Monthly Archives: July 2016

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The Threat of Hard Biometrics

Dutch : Scientists, Big Data Needs a Counterforce

Privacy and Eugenics, how Big Data opens the door to unnatural selection

At the start of the second world war some people in Amsterdam realized that the Nazi’s that would prosecute the jews in Holland, would find it very easy to locate them using the city register. So the resistance decided to torch the archive located in Artis.

Records on 70.000 jews in Amsterdam partially destroyed by freedom fighters..

This act, which was only partially succesfull, illustrates a risk in information gathered on people. We have written here before about the eugenic aspect of big data gathering. The most important point is that there are people who want to improve the genepool by causing deaths, and those that want to do so by preventing lives. The first want to restrict medical care to unsuccesfull people, keep them poor and use them to sell stuff to that is harmfull (like drugs, sigarets, fatty food etc.) The latter wants to educate all individuals equally, hoping that this will cause women to control their lives better, reducing childbirths (as is seen in developed countries) and increasing overal population health and prosperity. We belong to this last group.

FBI scans 430,000 irises

As we can see in the US at the moment, ignorance, years of undermining education and bad influence projected by the republicans is now resulting in a voter population that will allow itself to be lied to and swayed by the weakest and most infantile of arguments and individuals, Donald Trump. He banks on the golden rule of “Catch me if you can” : People only know what you tell them.

Now as we can see Donald is not mild against his opponents, and as we can see many dictators in the history of the western world have used every means available to find and disable opponents, how can we allow there to be databases which can assist in our definitive identification as individuals. We may be the suppressed majority, as was the case in Chile, Russia under stalin and communism, East Germany, Zimbabwe, Egypt to a large extent, etc. etc. etc. The examples are endless.

Many leaders wish or have to be tirants, and hard biometric data enables them

Even in Holland, where one can feel pretty safe, the close ties of the right political groups with the US, their weakness when it comes to datasharing and privacy (as opposed to Germany and Russia that do not want alien control over data and privacy information), means that even here one can not be certain to be safe from the abuse of information by unofficial or covert groups. This is the paranoid, but completely vindicated view of what goes on in the world. As long as everybody is happy there is no risk, but come trouble the attitude of some may change, and then the data is there.

Hard and Soft Biometrics

If you photograph an iris, that counts as a hard biometric datapoint. Companies like Citylens do that. Do they share that data? Will they be used as a data source in the future? Fingerprints are another example. You can barely remove them. A lot of other aspects of our person can be recorded that be used at any time to make an exact determination on who we are dealing with. This kind of biometrics should always remain in the hands of the individual, never in the hands of a government. This should be the goal. The biometric data held by the individual in a passport or should be tied to a number in the government systems, and that number should be the only way to identify the individual. Maybe additional data can be revealed if the individual shares a password.


Disappeared opponents under Pinochet..

The above scheme would constitute a soft biometric system can not be abused by a rogue government, because the individual will destroy his document and the id number does not reveal any aspect of his person. This way the cooperation with the government remains voluntary, which it is assumed to be, after all, people vote for it, or against it. That choice would be denied if the government could force itself on the individual, even when none of the voters agrees with its actions any longer.

Diamonds

An example of soft biometrics is a now existing blockchain database of diamonds in trade. It is created to protect the diamond business against the growing number of artificially grown diamonds, which are hard to tell apart from real ones. The system stores the id of the diamonds using an american system of characterization. The aspects of the diamond itself are translated to a number, a code, known by the US agency. This means that if all the data of that agency is destroyed the meaning of the number is lost and diamonds can no longer be identified or given their provenance. To inject artificial diamonds in the world trade one would have to do that. But what if there was a way to characterize a diamond in a number that would always work, be easily repeated (like taking a picture of an iris). That number stored in a distributed data system like a blockchain would mean that the diamonds in it would always be found, artificial diamonds either excluded or injected as the keepers of these records saw fit. Total control over the world market for ever. That is the risk of hard biometrics.

