Saturday, 23 May 2015

A NEW HUMAN SPECIES

Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans
MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report) – Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.
The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

“These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”
More worryingly, Logsdon said, “As facts have multiplied, their defenses against those facts have only grown more powerful.”
While scientists have no clear understanding of the mechanisms that prevent the fact-resistant humans from absorbing data, they theorize that the strain may have developed the ability to intercept and discard information en route from the auditory nerve to the brain. “The normal functions of human consciousness have been completely nullified,” Logsdon said.
While reaffirming the gloomy assessments of the study, Logsdon held out hope that the threat of fact-resistant humans could be mitigated in the future. “Our research is very preliminary, but it’s possible that they will become more receptive to facts once they are in an environment without food, water, or oxygen,” he said.
Peter’s Point of View

So that’s the scientific world and climate change according to Andy Borowitz (pronounced Borrow Wits).


Meanwhile, millions of ordinary, down-to-earth people with sound home-grown logic and reasoning built on lifetimes of worldly experience are saying that many climate change scientists are so focused on their tinted microscopes that they fail to see the wider picture.

They can’t see the facts that stare them in the face and how the world climate has always been changing, and with much wider variations than anything that even they are predicting; sea levels changing hundreds of metres, temperature changes enough to rid the world of all ice to a world almost completely under ice, and winds and floods where infinity is the limit.

But some climate scientists seem to think that not only is man responsible for the weather, but that weather was invented by man, and before man there was nothing.

This writer must agree with the first part of the Logsdon quote, “Our research is very preliminary . . . .” However, there is no basis for the claim, either in science or down-to-earth logic that the world will run short of food as the climate warms. A warmer climate will bring more land into useful production than a colder climate.

The Borowitz Report shows the desperation of the climate alarmists to be believed and to discredit those who are in touch with the grass roots of the world. They are a new strain of the human species not seen since Magellan’s crew proved that the world is round by returning home from the opposite direction.

This new species of human that is threatening business and employment, health and happiness, and alarming young children out of their wits, I call them Homo sapien micro-perceptus dipstickus, and unfortunately with the government funding that they have secured, eradicating them will take nothing less than a plague of cane toads, green anacondas and man-eating cockroaches in every climate change laboratory worldwide.  

Forget Borowitz. Read some real fiction!







GLOBALIZATION

Jobs dry up for travel 
agents and IT workers
By Alanah Eriksen New Zealand Herald Business
5:30 AM Monday Aug 13, 2012


If you're a travel agent or an accountant, you could be facing "extinction" by 2017.
Car manufacturers, retail and IT workers may also need to start thinking about a new career path as consumers increasingly turn to the internet for services and employers outsource for cheaper labour.
The Balance Recruitment agency has compiled a list of the top five jobs they believe will disappear in the next five years.

Managing director Greg Pankhurst said overseas companies were becoming more trusted by local businesses.
"Many jobs will become obsolete due to technological advances, while others will simply move offshore to Asia," he said. "Offshoring is not a new phenomenon, but people are getting a lot better at it and higher-skilled jobs are starting to go offshore. It used to be the very basic roles.
"It is vital people understand these changes and attempt to reskill so they don't end up becoming superfluous."
Continues below  . . . 

Globalization has made reading 
for entertainment and knowledge
more affordable than ever before.
Ebooks are only a fraction of 
the cost of printed books!

These great reads can be downloaded to any
e-reading device or PC and are available from Californian company, Smashwords


New Zealand has been benefiting over the past few years as Australian companies outsourced services to New Zealand because it was a 'significantly cheaper' place to do business. But 'a lot of the stigma' about outsourcing further afield had been broken, Mr Pankhurst said.


A computer programmer in India would earn about $8000 a year compared with between $70,000 and $75,000 in New Zealand, he said.
The internet had also diminished some industries significantly, Mr Pankhurst said. Initially, bookshops, travel agents, music and video stores were affected but now niche and high-end suppliers of goods such as sporting goods, computers and branded fashion items, were selling products online.
Economists were expecting New Zealanders to spend $3.2 billion on online purchases this year, with the figure jumping to $5.4 billion for 2016, he said.

