Three cheers for ethical mob rule

There are so many ways of exchanging goods and services between people – so many ways of doing business. This simple and effective setup was conceived by my brother Craig, and features in this article.

We used to fear mob rule. But if the ‘mob’ is all nice people who you’d be happy to introduce to your mother, well, what’s wrong with that? Welcome to the Collaborative Economy. I farm 20 acres, mostly woodland and orchard, with 2 acres of organic vegetable production.  I farm people – and they farm me.  They work the vegetable land and they call themselves Stonelynk Community Growers.

continued in Craig Sams’ column in the Natural Product News.

extract from The State of Business, chapter 20

“Many people could run a small venture with ease if freed from the need to keep specific records determined by the needs of the taxman, while keeping abreast of all the changing regulations, and collecting tax on the tax authorities’ behalf. It need not be so difficult to find a way of fitting into our society and providing a useful service or product to others. We are naturally very good at doing this using nothing more than our instincts. I have seen happy ten-year-olds on the beaches of India selling clothes and handiwork to tourists, in five different languages.”

The crime of not wasting food

In The Telegraph Sept 6, 2013

When Sacha Hall realised her local Tesco was throwing away thousands of pounds of fresh food following a power cut, she thought there could be no harm in taking some to eat. But to her horror, within minutes of stocking up her fridge with packets of ham, potato waffles and pies, police swooped on her home and arrested her for theft.

Victimless Crimes, chapter 17:

As we have seen, an increasing amount of today’s law is not concerned with our protection at all, but with our conformity to government regulations and permitted behavior. I suggest that the ratio between these two types of laws could be used as an indicator of the degree to which any given state has tipped towards being termed ‘totalitarian.'”

Non-food crops could feed 4 billion.

The story at SciDevNet

“Global calorie availability could be increased by as much as 70 per cent — feeding an additional 4 billion people — by shifting cropland use to produce food for humans rather than livestock feed and biofuels, according to new research.”

Meat of the Issue, chapter 26:

“Without the range of subsidies that come straight from our (vegetarian and carnivorous) pockets anyway, the price of animal products and meat would rise to a price reflecting the real cost of production, substantially increasing the price. Meat consumption would reduce to the level of an occasional foodstuff rather than being the mainstay of many diets. That primary position(of meat in our diet) was attained but a few generations ago due to state support, does not prevail in most of the world today, and never can without the accompaniment of widespread hunger, as other mammals feed at our own primary food source. This is further aggravated by today’s strange practice of growing food for cars rather than people, with biofuel production now taking up millions of hectares worldwide and consuming 40 percent of the North American corn harvest. How can anyone have the nerve to suggest that there is not enough land to feed the planet sustainably when they can still find the space to grow food for automobiles?”

News thoughts – it’s weird out there

Did you ever realize that the one-child policy that China has been strictly enforcing for the last 35 years means that the current generation has grown up without brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, or cousins?  When their parents die, there will be no relatives at the funeral.

Venezuela has been suffering from a severe shortage of toilet paper. Public upset turned to rage when a senior government official declared that the problem was people eating too much.  This comes at a time when Venezuelans are also suffering a shortage of many staple foods. That’s government for you!

America is publicly puzzled over the surge in suicides, up 30% in the last decade within the 35-64 age group (two thirds of the 85 gun-deaths per day in the US are suicides). I’ve read many of the mainstream stories and they all seem to be missing the elephant in the room: Most Americans over 30 are on medication, and the most commonly prescribed medications are anti-depressants.

It’s kicking off big-time in Turkey just now. It was triggered by a local tree-protecting incident but exploded into discontent over the increasingly authoritarian state. The Islamic party in power promised to be secular, but people doubt this after it mandated which shade of red is acceptable for airline hostesses, and required that images of glasses or bottled of alcohol be blurred out on TV or movies. Inside story here:  from Turkey.
Turn your wheelchair into an earner! Wealthy Americans now bring a special aid when visiting crowded Disney World. They rent out a cripple at the going rate of $130 an hour and thus their party jumps all the queues. As a wheelchair user myself, I rarely use the “C” word, but this abuse of a thoughtful privilege makes me fume.
The current benefits system in the UK has 51 different categories of payment, accompanied by 10,000 pages explaining how to use them. I wonder (not really) how effectively the new trimmed down and fully computerized system will fare.