Adaptability

We see companies form and fail constantly, and this is a normal thing in the economy, but what about governments? They should form and fail as the situation changes. Brexit shows that conservatives needed a shakeup, UKIP ran its course, Boris Johnson had to leave and give Gove an excuse to fail and leave. This type of flexibility may not serve the public, but is necessary for governments to respond to reality. Similarly voting citizen have to be allowed to move and change their minds. This means it has to be impossible to coerce them unless they clearly break the law or intent to. If you have all their biometric data you can coerce them outside the public eye, and if you are a Nazi or Stasi government you will simply find them and put them in some camp to rot, thus terrorizing the population into compliance with (in the case of Hitler) the hatefull and destructive nightmare of one individual.

The fossil banking system is the only one with an interest in hard biometrics

A government is a system we choose to comply with, not a system that has our compliance or can force it. The only reason why you could find a government like that is that it is clear there are solutions to every problem. And this is the case if one uses fossil fuels. Even in the US, up until recently it was clear that all the corruption, all the supression of renewables, all the denial of climate change, was to make sure banks and oil companies could continue their businesses unhindered. It is them who drive the terror threat, it is them who created ISIS and Al Quaida, it is them who thrive of arms trade and who create Homeland Security, it is them who funded the NSA and will work to have a indestructable database with hard biometrics on all of us.

A renewables powered world is local, doesn’t need a global spying and controlling government

A renewable powered world will not have banks like we have now, it will not need global cooperation because it will not create needyness by separating consumers and producers. It will not need to have a ‘growing economy’, it will have local governments that won’t have to know how to identify each citizen exactly. It will not be as competitive because we now compete over access to fossil fuels. Renewables are 2500 times more abundant, we will have more than enough to surivive and restore our planet. But if we don’t protect ourselves against the possibility of a government weeding out whoever wants to end the fossil reign, which has been show to happen (fossil fuel companies paying private armies and individuals to infiltrate opposition, trying to bring them to criminal acts so they can be prosecuted) we may not be able to until fossil fuels have truely destroyed life on our planet.

Rule : Identification of an indivial must remain voluntary at all times. This means hard biometric data should not be allowed in the hands of anyone

Iris biometrics may be usable for identifying the dead

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Silent, Emissions Free Airflight

Siemens made a breakthrough in low weight electro motor design, they published a press release on their 260 kW electro motor of only 50 Kg, which is 5 times lighter than was possible up to now. They equiped a small stunt plane with the motor and it flew near silent.

From the press release :

  • Technical milestone: maiden flight of an electric aircraft with a 260-kilowatt power output
  • Siemens motor powers Extra 330LE aerobatic airplane in near silence
  • Technology to be integrated into development of hybrid-electric aircraft in cooperation with Airbus

This is the second electric plane, that looks a lot like a regular one. Airbus developed one, but Airbus is not an electro motor design company like Siemens. Of course lighter motors will also make EVs more cost effective, so Siemens is tapping a vast and expanding market.

Airbus e-fan

Imagine that your airport makes next to no noise, and you have no smog at all (also no toxic chemicals that are used to prevent moldin the fuel tanks). This would immediately increase the value of property around airports. If Siemens finds a way to make practical sizes motors for passenger Airbusses, it will be clear that this has huge advantages. The main obstacle seems to be battery weight.

” Electric drives are scalable, and Siemens and Airbus will be using the record-setting motor as a basis for developing regional airliners powered by hybrid-electric propulsion systems. “By 2030, we expect to see initial aircraft with up to 100 passengers and a range of around 1,000 kilometers,” 


Less noise, less maintenance, more power.. (more pictures here)


Its an water/air cooled brushless electromotor with three coils.

“The RX1E can fly 120km/h after just 90 minutes of charging, but will the first electric plane approved for commercial use really take off?” (source source)

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Killer Robots and AI

AI and robotics are presented as threats to the workforce. We are told we have to compete with them, but we have been competing with machines for more than a century now : Machines in factories running on fossil fuel or fossil derived electricity. AI, automation just has gotten more easy to achieve, more liquid, pervasive, and this (in our humble opinion) spells chaos.

Cyber crime becomes the biggest form of crime in the UK

Already we are facing a situation in which we really can’t trust the media anymore. The ability to create artificial images and video of real world individuals has advanced to the point that making a video in which Elvis sings a duet with Lady Gaga is peanuts. What if we apply that technology to newscasts, to video of well known politicians. As that technology exists, and we wrote about it here what media can you trust?