Auckland Flight Centre travel agent Mike van Beekhuizen said he didn't fear for his job as people enjoyed the face-to-face experience of customer service.
"You're making holidays come true for families, people are saving for these big trips. You get an email from them when they come back or they come and visit you and they just tell you about their experiences," he said.
The jobs that will survive were those that required a human touch such as hospitality workers, tourism operators, tradesmen, logistics workers, aged and health care and government workers including politicians.

Peter’s Point of View

When the NZ Herald article predicted in 2012 that travel agents and accountants would disappear by 2017, they were clearly wrong. The Herald article was one of the most masterly written pieces of doom and gloom ever published. The predicted demise of travel agents and accountants is simply not happening.
 
The world in which slaves worked until they
died has been replaced by a world
with leisure time and activities for all
It is true that over time some occupations do disappear, but the evolution of business and employment is, in some ways, just like the evolution of nature; as one species becomes extinct many new species take its place. There is a popular saying that as one door closes another opens, but in reality it is often a case of many new doors opening.

Many people like to blame the internet for the so-called hard times that exist today. Let’s examine that.

At the start of the twentieth century, www could have meant wooden wagon wheel because the whole world was busy bemoaning the expected demise of the wooden wagon wheel maker. But the wooden wagon was inefficient, few individuals owned one, and often as not the wheels fell off between one town and the next. To add to the woes of wooden wagon owners, they needed to own a horse and have somewhere to graze it. If the wagon was needed to transport produce to a market, they needed a team of horses.


Nowadays people will tell you that motor vehicles, and their exhaust fumes, are destroying the world, but think where the world would be without motor vehicles. With today’s population the world would be literally knee-deep in horse manure.  

The evolution of business and employment has been going on for thousands of years and the invention of the wheel and the wagon has been a vital part of that evolution, but the development of motor vehicles has been crucial. Before the Industrial Revolution few people lived beyond the age of 40 and the main causes of death were starvation (chiefly from unemployment) war, plague, murder and suicide. 

Industries and occupations are lost when more efficient industries and occupations take their place and efficiency ultimately puts more spending power into more pockets. Granted, there can be pain during transition but in the end commercial and industrial progress means wealth for more people and that can be seen in the growing range of occupations, products and services available that are available and affordable today.


When the wooden wagon wheel disappeared cars, aircraft and telephones were rare. Only the exceptionally wealthy owned them. Radio, television, computers and music tapes and discs, play station and thousands of other products and services now available were yet to be launched. Launching those products and services was not just a simple matter of inventing them and selling millions. They would have been useless until the masses of people had the money to buy them.

Outsourcing is a dirty word to many but it has positive benefits. It helps reduce the cost of goods and services and bring them within the reach of more people.

India, with more poverty and unemployment than any other country in the world, benefits enormously from outsourcing and that is just part of the evolving economic globalization in which ultimately everyone wins. As India becomes more wealthy, there are spin-offs for the rest of the world. Indians are now travelling more than previously thereby creating jobs in travel and tourism. 





