Saturday, March 12, 2016

Warm Glacier, Cold Glacier

According to climatologists manmade global warming is proven in the recent calving of a 12 x 24 square foot iceberg from the Pine Island glacier in western Antarctica. Those same scientists cannot account for the continued growth of the glacial ice on the eastern side of Antarctica that has been gaining about 200 billion metric tons per year. Melting on the west and growing on the east. What can it mean? Climatologists don't know. They have no idea why one side of the South Pole has a growing ice shelf while the other side is melting. According to them, it's not relevant and will become clear later.

They hope.

Climatologists speculate that it is an anomaly and eventually the losses on the western side of Antarctica will eventually balance out the increases on the eastern side. They have no proof of their suppositions but feel confident that proof will come in good time.

Nowhere in the articles and papers I've read do climatologists mention the active volcano percolating beneath the Pine Island Glacier nor do they mention anything about an increase in carbon monoxide emissions that volcanologists theorize presage an imminent earthquake and/or volcanic eruption. There is no mention of any outside forces, such as the huge planet (5-10x the size of Earth) bearing down on us or its gravitational forces or the effects of such a massive gravitational pull on the earth. There is no mention of the obvious tilt of the Earth, a fact that is talked about among the Inuit in Alaska and the Arctic or that the moon can be seen with the naked eye as having changed its orbit -- or Earth's orbit has changed, providing night time viewers with a different angle on the moon, a fact that is not lost on astronomers. Yet none of the astronomical data has been figured into the climate models or even mentioned in the data being circulated about the melting of the Antarctic ice shelf.

There is mention of rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels -- an obvious result of manmade global warming. There is no mention of the fact that the CO2 levels were much higher during the 16th and 17th centuries after some serious volcanic explosions that, in addition to the Maunder Minimum (low sunspot numbers) that accompanied the mini Ice Age during that time. The data has been logged and climatologists have been tracking the global temperature for a whole century and yet none of that information has been presented in their public reports or their worst case scenario claims.

Nothing was mentioned about sunspot numbers or coronal mass ejections and solar activity, though it that data should be included because the weather and temperature of this planet are part of a much bigger -- and more conclusive -- picture.

Relying only on melting ice and glaciers calving, a natural occurrence since the world began, and CO2 levels provides a dark picture, and one that is missing considerable proof without the inclusion of the other components of a more complete picture.

It's like a child believing that because she stuck her finger in the fish bowl and one of her two fish died, it must be her fault because her finger was dirty or crawling with germs that attacked the fish. It's a natural tendency for people to blame themselves for everything without looking for other factors or considering other issues, like whether or not the bowl had been cleaned recently or the fish had not had enough time to get used to the temperature of the water or using chlorinated water or that the fish had a disease when they were purchased and had gone unnoticed. Or a dozen other factors. The child assumed it was all her fault for sticking her finger in the bowl to pet the fish. There could have been chemicals on the finger or the fish died of fright. There is no telling since the fish ended up being flushed down the toilet or buried in the back yard as the child cried before anyone thought to figure in other factors.

Humans are conditioned to believe everything is their fault. The industrial revolution in the 19th century was a big leap forward for civilization and great gouts of smoke gushed from factories and steam engines and all kinds of newfangled machines. Sure, it made life easier, but it also brought disease and pollution and buildings covered in soot and ash. No one had thought about the ramifications of advanced technology on the land or the people or the cities -- or the planet.

We discovered new chemicals and dumped them into the oceans and rivers and streams killing plants and animals. It was poison to the wildlife -- and to people. How could it not also poison the atmosphere, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat? Of course, it's all our fault.

We didn't stop to think of how a volcanic eruption poisons the atmosphere and cuts off the sunlight and poisons the water and the people. We didn't know that the CO2 and methane and CO emissions would sky rocket or that the poisons spewed out along with the lava and pyroclastic flows even as they burned and suffocated people. We knew they happened, especially after Pompeii and Herculaneum and the surrounding countryside that disappeared from view for centuries after the volcano because quiescent again and the towns and life and people were buried beneath millions of tons of ash and lava and time.

It didn't matter. The pollution and warmer temperatures weren't the cause of outside forces or nature, they were our fault. We were to blame.

Must be nice to be powerful enough to destroy a whole planet without even knowing it.

None of the global warming can be charged to the planet warming up after the mini Ice Age as the effects of volcanism, an increase in sunspot activity, or anything natural. How could sunspots and the tilt of the earth and the continuing volcanism have anything to do with what is obviously our fault since the industrial revolution?

