Think for yourself for a minute – what is crazier…?

Feel free to read this first.

Or this.

Or this.

Or this.

The above links are all for news stories covering the new bill signed in this last week, and what is being called the ‘monsanto protection act’, essentially giving monsanto 6 months to be above the law, even in the face of any sort of evidence of health concerns, even in the face of any sort of federal regulatory body. The federal government, for 6 months, will not be allowed to restrict or regulate monsanto and their genetically modified “food”.

 

So, most people will probably say, think or respond- “well, I don’t think that is true”, well, please read the news articles and even read the legislation if you so choose. “well, there must be a good reason”, I suppose it is possible, “well, it’s not like they are going to break any laws or do anything irresponsible”, then why lobby politicians to have this rider added to the bill in the first place?

 

So I would like to ask anyone reading this a simple question. What is crazier?

1. Someone (person or company) thinking “I would like to be able to act above the law, without restriction, regulation or repercussion”.

2. Someone (person or company) thinking “I think I might even try to act above the law, without restriction, regulation or repercussion”.

3. Someone (person or company) actually trying to induce legislature to become above the law, without restriction, regulation or repercussion.

4. It actually coming true (for this to come true would require other people to let it come true).

So, I guess what I am wondering is, which of these is crazier? Are any of them crazy? Are they all crazy?  If somebody wanted to be above the law, well, you would have to wonder what their intentions were. If somebody were to think they actually COULD become above the law, I think I would start to fear them and their intentions. If that person actually started to TRY to become above the law I would definitely get worried. And finally, if that person actually did become above the law, well, I would probably be horrified.

I don’t know which of the 4 scenarios is scarier, but usually when somebody wants and seeks power of any sort, that type of person is someone that doesn’t respect or deserve power. I find it hard to imagine a altruistic person with nothing but good intentions to desire to become above the law.

This is something that is happening in our planet as we speak. This is something that is happening in our life time. It is quite true, nothing might ever happen. It is quite true, this could all be blown out of proportion and monsanto takes the 6 months off on vacation and does nothing with this free pass.

But I have to wonder – If a corporation lobbies politicians to include in legislature something that let’s them be above the law, what is their intent? The legislature added didn’t spontaneously arrive on a piece of paper, or in an email. Somebody had to have written it. For somebody to have written it, they must have had intention not just to write it, but for the legislature to become a reality. If they had an intention to have this become a reality, it would be logical to assume that they would have wanted to utilize the advantages the legislature provides, rather just to do it just for shits and giggles, or to see if they could do it.

Is it crazy to think these things? Is it crazy not to?

Goals for the week (Week 12)

 

My goals for last week:

  1. Trip planning (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos)
  2. House work
  3. Learn about quilting!
  4. Use my new sewing skills to fix stuff!
  5. Another 24 hours without my phone

 

How did I do?

Trip planning:

Man, I was a certified badass this week in the trip planning department. It is insane how much free time to have to do actual real life things when you remove tv, movies, fb and just aimless web surfing from your routine.

I have fallen in love with planning the trip! Each country, city, village, site, or whatever I am researching, I picture myself there. I picture myself eating the foods, staying in the dorms, the villages, the huts, the guest houses, doing this trek, seeing this temple, being a lazy bum on this beach, or just wandering this city. I hope I’m not building this trip up too much!

Anyway, this week I was able to do Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Nepal. I even started on Sri Lanka.  Awesome!

House work:

Not as fun as trip planning, but, well, actually, still fun. Just a different kind of fun.  Basically it was a lot of painting, tearing up some parquet flooring, sanding, and more sanding, and more painting.

Quilting like a gangster:

I just wanted to learn and get an idea on how this quilting thing is going to go down. I thought I could just do it by hand but apparently a sewing machine is the way to go. My mom will lend me hers, but now I will have to learn that. I have this idea of just doing it by hand but I’ve been told that is crazy talk. We shall see!  I am pretty much an old woman now.

Sewing and fixing:

Now that I am a level 10 sewer and one stitch away from grand master status, I was able to finally fix Ninjas harness, which was a bit worrisome when we were out running and what not.

Sewing is so friggin easy and cheap! I can’t imagine the amount of clothes I have thrown away from little holes. That wasn’t just from lack of sewing knowledge though, it was vanity and an image thing I suppose too.  How sillyness of past moi.

24 – No phone version:

24 Hours without a phone is (sadly) therapeutic. I find that not only am I going a full day without my phone on me, but I am just using it less.  It’s not like I stock up as much phone usage before I restrict myself, then the instant the 24 hours has passed I gorge myself on twitter and binge text. Nah, I really enjoy not having it. This week on the bus alone I was able to finish the Idiots guide to Hinduism, and a great fiction novel by Douglas Coupland – Generation A.  I’ve read J-pod before, and really enjoyed it.  This was another good read that I pounded out in like 2 days.

haha I did get an email from my dad saying “hello, nick turn on your cell phone”.  I should do a better job of telling people when I am ‘unplugging’.  Is that going to be a thing one day? When going offline means keeping your electronics at home?

 

Alright, so, goals for this upcoming week.

Week 12 (week of April 1)

  1. No cell phone for 1 day, and 1 day I only use it for receiving (and responding) text/phone calls. No internet/music/fb/games/etc.
  2. Trip Planning: Sri Lanka, Kenya and start India
  3. Meditate every day.
  4. Write 2000 words.
  5. Pick the clothes I want to use for my future quilt.

Cell phone, be gone!

Similar reasons as stated before in previous posts. It is really enjoyable and freeing. I really enjoy it. The only real reason why I would really ‘need’ my cell phone these days is to arrange for potential tenants to come visit my place, setting up and confirming private training sessions with my students, and general chit chat with my woman.  Phone chats with family could be done from a home phone or any phone at home at the end of the day. So….yeah, less cell phone is goodness gracious. oh and let’s face it, it isn’t a cell phone, it’s an everything machine – this is a fairly important detail.

Trip planning 

Sri Lanka and Kenya! Never really thought I would end up there. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But for now I plan on it.  If I can get India done too, great. But I am going to go ahead and be realistic and think that India will require tons and tons of research, even if it is just listing all of the things and places to do and see.  After I get all those countries done, it will be time to price out the cost of city to city, country to country travel (flights, boats, trains, bus, etc). But that will be after this week for sure.

Meditate and be all like, sorry I can’t talk right now I’m inside my own mind

I have strayed from my goal of lucid dreaming. This is somewhat related, but really I just want to start meditating for the sake of meditating. I know there are many health benefits to it, but really I just find it so interesting and peaceful and relaxing and other things and I think it would be enjoyable to do something that I have found in my own limited experience to be enjoyable. Ergo, consequently, vis a vis, doing enjoyable things is enjoyable.

That, and I swear when you meditate something happens. I can’t really describe it, or put words to it, but my mind behaves a bit differently, and sometimes the thoughts that come to me are really really really amazing. I have had some really practical and useful and important thoughts when I was meditating (that is to say, not trying to think about thinking and just let the thoughts come to me).

I think I will mix it up and try a few things in meditation this week. Meditation where I just let my mind wander and don’t try to control my thoughts, meditation where I try to focus on one specific thing/thought, meditation where I repeat a mantra, meditation where I focus on one sensation (ie. my breathing, or the sensation of breath coming into my nose and leaving my nose), or just listening to the sounds around me and just let them be heard without thinking too much about them.

Write 2000 words

I don’t know if I will get 2000 words done this week, but last week I barely did any writing, like maybe 250 words. I want to get back into writing for this little project of mine. I am roughly half way done. I don’t want to speak too much about this project, though I will say that it is very constrictive, but creative at the same time. I look forward to maybe doing some more creative writing afterwards that is less constrictive.  I’m a vague stupid face.