Monday, 18 May 2015

AIRPORT SECURITY

Airline executives urge 

airport security overhaul
FIRST PUBLISHED ON THIS BLOG ON 21 OCTOBER 2012 AND NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
October 17, 2012 Scott Mayerowitz AP
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Airport security needs to undergo a radical overhaul or else passengers will become further disgruntled, lines will grow and terminals will be overwhelmed, airline executives said Tuesday at a global aviation conference.
"We simply can't cope with the expected volume of passengers with the way things are today," said Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, the airlines' trade group.
Tyler spoke at an airlines conference held in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
He predicted that by 2020, governments will be using a "checkpoint of the future" where passengers can race though without stopping, removing clothing, or taking liquids and laptops out of bags.
While a lot of work has to be done to get numerous countries and regulators on board, Tyler is optimistic that today's "one-size-fits all approach to screening" can be replaced with a system based on individual passenger risk. The industry hopes to test the concept at a handful of airports starting late 2014.
The example cited by Tyler and airline executives of what is working: the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration's relatively new PreCheck program.
Frequent fliers who voluntarily share more information with the government get to keep their shoes, belts and light jackets on at security. The program will be expanded to 35 airports by the end of the year.
"If you are willing to share a little more information, then you can have a much better experience," John S. Pistole, head of the TSA, told the conference. "We can then spend more time on those we know the least about."
The additional personal information would most likely be handed over voluntarily to the government by passengers who see the benefit of the time savings.
Pistole said the TSA would ideally like to analyze passengers' travel history and patterns but currently lacks Congressional authority to do so. Any such changes would occur after the election, at the earliest, he said.
"I applaud the TSA. I never thought I would say it because they are the worst part of travel," said Montie Brewer, former CEO of Air Canada.
James E. Bennett, who used to head the Washington Airport Authority and is now CEO of the Abu Dhabi Airports Co., said that if the current immigration and security procedures remain in place as more and more passengers take to the skies, airports will run out of terminal space to hold all the lines.
Many airports have already undergone multi-million dollar retrofits to house additional security and there isn't additional room left.
The ultimate challenge may not be developing the technology but having multiple nations agree on uniform procedures.
"We cannot continue to build and build and build to provide space for the existing systems and queues." Tyler said. "The whole inconsistency destroys the credibility."


Peter’s Piece

Finally, governments and airlines are looking for a way out of the corner they have painted themselves into.

Aviation safety and security has never been a problem.

Anyone who doubts this statement should ask themselves how many car bombs have exploded around the world in the last year. Hardly a week goes by without dozens being injured by terrorist bombs carried in land vehicles.

If aviation security rationale was applied to land vehicles there would be security checks at the end of every street all over the world and every vehicles would be required to have a locked door between drivers and passengers. All bags and packages would have to be inspected at every checkpoint and travelers acquire a stamp-filled passport just getting from one town to the next.

Of course such a situation would be ridiculous and would not make any difference to terrorism.

Terrorism can only be reduced with better international understanding, tolerance and a radical change in the foreign policy of governments everywhere.





Saturday, 2 May 2015

DRUG LAWS

Drug laws around the world -

does anyone get it right?

As a split emerges in the Government over Britain's future drug policy we look at the different approaches to drug control taken around the world
By Georgia Graham, The Telegraph Political Correspondent 30 Oct 2014

The coalition Government is at war over a new report which suggests that decriminalising drugs could have benefits to the UK.
The Home Office report examining a range of approaches, from zero-tolerance to decriminalisation, it concluded drug use was influenced by factors "more complex and nuanced than legislation and enforcement alone".

