So: you think your email is private? Think again…

I used to bang on about the emails-are-postcards thing that Andy Yen talks about here. But I gave up, because nobody seemed interested. Back when the email client Turnpike natively allowed PGP (Before Someone Stepped In And Stopped It) I was becoming used to using PGP-signed emails, and, when appropriate, encrypted ones too.

I signed up for a free protonmail account some time ago. If you believe in the concept of privacy, I urge you to do so, too. We need to make emails-in-envelopes commonplace, before Those Who Would Read Everything We’d Like To Keep Private In The Name Of Anti-Terrism* lock the door and throw away the keys.

* … all but Those Of You Who Have Nothing To Hide (in your dreams).

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The awakening of homo fatuus brutus

Image captioned 'The awakening', depicting hominids evolving to man (but the 'most advanced' specimen has turned around...)

I’ve noticed a reluctance on the part of some to acknowledge that our species is incorrectly named. While my original idea for the renaming was related to my natural inclination to refer to an earth-moving implement as a ‘spade’, over time the concept has itself evolved…

Species name (current):
homo sapiens sapiens (‘the wise, thinking man’).

Species name (proposed):
homo fatuus brutus (‘the foolish, stupid man’).

The first step in dealing with any problem situation is to recognise the truth of that situation. Only then is it possible to move on to step two (devising solutions), and then step three (implementing appropriate solutions).

The same is true whether we’re talking about smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, food abuse, whiz-bang gadgetry addiction, consumerism, global warming, disease, hunger, wealth inequity, overpopulation, immigration, war, species extinction…

thinkingoutsidetheboxI believe that the Dunning-Kruger effect features very highly in such matters: the most incompetent are thoroughly incapable of recognising how totally, utterly, mind-bogglingly incompetent they truly are. It’s difficult to think outside the box when you refuse to admit that the box even exists.

Given the problem domain in question, that first step is the proverbial humdinger. Or maybe that should be ‘humandinger’.

At the risk of labouring the point: if ‘homo fatuus brutus’ could be officially recognised, then maybe we as a species might be in with a chance. While we remain in denial… well, I’m quite sure you can work that one out for yourself.

Posted in ... wait, what?, Communication, Core thought, memetics, Phlyarology, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What happens when a climate skeptic discerns reality

Partial transcript:

Richard Muller, Phd: I didn’t know whether global warming was real, whether it was completely bogus or maybe it was twice as bad as people said. So my daughter and I … decided we would set up a non-profit organization to study climate change ourselves. We brought in some really good people … who shared the same doubts that I had. So we wound up doing an enormous effort, completely rebuilding a program to use historic temperature records … and in the end, we got a nice curve, a curve that showed the temperature. And it was rising.

Now, we’d never expected to address the question of what caused it …  we went back all the way to 1753 … I was flabbergasted: not only was global warming real, and roughly consistent with what the previous groups had said, but the match to carbon dioxide, and the fact that solar variability was not responsible enabled us to rule out the primary alternative theory … in fact, we can rule out every scientific theory other than the greenhouse gas theory.

Now there are some people who … say “there’s something else going on”. And I say “what’s the prediction you make?” — “Oh, I don’t know, it’s random.”  And that’s not what we call a scientific theory. If you say, “Well, it’s something else and I don’t know what it is” my answer is “Something else that just happens, by accident, to perfectly match the carbon dioxide increase. Are you serious?”

Hat tip and thanks to Peter Sinclair’s Climate Denial Crock of the Week.

Read more here: Blown Away: 2015 Hottest Year by Far.

Posted in ... wait, what?, balance, Communication, Drama, Education, Energy, Environment, GCD: Global climate disruption, History, memetics, News and politics, People, Phlyarology, Science, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How to change the world

I’ve just re-read this insightful essay, written by Bob Rich before the turn of the last millennium. As he himself says: “… although some of the examples are dated, it is more relevant today than it was then.”

