A road of lanes

Escapists, fools, broken hearts, cheats and liars drive near me.

[and, a worthy well written less optimistic accompaniment here]

We cheat our children because

Recently I’m thinking there are two candidates. Authoritarians and Libertarians. Others will win. Others will win because they feed the nearest. Rome and England taught us that. Ireland and Germany much later. Mexico and San Diego, if you care. Those nearest favors are winners. But they are not leaders.

Leaders are not winners. America proves it. Of wealthy bankers, for example, you know nothing. Of political planners, another example, you know nothing. Of military, you know nothing. Of drugs, your foolishness. Of pride, your shame.

Yo! 2008

Celtic, 'As it is in Heaven'I feel sorry for today’s politicians. They are merely branding beneath thinking. Terrible but true. We will forget them. I pity today’s corporate executive. Error will be writ to them. Though few knew. Soldiers will not be forgotten. Blood is sticky. Anyone will tell you where bureaucrats go. Petty is a cruelty. If we deserve ourselves, pathology will be the new obesity. Revenge will not begin. I can do that. Hate will stay a desert.

These are the last years of dark humanity. Goodness will be fashion; the craft of willingness. We will tread lightly across our world. I cannot imagine the pride we’ll celebrate! Why do I know these things? I am a child surviving. Creed not greed can taunt me. With you or not, I select a grand tomorrow. There. It’s said.


History says Washington steps its march.

‘Invite everyone. Fund many. Kill a few.”

Votes are forever.

Repel greed.

Smile. You're on Politics.

Nations too weak and cannot help the toothlessTen percent of Kentucky has no teeth.

Half the children have cavities.

Dental pain is the leading cause of missed school.

There’s a black market for bootleg dentures.

DIY extractions with pliers and peroxide. Few dentists.

Bush reduced Medicaid dental payments to 1/2 reimbursement.

West Virginia is worse. [revealing story at nytimes]

Celebrity Amy Wimehouse is toothlessCelebrities are toothless.
Politicians are toothless.

Civilization is toothless.

Smiles may be important.
One quarter of us have zero friends.

General Social Survey [pdf]

Prof. Lynn Smith-Lovin, Duke University [abstract]

[washington post]
[boston globe]

Employee Monitoring Breakthrough

New Group Monitoring System Patent
Industry analysts have recently learned that a company or the government can now automatically determine if employees are paying attention to their work.

bioanalytical brain chipBy scanning an employee’s brain and body while at work, a new enterprise productivity analysis device will continually update project performance analysis based on real-time measurement of workforce and employee focus and concentration to determine if employees are meeting project deadlines.

Microsoft’s formal description of the new workplace monitoring technology is described in their United States Patent Application No. 20070300174 as:

“An activity monitoring system that facilitates managing and optimizing user activity automatically to improve overall user productivity and efficiency comprising:

  • means for monitoring user activity conducted on one or more computing devices;

  • means for processing and evaluating user activity data to assess user performance on their respective activities and the current allocation of system and human resources;
  • means for detecting that a user needs assistance with a target activity; and
  • means for selecting at least one assisting user to assist the user with the target activity based on an analysis of the assisting user and the target activity.”

Generally in two parts, a brain- and body-based monitoring component plus a group activity management component, the installations will 1) process and evaluate user activity data in real time to assess user performance and 2) evaluate an employee’s current and projected allocation of system and human resources.

In its patent documents for a unique monitoring system announced December 27, 2007, Microsoft’s employee detection and productivity evaluation system is comprised of ‘one or more physiological or environmental sensors‘ to detect at least one of the following from each employee,

  1. heart rate,
  2. galvanic skin response,
  3. EMG,
  4. brain signals,
  5. respiration rate,
  6. body temperature, movement,
  7. facial movements,
  8. facial expressions, and
  9. blood pressure.

Reaction in the Workforce
Office workers and contract employees around the world are actively seeking updated information to shield themselves from the latest workplace monitoring systems soon to be installed by employers.

In its recent brief, the employment law firm of Hirem, Scanimall and Letemgough is seeking to squelch or reverse ‘monitoring of the employee brain or biological process while at work‘. The firm is claiming that monitoring of the employee’s brain and/or body and/or internal physical or chemical process in real-time shall constitute excessive and unwarranted employer sanctioned workplace intrusion.

But employers and outsource contract firms seem eager to install this new category of management devices. An activity monitoring system will assist the employer in, as Microsoft states, “managing and optimizing user activity automatically to improve overall user productivity and efficiency”.