AI and robots are not like workers, they don’t sit at home watch footbal on tv in the evening or go have a beer. These things are tools, like hammers, nails. And they are tools for whomever picks them up. They find uses with those that want to advance the economy, and with those that want to steal from it. They will find use with people that want to run a decent society and those that would welcome the return of human slavery. So there is a real serious risk. Summing up the possibilities would give people ideas. We are thinking of building a system that will demonstrate what we mean, but in short AI’s and Robots can do the job of assholes and criminals without us being able to punish them.

Example : Police robot blowing up assailant. In the news is a case of a bomb squad robot detonating a charge that kills a suspect. Not only is this risk free for the police, it is a cruel method of execution, and a kill without proper cause in our book. Ok, the sniper killed 5 police officers, but gas would have worked as well. The officer that decided to use the robot said he would do it again. How far are we from roaming flying drones with machine guns shooting random people while the rest of us assumes they had it coming just because we have no means to resist or protest for real?

Source. What do you think robotics and AI will mean to this criminal demographic?

We have hesitated to write about this for some time, but now we think the examples are mounting, like the online world has a large criminal hacker community, the offline world will develop an AI/Drone/Robotics based criminal hacker scene that is very hard to combat if you don’t remove the technology. The opposite has happened. We can think of many ways this can go the wrong way, and we are sure police and the justice system are not prepared for what is possible. This will all add to a chaos we can not use right now, we need the opposite, calm, controlled environment, not polluted (like where this blog is written), not corrupted, to execute a transition to renewable energy sources that can bring peace and prosperity instead of the growing desperation under a shrinking fossil ration..

This computer powers itself by radio waves, so it can work without intervention for decades..

 

 

 

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Elon Musk and his Secret Sauce

We followed the actions of Elon Musk for a couple of years now. Fascinated by his bold steps and insight into the state of our planet and species, and his determination to bring change to it. There are books that try to explain his magic, but we don’t agree with the list presented. For examples the rules in this book are

  1. Bring hope
  2. Be a good observer
  3. Think big
  4. Play to win
  5. Move people

The above list is more or less what you can observe if you look at Elon, but it is not a list of what makes him succesfull. We believe that reason comes before what he did in Paypal, Tesla, SpaceX and what he inspired in Solar City.

The core of Elons mind has been educated differently form that of most people. We think that where most people did not have a chance to experience reality autonomously at an early age, and where not encouraged to (because they spend time in front of the TV in a city appartment) the relationship of most people with reality is intermediated by people, parents, teachers, governments. This intermediation causes people to be highly social (they adapt to ideas handed to them in the social context) but also potentially ignorant (because what people believe isn’t necessarily true). Elon believed a lot, he had a family member that flew around the world in a plane exploring, and he probably did some exploring outside and from books himself.

So the first rule is :

1.  Autonomously explore. Experience reality as it is. Read to extend your experience.

We know Elon read a lot, which means that his ratio, his inner dialog is very rich and full of references. Kids raised by parents with little time that don’t read won’t have that, except for a lot of social chatter, which is important of course. But the knowledge Elon gained by reading meant he could imagine and reason through more problems. And his interest in meta thinking, so thinking about thinking, or methods of thinking through a problem amplified that. Many people will never learn how to drill down on a problem, because they have never understood or thought about details below the level that they usually deal with.

For some a broken car is a broken car, for others it is a car broken because of a faulty bobine, dirty spak plugs, lack of oil etc. If you don’t like detail you can’t drill down. Tesla himself wrote about his ability to imagine physical devices so vividly he had trouble distinguishing them from reality. They would stick in his mind and be there until he learned something new. That was why he was very active and exploring, and why he could think through problems, which allows much more cost effective design of new inventions (a direction his mother! inspired Tesla towards).

Rule number two seems to work only for some people, because some simply are not born to be inventers or analysts. It is the ability to let go of what you deal with, and look at its constituents, causal orgin, and look at those aspects and dig still further.

2. Learn to analyse problems below the level of day to day interaction.

If you sit in a car and you need to switch on the headlights and the switch is behind you you will think “Who the hell designed this car!”, that is so inconvenient. Once you look at things beyond their day to day appearance you may experience the same. So you read that shrimp are caught in the  East Sea (North of Denmark) then flown to Morocco to be hand pealed, then flown back to Holland to be traded, then shipped across the world. That’s insane. If you just look at the shrimp in the supermarket it looks ok. That why so many people don’t mind buying shrimp that have seen more of the world than the buyer. Than you have grey and light coloured shirmp. The light colored one have been soaked in water to make them more volumous. If you buy those you pay a shrimp price for water.