Here’s a sample:

Life is a road, not a destination. We are at a crossroad, but the great and powerful are unlikely to choose the path of survival. For if they do, they risk being great and powerful no more, but ‘has-beens,’ relegated to obscurity.

folkart

The illimitable ocean consists of drops of water. Each drop of water counts. When a myriad drops of water move in the same direction, there is the irresistible tide that destroyed Hitler, stopped the Vietnam war, saved the Franklin river in Tasmania from damming, and on a local scale, time and again confounded the powerful.

Please follow the link to Bob’s complete essay: How to change the world.
I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Posted in ... wait, what?, balance, Biodiversity, Communication, consciousness, Core thought, Environment, Health, History, memetics, People, Phlyarology, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments

How Man’s Effect On Nature Will Change Your Life

So here we are again. The only life-bearing planet of which we’re aware has successfully circumnavigated its sun* once more. We’ve now gone beyond the number of orbits calculated by the sums of a Man in a Shed as being the one by which we ought to now be reducing our carbon emissions if we are to succeed in not breaching the infamous 2 degree barrier (the same one that a bunch of back-patting optimists in Paris have recently announced, despite all evidence to the contrary, as being eminently achievable).

And still there are folks out there arguing that ‘the hockey stick’ is ‘flawed’ or ‘falsifiable’ not falsifiable [thanks to Hariod for pointing out my mistake; see comment below]. And even those who agree that something ought to be done are in a pervasive quagmire, attempting to persuade those entrenched within fortifications of accustomed entitlement who refuse to even contemplate any action that might be detrimental to their way of life — let alone accept the reality that inaction will inevitably have the same effect.

And so we as a species (one that I continue to maintain should be renamed homo fatuus brutus) do nothing of any great consequence towards the important goal. Isn’t life grand?

* … a sun that emits such a vast quantity of energy that an hour’s worth of even the tiny fraction of it that impacts upon our insignificant planet could power our entire global civilisation for a whole year. I keep thinking: “If we’re really as smart as we like to think we are, we’d have already figured out how to harvest that”.

Posted in ... wait, what?, balance, Biodiversity, Climate, Communication, Core thought, Culture, Drama, Economics, Education, Energy, Environment, Food, GCD: Global climate disruption, Health, History, News and politics, Phlyarology, Science, Strategy, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Why no-one talks about the Wayback Machine any more

logo_wayback_210x77Well, to be totally frank, I’m not sure very many people ever did talk about the Wayback Machine (also known as ‘The Internet Archive’).

In fact, I can’t recall ever having talked about it myself. Which is kind of odd, really, because over the years I’ve resorted to it on a number of occasions.

Linkrot really ought to be a dirty word.

It’s one of the ironies of the information age that so little attention is given to ensuring the longevity of a web address. You’d think that those who post information onto this world wide web thingy would value their words more, and try to give them some longevity. But no: given the choice of leaving existing, useful content where it is or sprucing it up a bit, they’ll all too often choose the latter, and in the process, they might even give it a brand spanking new domain name, too (and without even bothering to leave a forwarding address).

A Kerbal from the Kerbal Space ProgramCould it be that folk don’t fully understand the underlying technology? (Surely not! I’m told it’s not rocket science.) Maybe they just don’t value their own content?

Perhaps it’s simply another symptom of our throwaway society.

Anyway, I digress… I had reason to refer back to an earlier wibblette (to wit, Marcus Brigstocke’s excellent rant against climate change deniers), and I noticed that some images were missing. Yes, you guessed it: linkrot had begun to set in. So I spent a little time with the Wayback Machine to repair some of the damage. And, having done so, I thought I’d talk a little about the trusty ol’ Internet Archive.

Since nobody else seems to.

And now, having done that*, I’ll toddle off and donate a few of my hard-earned pennies to this non-profit organization as a ‘thank you’ for their years of unfailing service (and cross my fingers and hope that it’ll still be around long into the future).

* Wait, what do you mean, “I didn’t”? Well, good grief, I’ve given you links — what more do you need? ;)

(Headline courtesy of Portent’s Content Idea Generator. Thanks!)