Protection and Countermeasures
Portable Faraday Executive SuiteFor managers and on-site productivity consultants, a prototype Faraday Executive Suite is being tested at Workforce Fields and Zones Laboratories Inc. that architects will include in construction specifications for sites installing scanning-based employee monitoring.

For employees, ZPIntradomain is following the progress of a scanning counter-signal device that may protect employees from workplace brain monitoring systems. In the newest patent, an energy amplifier for employees based on a co-gravitational K field that will generate a proficiency-indicating activity amplification K-Wave to be directed over wireless signal toward the employer’s monitoring system.

An Albany, N.Y. firm has launched the $169 SilverTex 2-part RF shielding full body garment using interwoven threads of very fine copper and silver to block employee monitoring systems. Wiki has information about related devices to help shield the brain from electromagnetic fields that might be used in workplace brain and body monitoring systems.

Tons per trinket

Small dumptruck graphicEvery 1 kg of gold in your hand required 540,000 kg of raw material input, more than 99 truckloads. There’s not enough coffee in the world to help me calculate how many buckets of materials were moved for a typical watch or wedding band.

Polyethylene only requires 5 pounds of resources per pound of end material. Copper needs 356 kg/kg, stainless steel 23 kg/kg. Virgin aluminum’s 66 kg/kg; recycled aluminum is just 1.2 pounds per pound.

WorldChanging has published a detailed article about resource utilization and how we rely on a basket of elements each day, Your Stuff: If It Isn’t Grown, It Must Be Mined. The USGS (United States Geological Survey) quoted these measurements showing that each American is using over 48,000 pounds of minerals each year:

* 12,428 lb. of stone
* 9,632 lb. of sand and gravel
* 940 lb. of cement
* 276 lb. of clays
* 400 lb. of salt
* 302 lb. phosphate rock
* 639 lb. of nonmetals
* 425 lb. of iron ore
* 77 lb. of bauxite (aluminum)
* 17 lb. of copper
* 11 lb. of lead
* 10 lb. of zinc
* 6 lb. of manganese
* .0285 T oz. gold
* 29 lb. of other metals, as well as,
* 7,667 lb. petroleum
* 7,589 lb. coal
* 6,866 natural gas
* 1/3 lb. uranium

If we’re near peak oil, what about minerals and ore?

Though necessarily crude, this timeline and article from NewScientist posted a (full version here) is an attempt to audit elements we need and their rate of use. A larger version of the graphic below is here.

Materials left on earth

To push up a tree

While updating a more comprehensive post at The Greening of Dying, I found these new snippets among increasing criticism of conventional cemetery burial.

  • A ten-acre swatch of cemetery ground will contain enough coffin wood to construct more than 40 homes, nearly a thousand tons of casket steel and another twenty thousand tons of concrete for vaults.

  • Across North America enough metal is diverted into coffin and vault production each year to build the Golden Gate Bridge, and enough concrete is used to build a two-lane highway from Toronto to Montreal… and back again. [632 miles!]
  • On or in our corpse, we bury disinfectant, germicide, skin hardener, skin softener, gas adsorbent, lip glue, posture and jaw pins, eyeball splints, pimple bleach and phenols, hair gel, lipstick and cosmetics, photographs, notes, cards, keys, jewelery, figurines, guitars or other favorite items, plus nearly a million gallons of embalming fluid every year in North America – formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol, coloring dye, and other compounds, some of which eventually leach into surrounding soil and groundwater [wiki], along with a varying dosage of late-life pharmaceuticals.

A Green Burial Portal
An effort toward ecological burial seems better for us and for our environment. The Natural Burial Co-operative, Center for Natural Burial is vigorously retrieving data and posting trends about natural cemeteries. The Co-operative has built a map hack that points to operating and proposed natural sites in both the USA and Canada. Their short report on conventional burial reveals another important consideration too: “The whole operation will take less than a week and cost your heirs and family more than the price of a new car.”

cemetery signAnd incidentally, a little morbidity can make you happy: The British Psychological Society noticed that thinking about our own death and other morbid scenes may help trigger happiness!

Yes, thoughts of death turn to joy. We are so afraid of our own mortality, we have a natural tendency to quickly turn to comforting thoughts.

“Death is a psychologically threatening fact, but when people contemplate it, apparently the automatic system begins to search for happy thoughts,” the researchers said. “Moreover, this occurs immediately and outside of awareness”.

