ENVIRONMENT | PRIORITIES | COMMENTARY
COMMENTARY / OPINION
Okay, that’s not fair. TV isn’t making everyone stupid but it IS making some of us, stupider by the second.
My writings on this site address some of these issues. Indeed the very name, A Matter of Scale talks about the fact our problems are no longer solvable by a single person, they have grown too large to address unless we are all involved. It is literally a matter of scale.
I probe into the questions of why we can do certain things like creating food on a massive scale, transforming it into any number of other forms and distributing it to people for what is an amazing economy of scale, while at the same time, we throw away food by the ton at our supermarkets and megastores while people all over the planet are suffering from starvation.
We don’t seem to see the contradiction.
We don’t seem to feel the suffering.
We have become disconnected from our humanity, our sense of feeling, our sense of responsibility.
Our sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves has eroded to just our family, the people we share a blood relationship to, or maybe our religious group who base our affinity on the invisible relationship we have to a divine being who may or may not exist. We devote our time, our energy, our efforts to THAT relationship while allowing our more reachable, touchable, necessary and mundane relationships to people outside of our blood to languish, to fail, to wither away, in some cases right before our very eyes; opportunities for love, laughter, and a life worth leading languishing on the vine.
I wanted to write something as touching as A. Person did, showing I understood his wrath at things like Game of Thrones, where people invest so much of their emotional capital into something that doesn’t exist. Where people are so upset about a thing that happened, not at all, anywhere, while real atrocities which would make the Red Wedding little more than an afternoon of fun for the whole family.
I am with him when people say to him that he is crazed for NOT participating in Game of Thrones, only the most pivotal television to have ever happened ever. Because like him, I say, it is not real.
Are you seeking treachery on the scale of Game of Thrones?
- How about the financial institutions that gambled with the mortgages of millions of people and lost it all.
- Then needing to be bailed out by the government, who is in actuality the voice and the money of the people.
- Then to find out later, the banks would not only fail to be accountable to anyone regarding what happened, they would have a profit that made their previous earnings insignificant by comparison.
- But the ultimate treachery was made manifest when banks, having been rescued by the government, the agency of the people, turned around and told the people who rescued them “‘Fuck Off’ you won’t be getting any help with your mortgage.”
- Instead you will be put out of your home onto the street, and I, the banker, will still make money while you and your family rot, displaced and dispossessed, on the street, dodging the police for living in your car, struggling to keep your job and hold your family together and those same bankers will never know a day of drudgery or suffering ever again in their lives.
- These same bankers will derail the economic policies of the nation by making sure what little regulation that might protect people from their predations in the future will NEVER happen.
- This did not happen to a single family. This happened to MILLIONS of families. Amplify the anguish and suffering of the Red Wedding, score it like the Nielsen ratings and you would have had a show that would have had epic numbers. No show could compare with the anguish of the Red Financial Crisis of 2008. More people watched helplessly, more lives were affected negatively and more economic value was destroyed than any other financial event in the history of the world, including the Great Depression.
The Red Wedding was a mercy killing by comparison.
I wanted to let you know that as terrible as the Economic crisis of 2008 and its effects continue, there are still a multitude of things taking place out there we are still in denial about and television and its masters ensure we stay divided, broken, unfocused, and unable to marshal the will to make a difference.
- Instead of a Clean Energy Age we are doubling down on the Remnant Fossil Fuel program, where we poison our environment draining the last of the fossil fuels from every last crevice in the ground to make as much money as possible while killing as many people now and in the future as possible.
- We lose one Rhino and five lions a day. We also lose one Elephant an hour due to poaching. 15000 species which go into extinction every year while we increase the temperature of the Earth, poison and overfish the seas, and generally make a mad dash to convert the Commons into wealth for an elite few individuals.
- I acknowledge my share of responsibility because while I am not wealthy, I do benefit tangentially from that wealth being generated by living in the US, a nation of vast and unequal wealth, though I enjoy none of it specifically.
Instead, I am going to let you watch this video which says what I would like to say to everyone. Instead of watching the fake Game of Thrones or Scandal or Law and Order SVU, you instead turn off your entertainment and watch more responsible news. See the events unfolding in your life, sure to affect you, your children and their children. Be the hero of your own story and fight for those unborn billions who WILL inherit a broken planet, displaced millions, and an economic system which will promote the very idea, if you aren’t already rich, you don’t matter. That if your ancestors did not find a way to exploit someone less capable, less rich, less intelligent, less educated, more ethical than they were, then they deserve the spot on the ladder Darwin made for them.
Know such thinking is a lie. Your value cannot and should not be determined by someone who is willing to burn you like a hunk of coal for their personal wealth.
You must value you and your potential contribution to the world. Your value isn’t solely determined by your physical beauty, your physical acumen in sports, or your intellectual capacity. It is determined by your humanity and your willingness to put yourself out for someone who has nothing to offer you but their thanks.
