Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Advertising So Often Says Way More Than Either The Creators Of the Ad...

 ...Or The People Selling The Product Realize.

The example I have in mind here isn't exactly an advertisement, but I'm pretty sure it has a good portion of what the company wants to use as a selling theme in it. The title phrase used here sure seems to suggest it (see the picture, and link, below): "Samsung Wants To Turn Augmented Reality Into The OS Of Your Life."

That phrase, if you dwell on it for any length of time at all sure does conjure up some interesting interplay of ideas. This is especially true for someone like me who has declared that our current "operating" system is now obsolete.

I am, of course, advocating for the creation of a new operating system. One where we get to control what is produced because we are also in charge of maintaining the productive means to make it all happen. Whereupon we are also directly responsible for the consequences of what (and how) we produce, as well as what we get to have as personal possessions at the end of the day.

The article here talks about how screen proliferation, and different devices requiring them aren't using VR, or AR, as seamlessly cross platform as they could be, given, say the right kind of screen glasses. Glasses that could blend the perfect mix of actual surroundings, with whatever content add on might be desired, at any given moment.

Interestingly enough my alternative would benefit greatly with a pair of VR, AR, glasses such as these, say if they were tied into a universal task, or process, operational database; a database that, with other sensors, might give someone who's something less than an expert, exactly the context sensitive advice they needed in order to complete a work order designated within a particular task, or process. And in that vein, when you read that title phrase, you can really see where this might be a real part of the "OS of your life."

Of course, if you simply leave things as they are, and have these new, seamlessly cross platform glasses giving you VR and AR, in splendid blends, there is really no way they will be the actual OS of your life. That is already in place silly. What these will instead give you is the thanks of those who now run the current operating system. This is because that new found seamlessness will mean boundless more time where your eyes, ears, and brain, will be squarely within the streams of output that provide the input streams of profit for the current system's controllers.

And just remember. No matter what type of controller wand they give you, and no matter how immersively real what you play around in is, you will in fact be in control of precisely nothing of importance as pertains to your real life.

Samsung Wants To Turn Augmented Reality Into The OS Of Your Life

Just How Crazy Have We Become?

We Killed over forty thousand of each other last year on our nation's highways.  Over forty thousand. And a significant part of that was simply due to foolish behavior; as it has been for a long time. Now, however, since drinking and driving are apparently not enough, we try to text and drive. Lovely.

I bring this up not so much to criticize foolish behavior, deserving though it is, but to point out how easily we are led by the nose to focus our fear on things way out of proportion to the the actual threat underlying what's behind the pumped up boogey man. Even as everyday things we take for granted ought be cause for a great deal more concern.

For instance, no matter what you might feel about the important labor contribution that undocumented immigrants might represent, the fact that some of them might also be capable of serious crimes is certainly a possibility. Anything is possible after all, and even if you put a probability factor way above what the statistics actually indicate, the death rate, or injury rate, or destruction of  property rate, that might result, would not even be in the same solar system as the death and destruction foolish behavior on our highways causes.

Interesting isn't it that you see no effort by the current administration to build a wall around major freeways in our country, or any interest in hiring virtually an entire new Army division of troops to patrol our freeways.

It gets just as crazy when you consider the threat of extremist religious, or political violence here. At the height of success for such heinous acts, during 9/11, we lost nearly 3 thousand, with another 6 thousand wounded. Which included 265 on four jets, and just over 2,600 from the building impacts.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that instead of letting these fanatics dictate the way we live our lives, bringing on massive expenditures to frisk everyone at airports, add an entire new federal agency to guard us, and to launch a war in Iraq that had little to do with the actual perpetrators, we simply implemented very specific, targeted measures to target, track, and go after these people. Measures that better coordinated existing intelligence assets, and local police, as well as the improvements we've made to special operations forces. Let's assume we did that and accepted the fact that it wouldn't, by any means, be leak proof. And let's say these targeted measures were able to do a pretty good job, but that a 9/11 level incident, at least in the terms of total deaths, still occurred every other month, or that smaller incidents occurred more often which were the equivalent of a 9/11 every other month. That would equate to a death rate six times what 9/11 caused; so let's call it 6 times 3000 just to stay with round numbers, for a total of 18k dead each year.

Eighteen thousand as opposed to forty thousand. And yet we allow ourselves to whipped into frenzies of fear one can only gape at dumbfounded. We allow the way we live our lives to become more restricted, more closed down, and absolutely less free.

I won't travel anymore by airline precisely because it is an affront to my sense as a free American to live so fearfully (and allowing such humiliations; being frisked, full cavity searches etc). What kind of different statement would we make to those who hate us if we took pride in living as we were meant to live no matter how many of us they killed? Freedom is supposed to have a price, but it's not simply within the framework of military type patriotism, important though that might also be.

What I am talking about here is realizing that life, or a fully led life, is anything but safe. Sure, you can take, and you ought to take, reasonable measures to limit risks. That's just being practical, and empathetic, but none of that, in any way, will ever eliminate the fact that shit happens, and will continue to happen, because there will always be only so much you can account for ahead of time in trying to lessen the risks.

The bottom line here, then, is that you have a choice. Do I spend most of my time actually living, or do I spend most of my time trying to prevent something I am afraid will happen.