Shopping is killing Democracy

Benjamin BarberWith shopping at the top of the social activity ladder, with corporations penetrating at every level, human community suffers and our society fails.

Bill Moyers is discussing consumer society with Benjamin Barber, Fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

“Democracy means pluralism.

“If everything’s religion, we rightly distrust it.

“If everything’s politics, even in good politics, we rightly distrust it.

“But when everything’s marketing and everything’s retail and everything’s shopping, we somehow think that enhances our freedom. Well, it doesn’t. It has the same corrupting effect on the fundamental diversity and variety that are our lives, that make us human, that make us happy. And, in that sense, focusing on shopping and the fulfillment of private consumer desires actually undermines our happiness.”

Does Consumerism Degrade Democracy?

Who's paying your doctor?

Around the world “gifts” to doctors from drug companies include school fees, cars, even down payments on homes.

Scientific American is asking if there’s an undue influence on doctors’ prescribing habits. Consumers International says they’ve documented that 50 percent of the drugs in the developing world are what they call irrationally prescribed.

I’m asking, “As our institutions become thieves, what are we doing?”

Innovation happens at intersections.

Krebs, Cleveland is disconnectedLocal leaders have been thinking about why Cleveland isn’t growing even though it has several industrial strengths and “attractive qualities such as the arts, cultural attractions, recreational opportunities, and professional sports teams.”

So why isn’t Cleveland growing?

Valdis Krebs replies, “Maybe, it is lacking links — the interconnections between clusters of knowledge and ability that make things happen and get things done in today’s economy.”

As illustrated in his ‘social graph’ of Cleveland, the economy is many players, many islands, few intersections…

In contrast, Silicon Valley’s successful economy is many players, no islands, many intersections…

Krebs, Silicon Valley is connectedThe strengths of Cleveland’s economy are disconnected while the culture and infrastructure of the Valley shows that its new economy is growing from the strength of its connections.

As Krebs is comparing Cleveland to Silicon Valley, he’s clearly pointing to the current challenges and the requirements of community leadership, “It’s the connections, stupid!”.

USA motto is a cause of national conflict

“A short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State.” – Thomas Jefferson

“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” – James Madison

“This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!” – John Adams

Fear and anti-communist propaganda altered much of the American civic culture, much as the war on terror and religious campaigning is today . For example, since 1782, E Pluribis Unum was the nation’s motto – Latin for ‘one out of many’. But during Joseph McCarthy’s reign of terror the phrase was changed to ‘In God We Trust’, inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance and first printed on currency after 1964. In today’s mixture of dominionists, charasmatics, evangelicals and authoritarians more fearful of persecution or dilution than the likelihood of terror, our next motto might become ‘one nation under surveillance’!

Following previous similar claims against Congress, California’s Michael Newdow has launched a new effort to remove “under God” from the pledge. [story of lawsuit] [and more than 200 comments]

Newdow’s new lawsuit asserts that the phrase ‘under God’ is fostering conflict:

“By placing the religious words ‘under God’ into the Pledge, Congress not only interfered with the patriotism and national unity the Pledge was meant to engender, but it actually fostered divisiveness … in a manner expressly forbidden by the Constitution.”

After the Civil War, the Pledge of Allegiance helped encourage a unified nation. Here are the handwritten words of its author Francis Bellamy.

The Pledge of Allegiance written in the hand of its author, Francis Bellamy.

On 'real reporting'

“But on the overall issue of “real reporting,” the wonder and beauty of journalism and the First Amendment are that they don’t qualify the press, because the press cannot be controlled or confined by any form of legal definition.

For the press to BE the press, it must reflect the nature of those who are drawn to the trade — curious, rebellious, skeptical, resistant-to-authority, tenacious, creative, and resourceful people — not the type prone to any sort of conformist license.

Who is a reporter?
We’re all reporters.
Who does journalism?
We all do journalism.

Our audiences and approaches may be different than those who wish to set and maintain the information agenda in any community (or country), but no one has the right to say that your form of journalism is any more “real” than mine.

And so I feel, once again, compelled to state that the institutional, “professional” press in this country is the fruit of Walter Lippmann’s social engineering dreams, that democracy can only work if an educated elite (press included) leads the riffraff that is everybody else.”

“The phrase is ‘real reporting’, as differentiated, I suppose, from dishonest, fake, false, feigned, imaginary, imitation, invalid, unreal, or untrue reporting.” More from Terry Heaton.