The same happens to chicken breast. If you look with the analist mind you wonder what is going on. This only happens if you actually care. If you don’t care about how chickens are treated or how people pay more for their nutrition than they should, or how the health of people is affected by meat processed with dodgy additives, nothing can be done. You can not be ‘Musk’ succesfull. You have to care about humans, you have to want to be usefull to others. Then when you analyse the world you will find things you want to change. Then you can do that with your heart in it.

3. Care about what happens to humanity

Elon tells us that he thought about what he could do when he was in his twenties (or even earlier). He did this having read the work of many authors that wrote about life and what can be achieved. Elon thought he’d try to do something to prevent human extinction due to climate change, and something to drive the move from fossil to renewables in energy. Anyone with some talent in understanding physics can reason towards the conclusion that there is no reason to stay under this insane fossil regime. It is a massochistic exercise people rallied against in 1900 already. But Elon did not know how when he thought about it.

Fortune struck planet Earth when Elon and his brother Kimbal tried to build an digital version of the Yellow Pages, then Elon started X.com which turned into Paypal. Some of this was Uber style stealing, some of it was clever thinking. Paypal payed you money to start an account, so that people would use it, so it became usefull (because what use is a bank account if nobody else has one).

When Elon sold Paypal he had upwards of $150 mln in cash. He never cared much for banks, stock exchanges. And he had his dreams. He decided to take the initiative on an electric roadster that the original builders did not want to take further, which became the Tesla Roadster. He also looked for ways to drive progress in space flight, and found he could best do this himself. He didn’t actively manage Tesla until it got in trouble.

In both cases Elon did not expect to succeed. The odds are strongly against building a car brand, and space he found out, is hard. Building a spacecraft is a bit like building a machine that has to travel on its own to about 35,786 km while basically being a bomb continuously exploding for several minutes and still cary usefull cargo : a spacecraft. So rule 4 above is patently wrong : Elon did not play to win, he played to lose, but then worked his ass off to win. Probability of success has to be non-zero, then, provided other benificial factors are potentially there to be gained, Elon will go for it.

4. Accept long odds if you believe you can beat them, and maybe even if you don’t

If you have these four principles only one is left to be added to become an Elon Musk type entrepeneur and achiever, and this is persistence, focus, tanacity, unwavering determination. The thing is that if you start from your analysis of reality which is sound because you had real experiences, because you exposed yourself to learn how things actually work, because you adopted methods to make things work (study engineering or engineering texbooks), if you want to do good, and if you accept and understand long odds, then your choices might as well have been those of Elon Musk. We also experience that every time someone asks us why we care about climate change the answer is  “How can you not care? Can’t you see how it is killing us?”, most people can’t and that is due in part to nurture, in part to nature. Rule nr. 5 is simple :

5. If you, based on your sound analysis, believe what you want to do is right. Do it. Persistence is a result of lack of fundamental change in the situation that set you on a course of action

There is a rational and irrational part to Elon Musks mind, but he tries to keep it as rational as possible. This is constant work. This means he has to constantly detach and reapply his understanding of what the real basic premises are, not what people believe they are. This is the empirical cycle in the production lines. This is the creation of indicators so that he knows what is going on, what he can optimize. He has made a choice to live by his mind, and this also makes perfect sense. Why live by any other persons rules if you can understand them and see your own rules are wiser, better, more exciting, fullfill you more. If you ask what’s Elon Musks secret sauce, we would say it is not the sauce he pours over things that creates his perspective, but the fact he tasted and worked with reality until he understood how to turn it into a great sauce.

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Generational Care

If you think climate change surprised the world from around the 1990s, you are wrong. The idea that burning coal, oil and gas causes global warming and climate change is more than a century old. In the 50s when oil use expanded significantly and the rise of CO2 started to exceed the historic variations it was perfectly clear what was going on. Below video shows you what we mean..

It is still the case that baby boomers, people that will likely die in the next 30 years, show very little concern with the situation they created. This may be because they are simply to old to care, most of them. Another reason is that when you are in the grips of healthcare and pension arrangement you don’t want to rock the boat. But still the apathy is surprising.