 

Pick out a wardrobe (to cut up and sew together!)

I won’t be doing the quilt in the next couple weeks, I think, but I would still like to keep this ball rolling so that it becomes a reality. This means picking out all the different clothes that I would like to use for the quilt. I will try to use as much of the clothes as possible, so that I don’t needlessly waste an entire shirt, for example, just because I want to have a small graphic from the t-shirt included in the quilt.

 

That’s it for now! Have a great week 🙂

 

 

 

 

What can be ‘known’ through science?

 

science pic meme

Science is interesting. It could be viewed as an exercise in futility.

The idea behind scientific discovery is that you pose a question, formulate a hypothesis, then test your hypothesis through experimentation. Empirical data is collected, and it either supports your hypothesis or it doesn’t.

If the data supports your hypothesis, does that mean that your hypothesis is TRUE. Have you now just discovered something that is a fact or truth of nature? Might multiple hypothesis be put forward, and each of having their own supporting evidence?

See, the problem with science and the idea of ‘knowing’ something, or anything, even something as simple as am I awake right now? Or ‘am I typing on a laptop right now?’ is that their can exist an infinite number of hypotheses, and no matter how ludicrous or implausible each might be, until each is put through the scientific method, one can never ‘know’, that is to say, be certain, of anything.

We can have confidence and beliefs in things, strong evidence, yes, that is very true, but until every single hypothesis is tested, nothing can be known.  And with an infinite number of possible hypotheses possible for any given phenomena, where are we to go?

It is really interesting that scientists, and myself until fairly recently, was absolutely certain that there was a big bang. Do you know how recent of a ‘discovery’ the big bang is? Do you know the history of how it was formulated and accepted? It is something that is there that we just accept, like gravity and taxes, but it is such an immature theory, literally in its infancy. Yet I used to look down on anyone, mock and laugh if they didn’t believe it.

We believe that atoms exist. But nobody has ever seen an atom. An ‘atom’ is just a model for some phenomena that we experience. But we can’t see it, not with our senses.

We used to think that the atom was the smallest thing in the universe. The building block of matter. Then we found out you can split it open! Imagine that. ‘Ok’, said the scientists, ‘now we KNOW that there are proteins, neutrons and electrons, that is what the universe is made up of’. But then they found out there is so much more. Quarks, muons, leptons, neutrinos, anti-protons, higgs-bosons and whatever else. It keeps getting smaller and smaller.  It is like this universe is one giant Russian matryoshka doll set. No matter which way you zoom in or zoom out, it never ends.

What am I trying to say?  I guess, we have egos. We want to know things. We think we know things. We think that there exists an end point of knowing everything. That there is a finite number of things to know in the universe, and that once we know them all, we are good! We know it all, and then we can do as we please and master everything.

But what if there isn’t a finite number of things to ‘know’. What if, not only there was an infinite number of things to ‘know’, but the ability to truly ‘know’ even one thing was simply impossible?

So I ask, is the pursuit of science an exercise in futility? I understand that the first responses people would probably bring forward would be something along the lines of ‘well what about modern medicine, people would be dying this, and diseased that, and food production this’ etc etc.  True, although I would enjoy debating each of those supposed benefits.

Of course science is not always altruistic. We have now in our hands these things that various countries control that if activated, could destroy every single human event from the face of our planet. We have scientists who create flu virus’ that can kill over 50% of the planet (why does this exist and who funds this anyway?). We have wars, we have invasive technologies, we have people modifying the genetic makeup of living organisms including those that we eat.

But that isn’t why I even started this thought. It has nothing to do with what good or what bad can come out of science. It is simply, if the goal of science is to know something, and it is simply not possible to know anything, should science even be worth considering?

If we applied the scientific method to science itself, and posed the hypothesis “There may exist knowledge on how natural phenomena exist. We hypothesize that in order to know (that is to say, be certain rather than have a strong belief or opinion) this phenomena we will have to test an infinite number of hypotheses and perform an infinite number of experiments and gather an infinite number of data.” If we did this, if that was our hypothesis for any scientific experiment, we would never start trying to answer the question, or to start proving/disproving the hypothesis in the first place!

So the scientific method, as it applies to understanding natural phenomena, would appear to be futile and a sub-par means for coming to knowledge.

I didn’t plan on writing out this much, I have lost steam and interest!  I would love to hear counter points and different views on what I’ve said.  The more perspectives I get on anything and everything, the better 🙂

Happy earth deity zombie day! (if you believe that sort of thing)

xoxoxoxo

 

Goals of the week (March 25 edition)

 

I am le tired. It is monday morning, but here goes:

Goals from last week:

  1. Eat 100% Organic (except sunday)
  2. Work on house.
  3. Hindu learning
  4. More country research –  get at a minimum of 5 countries knocked off my list to research.
  5. 24 hours without my iphone.
  6. Sunday seminar.

How did I do?

Eating 100% organic, well, it doesn’t take much to fail this one! I failed. Although all my groceries were organic, I still bought a cheese pie, Jen made some delicious cakes and cupcakes this week, and of course I was forced to fill my face with the sweet sweet goodness.  I think I will survive though, overall I did fairly well.

House work. I am pretty much a lumberjack handyman that only wears flannel and smell only of the outdoors and mountain tops. Or at least that is how I felt when I was sanding, cleaning and plastering the holes of the spare room this week. I was away for a bit on the weekend, but this week I will finish up and get it painted up and all done.

Learn me some Hindu. For this, I was hoping to have a good conversation with an old lab mate who is a practicing Hindu, however our schedules didn’t align. I did, however, get a book from the library and massacred it.  I’m really really curious and intrigued by Hinduism.

I don’t even know if I would call it a religion. Well, I guess I would. But to me, so far, it seems almost more similar to Buddhism than to the Abrahamic religions, in the sense that it seems more like a philosophy than a religion. One of the reasons that I find it so interesting is that many of its beliefs are congruent with science, from astrophysics to quantum mechanics, it is really something to consider.

It is also extremely peaceful, and is very introspective and internal. It jives quite well with other Western philosophies that I have been exposed to thus far, and also addresses epistemological and metaphysical perspectives that I already share.

One interesting tidbit I would like to share to anyone who reads this, is something that I found quite interesting. It is related to reincarnation, and the ability to maintain your consciousness (and memories) as your soul goes from one body and on to the next. Apparently the Egyptian book of the dead, the Tibetan book of the dead, and some Gnostic ‘Christian’ books as well, had instructions and key phrases to memorize and repeat that would instruct and aid someone through the process of death to maintain their consciousness, such that their consciousness remained through this process, and also through the rebirth of the ‘soul’ into the new body.

Apparently this exists in Hinduism as well, and has been practiced for thousands of years. An example of which would be the repetition of certain words or mantras.

Why is this interesting to me? Well it appears to be alarmingly similar to some of the strategies to become able to perform lucid dreaming. The idea behind lucid dreaming, through questioning yourself if you are awake or not throughout the day (wake/sleep checks), or through wake induced lucid dreaming where you maintain your consciousness and your stream of thought as your body falls asleep is almost EXACTLY congruent with what I have read about the ability to maintain your consciousness/memory as you move from one life to another. Quite interesting.

Anyway, I have found a plethora of truly interesting things so far. Learning about Hinduism is both greatly pleasant, but also intensely stimulating. It is quite an enjoyable experience so far.

Researching countries is hard work!

I did this non stop all week. Pretty much every single week night, once I got home, I was online doing research. I wanted to get 5 countries done, but despite the number of hours I put in, I couldn’t get all 5 done. There is a great reason for this, and that reasons name is…Indonesia!