The problem here is that "safe," and being sold on "safe," is both a profitable new product, as well as an abundantly useful tool in the toolbox of the despots, dictators, and authoritarians of the world. And the main thing it sells, as far as that list of people are concerned, is control. Wonderful, profit saturated, control. And we let them pawn it off on us like children in the street confronted by the guy who say's "I have candy."

All I can say, when I hear of these relative statistics, and how it all just blows by us without any real thought, or consideration, is shame on us. Shame on all of us! We are better than this. Or at least we were. One is left to wonder if we've been on the manipulation of fear merry-go-round for so long now that it is all we know anymore. And if that is indeed the case then this great experiment of a country is already over. We're just so fearful of reading our mail anymore that nobody's likely to get that memo until the center finally does let go.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Things Not Considered In Your Usual Assessments of Economic Growth

Two things always occur to me when read about the projections that economists try to make on something as vast and complex as the American economy.

The first is this: How much spending does it take, or how much increased spending, to support various increases in total output? In other words, as I assume we are generally talking about production for consumption, how much extra consumption has to occur to support larger amounts of things produced.

As you might imagine this is not a trivial problem. The potential to spend probably has as many factors involved with it as are in all of the facets of human nature, because, the universe knows, we buy things for more reasons than simple need.

That being said, though, doesn't change the fact that you still need a certain amount of disposable income (say after paying the rent, or mortgage; paying for fuel to and from work, as well as to heat where you live; basic food requirements, and health care) to be able to buy everything after the necessities. And in this is a major issue of social equity because a good portion of our labor force at present doesn't earn enough to even pay for the basics (a lot of jobs, unless you walk, or bike, to work, won't even pay the fuel bill coming and going).

The other thing is that new part of the economy where ever greater numbers of dollars are being generated by activity where nothing is actually created, or it is only tangentially related to the creation and consumption of an actual item. In this, of course, is a whole host of financial instruments that get traded after an initial transaction. Stocks. Bonds. Secondary marketing of bundled mortgages etc. And for me the poster child of this kind of activity, the number cruncher houses where the trick is to have more of the fastest computers running the cleverest of algorithms to anticipate stock market, or commodity market, or even currency market fluctuations. Hell, for a while there all you needed were servers a few meters closer to the exchange servers so that you could see quotes, or sell prices infinitesimal seconds before everyone else.

The question then, with that kind of activity, is how much it affects the total supply of money, on top of the usual flow inputs. I suspect it's getting quite large, and will only get bigger. If that's the case how does the Fed, or anyone else, for that matter, take it into account when they try to figure things like overall productivity, or inflation?

Usually, of course, it is working folks who get the blame for too much money chasing too few products because they are supposedly spending more money than their accumulated output would justify. Simply put, can we still make that assumption any more?

Like I said, it gets complicated, and we still haven't talked about what affects people in other countries and their ability, let alone their desire, to spend hard won income on stuff we make; especially when they have their own problems in getting everything they make sold, usually because their wages are even less than ours on the whole.

The bias at work here is clear if you think about it for even a moment. All of the effort in the past to hold workers to account for their productivity, but so little effort in considering any kind of efficacy in profit generation, or in how investments of various types help, or hinder productivity. You only need to consider the notion of crunching numbers to simply get more numbers to understand that the resultant profits don't do much of anything to affect anybody's productivity. It is simply process that generates more counters.

The bottom line of what we are talking about here is really all of the ways of looking at why the electrification of Capitalism can have such contradictory effects, and there are certainly others. Such as the way that it allows for hard won experience to be translated into instructions that any machine can then use to do labor far more efficiently than any human could. Which then serves to make the human commodity of labor be, automatically, worth significantly less. Turning information itself into a far more important commodity than it ever was before, as well as making it the very essence of currency (as all of that now is simply zeros and ones in memory banks everywhere), is another. Capitalism just wasn't conceived to handle these sorts of things. I mean. How could anyone involved in its founding have possibly foreseen these kinds of developments?

But that is where we are now. And when you see these discussions of economics, and you see them still focused on the primarily old, mechanistic interactions of bygone eras, just remember that the people involved still haven't accepted the full implications of what electrified Capitalism entails. As such you should take everything predicted from the usual way of doing things with a great deal of skepticism.

The Big Question for the U.S. Economy: How Much Room Is There to Grow?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Reshuffling The Beneficiary Chairs...

...On The Titanic.

That's what "tax reform" should be referred to, if people were being honest about things. That and the fact that it's not so much a plan, currently, as it is a "bait and switch" tactic.

Oh, they'll throw you a bone, you can be sure of that. The sad part here is not that you won't be getting a bone at all, but rather that the real thing being sold is not your tiny bone, as compared to their big one, but rather the fact that they'll be giving the keys to actually run things to the people who have always been getting the bigger bone.

The way this works is like this: They cut taxes. You get your small bone, they get their big one. And now that the government suddenly has even less revenue to run anything. Guess which things are likely to get cut first. Let's say between, farm subsidies (or any other corporate welfare for that matter), and all of the agencies that watch over what goes on when we have "business as usual?" If you said farm subsidies I wish I had your optimism.