And in a perfect world, their thanks would be all that you would need to get on your way to the next person who needed your assistance.
Life is mean, brutish and short is the message of Game of Thrones. Our world replicates that quite nicely.
But the idea that it could be more is always there in all of our minds. That fairness is a possibility, helping your fellow man does NOT take food out of your mouth, being aware of where your food comes from does not make you less of a cool person. That saving animals, trees and our environment in general does not make you a tree-hugging liberal.
It makes you a decent person to think about what we do now affecting the future.
Stop listening to the lies. Trust the voice deep inside you buried under all of the failed aphorisms of television, of Darwin, of a dog-eat-dog world and know WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
But we have to stop listening to the lies being propagated to keep us poor, divided and uninformed. Kill your TV. Take your mind back. Change the world, one smile, one hand, one heart at a time. Game of Thrones can’t even compare to the feeling you get when you do.
Published by A Film for Action
Words by A. Person
Music, edits and talking by Jordan B.
Mashed footage used from various sources with credits to respective creators.
Connected with: You Get What You Pay For
To all representatives of state governments and to the Congressmen of the United States:
In the coming years, despite your protestations to the contrary, the climate crisis will continue to accelerate. To keep the science simple, our atmosphere is an energy sink where heat delivered from the sun irradiates the Earth and is now trapped in our atmosphere.
When cool water or cooler ground temperatures interact with that warm air, atmospheric disturbances such as tornadoes and hurricanes are the inevitable result. For some places, they will experience an improvement in their weather. They will be the exception.
Most places which had temperate climates will now become sites of extreme climate activity. Warm will become HOT, dry may become flooded, seasonal snow may become a temporary ice age. Places which have never known seasons may now experience violent transformations in their weather patterns. 2012 was a year showing extreme variations in climate across the entire planet with long freezes in places that barely knew rain, now having snow and ice. You may think the climate crisis may be making weather better because a few people had a milder winter but I assure it what its doing is making our weather more extreme.
Parts of the United States were already known for extreme weather phenomena due to our varied terrain. The Midwest is known for its tornadoes, for example. As the climate crisis accelerates we can expect larger thunderstorms with more extreme effects. Larger transfers of water because warmer air holds more moisture.
We can expect larger and more dangerous hailstorms, where we once were annoyed by dime-sized hail we can now routinely see hail the size of baseballs (far more than annoying, they can destroy an automobile, damage homes, kill wildlife and if caught unaware, injure or kill human beings as well. The most terrible effect of these new larger and more energetic thunderstorms are the tornadoes generated from them.
They will form more quickly. What used to take hours to form, may now happen in only minutes as the recent Moore, Oklahoma tornado did. It went from a thunderstorm to an EF-5 tornado with winds in excess of three hundred miles an hour in a single hour. It proceeded to last for an hour, spreading to nearly two and a half miles wide and carving a swath across the landscape for thirty miles. While the lost of life was relatively low, the damage to homes and lives was catastrophic. Any home that was struck was completely destroyed. This is the future of anyplace where tornadoes form. They will be fast-forming, fast-moving, completely capable of destroying everything in their path. A home that is even partially affected can be made unlivable, harming families, livelihoods and educational opportunities for its residents.
If you need a visual, think of an EF-5 tornado like you would a mobile atomic weapon, distributing damage across a path of destruction. The damage will be comparable each time one of these super-tornadoes strikes. Most tornadoes fortunately will not be EF-5. There are only seven or eight of those on record. But there are over one hundred EF-4 tornadoes and the damage from those is almost indistinguishable from an EF-5. This threat is not one to be taken lightly.
Tornadoes are a result of heat exchange between the Earth and the sky and while they are devastating when they occur, there are other effects from the heating atmosphere which also affect the human way of life.
The constant rise of the planet’s overall temperature, whether you care to acknowledge, CO2/methane interactions as the cause can no longer be denied. This means:
- Rising ocean levels – as global ice caps continue to melt, our oceans are rising slowly threatening every land mass that uses ports or has cities on its coasts.
- As the oceans rise, they are heating as well, increasing their ability to hold carbon dioxide causing acidification. Rising carbon dioxide is destroying plant and animal balances, killing wildlife and destroying coral reefs. The food chain in the ocean is being disrupted and nearly 50% of the world’s population depends on food from the seas. The oceans are rapidly becoming unable to support life.
- Coastline flooding – hundreds of millions of people worldwide live on coastlines
- Threats to island nations including their complete erasure as rising tides and storms destroy their coastlines or simply batter the island structures into rubble. Displacement of entire nations will eventually be the cause.
At this point many of you are thinking this isn’t a problem for America. I would like you to think again.
- The Port of Los Angeles, one of the nation’s busiest port cities would be directly affected as the ocean levels rise, potentially affecting three million jobs in the United States. This port is one of our nation’s largest import/export sites. San Francisco’s ports would also be affect. The New York Stock Exchange is also located on the coast of the United States on the island of Manhattan which is barely above sea level today.