The Conservatives say despite the Home Office backed study indicating that decriminalising drugs, even class A substances such as heroin and cocaine, could have some benefits by reducing the burden on the criminal justice system the Government has "absolutely no plans" to decriminalise drugs.
The Liberal Democrats argue that punishing drug users is "pointless" with Lib Dem Home Office minister Norman Baker accusing No10 of sitting on the reports since July and blamed the Conservatives for blocking their release for ‘political reasons’.
It is not just British parties that are split over how to tackle drug use - countries across the world take very different approaches from decriminalisation to lengthy prison sentences and even death. Does anyone get it right?
Portugal
A large part of the report focused on Portugal where drugs were effectively decriminalised over ten years ago. According to the Home Office analysis there has been a "considerable" improvement in the health of drug users in Portugal since the country made drug possession a health issue rather than a criminal one in 2001.
In 2000, Portugal decriminalized the use of all illicit drugs, and developed new policies on prevention, treatment, harm reduction and reinsertion. Drug use is no longer a crime, but it is still prohibited. The country's policy was a key comparison in the report written by Home Office civil servants.
Possession of what a person would use in 10 days or less is no longer a matter for the courts. Users are referred to “Commissions for Drug Addiction Dissuasion” where they are given treatment.
Over the last decade the approach appears to have worked in the country, with João Castel-Branco Goulão Portugal’s national drug coordinator saying the country has seen reductions in H.I.V. infections and in overdoses.
So what about the rest of the world?
Czech Republic
Similarly to Portugal possession of drugs is illegal, but possession of small quantities treated as an “administrative offence”, punishable with a fine.
Unlike Portugal levels of cannabis use in the Czech Republic are among the highest in Europe.
While criminal penalties for possession were only introduced as recently as 2010 the report concluded that worse health outcomes were observed after drug possession was criminalised, and there was no evidence of reduced use.
Uruguay
In 2013 Uruguay became the first country in the world to full legalise marijuana. It is now the first nation in the world to break the International Convention on Drug Control, and legislate for the production, sale and consumption of cannabis.
10 per cent of the country’s prison population was for small drug offences – and 44 per cent of all drugs cases were for people detained for holding less than 10g of drugs.
Uruguayans will now be allowed to buy up to 40g a month from pharmacies, join a cannabis club which grows the plant for its members of grow up to six plants themselves.
The Government here says the change in the law is an effort to separate the marijuana market from more problematic drug use. This includes the smoking of “pasta base” - a cheap derivative of cocaine that is highly addictive when smoked and has become endemic in some poor communities.
However the Uruguayan President Jose Mujica has said the start of legal cannabis sales will be delayed until next year due to "practical difficulties".
Netherlands
Famously a tourist hot-spot for people seeking cannabis from countries with stricter controls substances defined as “soft” drugs, including cannabis, have been effectively decriminalised. Possession remains illegal here but police and courts operate a policy of tolerance.
The reported number of deaths linked to the use of drugs in the Netherlands, as a proportion of the entire population, is one of the lowest of the EU. Attempts to crack down on the use of cannabis by tourists have been widely ignored in the country.
However importing and exporting of any classified drug is a serious offence. The penalty can run up to 12 to 16 years if it is for hard drugs with a maximum of 4 years for importing or exporting large quantities of cannabis.
Japan
Japan has the toughest drug laws in the developed world. Its Pharmaceutical Affairs Law bans the production and sale of 68 types of drugs and has a zero-tolerance policy. Criminal sanctions are tougher than in the UK and relatively few people seek treatment.
Some products that are available over the counter as cold and flu remedies are banned and possession of even small amounts of drugs is punishable by lengthy imprisonment.
There are low levels of drug use in Japan but the report notes that it is difficult to decide whether this can be attributed to harsh penalties or a long cultural opposition to drugs and a society where cultural conformity is valued.
USA
In 2012 states in the US - Washington State and Colorado – have legalised the recreational use of cannabis putting them in direct conflict with President Obama’s national drug policy.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia allow the use of medical marijuana on prescription.
However in Colorado aged over 21 are to be allowed to buy and possess up to an ounce (28g) of cannabis and grow six plants in a private, secure area. The first “25 million raised through taxes on these sales will go towards the building of schools.
In Washington licenses to sell marijuana are issued by the state alcohol control boards and the number of outlets are limited. They can’t be within 1000 feet of a school, playground or library.
China
Drug possession for personal use is technically classified as a minor administrative offense but punishment can be harsh – a 2,000 RMB fine and up to 15 days of administrative detention
The Government can also send people who are deemed to be drug addicts to a compulsory detoxification center for up to three years, plus up to three years' compulsory "community rehabilitation."
In 2013 Guangdong province in the south launched the "Thunder Anti-drug" special action. 97,200 drug users were detained and 47,400 people were sent to compulsory detoxification centers.
Smuggling or transporting or manufacturing 1,000 grams or more of opium and 50 grams of more of heroin can lead to a death sentence.
According to the most recent figures in 2008 there were 1,126,700 registered drug users, 900,000 were using heroin or other opioids.
Ireland
While it has a similar drugs policy to the UK Ireland has been the leading the way on the control of 'legal highs'. In 2010 country has banned all ‘psychoactive’ substances unless specific exemptions are made, as is the case with tea, coffee and alcohol.
Denmark
The country has recently followed the example of Netherlands and Germany and opened “fix rooms” for serious drug addicts where they can safely consume and inject drugs in a supervised environment.
The facilities are on offer to adults with serious addictions can bring their illegal drugs and take them, legally, under the watchful eye of a nurse. The capital Copenhagen opened the first with other cities following suit.
Sweden
Sweden is seen as the toughest zero-tolerance state with regards to drugs in Western Europe.
Both use and possession are illegal. Even minor use can lead to a prison sentence six months although more generally leads to a fine.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that Sweden has one of the lowest drug usage rates in the Western world, and attributes this to a drug policy that invests heavily in prevention and treatment as well as strict law enforcement.
Although praised by those who back the ‘war on drugs’ approach for its low level of cannabis use of harder drugs is very high a proportion of drug use.
Drug treatment is free of charge and provided through the health care system and the municipal social services.

Peter’s Point of View

For most of the twentieth century a majority of people around the world favoured a hard-line approach to drugs and drug trafficking; lock them up and throw the key away, hang them, shoot them, cut their hands off, were popular catch-cries.

As the drug problem escalated the pro-punishment people called for even tougher sentences, and in many countries politicians responded accordingly, often against the advice of criminologists and addiction experts. Getting the votes was more important than getting it right.
Nathaniel's Bloodline

This writer believes that it is no coincidence that the list of countries that have the death penalty for drug trafficking, are also among the most corrupt countries, politically and in terms of enforcement. Here is the full list of murderous states that kill traffickers, who, incidentally, are themselves mostly addicted victims of other traffickers: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

Almost all of these countries enacted their death penalty drug laws during the twentieth century in response to popular demand rather than informed advice. In the case of the USA, the War on Drugs commenced in earnest under that infamous criminal vote-getter, Richard Nixon. That alone should have been enough to tell Americans and the world that the War on Drugs would fail.

Lethal and addictive drugs will never be eliminated entirely, but a totally new approach to this age-old curse could make a significant reduction in the number of new addicts, wrecked lives and drug deaths.

First, governments must recognise that addiction is a health issue rather than a criminal issue. They must stop punishing and start treating. Putting a drug addict in prison will not stop addiction any more than prison or punishment will stop anyone catching a disease or falling ill, because addiction is an illness.

Next, governments must put the dealers out of business by destroying their market. To do that they need to take a leaf out of the colonial history of Australia. Twenty years after the founding of the convict colony, in January 1808, a military coup saw Governor William Bligh arrested and deposed. The military then ran the government for the next two years until the arrival of Governor Lachlan Macquarie with a new military unit. The earlier military had been the power behind the throne, so to speak, right from the arrival of the First Fleet. They also controlled the colony’s commerce including the trade in rum which, in the absence of banknotes and coinage, had become the main instrument of exchange. The rum had a high value and led to widespread drunkenness and addiction. Macquarie imported vast quantities of rum with the intention of flooding the market and making alcohol worthless. The arrival of a large supply of Spanish dollars also helped until English and Australian coins became available. So the ‘Rum Rebellion’ that saw Bligh ousted eventually resulted in the downfall of the military and the powerful and rich John MacArthur. The inscription on Macquarie’s grave in Scotland is ‘Father of Australia.’

But to return to the drug dealers, the answer is simple – flood the market with free drugs, distributed by the government. That’s what Governor Macquarie would have done. The money currently wasted on futile enforcement and imprisonment could then be diverted to treatment of the health issue that it is.