Just the mere fact of parts of the government simply collecting information, and allowing access to it will go away. Let alone a regulatory agency with the power to make organizations comply. And this truly does matter if you value air you can breath, or water you can drink, or batteries you can use, or food you can eat, that won't make you sick, or kill you outright.

And then, certainly, are services that a modern society, worth its salt anyway, would provide to its citizens; like affordable health care; education that not only works, but doesn't put one into permanent wage servitude; a retirement one can count on despite economic uncertainties; or an attitude towards national lands that sees them as more than just unexploited resources; just to name a few off the top of my head.

It is no trivial matter trying to do all of these things: allow people to have a living wage no matter what work they do, meaningful protections for all reasonable aspects of living a healthy life, and allow unlimited profits (which often comes down to what they can make the markets bear, with sufficient control) for those who would risk their accumulated capital to attain same. It is, in fact, quite likely to be virtually impossible for such a mutually beneficial arrangement to occur in Capitalism. That is why, for the most part, it is indeed now a zero sum game. And the powerful have little incentive, as things stand, to want to allow anyone to change things.

Which is why we have to be as clever as we have ever been in finding an alternative we can agree on. An alternative to provide the basis for giving them an incentive they can't refuse. So if you really want to think about occupying something, other than a single prominent street for commerce, think about occupying your own country. And to do that you're going to have to start thinking about using the one tool they can't take away from you; not if enough of us participate. The tool where everybody, and I mean everybody, takes a week off of work. Say a week every other month until they start to listen. Or maybe even a week every month until they listen. Because the real bottom line here is that nothing they have means shit unless they have us, to keep giving little bones to, as we do their work for them.

Think about it. Ask questions. Become more informed. Make a choice and then take action. Peaceful action mind you, but do take action.

Is Trump’s Tax Plan Actually a Windfall for the Richest Americans?

With All Of The Critical Issues Facing This Planet...

...And all of humanity on it, if we adopt the "It's Every Nation For Themselves" policy, we will enshrine, as well as engrave on a lot of headstones, the rule of the zero sum game as the de facto standard of life from here on out.

Now wait a second, you might be thinking. Aren't there two pretty big factors you might be missing in a sweeping statement like that? Like isn't the zero sum game what we're already playing for starters? And just because one American administration wants to turn it into near religious dogma, doesn't mean it can't be change with the next.

Anything is possible, of course, always. The much more pertinent factors, though, are still going to be the relative probabilities. And on this you are betting the farm (figuratively and literally) whether you realize it or not.

First of all, I would argue that most of what makes up the perception, and the reality, of what mandates that "life is a zero sum game" is Capitalism. There are other cultural, and religious factors involved certainly, but Capitalism has simply benefited as a resonant cavity, from those smaller inputs, because Capitalism has gotten so much bigger, as it was always fated to get. It was always meant to be because it is an operating system, and they tend to encompass everything by definition.

And lest you think that, coming from our savage, tribal beginnings, survival of the fittest is an absolute cultural law, consider that there have been more than just a few societies who've quite well within a cooperative, non net gain kind of organization model. Usually societies in the tropics, as I recall, where food can be easier to forage for, and the need for shelter not so temperature driven.

Capitalism is itself, I think, the ultimate, rationalists, logic driven assessment of making the struggle for survival something that can be martialed into great systems of command efficiency. Exactly what you'd expect to come out of the harsh, upper latitudes of Europe, and China, or the water deprived regions of the middle east; or, as a fall back, to any other geographical group who had to suffer through their own development way too close to those just mentioned. That it is also hierarchical by nature makes it a perfect compliment to the people who have always had a visceral feel for which side of the equation you need to be on in a game of "net gain."

And certainly "net gain" is the main element in both an essential part of what makes Capitalism tick, as well as what makes honey for the seekers of power; as in the power to dictate the norms, and aspirations, of their world view.

In any case, though, and however cliche worthy here, we are in a very real cross roads as to how humanity is to progress, if at all, into the future. Constricting matrices of options have a habit of doing that to situations. And we, as well as the planet, are being constricted by so many issues not being dealt with that all most people can do now is space out in various apocalyptic scenarios. It's too intimidating. It's too complex. And worst of all, there are way too many lovers of the power, and hierarchical power structures. People who have become quite good at distraction, deception, and obfuscation. And they especially know how to play that other, "the easy answers to complex problems" game. Experts at wrapping such answers into every type of resonant imagery, and glowing term, they can make use of; which is why the facade of patriotism is usually their first area of choice.

My point, of course, is that we are at this crossroads as a world community because it is the entire planet that suffers under both Capitalism, and all of the issues we are not dealing with. If Capitalism continues to predominate then, in my opinion, net gain is certain to do so also. If that is the case then the "zero sum game" will continue as well. It will continue, and changing any of this, as things continue to become more constricted by desperation driven events (think of the usual panic hoarding you see in movies of end times), and the hierarchical responses of the powerful ever more harsh, in the effort to restore their brand of "order," will become more problematic.  As such the ability of the rest of us to organize the kind of peaceful civil disobedience it's going to take to gain leverage with the existing power structure is going to decrease; substantially. If we don't start to give serious consideration on how to end "zero sum game" mentality now then we may never have another chance. Especially now that everything is being questioned; precisely because so much of what we once took for granted, isn't working any more. If not now the likelihood of having further chances will simply be another victim of the ever increasing chaos that's going to ensue as the consequences of putting the real issues off mount.