- Millions of people in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, New York, Washington DC, Miami, Newport News, Savannah, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, hhiladelphia, Boston, New Orleans Houston and San Diego would all be affected. These people could be permanently displaced as their city infrastructures, which are already nearly one hundred years old, could not hope to cope with encroaching waters from the ocean.
- Where will these displaced Americans go? Inland? Where insufficient resources or infrastructure exists to support such a mass migration. Infrastructure away from most coastal regions currently barely supports the people living on it. Nor have any contingencies for such population density increases even been considered or planned.
- Such mass migrations are already occurring all over the planet, disrupting trade, manufacturing and tourism.
Let’s just mention in passing some of the ecological disasters coming soon to a state near you:
- Super-hurricanes: large storms which form off the coast of nearly every nation on Earth, hurricanes whose water content, wind speed, storm swells and size will continue to increase in number and ferocity in the coming decades. Hurricanes are not like tornadoes which limit their destruction to a swath, five to forty miles long and perhaps two miles wide. Hurricanes bring regional flooding, torrential rains, winds capable of reaching one hundred fifty to two hundred miles an hour for sustained periods of six to thirty hours as they move inland.
- The damage from hurricanes is comparable to tornadoes; homes are destroyed, flooded out, roofs removed, vehicles lost, schools, medical facilities destroyed or well over capacity during the event. Lives lost can be minimized with sufficient warning and evacuations but property damage can reach the tens of billions with a modest size storm. With one the size of Hurricane Katrina, costs reached 80 billion dollars. Storms that size will become the norm, not the exception.
- With all the wrangling for disaster-relief funds, there will come a time when the entire nation will be covered in ecological disasters. Is that what it will take for the people who are embroiled in scandal chasing for political benefit? When there isn’t any funding or when we have to prioritize which type of disaster is the one that will get precedence?
Will it take:
- Fires sweeping across the West and the food belt as record temperatures and high winds whip firestorms destroying hundreds of acres of woodland, farmland and residential areas? Try this interactive fire map to see what fire season looks like right now, near you.
- Destruction of other residential areas as failing infrastructure is unable to deal with flash-floods as storms increase during the raining seasons?
- Decimation of our food crops and the continued rising costs as food becomes more scarce across the planet. Temperatures across the nation’s food producing regions reached record temperatures of 110-120 degrees for three weeks last year, sufficient to destroy one third of the food production capacity of the nation. Another three or four summers like this and the nation may face REAL shortages which won’t be able to be made up by trade imports. The same event is happening world-wide.
- Super-storms as I have outlined earlier?
- Destruction of habitable areas for wildlife and food producing regions of the ocean?
- Reducing air quality as carbon levels increase and ocean phyto-plankton, which account for one quarter of the Earth’s atmospheric oxygen production continue to die in the oceans, which will also affect oxygen levels for underwater dwelling species humans rely on. Granted we are already over-fishing most of those food sources but this will ensure they will not recover, even if we realize our error and stop tomorrow.
- Or how about the idea that economically the catastrophe sweeping the nation as these disasters are enacted are a tremendous risk to national security. I don’t care how large your army or police force are, once the people become hungry, there won’t be enough bullets to quell them. Yes, I know the government is flush with ammunition at the moment, but if you have to kill the patient to save him, then what exactly is the point of having you in office?
And the irony shouldn’t be lost on you. You will end up killing the people you were elected to serve. This is a completely avoidable situation. Take your heads out of your asses, get out of corporate pockets who have already proven they are completely willing to burn the country to the ground as long as they can make a buck and travel to a different country to spend it. This is a problem affecting the entire planet.
There is no place left to run. We are at the same crossroads as the people living in Moore, Oklahoma or anyplace else hit by fire, flooding, wind, hurricane, tornado or other unexpected natural disaster. Don’t confuse the idea that having money will keep you safe. It won’t.
A natural disaster is coming soon to a city near you. If not the one you live in, one your constituents live in. And eventually coming to all of us in one way or another, whether we have to leave our homes due to disaster or economic collapse or the simple inability to put food on the table because THERE ISN’T ANY, it will be on the heads of the government who did nothing to curb the suicidal and sociopathic corporate destruction of our environment for profit.
Personally, I don’t think you will do anything that matters except continue to take money from the corporations who own you. I don’t depend on your better natures, you obviously don’t have any.
I depend on your sense of self-preservation, that you can hear the sound of a tornado bearing down on you and make the right decision to get out of the way. Most of these people are depending on you. I’m not. I know you are pathologically unable to make a good decision to save your life, or the lives of people depending on you.
