Tuesday, February 26, 2013

articulate arguments, intelligence and idiocy

Back in 1976 my mother took me to see a psychologist.  I was essentially blowing off school and everything I wasn't interested in and she wanted me to focus on what she wanted me to focus on.

I was trying to explain to this guy why the human race would eventually have to live in huge buildings that took up the smallest land foot print, built in places like mountains.  He couldn't understand and I would guess that my teen age explanation kind of sucked.

What it comes down to is farmland.  As population increases farmland becomes more and more important.  Eventually we will have to recover as much arable land as possible to feed the population of the Earth.  That means recovering farm land currently underneath cities and suburbs.

Back then I didn't think people were stupid enough to use nuclear weapons and destroy the Earth.  By the time I had been trained in Chemical, Biological and Nuclear I believed that the most serious threat was Biological followed by Chemical.

When I heard the conspiracy theories about AIDS and Ebola being released in Africa as tests by the United States government to develop a biological weapon I was (and am) pretty skeptical.  It does make a convoluted sense, but, there is no way to determine who would be killed.  If any government were trying to kill off enough of the worlds population to give the world time to develop solutions to resource problems the disease would have to kill "cleanly" to minimize the resources necessary for recovery.  Then the disease would have to target "surplus" population, elderly, disabled, terminally unemployed, and redundant positions.

The truth is that it would be impossible to create a disease that targeted so specifically and the problems created by the randomness of such a disease would far outweigh the benefits.  The potential for virus mutation is very high.  Because of the typical indecisiveness of politicians they would probably wait too long before releasing that kind of weapon any way and Karma necessitates the virus would mutate so that inoculated people would become more susceptible anyway.

I thought the scenario in 12 Monkeys much more likely, but, we are talking a millions to one shot rather than the billions to one shot of a government releasing a disease.

Unless a disease occurs naturally, and I don't count out that possibility, we are going to deal with over population and dwindling non-renewable resources.

Historically it takes 1.25 acres or about 0.5 hectares of land to support a person and there are currently around 4.4 billion hectares of farm land so with production issues we can support about 4.4 billion people in the world.

Sometime in the next century population increases and non-renewable resources will cross and the world will rip itself apart, unless, we can figure out how to cooperate.

We won't cooperate though because people are essentially stupid and refuse to understand or accept even articulate arguments.  People won't change their opinions based on facts, much less deductive arguments.

Instead the world will wait until we are past the "cliff" so we and our world will suffer because of our own stupid choices.  When stuff becomes really bad nations will blame each other and I expect the nukes to start going off.

Which kind of makes the whole "New Earth" thing in the Bible make sense because in order for people to continue existing we are going to need a "New Earth".

Monday, February 18, 2013

Surviving a disaster

One of the things I have always suggested as preparation for a disaster is camping.  Someone who camps a lot knows what they need and they usually have it around.

If a disaster happens people who are used to doing without and/or people who are used to scrounging what they need will survive.  Women between 10 and 50 are most likely to survive, people with families or unified groups are more likely to survive than people on their own.

There are always exceptions, but, these are the basic statistics.

So what do people need to survive?  Water, food, clothing, shelter, heat.  Keep those things in mind and prepare.

Plastic sheeting and contractor grade plastic bags are two things everyone should have stored for an emergency.  People should have enough heavy plastic sheeting to wrap their house.  No, people are not going to wrap their house, but, having enough to means that if the roof blows off or a tree falls through the walls people can do something.

Contractor grade plastic bags can be used as ponchos, sleeping bags, vapor barriers, and a bunch of other things.

Bleach is awesome.  Keep a gallon or two around for emergencies.  Filtering water could be important so having fish tank filters (unused) can be useful.  After filtering water can be treated with bleach.  People can make their own filters using charcoal, sand, cloth.

There is a company called "harborfreight.com" which sells 12v water pumps.  Hook a pump up to a Culligan filer assembly, three filter containers, one with a coarse 20 micron or more filter and one with a 5 micron or less filter, finally a carbon filter and the water is pretty clean.  The water is not pure though, so add some bleach to treat it or distill the water after filtering.  If the contaminant has the same boiling point as water you are sol.

A distillation system can be made with an old pressure cooker.  Drill a hole for about a 2' pipe fitting in the top of the pressure cooker and let the steam flow into a condenser of some kind.  A feeder tank can be attached to the pressure cooker with a copper tube.  Pour filtered water into the feeder tank, water flows into the heated tank (keep temperature around 200), water converts to steam and is condensed back into water.  If someone is worried about other contaminates they can add a second, low temperature heated tank to boil off stuff before it goes into the second heater tank  with the condenser.

The first time I built this kind of distillation system I tried using a 3/8 copper tube for the condenser and the feed line,  Pressure built up in the tank and pushed the water back into the feed tank.  This worked okay, I was still able to distill water, but, most of what came out of the condenser was steam.  I made a condenser with a much larger volume, that reduced the pressure in the tank and more water came out.  There are a lot of minerals in tap water, the heat tank was pretty filthy after I had about a gallon.