You. There. Right now. Reading this. You need to be thinking. Am I really doing enough to make it clear to the powerful that I understand what is at stake? Am I really asking the right questions? Are any of the tired old solutions going to cut it any more?

Bannon Touts Trump's 'Economic Nationalist Agenda'

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How The Hell Are City States Supposed To Figure Out How to Divvy Up Resource Credits To their Citizens...

...When no one's ever tried to anticipate what a list like that would need to be before?

So. as you might imagine, as a systems kind of guy, this would probably be something to nag at me. At least until I could outline some reasonable starting points. And even if you do want to try and keep the starting point from getting too bogged down in details, you don't need to make a career out of economics to see how complex a thing it is still going to be to break down our mega sphere of transaction interplay; especially when the goal of the effort is to use that outline to describe an approach that doesn't use money, or the commercialized idea of mass production-consumption any more.. You know, the thing that gave us this mutating legacy if the first place?

Which is no more than to say that I'm still chewing over various ideas, hoping to provide cover for as many of the (unfortunately still far too few) questions I am able to think of.

For instance, say you start with the assumption that you have a system where initial production, and consumption streams, would be split between two parts.

1. The automated production of standardized, low level modules;  as in specific circuits, chips, motors, pumps; or more basic items like nuts, bolts, lumber, standard steel forms (I-beams, channel, tubing, box beams, etc); or raw food items, that the citizens would add on as a part of their assembly of any end use items; to then be consumed, or retained as property.
    1-1. A lot of this would be subsumed automatically by the needs of City State specific infrastructure.

2. Anything else not expressly produced by community production facilities, save for the most basic raw items an individual might require for his or her own forming, and adding on, as mentioned in #1 above.

So this means that certain elements must be assumed. Flexible, local smelting, and reforging abilities across at least steel, copper, aluminum, and glass. Facilities to reclaim, and store, all forms of useable items from structure, and building site reclamation. Co-located machining, and follow on forming facilities. Fabrication plants for chips, motors, pumps, paper, tools, standardized cleaning items, solvents, lubricants, etc. Localized power production, both in medium sized, centralized stations, as well as decentralized solar collection, wind harvesting, and fuel cells (this part is why I have spent a lot of time coming up with my design variation of the Yen Tornado Wind Turbine. An approach I still believe would, through consortiums of City States, be able to produce immense amounts of liquid hydrogen, bringing in both power, and useable water). Localized truck farming of whatever sort, for both produce, chickens, pigs, and dairy cows (at the very least). Waste management facilities. And Health Care facilities.

All of these things would have to be set up for each community. From already having experience on how they work, one ought to be able to deduce reasonable estimates of the human labor required to keep each of these sorts of facilities both supplied, and maintained. But to be as precise as possible you'd also have to have some idea of what actual demand might be, and that, without doubt, is where the rubber really meets the road in getting all of the stakeholders involved, and intimately familiar with, the concept of trade offs. Because the bottom line always has to be we can have what we're all willing to support the basis for.

As I said, to say figuring out what kinds of things might want to be constructed, and then deduce from that a full mix of material, and items to support that potential demand, will be no trivial task. Which is exactly why we really do need to try and do this as a current government lead, development project; a nation mobilized no less solemnly, or purposefully, than when we mobilized for war against Fascism in Europe, and the expansionist desires of an extreme, militaristic empire in the Pacific.

Some research effort is going to need to be done to better understand several things that would be connected to the alternative I have outlined. One is an open ended reassessment of how a community, of whatever number of people (let's just assume 100k as a nice round number), might best be structured to blend what the geography, climate, and cultural history, has already been shown to provide, with new techniques to make up for areas of material need, where those pluses aren't there to provide for.

For instance, if the weather isn't California warm, and maybe it rains too much, or too little, what kinds of things can be done in controlled environments, where perhaps automation can also be used; things like the new indoor farming setups comes to mind. Some very clever adaptations of moving racks, careful control of water application, lighting and nutrients, and you get a possible output per total volume of space taken up that starts to look pretty good overall; especially when that production context also removes seasonal considerations altogether.

This kind of research would need to be very inclusive of the specific folks for a specific region, so that focused interviews with as many of the future citizens as possible can be queried as to the kinds of things they might want. That being said, it is also important to emphasize that this research provide feedback as to what different options would cost them in terms of the community's total workload. The very workload that each and every one of them is going to agree to help support.

The point here would be to develop not only a general outline of what could be provided with materials at hand, a further list of materials that would need to be traded for, and then a more comprehensive list of total supply streams, given the kinds of desires expressed, and the corresponding willingness to support it all. Then you could get to the breakdown of how the community might best utilize those raw materials. What kinds of automation, to mix, with human effort, to till land, smelt steel, machine parts, or fab silicon components. With the advances made in artificial meat in the last few years there might be additional alternatives to large scale livestock maintenance, though, given the history and culture of a particular region, some things might continue to be produced so as to have bargaining items for things not produced locally.

