Friday, 29 April 2011

asymmetry or vim and vigour

Prognosticating on economic health is an activity that seems to lose its galloping gait, that or just descend into grizzled old prospector-junkyard-survivalist, when one is on the inside, looking out with some elements and on the outside, looking in with others. Having ones wage denominated in dollars (like commodities such as oil and gold) and working for a grasping tentacle, pseudopod, and living in an European framework, I see a lot of income lost in translation to euro from the weakened dollar.
There is also the sublimation of value from creeping inflation, food and fuel becoming dearer. These are shared realities, the deleveraged US market adverse to German exports and those things not made but managed by Americans and rise in costs that is spurred on by a supply deficit or disincentive to meet demand due to that same eroding dollar, but still hard to trace. Without assigning blame, just cause, this situation is the more difficult to understand, though the perspective gained is valuable, and demands that one be aware of macroeconomics and the diplomacy of money.
The other side of the picture, looking back on America and not its reflection or projection, is seemingly more transparent--though criticism is a cheap currency too. Maybe the assessment and attributions are unfair but the USA, crestfallen, is limning a caricature of itself and beneficent hegemony: lousy with bed-bugs, danger-prone, disparate, profligate, bankrupt, boorish, brutish, and maybe even yet not enough esteemed to pull others in its wake.  Gainsaying and guesswork are not so much fun when negotiating between these separate gauges of wellbeing.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

lolly-pop guild or double-dog-dare

I wonder if tornados were in the science of the Land of Oz thought of as wormholes--not primative and primeval but a gateway as sophisticated and as exotic as a blackhole with transdimensional engineering. Such a romance of the twister or really even meteorological interest in their precise cause has not really seemed to have transpired. Having grown up a little in that so called "Tornado Alley" (which is a great huge swath of land--growing wider it seems, and not one lane reserved for tournaments at the Bowl-a-Rama, like the name suggests).
 It is rather a painful and frightening reality that one becomes weirdly numb to, and as I see that the storm system is making headlines and talk in Germany, it seems impossible to relate to someone who has not experienced it firsthand, the inchoate weather forecast, the sirens, facing it bravely--daring it almost--from one's front porch. The loss and destruction currently are unimaginable, and now I worry and believe that we have entere an age--and not just palavered by connectivity and profiteering, where all these tragedies are in long-form, when the affects of each catastrophe and disruption are understood and recorded, analyzed by those same palaverers, economically, risk-adverse and records ever to be broken. It is maybe also an age where such disasters are not uncommon and factored in, like sitting on the front porch and daring the winds.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

chiaroscuro

There ought to be an international Make a Diorama day--or week, as well.  Holidays where one does not necessarily exchange cards or the pillage of some retail expedition would be excellent excuses to be creative, experiment, or just play. 

logos, gnomon and iconoclasts

 
Sometimes the calendar really gallops and juggling holidays and upcoming vacation and planning to optimize the time, and maybe what one needs for time management is a clever logo or symbol. Today marks another United Nations holiday in the annual cycle, World Graphic Design Day, on the anniversary of the founding of Icograda whose mission is to give a voice for all "visual communicators," professionals in the arts, marketing, education and general short-hand. I was thinking about a nice sun-dial icon with springtime elements, the shadow-casting gnomon whirling around--but I don't really have the talent for that without it turning into a mismatched, clip-art collage. Design is never something that should be taken for granted, but the bit about setting aside a day for it is a bit obtuse, like celebrating our three spatial dimensions. Breadth. If an organization can move signage and the like from the generic to the enriched and creative, however, that is a positive move, something that splinters originality and vision.
Logos can help solidify a commercial identity, like this Serrano-region ham consortium pork-chop "S" that I saw at breakfast. In general, however, I think icons and graphic arts are better vehicles for expressing processes, especially persuasive when rethinking the mundane, like this impressive series of workspace propaganda posters from Steve Thomas.
This day would be an excellent time to try one's hand at composition, message and short-hand with a poster or drawing--and even if it turns out to be a clip-art collage, imitating style and device helps build talent.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

poll tax or right-of-return

Thanks to the vigilance of BoingBoing, since the machinery of bureaucracy usually does not garner much attention and was only noticed due to a mandated window for public commentary (on the particulars but not the process) that has since closed, maybe the US government, intoning another refrain of its swan song, will not be able to raise the stakes on what its people will tolerate not without some dissent. First of all, who knew there was this forum for soft-suffrage, being able to offer one's opinion, for what it's worth on American policy--for maybe gauging outrage and deciding how to bury reporting on the changes? I suppose public-opinion would be an excellent inverse-marketing tool. In essence, the passport application process will become an impossibly difficult task, with a revised questionnaire that mines deeply into the applicant's past and genealogy.
For now, the arduous task is supposedly reserved for those who cannot produce an official copy of their birth certificate (giving this new gradient of bureaucracy a strange twist with one faction calling the current presidency illegitimate and questioning his citizenship), but I am sure there will be some seepage of red ink and maybe all applicants will be expected to submit all these answers--which are more in depth than the battery of questions one must answer (if not correctly then at least consistently) for a security clearance. Moreover, delving that deeply into one's past and familial relations create assumptions and affinities before individuals have the chance to decide for themselves--not to mention. That sort of concentration of personal data--extended enough so as to form anyone's complete biography, connected to a machine-readable, RFID document also seems rather ill-advised.  I am not certain what ought to be read into breadth of questions and answers but controlling movement (as America has already pioneered in the name of air-security) has at least what the propaganda would have us believe about liberties of underclass in Soviet times and with Soviet objectives. Making it more difficult to obtain a passport leave more stranded on Exceptional Island, and discourage the cultural exchange, travel, commerce and exploration that all should have the opportunity to experience.

Monday, 25 April 2011

handschuhe

Over the weekend, I found a pair of these new sporty foot mittens on sale and decided that I would try them on for size. 

I wanted to get them in any case, but I did feel rather obligated to get them after plastering them onto my bare dirty feet with other customers watching.  They do seem rather amphibious and are very light and probably very good over a lot of terrain--or possibly for skittering up a tree.  Socks are not an option but they are comfortable, and nearly like being barefoot (though probably not a significant departure from the latter--I did think, however, that I would be in trouble for tracking my dirty feet in the houses and then I remembered I was wearing these shoes) since the toes are articulated--except for the wanky smallest ones, making one either looked evolved or like a cartoon character.  One does not feel entirely the grain and texture of the surface, although the I suppose toes and parts of the feet that are usually sheltered and isolated are sensitive and a little sheepish to the experience--almost at first like walking in shoes with holes in them, feeling the contours of the street and ground.  These, I think, will be good for outdoor adventures.

möbiusband

For Easter Sunday, H and I took a leisurely stroll up the Fockeberg in South Leipzig.  This hill with winding trails up to the summit, which affords a picture postcard views of the city at the top, is actually a bit of manmade landscaping, a Schuttberg or a Trümmerberg that was built up out of the rubble from WWII.  H told me there was also a downhill race, with all types of vehicles with four wheels allowed--just so long as they are powered by gravity.
The vistas were a nice way to take in the sweep of the place, that we had visited many times before but had not really seen from this map-maker's perspective, with the whole of the skyline visible. 
This park would have also been a perfect spot for an Easter egg hunt.  Earlier, and not in the same part of town, I noticed that we passed a street called Möbiusstraße--which amused me immensely.  While climbing the hill, I was still wondering how that might work and what it would be like to live on that street.



Saturday, 23 April 2011

tag des bieres

Today also marks another historical anniversary that has shaped the way beer is brewed and enjoyed for centuries: from Ingolstadt in the year 1516, Bavarian Duke William IV instituted the “Bavarian Purity Law”—the Reinheitsgebot (EN/DE) to standardize beer product and introduce price controls that would mitigate the spikes in demand for wheat and barley. With some puritanical influences building off of Emperor Barbarossa’s earlier call for an industry standard, the variety of beers and beer brewing processes and alternate ingredients which often produced much more intoxicating brews were by law curtailed and relegated to monasteries and registered brewers, and not experimental moonshiners. Setting down this standard has of course influenced the way beer is made not just in Germany but also where ever German brewers set up shop or lent their expertise to help get a company started, like in America or even the old German colonial city of Tsingtao, China. It is something to think about next time you are enjoying a refreshing beverage.  Prost!