So I was able to adequately research Papua New Guinea (gonna be bad ass), Malaysia, Philippines, and part of Vietnam (to be finished later). But Indonesia, oh me oh my, that took me forever to do.

For one, I didn’t want the research to end. Every single city, village, town, beach, volcano, jungle trek – I would just picture myself there and keep thinking to myself “I can’t believe this place exists on this planet and I have never given it any thought!”  That pretty much sums it up.  It is an incredibly diverse place, with over 17,000 islands, a large number of very much so active volcanoes, rain forests, caves, villages, puppet shows, arts and crafts. It is the 4th most populated country on the planet, something I did not know. Oh and it is cheap as frigg! the $25 taxi ride home last night from the bus station to my place would have kept me alive easily for a couple of days in Indonesia.

🙂

Feeling naked without my iphone.

24 hours without my phone on me. My god, what bliss! No distractions. No constant texting, twitter checking, fb time wasting, words with friends non-spelling. It was great. If I wasn’t leaving in the early fall on a trip, I would cancel my cell phone and go back to a home phone. I really enjoy being out of grasp and just being able to enjoy what I am doing. It was quite freeing. We think that having all this great technology frees up our life and improves it, but really it holds us down. Instead of having more free time, we just squeeze every second of our day with SOMETHING.

Oh, and for the first time in a long time I didn’t have music to listen to on the bus. I learned that people, especially young people, sadly lack basic intelligence. I don’t mean this to be holier than thou, but the conversations that I overheard from different people, well, it made me scared to think these people have some sort of job somewhere, possibly making decisions, and also have an equal vote. Elitist? Possibly, maybe I am just a stupid person to someone else, that is quite possible. Maybe what I heard wasn’t representative of the actual population. But it was still…not pleasing!

All in all though, awesome stuff! I highly suggest unplugging yourself. At first I really truly really truly really truly felt naked and that something was missing. Almost a bit of anxiety.

How sad is that?

Everybody was kung fu fighting.

I took the bus down to Guelph this weekend to meet Colin Caissie from Caissie Karate. He was hosting a seminar that I was running that was raising organic food for various local Guelph charities. I came into contact with a woman, Anita, who provides food to various Guelph food bank charities. I didn’t count the amount of food, but there were bags and bags and bags of food brought in by the great students at Caissie Karate. It was really great 🙂

Everyone seemed to be quite pleased, and I hope they enjoyed the seminar as much as I did. It was really a pleasure, and a great experience. Colin is a really great guy, and everyone that I met throughout the day was really warm and friendly. I think he has a good thing going in Guelph.  I look forward to seeing them all again!

 

This weeks goals (week 11):

  1. Trip planning: Finish off Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
  2. House work
  3. Learn about quilting!
  4. Use my newly attained sewing skills to fix some things that need fixing
  5. Another 24 hours without my phone

1. Trip Planning.

Again, like last week, just need to get this done. Also, doing the planning is definitely a little h. It is really enjoyable. I hope to get the ‘attractions,sites, things to do and see’ part of the trip planning done by the end of April, that way I can get onto logistics.

 

2. House work. Enough said.

3. Quilt my face off!

So, I have accumulated an insane amount of clothing over the years. Lots of it is free swag (sponsorships, etc), but I don’t need even like 5% of it. I think I have probably given to charity about 30 or so hoodies in the last year, just from packing my clothes to move from Montreal to Ottawa, and then unpacking in Ottawa, and realizing I don’t need half this stuff.

The problem is, some of the clothes has some sort of sentimental value to me. Some of it is fight related, and my brain has linked seeing those clothes with a certain memory that I enjoy. I am selfish, and want to keep those clothes for the memories, but I still don’t NEED a million shirts and hoodies.

This is where I got the idea to convert the clothes to something epic. A quilt!

I figure I could cut up these pieces of clothing and stitch them together and form an awesomely epic blanket that I could keep forever and ever, and would actually be used, rather than just sitting in my closet taking up space.

So to start this project off, I am gonna have to learn how quilting is done, and all those shenanigans!

4. Sewing.

So at the risk of sounding like I am turning into a house wife, I am going to do some sewing this week (while I take breaks from learning about quilting).  I have some jeans with holes, my rabbit fur hat has a little problem, and Ninja’s harness is torn. All these things are still good, they just need some TLC (sewing)!

A previous version of me would have said those things were no good anymore and thrown them out. How wasteful! I think somehow along the way, we (or at least me) have become extremely wasteful. We feel good about recycling, but what about reducing and reusing, or in this case reusing after re-fixing. Things have become so cheap that it is easier just to replace than to throw away.  

I wonder what effects and consequences it has on someones psyche and personality when that sort of mentality becomes pervasive. Does it spread into our human relationships? Instead of working on a problem, solving our problems, is it easier just to give up on a person, a relationship, a marriage, and just find someone new?

5. No phone.

Go away phone! You distract me from living my actual life. Phone you are addictive and when I am on the bus, or anywhere, and I see almost a sea of people with bad posture, hood drooping down, looking at a brightly lit 2.5 x 4 inch device held close to their face, well, I get sad.  I’m no better, I do it too. I look at people on the bus, or couples together, or friends together, and they are all just on their phone.

Nobody, myself included, is living in the present. Yet, the present is the only thing that exists. Instead of interacting with all these people that are right there in front of you, we are texting, fb liking or tweeting these e-people, that are somewhere else, who they themselves are surrounded by real life flesh and blood people, but probably ignoring.

I think it is unhealthy, I really really do. Feel free to argue my views at any time, I enjoy hearing peoples perspectives, and offering my own of course.

 

News of the Week (March 20)

The Cyprus Bailout Fiasco: European Markets Roll With the Punches

Everything you need to know about the Cyprus bailout, in one FAQ

The great EU bank robbery: British taxpayers to bail out victims of outrageous raid on Cyprus accounts

EU gives Cyprus bailout ultimatum, risks euro exit

Cyprus, European data rattle shares, oil and euro

Why it matters:

  • Imagine waking up one morning to find out that the money in your bank accounts were frozen, you couldn’t touch them. You have bills to pay, things you need to pay for and do, but you can’t access your money. Not just that, you find out that upwards to 10% of your savings are gone. Who here would like that? Imagine if it was you.
  • Confidence and faith. That is what keeps this thing going. People invest in things because they have confidence/faith that their investment will grow, and that they will be able to get their money back. When you remove, or weaken confidence and faith, people will be less likely to invest or store their money in institutions.
  • Once the Cypriots accounts become unfrozen, do you think they will take their money out or just leave their savings in the banks? What would you do? In light of this, is this mode of ‘bailout’ sustainable and functional? What if you were a citizen of Spain or Greece, after seeing your fellow EU members subjected to this, would you keep your assets in banks?
  • Once a precedent is set, will other countries follow suit? New Zealand is thinking about it already.

German research institute pulls out of Canadian tar sands project

Why it matters:

  • Germany is a leading country en route to embracing sustainable green energies and moving away from dangerous forms of energy. When one of their largest companies in this field decides not to work with Canada on their tar sands due to worries of tarnishing their green and eco friendly image, as a Canadian, I sit back and have to give that a good thinking… What is our countries image becoming?
  • Canada’s tar sands deposits contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in human history, according to James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
  • Some alarming notes about the tar sands project in Canada, and how dangerous they are for the worlds environment. I’m sad to be a Canadian at times:

 

Canada’s tar sands deposits contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in human history, according to James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

“If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate,”Hansen famously wrote. It would elevate global temperatures to levels not seen since the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, he added.

Environmentalists say that by 2020, a planned expansion in Alberta’s tar sands operation would sprawl to an area the size of Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland combined.

 

 

Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Other Big Grocers Make Big Decision on GMO Salmon

Why it matters:

  • Companies are understanding that people are waking up to the dangers in our food system, and there are obviously growing desires to getting back to eating natural foods. I’m happy.

 

EPA Approved GMO Insecticide Responsible For Killing Off Bees & Puts Entire Food Chain at Risk

Why it matters:

  • Bee’s are awesome because they pollinate organisms that need pollinating. Those organisms just happen to feed us. Feeding us keeps us alive. Being alive is generally thought to be better than not being alive. Bees staying alive = good for us.
  • Link to pubmed is in the article, so feel free to read the article or at least the abstract

So you’re tired of hearing about “rape culture”?

Why it matters:

  • I’m not a feminist or anything like that, but fuck me are there ever some disgusting themes, images, imagery, trends in mainstream media from advertising to tv/movies/music that promote behaviors that displace social cohesion with something much worse.

Supreme Court approves $222k fine for 24 illegally downloaded songs

Why it matters:

  • Allegedly, everyone who has grown up with a computer and internet connection has probably downloaded at least one media file, and often thousands upon thousands, so perhaps you could imagine yourself being in this persons shoes.
  • The punishment doesn’t really fit the crime does it? eye for an eye? If that were the case, and you killed someone, then using the math from this case, that persons family would get to kill 10,000 of your family members.  Sounds fair.  Did this woman downloading 24 songs really cost the music company $222,000 in losses? Is this considered just?
  • What would your life would be like if you got hit with a $200k+ fine from downloading some songs years ago from napster, kazaa, lime wire, or whatever?

Maryland School Bans Hugging: St. Mary’s County Public Elementary Schools Ban Hugs, Birthday Party Invitations And Homemade Food

Why it matters:

  • Nanny state = degeneration of society.
  • Preventing human interactions such as hugs will remove people from the human experience. Separate people emotionally, they will be separated on all basic and important levels. Man separated from man does not lead to cohesion, it leads to fear, anxiety, and that man is much more easily influenced/controlled.

 

Chicago Public Schools Pull “Persepolis” From Shelves

Why it matters:

  • Banning books. Censorship.
  • Why does censorship matter? When someone else can prevent certain ideas and thoughts from entering your consciousness, is that a powerful thing? Is it just? Is it right? Are there certain instances when censorship is important? If so, is this one of them?

North Korea threatens to attack US bases in Okinawa, Guam

Why it matters:

  • North Korea is comical. It appears like with a very busy global village, they just want some attention.  But at the same time, they are clearly crazy and I don’t trust them.

Obama’s Israel Visit: U.S. President Voices Eternal Support For America’s Top Mideast Ally

Why it matters:

  • I’ve never really understood the intensely strong alliance between the USA and Israel.
  • Israel is constantly on the brink of some sort of war or escalating conflict, whether it is with Palestinians or neighboring countries.
  • Israel is not a small army themselves, but knowing that you have allegiance from the worlds military super power, you might be more prone to act in a less peaceful manner. Somewhat akin to a guy who picks a fight knowing he has his entire group of friends behind him who ‘has his back’.

 MI6 and CIA were told before invasion that Iraq had no active WMD

Why it matters:

  • Yeah, no kidding.
  • 2.2 trillion dollars, over 100,000 deaths with absolutely no logic, no evidence, and just  a whole bunch of lies believed through fear. Will people learn from history?

Microsoft, Too, Says FBI Secretly Surveilling Its Customers

US plan calls for more scanning of private Web traffic, email

Google Glass: Orwellian surveillance with fluffier branding

Why it matters:

  • Technology is really impressive, and those who love technology will tout the benefits. The benefits are easy to see, but is anybody looking at the potential risks and downfalls?
  • I’m not talking about simple things like holding an iphone to your head might cause cancer, or having an internet capable set of glasses permanently on your head by your brain, and the health risks associated.
  • I’m talking about how technology affects human interaction, behaviour. I’m also talking about the fact that every key stroke, swipe, text, phone call, email sent, google search can and is be stored by the NSA without a warrant.
  • Your mobile devices, their mic and camera can be turned on at will. There are websites online where you can watch some unsuspecting people with their computers on, through their webcam. Hackers gain access to their webcams, activate them, and while they do whatever they do, you can watch them and giggle at them. Gross.
  • So, we obviously don’t use these technologies responsibly, yet clearly we have no desire or even thoughts to stop using them. What does that mean when you now have a camera showing your point of view all the time?

 

NEW BRAIN IMPLANT TRANSMITS WIRELESSLY TO COMPUTER

Why it matters:

  • I used to be excited for the singularity. Now I’m deathly afraid of it.
  • At what point (if we haven’t already passed it) will we no longer be ‘humans’? Implantable devices, the human thoughtome, brain waves sent wirelessly to computers, software and machines. What will happen to human interaction?
  • What will happen when your brain is connected to the internet and computer virus’s, hacking, data mining, surveillance is the norm? Will thoughts become montirored, tracked and subject to law?

Federal Judge Finds National Security Letters Unconstitutional, Bans Them

Why it matters:

  • This story gives me confidence that there are people that care about security, privacy, and human rights.
  • The ability to do surveillance without warrants and proper due process is an example of an imbalance of power. Speaking out about this is a step in the right direction.

 

 

Goals of the week (March 18 edition)

I had some goals last week.  Here they were:

  1.  Get back into world trip planning.
  2. Write 2000 words
  3. Start jogging (maybe biking) outside.
  4. Start some house work.

Trip planning was pretty sweet. Jen has been doing the visa/health research, I have been making a rough outline, country by country of sites to see, interesting treks or things to do, places to see, etc. Basically, to get an idea of what exists in each country we plan to visit, so that when we get there we have a rough idea of what is going on.  I hope to meet and talk to locals and get recommendations as we go, but it doesn’t hurt to have a rough idea of what each country offers before we get there.

I have Latin America hammered out, the south pacific island options, and New Zealand done up. After I take care of Asia and Kenya (probably won’t need to do much research for Kenya as we will be guests there), I think I will start pricing out and researching transport all of our transport options from country to country, or major spot to major spot. Hopefully by then Jen will be done the visa/health issues, then we can move into a better idea of costing, start planning little adventures like wwoofing, couch surfing, various treks, and after that, book a flight or two and put it in motion!

Day dreaming is friggin awesome by the way.

 

#2. Writing was pretty fun this week. I don’t know if I did the 2000 words or not. I write on a note pad, so, can’t do a word count, though I do think I was hovering around that 2000 word goal that I made for myself. I have found that I REALLY enjoy writing. The project I am working on is more creative writing than anything. I find it to be extremely challenging, and doing something out of character, something that I never would have thought that I would do is definitely enjoyable.  I likes it.

#3. Jogging outside! How fun and amazing! Last week we saw a few days back to back, here in Ottawa, that were mild and warm. I would get up and jog first thing in the morning with my brand new running shoes ($7 from payless, thank you!). I take Ninja, get jogging pants and a couple of sweaters on and go for a jog. Ninja is out of shape from the winter, so I was pulling her along, but she will catch up in no time.

I would get home, hot and sweaty, and go straight into yoga. Take off my sweaters, roll out the yoga mat, put on one of my yoga videos and go. It is such a great way to start the day with some healthy exercise and stretching, something that my body needs daily from now until forever in order to counterbalance the shit that I have put it through for years.

But then mother nature had to get all up in my grill and make it snowy and cold again. I’m excited for it to become spring, like for reals, because that morning routine is quite enjoyable. I find that it really raises my quality of life. I feel good knowing that I am giving my body something that it needs, and I just take pleasure in being outside, challenging myself, taking time out of the day to do something just for me, and overall, I just find it very calming and stress-destructionating.

