Posted by: righthandblink | February 9, 2017

The Real Truth

The Real Truth about Climate Change

Climate change is a topic that is not very cool at the moment. Nobody wants to talk about a lot of this stuff let alone do anything about it. We want to think that everything is going to be ok. We don’t want to hear about any doom-fest.

But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand complex ideas like energy and climate. They can be understood by anybody. And you don’t need to dress it up in a lot of jargon. People are smart enough to get the basics. And the basics are what you need to start making sensible decisions in your life. 


Climate Change has became impossible to deal with,
and impossible to ignore 


 
Let Us First Define the Problem

Climate change is the result of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions being produced and put into the atmosphere. There are GHGs produced by nature, but they are insignificant compared to what man produces, especially those related to the use of fossil fuels.
       In 2014, Canada’s national total production of GHG emissions of CO2e was 732 Mt[1]. In 1990 it was estimated to be just under 613 Mt. That means that the amount of GHG emissions generated from 1990 to 2013 went up 19.4 percent. [NOTE: 1 Mt (megatonne) = 1,000,000,000 kilograms]
       We want to come up with a way to determine the size of the problem – is it the mouse in the room, or more like the elephant? We will attempt to accomplish this with a equitable distribution of the problem by working on a per capital basis.

According to preliminary estimates, Canada’s population was 35,749,600 in 2015[2]. So Canada’s per capital allotment for GHGs for 2013 was 732 MT times 1,000,000 divided by 35,749,600 equaling 20,475.8 kilograms per person per year.
       We’re going to use Ottawa as an example because it is our capital. If Ottawa was to take it’s share of that burden we take its estimated population in 2016 of 934,243[3], multiply it by 20,475.8 kilograms per person times 1,000 kg per tonne and divide by 1,000,000 equaling 19.1 Mt.

Many of you, if not all, will question those numbers or the manner in which they were developed, but we have to face it, no matter how we calculate it, the numbers are large, huge. A very large elephant indeed. Because these numbers are so huge it will take a long time to mitigate. We need to start somewhere.
       By using our method we have been able to estimate quantitatively what the magnitude of the problem is as it applies to us. Remember, without quantifying the problem, it ends up just being emotional or opinionated wishful thinking.

Putting This into Perspective

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses a formula[4] to determine the environmental impact of removing vehicles from the road. The formula is as follows: the impact of removing 1,000 vehicles from the road has the same effect as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 4,700 metric tons of CO2e per year. That translates to 4.7 metric ton per vehicle, on average.
       Remember that we are just trying to define the magnitude of this climate change problem. So, if we took all the registered vehicles off of the roads in Ottawa, banned them completely, what would we achieve? Based on 2011 Statistics[5] for the City of Ottawa, there were 515,784 registered vehicles. Using the EPA guidelines, we would reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 515,784 x 4.7 / 1,000,000,000 = 2.4 Mt. That’s only 12.4 percent of the total.

So now you should have an idea of the magnitude of this climate change problem. Even if we took all the cars off the road, the end result is rather insignificant. It would be a start but think what we would have to sacrifice to accomplish that and, more importantly, how that change would affect our daily lives. Our cities are too big and aren’t designed for life without cars. Again this is a lack of foresight and direction from our leaders. The affects will be disastrous. But so will the affects of climate change. If you don’t have the courage to do it that way, I’m open to suggestions.

Many people have suggested community currencies, bike lanes, wider sidewalks and pedestrian/bicycle bridges. These would all have a positive effect on climate change. That is true. But what are the hard numbers? How much will they really reduce GHGs? Compared to removing all the vehicles from the roads, these efforts are insignificant. Totally insignificant. They just appear to be ways of steering us away from the real problem. It’s patronizing. It’s just more wishful thinking.



After you drive a car off a cliff, it’s too late to hit the brakes.
In effect, we have already gone over the edge. 