Murdoch madness…who gives a damn?

This whole Murdoch business is such a trivial drama. Sure, he’s an excellent candidate for thMurdocke “Most Hated Magnate” prize but should we really give a flying fu*k about phone hacking by newspapers? It’s primarily prompted by OUR insatiable appetite for bullshit, whether it’s about the private lives of personalities or that of famous victims like Millie, the murdered schoolgirl. And now it will stop (in the private sector, at least) and it hasn’t exactly scarred the progress of civilization. Nice to see the Murdochs sweating though, it must be said.

Meanwhile: The baseless concocted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan proceed with little public or media concern beyond reporting every death of ‘one of ours.’ The Afghans had nothing to do with the Twin Towers and Saddam Hussein was an enemy of Al-Qaeda. Recent calculation show that drone strikes in Pakistan kill over 100 civilians for every targeted Drone
combatant. In WWI one civilian died for every ten soldiers. In WWII it was one to one. Vietnam was seven to three. In Iraq it is ten of us killed for every one soldier. This is not good. And why is it that targeted domestic homes are always called “compounds?” Depleted uranium weapons are at use in Libya, as they were in Iraq, where the consequence is a 10-15 fold increase in birth defects and a growing cancer rate from soil that will remain contaminated for over 100,000 years. Occupying an entire nation on false premises represents quite a high level of bad behaviour. European and American economies are imploding as a result of borrowing by states that stake our future productivity as collateral against the loans. US Debt is 15 trillion dollars. Amongst much else, that borrowing provides funds for fighting unnecessary wars in foreign countries.Thousand of us are dying every year as a result of continued inclusion of trans fats (hydrogenated oils) in our foodstuffs. It is acknowledged that there is no safe dose of these dangerous additives but they are still legally in use, and widely.

Three nuclear reactors are in an uncontained meltdown in Japan, continuing tFukuo release radioactive materials into the environment. They may stop the releases in ten years or so, maybe never. Much of northern Japan will remain uninhabitable for generations. Many millions throughout the world will suffer cancer for generations to come as a result of this catastrophe.

We are being denied the right to take responsibility for our own health by the suppression of our right to freely choose what route we take to healing.

What is a meltdown?

Meltdown is hot news right now but what exactly is one, other than an event to be avoided at all costs? Some will remember the immense relief the world experienced when full meltdown was averted at Chernobyl and 3-Mile Island.

There has never been a full large-scale meltdown but this is the unknown situation that it describes: The overheated reactor fuel rods melt together and become as hot as the Sun’s surface – enough to boil iron into steam. The hot metal melts down through Testthe concrete base of its containment vessel and then continues sinking into the earth below. Very little can stop the reaction at this point.

It doesn’t sink downwards forever, because when the hot molten fuel reaches the natural water table it will quickly turn the underground water to steam. We don’t know exactly what will happen then, having never experienced a meltdown or been crazy enough to test the idea out. But it is probable that the expansive steam would vent upwards with explosive force, carrying much of the radioactivity with it.

How high and far the radioactivity would disperse depends on the force of the blast from underground. It may settle in the surrounding area, or be carried by jet streams. Large amounts of radioactivity landing in the sea will eventually be carried by ocean currents throughout the world. If oceanic contamination continues through unchecked meltdown, it does not bode well for the world’s oceans, harbouring most of the life on planet Earth. On the plus side, fish may become too radioactive to harvest and find their numbers rebounding, albeit with more mutants.

The averted meltdown at Chernobyl involved one reactor. Four reactors are currently in danger at Fukushima and two more could become involved. This is a potential disaster such as we have never faced before.

Nuclear power is an answer to nothing.

Cost of Britain’s road-building projects soars by almost £4bn

From The Independent, August 16th, 2008:

“Cost of Britain’s road-building projects soars by almost £4bn

Britain’s road-building programme will cost the taxpayer billions of pounds more than expected, with some major projects more than doubling in price in five years, research indicates.”

From Chapter 10:

“Yet rather than cut the department back, they proceed with constant rebuilding of the existing road system for an alleged future benefit. The reality is a road system constantly clogged by rebuilding works, only a few of which relate to relevant repair of the existing structure.”