I also have an extra 12v battery I keep on a good trickle charger.  If the world goes to crap I have a power source.  A 12v motorcycle battery is cheap and is usually sold with the acid separate from the battery to increase shelf life.  Put the acid in and it is charged up.  I suggest having a 12v cigarette lighter receptacle to attach to the battery.

Solar chargers can be useful, unless the sky is overcast because of the disaster.  There are things you can put together to charge a battery.  Most 12v motors can be used as generators.  This can be kind of tricky for a novice to hook up, so if you want info on how to use a 12v motor as a bicycle generator look it up on line.  a 12v LED bulb is really useful too.

A portable CB is the shiznik.  Yeah, I know, it is really "Live free or Die Hard", but, the writers had that one right.  In the military we used to say "shoot, move communicate".  We have to be able to shoot, move and communicate.  Moving and communicating are most important, shooting attracts attention.  Too many survivalists or preppers put way too much time into guns.  Shooting is important, but, on a list of critical things shooting people is way down the list.

Selfishness is important to survival, or so analysis of large group survival situations tell us.  Cliques form and they strip other cliques of resources.  Then they kill and eat each other.  It takes a while, from a couple weeks to a couple of months without resources to get to that point.  By then I plan on being dead.

Until things get that bad though, I could have a pretty good time hanging around.


On my fathers side I can trace my direct ancestry back almost a thousand years. On my mothers side we have a family genealogist and I can only trace my family back into the 1800's.

Genealogy is an interesting subject and lots of people have really strange opinions on the subject.

My first ancestor in the United States was John Ayer and he is often confused with his own son, John Ayer.

I once tried to start filling out a genealogy website on line and some idiot who confused the two changed the genealogy.  To be fair, the idiot didn't do any real research, he just copied a mistake another researcher made when they confused John Ayer and John Ayer, understanding that they were two different people and not understanding the relationship. The son was known as “Captain John Ayer” because he was the “Greatest Indian Killer in Massachusetts” and in some records the father is called mistakenly called “Captain John Ayer. On top of that John-2 married a woman named Sarah and his son John-3 married a woman named Sarah.  John-2 had a daughter hanged for witchcraft and that created some issues where the family attempted to distance itself from the situation.

Unless someone actually does research people get very confused about these three generations. Since this no-research jerk was just being a jerk who did squat for research and ruined something I spent time on I quit wasting my time on something some jerk would just come by and change so that it was wrong.

That is one of biggest the problems with people, they do crap research and think they know enough to spew their idiocy out into the world, while they ridicule others from their self aggrandized positions.

If people understood how really ignorant they are things like this wouldn't happen very often, but, they do.  Because people are ignorant.

Genealogy gives us an understanding of our family history, and that can be useful. It isn't important compared to the decisions we make. When we, as people, fail to do research and just follow along in some other idiots footsteps, when we think we have enough knowledge to oppress the knowledge and understanding of others we make the greatest mistakes human kind can make.

This happens a lot all over the world. I used to work with an atheist computer geek who thought he was better than he was. It was ridiculous, almost embarrassing, listening to him reason. In some ways he reminded me of when I was young, except, he couldn't actually learn or take the time to understand anything he didn't agree with. One of the other engineers and I were/are Linux geeks and he couldn't understand the attraction of Linux. He insisted that Windows was the only thing people used so it was the only thing worth working on.

I hope he eventually changed his mind, but, my point is that many people have that kind of closed minded inability to understand anything outside of their little world.  They believe they think for themselves and they are just following others.

I look back at my genealogy and I see many successful people, many people who were not very successful. One of my direct ancestors and one of my ancestors by marriage were hanged for witchcraft. Is that successful?

George W. Bush is one of my very distant cousins. Was he successful? Propagandistic jerks trying to influence how people think gamed Google to relate GWB with failure. Did those propagandists succeed? The Catholic Church did stuff like that for a thousand years, was that successful or was it a failure?

People are always going to try and force others to think a specific way, Anonymous, the Church, politicians, terrorists. Martin Luther King Jr. did it a little differently. MLK did not try to force anyone to do anything, he just protested the things he believed were wrong. MLK didn't ask his people to vandalize, deface and destroy the work others had done. MLK protested until the objections withered away.

Some of my ancestors were “Foresters”, which is kind of like being a “Sheriff”, as in the “Sheriff of Nottingham”. I loved Robin Hood, imagine what I felt like when I realized that my family had oppressed others.

My grandfather was a scab worker. He crossed picket lines and ended up as the General Manager of Marketing for Chrysler. He also received his commission as a lieutenant from Dwight D. Eisenhower.