We worked hard all our lives..(of course not as a construction worker)

We think part of it is that the fossil fuel economy created a situation in which the wealth of children is only marginally dependent on that of the parents, and where there is no real objects of generational care and ownership for most people. Houses are bought based on expected income in a job that is often not related to that of the parents. There is little land ownership and keeping land depends more on how it is used than who uses it.


Cities are like markets..

For a city dweller there is little to connect generations really. There is little control over poltics (economics so banks shape policy), little control over neigbourhoods, so what is there to be attached to? You can feel you are attached to anything of course, but for most people things can be taken away, they don’t control them or own them. Even consumer products like cars and  motorcycles are bought with debt and need to be sold and returned. The rented economy gives people everthing for a low price, but takes away control.

Why are you where you are? Why don’t you own land and a house, without any mortgage? Becase of the needs of the banks that want to profit of the general economy

In this situation it is no surprise generations don’t connect too well. It is no surprise the future has little meaning for many, because nothing they own or care for has a future, except their kids. The kids meanwhile see life as a struggle to achieve the same independence as their parents, an independence that banks decided is simply not for everyone. An independence of illusions of ownership, now real but increasingly virtual to boot.

This is where life can find a future and people can believe in one..

How are people going to care about the future if they have no ownership of it. If they can’t rely on their pensions, if they can’t rely on being in control or able to afford things in the future. the economy is totaly ok with people not belieiving there is a future. Economics never stops seeking profit it just does its thing until it can’t and then moves on. For those that look at the indicators and see them all run into the red due to this short sighted amnesia inducing system it seems the solution is to drive ownership more than anything. Ownership and local power, dependence on local activities for food and energy, not on remote suppliers of the same. So that the causal relation between people, what they do and where they live, and more importantly how they care for the things they own, regains its importance. Then people’s horizon will grow further ahead and the peace of mind returns to plan and act to maintain and care for what we own.

Once we find that we have cared for something that can in turn care for those we care about, like fertile land, a living thriving planet, clean air and waters, oceans full of fish, then maybe we have really cared to the best of our abilities, and we can count ourselves true humans.

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Commercial Prisons will Criminalize Everything

The US has a commercial prison system. It is run as a business, in private hands, and it offers cheap labour. It is actually the biggest manufacturer in the country. We always think it is highly dishonest to lament the poor chances of ex convicts on the job market, seeing that the prison system is taking so many easy and even high tech jobs.

This commercial prison system leads to distortions in convictions. Several cases of jail sentences for super minor offences (school pranks) even leading to suicides have been in the news. The issue is that prisons can use prisoners, and like to incarcerate the easy ones, non-threatening workers. The US is experiencing a renaissance of the slave era, or has done so for decades now. Meanwhile real criminals are left to their own devices, creating a super psychotic atmosphere in some prisoners. After all, who is to look after gangbangers that think nothing of stabbing someone or worse.

We see that minor online offences are now getting serious jail time attached to them. So sharing a password becomes a federal crime. In the UK, where they need cheap workers because of the detachment from the EU and lack of exportable gas (and possibly the slumping financial services), 10 year prison sentences are introduced for onlin piracy. This is insane unless you see why you want a young person stealing a movie to go to prison.

“Leave an old washing machine in your front yard, miss too many days of school or catch a fish during the wrong season, and you could end up in jail.” (source)

In a bad crime forstering economy, invest in prisons!

The copyright industry will shake hands with the commercial prison system, and these big money industries will lobby everywhere to achieve the same punisment for these victimless crimes. TTIP will introduce it in the EU if accepted, and apparently the UK is more willing to allow wanton exploitation of its young and disadvantaged.

This all ends in the most idiotic minor offences clearing individuals out of society to work as super low wage worker in a prison somewhere, until they get stabbed to death by a real criminal inmate. It makes no sense to do this unless you see that we are still all competing over the same resources on a global market, mainly to generate cashflow for banks and oil companies. Billions are flowing through these prison systems, including a lot of tax breaks and subsidies, and this keeps them operating like they do, it keeps them corrupting the justice system and cooperating to increase sentences for simple acts like sharing music.

