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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Stop the presses!

On 13 November 2016, Mark Zuckerberg (CEO) posted an online response denying claims that Facebook posts had influenced the 2016 US Presidential elections. A few days earlier, he had stated: “Personally I think the idea that fake news on Facebook - of which it’s a very small amount of the content - influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea.” (NYT, TCWSJ)

Washington Post News Alert of 25 September 2017: "Nine days after Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg dismissed as “crazy” the idea that fake news on his company’s social network played a key role in the U.S. presidential election, then-President Barack Obama delivered what he hoped would be a wake-up call to the youthful executive."

During September 2017, we have first heard the mea culpa of Facebook (WP, WSJ) and then Twitter (WSJ) on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. Ironically, Russia now threatens to block Facebook during the 2018 Russian Presidential elections over Facebook's refusal to store its data in Russia (ABCCNN, Independent).

A recent Wired article, on how Myanmar's internet disrupted society and fuelled extremists, made me reflect on the use of internet in mass communication. I prepared a diagram which I will explain below.

In essence, communication is a message from Sender to Receiver. It has 2 basic strategies: push and pull. The main disadvantage of pushing a message through the communication channel is noise or interference. My diagram gives 3 examples: (i) language (eg, lost in translation), (ii) required licenses from receiving State in order to broadcast a message, and (iii) the (physical) distribution of the message

Internet allows Sender to communicate directly to Receiver by pulling him/her to its message (ie, online content). Theoretically, this removes all hurdles or obstacles. Obviously, the devil is in the details. Advertisements (or ads) are a common method for pulling receiver to sender's message. Early September 2017, Facebook disclosed that accounts with apparent Russian ties purchased 5,200 ads totaling $150,000 of turnover (Politico). These small numbers seem irrelevant.

Similar insignificant, surprising and weird variances were noted in the 2016 election results of Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump won these states by just above or just below +1% of the votes (PR). Shortly after the 2016 elections, computer scientists had noticed these statistical anomalies (eg, CNN, WP). So far the 2016 election recounts show fraudulent signals (PR) but are without conclusive evidence of fraud (WP).

On 1 September 2017, Kenya’s supreme court annulled the country’s disputed presidential election because the voting may have been hacked (Economist, NYT). USA may follow.

Spent the day in bed (2017) by Morrissey - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Stop watching the news!
Because the news contrives to frighten you
To make you feel small and alone
To make you feel that your mind isn't your own

Friday, 29 September 2017

The love for Solitude and fear of Loneliness (2)

The hardest part of solitude is people hopping in and out of your life. Some may call it Living Apart Together (LAT); others may call it Friends With Benefits (FWB). The problem arises when you're alone again. Suddenly loneliness is trying to find its way back into your life. It's a kind of feeling related to self-pity. Finding the peaceful easy feeling of solitude takes some time again.

I think, feel and believe that life is about AND rather than OR choices. I seem to be rather "alone" in this view. Many people around me tend thinking in OR's. Please also see my 2015 blog on the AND/OR dilemma and my 2017 blog Why is Life digital? The danger of OR choices is the drifting towards the edges (extremes) of life.

Since several years, solitude is my preferred choice of Life. I do recognise its dangers. A recent FB post by Expanded Consciousness (see right picture) is quite accurate: "Solitude is dangerous. It's addicting. Once you see how peaceful it is, you don't want to deal with people."

There are, however, always people in Life who bring Hope and Love rather than Doubt and Fear (my blogs). I have made a careful and deliberate choice being with positive people and avoiding negative people.
This (left) picture states a most interesting quote by Marty Rubin: “Solitude is where one discovers one is not alone.” Technically this statement is incorrect but inherently it feels true. This may need some explanation.

Solitude takes away all distractions, mostly people and sounds. The emerging void is scary for some, and addictive for others. In this void, the big question is: Who am I? The next question is about the 2 primal emotions: do I love or fear that person?

We often define ourselves by what role we play in (business or private) life. On my LinkedIn, I use the following (business) roles: Auditor, CFO, Consigliere, Resultant and Writer. Roles are, however, temporary in life - by definition. Ultimately, Life is about who we are rather than what we are. We are measured by our deeds, words, and thoughts (see my blogs on Zoroastrianism).

When our roles are stripped away from us then we feel "naked". This moment is confronting, especially when we do not like ourselves, deep down. Accepting yourself (my 2017 blog) and appreciating (loving) yourself for who you are, is part of finding Solitude. Often we prefer hearing recognition and appreciation from others; see my 2016 blogs: #1, # 2. Solitude also shows us kindness as solitude accepts our imperfections.

Peaceful Easy Feeling (1972) by the Eagles - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

I get this feeling I may know you as a lover and a friend.
But this voice keeps whispering in my other ear,
Tells me I may never see you again.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Liberalism vs Political Islam

On 26 September 2017, Saudi Arabia allowed women to obtain a driver's license (NYTWiki). Saudi Arabia was the last country to ban women from driving. Some decades ago, a schoolmate had done an internship in Saudi Arabia. He was amazed seeing women, together with goats, in the back of pickup trucks. The rights of women are slowly improving in Saudi Arabia.

Individual freedom and citizens' rights are the cornerstone of Western Liberalism. Both collide with the current interpretation of Islam, and in particular the Political Islam. Religion and State are often intertwined in Islam. In the Political Islam, Religion and State are overlapping. Individual freedom and citizens' rights would weaken the collective power of Islam.

Still there's a difference as Religion rules the State in Shia Iran, while Politics rules Religion in Sunni Turkey and Sunni Saudi Arabia. This is a key difference between Shia and Sunni Islam (my blog). Hence, Iran considers itself more pure than others. Given the extravagance in Turkey (eg, Presidential Palace) and Saudi Arabia (eg, alcoholic parties), the Shia criticism has a point. Catholicism used to receive similar criticism from other Christian religions.

Liberalism and Islam conflict in all of the 7 Belief systems, being: Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth. This observation explains why the many conflicts between Islam and Liberalism are so difficult to explain and grasp.

My recent blogs on Love (# 1, # 2) concluded that Love is the only selfless Belief system compared to the 6 selfish other Belief systems. According to the ancient Greeks there are 4 types of love: éros (romantic), philía (brotherly/sisterly), storgē (parental) and agápe (divine/spiritual love). Nowadays, there's also self-love or narcissism following Individualism. Hence, Islam blames Liberalism for promoting self-love and ignoring divine/spiritual love.

The Bible already states: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" (Bible, my blog). The Quran blames egotism (source). Both concepts are closely as money is a common yardstick for egotism and greed.

Islam and Liberalism have different philosophical views: collective duties versus individual rights (yesterday's blog). Liberalism's key principles conflict with the Political Islam: (1) a 1st separation between Religion and State, (2) a 2nd separation between legislature, executive, and the judiciary branch of government (trias politica).

Religion, Science and the Truth have a difficult relationship as the Holy Books (eg, Bible, Quran) are often read literally. Hence, Creationism and Science have different truths. Science was however still important during the Golden Age of Islam (786-1258). Religion and Science can however be reconciled if the holy texts are read like a metaphor (my blog). The religious concept of Intelligent Design (the successor of Creationism) and Science are still converging.

Restrain (1972) by Poco - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note 1: restraint relates to self-control, a personal virtue (Wiki
Note 2: the song is my reference to the concept of "freedom in restraint"

Wednesday, 27 September 2017


A recent Big Think article quoting a July 2017 international psychological study on Individualism confirmed my earlier beliefs: "Individualism is thought to be on the rise in Western countries, but new research suggests that increasing individualism may actually be a global phenomenon".

The reasoning is surprisingly easy to follow: "increasing socioeconomic development (LO: wealth) is an especially strong predictor of increasing individualistic practices and values in a country over time." Sources: APS, BT, SAGE journals, Science Daily.

After some reflection, I realised that this concept of Individualism connects various of my earlier blogs: the 7 Belief systems, Faith vs Religion, Liberalism, selfless vs selfish Love, and even the astrological Age of Pisces and Age of Aquarius. The diagram below reflects this interconnectedness and highlights collisions between competing concepts.

The main change in society is from collective duties towards individual rights

This change is rooted in our (still developing) view on freedom and its related concept of Liberalism. 

To date, Liberalism has shown 4 main phases: (1) philosophical view on freedom for (certain) humans, (2) economic view on free markets, (3) political view on the rights of citizens versus the State, and (4) a personal libertarian view on freedom and the right to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

The Western choice for individual freedom and rights (Liberalism) conflicts with the collective views in other territories, like the Arab world (Islam), Asia (Buddhism, Hinduism), and (obviously also) countries with authoritarian leadership.

These collisions between competing concepts (eg, Islam vs Liberalism) affect all 3 dimensions of the 7 Belief systems: Love (from selfless to selfish), Knowledge (Philosophy, Science, the Truth) and Power (Money, Politics, Religion). This will make these conflicts look opaque.

The migration from collective duties to individual rights is like the only direction of time: forward. One must, however, never forget that a pendulum always returns to its previous position. Both concepts (ie, collectivism, individualism) are unsustainable in their extremes.

Individualism requires shared practices and values in order to be stronger than collective power. The "increasing individualistic practices and values" already indicate a future swing of the pendulum.

All by Myself (1975) by Eric Carmen - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Monday, 25 September 2017

A Dutch lesson for Germany

The outcome of the German (federal) general elections mirrors the Dutch one of 15 March 2017 in several ways: (i) huge success for a radical nationalist party, (ii) punishment for the governing center political parties, and (iii) a refusal of the Social Democrats for a new coalition government. The Netherlands still has no government despite negotiating with 4 to 5 parties for 195 days. Germany may face a similar challenge.

The root cause for the duration of the Dutch - and future German - negotiations is the different view of political parties based on Christianity and Liberalism. Therefore, I am still not optimistic about the Dutch negotiations. Liberal parties feel restricted - in the freedom of individuals - by the clear views of Christian parties on society as a whole.

Social Democrats were more likely to accept Christian political parties as their views on the role of the State did not collide. However, political parties on the left (and right) more and more embrace the concept of personal Liberalism or Libertarianism. This explains the surge in Alt-Left and Alt-Right movements. This concept of personal Liberalism (or Libertarianism) often conflicts with Christian philosophies (eg, healthcare, self-determination).

The Dutch Social Democrats still refuse to govern which makes sense - up to a point. The German Social Democrats may be more pragmatic and may just be increasing their future leverage, when German (federal) coalition negotiations will have failed.

The surge of a German nationalist party is no surprise given what happened all across Europe. For several years, this party will not be stable as it contains at least 2 competing views. A future break-up may bring them below the 5% threshold again. Nationalist parties all around Europe also lack eloquent and intelligent spokespersons, like Dutch professor and politician Pim Fortuyn, who was murdered in 2002.

Recently, Donald Trump was condemned for blaming the Alt-Left and Alt-Right for the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia. Some American left-liberals even dispute whether the Alt-Left exist (eg, Wired). We may not like what Trump has to say but sometimes he does have a point. In Europe, the anarchists have found a new home in the Alt-Left. They were responsible for various riots, including the recent G20 riots in Hamburg (eg, FPReutersZero Hedge).

Today, nationalist parties are blamed for many things. Blaming others is often a part of a process called Denial. I'm not that sure which radical view is more dangerous: left-Libertarianism (Alt-Left) or right-Libertarianism (Alt-Right). Probably, it's again a choice between the arrogance of the Left and the ignorance of the Right.

If a society cannot meaningfully and safely absorb immigrants and serious criticism is smothered, then the Alt-Left and the Alt-Right will tear society apart.

Haus am See (2008) by Peter Fox - artist, lyrics DE-UK, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Sunday, 24 September 2017

De kosten van zelfbeschikking

Spanje heeft weinig geleerd van haar eigen historie en die van anderen. De angst voor een Catalaanse onafhankelijkheid heeft gewonnen van de hoop op een verstandige afloop. De EU zal Catalonië niet als lid kunnen accepteren gezien de precedentwerking die daarvan uitgaat (Schotland, Vlaanderen). Engeland heeft misschien nog wat te onderhandelen maar Catalonië niet.

De escalatie van de politieke situatie rondom het Catalaanse referendum voor onafhankelijkheid van 1 oktober 2017, kan - en zal - uitmonden in een Catalaanse ETA. Deze Spaanse Baskische terroristische en separatistische beweging was "in haar begindagen [] een vreedzame beweging die actie ondernam tegen de vernietiging van de Baskische cultuur." (Wiki).

Principieel vind ik dat een regering geen onderdanen heeft maar dat het volk een regering kiest die het volk dient. Dit is een uitvloeisel van Liberalisme, Libertarisme, Libertarianisme / Indeterminisme. Indien een deel van het volk een andere regering wil dan moet dat kunnen. Echter, alles heeft zijn prijs. Elk land heeft langjarige verplichtingen en een overheidsbegroting verhult de kruissubsidiëring tussen regio's.