Maybe, if we can come to understand, with some detail, the underlying attributes of a geographic area we could put the particulars into a basic simulation game. Something that might be a cross between Civilization V, and Factorio, but specifically oriented to show how the interdependent elements would likely develop if one used a particular set of possible design choices. With an approach like that, not only do you bring the people already intimate with such games, into the realm of real, alternative community thinking, you bring the people of the region into how integrated thinking in development, can be such a useful tool in getting to a system design that is put, as close as it can possibly be, to that sweet spot where, in the consensus opinion, the best bet for positive results, with the minimum of effort required, can be achieved.

Perhaps the bottom line here is that we need this research, and planning, as a way of not only knowing what might be best approaches, but of creating, collectively, that page we all need to be on if a project has any hope of success. Which is nothing than to say forming that common vision of what it is that we hope to achieve. And in this, for Americans, one cannot over emphasise the importance. I say this because, despite how we are of so many minds. over so many things, there are ideals that formed us all that are part of our DNA now. I'm not going to list them because the list itself isn't always the same, but across all lists are shared a high percentage of ideals. And based on that I feel that I can still claim that Americans, with a shared vision, are a force of nature. And I will take that belief to my grave no matter what else happens.

Images for "Having a Shared Vision"

A Meme For The Town Hall Turnabout We Have Going Now

A suggestion really. #DoTheTownHallHack. Or perhaps it could be "#DoTheTownHallTurnaround.

Anyways. Keep it up. Pump it up. And bring it home.

Images for the angry town hall meetings

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Just To Be Clear On How The Tornado Turbine, Hydrogen Thing, Started For Me

I have mentioned this in the past, but it always bears repeating. I did not start out promoting the hydrogen out of wind power project for the purposes of a radical political agenda. The radical thing has always been in the back of my mind, but exactly how to describe it, and justify, took a while to get clear in my head.

Earlier on, however, my head was still in the clouds, and a good deal further on. I had hopes, in the beginning, that this could start out as a means to help NASA produce hydrogen as a fuel cheaply. Get the kinks out of building the sea based approach with the aid of the techies there, and within the rest of the aerospace industry, so that once the utility of the project could be seen, further funding could be acquired to push the scope of usage out even further; possibly to the point of creating the world's first public energy utility.

In any case, though, in order to attract attention, I tried one more time with a state initiative that would have simply asked our legislature to formally suggest to Congress in DC that the sea based Yen Tornado turbine approach was the way to do it. And, as sometimes happens, about the only thing you get out of it is your limited few minutes of fame; which in this instance was a KING TV local story done on the initiative.

Being a glutton for punishment (it is an amazement to me just how way too young, and way too naive, I looked, even by the time of the eighties) I have preserved this video. Hopefully it will also aid in providing full disclosure on how I got to where I am now.

The video here is an intro prepared view of the KING TV interview they did on my initiative.


At Some Point In The Not So Distant Future...

...It's going to occur to us that we will need quite a bit more than just the idea of building floating cities. We are, in fact, going to need having new ones built on an ever increasing pase. Maybe even more than just one or two month in fact (substantial thought that might be).

And we can't be talking floating versions of the movie Elysium here either. These have to be pedestrian working cities that can accommodate a wide cross section of the world's growing refugee problem. After all, if it's going to mostly be "NIMBY" (and even if more than a few areas remember their humanity, and offer to take folks in, the need will still outsrtip supply) as a reaction to finding a place for people to go, no matter what dry land you might want to focus on, then an alternative has to be developed, and quickly. An alternative that would integrate both environmental concerns with practical new approaches to materials, so that what you build, would be sustainable no matter what other source stocks might become scarce, and/or directly, physically, detrimental in their use. An approach that would also leverage every other angle of concurrent benefit the imagination can come up with.

Which is why, over the years, that I've been so focused on a very specific way to do wind power out at sea. Including wind power is obvious, of course, but the rest of it deserves a bit of explanation.

One thing you have to understand about me is that, being from the Pacific Northwest, and having a father who started out with aviation with the Navy back in the forties, (and went on to be a commercial aircraft mechanic), is that I grew up living aerospace; knowing flying machines from the hangar out, as the old man used to take me along on his selling trips, once he moved from working a wrench, and went on to run his own surplus parts business. And a part of that was growing up reading Aviation Week & Space Technology. I can, in fact, remember reading back issues of that mag, when it was just Aviation Week, that the old man had that came out before the fifties. As such, it was a mainstay for quite a while for on matters of aerotech, at least for me.

Oddly enough, however, the one tech I would spend a lot of years promoting would not be anything to do with flying machines, and yet it was in an AW&ST issue back in the seventies (See Aviation Week & Space Technology, March 1, 1976, page 50.) that it was featured. It was a radical new approach to doing wind energy and it was in Aviation Week because a Grumman Aerospace engineer by the name of Yen had come up with the idea, and was, at that time, doing wind tunnel, demonstration studies.

On the face of it it's a pretty simple concept. Use a large cylinder shaped object, with specially placed openings on it walls so what wind could come in, but only escape out the top of the structure. The idea behind this was to, in effect, create a cyclonic circulation inside the cylinder so that, at the center of the base, you put a hole where a significant pressure differential would be created. A hole through which ducted fans of various types could be placed to exploit that differential directly to a generator.

