The Mad Monk's Journal
...and flat as a bloody pancake over most of it.
Our highest point is 2230m above sea level. What mountains we have are almost all along the East and SE coasts. Close enough that when we get flash flooding events like Towoomba the water heads for the coast in a sheet. There isn't any room to corall it into flood channels.
An area larger than Texas went under and we got plenty more flood plains that didn't even get damp this time around. The entire country is one big swale (low tract of land).
Apart from costal and mountain flash flooding, virtually all floodwaters in Australia move in flat sheets. We deal with excepional floods by erecting temporary levys around towns as the waters approach.
And once upon a time we were smart enough to raise our floors up on stumps. But we got cheap, lazy and dare I say it "wheelchair obsessed". Modern building practices tend to put indoor floors on almost the same level as the ground outside. I don't blame insurers for refusing to cover flood damage to a ri
Now for a "cistern", I personally like the idea of permanently flooding the Lake Eyre basin from the ocean. Which should I think stabilise SE Australian climate patterns considerably by preventing or mittigating droughts there during an El Nino event. Western and southern NSW should also get a small but permanent boost to their rainfall too.
And repeat around the world. Flooding the Dead Sea and a rift opening up in Northeastern Africa could bring rain back to much of the Middle East, particulary if flooding rates were selected to maximise evaporation from the innundated areas.
Death Valley would also be a good candidate, but forget that one, Amurika would never allow it.
Flooding sub-sealevel dry basins seems such a no brainer: An immediate, albeit minor mittigating effect on rising sea levels; shallow waters warm more and evaporate faster leading to increased cloud cover and some mittigating cooling. The geography of virtually every such basin is such that it is pretty much guaranteed that several somewheres which currently experience low or highly variable rainfall patterns, good steady rains in perpetuity.
Yes there would be significant ecological sacrifices made, but such sacrifices are being blindly made right now, simply as a byproduct of "business as usual".
Funnily enough, we are just now reaching the level of sophistication that would allow us to begin deliberate ecoengineering on a global scale. We can use our models to figure out where to plant a forest to begin bringing rain back to the Sahara.
Or locate solar towers (1/2 km tall chimney surrounded by a few square km of greenhouse) to create rain cloud nucleation plumes.
A few hundred gigawatts of microwaves from a platform in orbit could safely steer a hurricane away from land. Or steer a rain system on land to where it is needed.
I think were well past the point where we can just put it all back. We now have to think about how best to work with what we have irreverisbly done. One way or another ECOSYTEMS WILL LOSE OUT. If so then why not deliberately choose to make the losers the base ecosystems that remain when more complex ones collapse.
It certainly looks like that's on the way and possibly mass transit too. It could well be coming to a major shopping centre near you too. Already mobile x-ray scanners for vehicles are being deployed.
And in the meantime, thousands of unscreened caterers roll thousands of unscreen trolleys onto thousands of planes every day. Planes loaded with luggage and other packages by unscreened baggage handlers. Planes services and fueled by unscreened groundstaff.
And because businesses don't want to pick up the labour tab, cargo transport is just as porous. Screeners rely on random sampling and intelligence sources to intercept contraband at the ports. It's only private mail which gets anything resembling 100% screening, and then only once it reaches the entry point into the mail system.
Forget your bloody empathy, how about a bit of simple self interest? Take a good look behind the scenes almost anywhere you care to look. Transport depots, railway stations and yards, the non-passenger side of airports, similarly seaports, security there is a joke. At best, casual intrusion is well discouraged. However all that is needed to penetrate such barriers is one compromised individual with a legitimate reason to be on the other side of those barriers.
Virtually EVERY SINGLE serious security measure in the United States is about monitoring and controlling the movements of individual citizens about the country and even within their own towns. Some of it is perfectly legitimate, but an ever increasing proportion is simply about keeping tabs on people "just in case". And of the legitimate measures, a good many are being integrated into the system of "just keeping tabs", often to the detriment of their primary secuity function.
Americans talk big about their second ammendment rights and what they will ever do with them if "The Big Bad
It never fucking existed as a potential reality except for a small fraction of the US Populace. It has never been anything more than a lotto. The right parents, the right place, the right idea, the right time, the right friends and the first truly objective qualities that give a person a "chance" in America are those specific combinations of physical prowess which create an elite athlete. Gladiator material in an earlier more brutal age.
With a little bit of the right stuff, the default American Dream: 2 cars, house, spouse and 2.4 kids is realisable, IF your parents had a piece of that dream. Without a start, and a lot of the "right stuff" you might make it soon enough to give your children a chance at the dream.