#4. Do some work around the house.This was a big failure! I put all the materials into the spare room to work on it, aaaaaaaaaand that is about it.  Lack of time and being away in MTL this weekend just didn’t let it happen.

 

With all that said, it was a fun week.  My goals for this upcoming week (March 18th) are:

  1. Eat 100% Organic (except sunday)
  2. Work on house.
  3. Hindu learning
  4. More country research –  get at a minimum of 5 countries knocked off my list to research.
  5. 24 hours without my iphone.
  6. Sunday seminar.

 

Eat 100% Organic

This last weekend, and the one before, I have found that I have been eating less and less organic food. I mean, every grocery I buy and bring into my house is organic, but seeing family and eating out and such usually means eating non-organic. So for this week (except sunday – see seminar) I plan to eat 100% organic.

It makes me feel significantly better, and whether or not it is a placebo effect, that doesn’t matter whatsoever. The only thing that matters is the quality of how you feel, and I know that I feel way better when I eat organic food.

Work on house

Fix up the walls of the spare bedroom and hopefully some paint.  Same as last week. Also, get my dryer fixed.

Learn about the Hindu Religion

Alan Watts has me thinking. Actually, lots of things have me thinking. But he has me thinking about different things, from different perspectives. This weekend I read the Bhagavad Gita while Jen slept in, all in one sitting. For one, it was absolutely beautiful. For six, it made lots of sense and was intensely appealing. For four point two, it has me intrigued. It is coming to me more as a philosophical outlook and perspective than a religion with a personal god, similar to Buddhism.

So, I plan to put some effort into learning more about the oldest religion, and hopefully have a conversation or two on the way.

Trip Planning

I want to get a minimum of 5 countries researched for sites/places/things to potentially do. Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam.

it’s 2:53, do you know where your phone is?

At home! I want to distance myself from technology, at least in some respects, and at least some of the time. I also want to distance myself from possessions.

My phone is an odd one though, because it provides me music, which brings me enjoyment and pleasure and stimulation. It provides me with podcasts and audiobooks, which provides me with those same things, as well as education and perspective. It provides me with connection to others, through email, phone, facebook and twitter (news stories).

My phone also makes it harder to just sit and think and ponder about whatever I want. It makes it harder to just be in the moment and enjoy the present, if such a thing even exists. There will always be another song to listen to, another news article to read, another thing to learn about. So, knowing that it will never end, is it somewhat futile, in the sense that it is unending, and so what is the point?

My dad catches squirrels and chipmunks every summer from the front and backyard of my parents home. He catches dozens and dozens of these animals, and releases them to nearby parks. The thought is always the same. “Just a few more left to catch”. Once they are all caught, then their garden will be safe. The problem is, there is a never-ending supply of them. In my opinion, it is an exercise in futility.

Perhaps my desire to learn more and do more is similar. I wonder if I am chasing something that has no end. Perhaps, for my quality of life’s sake, my mental states sake, for my own sake, spending all of my time and effort capturing squirrels and chipmunks should be left alone and that just letting go of desire, even if it is the desire to constantly learn, would be best.

Is it settling? Is it just letting go and just enjoying being? These are questions.

Either way, at the end of the day, my phone aka computer that has access to anything on this planet, is pervasive, too pervasive. Separation will be healthy.

Sunday seminar in Guelph

So, this sunday I will be doing a seminar in Guelph at Caissie Karate.

caissie karate

 

I am asking for a minimum of $30 worth of certified organic foods which will be going towards various food bank organizations in the Guelph area. A lady, Anita, who works with multiple food bank groups will be receiving the food donations, some for kids, some for adults, but all for a good cause.

I don’t have a car, so I will be busing to and from Ottawa. I will probably do an overnight bus so that I can sleep, or maybe I will just write or think or whatever on the bus ride.  Should be fun! Excited 🙂

 

That is it for my goals or things to do this week. If you have any for yourself, please do share them! If you have suggestions or comments, please do share them!  I would love very much for this to be more of a conversation between people than just an outlet for other people to look in onto.

So if you have any thoughts, please share them 🙂

 

xoxoxoxo

 

 

News from the week :)

Federal Government Reports Marijuana Effective in Combatting Certain Cancers Reports ADSI

Why it matters:

  • Countless studies have shown the anti-cancer effects of cannabis, among a wide range of other health benefits
  • Here you have an interesting relationship – the federal government, which oulaws a naturally occurring plant species, and a federally appointed institute (National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health) that acknowledges the health benefits of this same outlawed plant species.

New York state assemblyman who voted against legalizing medical marijuana is arrested for pot possession

Why it matters:

  • Hypocrasy. Almost every single human being at some point has/is/will use cannabis. President Obama on… I believe Jimmy Kimmel, with a smile and a laugh said that he had smoked marijuana. Would he still be president today if years ago he spent a few years in jail for possession of a schedule I substance?

US plans to allow spy agencies to monitor every citizen’s finances – report

Why it matters:

  • If you aren’t committing any financial crimes and have nothing to hide, why worry? Privacy, the acceptance of being monitored in an ever increasingly totalitarian manner is the reason, or at least potentially one.
  • Does the loss of privacy and basic rights outweigh the benefits of incarcerating a felon? It is a good question. But with 1000’s of laws being passed each year, consistently hidden in large and largely unread bills, how can anyone keep up? It has been said that everyone in the US has broken some law whether they knew it or not.
  • In light of for-profit prison systems, what does this mean to you?

Cross-border policing provokes sovereignty worries

I’ve posted similar articles before on FB. Excuse me for repeating this story.

Why it matters:

  • Sovereignty. Freedom. Being subject to US laws as a Canadian in Canada.
  • Now, let’s not go overboard with assumptions. No, an american officer can’t come to  Canada to arrest me for a US law that I am committing on Canadian soil, but read this article, and others available online. But might this lead to something….undesirable?
  • What would being Canadian mean, or Canada as a nation mean if Canadians became subject to US laws while on Canadian soil, in their own ‘country’?  It is just a question, possibly and hopefully not one that was based on any reality, but I think it is an important one to think about.

China’s Drone Swarms Rise to Challenge US Power

Why it matters:

  • The reason why military drones are ‘good’ are the exact same reasons why they are undesirable.
  • The concept that your country could fight a war and not lose a single member from your country (aka home team) seems like a good thing. This is the better stated version of “oh, what, you’d rather our troops die in battle for your freedom?” Which is fallacious, for one.
  • The danger is that, well…, what are the consequences of viewing war as ‘inconsequential’, especially as they pertain to human (patriots aka the home team, not the enemies aka the away team). If I was invincible, what would be the deterrents of me to doing whatever I wanted? If I could go to war and “defend” (read: take/control) and not lose a single life, well, why not?
  • The ability to war without loss (or less loss) is attractive, but inherent in the existence of its possibility is a decrease need or likeliness to resolve conflicts without war, without violence.
  • That is, until, other countries around the world play catch up and develop their own robotic armies of their own. Security is an illusion. It is the carrot leading the donkey. The donkey doesn’t know where it is going, but all the while it is (in its own mind) getting closer to security. The US was the first to have nuclear arms, desiring to become a global super power, now many countries at any moment could wipe out the planet with the press of a button. Read that line again. If it doesn’t scare the shit out of you then you are a crazy person.
  • The arms race has a speed limit and everyone eventually catches up.

Is Our Debt Burden Really $100 Trillion?

Why it matters:

  • Interesting read. 
  • Unfunded liabilities is a very big and real issue. The baby boomers are retiring, growing older, have increasing health and social welfare needs (costs). People have faith that money ‘promised’ to them later in life will be there.
  • I wonder what the consequences/effects of the baby boomer generation passing, let’s say 50 years from now, will be? (Somewhat unrelated to this article, just an interesting thought to entertain).

