Friday, March 14, 2014

Avian Intelligence


Thanks to a documentary, I learned that Ravens travel and live with extended family.  It is strange to think that sitting in the branches above us are dark winged cousins, aunts and grandparents.

I watched behavior that is mostly incomprehensible.  Twigs are selected, stripped with beak and talon (I did not know they could do that), and then discarded. It reminds me of woodworkers, who are not happy with their work.

On rooftops they hide food under shingles. Clever. They seem to prefer wealthier areas, possibly because the roofs are better maintained.  They take rainshowers with joy. Sentinels sit on peaks and warn others of threats; or they could just be discussing the weather.  Shift change involves preening of the one who is leaving. You don't see that in the human world.

I was surprised when I watched a lone raven prevent a significantly larger falcon from gaining altitude with a startling display of speed and maneuverability. It flew above the falcon, anticipating the falcon's moves, preventing it from getting sufficient lift for its larger wingspan.

They watch us. They watch me watch them. And they think. They are the true eyes in the sky. We search for intelligent life in other solar systems, but cannot communicate with the intelligent life around us.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I Blame Coffee For My Impertinence


I was walking, enjoying the crisp winter air and a sinfully good latte, when a woman approached me eager to hand me a flyer.  Usually, I shake my head politely and silently regret the waste of paper; but this time I was under the influence of COFFEE, so I stopped to listen.

In a very self assured tone she declared: "The final judgement is coming, the signs are here, the world is coming to an end."

*sip* I had finally met one of those nice folks on the Internet. 

"When exactly is that going to happen," I asked.

"The date cannot be known, but  very soon", she claimed.

"Within the next 60 years?"

"It is not known."

"Shouldn't we do something about it other than wait to be saved? End violence, poverty, greed and war..."

"We have been ruled by the devil for 6000 years. He is very powerful. He was put in charge of this world."

Hmmh. "If the devil is in charge then that would mean that this is actually HELL. How the frack did I end up here???!?"

I left while she deeply contemplated this novel concept. They do make great coffee in hell though.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

International Women's Day


March 8 is international women's day. A day that serves to remind society that women's day actually needs to exist.

I consider myself an equalist and I believe that a world governed by men and women in equal ratio would actually finally move society into a healthier era.

Here I do not refer to the women that have climbed the male dominated ladder.  I am talking about highly capable individuals, who just happen to be female, but have a less ruthless or risk taking approach toward the environment and our common future.

That we as a species do not allow women to contribute their knowledge and experience to our global community is archaic. Empathy is valuable and women, whether due to nature, nurture or society are generally more empathic and may be able to envision better longterm solutions.

I would not want to live in a world solely led by women, anymore than I want to continue to experience one led by powerungry men. Maybe one day we will celebrate a good person's day, regardless of their gender.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The End Of Privacy. The Beginning Of Transparency.

It is becoming abundantly clear that our personal privacy has come to an end. Not through the information we willingly share in social media,  but in the information that is gathered about us. From our Web history to the GPS in our cars, targeted advertising, or searches; the list of our digital footprints is vast.

Nor is there any way to avoid using digital technology or do anything about the information gathered without our knowledge or consent. Big companies are simply too powerful to engage in privacy lawsuits.  Applicable digital privacy laws are not in place and are unlikely to catch up to the development of digital technology,  which surpasses our understanding of it.

Many are not aware that digital information is transmitted at 1/3 of the speed of light or that the stock market for example,  is virtually out of the hands of humans; many trades occur through computer algorithms, also known as microtrading or high frequency trading.

Another significant problem is that much of our most sensitive information (medical, financial) entered about us is handled far beyond the comprehension and training of those put in charge to store and protect it. Especially problematic is when the information entered relies on verbal communication or is entered incorrectly,  whether through human error or for unethical personal gain.

The revelation about the NSA should not have come as a surprise to anyone.  Technology is only as good or evil as the intent of those who use it. As it develops and we become increasingly globally connected, the speed of new technology advances faster than anyone can keep up with.

I do not foresee a Borg-like totalitarian system of control that so many are frightened of, but a more transparent future in the digital age. Ideally,  NSA like watchdogs will develop that will actually benefit the majority and monitor verbal and digital communication to help prevent crimes against humanity.

Overheard

It was two months before Christmas and the world was caught in the frenzy of consumerism, so I decided to visit the aquarium to watch and sketch some silent fishies.

A tank, obviously inspired by Finding Nemo, exhibited tiny starfish adhered to the glass. I was mesmerised by their miniature perfection and stepped closer to have a better look.

Two women were standing next to me, when one remarked to the other: "Will you look at that; they're decorating already!"

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Meteor Strikes Earth"


The apocalyptics are worried about large asteroids striking the earth, which currently we cannot do a thing about.

Bunkers will be absolutely useless. The only difference between those on the surface and those in bunkers if something very large were to impact earth?

None.

Impact. Extreme heat. Vaporized. In less time than we can imagine.

Hope this satisfactorily answers any search terms.

For more information:
www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Escape Velocity


I have chosen to take some time off to travel and to research and discuss potential solutions for what we are facing. Within a decade we are entering a global crisis, which if not immediately addressed will lead to a situation that humanity is unlikely to recover from. Unpredictable weather patterns and weather fluctuations will affect even major modern cities, which have no technology in place to deal with climate change.

Lack of transportation, unhygienic conditions and resulting illness will make all of us suffer. Even the very wealthy will not be immune to pandemics; viruses and bacteria do not discriminate. In fact, if mankind turns itself into a self-created endangered species, the very poor are the most likely to survive. While this may sound harsh, their immune systems are better equipped to deal with a potential post-civilized world and are already used to using grocery carts as an environmentally friendly mode of transporting their belongings.

Scientists are desperate to talk to each other, come up with new ideas and research for science and humanity´s sake, but are prevented from doing so by international patent and non-disclosure agreements. The primary and immediate solution is to start funding research into new technology without an immediate financial benefit. Like bankers and investors, scientists themselves need to create networks to freely exchange thoughts and ideas across geographic and disciplinary boundaries.

If there was any colonized or terraformed planet available I would move, but I am stuck on this beloved pale blue dot and cannot climb into a comfy spaceship to reach the escape velocity required to overcome the gravitational pull of mankind´s irresponsibility and self-destruction.

We are facing a sisyphean struggle, but at least I hope to count myself among those who tried to make this world a more livable place.