Friday, 22 April 2011

greenwashing

The first Earth Day (EN/DE) was held in 1970 in response to significant relaxing and deregulation of environmental safe-guards on the part of the US government and a series of resultant oil spills, when one Senator called for an ecological “teach-in” to educate people on the consequences of consumerism and poor custody of the land and water. The annual observance does seem to rather nowadays compete with rather than compliment other green movements and summits, like Earth Hour and apolitical and pleasant Arbour Day (Tag des Baumes).
Good ideas and motivation is put out but more with the cachet of a televangelist telethon. Soliciting for a billion green ideas and pledges is certainly a positive thing that could make some real impact, but it is sadly a little gimmicky and there ought not to be credit given for what one should be doing away. According to the original vision of Earth Day, simply learning about eco-systems, where trash goes when its spirited away and the logistics of where products come from, is an important focus. Being mindful of the results of one’s actions, not discouraging creative acts to undo those effects, is a necessary first step.

the secret-sharer or johnny apple-seed

The developing news that certain telecommunications giants have implanted a simple and vulnerable routine in their mobile devices that records a user's whereabouts, tagged like some nomadic animal for naturalists to study and present with targeted advertisements, struck me at first as significant and dishonest but maybe also a bit naïve.

After all, besides Big Brother and the Snitch Mob and warrantless wiretaps, internet companies kowtowing to repressive regimes, phone companies hoarding one's foot-print, as well as what's freely given out, indelibly over social network sites, but it is nonetheless eye-opening. The technology and information is there in the aether, and there are no unambiguous laws for the deportment of such data, only ethics and the tolerance of people to have their private lives exploited for marketing-purposes or worse.  This are very tenuous measures of protection, especially if users do not understand what kind of traces they leave behind and how it is collected.  Vice-squads may be a thing of the past since many of us are carrying around our own chastity belts that keep no secrets. Electronic privacy is no longer confined to the internet, though where one goes in subspace can be incriminating too, and not something intended for public display.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

dim bulb or mad as a hatter

A consumer advocacy lab in Berlin, completely outfitted a simulated living space with energy saving light bulbs, to study their ambient effects, compared to older, filament style incandescent ones. Researchers noticed a rotten smell in the enclosed space and found it was from the toxic gasses, like phenol and mercury, leeching from the bulbs, if left on for extended periods of time. Foremost, consumers do not derive any benefit if they switch on and off these energy saving bulbs like normal people since they burn out fast and one cannot recuperate the significant extra cost, and second that with the fact that they are potentially and frighteningly hazardous to one's health and are nearly impossible to recycle, this makes for a really prime example of industry hijacking environmentalism and forcing it on the public through the governments who've been paid-off or duped into thinking they are backing the responsible horse.
It is very similar to the unpalatable choice that the failing campaign of E10 petrol raises: is it more ecological to dilute one's tank with ethanol, grown from corn that is diverted from the food supply and cultivated by highly energy intensive means (maybe only made profitable because it is subsidized by the government), or to simply perhaps drive ten percent less?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

a moveable feast

 We were a little late in decking out the Easter trappings this year, so there has not been some much time to enjoy them, but of course the holiday hadn't passed us by. Easter itself is a very strange fusion of Christian, secular and pagan traditions and certainly makes for an awkward alibi and accounting, should humans ever be called for testimony in an alien court of law.
Peeps--sorry, can't begin to explain what that one has do with Easter Sunday. What makes it even more extraordinary, and impenetrable like with the non sequitur and surreal rituals, is that the date of Easter can vary so widely, so as the holiday escapes one sometimes, and is figured using a complex, alchemy of maths called the Computus. This method not only previsions computer science, algorithms, matrices, all these correcting factors that make modern Western calendars fit to a lunar one are very much like the cosmology of Ptolemy, who, while acknowledging a sun-centered universe would be more straightforward, sought to preserve the appearances of a geocentric model with all sorts of celestial wheels, gears and cogs.
Getting the liturgical dates right in general, counterbalanced with the cycle of the Moon and the observable equinoxes and the odd Leap Year, helped keep annual occcurances meaningful, coinciding with Spring, Mid-Winter, etc., and guard against slippage and calendar migration that would eventually, glacially led to Easter overlapping or falling before Christmas. That holiday would be a bizarre affair to decorate for.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