Further Evidence

To get an idea whether our analysis is in the right ballpark or not, lets compare our results with those of a report completed for the City of Toronto in June 2007. ICF International in collaboration with Toronto Atmospheric Fund and Toronto Environment Office issued a report titled “Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollutants in the City of Toronto.”[6] On page IV, it stated: “In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, energy use in Toronto in 2004 led to the release of about 23.4 megatonnes CO2e.” This appears to be comparable with our numbers for Ottawa.

Further, the report split those emissions into three categories: transportation fuels accounting for about 36 percent, natural gas use in heating homes and buildings accounting for about 37 percent, and emissions from natural gas use in generating electricity making up an additional 26 percent. Those three categories accounted for a whopping 99 percent of the total of all the GHG emissions produced by the City of Toronto. That’s 99 percent. WOW! Needless to say what they have to do to stop producing GHGs.

Note that there is absolutely no reason to believe that the results of that report from the City of Toronto would vary significantly if applied to any other municipality anywhere in North America, or for that matter, any where else in the world.

On the first page of the Executive Summary, it reads that “The City has previously undertaken similar inventories of greenhouse gas emissions, ….” This report was just another in a long list of reports. Seems there is a need for continuous study before any significant direct action is initiated. So, in general, you’re going to find that politicians will say that they don’t know enough about the problem and have to study it further. It’s just a nice way to say “don’t bother us, we’re not going to do anything.”

It’s like two guys trying to kill each other in an airplane screaming to the ground and they’re more interested in killing each other than attempting to stop the momentum of the airplane that will end up killing both of them. However, in this case, this isn’t a movie.

We know the causes of climate change. We know what we have to do to fix it. We just don’t want to.

This isn’t New

The problem of climate change was first introduced to the United States Congress back in 1988. We have since learned about the ramifications of climate change on this planet – storms, floods, heat waves, malaria and other infectious diseases, droughts, mass refugee exodus, general social disorder and all of their accumulated effects. Climate change unabated will lead to the extinction of our species. Just because you think those saying it are crazy doesn’t mean that what they are saying isn’t true.
       Starting in 1995, and every year thereafter, there have been UN sponsored climate change conferences.[7] There have now been 22 conferences and in spite of all the discussions, in spite of all the agreements, the numbers keep going up. The year 2016 was the hottest year on record.



Science is attempting to solve all the problems we have in our society
but those problems were originally created by science!


No matter how successfully we reduce GHG emissions going into the atmosphere, the wheels are going to continue to roll and the numbers will continue to increase. As a result of the GHGs that are already in the atmosphere, our climate will continue to warm for at least the next two decades – even if we were never again to emit a single GHG. Given our continued reliance on fossil fuels, it is likely to get much, much warmer.

Solving Large and Complex Problems

Many people feel that solving large and complex problems like climate change has to be left up to our leaders. Why do they think that way? Our leaders are only human beings like ourselves. Many of them don’t know any more about the problem than we do. Remember back in 2008 how everybody sat back and let Allan Greenspan of the Federal Reserve manage everything in terms of the economy. The old pied piper scenario. It backfired and left all our leaders with egg on their faces. What a mess and, in that case, it lead to massive global economic ruin.
       And here we go again.
       In spite of that, our leaders have told us over and over again that what we have to do to solve climate change wouldn’t be good for the economy. Well, quite frankly, our species dying off wouldn’t be good for the economy either. Dah!
       At least with the economy, we invented it and since it isn’t working we have a responsibility to change it. We need to shut it down and create a new one. Go back to just caring for ourselves and forget the quest for money. But that’s a topic for another article. The climate was created by a higher being and we shouldn’t change it. To just survive with the climate we should be working within the laws of nature.