Posted in Communication, Computers and Internet, Education, History, memetics, Phlyarology, Science, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

MODERNISING MONEY

Here’s an unsung scandal of global proportions — together with a fix for it. The big problem is that those who hold the wealth will probably fight it tooth and nail…

MODERN TIMES IN MUDSHIRES

Money creation should only be used in the public interest

The same banks that caused the financial crisis currently have the power to create 97% of the UK’s money. They’ve used this power recklessly, putting most of the money they create into property bubbles and financial markets. And now they’re back to their old ways.

We need a change. The power to create money should only be used in the public interest, in a democratic, transparent and accountable way. The 1844 law that makes it illegal for anyone other than the Bank of England to create paper money should be updated to apply to the electronic money currently created by banks.

Banks create new money, in the form of the numbers (deposits) that appear in bank accounts, through the accounting process used when they make loans. In the words of the Bank of England:

“When a bank makes a loan…

View original post 775 more words

Posted in ... wait, Business, Communication, Core thought, Economics, Education, what? | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Fooled by familiarity

I’ve long had a fascination with illusion. The subject of change blindness excites me; it impacts upon many aspects of existence.

A thread on Learning from Dogs the other day reminded me again of this phenomenon. An understanding of how reluctantly our senses acknowledge incremental alteration might help explain many things, such as: how we continue to believe that although advertising may affect others, it doesn’t affect us (even though billions are spent introducing such intrusive brainwashing crap into our ‘choice’ of goggle-box watching — why would they do that if it didn’t work?); or how we continue to accept the argument that ‘economic growth’ is a worthy pursuit when all the evidence shows that all it does is destroy the world in which we live; or how we welcome the arrival of new technologies even as they further accentuate the divide between us and nature; or… how we came to be facing a crisis-laden future without noticing it sneaking up on us in plain sight.

AKA:

Yo, dudes!!111 My mate blogged some great photos that got me thinking about just how easy it is to frack things up even with the bestest intentions.

The big question is, given that we’re physiologically incapable of recognising small incremental change, is an understanding of this fact in any way helpful? To amend our behaviour, we would need know exactly what changes have occurred: Catch 22.

[To continue the descent into lunacy, check out ‘change blindness blindness‘ (PDF).]

Posted in ... wait, what?, Business, Capitalism, Climate, Communication, consciousness, Core thought, Economics, Education, Environment, GCD: Global climate disruption, memetics, Phlyarology, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Poles apart

May I please have five minutes (and 31 seconds)* of your time?

With many thanks to Peter Sinclair, I offer two video clips he’s recently presented on his blog Climate Denial Crock of the Week that reveal what’s unfolding on our world.

First, watch as old Arctic ice silently pours through the Fram Strait, like a hunted animal bleeding to death (97,134 views to date):

Now, listen as NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot describes how the speed of the retreat of Antarctican glaciers is faster than any models can predict (a mere 6,292 views to date):

* Plus however long it takes you to read my words and click the links.

Posted in ... wait, Climate, Communication, Education, Environment, GCD: Global climate disruption, History, what? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

What goes around, comes around

Who controls the money supply?

This is a fascinating subject. Incredibly, while people believe that they understand how money works, the vast majority don’t appreciate the reality. The documentary ‘97% Owned‘ (below) highlights the fact that if we continue as we are, another global financial meltdown is inevitable. The film labours the point, and is short on solutions, given that these lie in the hands of those who govern (who are either just as clueless as the rest of us or are in collusion with the private banks — take your pick). To my mind, too, the background music soundtrack is annoying; a minor point, perhaps, but then if you’re trying to get a difficult message across to the incredulous then you need as few distractions as possible.

If you’re in the UK and want to know more, please visit positivemoney.org — and sign their petition calling for a future Prime Minister who will ensure that money creation will only be used in the public interest.

(Anyone living near Cambridge in the UK may be interested in a Cambridge Positive Money group meeting being held on Tuesday 27 January 2015.)

Posted in ... wait, Business, Capitalism, Communication, Core thought, Culture, Economics, what? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments