Mid Summer, the best time in CT to see how nature works at small scale, something that never disappoints though the only butterflies seen to date is a tough old codger able to survive numerous attacks by denizens of the avian world and another who hugs the ground whenever possible. :) Enjoy
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Writing is hard because there's no filter. It's from brain to device/paper etc, etc., so making one's thoughts comprehensible enough for another person to understand is difficult at best. It's similar to a high-wire act without the net, something requiring courage, or foolishness to do, a notion that probably describes yours truly when writing "wonderful" missives for all to read on good old BRT. :)
Saturday, July 19, 2014
The web as public utility is, to BRT, the best way to save net neutrality. The web connect, provided by a public utility, i.e.your "friendly" electric company, could be the way to make it happen, something that terrifies the Comcasts of the world to no end.
The business lobby often demands that government get out of the way of private corporations, so that competition can flourish and high-quality services can be efficiently delivered to as many consumers as possible. Yet, in an epic fight over telecommunications policy, the paradigm is now being flipped on its head, with corporate forces demanding the government squelch competition and halt the expansion of those high-quality services. Whether and how federal officials act may ultimately shape the future of America’s information economy.
The front line in this fight is Chattanooga, Tennessee, where officials at the city’s public electric utility, EPB, realized that smart-grid energy infrastructure could also provide consumers super-fast Internet speeds at competitive prices. A few years ago, those officials decided to act on that revelation. Like a publicly traded corporation, the utility issued bonds to raise resources to invest in the new broadband project. Similarly, just as many private corporations ended up receiving federal stimulus dollars, so did EPB, which put those monies into its new network.
The result is a system that now provides the nation’s fastest broadband speeds at prices often cheaper than the private competition. As the Chattanooga Times Free Press noted a few years back, “EPB offers faster Internet speeds for the money, and shows equal pep in both uploading and downloading content, with Comcast and AT&T trailing on quickness.” Meanwhile, EPB officials tell the Washington Post that the utility’s telecom services have become “a great profit center” — an assertion confirmed by a Standard & Poor credit upgrade notice pointing out that the utility “is now covering all costs from telephone, video and Internet revenue, as well as providing significant financial benefit to the electric system.”
Needless to say, this is an elegant solution to maintaining NN from the tech perspective but the gotcha in all of this is...you guessed it, DC.
That’s where Washington comes in. With Census figures showing more than 1 in 5 Tennessee residents having no Internet connection, EPB is now proposing to offer its ultra-fast services to new communities. But it needs the Federal Communications Commission to preempt the Tennessee statute prohibiting the utility from competing with private telecom companies outside its current market.
For EPB, the good news is that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has repeatedly pledged that in the name of competition and broadband access, he will support preempting state laws like Tennessee’s. However, in a capital run by money, EPB may still be politically overpowered. After all, as a community-owned utility in a midsized city, EPB does not have the lobbyists and campaign cash to match those of behemoths like Comcast and AT&T. What the utility does have is a solid track record and a pro-consumer, pro-competition argument.
The question is: Will that be enough to prevent Wheeler from backing down or being blocked by Congress? The future of the Internet may be at stake in the answer."Well do ya?" - Dirty Harry
Friday, July 18, 2014
Fracking, the tech BRT truly loves, has overrun PA, thanks to government collusion, greed and now, the increasing abuse of eminent domain on the part of Sunoco Logistics Partners, the largest fracking entity in the state.
“This is my house, it’s my safe zone; nobody’s going to bother me,” he says. “It was worth it for the peace of mind.”
But in late 2012, someone bothered the Coxes. A representative of oil and gas transporter Sunoco Logistics Partners — a “landsman” sent by the company to scout and buy access to their property — came to their front door and told them that Sunoco was going to dig a pipeline under their woods.
“And I went: ‘No you’re not,’” Cox says.
I kind of thought, ‘If we resist enough, they’re going to go away.’ But they didn’t.
Ronald Cox Pennsylvania homeowner
After he refused, a lawyer for Sunoco sent a letter that said the company had the power of eminent domain, including the right to survey their property and condemn it to build their pipeline. Sunoco hired a realty company to appraise the land, valuing the 23 acres at $352,000 and estimating the damage of constructing a pipeline at $2,700.
Representatives offered the Coxes $6,000. They said it was better to sign an agreement immediately, since the company would gain the right to the property anyway.
“I kind of thought, ‘If we resist enough, they’re going to go away.’ But they didn’t,” Cox says.
The Coxes didn’t know it then, but their dream home lay in the path of a metastasizing controversy that involves not only Sunoco’s bid for eminent domain but an attempt by the company to circumvent local zoning laws, all aimed at swiftly completing a sprawling, multi-year project to exploit a boom in the byproducts of the Marcellus Shale.
Read the article to see how people are starting to fight back against a company trying to game the system with cooperation of politicos like Tom Corbett, a leading advocate of fracking and PA's sitting govenor. Interesting to say the least.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
The new earthquake center of the world is...Oklahoma!
Oklahoma, which will heretofore be referred to as “the new California,” is continuing to undergo a spike in earthquake activity, experiencing another swarm of tremors in an incredibly short period of time.
The state’s already broken annual records for 3.0 magnitude or higher earthquakes, reaching 135 by May of this year, as compared to the two such quakes it experienced, on average, between 1978 and 2008. Many of the earthquakes experienced since 2009, the U.S. Geological Survey noted, occurred near injection wells, which are used to dispose of wastewater from fracking. Earlier this month, a study published in the journal Science supported the connection, linking over 100 earthquakes experienced in the state to just four wells.
Any questions as to why fracking is bad tech to the max, particularly if done near any operation requiring stable ground like nuclear reactors, hospitals or other endeavors like driving, living in a house or working in a high rise, etc., ect., ect., that cannot handle the kind of damage said tech has done to Oklahoma, a state that never experienced earthquakes of any magnitude prior to 2009. As for California, fracking plays a role in generating earthquakes as per Oklahoma as seen by On Shaky Ground, a report depicting the additional "benefits" brought forth by the one trick pony known as fracking.
Everything is connected, nothing happens in isolation as seen through the lens of quantum theory, a universal condition that readily applies to the plight of the honey bee and what is being done to this wonderful insect through a synergistic set of atrocities.
The real issue, though, is not the volume of problems, but the interactions among them. Here we find a core lesson from the bees that we ignore at our peril: the concept of synergy, where one plus one equals three, or four, or more. A typical honeybee colony contains residue from more than 120 pesticides. Alone, each represents a benign dose. But together they form a toxic soup of chemicals whose interplay can substantially reduce the effectiveness of bees’ immune systems, making them more susceptible to diseases.
In reading Our Bees, Ourselves, one readily sees commonality with the honey bee problem with our own in terns of our continued existence on this planet as we are doing the same thing to earth as to the bee. In addition to poison, we plunder the seas, pollute the environment and push the resource overshoot ever closer to June, the point of no return in terms of earth being able to sustain us as our population grows ever larger while earth's resources diminish ever faster.
Our survival depends on conservation, bio diversity and the complete transition to sustainables while, at the same time, finally abandoning the notion of unlimited growth based on the false premise that earth's treasures are infinite while in fact, they are anything but.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Fast Company posted a blurb titled Secrets from the brains of 13 creative geniuses. The gist of the piece includes the following:
- Creative people like to teach themselves rather then be taught by others.
- Many creative people love both the arts and the sciences.
- Creative people persist against skepticism and rejection.
- Creative geniuses have crappy ideas too.
What's even more amazing about Koestler is the fact he was largely self taught in genetics, which forms the second part of Act. Amazingly prescient regarding how life works at the molecular level, it's somewhat akin to Alan Turing's take on Chaos back in the early 50s.
As for yours truly dealing with creativity...
- Teaching oneself is incredibly rewarding.
- The arts/science equation are hand and glove glories without limitation.
- Persistence, in the face of skepticism and rejection, are conditions known all too well to this writer of BRT but one preservers because all creative people do, without reservation, because to bring anything new and of value to the world is scary, fun and hard to do even if's a joke of the most salacious kind. :)
- Crappy work is an old friend of mine that I try to eliminate as best as possible. Hopefully none of that nonsense appears in BRT but, as Fat Waller said, No one knows, do one? :)
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Yours truly thought this was one of the Tetrad of lunar eclipses coming this way in 2014/15 but I was wrong. The atmosphere played tricks while shooting the full moon on a hot, mosquito laden July 12th. The pix below was taken on the 11th. Less mosquitoes but much sharper image due to the clearer atmosphere allowing luna to reflect her glory without restriction. Oh well, Sept 15th looms. :)
Saturday, July 12, 2014
In closing, it's a great honor to be included in the 12/12/12 One Day on Earth project. Maybe we can do another in 2014/15. One never knows, do one?
Friday, July 11, 2014
Lawrence Lessig, a lawyer who gets it, creative commons, has founded Mayday.us , a "SuperPac to end all SuperPacs", an entity designed to "Take our Democracy Back", something BRT has talked about on numerous occasions. Pacs are a turn off to yours truly without question but Lessig's is different. Check it out, it's worth a look.
Launched May 1, the first-round goal was to raise $1 million from ordinary Americans in one month. Nearly 13,000 individuals contributed more than $1 million in 13 days. That was matched, dollar-for-dollar, by a small group of millionaires — Democrat, Republican and Libertarian. With $2 Million in the bank, the results startled the critics. Cable news and the blogosphere crackled with excitement – even if mixed with some “wait-and-see” skepticism about the next turn.
The second MayDay campaign began on June 1. That’s when Lessig and his small army of volunteers launched the next round with the goal to raise $5 million by July 4. That too would be matched, dollar-for-dollar. Supporters with name recognition, like Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak and Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, aired You Tube videos urging every day citizens to pledge donations in any amount. Results did occur but modestly against a bar set so high. The numbers increased gradually approaching $3 Million, but June was winding down. Time was running out.
That’s when the full effect of this political earthquake became apparent. A crowd-funding phenomenon kicked in, networked through the Internet and social media. Where 13,000 people contributed and won pledges from others in May, these numbers grew to more than 50,000 by the first days of July. With the days turning into hours, the tallies began to mount.
The MayDay PAC raised $1 Million in 13 days during the month of May. In Round Two, more than $1 Million was raised on one day alone -- July 4th. On that day, the MayDay PAC reached its goal of $5 Million.
Now with $12 Million, the PAC will seek to win five congressional races in 2014 as a test. The bar will then again be raised with bigger goals aimed at fundamental campaign reform in 2016. MayDay, a volunteer effort without lobbyists or consultants, seeks to make “government by the people” a national reality. The Washington establishment and Big Money people are on alert. Watch for the next tremor.
Interesting to say the least.