To illustrate why our leaders can not solve these types of large and complex problems, we need only look at their attempts to improve public safety that is endangered by speeders. One would think that this should be of crucial consideration to politicians, but it jeopardizes their political job security.
       Ontario certainly has a history with photo radar. Back in 1990 the then-premier Bob Rae applauded photo radar technology for slowing down speeders. It reduced speeding by 15 to 42 per cent in under a year. But it also lightened the wallets of speeders by $19 million in fines, stirring up resentment the Tories were only too happy to exploit in the next election.
       In 1995, Harris’ Progressive Conservatives defeated the NDP. Harris fulfilled an election promise by doing away with photo radar.[9]

So if our leaders can’t even stop speeders which is a major problem everywhere, how can they even think about eliminating the causes of climate change? That’s how ineffective and helpless our politicians are in governing us. If they actually did what is necessary, they would be voted out and no longer employed. We can’t blame them for not doing anything because nobody wants to be unemployed. This is another example of a simple flaw in our system and it reflects one of the gravest flaws of our democratic and electoral processes.

In reality, the problems like stopping speeders are only the tip of the iceberg. There are other problems that are so prevalent in our society that we are constantly being bombarded with them in the news. Because they are so numerous, we aren’t even going to try to list them. And what is interesting is there is nothing our politicians nor the people can do to fix them. In spite of all the laws that have been legislated, things just keep getting worst. As we have been so often told, these events have been going on throughout history.
       How then can we ever solve these serious problems? Governments just keep throwing money at them, but strangely, things don’t get any better. The only thing that gets bigger is our debt.



Problems that can be solved with money aren’t problems;
True problems are ones that cannot be solved with money.


Ever heard of the financial stresses that existed way back before Ontario was a province and Canada was a country: the “Panic of 1837″, the deep economic depression of the 1880s, and the worldwide economic downturn of 1896. And, besides that, all the governments are broke. This is just one reason why people today are sensing that something is going wrong. We need to look for another leader who can help us.

The Flood

As the book of Genesis tells it, God made a covenant with the survivors of the Flood, agreeing that He would never again drown mankind which was considered to be so wicked that it could not be saved. (Genesis 8:21) Maybe He made that covenant because He knew that the nature of man would eventually put itself into a position of self-destruction.

Think of God as the landlord of a house (the planet Earth) that He filled with tenants like us (mankind). It was a beautiful house and God entrusted the tenants to take care of it. But these tenants were wicked and they started to destroy the house through their own greed and selfishness. And even though He has reasoned with them for a long time, they just continue on their course of blatant destruction. What would you do if you were the landlord? Would you evict your tenants before they completely destroyed your house?

God originally created this earth as a paradise, and He entrusted mankind to take care of it. We have now destroyed that paradise: by poisoning the air, the water and the soil. All for the sake of profit. Mankind has shown Him, over and over again, that we can’t do it without Him?
       In order to accept God as the leader to save this planet, it goes against everything most of us have been taught throughout our entire lives. All those falsehoods and untruths. It takes courage to go against all the beliefs of your relatives, your friends, your business associates. It takes courage to go against all that you have learned from your teachers and mentors. But we have to do what is right.



All truth passes through three stages
First, it is ridiculed;
Second, it is violently opposed;
and
Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

– Arthur Schopenhauer 1788-1860


One of the most beautiful features that God has blessed us with is the right of choice. We can choose to be courageous or we can choose to be wicked. It gives us the power to decide our own future. Our own fate.
       Oddly enough, most people given the choice to follow God or continue making their own choices on the road to destruction, would pick the latter. People don’t want to have to follow God even if it means their survival or that of their children. That’s exactly what happened before the Flood.

“Look! I am making all things new.” — Rev. 21:5 

Without that courage, when the end does come, you will only blame people like us for not trying hard enough to convince you before it was too late.

You can have hope. But all the hope in the universe and $2.00, will get you a cup of coffee.



“We have seen the enemy . . . and it is us.” 