FIRST ON CNN: Iran confronts U.S. drone over Persian Gulf

Why it matters:

  • An american drone is flying over another countries borders and Iranian military confronts the drone, followed by the american drone being escorted away
  • If an Iranian drone were to be found over or even near the US borders, it would be shot down rather quickly and be sensationalized as an attack on the homeland. Military, mainstream media and citizens would be up in arms.
  • This ‘confrontation’ if you could call it that, appears to be peacefully done by Iran, however the wording used in this article have a sense of malice; ‘thwarting’, or that the “United States is concerned with Iranian intentions in incidents like this and whether such episodes could unintentionally trigger hostilities.” – What would you do if another countries (not just any country, but one that is on edge to go to war with you, and is the largest military power on the planet) military had a drone flying near your country? How would that make you feel? Would wanting to escort it away without violence be an acceptable response?

 

The NYPD Declares Martial Law in Brooklyn ?

Note: I originally found this on uscop.org but since the time I wanted to post this (roughly 24 hours since now) it was taken down

Why it matters:

  • A boy (whom the media calls a gang thug, which is quite possibly what he may be) was murdered by police several days ago, after which the community began to protest, and of course, riot.
  • Martial law placed on area to hinder rioting and protests.
  • It’s just ugly, but it is happening, that is why it is important.

Love hurts: Man arrested for releasing helium balloon with his girlfriend – Faces 5 years in prison – (my addition)

Why it matters:

  • 5 years in prison (potentially) for a romantic gesture. Even if it wasn’t romantic and those balloons were released with the most evil intentions. 5 years. Take 30 seconds right now, please, and imagine being on trial, the jury is about to read your verdict. Guilty.  5 years imprisonment. You are shackled, sent to your jail, filled with people that do not like you. Your home is now a cage, your ability to get any fulfilling and valuable job – gone. Your family life, destroyed. Because you had a balloon in your hand, and let it go, and it floated upwards into the sky. Is this justice? Is this fitting for the supposed ‘crime’? Will jail time help or harm this persons life, and those lives around him? Who benefits from this?
  • This, in the face of knowing that from the global banking fraud, causing the global economic downturn a few years ago, the rigging of the LIBOR scandal, HSBC laundering billions of drug money – and not a single person is convicted or even tried for any crimes. This difference highlights an indisputable fact: There is a two tiered justice system in the US.

 

Canada drops out of top 10 most developed countries list

Human Development Index 2013: South Remains Least Developed But Shows Major Gains

Why it matters:

  • I’m Canadian! Canada used to be a a leader in the human development index ratings
  • Very interesting to read, not just the article but the UN documents themselves
  • B(R)IC nations have overtaken the traditional western economic leading countries for the first time; US still on top
  • The final data points on the human development index lists the worlds regions: latin america, europe, sub-saharan africa, etc etc, but oddly north american data is unavailable.  I am curious to find this data myself. If anyone else knows where it is available, please let me know

Study: Iraq war cost 190,000 lives, $2.2 trillion

Why it matters:

  • War is big business. Those 2.2 trillion dollars didn’t just go into thin air, a large part went to contractors, corporations such as Blackwater, lockheed martin, and any other warring corporation, from ammunition production to army boot manufacturers, to software and intelligence services, to companies that are contracted to build infrastructure.
  • $2, 200, 000, 000, 000.00, as opposed to the projected 50-60billion (which is still a shit ton). That would be like getting a quote for someone to do some electrical work in your house for $200, and then them coming back to you and saying it will be $8000.  Not quite in the same ball park is it?

Servers in Canada linked to FinFisher spyware program

Why it matters:

  • In recent years the discovery of both iphone and android phones being released into market with 3rd party software pre-installed that tracks every single swipe, click, text, internet usage, voice conversations and also has the ability to turn on and off and record your camera and microphone. Whether it is pre-installed, or through an app or software you downloaded, it happens
  • The presence of these data mining/surveillance/tracking companies is growing, and will continue to grow.
  • It is important to be aware that there is a fairly good chance that you, yes you, and all of your internet/cell phone usage is being recorded and being stored. It isn’t a conspiratorial thing, it is purely a data mining thing (which is still by definition conspiratorial I suppose).
  • High level international journalists have been advocating the usage of post it notes over webcam/cell phone cameras when not in use, even stating that their contacts demand that they throw away their iphones before meeting, as the iphones microphone and camera can be activated and recorded at any time, even if the phone is ‘turned off’ – the iphone can not truly be turned off, as the battery is soldered  in place.

 With Graph Search, It’s Facebook vs. Facebook

Why it matters:

  • Information is great! Sharing is great! It is one of the biggest things going for facebook
  • Loss of privacy is not great, and perhaps you don’t want to share some of your information, or perhaps you didn’t intend to share it to so many people, or in a specific manner.
  • As facebook continues to grow and change, as a publicly traded company, they have their interests, a large one is your personal data and information, your interaction network, your network and usage, habits, etc. The ability to form models on predict what product a person will want based on a minimal number of attributes and pieces of data is HIGHLY valuable to companies. If they know that you “like” X, but not Y, they might know that there is a ##% chance that you are a target for a certain product, and not for another. Being on facebook means you, yourself, and your activity on it IS the product that is being sold. This may or may not be fine to you, there are obviously arguments for or against it – you can receive advertisements for things you actually like vs stuff you will never like. But it still seems orwellian, and there are consequences. At the end of the day, it is up to each facebooker to decide if they are comfortable with it or not.

 

14 Adults ‘Functionally Cured’ Of HIV, Study Says

Why it matters:

  • It is important to be careful about using the word ‘cure’ when talking about viral infections, however, the ability to treat HIV is looking pretty good.
  • HIV/AIDS is really interesting interesting, from a disease standpoint but also from how it is linked to economies, health, aid and resources.
  • Magic Johnson is the man.

 

Federal judge rules surveillance provisions unconstitutional

Why it matters:

  • It seems that almost daily there is a new story being covered in the news where citizens rights and freedoms are being taken from them almost on a whim and without any contemplation and consideration.
  • This is a move in the right direction towards reinstating basic freedoms and rights for citizens in the US and sets a precedent.

News of the week March 11, 2013

Cops patrolling Facebook for predictive policing

Why it matters:

  • The collection of data on citizens from cell phone conversations, texts, internet usage, emails, facebook private and public messages, as well as tweets is now 100% open game, and is being collected indiscriminately and stored by the NSA  (many many sources for this). Is this something that should be supported?
  • The collection of this data has only just started, and already policies are being formed on the information gathered.
  • How does the idea of predictive policing and where it may incrementally lead to sit with you? With your idea of justice? With your idea of free will, and freedom in general?

Aurora cinema shooting: Judge approves ‘truth serum’ interrogation

Why it matters:

  • I am unaware of the history of legitimate usage of ‘truth serum’ in testimonies/trials within the court and justice system in the USA, but this sets a precedent for its usage, and seems to be a great intrusion on peoples sovereignty; the government refuses to let people have sovereignty on their states of consciousness (prohibition of drugs), yet that same government can force citizens into taking other drugs. Terrence McKenna, Graham Hancock, and I’m sure many other great minds have been outspoken, when an individual doesn’t have sovereignty over his own mind and state of consciousness, he has no sovereignty at all and is nothing more than a slave.

 

Signs banning protests by Harper’s Calgary office questioned

Why it matters:

  • The right to protest is paramount to any governance system. 
  • It is unfortunate that the Calgary office is at a strip mall location, but the owner of that property should have known the potential consequences leasing their own property for such usage.

GMO Poll Finds Huge Majority Say Foods Should Be Labeled

Why it matters:

  • People want to (and should want to) know what is in their food. It is a basic important matter for existence.
  • People are (possibly?) waking up to the dangers and myths of GMO foods that have been sold to us

 

Webster: 2 charged in home invasion

Why it matters:

  • So much hysteria goes on when a shooting happens and gets covered in the mainstream media, often leaving politicians and talking heads claiming Americans need less guns, this can not help but affect the general public’s opinion
  • The 2nd amendment is to allow any individual on the planet from defending themselves from another individual. Laws that limit gun ownership would affect law abiding citizens, but not those that already choose to break the law. This is a common argument for those who defend gun rights.
  • The complete absence and media blackout of interesting and equally but oppositely influential stories covered in the mainstream media, wherein gun ownership prevents crimes from happening, again, can not help but affect the general public’s opinion.

 

Study: Bee Venom Kills HIV. Baby Born with HIV Cured

Why it matters:

  • It is amazing
  • This will be a huge advancement in prevention in HIV infection prevention

Incarceration rate for African-Americans now six times the national average

I recognize this is about a month old, but still. I just read it today so it’s still news to me!

Why it matters:

  • There is only one real thing I would want people to consider from this article. As a thought experiment, imagine being a ceo or some higher up in a for-profit private prison corporation. Imagine then, obviously, that like any corporate president, advertiser, ceo, etc etc, that your number one job is to know your market, and how to increase your market, increase your customer base and of course profits
  • Now imagine that any huge corporation spends millions (or more) on advertising, something that a private system can’t really do
  • Now what would you do to increase your companies share value, please your shareholders? How would you get more profits (more prisoners)? This is a business, remember, and a huge one. Would you after reading this (of course, being a highly successful business person you would already know your demographics[potential soon to be criminals]) article and see that black americans are more likely to go to jail than to get a job if they lack a high school diploma, see this as an important statistic?
  • If I had a business, and knew a statistic that over 50% of people who see my companies ad in the local paper bought my product, I would be stupid not to maximize that statistic and not advertise the shit out of my business. But again, as a prison for profit business man, I can’t advertise my way to success, that would require quite the ad to convince people into my jail. But if I knew that 50% of black americans without a high school diploma will end up in jail, how might that affect the strategies and business plan of my company?

 

Yale will train US Special Forces in interrogation techniques using immigrants as guinea pigs

I recognize this is about a month old, but still. I just read it today so it’s still news to me!

Why it matters:

  • The more prevalent this behavior becomes, the more normalizes and accepted it becomes (the mere exposure effect)
  • It is crazy.

 

1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It’s Time For A National Conversation

Why it matters:

  • The amount of hallow point ammunition purchased by the DHS recently would last: 100 years for training purposes/gun range usage or 20 years worth of ammunition (using ammunition usage rates from the Afghanistan war)
  • Hallow point ammunition usage overseas is an illegal war crime, so it’s usage, especially by the DHS, should be intended to for the US
  • The 2700+ armored tanks used domestically in the US are meant to withstand IED’s and mines, and contain gun ports, allowing someone to gun people outside the armored tanks from within.
  • People need to start thinking HARD about why this might be happening, or at least start to think HARD about what the future consequences might be, and where this might lead to.

 

Drone industry predicts explosive economic boost

Why it matters:

  • Drones represent two things: 1. Surveillance (read SPYING and removal of privacy) 2. War
  • The increasing presence of these overseas and now domestically means 1. more surveillance and 2. easier ability to ‘war’ – however you may want to define that
  • Drones can be the size of small planes, or the size of a remote control helicopter, or the size of a bug,literally. Are these things that you want flying around your country, your state/province, your city, your neighborhood, your street, your house? What are the benefits? What are the risks/consquences? Can the benefits (if there are any) be achieved through any other means?

NYC drone sighting: FBI investigates pilot’s report

Why this matters:

  • I think I have covered my feelings of drones enough in my last couple posts, i’ll give this one a break

 

Google wants to replace all your passwords with a ring

Why this matters:

  • Security consolidation can be a double edged sword
  • The idea of memorizing all your passwords can be annoying, but having them all in one place means one compromise = all compromised
  • Microsoft, google, the current US administration want to have an internet ID. In this idea, all internet activity can be associated to a distinct individual. Removing anonymity from the internet is probably a good thing for ensuring security, but what are the potential consequences of having your every click,search and communication tracked and recorded?

White House must respond to ‘Stop CISPA’ petition

Why this matters:

  • I enjoy the fact that the internet is a free place, anything goes. It is a wild west and yes, that means bad things exist, but SOOOOOOOOOOO many great ideas, thoughts, concepts, ideologies and cultures are shared online.
  • The US, the UN and multiple other countries have been trying non-stop in recent years to regulate the internet. Often times the bills being passed are labelled along the lines of “protection against piracy” or in Canada “protection against pedophilia”. These names are harmful to a JUST process, as nobody wants to be seen voting against the bill called ‘protecting kids from pedophilia”. Of course, a casual, uninformed citizen sees the title of the bill and makes assumption about the policies found within
  • The internet is a free place and should remain so, the policies constantly put forth in regulating the internet are overarching and are almost limitless. Though the advocates of these bills will give you their word that they won’t misuse the power given to them. History repeats itself.

California Seizes Guns as Owners Lose Right to Keep Arms

California seizes guns from owners – and it might become a national model

Why it matters:

  • I agree that there are some people on this planet that shouldn’t be allowed to have guns. I believe that policies and regulations to limit gun usage and gun violence should of course exist. So this could be seen as an important step ‘forward’.
  • The US is the leading country on this planet for imprisonment rates and % of citizens in jail, many of these convicted felons are non violent and thus gun ownership may or may not an issue for them
  • Those with a history of mental illness are not allowed to own a gun. This on the surface would appear to make sense, but we should ask what and who decides our state of mental illness. Would a young child who was diagnosed as ADHD, ADD, depressed and given anti-depressants then be unable to own a gun lawfully? It seems like as the most medicated country in the world, an ever increasing amount of mental illness diagnosis’s are more business (pharmaceutical industry in bed with family physicians) decisions than health decisions – this will have a future impact on peoples ability to own guns legally. But are these individuals actually, excuse my non PC language, too crazy to own guns?
  • Given enough time, the psychology/psychiatry industry will have everyone diagnosed with a mental illness. The new DSM may have ‘grieving’ as a mental illness, a basic human emotion.
  • What are the implications of these interconnected phenomena?

 

Goals of the Week (March 11th Edition)

 

Sexy goals for a sexy week:

  1. Get back into world trip planning mode.
  2. Start jogging outside and maybe even biking?
  3. Start some house work (painting and such).
  4. Write 2000 words.

 

Re-focusing our around the world trip planning

Jen and I are planning to take a year or more, or not, adventure and just travel around the world. I first presented this idea to her while we were still living in Montreal. She said no. I was sad. Then I moved onto my ideas of buying a rural property and living Amish style.

Now, she is on board and excited (I am too!) about the idea, even if it is scary, and obviously costly.

world_map

 

Our *rough* path would be heading south to Belize, Ecuador (Galapagos), Peru, Chile (Easter Island), possibly one other S. American country.  Over the Pacific to New Zealand, off to some sexy south pacific island (Tonga or Cook Islands), then to SE Asia.

Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, then off to Kenya to visit Jen’s cousins Vicki and Chris!  If we can, we would love to end the trip in Iceland and some other Nordic countries, but if not, well, we will survive.

So we have been doing lots of research, but we still need to do much more. I want to get back into doing serious research on a close to daily basis. Usually at night when I get home before bed is the best time, especially because that is when Jen is home too, and it is more productive than just watching tv or something like that.