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Quick Fix to City Greening

In Holland we have witnessed the quick removal of trees from cities. They are used as biomass in power plants, turning cities into dusty places. increasing stress and damage to lungs from stupid internal combustion cars…


Yes, this tree was sick (right)

How to reverse this quickly, how to bring leafy green growth back to the streets. That’s actually quite easy. We can use lamp posts and so called creepers.

Plant creepers in special pots that fit around lamp posts, street lanterns, and let them grow. They grow so fast it takes only a year to cover the lamp post. By covering the post with root fabric the creeper will not damage the paint and can be easily removed.

Pots will fill with roots over time, and limit the ability of the plant to grow, so for the best results ground rooted plants are preferred.

Pots of plastic or metal can be used and planting can begin quickly. For each type of lantern there can be special pots. Installing and maintaining them can create jobs. And ‘harvesting’ overgrowth can yield biomass. The leafy plants can clean the air and provide oxygen and stress relief to city dwellers, and remind us nature exists..

Some creepers or vines will lose their leafs, others won’t. Some will grow wide as their branches look for horizontal support, others will be less volumous because those cross branches are thinner.

QandA  (Nederlands)

Welke klimplanten zijn er ?

  • Klimop, hecht niet
  • Wingerd, hecht niet
  • Hortensia, hecht aan muur

Waar zouden ze in de stad kunnen groeien ?

  • Vanuit de plek waar normaal gesproken een stoeptegel ligt
    • Tegen gevels
    • Tegen lantarenpalen
  • Vanuit een bak, voor korte duur

Hoe wordt de klimplant tegen de lantarenpaal of muur bevestigd

  • Door beklimbaar doek te spannen, bv met metalen ring om lantarenpaal
  • Door metalen of plastic raamwerk te spannen, op afstand van muur of paal, met klemmen of kijlbouten.
  • Door kabels te spannen vanuit klemmen.

Hoe kan een lantarenpaal beschermd worden tegen de klimop ?

  • Door worteldoek, een om tegen te groeien en een om de wortels echt te stoppen.
  • Door een niet hechtende plant te gebruiken die tegen een losstaand raamwerk of kabels groeit.

Zou worteldoek om de lantarenpaal de verf beschadigen ?

  • Het zou het eerder beschermen tegen de zon. Dauw vormt tegen de metalen mast, en dit verdampt door het doek, maar water is niet schadelijk voor de verf.

Wat is zijn de onderhoudseisen ?

  • Regelmatig korten zodat het in de komende periode niet voorbij de gestelde grenzen kan groeien (eind worteldoek of raamwerk)

Hoe wordt een deel van de plant verwijderd ?

  • Door de stammen door te knippen rond de mast en de nieuwe scheuten weg te trekken.

Welke partijen zijn betrokken

  • Groendiensten
  • Beheer lichtmasten


Misschien is deze ‘banner hardware’ voor lichtmasten geschikt om klimop kabels langs te spannen.

Stevig materiaal

Over Groene gevels

Green Walls

Streetlife

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The Others, or How to Deal with Pollutors

Some industries are damaging to public health. It’s clear the coal power plants in China cause many people to die early, as they do in Europe. The numbers run in the hundred thousands. How to deal with this problem? The ETS system failed in Europe, the Carbon tax has not been put in place and banks keep fuel prices where they need to be for a growing economy.

Maybe this suggetion may work. Let’s say we know that coal fired powerplants are responsible for 16.000 deaths in Holland annually. Rather than deads lets count lost lifespan, in years.  Let’s say it cost 16.000 x 5 years on average = 80.000 hours. That’s 80.000 manhours lost every year. Let the coal companies add those as a cost, like invisible employees. That means the industry has to hire 38 others, that make 4.000 a month or so, so pay 152.000 Euro in salaries. It’s clear this is not much of a burden to a billion Euro industry.

It may be a small burden, but for once there is a logical link to lives lost due to activity and the bottom line of an industry. Now the number is in the books, and reducing the health risk of buring coal (for example) translates to the bottom line. This could work for any product, but perhaps we should up the cost or make a handicap formula. Perhaps we should also use an exponential measure so that

  • 1 live lost          hire 1
  • 5 lives lost        hire 5
  • 10 lives lost      hire 20
  • 20 lives lost      hire 80
  • 50 lives lost      hire 400

What do you think, would this work? The money should not be spend, or given as subsidies to the competition provided it does not kill anybody. If you are looking at energy it’s clear wind kills less people than coal, and so it will have lower running cost. One can look at numbers counted in deaths per nr. of persons exposed to the technology times the duration of exposure. Just a thought, what do you think?