There are a lot of kewl things we can learn from history, genealogy, the key is learning. The key is always learning.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Christopher Dorner

I have almost no readers which is okay since I typically just publish stuff I want to get off my chest.  Some psychologists recommend writing letters and burning them to release our feelings, emotions.  I just publish them to the web. 

Everyone is screwed over by our government and/or our employers at some time.  Chris Dorner believes that the only way to achieve any change at the Los Angeles Police Department is through violence.

My last blog talked about change.  Behavioral change requires an understanding that current behaviors are wrong.  Lots of people change, alcoholics and drug addicts stop their addictive behavior, etc.  The first step in change is a fundamental change in the way a person thinks, the internal realization that something is wrong.

That kind of change happens rarely, usually people depend on external definitions of "right" and "wrong".  To have real change requires a fundamental change in our internal definitions so that what a person once believed is acceptable now become reprehensible.  Once that happens it creates an internalized conflict within an individual where they have to be able to accept the fact that they are a "bad" person.  Not some pedantic intellectual  "bad", but, fundamentally, viscerally "bad".

Once a person believes something is "bad" they won't repeat the behavior.

From reading about Christopher Dorner I would say that he firmly believes in an authoritarian structure based on fundamental concepts like freedom, justice and equality.  When Dorner left the military and joined the Los Angeles Police he expected a similar chain of command in an organization founded on the same fundamental concepts.

What Dorner found was a corrupt racist organization based on an "us against them" elitist and totalitarian ideology which ignored the fundamental concepts Dorner had devoted his life.  There was no way a man devoted to concepts like freedom, justice and equality, like Dorner, could operate within a corrupt organization like the Los Angeles police without conflict.  Dorner should have known that, but, Dorner believes in "right" at a fundamental level.

The current "shoot first" Los Angeles Police policy on Dorner proves, in my mind, that the Los Angeles Police are corrupt.  Two women lost their lives to expose that unofficial policy.

Dorner could have been afraid to take action.  Dorner could have had an internal selfishness, believing in an individual salvation that requires acceptance of what happens without striking out.  "Revenge is mine, says the Lord".  I think Dorner has a very strong, fundamental, belief that those who are capable of defending have a responsibility to defend others.

Dorner is going to fight the Los Angeles Police Department because he has a fundamental understanding that the organization is corrupt and must change or be destroyed.

One of the major signs of corruption in the United States legal system is the fundamental belief within that system that the system "decides what justice is" and that concept of justice changes over time as society changes.  Using this corrupt definition of justice slavery, segregation, racism and every other fundamental methodology of social stratification is acceptable within the context of society.  In other words, when the courts decide slavery is acceptable it is.  That is so wrong.

This fundamental "that's the law" understanding is so far removed from Christopher Dorner's fundamental beliefs in "right" and "wrong" that conflict was the obvious result.  Many people have a more flexible belief system that is much more dependent on authority figures in their lives.  Those people can adapt their beliefs to those of the authority that they follow.

Dorner couldn't.

Will Dorner's action cause change?  No.

The entire legal system of the United States works within the corrupt and elitist fundamental concept of "thats the law" and "we make the law".  That is not going to change until the vast majority of people within that system understand how elitist and corrupt that fundamental belief is.

No change will happen because millions of people would need to understand the fundamental elitist corruption within the concept of "we make the law".  These people would need to hate that concept and their past beliefs as much as a truly reformed addict hates their past.

Anonymous works within the same fundamental elitist belief system as the corrupt system in the States, "we make the law".  Whatever Anonymous agrees with is "good". Whatever and whoever they disagree with is "bad" and "deserves" to be screwed.

I think Dorner believes he must sacrifice himself to change the corrupt system because he believes in a fundamental concept of right and wrong.  Not right and wrong as defined by current society, but, the belief that "right" and "wrong" are fundamentally defined by the concepts of justice, honor and equality.

People are going to die.  Nothing is going to change because there will be no fundamental change in beliefs.  Eventually people will look back at Dorner as a revolutionary fighting against corruption.

And the corruption will continue.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Can't change, won't change, can't learn

The first thing I think when someone tells me that "people can't change" is the person speaking can't learn.

A simple example is math.  Suppose a person consistently makes a mistake adding 2+2 and makes it always equal to 4 even though we are working in a base 4 system where the number 4 does not exist.

Okay, maybe I lost some of you.

Suppose a person constantly writes down 2+2=5.  If we sit down with that person and we explain that the numbers are abstract representations of fingers and we count fingers the person will change what they write, 2+2=4 (in any base greater than 5).

The person has changed because they learned.

As children we make almost no choices about how or what we learn.  As we become older we create a ton of filters which influence our ability to learn.  Some people build walls instead of filters becoming incapable of learning, thereby becoming incapable of change.

If a person is capable of learning a person is capable of change.

I could blather on for a few thousand words giving more examples, but, I'm not going to bother today.  Usually I enjoy vomiting out verbiage into the void, but, today I am just going to make a point and say "later".