Even as amazing as creating your own, harnessed tornado might be, the really cool thing about this design approach was what it did to the old notion of wind power not being very dense; as in you have to have a lot of units to get large power numbers, as opposed to gigawatts out of a single nuke reactor; because with this thing, the thing collecting the wind is not the same thing also doing the translation to shaft power. Here you simply make the cylinder much bigger in order to collect more wind, and so you don't have to worry about impossibly large turbine blades. You could, in fact, with this design, have a wind turbine capable of putting out a gigawatt of its own.

The downside of it, though, does become quickly apparent. Expressed exactly in whose backyard is anybody going to allow something as big as this would have to be (like on the order of 300 feet in indiamer and 900 feet tall). And the universe only knows how noisy such a thing might be. So where to put it otherwise? Out at sea of course.

But that just serves to create a new problem. Nine hundred foot tall structures at sea? Are you seriously demented?

So, as you might imagine, how to do it bugged me for quite a while. It wasn't till years later, and thinking how cool composites had become, as well as having just seen some TV thing on just how strong bamboo scaffolding could be, that it hit me; why not some kind of pumped up, composite scaffolding; something you could use, in the vein of modularity, to really make floating platforms come together faster than stacking rebar, and pouring concrete could ever hope to achieve. Not to mention the fact that concrete itself might become a premium item now that concrete capable sand supplies are getting ever morse scarce.

So that's why I settled on an approach that would use hemp composite material to make a special kind of scaffolding; a reinforced scaffolding where the tube would be formed around an interior, long axis, center beam; a beam that would have the attach point arms already connected. The tube wall itself would be wound around the center beam, and the platters to fix beams in place, with pre-cut holes for the attach point arms to fit through. And with each successive layer of tube wall, a sleeve of composite would be fitted over each attach point arm so that the flaps at its base could be set down before the next tube wall layer came on. Thus, with each new layer, and each new sleeve, the interleaved flaps would provide an interwoven, extra connecting factor, with the tube wall.

With your basic building block then a tube enclosed, composite beam tree, even medium thickness factors, all the way around, would buy you a substantial amount of support capability. And the fact that you are then just doing attach point connecting, over and over again, building to whatever size needed, the structures would come together pretty damn quick, and with a lot of inherent flexibility on what you are able to end up with in configuration variations; a particular boon if you want to do, say very large, square bases, a few layers tall, and then pyramiding up as needed, so as to make lowering the ultimate structure's center of gravity significantly, a lot easier. And as heights in the 900 feet, or more, range are what we are talking about here, the more of that kind of easier you get the better.

So now you're wondering why I'm talking about making wind turbine platforms as fast, cheaply, and environmentally friendly, as possible, when the subject is supposed to be about floating cities. And the reason for that is this: energy creation systems based at sea are going to need people to maintain them. So, bingo, right out of the gate, building Tornado Turbine, hydrogen production, platforms creates a an anchor function for folks to build a living around. And as long as you're stacking repeatable part, platform structures to support the turbines, why not stack a few more to make platform arrays sufficient for 100K cities? Hell, even the function of platform assembly adds an anchor function to help these places make things that they can trade for the things they can't make as easily.

But then the question becomes: why should our country, let alone the other nations of the world, contribute the serious effort it's going to take to make this happen? And the simple answer is (if ordinary human compassion isn't enough for your) enlightened self interest.

That hydrogen is going to be a big part of what helps us save this planet. It certainly won't be the only fuel in an intelligent mix, but the fact that it creates water as a by product, gives it a leverage in usage that we can't afford not to take advantage of. In any case, though, if we do choose to start relying on it we will be required to make it in unprecedented quantities, for any fuel, ever. That means a pretty big lead time involved in getting the infrastructure set up to make that requirement achievable. The faster you can get that going, certainly, the shorter the lead time. Partnering with as much of the rest of the world as we can possibly manage gives the potential of shortening the lead times substantially. That this partnership might also buy us into a solution for the possible population displacements that are coming, would be icing on a very sweet cake indeed.

What I am talking about here is a major world effort to provide us some buffer time, so we can switch some tooling, and our attitudes on better organizational methods, to put as near term, as it is possible for us to do, fixes in place to handle the main areas of concern that are the primary cause of tensions in the world. In this plan we would be hitting fuel scarcity, population displacement, and major structural changes that would be a big start in stopping bad inputs that are going into the environment now. We would be applying effort to those very urgent problems, and we would be building bridges of cooperation. Ways to engage that would indicate that win win is indeed possible.

Even with careful engineering, big as the oceans are, the numbers of 100K+ cities we can put upon them is still going to be limited. How could they not be given that our population is unlikely to every stop growing completely (assuming, of course, we don't bite the big one at some point). Which is why it should be seen only as a temporary solution. Getting off the planet in a big way will provide the rest of the answers we need, but that's a discussion of infrastructure I'll leave for another day.

This, unfortunately low res, animation illustrates how the composite beam, scaffolding tubes might be assembled:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

If You Hire The Virtual Equivelent of an entire U.S. Army division...