bardolatry

In recognition of the upcoming anniversary of the birth (extrapolated, guessed, from his documented baptism) and death some fifty-one years later of William Shakespeare, I would like to point readers to the excellent series of postings, recently concluded, from the Big Think, that not only keep the debate of authorship alive, as well as other aspects of the cult of personality, but go further to explore how prodigy and poetry challenge and strengthen one's own mental capacities and how the timing of the playwright came as the English language was still malleable and under development. These two grammars, Elizabethan and complex, grew together and the body of work culturally crystallized English literary tradition more so than king, country and might. No one wants to entertain that those plays and sonnets germinated as some unsourced leavings and improvisation of the age and the focus on the historical identity of William Shakespeare has never taken away from the genius and richness of his drama, no matter if revised and polished over the years--idealized like the author--or were gifted complete like some religious acheiropoieta, but it strikes me as perfect that Shakespeare identity is really only knowable through his works, just like his characters, who no matter how real or contrived, are fleshed out with just a few lines and stage-directions but each one is much more than some playful but scant vocabulary.

Monday, 18 April 2011

nine ladies dancing and five-hundredth post

Research seems to suggest that there is an inverse relationship between that uncomfortable feeling of cognitive dissonance, trying to prop up, support a framework of opposing ideas against itself--which I believe can also manifest itself as stage-fright or writers' block or being generally uncreative and derivative--and psychological distance. Experiments that could be easily repeated clinically and in one's head and at one's own drawing-board that people, just as they can be freer and more imaginative planning a trip that is in the future rather than one just on the horizon over bothersome worries with logistics or when planning a trip for another person, if people are able to abstract the task at hand somehow, it can become more inspired and productive.
It would be an art to right the balance between fantasy and daydreaming and bother that deadlines and contingencies cause. Of course the most common and potentially negative ways of digging oneself out when there is a clash between practice and expected outcomes are blame and rationalization, and hitting an artistic dry-patch is different than the remorse of hypocrisy, but maybe imagining back one's imagination, overcoming performance-pressures, can led to genuine boost in creative spirits and perhaps even change actions and attitude rather than seeking out reasons not to succeed for the here and now.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

eeyore or thanks for noticing me

In the parking lot of the supermarket, I saw this unusual trailer, which I thought I had mis- understood: Eselnothilfe or rather Donkey Rescue, though, to my mind, these sort of compound words can be manipulated to mean other things, like Emergency Donkey or Donkeys to the Rescue.  One can make donations to sponsor a service animal for villages in Africa or India, which I am sure is at least as appreciated as a WiFi router or some of the other charity forced on those communities in the past.  It was rather a service for retiring mules and the like that takes beasts of burden to farms where they are not expected to labour and can life out their days in peace.  It made me think of the dear, sweet animals we met in Ireland. 
The international organization advertised on the trailer canvas does not seem to be found under that website any longer, but searching I learned about similiar charities, which is a nice thought.  After we finished shopping, the caravan was ahead of us on the road and started on the same route as we would take home.  For a moment, I was excited that they might bring us an old donkey to care for.

Friday, 15 April 2011

weebles wobble but they don't fall down

 To commemorate the reunification of East and West Germany, Berlin will install this kinetic monument in an open square on the Spreeinsel, just to the south of Museum Island, near the Berliner Dom and the razed Palace of the Republic: a teeter-totter, a giant see-saw.

This massive design was picked as the winner in the competition for a national testament to peace and unity. "We are the people; we are one people--" I think it would be fun to shift the whole installation with the weight of the crowd, and it delivers a clear, symbolic message, public interaction required, that it is the people that move the country--though sometimes events move more like a carnival ride rather than participatory art.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

23 skiddoo

We are avid fans of antiques, and thanks to H's discerning eye and shrewd bargaining skills, we have together amassed a houseful of fine things from the art deco era, though we have not discriminated overly against the inclusion of other styles. We have quite a good beginning collection of clocks. The tintinnabulation of the sychronized chimes is really something quite grand, along with the artistry and craftsmanship of it all, lamps, vases, sliver and statuary. H has entertained the idea authoring a blog about our finds, which I am strongly encouraging.
I do wonder, however, how 3D printing, a technology just over the horizon will affect collectors, revival in style, cottage industry and the post-industrial world as a whole. Is what you wish on, spun out of ticky-tacky, like the backdrop of a stage set, or will it have the heft and detail of the genuine article? If one can design it himself, even if the concept is sort of a let-down compared to Star Trek style replicators--though I never would have believed clones of pets were commercially available as well as any image ever created with the right amount of ink, and given the input of time and material, one should certainly be able to recreate any masterpiece of form and function on any level, from decoy to living replacement.