For those who actually made it possible for the Middle America to come into being: The slaves and ex-slaves; always Hispanics; the Italian immigrants and Irish; then Asians and most recently Middle Easterners, the American Dream is an occasionally offered prize keeping the proles ever hopefull that THEY might be "The One" to realise that proffered "Dream" next.
And for a long time it's all been a pretty good ride. But ALL of America has been one great Ponzi scheme from the start. The whole edifice has been built on an enormous transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top. And now that most of the wealth has made it to the top the whole house of cards is colapsing. Running the whole mess on credit papered over the cracks for a while, but as we're now seeing all that was really accomplished was to transfer a goodly chunk of the last bit of concrete wealth in the middle (the family home) upwards.
And running right through it all from the moment the Americas were first settled are guns. Guns to take from the natives what they were not using properly. Guns to prevent the natives from taking back what was taken from them. More guns, because for some it seemed easier to let others do the toiling in soil, and just take the proceeds. So more guns still to hold onto what's yours. Guns were so central the American lifestyle that their possession was made a constitutional right.
Right at the guts of the national credo is an almost pathological belief that the other bloke is a <choose your perjorative> and as a nation (and generic individuals) Americans tend to behave accordingly. It becomes a self fullfilling prophecy.
Bad enough that everything looks like a nail when the only tool you have is a hammer. When the tool is a gun everything becomes either prey or a threat.
The "kindest" explanation for Obama's behaviour since his inauguration is that someone demonstrated the ability and the will to go after his kids.
Almost ANYTHING else demands active, willful and knowledgable cooperation on his part.
I can understand a man throwing an entire nation/the world to the dogs to save his kids. (I still think it's contemptible, but I can understand it. (And yes like many I would probably behave the same way in similar circumstance.)) However, if it were done for nothing more than political gain, there are no words permissible here to express my thoughts on such an individual, when he secures that position by fulfilling the letter of promises by absolutely violating the spirit of those promises.
Obama did not save the US/world ecconomy: The policies enacted under him have delayed the inevitable collapes and ensured that when it finally comes, the outcome will be an even greater consolidation of wealth into the hands of the few.
Obama did not give you healthcare reform: He delivered yet another scheme to move money from the pockets of the less well off into the pockets of the wealthy. One which guarantees to those wealthy "persons" (corporate included) profit off the misfortune of others, by allowing them to continue to deny coverage above and below certain pricepoints and to place the greatest burden on those least able to bear it.
Obama has not put an end to extrajudicial processes. At every turn, he/his administration has fought rulings to curb those processes AND allowed those processes to expand unchecked in a multitude of circumstances. (Full body scan OR enhanced patdown being simply a more egregious recent example.)
Given a multitude of opportunities to address matters of manifestly unfair discrimination, he/his administration and, with very few exceptions, The Party of The People, have sided foursquare with the discriminators AGAINST the victims.
Given the opportunity to simply do nothing and allow a fair outcome, he/his administration has chosen to persue a path of active opposition.
And when faced with high level criminal activity (corporate and political) he and his administration have both refused to prosecute and colaborated in the active obfuscation of evidence.
3 wheeler steered by turning either 1 or 2 wheels.
All cases are bum between 2 x rear wheels and feet either side of front wheel, because I can't believe anyone (except the British) would seriously think shifting the center of gravity toward the apex of a triangle like the Peel P-50 is actually a good idea.
1) 3 fixed wheels. with separate drives on rear wheels and steering by DRIVING one rear wheel faster than the other.
2) 2 driven fixed rear wheels with differential and steered by turning front wheel.
3) Power wherever you please. Fixed single front wheel, steering by turning rear wheels in unison.
4) Let's ignore the case or 3 x steered wheels.
Can't do it small and elegant, then go with massive brute force.
Drop a ring of massive anchors around the well head. Deep muddy bottom would be best since it alows for vacuum anchors. Drop a sleeve over the well itself and fasten to anchors. Perhaps a pylon/leg from a well platform under construction.
Pile grout and rocks around the sleeve.
Use anchors to drag a cap onto the sleeve and then either pump out the oil, or if confident enough pump in the mud and seal the well then and there.
Simpler still. Make sure of all the top kill connections and entomb the BOP in concrete. Build up to a level surface and then drop a big slab of something on top. Restart topkill.
Or for something less simple but very cheap and quick. Bloody big plastic bags.
Again using a ring of anchors, Suspend a big (acre?) cup/dome a couple of hundred feet over the well head to capture most of the plume. Bleed off gas at the apex to be flared off on the surface, or simply use a gas permeable material. Fill plastic tubing (those continuous grain bags might work, but would have to be permeable to gases) like sausage casings from a ring of nipples around the apex of the dome.