Brexit toont de kosten van directe en indirecte zelfbeschikking aan. De EU rekening voor het Britse deel van de meerjarige financiële verplichtingen geeft de directe kosten aan: éénmalig een bruto bedrag van circa 60-100 miljard euro. Netto is dit bedrag (veel) lager door langlopende EU subsidies aan de UK. De indirecte kosten zijn echter veel gevaarlijker omdat deze een onbeperkte looptijd hebben (o.a. douane).

België is een schoolvoorbeeld van kruissubsidiëring tussen regio's. Sinds tientallen jaren gaat het Vlaanderen economisch voor de wind. De belastingen van het rijke Vlaanderen financieren het arme Wallonië. Wat tegenwoordig graag en snel wordt vergeten, is dat deze situatie circa 100 jaar geleden totaal omgekeerd was. Toen financierde het rijke Wallonië het arme Vlaanderen. 

Een ander voorbeeld van zelfbeschikking is het kind dat het ouderlijk huis verlaat om zelfstandig te gaan wonen. Het "gezeur" van de ouders (regering) wordt het kind (regio) vaak teveel. Sommige kinderen betaalden hun ouders al kostgeld (directe kosten). Zelfstandig wonen maakt de indirecte kosten snel zichtbaar: energie, huisvesting, verzekeringen en voedsel. Bezuinigingen worden vaak snel noodzakelijk. 

Voor een individu is zelfbeschikking een noodzakelijk onderdeel van volwassen worden. Een individu snijdt echter zelden de lijnen naar de ouders door omdat een vangnetconstructie vaak onmisbaar is en blijft. Voor regio's spelen cultuur (o.a. religie, taal) en geografische afstand vaak een grotere rol. Bij de onafhankelijkheid van de Nederlandse Antillen waren deze verschillen goed merkbaar (zie Wikipedia voor verdere details).

In 2012 accepteerde David Cameron een referendum over Schotse onafhankelijkheid. In 2014 koos 55% van de Schotten tegen onafhankelijkheid. In 2017 kregen de Schotse nationalisten een zware klap en verloren 21 van de 56 zetels. Sinds de Tuin van Eden hebben verboden vruchten altijd een aanzuigende werking gehad (o.a. FT).

Forbidden Fruit (2014) by Kandace Springs & Daryl Hall

Indian Summer

Indian Summer (2009) by Brooks & Dunn - artists, FB, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

The tall weeds lay flat down
On the hard flat Kansas ground.
And a sad song in her head,
Kept goin' round.

She barely even knew his name,
But she liked the way he played the game.
Everybody cheered,
When he scored that last touchdown...

Indian Summer,
The wonder,
The hunger,
And the sound of distant thunder.
Indian Summer.

Tangled in a moment of truth.
Bottle of wine in a motel room.
Blue haze circled 'round
The cold gray moon.

While the wind chased the leaves outside.
Passion found a place to hide.
Late September heat,
Couldn't be denied.

Oh Indian Summer,
The wonder,
The hunger,
And the sound of distant thunder.
Indian Summer.

She never even finished school.
People like to talk, they can be so cruel.
Her California was a place,
To start brand new.

So she left that dust bowl town.
Sometimes when the lone wind howls.
I wonder where we'd be,
If I never scored that last touchdown.

The wonder,
The hunger,
And the sound of distant thunder.
Indian Summer.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The 45th President and the What-If question

Suppose that Trump gets re-elected and serves the full 8 years until 2025. This scenario is what Michael Moore is painting to Americans. Michael Moore: "He’ll never be indicted for that, because it’s one person’s word against the other. There’s no witness, and there’s no tape. Because he is an evil genius. And he’s such a malignant narcissist that he’ll never resign or take the fall for his kids or his close friends or associates." (Vulture)

Suppose that Michael Moore is wrong, the 2016 election results are annulled, and Hillary Clinton becomes President after all. She is already dreaming about this scenario. In a recent NPR interview she "wouldn't rule out" "questioning the legitimacy of this election if we learn that the Russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now" (CNN, NPR).

I suppose that the Republican Party will prefer anyone of their own above Mrs Clinton. I'm not sure whom I would prefer right now: Trump or Clinton. Trump is a compulsive liar who uses reverse psychology and projection. In a way, you just need to change his words by 180 degrees to know "the truth". I'm not sure what Mrs Clinton thinks, feels or believes. Her reflection on her failed bid for the Presidency still lacks accountability and responsibility. Blaming others is too easy.

On 11 May 2017, Patribotics reported that Republican Senator Orrin Hatch would become the new U.S. President given "evidence that exists against multiple men in the line of succession to the US Presidency". On 13 May 2017, Patribotics reported exclusively that "several sources familiar with the matter say that Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah is being given security briefings to prepare him for the Presidency". Early September, Palmer Report also reported on President Orrin Hatch. Mainstream media just call this a "rumour" (CNN).

You better keep on dreaming than expecting Hatch to take a stand against Trump. Orrin Hatch: "To ascribe racism to the president which some people are trying to do is not only hitting below the belt it's vicious stuff. He's done a lot to try and help quell racism in this country." Hatch added that Trump "doesn't have a racist bone in his body." (Washington Examiner)

Only 2 people had the public nerve to predict that Donald Trump would become the 45 President: political historian Allan Lichtman and documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. Lichtman "is well-known for predicting every presidential winner in the United States Presidential Election since 1984, including forecasting the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election remarkably early" (Wiki). "In 2005, Time magazine named Moore one of the world's 100 most influential people" (Wiki).

Michael Moore's new prediction makes sense, if only because the Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election is not taken serious by the US government. It's hard to separate the 2017 hack in consumer credit reporting agency Equifax from earlier database hacks and/or leaks (eg, Deep Root AnalyticsDNC, OPM, state and local election databases).

I suppose that What-If questions (my 2016 blog) are for dreamers.

Dreamer (1974) by Roger Hodgson, former lead singer of Supertramp

Dreamer, you stupid little dreamer
So now you put your head in your hands, oh no!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Slavery, a convergence of human beliefs

A few days ago, the UN International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimated that 40 million people lived in modern slavery in 2016 (GS, ILO). That is more than 3 times the total number of 12.5 million Africans who were forced into slavery between 1500 and 1866 (Smithsonian). The ILO news report (PDF) got less media attention than the average International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

It is wrong to assume that only humans indulge in slavery. The slave-making ants, a brood parasite, also enslave their own species. Interestingly, there are 2 types of slave-makers: permanent social parasites and facultative slave-makers. The 1st type cannot live without slaves and will experience high mortality. The 2nd type will adjust to self-sufficiency within 30 days (eg, BBC, Cracked, my blogs on ants-humans, Nat Geo, Wiki).

According to Wikipedia, "evidence of slavery predates written records, and has existed in many cultures. Slavery is rare among hunter-gatherer populations because it requires economic surpluses and a high population density to be viable. [] slavery became widespread only with the invention of agriculture [] about 11,000 years ago".

War and slavery are closely related. In the ancient Sumerian civilization, "serfs and slaves made up majority of population and were responsible for all manual labor. [] Eventually, the Sumerians made slaves of other Sumerians they had captured in their wars with each other, but originally they acquired their slaves from peoples beyond Sumer. [] And they justified their slavery as would others: that their gods had given them victory over an inferior people" (source).

Slavery is rooted in 6 of the 7 Belief systems: Money (trading profit), Philosophy (eg, Aristotle, inferiority), Politics (spoils of war), Religion (eg, holy books), Science (eg, Darwin), and the Truth (eg, Snopes). Slavery might even be an example of a convergence of the 6 selfish human beliefs. This convergence is perhaps the reason that human slavery still exists today. 

Love, the 7th Belief system, is the only selfless human belief compared to the 6 selfish beliefs. Mumford and Sons have beautiful lyrics to reflect this: "Love; it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free". Songs like "Love will set you free" are quite common: Engelbert Humperdinck, Kodaline, Whitesnake. Please listen to my favourite one below.

Someone may now argue that the original text contradicts my argument as "the truth will set you free". However, verse 8:32 of John the Apostle states: "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free". As always, context is crucial and is found in preceding verse 8:31: "So He said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples."

Like any true prophet, Jesus' word was about (selfless) Love. Not Money, not Philosophy, not Politics, not Science, not the Truth, and certainly not Religion as "God has no religion" (Mahatma Gandhi). Please also see my blogs Faith vs Religion and Humanoid Sapiens (5).

Love will set you free (1980) by Carrie Cleveland
artist, bio-1, bio-2info-1, info-2, lyrics, video, Wiki

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Time chill factor

Dutch temperatures always feel different than the official ones due to the wind chill factor. The word "time chill factor" does not exist although the word "chillen" has a time-related meaning nowadays. Nevertheless, everyone feels his/her own relative time compared to the absolute official time, as shown on clocks. PBS: "Since no brain is the same, every person will have their own limits of time perception and their own sphere of now".

The wind chill factor relates to "the perceived decrease in air temperature felt by the body on exposed skin due to the flow of air" (Wiki). Similarly, the "time chill factor" would then relate to the perceived decrease - or increase - in elapsed time as felt by the human mind due to a lack - or abundance - of images and/or sounds.

Today's concept of Time is an ancient Sumerian invention and rooted in astronomy following (i) Earth's daily orbit around its own axis, (ii) the moon's "monthly" (ie, 29.5 day) orbit around Earth, and (iii) Earth's annual orbit around the Sun. Also see yesterday's Fasten your seatbelts blog.

The Sumerian civilization used a Base-60 rather than a decimal or Base-10 system for its calculations. Today, we still have 60 seconds, 60 minutes, and 24 hours in a day rather than 100 seconds, 100 minutes, and 8.64 hours. Base-60 can be divided by more numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) than Base-10 (1, 2, and 5). Also see my blogs on Numbers and Why is Life digital?

It's interesting that the saying "times flies when you're having fun" originated around 1800, shortly after the Industrial Revolution (c. 1760 - 1820/40). I am convinced that the 3 phases of the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 define the current "time chill factor": (1) Mechanization (19th century), (2) Automation (20th century), (3) Artificially Intelligent Robotics (21st century).

The time chill factor is illustrated by a superb Business Insider video which rightfully claims that it "will change your perception of time". The last 20 seconds of this 3.5 minute video show the enormous acceleration of changes as a result of the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100. Please also see my 24 May 2017 blog on the philosophical belief in Accelerationism.

Marc Bolan (1947-1977) once stated that "time passes so slowly if you are unaware of it and so quickly if you are aware of it". His statement connects the relative awareness and consciousness in the human mind to the absoluteness of time. It also explains why some people feel bored (eg, teenagers), while other people are running out of time. Also see my blog Busy busy busy.

The time chill factor is also relevant to what we refer to as the Now or the Present. Actually, this period is "the recent memory of the immediate past and the expectation of the near future" (PBS). The Now or Present may not even exist given the finite speed of light and/or sound, and the required processing time of our brain. If the Now does exist, it lasts less than a second.

Time (Clock of the Heart) by Culture Club - 1982 - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Time is like a clock in my heart

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Fasten your seatbelts

Earth rotates around its axis with 1,600 km (1,000 miles) per hour. Given Earth’s circumference of some 40,000 km, this process takes 24 hours. We call this morning, afternoon, evening and night. Similarly, Earth also rotates around the Sun with a speed of 107,000 km (66,000 miles) per hour. It takes Earth some 365 days to complete this orbit around the Sun. We refer to this as spring, summer, autumn, and winter (eg, astrosociety).

Rarely do we feel nauseous as our conscious brain does not register Earth’s speed. To some extent, it’s similar to sitting still in a high speed train. You need to look outside and focus on an object to notice speed. Inside a train, both Time and Space feel different.

The Sun (including its orbiting planets like our Earth) is orbiting around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy with a speed of some 70,000 km (43,000 miles) per hour. It takes the Sun some 225 million years to complete this orbit, a.k.a. a galactic year. The Milky Way Galaxy itself travels by 2.1 million km (1.3 million miles) per hour through the Universe. Still, we are oblivious.

The moon orbits around the earth in 29.5 days; we refer to this period as (lunar) months. The moon's average orbital speed is 1,022 km per hour. The moon’s orbit affects Earth’s tides due to gravitational changes. The moon also affects human bodies. The most common example is the female menstruation period. The relationship between lunar positions and sleeping patterns is still debated (eg, AWMP). Yesterday’s New Moon did however affect my sleep.

The Sun’s impact seems relatively clear: daylight and warmth. Sunlight exposure also has negative and positive human health effects. Please also see my related blogs on weather, mood & pain, sunlight & viruses, climate & personality, skin colour. The absence of sunlight causes an urge for sleeping. Several studies indicate that sleeping cleanses our brain from toxic substances (see my 2016 blog). Please also see my sleep related blogs on wintersleep and addiction.

The Sumerian civilisation (my blogs) is the first documented one that studied the movements of the 5 visible planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn), moons and stars (e.g., our Sun). These studies must have resulted in conclusions on the predictability of seasons, tides, weather, etc. The predictability of this information still lives on in almanacs, like the Babylonian Almanac, Dutch Enkhuizer Almanak (1595), and various other almanacs.

The predictability of human character lives on in astrology and in various Zodiacs (eg, Sumerian, Babylonian, Chinese, and Western). Perhaps the thinking was like this: if humans live on Earth then the Gods must live on other planets and stars. Similar to astronomy, the position of these planets and stars "must" predict one's character and destiny at birth.

In comparison with a hard science like astronomy, the soft science of (Chinese and Western) astrology still gives an impressive - about 80% - match: GoToHoroscope (eg, my blog). 

Life in the Fast Lane (1977) by Joe Walsh - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Faster, faster. The lights are turning red.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Find it in your heart

FIND IT IN YOUR HEART (2017) by Michael McDonald

When desire moves from head to heart
You may lose the luxury
To have your fun and play it smart
Take your pleasure and still be free
Oh, the loneliness at the end of every dream
Don’t you know that there’s more to this
Let go of all your reasons
And find something to believe

You gotta find it in your heart
You’ll only find it in your heart
Love’s the truth that sets us free
You’ll only find it in your heart

Now you found someone who cares
You got your life all figured out
But the truth is you’re not really there
‘Till you give in beyond a doubt

Let go of your fantasies
And start looking for something real
Your best thinking is what got you here
Illusion will be shattered by the truth that love reveals

You better find it in your heart
You’ll only find it in your heart
Love’s the key that sets us free
Oh girl, get out of your head

Let go of your fantasies
And start looking for something real
Your best thinking is what got you here
Illusion will be shattered by the truth that love reveals

You better find it in your heart
You gotta find it in your heart
Love will never be the same
Oh girl, get out of your head

You may think it’s a matter of choice
But there’s only one answer, only one voice

REPEAT CHORUS 3x (alt. lines)

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Love, the selfless belief (2)

The conclusions of part 1 of this blog were unexpected. Of the 7 Belief systems, 6 are selfish (Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth) and 1 is selfless (Love). We understand the 6 selfish ones quite well. The 1 belief that is beyond our comprehension, is the selfless one. Love is a fuzzy concept, similar to friendship. No wonder both are related.

Another conclusion was the ageing of the 7 Belief systems: Love has been there for eternity while the other 6 beliefs "only" for several thousands of years. Three of the four ancient Greek words for love - éros (romantic), philía (brotherly/sisterly), and storgē (parental) - apply to another fundamental concept of society: familyAgápe refers to divine/spiritual love, the love of Allah, God or Yahweh for mankind (ie, families) and vice versa.

The concept of family is often referred to as the cornerstone of society. The concept of love is what keeps families together. Without love, families drift apart. Hence, love is the ultimate cornerstone of society. Without love, a society is no longer a society but a sum of individuals. 

Today, there are 7 Belief systems of which Love is the least understood of all. The other 6 are evenly divided over the Knowledge and Power dimensions. Both dimensions created a balance: Knowledge = Power. Since a decade, both dimensions are actively working together - again - on a centuries old concept: immortality (my blogs: 2016, 2017.1, 2017.2).

Immortality has always been a quest of Science (eg, alchemy, elixir of immortality, the Holy Grail, philosopher's stone). These quests needed financing by wealthy principals (Money & Power). Most religions do recognise immortality but only for the Soul, not the Body. Transhumanism is a contemporary philosophical belief related to longevity and immortality.

A quest for immortality is a selfish quest for eternal Life. Longevity and immortality are already becoming a goal for living. Love used to be that goal. Both do not go well together.

The book and film Bicentennial Man (IMDb) deals with the conflict between eternal Life and eternal Love. Isaac Asimov suggests that a choice must be made between eternal Life and eternal Love. 

Today's lack of Love suggests that (selfish) Life may already be replacing (selfless) Love as a goal for living. It may explain the many conflicts all around us.

In 1976, Stevie Wonder already said the same as I do today: Love's in need of love today.

Love's in Need of Love Today (1976) by Stevie Wonder - 

Good morn or evening friends
Here's your friendly announcer
I have serious news to pass on to everybody
What I'm about to say
Could mean the world's disaster
Could change your joy and laughter to tears and pain

It's that love's in need of love today
Don't delay; send yours in right away
Hate's goin' round breaking many hearts
Stop it, please, before it's gone too far

Friday, 15 September 2017

Love, the selfless belief (1)

Early 2015, I completed my concept of the 7 Belief systems by adding Love as a 7th belief system. Three of these 7 beliefs belong to its Knowledge dimension (ie, Philosophy, Science and the Truth) and 3 belong to its Power dimension (ie, Money, Politics, Religion).