Start jogging outside like a boss

From the time I wrote my goals to the time I am writing this, I already went out and bought myself some new running shoes (for $7!!! thanks payless!). I don’t think I have been this excited for spring since I was a golfer. I think I will wake up a bit earlier than usual to jog first thing in the morning, then come back and do my stretching via a yoga session at home.  Exercise is a friggin awesome way to start the day. One of my favorite feelings I got from training was finishing my intense morning workouts with the select few dedicated training partners I had at Ronin MMA in Ottawa. It sucks and it is disgustingly difficult to wake up early to go to an intense workout, but the feeling you get for the rest of the day is unparalleled.

I’m going to try and do this every morning, rain or shine, except saturday.

Start some house work 

One of my tenants/roommates just moved out. Her room was in need of painting from over 4 years ago when I bought the place. Now I think I will fix up the walls, the door, give it some nice fresh paint. The crappy part will be finding time to do it, but I think I will figure it out, especially if my gf helps out.

Write 2000 words this week

So, this is part of one of my ‘super secret projects’. This project started as an interesting goal, and I had a brain thought which caused me to change my mind about the ultimate goal. I am hoping it will turn into a really great project that anyone and everyone on the planet can take part in.

It is a creative project, with a basic theme. I have been having a shit ton of fun doing it, and I have found in the entire process really new and refreshing. I definitely have never really considered myself a creative or artistic person, but there is no reason why I should limit myself in any way, so why not give it a try.

So yeah, this week, write 2000 words. And yeah, it is somewhat a book of sorts, though I definitely wouldn’t call it that. It’s…it’s just a thing.

 

That’s it for my goals this week!

 

Wish me luck and have a super sexy week you sexy freaks!

xoxoxoxo

News of the day March 8, 2013

 Kraft under pressure over ‘cancer-causing’ yellow food coloring in Macaroni & Cheese after 41,000 sign petition to ban additive

Why it matters:

  • Recognition that people are demanding safer food
  • Almost everybody I know has grown up eating kraft mac and cheese

‘Invisibility cloak’ that makes objects DISAPPEAR behind it unveiled at TED2013 conference

Why it matters:

  • I have seen various invisibility cloaks over the past 5 or so years, and obviously when a sector or market, especially one funded by the military, has its mind set on something, they will get it done. Invisibility will become a reality
  • What implications does this have for privacy? Criminal and unwanted behavior, whether it be from another citizen, or from government, police, military, etc?

Georgia town considers mandatory gun ownership

Why it matters:

  • In the face of the on going rhetoric that the US needs to be de-armed, less guns, more regulation on the types of guns, (and of course, in the face of their 2nd amendment) also in the face of an ever growing armament and militarization of the police and DHS (1.6 billions of rounds of ammunition have been purchased in the last year by the DHS – remember, this is for domestic usage – enough ammunition to fuel the Afghanistan war for years and years; the purchase of over 2000 light armored tanks for domestic police usage), here we see a state asking, almost demanding that their citizens arm themselves. Interesting.

 

 All GMO products at Whole Foods to carry label by 2018

Why it matters:

  • A proposition that citizens of California voted on just a few months ago that would force corporations to label their products as GMO, if contained, was ultimately voted AGAINST. Is it possible citizens actually prefer not to know if what they are eating is GMO or not? Monsanto invested over $100M in a propaganda ad compaign convincing voters to vote against the proposition
  • Many European countries either ban GMO altogether, or require their proper labelling
  • People deserve to know if their food is genetically modified or not; if there is nothing wrong with GMO’s and they are perfectly healthy, this would never be an issue
  • Clearly Whole Foods recognizes that people are waking up and becoming more aware and conscious of the health concerns regarding GMO and non-organic foods, good for them.

Royal Canadian Mint to create digital currency

UBC professor: Drug industry could go to pot if Canada nixes cash

Why it matters:

  • Can you imagine a cashless society? What would be potential cons? Who would benefit the most, who would suffer the most?
  • How would borrowing/lending/making private purchases from a friend, a garage sale, a farmers market, craigslist, etc look? How would they work?
  • Does putting a limitation on the market, and how people can freely trade goods and services be advantageous?
  • Have you ever had a computer virus/spyware/malware on your computer? How easy is it for something to be hacked? Large companies, governments and banks get hacked EVERYDAY; just ask Sony, Iran, Israel, the US government and Anonymous. How quickly and easily can that money disappear from cyber-terrorism/fraud?
  • What about people who don’t use computers? The olderly Perhaps people who want ot live off the grid? The homeless?

 

Former judge sentenced to prison for “kids for cash” scheme

Why it matters:

  • Most peoples initial reaction to this would be, well obviously, disgust. But I believe one that quickly follows would be that there needs to be tighter regulation and prevention policies put in place so this doesn’t happen again.
  • As long as for-profit prison systems exist, this will always exist. Both from people (judges, police, ‘justice’ system) who would like money (especially with a disappearing middle class and growing debt), and intrinsically in any corporation looking to maximize profits, especially in the 100’s of millions and billions and soon enough trillions, shady business techniques will always exist. This is nothing more than a form of lobbying (ie. bribery)
  • This might be the first case of this sort of thing happening, expect to see more of it (or at least be aware that there is more of this)

 

New Hampshire House Committee Votes to Block Federal Marijuana Laws, 14-1

Why it matters:

  • Nobody has the right to control someones right to use or own a naturally occurring plant,; humans deserve soverignty over their own body and mind
  • Many states have legalized/decriminilized/medical marijuana, but federal law remains. This is an interesting arrangement, and on the surface appears to be an odd ‘gentlemen’s agreement’. Stay legit, and we won’t crack down. However this is often not the case
  • As over 1/3 of the states have legalized medical marijuana, at what point does the federal laws need re-examination? Is that likely, in light of the expansion of for-profit privatized prison systems, the never ending war on drugs, pharmaceuticals, with many jobs and private industries fairly reliant on the preservation of this law.

 

House demands Pentagon disclose details about domestic drones

Why it matters:

  • The degradation of privacy is something worth considering, as well as the ability and reasoning to so quickly allow it to erode; accountability and limitations are important
  • Drones have seemed to almost imperceptibly appear in the rhetoric and venue of thought; their usage overseas are nothing short of infringement, unethical and crimes of war
  • Are the usage of drones domestically within the US, and now Canada something that citizens want? What is the implication of their usage for war/violence, when one’s risk of losing a life is removed, how much easier is it to wage war rather than to find a peaceful outcome?
  • NSA and DHS, among other branches of the US government has made it a point to remove privacy rights to their citizens and legalize and normalize full blown spying and data collection on every citizens emails, cell phone text, conversations, internet usages, IM’s, etc.

 

 

Doctors accused of drug trafficking in Fla.


  • Ethics
  • The consequences of a for-profit “health” industry, and an immense rise in legal, promoted and accepted pharmaceutical drug usage resulting in a nation heavily drugged among all demographics and age groups

 

Bradley Manning Nobel Peace Prize Nomination 2013

Why it matters:

  • Ok, so it is just a nomination, but this is quite an important event if it were to gain momentum as he was detained without proper due process by the US for, I believe, almost 1000 days. Almost 3 years. Suffering from a host of abuses, as well as emotional and mental turmoil. All this for whistle blowing on the US military and their unethical practices.
  • The US cracks down hard on whistle blowers and hacktivists, just recently a hacktivist received a 100 year sentence, more than any serial killer, rapist or pedophile would receive. Think about that.
  • Is it important to have whistle blowers? To have people who speak out and let the public know when someone with authority is abusing that authority?
  • Contrast this nomination with the recent nobel peace prize award to Barack Obama; the man who continues to wage illegal drone wars overseas in places like Pakistan and Yemen, continuously makes decisions and implementations to erode domestic privacies and NDAA to name a few.