Called to the fray, he lent a willing ear.
Yet must they plight their faith in simple form
Of law; their witnesses the gods alone.
No festal wreath of flowers crowned the gate
Nor glittering fillet on each post entwined;
No flaming torch was there, nor ivory steps,
No couch with robes of broidered gold adorned;
No comely matron placed upon her brow
The bridal garland, or forbad the foot (15)
To touch the threshold stone; no saffron veil
Concealed the timid blushes of the bride;
No jewelled belt confined her flowing robe (16)
Nor modest circle bound her neck; no scarf
Hung lightly on the snowy shoulder’s edge
Around the naked arm. Just as she came,
Wearing the garb of sorrow, while the wool
Covered the purple border of her robe,
Thus was she wedded. As she greets her sons
So doth she greet her husband. Festal games
Graced not their nuptials, nor were friends and kin
As by the Sabines bidden: silent both
They joined in marriage, yet content, unseen
By any save by Brutus. Sad and stern
On Cato’s lineaments the marks of grief
Were still unsoftened, and the hoary hair
Hung o’er his reverend visage; for since first
Men flew to arms, his locks were left unkempt
To stream upon his brow, and on his chin
His beard untended grew. ‘Twas his alone
Who hated not, nor loved, for all mankind
To mourn alike. Nor did their former couch
Again receive them, for his lofty soul
E’en lawful love resisted. ‘Twas his rule
Inflexible, to keep the middle path
Marked out and bounded; to observe the laws
Of natural right; and for his country’s sake
To risk his life, his all, as not for self
Brought into being, but for all the world:
Such was his creed. To him a sumptuous feast
Was hunger conquered, and the lowly hut,
Which scarce kept out the winter, was a home
Equal to palaces: a robe of price
Such hairy garments as were worn of old:
The end of marriage, offspring. To the State
Father alike and husband, right and law
He ever followed with unswerving step:
No thought of selfish pleasure turned the scale
In Cato’s acts, or swayed his upright soul.

Never too late to read a book

Novels in November:

1. “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
2. “The Man Who Loved Books Too Much,” by Allison Hoover Bartlett
3. “Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle,” by Ingrid Betancourt
4. “The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood,” by James Gleick

Part of October’s Reading List

(as if lists can read):

Has the fog burned off yet?

A list of books piles higher in the house.

Piles of books rise higher, the reader reluctant to dive in during the warm summer months, content to lie down on the sofa in the sunroom, watch the world go by, snooze, check Nothing off the daily to-do list one more time.

So a book had to be moved into the bathroom to be read.

The writer – Geerat Vermeij.  The story – his life story, the story of a boy blinded by disease as a toddler and going on to become a successful scientist.

Other stories he has told: one explanation of the diversity in ocean systems, for instance.

Adaptation, competition, genetic drift, specialisation – more words with multiple meanings in our continuing conversation as the proverbial blind people standing in one place describing a single aspect/feature of an elephant.

However, we tend to wander around, observe from multiple locations, regardless of physical abilities.

I had vivid dreams last night, sparked by a challenge to myself to give the widest diversity of input to the supercomputer, network of hackers and business associates so they can help figure out what is wrong with the idea that our current economic problems can be solved by motivating people to consume more and take on debt in order to motivate them to work and pay off the debt, preferably revolving debt while consuming/buying more and more and more and more.

What if the produce/consume model is wrong, regardless of its implementation in societies that are primarily capitalistic or primarily communistic?

Setting aside religious objections to the model of life as evolutionary biology, what is the next revolution in the evolution of our born/eat/reproduce/sleep/die social interaction set?

While the BRICS presumably builds upon the old middle class stabilisation model, what can the EUSA do to establish a more successful model of sustainable species growth?

Do we throw out everything and start over; that is, foment revolution on a massive scale, disrupting the global economy to create something we hope, from our angle that only includes a detailed analysis of the past and a limited view of the future, is better in the longterm?

Or is it only a matter of shifting perceptions?

What was once, in this country, a democratic republic that partially regulated the capitalistic economic system, becomes a democratic republic that is controlled by a centrally planned capitalistic economic system?

In other words, people can still vote for legislators to write laws about our social behaviours, creating rewards and punishments for how we treat one another as individuals or perceived members of groups.   We separate the management of our economy from the government, voting with our money for the companies led and/or owned by those who dedicate themselves to plan the best allocation of resources – raw material, land, people.

What is the effect on an economy/society if more public roads became private toll roads?

What is the effect on an economy/society if other public services – schools, common defense (police/military), firefighting, social safety net (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food assistance) – become privately managed, meaning you have to directly pay and/or work for the service(s)?

How do we promote love and compassion instead of selfish greed, hoarding and fear?

How do we provide a sense of stability rather than prey on insecurities?

With seven billion different behaviour sets (and growing), how many different ways must we describe the new tools we’ve created to ensure everyone understands we can have access to adequate sustenance, if we want it.

And if we or you don’t want it, that’s okay.  No system or systems will accommodate every want and need, no matter how inclusive it may try to be.

More later – the analysts who run the supercomputer are ready for input, the hackers have found a way to tap into more computer systems to increase the supercomputer’s virtual processing power, and my business associates…well, I can’t talk about what they want me to talk with them about right now.