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Living in an Economic Machine

Large trade agreements like TTIP, CETA etc. are being negotiated and put into force outside our normal attention span. They do things we really don’t want, mainly give control over our lives to banks, who want to see cashflow happen everywhere. Music, food, any and all activities have to involve trade, and that trade has to be concentrated so that cashflows are predictable. The banks, who handle these cashflows can then sit back and live easy lives, no matter how restricted and boring and inescapable the state of citizens is.

You can look at the up side : There will be large overlaps in experiences between world citizens, so they will identify more and feel more kindred, which will make war less likely. Or you can say that a lot of waste in the economy will not happen because of inefficient small companies who are replaced by efficient mega companies taking over with endless Wallstreet credit (everywhere, from taxi’s to second hand goods). Humanity as a monoculture or a carefully managed heterogenous culture (like you can choose between Pepsi and Cola, Democrats and Republicans). How easy and peacefull a life.

But there is a snag, at least, for now. That is that this system depletes resources at an alarming rate, a rate that can not be sustained. Not only oil,coal, gas, but also water, wood, even sand. You can’t build highrises in every city, or build roads to every town, give cars to everyone. It’s good for business, but not for humanities survival. Trade agreements and banks do not care. They reason : If the planet can no longer sustain it we will find out when it happens. Until then, let’s push for more power.

The real life consequence of the limits to what an economy that does not recognize limits can devour is that there has to be a selection between people. There is always a selection : Beautifull people are given more breaks, get partners easier and promoted faster. Even though this would imply that they also get more kids with better lives, it is often poor people that get kids with miserable lives. However, the economy likes people that sell more stuff, that cause you to buy stuf. It likes celebrities, but also just nice people that can infect us with a sense of needyness so we will purchase something they also have.

One can divide society in economic sense in two groups : Those that sell and those that don’t. The ones that sell get opportunities, the ones that don’t don’t. If you are a bum you won’t get a break, because you will make whatever you do look bad. If you are a beautifull woman you get lots of breaks, and you can be iJustine and sell whatever you touch, hold as you show your natural beauty.

But this harsh truth is even harsher : People are not in short supply. If resources had to be divided evenly then all would be average and nobody would stand out and drive people to new purchases, new behaviour. So the economy wants two groups, one with a lot, more than they need, and another one, the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ as they are commonly called. This is not a fantasy, years ago Citigroup already published a plutonomy report, about the two groups and what the rich could look forward to.

To be clear, this is only a result from a system that does not tend its resources. It wil fish a lake empty, it will clear cut a forrest, it will destroy and not stop because it does not care for things that are not there.  It wants to trade. To handle the world without responsibility. Economic thinking put the traders in charge, and they are trading our futures and lives away for a piece of the action.

Humans in this system are challenged to fight for a role, to become either the executioner or the executed. This is a false dillema, because the third way is to be outside the system, but of course the minions of this system will put a price on everything, until nothing is free, nothing exists prior or outside the pressure applied by economics. A life in this economic system is almost an accident, like a role of the dice. So a person is born, is talented, can use his/her intellect to further the breath and power of the economic system, or not, and die. If the person is without talent then it is to be poor, to have dangerous unhealthy jobs and diet, to die early from bad habits in bad neigbourhoods, from crime, drugs, and nobody will have the time to care.

The idea “But a working economy benefits all” clearly is untrue, and with that the idea we all need to ad our share to it’s succes. It is not a benign machine, it is not a vehicle for world justice and wealth, because resources have to be selectively given to the most attractive groups, and not to any other. These groups are also taught to find that natural, and it is in a way. But the core issue of scarcity of resources is not adressed, never will be.

For the poor, the weak, the sick there is one option : Organize, to become a force that makes it so that what is needed is provided, so that the system becomes not a depleting machine but a generating, one that adds resources instead of destoying them without replacement. And the poor and weak that organize have to understand they can not run to the other side, as usually happens. Usually you get a poor person that rises to some prominence, then gets to choose : go for the money or be destroyed. This is how many movements become impotent, as their leaders become saboteurs.