screed or the bad shepherd

The blog TruthDig has an important, if not too disheartening, article on the disturbing trend and designs on institutionalized education that are compelling teachers and professors to produce faithful cogs fit for the larger corporate state. Inculcated with the means and attitude essential for the modern measure of scrapping by (not even success, since that's still taught to those privileged enough to afford it), the resulting classes would be perfect, receptive consumers, industrious and effective workers and obedient voters, without the bothersome wherewithal and character to question authority, orders or profit motive. That's a rather grim and depressing result of standardized testing, and such uneasy questions about substance and breadth of edification have always inspired debate and discussion as well as students and teacher since before the time of Socrates.
The dull and conformist rhetoric, however, was formerly reserved to despotic chieftains, religious dogmatists, megalomaniacal ideologues, evil headmasters, crooked principals or grumpy deans, and producing unquestioning drones was never before touted as something that could generate revenue, big business found in for-profit schooling, academic management organizations (accreditation boards and quiz-writers) or union-busting for competent teachers. That is a dangerous development and will surely lead to lack of innovation and imagination, if not totally taming and dispiriting learners and instructors. The situation is certainly not uniformly dreadful and there are certainly places where education is celebrated and valued and teachers inspire, but one can hope that this gamboling form of American Exceptionalism does not take root elsewhere.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

scylla & charybdis

 Negotiations of how US fiscal policy amid the drone of political dishonesty from both parties and amateur and professional analysis is coursing through some dire straits and neither route presents a very positive outlook: either the US risks its standing as a beacon of creditworthiness and cheap, liberal monetary charisma by restraining spending and letting darling-debt lapse temporarily or the US steers to rarify its currency even further by printing more, risking hyper-inflation that could take decades to recover from, if ever. Restraint--done honestly, does not mean dismantling of all social and civic programs that government provides but rather closing the disparity in taxation and enforcement of taxation, corporate welfare and exodus of labour.

Libraries, medical and scientific research, consumer protection, parks and recreation--as well as public assistance and protection--are all potential good things that should not be whittled to meaninglessness for the sake of the profits and portfolios of a few who apparently need not stoop to public amenities. Truthful sacrifices and compromise must be wielded by all sides, and there should be enough collective stamina to face the realities that could come with a temporary default, which is still preferable to financing an endless downward spiral.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

just deserts

Karma and irony are sometimes the only concepts able to connect and make sense of the disparate events of history. The same ideas, however, seem to also be taking on a commanding role in determining foreign policy and outreach in present statecraft, and seemingly in many cases, the only framing factors in diplomacy and decision-making.

On some levels, it is only fitting that the Western powers are struggle to contain the Frankenstein’s monsters, non-pejoratively, that they have created or stuff the genie back inside the bottle: many powers turned a blind eye to the injustices of those who were the bulwarks of stability politically and economically—however tyrannical or at least unchecked, Italy is facing an onslaught of immigrants from its former imperial aspirations, France is policing its former colonial holdings as well, Germany is being compelled to paid the dues of NATO membership, and the US is facing down hostile jets from the Libyan airbase it held until Qaddafi came to power.
I venture in the current atmosphere, intervention has been needful and protected many innocent people and perhaps gives them to opportunity to succeed, not burdened by governments serving in the omission of their clients and with those resulting price controls somewhat excused. It could be a slippery-slope, however. Why didn’t the French cavalry charge in to kidnap George W. Bush and deliver him to the disenfranchised electorate back in 2001? What if Russia championed a Bavarian independence movement or Hawaiian liberation? Iceland is refusing reparations to foreign investors over its failed banks, but who is to say that international condemnation on America’s fiscal policy is not too risky already and should be subject to the global good? Sovereignty is a delicate thing, which tends to wither before adventures en masse.

incunabula or roger ramjet

 A six hundred year old copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle (DE/EN), Liber Chronicarum--an illuminated world history and one of the earliest printed books in Europe, turned up in Utah. Hearing of such finds really validates poking around flea-markets and even hording a strata of forgotten things in one's own attics and basements. I was not really cognizant of what the chronicles featured, nor of the fantastic wood-cut illustrations, brilliant like the animation style in The Point! or School House Rock or Fractured Fairy Tales, which feature a few cities not too far away, like Bamberga (Bamberg) and Herbipolis (the Latin name of Würzburg). In fact, I think I have this same illustration of Würzburg framed, stashed away some more, although I am sure it is just a nice print and nothing cannibalized from a book.
Also, in deference to the fiftieth anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's space flight, which was among all else a huge feat of engineering for the Soviet Union and certainly a chance for communism to shine, the cosmonaut was instructed to equip himself with symbols of the party, including a copy of Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto.
Because, however, the volume was the wrong dimensions to fit into his suit's cargo pocket, it was not destined to be the first book in orbit. Gagarin, rather substituted a copy of Moby Dick (which does not seem too svelte either) at the last minute before boarding.

Monday, 11 April 2011

tripolitania

Via Mindhacks, the dispatches and observations from the situation in Libya from the perspective of a sociologist found at Revolutionology are dense accounts and explanations about the atmosphere that could foster an uprising--in the country's here and now and not in some sort of hypothetical land painted in broad strokes like its neighbours, matriculating classmates of Reform 2011. It is difficult to penetrate the propaganda from both camps, which is moreover clouded by outside arbitrators whose vested interests may not be readily apparent. Lack of clarity makes criticism in general, rebels too weak or without a popular mandate for change or that the de jure government is beneficent or whether either party wanted or needed outside intervention, suspect and contentious. It is especially interesting in the light of the truce apparently brokered by the African Union, though the UN resolution was acquiesced to as well.
The map of Africa and the map of Libya is being filled-in by the news, rebellion, partnership and colonial posturing. The AU's peace is promoting protection for civilians as well as providing a forum for settlement or even surrender, but with NATO patrols still on-going, sometimes treaties also have locked swords--or locked shields.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

memory alpha

Though I am sure that the competition has already seen its victors, this work by John Martz, Trexels, which catalogues (coming down in eight-bit harmony--click on the poster to see the full Space Invaders effect) many of the memorable characters from all the different Star Trek series, it is still fun to peruse the collection and remember the Horta, tribbles, all the doomed red shirt ensigns, Klingon poetry, Cold War space opera, Romulans, Borg Picard, the Q-Continuum, Guinan, Wesley Crusher, the Wild West of Deep Space 9, or when Mister Data was obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and when Lieutenant Broccoli had holo-diction.
Can you name them all?  It is sort of like looking back at the bestiary of creatures and enemies from Legend of Zelda, and a very nice tribute to the classics and classic story-telling.

Friday, 8 April 2011

en prison, la partage

Not that I believe there was ever any cunning and masterful strategy infused into the socio-economic-fiscal-dogmatic standoff that is presently looming in America's capital and coursing through all of the extensive system of moneyed and political tendrils throughout the world, mostly such acts, either symbolic or feckless or both, usually are center-ring of this circus.
There are too many other events of greater pitch and movement, however, than this ill-conceived and manufactured crisis--not that forcing the issue won't have devastating effects privately and publically. For all the suffering, anxiety, delay and inconvenience, all tremolo-complaints, really, until they become the big-picture which is certain, caused, this shutdown will be no solution to the fiscal impasse. Already, even if the shutdown does not happen, it has had affect, stymieing the business of government with all attention focused on what Congress will do, and panic descending into chaos has set in: Washington, DC will be severely curtailed should this happen, but so too will those peculiars of the US military and State Department, overseas outposts and embassies where all services are federal, and there is already panic buying at the company stores, the commissariat, with check-out lines snaking around the building. If the Congress begrudges federal employees those lost wages during the possible closure, y2k-like hysteria, looting, riots and pillage cannot be far behind. Though war-fighting will continue not so fleet-footed without the bureaucracy to support and justify it, America's governmental absolution, shirking its duties to its people, is rather embarrassing.
Debt and misappropriation will still be a drag on employment and making families whole and gainful and still insurmountable by any estimation or exotic mathematics. Lashing out over the funding a few social-engineering projects while gaps in taxation and enforcement--or wholesale corporate welfare at the expense of public good--is as desperate and frantic as some of the lightly-mentioned problems over the next rise: default and slipping confidence that America proposes to bolster its coffers (war-chest, rather) with creative marketing, like selling phantom gold reserves from Fort Knox or its massive pile of student loan debt as promissory notes.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

tilting at windmills

Google, who is also the underwriting force behind an elusive armada of server barges that form the vertebrae of the internet's infrastructure and redundancy that float on the waves and are powered by the motion of the oceans, in sponsoring a photovoltaic park in Brandenburg--the company's first such venture in Germany. Google cannot be faulted for the timing of this project, as advocates and detractors disagree on energy policy and whether the country can be self-sufficient without nuclear energy and without importing power at a premium.

Formerly, Germany was a power-exporting country and for a place where sunlight is sometimes also at a premium and wind is not guaranteed and derives nearly equal parts from renewable, low-impact sources as it does from all others, and I believe it can easily match and surpass that deficit by practicing a bit of conservation and intelligent channels to distribute resources. Government mandates and schemes like carbon-credits have good intentions, though efforts to meet baseline standards and swap environmentally responsible behavior for pollution elsewhere is sometimes a shell-game, companies and institutions usually do not go beyond the requirement and sometimes unfortunate tradeoffs take place, like ethanol in gasoline making foodstuffs scarcer or those LED traffic lights that do not generate enough heat not to freeze over in the winter. Though regulation and practice should not be opened up to entrepreneurial reinterpretation and redrafting, to turn laws in favour of corporate interests, a bit of work in tandem could make for more efficient systems and fewer tough choices for all.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

point nemo or sky of blue, sea of green

In his latest daring undertaking, Sir Richard Branson through his Virgin Oceanic venture will set out to explore the unplumbed depths of the seas in a miniature submarine, specially designed to withstand the untested pressures of such unexplored depths.  Who can tell what sorts of strange and unexpected vistas and creature he and his team will encounter?  As pointed out, more humans have walked on the Moon than have dove below twenty-thousand feet, and though science-fact and science-fiction has populated the stars with study and imagination, the bottom of the ocean has been mostly undisturbed, save for prospectors.  It's pretty keen that these rare sorts of individuals can act on this urge for challenge and exploration.

bucket brigade and bail-in

Collusion, conspiracy seems to play a big part in commercial affairs, especially when deferment, demurring on the inevitable, is playing an event larger role. Adventures in the Middle East, under U.N. sponsorship, are proving costly but sorties were inspired by the misapplication, transference of one uprising to another.

The pressure to act or react, according to a naïve paradigm, has anchored military and statecraft to a civil war or a tribal war, an internal affair, that even the rebel forces are finding awkward and unwieldy. Meanwhile, the same precedence that's potentially prejudiced with misjudgment hangs over the Ivorians, Syrians and the Iranians. Procrastination and bickering over nuance and semantics has been another form of deferment for the US government, interested in defanging, surgically certain programs. Kettled though undeterred, there is another uprising being organized, different though inspired by protests in the UK and witnessing what can be accomplished elsewhere, that aims to garner maximum attention, and make the beneficiaries of all this strife and delay take notice. There is a huge disconnection between economic health and the health of a people, of a nation--no matter what's selling, which is only proportional to the disconnection between the classes.
Solidarity and education are certainly powerful, but when fundamental problems are not addressed and too much profit is skimmed off of that dawdling, conspiring forces are invited in: with sovereign default and shutdowns looming, the spectre of meddlesome quagmire and people financially alienated, these major banks and their familiars only need the bad press of sunshine.

Monday, 4 April 2011

a working-class hero is something to be

A Washington, D.C. journal featured an important and intensely personal account of the how being out of work changes a person and a family, affecting one's dignity, attitude and outlook. It is absolutely crushing, gathering small blessing nonetheless, how the writer realizes that America has become a plutocracy, a kleptocracy and the only relatively safe careers are those that appeal to the vanities of the wealthy.
For the writer's intended audience, such transformations should be obvious and prevented, dealt with sympathetically, but just as hard as her revelations are about the state of affairs, understanding the consequences of unemployment or underemployment can be very difficult, for those spared the brutality and the insult.
The struggle is different for any individual anywhere, but it is nearly impossible to fathom for many Europeans, where the chance to live the American dream is still possible for immigrants and natives alike, who are rarely confronted with threats of eviction or a constant plague of bounty-hunter debt collectors or shudder in the absence of any sort of meaningful social safety-net, recourse or cushion. Sincerely, I hope that no one ever need to go through this, especially with the lowered expectations that globalization brings, disgust and futility with the ability and impetus to organize and protest against injustice even taken away.  One hopes, as well, that the message of this story shared is received and that awareness and empathy increases.