...To fill the ranks of the Border Patrol (5,000) and the Immigration, Control and  Enforcement (10,000) agencies, you have, in effect, stated that the immigrant problem is more serious than Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Europe.

I say that because making the requisite manpower, and logistics streams, available to support that size of a force, whoever gives them their theatre marching orders, is to make it very much more difficult to apply force, or have it ready to be applied, in other areas of security concern. And if you're talking that many people you could also be indicating an actual Brigade disbursement pattern that might actually affect more than one hot spot at same time (as we seldom send in just "big numbers" to handle a given situation).

Are undocumented workers anywhere near the kind of threat level to warrant that kind of skewed disbursement; a disbursement of what we have a very limited ability to disperse in the first place? Or is this going to be Reagan, and Bush Jr. all over again; where we double down on the wars we refuse to pay up front for? You know... With actual taxes instead of borrowed money? And you also don't mobilize everyone, as with the conscription you would use in a real war?

This is truly just another case of follow the money. Not only would we be shooting ourselves in the foot, trying to put force to a labor segment we actually do need, and taking that hit in price hikes for the premiums paid to get this hard labor done; we would also likely end up paying further premiums for the enforcement that would be needed in the much more critical areas in any case.

This is most definitely not how one goes about setting up a rational list of critical priorities. No one, though, would accuse the new administration of an abundance of rationality. More's the pity. The question then comes down to whether you will stand for this or not. If you call your Congressional Delegation in Washington DC enough, however, may be you can let both parties know it is simply unacceptable.

Homeland Security Memos Detail How Trump Could Detain and Deport

And the video:

If We Are So Wildly Diverged, What Then, As A Practical Matter, Are We To About It?

I get it that we are a nation of quite polarized views. A Kind of mosaic of polarization as it spans a number of, certainly related, but different points of perception. The kinds of things that rise from cultural, religious, economic, and political, ways of seeing, and/or interpreting, issues that are currently prominent in all of them. My catch phrase now is that we are the "Relative States of America."

Despite that I have tried to remain hopeful that we could find compromise, within a grander bargain of fundamental change, that would have something in it for even a super majority of Americans. It does get hard. On the one hand you have people like George Carlin decry, in virtually a "it's already too late" sort of way, our fall, mostly because of the corruptive influences of Big Money. And on the other you hear statistics like the ones I heard repeated recently by Keith Olbermann. It was a seven hundred and twelve person study done by Public Policy Polling. Some of you might remember this for the question on the supposed "Bowling Green massacre" that never actually occurred.

The questions asked, and referred to by Mr. Olbermann, were directed towards those specifically acknowledged as Trump supporters.  And one of the most depressing, certainly was the "Do you think Donald Trump should be able to overturn decisions by judges the he disagrees with, or not?" question; which returned the following response:

Not sure..................................................16%

Which would seem to indicate that a majority of Trump supporters are quite in favor of establishing a, de facto, if not explicitly declared, dictatorship.

You do need to step back from these kinds of statistics, though, and ask a few questions; just to keep a reality check going mind you. Like, even if the polers were very good at putting the right mix of demographic attributes into the selecting of their sample subjects, a sample of 712 ought to still be reason to want to at least look a little deeper; say double the size and see if it matters any.

The reason I say this is not to throw suspicion on the polsters, mind you, but to just get a more confident sense of what might be the real totals being thrown around here. Maybe it is a certain percentage of Trump supporters, but how many Americans does that really relate to? Is it actually a third of all American voters who want to do away with a government of checks and balances? A government that only sort of engages in "the rule of law?"

If that's indeed the case then we've got a real, potential, powder keg here. Especially now that Trump has all but declared open war against a free press. But I have to wonder. Did a significant number of these folks just not realize the bigger picture consequences of the choices offered? And trust me everyone, you don't have to be stupid to let emotion get you so worked up, and focused, you simply can't see beyond the immediate issue; whether you've been given misleading explanations for those issues or not. If you redid a study like this, and made the consequences clear at the get go, would you get significantly different results? I certainly don't know if you would but I'd still want to double check.

What gets lost in some of this is that, despite the different way of seeing things, there are still areas of common ground, and, I think, a way to compromise on some others (with both sides getting something, and giving up something). This is one of the advantages of approaching this as both a Libertarian, and as a Socialist. In that supposed dichotomy is a fulcrum on which a very basic aspect of life rests: how does one balance the needs and rights of the many, with the needs and rights of the individual?

A big part of Populism now is in how the working man, or woman, gets a fair shake in an economic operating system that has become as mutated as our current one has. Unbelievable complexity. Inhumane rates of change, modulating competitive norms that keep disrupting every sector, putting work as a human commodity into question, as well as what might be ultimately expected of us to adapt with (implants, gene editing, and ultimate cyborg-ization). Both sides might see a fair shake in slightly different specifics, of course, but the bottom line, it would seem to me, is that for anybody to get anything, Capitalism as we know it must cese. Which means you are automatically talking about fundamental economic restructuring.

Here is where the "big, both sides giving something up", compromise comes into play: Liberals and the left accept that there must be a new, greater States Rights type of constitution. Conservatives have to accept that facts matter and that our impact on the environment has been very bad; which means living environmentally is a national priority.

So... Right now? I don't know which side might be howling more, but I'm going to assume its the Conservatives.