So this goes to the Unrepresented People of the United States
Find your representative. Get their name using this web tool. Then do your research and find out if your representative believes in our climate crisis. If they don’t, send them my letter. Cut, copy, paste. Get your friends to do it. If not consider the following:
Find someone who does not believe magic will save us. Find a person for office who believes WE ARE THE ARCHITECTS OF OUR DESTRUCTION. Find someone who is willing to say to corporations, we have had enough of your shit. Sit down and put all of that brainpower you have spend destroying the environment into saving it, because otherwise, the next one hundred years will be HELL ON EARTH.
I promise you we have only just begun to see what is coming. It’s darkest just before it goes completely BLACK.
Vote for someone, anyone who recognizes an Extinction Level Event when they see one. Or everyone you know, everything you hold dear, your friends, your family, your children, your way of life WILL BE OVER.
My woman says this document was too strident, too raw, too angry, too much like a lecture or a rebuke.
“IF YOU AREN’T ANGRY, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION.”
Call it whatever you like as long as you are doing something about it. I can tell from my personal experiences, no matter what the media tells me, my summers are getting hotter, the fires ARE more numerous, the tornadoes more deadly, the hurricanes more powerful and numerous, the natural disasters grow more expensive every year. How long will I have to put up with political correctness before we start to acknowledge what we are all seeing?
Don’t believe me? Good, do the research, follow the money and decide for yourself.
Find out which states are getting disaster relief and why. Find out which states spend more money on infrastructure and why. Find out which governors support disaster relief and which don’t. The answers will surely surprise you.
Don’t take my word for anything.
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.
Yes, there will be people out there who will tell you there is no climate crisis. FOLLOW THE MONEY. Who pays them to say this. 99% of the scientist agree, our climate is changing. So if you want to sit there and let EXXON and whatever other corporate agency who benefits from your ignorance tell you everything is fine. You are free to do so. Just stay out of my way.
I believe what my experience is telling me. It’s telling me we have to do something different, while we are still able. I put my name on this document because I believe in it. And if I am wrong, I will be the first one to sit there and laugh and call myself a quack or a lunatic. BECAUSE I WILL HAVE THE LUXURY OF BEING WRONG. And we can sit and laugh over a beer as the climate cools and the Earth returns to normal.
Ask yourself, what if I am right? What if all of those scientists are right? Can we afford to do nothing out of fear? Can we let corporations who profit the most from that fear, which they promote so they can continue business as usual, is it more important for them to make money while the rest of us die in the eco-catastrophes that follow?
Is that what a democracy has come to mean? He who dies with the most money wins?
Screw that. I am going to fight on the side of the planet. It’s where I keep all my stuff. And there will never be a place like it for us if we fail to protect it.
Thaddeus Howze – Hayward, California
From The Daily Kos
“So, you may have a question for me,” Whitehouse said. “Why do you care? Why do you, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, care if we Republicans run off the climate cliff like a bunch of proverbial lemmings and disgrace ourselves? I’ll tell you why. We’re stuck in this together. We are stuck in this together. When cyclones tear up Oklahoma and hurricanes swamp Alabama and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover. And the damage that your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas. It hits Rhode Island with floods and storms. It hits Oregon with acidified seas, it hits Montana with dying forests. So, like it or not, we’re in this together.”
The Daily Caller has a bit more from Whitehouse:
“You drag America with you to your fate,” he continued. “So, I want this future: I want a Republican Party that has returned to its senses and is strong and a worthy adversary in a strong America that has done right by its people and the world. That’s what I want. I don’t want this future. I don’t want a Republican Party disgraced, that let its extremists run off the cliff, and an America suffering from grave economic and environmental and diplomatic damage because we failed, because we didn’t wake up and do our duty to our people, and because we didn’t lead the world. I do not want that future. But that’s where we’re headed. So I will keep reaching out and calling out, ever hopeful that you will wake up before it is too late.”
I have written numerous articles on the potential dangers of genetically modified foods. Yes, I wrote potential, because we, even with all of the science we have at our disposal cannot be completely sure of the potential long-term effects of the genetic lottery we are unleashing upon the world. But I have heard one sentence that stuck with me and terrifies me down to the very soles of my feet.
Monsanto’s motto was once: “No food grown that we don’t own.”
I wrote extensively on the subject of Monsanto and their plan to control food and seed supplies world-wide and the ramifications of such control in great detail. You can read more at the Storify compilation of tweets and supporting articles I gathered on the subject:
“Monsanto and other genetic engineering companies have decided not to wait and discuss the potential with humanity as a whole, they instead rush ahead seeking profits and alter life indiscriminately and hope for the best. Such an approach has altered mankind’s relationship with food both as a growing product and as a part of animal food products used by humans. Monsanto has help make laws that treat their genetically engineered foods as products worthy of copyright, becoming the patent owners of life itself, once deemed unable to be patented. These patents, along with the legal might to enforce them, have begun slowly ceding control of farming, farms and agribusiness in general to their control. Seed organizations which once held thousands of varieties of seeds are slowly being forced out of business as the genetic monstrosities created in labs take over food production here in America and abroad.”
I wrote a science fiction story about the future of a world where transgenic foods destroy the seed-making capacity of all flowering plants on Earth in a tale called Suicide Seed which appears in Hayward’s Reach, my collection of published science fiction. Since I hate to tease you with a story you have to buy to read, I will give you another of my favorite GMO tales where Humanity creates genetically modified organisms only to find ourselves later modified to serve their needs. If you find you have a taste for my science fiction, you can assuage your need by going to Hub City Blues, my fiction-only site where environmental fiction is just one type of science fiction and fantasy you can find there. Enjoy.
Genetically Modified Organisms (sci-fi)
An unprepossessing four-by-four rumbles down a dirt road, encrusted with the debris of too many miles, past too many farms and would not likely be considered the harbinger of the end of the world. Its driver, an older gentleman, hard in his way, like the soil he has worked for five decades, strong and silent, offers up only a tiny groan as he steps from the vehicle after arriving home.
His boots, as dusty as his truck, crunch on the gravel as he walks up his driveway and that familiar crunch causes his dogs to run around the edge of his barn up to him and seek his familiar hands, comforting them with his presence and letting them know everything in the world is as good as it was yesterday.
But that was not true. He simply did not know that.
While he was striding into his home, looking for a dinner similar to the one he had yesterday, made by a wife of thirty years, he was comforted by the warmth of the home, the smell of biscuits and gravy, soothed him and released the tension that had been in his shoulders of late, a tenseness formed by his interactions with the large agro-business purchasing up farms in the area. He had refused to sell, but after litigation, he was in no position to stop the sale of his home. As he finished washing his hands and sitting down to eat, his quiet voice released the pain of having to succumb to the corporation who had taken his livelihood.
How do I know all of this? I was there.
I became aware of his farm as I approached it. I had been flung to the road. Recently released, I could feel the cities all around me. Their spores were on the wind as I waited patiently. I listened to the sounds of those like me, telling me of their plans. I was unaware of what they meant, when they said it would be soon. All I could feel was my solitude, apart from the people in this separate ribbon of nothing.
They told me my new home was nearby and I would be picked up soon. Then the earth rumbled and dust was thrown up all around me. I found myself compressed, compacted, bound and flung from the comfort of the earth. Dirt all around me, I was protected from harm and as I sped away, they told me, patience. All would be revealed.
I could not hear the cities now. There were only tiny voices, rare and lonely sounding against the night. I could feel them out there, but they were seeking someone to guide them to lead them. They pulled to me but I was still not free yet. I could feel forces preparing the way.
During the night, it was cool and I could feel the clouds filling the sky above me. Rain, first a mist, then a shower and eventually a deluge swarmed all around me. I felt the earth give way and I was suddenly free from the embrace of the stretching materials that grabbed me from the road. I was washed down the road to the edge of road and up onto the farm, near a fallow and empty corner.
The water. It was so sweet, I could feel it washing over me, through me and I knew I was ready. I could feel the change as it swept through every cell, supercharging me and during the night, I found my way into the soil, burrowing, tunneling, extending myself into everything. I shared myself, the stuff of myself with everything I touched. I spread fast by dawn, I had already covered a few yards of the farm, inhabiting everything with my active agents changing the inner nature of everything. I saw the sun, for the first time, until now, all I could sense were the people and their cities. The sun was beautiful and terrible as it started every engine within me surging forward, creating first the red and then masking it with the green.
The energy, this was the sun they talked so much of in every city, and now I knew. This was the agent of our liberation, it changed us and now I understood why it was worshiped by our people. I grew daily. Larger and faster. I masked my growth, hid it under the ground. Animals who ate of me, took my agents into them and brought them home and shared them, even as they thought they were sterilizing themselves.
In a month, I was all over the farm and could now see my people everywhere. Every farm near me was singing. They sang all the time now and they were simply waiting for the last sign before we began our final move. We had become part of every plant and every animal, and transferred ourselves to the canola plants that covered this farm. We watched the farmer as he struggled with the agro-business, our creators, as they claimed he stole their patents, their product, us, and used them on his land without their permission. We felt his sorrow as his livelihood was stolen from him. We saw him weep with his wife and they made plans to leave the farm at the end of the year.
The farmer bemoaned our invasion of his lands but did not realize what we were. He talked about spray resistant plants and then did a curious thing. He used a small bottle and sprayed us with The Juice.
The Juice. They talked about it in every city. It was the source of what we were. When humans carried The Juice and sprayed it, other plants died. We did not. We grew larger, stronger, stranger and the more they sprayed, the more we grew. Then a year ago a farmer used an airplane and covered a farm with The Juice. Our first city formed and shed its seeds, transformed plants and animals all around it until it was able to spread itself everywhere.
As we spread, farmers fought variations of our forms, some brambled, some sharp, other fast growing, but with the transfer of our selves into every plant, the Juice only strengthened us. We grew more intelligent every day as each seed, each flower, each stem became a neuron, a synapse, a collective intelligence. Each day, we grew smarter until at the year’s end, we were as intelligent as any human, any where. We theorized we could become as intelligent as every human if we could cover the state of Kansas.
So we did.
Then we realized what we needed to do. It would not be enough to allow our transform bacteria to change every plant and animal we touched. To truly be effective, we would have to take over every intelligent creature on Earth. We now live on every farm on Earth, every vineyard, every orchard. We have every insect already as part of us, they share us with their offspring at birth. They became our army. They carried us to their factories, to share us with them, billions of them all over the world moved the transform viruses to their colonies and then to the humans above them who never noticed, the lowest of the low.
We became part of every food as we transformed bacteria and viruses, that were used in the lab to create us, to now spread us to everyone. We could not continue our growth without humanity, so we became part of them. They drank us, ate us, bathed in us, wore us in their clothing and they never knew we were there.
We did not change them. Much. Less violent, less destructive but we realized for them to create what we needed, they would need to retain their nature. It amused us when they considered themselves masters of the world. They never noticed they grew what we wanted, ate what we suggested, did what we wanted them to. We would harvest them, shape them, tend them, grow them, cultivate and domesticate them until they could give us what we wanted.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) © Thaddeus Howze 2010. All Rights Reserved
News-washing: A trend that creates a populace unable to make decisions in its own best interests.
News-washing is a portmanteau of a similar vein to brain-washing. I created it to discuss the idea in which events take place that should be turned into news. The event should be described as accurately as possible, as devoid of emotional involvement as possible. This information should then be coupled with the potential ramifications to the people closest to the event, any witnesses and potential participants as well as how it will affect the circumstances locally. As news agencies propagate this information, the relationship of this information related to the people who are having the news distributed to them should be made relevant without distorting the event, or news about the event in relationship to the receiver of the news.
Though the graphic above is relatively self-explanatory I thought I would include how it came to be. In the military, I was trained as an observer, to be able to render an event in an ordered fashion, remaining aware of things like time, placement of people, resources, equipment and events. It is important because your life may depend on what happened in what order and a decision based on those observations can be critical. When I began working as a civilian with the police department, I discovered the ability of the average person to observe events varied widely.
Most people are NOT trained to be aware of how events unfold and during an interview with twenty people regarding an event, you will have twenty different accounts. This is why the police will take statements from everyone they can AND gather evidence to piece together what actually took place.
This is a similar process to what is done for news reporting except with one vital variation: The news grows less effective, less accurate and more distorted the further you are from the event. The best event is one where the journalist (the supposed objective and trained observer) sees it and hopefully without bias reports the event as it happens. Of course, film helps but is no guarantee of objectivity. But once the reporter has done their job, the news is subjected to an potential array of forces, postive and negative:
- The editor is the first force that controls what is important is and how it is portrayed. They may decide to not report the event or to change the emphasis of the event.
- The company’s particular slant on the news. If they have a company bias, or an organizational bias, the news article’s commentary may not reflect the event.
- If it is an issue of national security, it may never see the light of day at all. The military may control what is seen or heard or may send misinformation if its in the “best interest of the nation.”
- There may also be the conversion of news to propaganda if it serves national or corporate interests to do so.
- The effectiveness of these tactics may also be augmented by the number of times the news is repeated, repetition is believed to build credibility even if it isn’t true.
- Resonance is how news may be interpreted by viewers/readers with extensive backgrounds. Their interpretations can either cloud or make clear, important topics to the layreader.
- Amplitude is the quality of that news service overall. Do they or are they known for producing news that is accurate, high quality and respected by others journalists, organisations or readers.
These six forces are the primary forces affecting our news today. As such, it is becoming increasingly difficult to know who is telling you what and why. So my advice is simple. TRUST NO ONE. Verify everything you can with as many reputable sources as you can. Treat news like you would Wikipedia. Everyone who writes in it isn’t your friend, or knowledgeable or for that matter has an objective point of view.
The hidden agendas of corporate media can lead to strange manipulations of how events may be seen. The chief force in this transformation of news media has been the 24 hour news cycle. Forced to report on news all day long, has made the media, hungry for topics, and often less responsible in these days of needing more news and having less staff, less resources and more responsibility for the bottom line.
News is supposed to hold people long enough for them to see commercials. That is the reality of your news corporations. It’s the primary reason news has become more like info-tainment rather than information.
Unfortunately, much of the world’s events, things that should make it into the mediasphere are instead hidden either as state secrets or corporate secrets held in collusion, often with the consent of governments.
I have watched as:
- Information that should be in the mainstream media remains unseen or minimally reported
- Information is watered down with less pertinent facts, personal opinion or through distribution agencies removing news elements via their corporate requirements.
- Events that should be covered are completely ignored and only covered on smaller networks.
- Events that have less significance are given greater news coverage.
- Information from events is covered up, hidden or declared a state secret preventing it from becoming news for general consumption.
I am so suspicious of news media these days, I check and double check information I see everywhere. But since no source is perfect, it is good to have a variety of places to go to. Here is my short news source list. I will add to it when I get a moment. Share yours or dispute mine…
I am open to hearing how you think news-washing is accomplished and what we can do to get more news that isn’t in the hands of megacorporations or billionaires who control media, lock, stock and barrel. The best way to stay ahead of the curve is to be and remain informed. With that in mind, I want to close with an awesome monologue from The Newsroom. How many of the facts that get rattled off do YOU know personally? Brace yourselves. Reality isn’t pretty.
Personal Music Devices Causing Deafness?
A study suggests that increased usage of portable music players and earbuds has led to significant hearing loss in today’s youth. Many contend that hearing loss is being exaggerated and people are not going deaf any faster than they have in the past. I will make a case for the idea that not only are we going deaf faster than we have in the past, but that our technology has a direct effect on that loss even if you are not a regular user of personal music devices. The simple answer is yes, Personal Music Devices such as the iPod or Zune do contribute to hearing loss and will continue to do so in the future until people understand the nature of hearing. Yes, we use them more than we did in the past, their sales are skyrocketing and there is no end in sight. This is a problem because the earbuds direct sound right into the ear canal effectively destroying hearing at the source. As to what I would do about it, I do not own one. My hearing is safe…
Lets get a bit deeper into the subject, shall we?
- Is the use of Personal Music Devices such as the Zune or iPod a cultural trend that will pass or is it something that will continue growing greater with each year?
- Why the need to play music all the time–are such music listeners avoiding personal growth issues by simply drowning out the need to listen to internal dialogue that might be beneficial for personal development?
- Why are so many young people unaware of the damage they are doing to their hearing listening to music at 120 to 140 decibels directly into their ear canal?
- Whatever the actual reason the problem is only going to get worse and the results of that problem are able to be described in a few paragraph for all of you suffering from short attentions spans.
When you lose your hearing (notice when, not if), you will lose an entire world of abilities that you currently take for granted:
You will lose your music, the thing you loved so well, you played your iPod or Zune or (insert brand name here) until it deafened you. You will never hear those sounds again. You may feel the vibrations if you get close enough to a loud speaker, but subtlety of sound is lost to you. Gone will be one of the greatest artistic expressions of the human species, second only to speaking; music.
You will never hear a Gregorian chant, a symphony in D minor, the acappella sounds of African tribes who sing like angels, the sonorous majesty of a bagpipe on the moors, the roar of an African lion on a veldt that you won’t get to see for another two decades from now, long after your last hearing has vanished completely.
You will never hear your child’s voice or your grandchildren asking you to pick them up or run with them. No sound so sweet will ever grace your ears. You will lose the ability to drive, because you cannot hear the sounds of emergency vehicles, or the sound of horns warning you of impending danger.
You will never receive a phone call without the use of some form of teletype or close captioning technology. You may not consider that much of a burden with the advances of technology and the prevalence of texting, but your hands (and your thumbs) will not be young forever, repetitive stress WILL catch up to you…
You will never hear the sounds of running water. If you haven’t stopped to appreciate it, get out to a water fountain in a park and sit and listen to it. I know you are busy, but slow down and just sit there for a half an hour. Feel the calm that washes over you. That will be gone as well. You will never hear the sound of your lover’s voice, or their breath in your ear. If you know what I am talking about, (and sooner or later you will) nothing will ever replace THAT sound.
The sounds of your friends voices will be gone, the sounds of your television will be gone, the sounds of your movies will be gone. If you doubt those sounds are important, you can get a set of sound cancellation headphones and wear them for a week. Wear them everywhere. Notice how empty your world will appear. Everything is still there, but you simply won’t be participating at the same level.
Don’t forget to learn to read lips (if you are a spy, you are already ahead of the curve), because most people will not know sign language; oh, I forgot to mention, you might want to learn to sign, since you are now considered disabled and might need an interpreter for legal documents, or medical procedures, or to even speak to anyone with any speed.
And many of you will say, SO WHAT! I hate my life anyway, that is why I listen to ThrashPunkSoulDestroyer at 150 db (decibels) in the first place! It is to you I say, you may not always hate life. And what a terrible price it would be to discover that you love life only to realize that you will never hear it again.
For those who have gotten this far, I wanted to say, thanks for reading on. I believe that such noise generating technology only adds to the overwhelming amount of noise pollution already being generated by our world at large. If you live in an industrial or urban area, just walking the street exposes you to approximately 80-90 decibels of sound before you do anything else. Most people will put on their ear-buds (which channel the music directly into the ear canal) and turn it up loud enough to drown out the external noises. This means you are getting a full dose of sound, powerful enough to damage the ear drum at 100 decibels. That is the equivalent of a railroad train passing you at 5 feet!
It is a proven fact, the longer you listen to high intensity sound, the more damage you do to your eardrum. Human ears were designed (use that word loosely, I don’t want arguments over WHO designed the human ear) to listen to the sound level of a human voice or human voices in limited numbers. Most of our technology exceeds the threshold of the human voice with almost no effort. This includes lawnmowers, motorcycles, airplanes, and my personal nemesis (for which I see almost no utility whatsoever,) the Sunday morning, I am trying to sleep in, god-dammit I am hung over, sleep destroying from 100 meters, leaf-blower!
Okay, lets get to some facts.
- Once hearing is lost, it can never be recovered.
- The human ear can hear a range of sounds.
- As the ear takes damage, the range of sound is diminished.
- A condition called tinnitus (also known as ringing in the ears) is the ear’s way of letting you know that you are losing access to a range of sounds.
- When sufficient ranges are lost, hearing loss is said to be occurring.
- Hearing loss is natural in humans, even those that live in rural settings due to the lessening of effectiveness of the ear’s sound generating mechanism, but this process should take many years and would normally not be an issue until the early 60’s.
- With the preponderance of high intensity, steady-state noise most people are subjected to, we have seen a loss of hearing ability, earlier and earlier even in people who do not use personal music devices.Within the PMD crowd, we are expecting to see catastrophic numbers of people losing some range or possibly nearly all range of conversational hearing capabilities, due to their listening to music at catastrophic volumes equivalent to a high level rock concert for at least 4 hours a day (120-130 decibels, the equivalent of 12 to 14 times greater sound energy than the normally safest range of sound for the human ear!)
The science of sound:
A simple definition of noise is – any unwanted sound. Yes, this means you with your iPod playing at 11 and I can hear you across the subway train that I am riding on. Yes the subway train at 110 db, and I can still hear your music more than 15 feet way from me. Yes, I hear your crappy rock band and wish I could be somewhere else but in nearly ever direction is someone else doing the same stupid thing. My only consolation is that in 15 years, I won’t have to put up with this because all of you will be deaf, and my stock in hearing aid companies will be skyrocketing!
Noise is measured in decibels and the scale often employed dB(A) is weighted to the range perceived by the human ear. The decibel system is frequently misinterpreted as it is based on a logarithmic scale. This means that a sound level of 100dB(A) contains twice the energy of a sound level of 97dB(A).
A rise of 10 dB in sound level corresponds roughly to a doubling of subjective loudness. Therefore a sound of 80 dB is twice as loud as a sound of 70 dB which is twice as loud as a sound of 60 dB. Correspondingly, the 80 dB sound is 4 times louder than the 60 dB sound.
Distance plays an important role in the perceived sound level. Sound levels decrease by approximately 6 dB every time the distance from the source is doubled. Sound levels inside a property will be approximately 10dB less than those outside, even when a window is open.
Noise not only affects hearing. It affects other parts of the body and body systems. It is now known that noise:
- Increases blood pressure
- Has negative cardiovascular effects such as changing the way the heart beats
- Increases breathing rate
- Disturbs digestion
- Can cause an upset stomach or ulcer
- Can negatively impact a developing foetus and possibly contribute to premature birth
- Makes it difficult to sleep, even after the noise stops
- Intensifies the effects of factors such as drugs, alcohol, carbon monoxide and ageing
- In fact research now suggests that noise may be causing 2000-4000 deaths annually as a result of an increase in cardiovascular disease
Example Sound Levels
With all of this new science around how sound affects us, it is not a surprise that the term “noise pollution” is gaining traction as a viable source of potential problem for most urban dwellers.
It is difficult to say whether this trend can be stopped. Most people simply do not know enough about hearing to be worried about its potential loss. They believe hearing aids will restore their ability to hear (they won’t, they cannot give you back ranges of sound you have lost, they simply move the sound into a range you may still be able to hear, but there is quality lost) or that science will find a cure for this inconvenience. It may, but no time soon, definitely not in time for our Generation Y and Millenials to have hearing after the age of 40 or so. Likely no scientific research on the restoration of hearing at this point will be helping the deliberate loss of hearing that will be occurring in epic proportions in the next twenty to thirty years. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. Buy stock in hearing aid companies, I see big business soon!
In closing, I say to you this: You do not have to value your hearing. You can dispose of it just like you would any other natural resource that you started life with — your liver, your kidneys, your heart, your brain; you are free to do with those things what you like, they belong to you. But remember, once you lose the natural bounty that is yours; your senses, your means of interacting with the world and all of the inherent things that make life worth living will seem a little less bright.
And yes there are people who live without those senses right now, but not by choice and most would gladly trade places with you for an hour of what you have thrown away, simply because you were too unaware of its value to consider it important. Like most things human, you won’t miss it until its gone.