The 7th belief system - Love - is however linked to both dimensions through the trinity of Faith (ie, Religion), Hope (ie, Philosophy) and Love. This trinity is known from 1 Corinthians 13 which states the following famous words: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

Verse 2 and 3 of 1 Corinthians 13 links Love to the Knowledge and Power dimensions: (v2) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. (v3) If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Verses 4-7 explain why Love is the greatest of all: (v4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (v5) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (v6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (v7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

In other words, Love is selfless (NL: onbaatzuchtig). The "love" for all other 6 belief systems is not selfless but selfish. This "love" may be either be qualified as ambition (Politics, Religion, Science), domination (Philosophy), envyjealousy (the Truth), or greed (Money). 

Love is the only eternal belief system which has been with humanity since its origin. Knowledge can vanish over time. A quote from J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Lord of the Rings: “And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge.” Power often matches with human life and ends with human death.

Love is the least understood belief system. In order to describe it, we use adjectives: parental love, brotherly & sisterly love, passionate (or sexual) love, pragmatic love, romantic love, self-love (narcissism), and divine / spiritual love (eg, Allah, God, Yahweh). Let's not forget loving Nature, a friend (friendship), or a country (patriotism).

The ancient Greeks had at least 4 different words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē (Wiki). Canadian psychologist John Alan Lee defines 6 styles of love in his 1973 book Colours of Love (Wiki). A 2016 Psychology Today article defines 7 types of love. Although we have known Love for thousands if not millions of years, we still ask ourselves: What is Love?

What is Love? (1993) by Haddaway - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Banning fossil fuel cars

During 2015, I wrote several blogs on the diesel engine emissions scandal at Volkswagen Audi Group: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5. My 6 October 2015 blog predicted that the VW emissions scandal would become a pivotal point for electric cars. In 2016 and 2017, several countries have announced a ban on selling fossil fuel cars: China (timing t.b.d.)France (by 2040), India (by 2030)Norway (by 2025), and UK (by 2040).

The main disadvantage of an electric car is its dismal driving range. The top 10 of electric cars with the "longest" driving range is quite revealing: from 150 to 539 km - or 93 to 335 miles (source). The ultimate solution will be a power grid woven into the main roads that either sells electricity to - or buys electricity from - electric cars (see my 2017 blog).

In the meantime, hydrogen powered cars may fill the gap between fossil fuel and electric cars. Digital Trends: "Driving a hydrogen-powered car has some ups and downs. On the plus side, you get the green benefits of an EV without the range anxiety, because you can refill the car with more hydrogen. On the minus side, hydrogen refueling stations are rare – at least for the moment. It’s also challenging to obtain hydrogen in a way that’s both green and efficient."

Digital Trends: "With the recent arrival of the Honda Clarity, there are now three automakers offering cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The first was the Hyundai ix35 in early 2013, and then came the Toyota Mirai — and more than a dozen other automakers have fuel cell vehicles in development." In 2018, Hyundai will introduce an emission-free hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) which has a target driving range of 580 km (360 miles) on a single charge (JD Powers). 

The existing worldwide number of fossil fuel cars was estimated on 1 billion in 2010 and is expected to grow to 1.5 billion in 2025 and 2 billion in 2040 (eg, GCR, HuffPost, WEF). These numbers are somewhat similar to mobile phones: 1 billion in 2012, and a record number of 1.5 billion smartphone annual shipments in 2016 (eg, eMarketer, Strategy AnalyticsTelegraph). Harvesting precious metals from cars will become an industry as in mobile phones.

There is another analogy that bugs me. In the late 1980s, the sale of vinyl records declined sharply following the success of the compact disc. Around 2000, vinyl records went almost extinct (eg, Forbes). Vinyl record sales are once again booming (eg, clubs, DJs, nostalgia).

The future closing of oil refineries may however never happen if and when electricity grids are as vulnerable as they now appear to be. The Guardian, 6 September 2017: "Hackers attacking US and European energy firms could sabotage power grids". Or Washington Post, 12 June 2017: "Russia has developed a cyberweapon that can disrupt power grids, according to new research".

The Automotive industry was once built on human emotion (ie, love). Americans and Europeans still fear self-driving cars (eg, Fortune, GM, IJ, Newsmax). Hacking electricity grids may even cause an early death of EVs. Nostalgia for fossil fuel driven cars may return sooner than we think.

Nostalgia (1984) by David Sylvian - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

The sound of waves in a pool of water
I'm drowning in my nostalgia