By collecting a limited range of data and not factoring in other forces outside of manmade pollution it is no wonder the computer models don't match what is happening on the planet. The answer was to adjust the models and fix the math. That should give climatologists the results that would fix the computer models -- except that even by fudging the data nothing changed. The models changed, but they did not depict what the scientists hoped they would see.

None of the weather tinkering, like spewing heavy metals and chemicals into the atmosphere to make it rain where it as wanted or needed, could possible affect the planet or change the weather elsewhere. Increased gravitational forces pulling on the earth couldn't possibly disturb the various tectonic plates and cause earthquakes or stir up the sleeping volcanoes. The volcanism and CO2 and CO emission increases as a result of earthquakes and erupting or seething volcanoes spewing into the atmosphere have an effect, but it is minimal compared to what people have done in the pursuit of technology. We have to put a stop to all the global warming in spite of the fact seen in the actual temperatures that what has been predicted has not happened.

There are far more factors to be considered and figured in before deciding that the child's finger is the only reason for the fish dying.

I do not dispute that greed has done more to fuel pollution and damage to the atmosphere and the planet, but that is a bucket of water poured into the Pacific Ocean in comparison. There is also Fukushima to consider and nothing has been said and none of the data has been figured into the computer models to add to the dire picture.

Scientists need to look at the bigger picture and take data from far more sources than just CO2 and CO emissions and the warming/cooling of the polar regions. How about factoring in the obvious change in the Earth's tilt, the approaching planetary mass (brown dwarf, galaxy, failed star, massive Uranus sized asteroid, comet) hurtling toward us that can be seen every morning rising in the east before the sun hits the horizon. Factor in sunspot activity and weather control and volcanism and earthquakes and gaseous emissions. Factor in every bit of data instead of the narrow range of numbers currently used, like measuring the temperature.

And also consider that the amount of data currently collected from core ice samples is insignificant compared to the age and life cycle of this planet. We know very little and scientists assume a great deal, rather like extrapolating a history of the world by concocting a story based on a few pottery shards and ruins that have yet to be thoroughly examined.

We know nothing but science has yet to figure that out. Or maybe, like the little boy who saw the future and did not predict the end of the world by super nova until he learned what a super nova was, we will cease to exist because the boy learned about super novas a couple of days before the sun exploded (Twilight Zone episode).

Or consider that everything we think we know is based on lies told to keep people from panicking if they found out we are being -- and have always been -- controlled by outside forces and cabals and beings that treat us like lab rats in a maze.

Until more extensive data comes to light and the scientists and politicians and bankers and whoever else with a stake in this worldwide experiment come clean, I will consider the news of the end of the world if we don't change our ways a small piece of a vast and complex puzzle.

That is all. Disperse.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Review: Saving the Ellcrys

Have you seen the Shannara Chronicles from MTV? I am on my second watching and one thing still bothers me. If the tree knew she was dying since Amberle was born and the race to be Chosen is run every year, why didn't the tree contact Amberle a year before or let Amberle know when she touched the tree as she entered puberty (or whenever) that the Ellcrys was dying and the Forbidding would end as she died? Of course, The Elfstones of Shannara would probably not have been written and yet it seems bad planning for the sake of creating an adventure pretty slim to rely on someone getting to Safehold to bring the Ellcrys seed to the Bloodfire and bring it back while the tree is dying and the demons attacking.

I don't know how far it is from Arborlon to Safehold (San Francisco -- probably the Bay Area Transit System -- but it wouldn't have taken days to get there and back and the tree dying so suddenly without warning was not the best plot. Time is a funny thing in books and especially in movies and series because there is so seldom a mention of how long it takes to get there and back.

I read The Sword of Shannara when it was published, but never delved further into the Shannara series. Instead, I decided to follow The Black Unicorn and dip my toes briefly in Terry Brook's other books and then moved on to other authors and genres and stories that appealed to me more. It has nothing to do with Brooks's writing -- or maybe it did and I didn't realize it at the time. I do remember thinking that the book ended on a somewhat sour note and maybe that is why I didn't follow Brooks's other Shannara books. Or maybe it was because the books didn't come out quickly enough. I doubt that last reason because I have followed George R. R. Martin's Ice and Fire Saga in spite of his delay in publishing the final book of the saga.

My dis-ease may be due to what I saw as flaws in the plot and the finale as I have with the Ellcrys issue in the Shannara Chronicles. I have begun reading The Sword of Shannara again because of the MTV series and still find a sapient tree that has held the demons in the Forbidding for years unable to communicate with the one person born to take their place as the new Ellcrys a bit of a sticking point. I don't mind that the sapient tree with the silver bark and the blood red leaves in the book being turned into an old tree with red leaves and brown bark an issue. How many silver trees with blood red leaves are there in the world? I guess CGI couldn't do the trick or maybe there wasn't enough money in the budget to do a credible job on the screen. Things like that happen all the time. I won't quibble about that.

I won't even quibble about the pronunciation of Allanon's name, even though it sounds like Al-ANON, the Alcoholics Anonymous group for friends and family of alcoholics, instead of ALL-anon, like all anon -- all in good time or all soon. That may be just a personal preference and Brooks instructed the actors and director how to pronounce the druid's name. I don't even mind that Manu Bennett is nowhere near 7 feet tall as the Allanon in the books is. These are tiny gnats compared to the glaring plot hole that is the dying Ellcrys.

At any rate, I do find the series interesting and the relationship between Wil and Amberle and Eretria (another pronunciation quibble for me) interesting enough to keep my attention, though I feel the 10-episode series rushed and a bit slap-dash. The chemistry between the characters/actors is fairly realistic and mostly works. Allanon is not quite as forbidding and close-mouthed as I imagined him, but c'est la vie.

I'd give The Shannara Chronicles a B- overall and look forward to finding out what happens to Amberle, Wil, Eretria, and Bandon -- and even Allanon -- in the next season. I hope for more than 10 episodes, but I'd prefer a 10-episode season to a 22-episode season with huge gaps in the season something I see as devolving from the Lost producers. What happened to the 26-episode season that has a short break between Thanksgiving and New Year's? Just give me the season and let's move on.

I much prefer the way Netflix does their shows: upload the whole series and let users watch the show at their own pace. Even if that pace is all at once in a binge or 3 or 4 times before the next season is uploaded. I can watch the series when they come out or wait a few months until I feel the spirit move me to dig in and watch.

The 12- to 13-episode season is also perfectly fine, especially if the show is like Downton Abbey. The show is nearly a full 60 minutes long and each episode feels timeless, more like a couple of hours. The show flows at a good pace and each nearly hour-long episode is full of drama of all shades. I am a little sad the series ended at Xmas for the UK and has just ended here in the States because it is a classy, well written show full of fascinating characters and talented actors. One could not ask for more . . .  unless it is more of the same for the foreseeable future, like for the next 20 or so years. Downton Abbey never gets old and never disappoints -- except when Matthew Crawley suddenly died on the day his son is born, but I was willing to forgive and forget.

I suppose since I began with The Shannara Chronicles I should end with that.

I am a bit disappointed in the premise of the story and the lack of episodes, but overall I have decided I will continue to follow the series -- if more are made. I'll reserve final judgment for when I've read the book and watched more of the continuing adventures of Wil Ohmsford and Eretria the Rover Girl. I wonder if Cephelo will find a way to avert his death -- again. That would be interesting as well.

Oh, a couple more things. Wil isn't half elf. He is a quarter elf. His father, Shea, was half elf and his mother was all human. Therefore, half of a half is a quarter. Unless his mother had elf blood too (probably not since her ears weren't pointed) and then he'd be still less than half, depending on how much elf blood his mother had. Each generation with each mating of a human would diminish the elf blood so any children Wil had would also be less than half and would in fact be an eighth and their children would be a sixteenth and so on and so on. How much of a mongrel is obviously not the general issue since anyone with Shannara blood would be able to wield the elfstones and any other Shannara magic, but I would imagine that such magic and control would be limited by the amount of Shannara blood running through their veins.

Why didn't Wil call Perk and his Roc instead of taking the trolls' horses? Flying would get them back to Arborlon quicker and they wouldn't have to rely on horses that cannot cross the mountains or need to be fed and rested before continuing. I know it seems like Wil and Amberle mounted the horses and rode a few hours to get to Arborlon on time, but that would mean the trip to Safe Hold/Safehold need not have taken so long or taken the lives of so many elves in the process. There would be no need to go to Pykon or go through the Wilderun. They could've just ridden along the shore and through the woods to Safehold/Safe Hold. I'd call that a big plot hole. Wouldn't you?

Then again, Shannara blood could be a recessive that would not be apparent in every generation, rather the way that blood from other races after so many generations would be either recessive or dominant and yet still not half or full blood. It's a genetic thing and genetic things can be a bit tricky. Just ask a quadroon or octoroon or Commander Spock. Will can only conquer so much. It's not a matter of passing but a matter of magic and belief which is the heart of magic.

That is all. Disperse.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The End of Skid Row

Every city has a Skid Row

Over 20 years ago I got an idea that would save the homeless, reduce crime, and raise property values in areas of the city where businesses once thrived. I pitched the idea to some wealthy investors who had derelict properties and they were enthusiastic -- up to the point where they had to put money into the program. That is when the excuses and apologies came out.

The biggest excuse was that the economy was bad and they didn't have sufficient liquid assets to help out. They said they were cash poor and financially strapped and couldn't contribute, but it was a great idea and good luck with it. No matter who I talked to the result was the same. Great idea, but the economy was too bad for them to be a part of it. Good luck.

Those same people were seen at charity auctions spending conspicuously and were still being driven by chauffeurs surrounded by body guards and people and being seen at the right parties no matter the closing of the Dow Jones that day or month or year, but they couldn't participate or be involved because it wouldn't benefit them sufficiently -- and they wouldn't be in charge. Forget about the tax benefits of turning derelict buildings into communities for the homeless. Forget about cleaning up areas where drug deals and murder and violence flourished. Forget about the decrease in police needed to patrol the area. None of that was enough to change their minds. They'd contribute the buildings and take the tax benefits if someone wanted to purchase the property and turn the warehouses and manufacturing facilities into high end condos and lofts, but not for the homeless or to help get the homeless off the streets and back into the mainstream with job skills and assistance that did not involve Welfare. That is not the way things are done.

I began to see that what was missing wasn't a business plan. I had that. It wasn't a break down of costs. I had that too. It was because the communities built and the buildings repurposed could not be controlled because they were self-sufficient and self-sustaining with a governing board/council made up of the people who lived there. That could not be allowed to happen.

As with so many things, I gave up. That's what they wanted. I had to work and earn a living and forging ahead with the program took a back seat to the necessities of life. My life.

The plan is simple.

In every city there is a warehouse district, manufacturing district, high crime district where buildings once bustling with activity and jobs are dark and shadowed areas where pimps and drug dealers and thugs and bullies flourish. The police patrol the areas, but they're smart enough to know that the broken glass and discarded needles and drug paraphernalia -- and bodies -- are dangerous. Buildings where steel was manufactured are decaying and broken down and the homeless and drug addicts and derelict are decaying inside or nearby. When the police don't even want to get too close, maybe it's time to do something about the blight on the city's reputation and bright and shining past.

Owners would donate the buildings and the government would offer tax credits. Builders, architects, lumber yards, electricians, plumbers, and tradesmen and material suppliers would donate their time or help by pitching in to help purchase materials (or gather donations from suppliers) to refurbish and rebuild the properties, turn them into communities with small apartments, community areas (kitchens and administrative offices for starters). The outsides of the building would become gardens for food and for flowers and herbs, even playgrounds and parks for the inhabitants.

The homeless would be offered a chance to get back into the mainstream by working to rehab the buildings and redesign the space for the community, teaching them new skills they can take back into the world and use to obtain jobs. The people living there would have the option of continuing to live in the community and contribute or use it as a spring board to get back into the mainstream.

Once the buildings were remodeled and finished, residents would participate in managing the property and the tenants, governing themselves. Those interested would be taught to manage the property and deal with the day to day issues that crop up. Business owners from the community at large would volunteer a few hours a week to teach and guide the community until it is self-sustaining and provide for itself, but the governing board would be made up of the residents.

Hospitals would provide supplies and medicines that would eventually be destroyed because they were nearing the end of their shelf life. Doctors, nurses, and aides would volunteer a few hours a week to staff the clinics for less severe illnesses and injuries and residents with an interest in medicine and health care would be taught to manage the clinic, dispense and inventory supplies, and provide administrative support.

Food would be grown in the community and would also be donated by businesses in the area. Food that isn't pretty enough to go into grocery stores could be provided for the community and bakers, cooks, chefs, and food workers from the surrounding city would volunteer a few hours to teach residents about nutrition and cooking and baking and turning the food stuffs into nutritious meals for the residents. As with the other services, those among the residents wishing to learn the business of providing and preparing food would be taught by the volunteers. Volunteers would be drawn from businesses as well as concerned citizens with talents they wish to share.

Books that would end up in landfills could be donated to the community's library. Teachers could volunteer their time to help the community set up schools and classrooms for the children and adults where they could learn new skills or how to read and write. Residents could even learn useful skills like sewing, tailoring, repairing clothes, etc. Whatever skill someone wants to learn would be taught by volunteers and eventually by early residents who have graduated and skillful enough to share what they've learned with the community. Every job that is learned by the residents would benefit the community as a whole. Nothing would be wasted and everyone -- especially the city -- would benefit.

Since the properties would no longer provide a safe haven for dirty deals and crime, the police wouldn't need to worry when entering the district. An area teeming with life and purpose would be an asset to the police and provide a deterrent to crime which would raise the property values in the area as more and more properties are turned into thriving communities. There would be no more homeless because they would have a place to live they could call their own with meals they would help prepare among people willing to help them find a better way.

No one would lose, except those unwilling to become involved in the program. The property owners would have property that is worth far more as a community than it was as a derelict building crumbling back into the earth and filth of neglect. The streets would be safer with better lighting and people living in the area taking back their lives. Food and books and clothing and anything that would eventually end up in a landfill would be put to use. Nothing would be wasted: not food, not tools, not material, and not people.

Whatever the community needed would be provided by volunteers and by the community residents as the community grows and prospers. Such a self-sustaining community is a viable alternative to the current situation, offering training, health care, education, and homes to the poor and unfortunate. Residents would be taught how to care for their homes and communities, how to govern themselves, and how to contribute to the community, the city, and to each other. Parents would be taught how to effectively care for their children and day care services would be provided by the residents who wish to care for children and area. Every aspect of family and community life would be taught to those needing help and no one would be alone. There would be neighbors and friends and the community to fall back on.

There are an infinite number of minor details that would need to be addressed, but this is the general outline of the plan. It is an urban version of Michael Tellinger's Ubuntu communities.

In the beginning and because throughout the world money is legal tender, such a project would need money through donations and by residents earning money through a job and donations from the community and individuals. The aim is to set up communities that no longer depend on money.

You will ask how such a community is possible and who would be in control and do the jobs necessary to keep the communities up and running. The fact is that people are by nature creatures that need to work, need something to do to give their lives purpose and direction. The homeless especially want a life that doesn't begin and end with defecating in public or in alleys and they need and want retraining. Anyone whose skills are no longer useful in today's changing society would be retrained and re-educated, providing them with the skills and experience they need to get back into the mainstream world. They would have practical experience through living and working in the community and could do whatever job suits them.

Painters would paint. Artists would draw, sculpt, design and make clothing. Every job that exists has someone who wants to learn and practice. People who want to learn plumbing and work with electricity and sewage and trash removal and recycling would be able to do so. There is no job in existence that does not have someone willing to do it. Whatever is fulfilling to an individual is available. Everyone has a talent or leans toward some job or skill that they want to use. People are always happiest when they do something they really want to do and not just something they do because it makes them money. Money is not a factor in the end, only in the beginning, and there would be people to teach members of the community how to manage their money, how to get the best deal, how to shop, how to save, how to use money to their best advantage. There would be people to make and repair furniture, design technology, cure and treat diseases, teach and take care of children, and the list goes on. There is less chance to misuse one's talents if people are allowed to do what suits them, what they dream of, and what is made available to them. I imagine such an existence would result in fewer unhappy and miserable and dissatisfied individuals and more contentment generally -- and specifically -- that would result in less burnout and frustration and fewer people planning or falling into the desire to go postal.

Entertainers would entertain. Acrobats would still fly through the air or tumble across the ground. Plays and code would be written. Technology would no longer be limited by funding or prejudice. Anything that can be dreamed can become reality.

Yes, it does sound like Utopia -- and it is. Utopia is possible as long as the root of evil, the need for and need to obtain money is taken out of the equation. The lights would still go on with the flick of a switch. Toilets would still flush. Water would still flow. Heat and air conditioning would still run when needed and wanted. Everything that people need would be provided and maintained by the community. Technology would advance. Diseases would be cured. Life would go on and people would thrive.

The elderly would be cared for, not in a drug-controlled haze but within the community as teachers, leaders, and elders. The elderly would be a part of the community as workers and residents, but also as sources of knowledge and in governing the community. People might actually live longer if they have a reason to get up in the morning and contribute. Their experience, expertise, and knowledge would not be wasted. It would be shared with the community. It is a Utopia.

For now ... think about it and check it out. If you have questions, I might have the answers, but I at least know where to guide you to find them.

Just as landfills will no longer be built for the refuse of the world and furnaces will provide heat without being needed to destroy outdated medication and food stuffs and whatever is cast off by the world, people will no longer be forgotten, cast off, and allowed to die alone and unwanted. To everything there is a purpose and that purpose will be realized and nurtured and used. Nothing will be wasted, especially not people. There will be no need to deport the homeless from the streets as Mayor Giuliani did in New York City. This is a better way and everyone wins.

That is all. Disperse.