Pinch off in 1000 barrel lots. Let it surface on a line. Tow off to a coral.
One great beauty of this method is that the whole mess operates at ambient pressures, so it can be built from fairly low spec materials, off the shelf plumbing parts and hydrocarbon resistant fabrics mostly, only the actuators (motors) would have to be built for the conditions.
And if it works at all, it could easily be refined and packaged up for an instant response next time something like this happens.
From an evolutionarly/selfish gene standpoint:
From the male veiwpoint a young and healthy girl is an ideal partner, because good health means she is more likely to be a good breeder. And youth means there is less chance of her carying another male's genetic heritage. Societal adendum: virgin = NO chance of carrying another male's genetic heritage.
From the viewpoint of the female, an older and successful male is one who has proven himself and is a better bet when it comes to choosing a partner for the purpose of providing for themselves and their children.
These are the basic "imperatives" which underly sexual behaviour in humans, because in humans it takes a long time and a lot of effort for the "investment" to pay off genetically in the form of another generation (grandchildren).
Taken to extremes this results in sequestration of females, polygamy, arranged marriages and child brides.
It also explains "mall rats" who exchange peeks and other sexual favours for "presents".
In the past a relationship such as this one would have resulted in a severe hiding for the bloke if he was a ne'r do well in the eyes of society or the girl's parents, or a shotgun wedding if he had the basic means to provide suitable support. Today with shotgun weddings essentially banned, the remaining option, a severe kicking, is delivered with great relish, first in the courts and then in the wider community with shunning, labeling as a pervert, or in extreme cases a physical beating, sometimes to the point of permanent incapacitation or death.
The same genetic "imperatives" also explain why a step parent is far more likely to abuse or kill a child that is not their own.
Looked at from a dispassionate viewpoint there are really only two tenable solutions to todays "problem" of underage sex: A return to the old ways of protecting/preserving a female child's virtue by any means possible, up to and including homicide. Or a complete disconection between sex for pleasure and sex for procration.
@malaise: So close and yet so far. Modern society does not properly teach self control. We are told that it is a virtue, and it is an incredible testament to basic humanity that on the whole we do practice it, but the messages that bombard us teach an entirely different lesson. One of entitlement and of immediate gratification.
@MadAboutHarry: Illegal and ill advised are two very different things. That you have twice conflated one with the other sugests that your responses are far more visceral than rational.
@Gwyndolyn: See above for the why. Creepy? Almost certainly because that is what you were taught, but also I'm sure at least just a little flattering, and I'll lay odds that it did not affect in any way your dressing/presenting to impress/attract.
@girl gone mad: No it is not about low self esteme, though it is a certainty that some individuals do take adavantage of that to get their own way. The ultimate "reasoning" that really is below the level of reasoning, is that young girl + older male is the most successful breeding strategy. It is not an ousized desire for the material (athough cultural pressures do indeed encourage such in pursuit of the almightly dollar) it is an underlying "need" for guaranteed support and protection.
@Fire1: Dress codes/mores are indeed society's way of marking certain individuals as "off limits". However, what you say about precocious puberty is largely irrelevant in the face of the demonstrable historical facts. It may be that such makes early maturing children vulnerable to spur of the moment acts, but it does not negate the fact that many many girls were married off well in advance of (full) physical maturity in the past so as to minimise the likelyhood of cuckolding.
Pandemic? You really do not have any proper understanding of the past. That which is completely unacceptable today (for any number of perfectly valid reasons) was not just tollerated but actively encouraged in the past (or still is elsewhere), for reasons which were(are) equally valid at the times (or in their place even today).
@MineralMan: Soul? A somewhat problematical concept. Let's equate it to a more graspable concept "ID". Now can you (or any other truly self honest male) tell me that you have never, ever, entertained thoughts about "off limits" girls, which if brought out into the open, would be considered inappropriate? This mans actions certainly put him at odds with what is appropriate in society here and now, but the thoughts and feelings behind those actions are quite normal. We are not talking about a ten/twelve year old girl but a young near (in the recent past (and elsewhere even today) full) adult who has been artificially decreed a child as a way of perpetuating certain patriarchial values.
@kestrel91316: If she were twelve I'd completely agree with you. And I'd agree again if his behaviour was a part of a larger pattern involving other girls. She isn't, she is sixteen, and there is nothing to indicate a pattern of behaviour on his part, not even to indicate that he actively set out to seduce this girl.
@Caliman73: Where to begin and what is the solution? My understanding is that such "needy" individuals have been "programmed" to view their own self worth in the context of their relationship to a dominating personality. Shouldn't, at some point, their complete healing require a full exploration/examination of sexual matters, given that sex is one of the easiest and most damaging way in which one individual can get their hooks into another? And yet such is expressly forbidden by law.
The only parallels between the two situations (healer/patient, teacher/student) is that impropper subjugation of one to the other is to be prevented. Certainly guidelines towards the ends of preventing such subjugation are highly desireable things, but to make it a matter of law to arbitrarily and unequally punish simply because there is sex involved is a recipe for disaster.
@Catshrink: Strongly defined guidelines, most definitely yes. Absolute uncrossable boundaries, where the law in general is observed, equally certainly not. "No harm, no foul" should be the first and possibly only criterion when it comes to situations like this, and as far as I'm concerned an outraged parent does not constitute demonstrable harm.
If there was an exchange of favours then certainly arses need to be kicked nine ways from Sunday, and this includes those of the mercenary little "darlings" who keep offering until they find an individual weak willed enough to accept. However, if anotherwise legal relationship develops absent such an exchange, who's fucking business is it but theirs. Apart from an investigation to determine that there was no untoward pressure involved, we need to butt out, not decree that some arbitrary line has been crossed and as such someone MUST be punnished.
Such arbitrary rules are one major reason for the angst you suffered when you quite rightly confiscated a student's "electronic device". By assuming the foul, you were placed in the situation of proving the negative, that you had done no harm, rather than the supposedly wronged party having to demonstrate that they had indeed been harmed.
@blueamy66: And assuming that teacher had been a remotely decent human being, what likely harm would have eventuated if things had developed? The unscrupulous will make their choice on the basis of how likely it is he or she thinks it is that they will be caught. What advantage is there in punnishing the innocent on the basis of what some other individual might or might not do?
@cherokeeprogressive: As the father of a teenage girl, it is your responsibility as a parent to provide her with the necessary teaching, that she is not vulnerable to the "empty blandishments" or unfair offers of quid pro quo, of an older (any aged) male seeking to plant his seed in a fertile furrow. A parent's failure to do so, makes them just as culpable as the "silver tongued devil" who manages to have his nefarious way. If you did your best and matters go pear shaped regardless, then your child would be far better served by your support than your "justifiable" outrage and desire to see someone pay.
That you make the distinction "girl" suggests you are taking the evolutionary/genetic stadpoint, and that at some underlying level you are more in favour or protecting your genetic heritage than an individuals personal wellbeing.
Whoops re-reading the OP I reaise it's a reporter of some sort reporting this. So I guess I'm answering them.
If so, the computer most probably simply flashed a warning that a door was open. And the room gets a call.
Bog standard hotel service I would hope. Unfortunately yes, along with them having a record of when and how doors are opened and closed. But for the most part it's a record that calls you a liar, not one that calls attention to you. It is not of any interest UNTIL you do something wrong and a finger get's pointed your way. It actually does fit the "If you've done nothing wrong..." litmus test.
I'm sure some foreign journalists are getting tailed and generally being made feel paranoid. As well as a number of visitors with cameras. But not every single one, just enough that each wonders if he might be. And enough that everyone has heard of someone.
I'm starting to get the impression that it's all part of a great charade. None of the people actually calling the shots around the world really gives a shit about what people know. Only that the people don't get their noses rubbed in it until they are outraged enough to actually do anything about it.
Each "side" (west - east, red - blue, whatever) is allowed to "find out" and report how badly the other treats certain segments of its population, as a means of directing ire/outrage outwards towards the "other". Just enough to that the populace is willing to accept a "just" (read profitable) war, but not so much that they demand it.
By exploiting (or manufacturing) certain internal predjudices, treatment of particular segments of the population is justified, and the price of going against the flow is made clear.
We are kept just enough outraged at the other that we overlook the domestic situation. We are kept just enough aware of how much worse the domestic situation could be, that we won't rock the boat enmass.
We are all played like a fine violin and kept in such a dither that we are robbed blind: financially; morally; and in so many other fashions.
Found this site today and was rather fascinated by what can be done with a lot of ingenuity and a truckload of my favourite childhood toy.
..., that this game (one of many) holds up to US society.
That you personally are appalled by this game, GTA X and any number of others of similar ilk is small comfort, when the last several years (decades) have conclusively demonstrated that a very significant proportion of US citizens are perfectly happy with (and can be swayed by) the idea of gaining personal advantage (no matter how illusory) by smacking "the other guy" down.
Universal health care, minimum wage, workplace safety, reproductive rights, environmental protection, etc., etc. All of these critical matters have been defanged, if not outright euthenaised, by convincing enough voters that they somehow would personally be negatively affected if such reforms were allowed to proceed.
It matters very little that any number of electoral races were stolen to put the country where it is today. What matters far more is that sufficient dogs to fill the mangers exist, that such thefts can take place at all.
Once upon a time it was a case of everyone just pitching in and doing what they could do.
Yes, it is conceivable that some people suffered because they were missed or overlooked in the confusion, and that others might have been over-serviced. But dicking around until all the 'I's are dotted and 'T's crossed and a plan for optimal delivery is arrived at simply ensures that everyone suffers equally.
Oh and that corporate darlings benefit enormously.
It is a sad sad world in which the only ones willing to risk their precious skins do so for animal rights, whilst those who would (or should) fight for human rights swallow whole the bullshit propaganda about safety and equitable/optimal disbursement of resources, all the while they wring their hands and decry bureaucratic obstructionism, but not one in a hundred lifted a finger to actually oppose it.
FFS, STFU, pick up an aid package and start walking. DARE the opposing forces to open fire.
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is itís natural manure." Thomas Jefferson.
If those who had aid to offer had simply marched upon New Orleans there is no possible way in the world that the outcome could have been worse than what did happen in the aftermath. The first Blackwater bullet fired to stop them would have been the crack of doom for the Bush Administration. This nightmare that is America could have been over more than two years ago, if even just a handful of true patriots had been willing to give the Tree of Liberty the refreshment it so desperately needs.
And the same applies here. The best possible outcome for the peoples of Burma would stem from the Junta opening fire upon aid workers armed with nothing but food and medicine.
But instead we will continue to do nothing but flap our lips to express our horror at the needless deaths of true innocents, whilst distancing ourselves from all blame.
So again I call BULLSHIT! This time upon ourselves. We who claim powerlessness, when in truth we are accomplices and enablers for those who would profit from the misery of others. We are not powerless. We simply would prefer to see a thousand, or a million others come to harm than risk our own precious skins in their defense.
If tyrany and the black shadow that has fallen across this world is to be lifted then we must willingly spend our own live to see it lifted and not allow those we claim to oppose to spend the lives of others as an example to keep us properly cowed.
( edit: code error )
I'm reading the many many discussions on this subject, and I find myself asking a question.
The question I am asking is:
What if this is a deliberate policy embraced by leaders on both sides of the aisle to keep the United States supplied with the enemies it needs to justify the Military Industrial Complex that it needs to maintain its global supremacy?
That that same MI complex and the Oil industry which depends quite heavily on the USA's military might are the corporate players with their hooks deepest into both parties only makes this idea more credible.
...the greedy little black duck(coward) that resides in far too many of us who can't otherwise be bought/swayed with issues of hate (colour/religion/sex & or orientation/whatever).
We go along because there's something in it for us, even if it's only an illusion. We may not be republicans, but we can be persuaded to listen. Even if only for a moment. It can be hard to think of the bigger picture if an immediate personal gain is dangled like a carrot under our noses.
When the political climate shifts, we overlook/excuse characteristics and performances in our own, that earned our near universal condemnation in theirs, in order to claim any sort of victory at all.
But for some home made fun try this.
Or more correctly, their corporate masters agenda remains well on track as they find themselves tossed under the bus whilst their exquisitely groomed (in both the sartorial and political sense of the word) "moderate" replacements come to the fore.
They have very deliberately grabbed far more than they can ever hold onto, just so those "moderates" can "restore" what was taken away. However, not all will be returned and a shell shocked and battle weary populace will be so grateful for any reform at all that they (except for a few loudmouthed discontents like us here) will fail to protest and call for the complete reversal of all that is wrong with America.
They take several huge leaping steps towards their goal of total domination, and then allow, under loud and vociferous protest, a few of their most egregious excesses to be undone.
And all the while the populace fails to notice that each time around they have a little bit less than they had before the last charge, because they are so grateful to get something, anything at all back.
Suffragettes got the vote, and almost nothing else. And for most of the century that they've held it, it has been virtually worthless, they voted as their
The civil rights movement was blunted by granting equality in law, whilst continuing to deny it in fact right up until this day.
With the availability of cheap consumer goods the poor are permitted to enjoy some of the trappings of wealth, but still they can not put good food on the table or a decent roof over their heads.
People hark back to the halcyon days of President X, and utterly fail to see that for all his marvelous works he left the nation a poorer place than when his predecessor took office.
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