© 2017, David Huffman

SOURCES:

1. Environment and Climate Change Canada
https://www.ec.gc.ca/indicateurs-indicators/?lang=en&n=FBF8455E-1

2. Canada’s population estimates
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/150617/dq150617c-eng.htm

3. CITY OF OTTAWA:. LONG-RANGE FINANCIAL PLAN III 2006 (PART 1 AND PART 2)
Economy and Demographics, page 20

4. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle
https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/greenhouse-gas-emissions-typical-passenger-vehicle-0

5. Annual safety reports | City of Ottawa
ottawa.ca/en/residents/transportation-and-parking/road-safety/annual-safety-reports

6. Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollutants in the City of Toronto
Toward a Harmonized Strategy for Reducing Emissions
Prepared by:
ICF International
in collaboration with Toronto Atmospheric Fund and Toronto Environment Office
June 2007

7. Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
https://www.c2es.org/international/history-international-negotiations
and
United Nations Climate Change conference
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Climate_Change_conference

8. Stepping Up to the Climate Change Challenge, Perspectives on Local Government Leadership, Policy and Practice in Canada
Edited by Susan M. Gardner and David Noble © 2008, page 2.

9. Photo radar lite lets speeders off easy, by Steve Collins, Metro published May 10 2016

Posted by: righthandblink | January 11, 2017

So, you profess to be a Catholic

So, you profess to be a Catholic

It is truly amazing how many people brag about being a Catholic. So I have to ask: Was it a conscious decision that you made, or are you doing it just because someone else told you too? Like you inherited it. We’ll get back to that later.

Religions are generally treated like they were grocery stores. You only go to the one that has what you want. If it doesn’t, you just don’t go. You pick and shop at another one.
     We as human beings tend to pigeonhole people. I guess the modern day term is profiling. But it is bigger than that. Unfortunate as it may seem, Muslims get lumped in with those like Osama bin Laden and the 911 terrorists. Catholics get limped in with pedophiles, sex abusers and child molesters. They also get lumped in with those of authority who attempt to cover over theses indiscretions (by secretly moving the guilty parties to a new parish, providing a cover-up story and pretending that everything is acceptable to their principles and doctrines). Because of that we tend to believe that it is also acceptable to God. Every religious organization has its problems but this one is global and been going on for decades.

There is a story about Sodom and Gomorrah that applies here. The men of Sodom were wicked, gross sinners against God. Why? Lot had two angels visit him and the men of the city—the men of Sodom from boy to old man, all of them—surrounded the house in one mob. And they kept calling out to Lot and saying to him: “Where are the men who came in to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we may have sex with them.”
     Because of that, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah by making it rain sulfur and fire—destroying both cities, the entire district, including all the inhabitants of the cities and the plants of the ground.

If the actions of the men in Sodom was unacceptable to God, one has to ask oneself “Is an organization that permits such behaviour acceptable to God?” When you take your children to school or church or Sunday school, do you ask yourself if they will be safe?
     If your answer in “NO” to either one of those questions, then should you not distance yourself as far away as possible so as not to incur God’s wrath? Would you really want your children, or your family’s children, to be associated in any way with those people?
     It’s not as though you can tell the pedophiles from other people. They aren’t marked or labelled. Or do you sincerely believe that God will forgive those who continually abuse his laws and mock him? If this happened back in Christ’s day, He would have probably turned those pedophiles into pigs and shooed them off a cliff. He definitely wouldn’t have secretly moved them to another congregation and let their legacy continue.
     In spite of the number of priests that have been exposed and convicted, in spite of the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Catholic church has spent on settlements and legal fees, the problem is as prevalent today as ever.
     If your children won’t be safe, the trauma they could experience will be with them for everyday of their entire life. And the blame for it should be attributed not to the abuser but to you, for exposing them in the first place. How are you going to live with that? Or do you really care? Maybe you just don’t have the courage to change it.

Personally, if I was a Catholic, I wouldn’t tell anyone. I would be too embarrassed and ashamed to admit that to anyone. But it takes a lot of courage to stop believing in something you have known all your life, especially if all your family and friends still do. It’s terrifying because you could be profiled or even ostracized. But your children would be safe.
     Some won’t change because they are afraid of their priest. I don’t know why, the priest is only human. Finding out their beliefs is as easy as giving them a simple quiz about the Bible.

At Exodus 20, verses 2 through 17, you will find The Ten Commandments. We are going to keep this simple and only deal with two.