The global economy is not a place for all humans to unite in harmony, even if it may claim to be, it is just a machine designed by people that want to secure their lives. It is an incredible complicated way to do so and it forces them to neglect the damaging effects or suffer a lifestyle change. The future will never be better with this kind of powerstructure, and the solution is to divide and localize authority as far as possible, and to introduce renewables and use them to build up and restore resources where they have been depleted using automated systems. This I call the Roboeconomy, andit is time to adopt it as the way to extend humanities life expectency.

 

 

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Carbon Tax vs. Fuel Price Hikes

For years this blog is trying to explain the strange similarity between fossil fuels and money. We commonly think we need money, but we always use that money to buy fossil fuels. No production process runs on dollar bills, almost every production process, logistic chain, mining operation runs on fossil fuels. This is the big mindfuck of this era. People don’t seem to get it.

What does this carbon-credit relationship mean? It means money is created to distribute fossil fuels. You need to think through every product just a bit to see where the money is spend on fossil fuels. Of course there are exceptions, but we mean the general process. So steel cost money because coal and diesel cost money. Labour cost money because the fossil fuels to make bread, toys, clothes, food all cost money. This is changing a little bit, slowely, which means things cost less money if they use more renewable energy. Still all the money that flows flows because fossil fuels need to flow.

Exxon is in favour of a carbon tax, a tax on CO2 emissions. People wanting to fight climate change suggest this tax. This means that industries emitting a lot of CO2 will need to pay more taxes. We have tried the Emissions Trading Scheme, but politics is so carboncorrupt that this never worked, it only created a boom for the bankers (who do the corrupting), a lot of nice jobs and NO CO2 reduction because too many ETS rights have been granted. The ETS system is so broken that members of the dutch parlaiment discussed whether they should think of a new reason to have an ETS, such a deep insult it can hardly be imagined. It is like saying : You build this chair for us to sit on, but maybe we should burn it for heat?

The ETS doesn’t work. Carbon tax will also not work. The reason is simple once you understand the carboncredit system, which is the intimate relationship between money and fossil fuels. So a company emits a lot of CO2? This drives up cost? Banks have two options : See how the company switches to renewables (as people expect) or simply give more credit at lower rates. This means the company gets more money to spend, spends part of it on carbon tax, the tax goes to the government, the government spends it on products and services, which emit carbon. On those emissions tax is payed, These return to the government, the government buys more stuff, services, which causes more emissions of CO2. Really besides the added administrative jobs this changes nothing.

Banks will simply increase the amount of money, will charge different interest rates, will add cost for the government (that it has in its grip), will reroute the tax to financial instruments and make a lot of money for itself. That is because banks are free to do whatever the fuck they want, just like oil companies, and this is where the problem needs to be solved. NO MORE FREEDOM FOR BANKS OR FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES.

The way to fix it is hard to get for people that do not see or ‘believe’ in the carbon credit relationship. Right wing people don’t ‘believe’ banks are dependend on fossil fuel companies and vice versa because right wing people live of this dependency and protect it. Without fossil fuels there will be no right wing politics. To fix it we need to do two things :

  1. Raise the cost of fossil fuels, not of emissions but of fuels sold by fossil fuel companies.
  2. Not spend the tax income, keep it in an account and never spend it.
  3. Not tax fossil fuels if they are used to build or create renewable energy sources. So a product specific fuel tax.

This means that a company that uses a lot of fossil fuels to make plastic cups out of oil will find it can’t make them as cheap as the company that makes them out of recycled plastic. This means that an airline that flies people to Spain with Kerosine can not do it as cheap as the one that uses biofuels. This means that a solar panel factory can produce panels at a cheap price and continue to grow its market while the people driving fossil fuel powered cars have to see electric cars take over because it is cheaper.

The money not spend is money taken out of ciculation. The banks will say this is bad for the economy, because ‘the economy’ equals bank profits from fossil fuel cashflows. Define the economy as the combined wealth in existence, priced by their owners (not the banks who like to determine what things cost) then this strategy will grow wealth, even if the government doesn’t spend. The effect is simply this : If you use fossil fuels you are being burdened, if you sell fossil fuels you will see less demand. If you are a bank and you loan to a fossil fuel using company you see less return.

So no carbon tax, simply directed fuel taxes, and no spending of those tax revenues.