Being people who don't like other people telling them what they can, and cannot do, in the first place, having development rules is not ever a first choice scenario for them. So I can understand them being more than a little sceptical here, but I'm hoping they'll see things a bit more tolerantly when they fully appreciate the following: Before, in the determination, and implementation of environmental initiatives, it quite often ended up costing people some aspect of their livelihoods. Fewer jobs. The jobs eliminated altogether, or other things just being made to cost more, out of wages getting ever more scarce.

The majority of this concern goes away, however, if you move over to an effort based economy. There, doing things in a particular way is just a calculation of the effort we'll all have to share to make it happen, as opposed to the return we get in taking that responsibility on. And the thing is, as has been shown over and over again, not only can doing things clean not poison you, it saves you effort in not having to deal with whatever type of poison might be in question in the first place.

For instance, what do you care if the fuel you burn is hydrogen or not, as long as you can get it relatively cheaply, and it powers things effectively? And if you don't have to dig in a mine, tear down a mountain, or fracture the substrata of your geology, to get at another fuel, why would you? Same goes for solar power. If you could partner with other City States, with shared solar collector plants, you could have your entire community all, at least partially, power independent. Why would you want the big complexities of even a Molten Salt nuclear reactor? Or the mega power lines, requiring big support capabilities, to distribute from large, central plants.

My bottom line here is to ask you: even if you are not a libertarian, of a Socialist, would you be giving up so much if a better alternative to Capitalism could be found? An alternative that would have City States with a larger latitude in deciding how they could go about their lives? And for Progressives: would you be giving up so much if others lived out of bounds of your moral imperatives (within reason of course) as long as everybody could always vote with their feet, the rule of the free flow of information remained sacrosanct, and every community kept to the norm that, if you help support the community's upkeep, you get an equal vote in all matters of community affairs, as well as a share of community output commensurate with that participation?

As always, I want everyone to remember that I am trying to articulate this alternative now so that everybody starts thinking about it. Starts asking deeper questions, and actually take time and better inform themselves, and to do so from a wide range of sources.

Do this I implore you. Passion. Misunderstanding. Fear, and no small amount of madness are starting a snow ball's roll down a very deep slope. We better start doing some serious thinking soon on how we either, divert, slow down, or stop, this trend or we may find ourselves buried in a volume of violence, and expression of hate, we might never be able to walk back from.

Something Else You Wouldn't Know...

...If there were not a lot of dedicated people, sweating nails to get it done, digging away to find out what is really going on around us.

You may not realize this, but what is "really going on," around us, is important not merely because it can sometimes generates big headlines. It's important because it often presents a situation where there is both a clear problem, as well as an equally clear, responsible party at the bottom of it. And, of course, in a cost oriented economy, direct liability suddenly established often means one mother of a hit to the bottom line; out of the blue. Not something that puts an economic entity, or those ostensibly in charge, in any kind of a good light. And when that happens, huge collections of what was once a set market value (or at least a trading range not very broad in it fluctuations), as in the share price of the entity, go south. And when that happens, people who went to bed the night before worth a very great deal, wake up to being worth considerably less. A situation that hits them not only in their ability to leverage further deals, but also in the ego as their standings in the ranks of the richest suffer as well.

As you might imagine, this turns out to be a double whammy to people who just assume their right to be our betters, and in charge. Such people take this sort of development even worse than hearing the word "no" when they ask for something to be done for them. Which leaves us with a group of people being given large incentives to make the rest of us, finding out anything at all, as nearly as impossible as modern machinations can permit.

And so we have a new leadership making every effort to gut every institution even remotely capable of providing any such form of enlightenment. Gutting their ability to exist, or gutting their credibility, or whatever else might work.

Study Links Cancer to Living Within a Mile of Oil Wells


Big Money, or Big Poultry If You Like, Wants Competition...

...Only for those who supply it. Not for what they sell. So, if you are a grower, you are much like anyone else in the labor market. You compete with each other for the marginal profits available when big retailers can get what they need virtually anywhere, and the rest of us, as consumers, pay the premium thus required for the retailers to be guaranteed fat profit margins.

You wouldn't know about this at all, of course, if there weren't groups of dedicated people, in both government regulatory agencies, and the media, always digging away at, sometimes quite difficult to pursue, paths of information. Which means, even from this point back through time, with multiple sets of leadership, who were either indifferent, or sort of mostly supportive, of having at least some of this information be available, and that there be regulators actively engaged in keeping track, not to mention investigative reporters, actually getting at the needed info has still been no easy task at all.

Now imagine a leadership where there was no longer even indifference to regulation, or the collection, and free flow of critical information. Imagine a leadership outright inimical of any kind of scrutiny of what any part of Big Money, or Big Retailers, do. Imagine the premiums you will be made to pay (what I like to call the Fuck You Tax), that you will not be aware of, even as your only commodity, your labor, or your small business contribution to what the big boys do, is kept as competitive as hell. They grow stronger. You grow weaker, and the ability to change the situation becomes ever more problematic.

If this does not strike a chord for you as pertains to current events then you deserve exactly what you are going to get.

You’re Getting Skinned on Chicken Prices, Suit Says

Don't forget to check out the intro video: