Tag Archives: technology

Meanwhile…Back at the Cave…

3 Jun

Kubrick's 2001: the film that haunts our dreams of space | Film ...

This past weekend  Elon Musk’s Spacex, the Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launched two American Astronauts into space and a rendezvous with the International Space Station. The international Space Station or ISS is part of a multi-national collaborative project between five participating space agencies. They are the United States, Russia, Japan, Europe, and Canada.

The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements and it took the Spacex space rocket only a little more than 8 minutes to leave the Earth’s atmosphere and reach space and about 19 hours to reach the space station. (Yes! Earthlings actually own and operate a space station!)

It’s amazing how far rocket science and space exploration have improved in only 7 decades or so. And instead of a space race pitting America against other countries in an antagonistic competition we have learned to work collaboratively and peacefully with others towards common human goals!

Meanwhile…back at our cave on Earth…we Americans still can’t figure out how to keep policemen from murdering unarmed African American men and women for no apparent reason at all.

Some enlightened cave folks march and protest about this human conundrum peacefully…Other lesser enlightened cave people protest by looting and burning things… and our cave man in chief protests the protesters with tear gas, flash bombs and by waving the bible at things…

And still our cave police offer no explanations, reasons or solutions at all and stand by with guns, bayonets and menacing expressions until everything calms down…then of course, they will kill again.

And yet we humans have somehow learned how to explore the stars and share space peacefully with others…go figure.

Someday maybe enlightened and advanced thinking men and women will live among the other planets and moons in our solar system…

but first we’re gonna need the space force up their to protect us!?

Cave men in space! Just imagine that!

Earth Strikes Back?!

21 Apr

The planet strikes back | Salon.com

Whatever happened to Earth Day? I remember the first one back in 1970 and I remember the sense of urgency that people were feeling then about the planet and air and water pollution and the overuse of fossil fuels and cars and oil and gasoline and carcinogens being everywhere and in everything etc…

We were all worried that if we didn’t change our ways then the future for ourselves and our loved ones would be bleak and filled with more pollution and harder times and wars over oil and…then… what happened? We seemed to just forget about it.
I blame my generation, which was in college at the time, for dropping the ball. We all graduated got jobs, got married, had children and joined the rat race and stopped paying attention and started shopping, eating out and driving SUVs…how did that happen?

Now the Earth is 1 and a half degrees warmer, (3 degrees warmer in NJ!) our cars get only 25 miles per gallon, everything is made in China where the sun never breaks through the industrial haze, we still go to war to protect our oil interests, drill the oceans and frack the very core of our planet in search of more of the same old fossil fuels… and cows are force fed corn until their stomachs explode.

And that poor old Native American with the tear running down his cheek is now crying bankruptcy in his casino…

I wonder what the odds were of that happening?

And still we pay little attention to the health and well being of our most precious and pale blue island floating solemnly amidst the enormity of the universe.

And speaking of the 70’s I remember living and driving in the 1970s when the speed limit of the land was 55 MPH and set there as a way to save gas and oil and curb our need of foreign oil. And we were also concerned about pollution back then and the ecology and the ecosystems of our planet, or at least we said we were. We seemed to be trying. And we had hostages in Iran, and OPEC was ruling the day and we needed to change our dependence on oil and fossil fuels…

And now here we are in 2020! It’s 50 years later and We are still held hostage by the fear of terrorist groups or some rogue state cutting off our oil supplies.  So we now bust open every inch of the earth on our own homeland in an endless search for more fossil fuels for us to waste on our highways, in our wars and with our modern devices of leisure and convenience…

Yet somehow the vast majority of us have come to believe that none of this is doing any great harm to our world. And even if some of us do, it does not seem to affect our participation in the madness of it all. 7.8 billion humans strong, living and breathing and polluting each and every day, with still many, many more polluters to come…

Imagine traveling at 80 MPH, let’s say in our SUV…impossible I know but let’s just imagine for a minute that we can…it would only take us about 3 hours to reach the end of Earth’s atmosphere…all around our planet… about the distance from North Jersey to Washington D.C…that’s it. 3 hours of air and then you would be driving off into space and hoping that your car’s air conditioning would save you while you try to turn around. Of course it wouldn’t because the guy behind you would be flashing his lights and honking his horn while yelling at you to get out of the damn way…plus the air conditioning thing wouldn’t work…but you knew that, right?

But I digress, because my point is that we all live in a material world and have no intention to go quietly into that good night. Unless some scientists come up with a way to save the planet from ourselves and then get the dumb asses in Congress to believe them, rather than take Big Corporate’s money and continue to commit global suicide, I fear none of the rest of us will care nor take the time to pay any attention to what’s going on around us to see our own end approaching.

Because it now appears that while we are going about our merry little ways here on Earth, all of the digging and fracking and strip mining and jungle clearing has caused the Earth to spit up viruses the likes of which no human has ever seen since…well, since humans first saw one another and the Earth first saw us!

An Earth virus moves about the Earth at will…lying in wait, latching on to, destroying or occupying or re-engineering or adapting to whatever other living organism it comes across without respect or regards to whom or whatever it may be affecting.

Just like we human beings do.

And here we are in the Spring of 2020, in the midst of yet another Earth virus, and while half of us are frightened out of our minds because we fear that this could be the Earth’s disinfecting answer to us pesky human beings, the other half is merely just angry about not being able to shop and spend and play and wreak havoc all day like they always do…planet be damned!

And they are even prepared to ransom off as ever many of the the rest of us they need to dear Mother Earth and her silly little counter attack just for the pleasure of continuing to do so. After all what’s a few thousand…hundred thousand… or even million… lives lost when you have 7.8 billion to spare?! Silly Earth! Do you know who you are dealing with? We are some pretty rough and ruthless Mother Earth Effers, that’s who!

But Sooner or later this planet is going to shake us all off like a bad cold…or maybe not… I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…that is if any of us plan on paying attention at the time…

My apologies Earth day… Mother Earth… Your prodigal sons and daughters really do still hope that you live a long and happy life, even though we don’t seem to think about you very often, and allow us to live here happily with you because…

Where would we ever be without you?

At least until the Sun explodes.

How will we know?

10 Apr

Sunrise over a stadium

How will we know when this Corona virus crisis is over?

When will we be absolutely sure that it is safe to go out and about in public again?

When the politicians say so? When the doctors say so? When the Employers say so?

No. I believe that we will know when it is finally and truly safe again to run and play and shop and dine and congregate and mingle among one another when the athletes say so…and by that I mean when the PROFESSIONAL athletes say so.

Almost all of today’s professional athletes are millionaires and almost all of today’s professional sports team owners are billionaires and as such have access to their own professional doctors, lawyers, nutritionists, specialists of all kind and manner, and no doubt, medical test kits too! (of all kind and form… no doubt either)

No professional athlete will take to the field or court or rink or arena or stadium and jeopardize their livelihood, fame, fortune, family and health without the say so and approval of their entire entourage. And no owner will open his or herself up to class action lawsuits by exposing thousands of fans to their prized athletes (not to mention to one another) and become responsible for creating another pandemic… unless they are 100 % absolutely, positively, certifiably sure that it is safe to do so.

So when you hear the words “Play Ball!” and actually see the professionals playing ball then you will know that it’s safe to go “back in the water” or anywhere else that you want to go. Until then I say we’re all on our own as to what we want to do, or think we can do, even after the “authorities” give us the all clear.

So beware, be safe, Good luck and Godspeed to everyone! Keep your distance and protect yourself and loved ones as best you can. And big thanks to all of those who make the great sacrifice of caring for the stricken in hospitals and healthcare facilities around the country and thanks also to those who are still working in essential jobs on a daily basis while millions of us can only stay at home…and wait….and wait.

 

 

 

HAWAA

24 Mar

3-ply toilet paper

I have a new slogan for the 2020 presidential campaign. And I offer it freely to anyone who wants to run with it or stitch it onto a hat and make a fortune! (just kidding. If you actually do that based upon reading this blog, I want a piece of the action!)

So, is anyone else out there having difficulty finding toilet paper? Where did it all go? And who has it? And what are they planning to do with it all now that they have it? I mean, of all things, is this what most worries Americans in a time of crisis? How will I wipe my ass as the world goes to shit?

Is it the first thing that you worry about during a disaster? Oh no! It’s a blizzard! An earthquake! A tsunami! The electrical grid has failed! There’s an oil embargo! The stock market, housing market, job market have all collapsed! It’s an invasion from outer space!

Quick where’s my ass? What if it has to poop?!

Is this what Americans really worry about?

Anyway, If you are running for public office this year feel free to use this slogan:

HAWAA! Help Americans Wipe Asses Again! 

And promise to ramp up toilet paper production all across America so that America will never become a 2nd world country again, like we are now… and teetering on the edge of 3rd worldness should we have to poop outdoors come the warmer weather… like they do in those “shithole” countries.

After all aren’t we building that wall to help prevent outdoor poopers from moving here? What if we Americans all start doing our business outdoors? Then the wall building is all for naught! So keep America strong I say! Build the factories! Ramp up the production! Roll out the toilet paper! We need to guarantee our American right to not only poop with paper but to poop with paper that is soft and plush and more than 2 ply!

Never again should Americans have to face a crisis, war, pandemic, toilet or Halloween without enough toilet paper for every red blooded American man, woman and child!

HAWAA! HAWAA! HAWAA! HAWAA! HAWAA!

Nature vs. Prayer vs. Politics

28 Feb

Donald Trump, ignorance, public health

On Wednesday night President Trump told America that Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate had caused a stock market crash that happened on Monday and Tuesday mornings.

Apparently stock traders had traveled ahead in time, watched a debate that had not yet occurred and then traveled back to their own time in order to freak out in a massive stock trading selloff.

Because what is more disturbing than a world wide outbreak of Corona-virus? Democrats! Of course!

Then the President boasted about how he is preparing America ‘s Corona-virus defense by working with some of the greatest experts in public health in the world…and then he announced that he was putting  Vice President Pence, a man who does not really believe in science, in charge of coordinating the administration’s response to the Corona-virus’ potential (but probably not?) outbreak in the U.S.

Hopefully the Vice President is organizing a national prayer shield to fend off the virus (or the Democrats?) as I write this… Soon we shall see if it is nature or prayer (or politics) that carries the day!

However,  judging by Thursday’s continued and massive stock market selloff and a record 1,191 point drop in the Dow Jones Index, the largest one day drop in history, Wall Street traders have once again ridden their time machine back into the future and already know the outcome.

But what did they see?

More Virus?!

More Democrats?!

Stay tuned!

And let us pray?

Are You Out There?

23 Jan

 

The scientists asked volunteers to spend an hour recalling as many faces as they could from their private lives, covering old school friends, work colleagues, past partners and colleagues.

In recent studies psychologists have developed the first evidence based estimates of the number of faces the average human knows.

Through a series of recall and recognition tests on volunteers, researchers have discovered that while the human ability to recognize faces varies enormously, people know between 1,000 and 10,000 faces of friends, family members, colleagues and celebrities, with most being able to remember and recognize about 5,000 different faces.

But did you know that this year a startup company called  Clearview AI with its newly developed app has made it possible for a human being to recognize just about everybody they see!

The app works by comparing a photo to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview AI says it has collected from Facebook, YouTube and other sites. It then serves up matches, along with links to the sites where those photos originally appeared.

The size of the Clearview AI database is gigantic compared to others already in use by law enforcement. For example: The FBI’s database, which taps passport and driver’s license photos, is one of the largest, with over (only!) 641 million images of US citizens.

Clearview AI said in a statement that its technology is intended only for use by law enforcement and security personnel and since its creation more than 600 law enforcement agencies (as yet unnamed) have started using the app in the past year. Law enforcement officers say they’ve already used the app to solve crimes from shoplifting to child sexual exploitation to murder.

Privacy advocates however, warn that the app could return false matches to police and that it could also be used by stalkers and others. They’ve also warned that facial recognition technologies could be used to conduct mass surveillance. (what could possibly go wrong?!)

But the Clearview AI app is even more powerful than that because those who have had a chance to use and analyze it say that The computer code underlying its app includes programming language to pair it with augmented-reality glasses that would enable users  to identify every person they saw. The tool could identify activists at a protest or an attractive stranger on the subway, revealing not just their names but where they lived, what they did and whom they knew.

Remember those x-ray glasses that we used to see for sale in our comic books and hoped that for just $5.95 we’d actually have x-ray vision once they arrived in the mail?

Image result for x-ray glasses from the comic books

Wow! Forget x-ray glasses! In the foreseeable future we’ll be able to walk around with glasses that will be able to tell us who everyone we see… is! However, Clearview AI says that this new technology is not intended for use by the general public…but there are no federal laws against its public use. (what could possibly go wrong?!)

So get ready for a brave new world coming to a city near you. where everybody knows your name and you know theirs and privacy will be a distant memory…except in banks and airports no doubt… where they’ll probably still require 3 forms of photo ID before agreeing that you are who you… and their glasses… say you are!

Climate Mockery II

20 Jan

A view of the hotel and clubhouse with the 18th green to the right at the Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a six-mile-long barrier of man made islands with retractable gates to protect New York City from flooding at a cost of around 119 billion dollars. The project would take 25 years to complete but a finalized proposal  won’t be presented to Congress until 2022.  Some experts however, fear that with the expected sea rise do to global warming the massive proposal will be too little too late.

But President Trump, upon hearing of the proposal to save the largest and most famous city in his United States tweeted this:

Besides global warming and sea rise is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government and not something for any US citizens and cities to worry about, right?
Meanwhile… our President has appealed to the Clare County Council in Doonberg, Ireland  to allow his resort and golf club to build a line of two low, concealed seawalls on the landward side of a public beach to prevent storm waters from eroding three holes of his golf course. One wall will be 2,000 feet long and the other 840 feet long.

In his first application in 2016, Mr. Trump cited “global warming and its effects,” including rising sea levels and water erosion, as reasons for the wall,  despite his statements calling global warming and climate change “a total hoax.” He later submitted a second application without the mention of global warming which was approved in late 2017.

Thank goodness I suppose. Otherwise we might think him to be some kind of…

Hypocrite?

I’m also guessing that his wall in Ireland will be a beautiful wall that will be pleasing to the eye and most pleasant for the citizens of Clare County to look at… and not at all like the “foolish, unfriendly and terrible” wall that his US Army Corp of Engineers will plan to build.

So New Yorkers get your “Mops and Buckets” ready!

And Maybe while you’re at it you can also…

Eat Some Cake?

 

 

Climate Mockery

11 Jan

Image result for greenland ice melt

It’s now 2020! And After a summer of record temperatures in the Arctic scientists say Greenland’s ice sheet experienced its biggest melt, losing 197 billion tons of surface ice to the ocean — equivalent to 80 million Olympic swimming pools.

Temperatures are rising all across the planet. Weather patterns are changing. More and more animal species are in danger of extinction. Birds and bugs are disappearing. Our garbage and waste products are piling up all over the world and the oceans are filling with plastic debris from sea to shining sea.

And Australia is on fire…

Meanwhile:

President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign store now sells: Trump-branded plastic straws. And The description of the Trump straws is not subtle about the message the merchandise is meant to send. “Liberal paper straws don’t work. Stand with President Trump and buy your pack of recyclable straws today,” it reads. “Make Straws Great Again.”

A video that went viral last year of a marine biologist helping to remove a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nose brought attention to the issue of plastic waste and specifically to the use of plastic straws…A recent study estimated that there are about 7.5 million plastic straws strewn on America’s beaches, amid 35 million tons of plastic pollution produced worldwide every year, about a quarter of which is dumped in rivers, streams and the oceans.

As a result many communities and businesses have begun to ban the use of plastic straws altogether. In the US, the west coast cities of Seattle and Malibu, near Los Angeles, have declared war on straws, while statewide bans of the items are being considered in California and Hawaii…and Many countries are even moving to phase out plastics in various forms.

 

But if you are a supporter of President Trump and the Republican Party then for just 15 dollars you can purchase a 10-pack of  red straws with Trump’s name “laser engraved” on them to show that you just don’t care about plastic waste. In fact his supporters so far don’t care to the tune of more than $856,000 in sales… since last July!

The success of the plastic straws – which the campaign says are recyclable (as is most plastic already) – is likely due to the hope of riling liberals, or anyone who is not keen on clogging up landfill, oceans, or the noses of turtles everywhere…with plastic straws.

Besides, President Trump has said that the US has bigger environmental problems than straws… And sadly, he has been addressing those problems by the way, by slashing and/or eliminating environmental regulations and protections on just about everything throughout the United States.

Now I know that we live in a free country and we all have the right to say and do as we please. And if you don’t think that our environment needs any special taking care of or that 8 billion people living on a planet that once had none, cannot in any way shape or form have any impact on how that planet behaves, then you are entitled to your opinion.

But do you really have to mock the rest of us who do? And mock the planet that you live on too? Really?

40% of America is now on board with tossing your soda cups, straws and cheeseburger wrappers out of your speeding car’s window while laughing and cavorting in your front seats as you wave your middle finger in the rear view window at Mother Nature… whenever the feeling moves you?!

Really? Remember when being a Litterbug was a bad thing?! Doesn’t anyone have grandchildren… who they love anymore?

I know that you won’t be around when they will have grown up to be the age that you are now. But if you were, what would you say to them?

“We did it for the straws? Plastic Straws were fun! Plastic Straws were wonderful! Plastic Straws were a necessity!

…You?… Not so much”…?

 

Peace In Our Lifetime!?

25 Nov

Image result for Armageddon

In 2016 President Trump said that he could solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the Middle East with the help of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner (who had no diplomatic experience) by making the “Deal of the Century”! “Jared’s a very smart guy,” said President Trump and “I would love to be able to be the one that made peace with Israel and the Palestinians.”

 

This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo  announced that the United States will no longer consider Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as necessarily violating international law and thus reversed decades of U.S. policy in the Middle East and almost certainly (according to many Middle East observers and scholars on the subject) ensuring that there will… most likely… never be peace in the Middle East!

That’s some deal!…And after only 3 years of negotiating?

 

But fear not for I believe that President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory team, has a very long term-plan (maybe not so long-term?) that will eventually bring peace to everyone, everywhere.

Tensions in the West Bank rise. Regional war ensues. Other countries get involved. Nuclear war follows…

Armageddon!

The world ends.

Jesus returns.

Hell for the unbelievers?

Peace on Earth!

Gee, that was easy… wasn’t it?

I could be wrong…but if I’m not…I sure hope it’s televised!

 

 

Carefree Highway

26 Apr

Photo of a busy highway/interstate

It’s Earth week and I’ve been repeating/updating some of my Earth Day blogs from previous years and here is one that I wrote 4 years ago…Every now and then when I go on long highway drives I have a revelation. I’m Not sure if they are in any way prescient or prophetic…hopefully not, but here is my revelatory story from a sojourn across the state of New Jersey not too long ago…

As I was driving down the highway at 75 MPH I noticed, while glancing into my rear-view mirror, an angry old man flashing his lights and gesturing for me to get out of the way. I was already traveling at 10 miles per hour more than the legal speed limit but I also noticed that as far as the rest of the traffic was concerned, I was a slacker! So I pulled out of his way only to find myself in front of a young woman talking on her cell phone who was rapidly gaining on me and looked as though she was prepared to go right through me if she had to.

Yikes! I was now pushing 80 MPH and still cars were passing me and weaving in and out of the traffic created by other motorists who thought that traveling in the 70’s was pretty damn fast…

And speaking of the 70’s I remember living and driving in the 1970s when the speed limit of the land was 55 MPH and set there as a way to save gas and oil and curb our need of foreign oil. And we were also concerned about pollution back then (remember those days?)  and the ecology and the ecosystems of our planet, or at least we said we were. We seemed to be trying. And we had hostages in Iran, and OPEC was ruling the day and we needed to change our dependence on oil and fossil fuels…

And now here we are in 2019, having finished 1 long and grueling war in the Middle East, engaged in another and continuing a third that’s already lasted 18 years!! And yet we are still held hostage by the fear of terrorist groups cutting off our oil supplies. So we now bust open every inch of the earth on our own homeland in an endless search for more fossil fuels for us to waste on our highways, in our wars and with our modern devices of leisure and convenience…while the vast majority of us no longer even believe that any of this is doing any great harm to our world. And even if some of us do, it does not seem to affect our participation in the madness of it all.

Traveling at 80 MPH, it would only take us about 3 hours to reach the end of Earth’s atmosphere…all around our planet… about the distance from North Jersey to Washington D.C…that’s it. 3 hours of air and then you would be driving off into space and hoping that your car’s air conditioning would save you while you try to turn around. Of course it wouldn’t because the guy behind you would be flashing his lights and honking his horn while yelling at you to get out of the damn way…plus the air conditioning thing wouldn’t work…but you knew that, right?

But I digress, because I believe my true revelation was that we all now live in a truly material world… and have no intention of going quietly into that good night…Unless some scientists come up with a way to save the planet from ourselves and then get the dumb asses in Congress to believe them, rather than take Big Corporate’s money and continue to commit global suicide, I fear none of the rest of us will care nor take the time to pay any attention to what’s going on around us to see our own end approaching.

Our planet is alone and finite…an island in a sea of endless space, with only about 240 miles of surrounding air for us all to breathe… The Earth is Over 7 billion humans strong, living and breathing and polluting each and every day, with still many, many more polluters to come… And a mere 56 billion polluting land animals are killed every year to sustain us.

So who needs a “Green New Deal” when our president is growing more popular and killing it every day with cow fart jokes at his pep rallies? Sooner or later this planet is going to shake us all off like a bad cold…or not. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…that is if any of us plan on paying attention at that time…

SARAH THE GARDENER

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