Commandment No. 2
“You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them nor be enticed to serve them.”
     You can chop down a tree and cut it in half. One half you carve into an image you can worship. The other half you chop up and use for firewood. Kind of silly huh? The Catholic church is full of carved images. God requires exclusive devotion so you can’t worship a carved image, in spite of what excuse your priest uses.

Commandment No. 3
“You must not take up the name of your God in a worthless way, for God will not leave unpunished the one who takes up His name in a worthless way.”

     Look at the first line of the Lord’s Prayer, or the Our Father’s Prayer. That prayer is located at Matthew 6:9 in your Bible. In the first line, It states, “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.”
     Since we are to sanctify God’s name, what is it? Just as Lord is not a name, it is a title as you know from the House of Lords in England, then God is also a title. How do we know? Reason this, the Hindu religion has three million three hundred thousand gods. How do they differentiate between them all? By each one having a name. So how do you differentiate the Hindu gods from your God? . . . By His name.

Here’s another one: Do you know why they didn’t baptize babies back in Christ’s time? It’s because babies can’t make decisions so how can they decide which church or religion they want to follow? They aren’t suppose to make choices. They’re babies. Choosing what religion to follow requires education and reasoning ability. Babies don’t have that capability until they grow up. So any religion that baptizes babies can’t be approved by God. All it does is inflate their membership rolls.

There are other points you can use to question the beliefs and edicts of the Catholic church, or for that matter any religion, but those should be good enough to start.

Back to the original question: Are you a Catholic because you want to, or because someone else told you to? It’s a choice. Your choice.

To find out what God wants us to do, just read the Bible, or study it with someone who professes to follow what God wants us to do and can show it to you in the Bible. Being a “Christian” literally means following the way of “Christ.”

 

 

 

 

Posted by: righthandblink | January 8, 2017

Exponential Growth

Exponential Growth

Our home on this planet has a biosphere that is finite and fixed. It cannot grow. And if the economy is part of and utterly dependent on the biosphere, the attempt to maintain endless growth is an impossibility. Let me show you why.

Steady growth over time whether it’s the amount of garbage you make, the size of your city, the population of the world, anything growing steadily is called exponential growth. And anything growing exponentially has a predictable doubling time. That would apply to GHGs as well.

Here is an example of a system analogous to the planet. It’s a test tube full of food for bacteria. The test tube and the food are the planet. The bacteria are us. We’re going to add one bacteria cell to the test tube and its going to begin to divide every minute. That’s exponential growth. So at the beginning there is one cell. One minute there are two. Two minutes there are four. Three minutes there are eight. That’s exponential growth. And at sixty minutes the test tube is completely packed with bacteria and there’s no food left. So we have a sixty minute growth cycle.
       When is the test tube half full? And, of course, the answer is fifty-nine minutes. At fifty-nine minutes it is only half full but one minute later it is completely full. So at fifty-eight minutes it is twenty-five percent full. At fifty-seven minutes its twelve and a half percent full. At fifty-five minutes of a sixty minute life cycle its three percent full.
       So lets suppose at fifty-five minutes one of the bacteria says “hey guys I think we’ve got a population problem.” The other bacteria would say “Hey Jack what the hell have you been smoking. Ninety-seven percent of the test tube is empty and we’ve been around for fifty-five minutes.” They’d be five minutes away from filling. So bacteria are no smarter than people.

At fifty-nine minutes they’d be saying “oh my god, Jack was right. We’ve go only one minute left. What’ll we going to do now. We’d better give that money to those scientists. Maybe they can pull us out of this.” But the world, the test tube, is full. How can they possibly add any more food or space to that world. They can’t. They can no more add food or space than we can add air, water, soil or biodiversity to the biosphere.

This is not speculation or hypothesis. This is straight mathematical certainty. And every scientists will agree with this. We are already past the fifty-ninth minute. So all the demands for relentless growth is a call to accelerate down what is a suicidal path. And by focusing on growth, and more growth, we fail to ask the important question. Like: how much is enough? Are there no limits?

Over-population is the single most important problem related to climate change and also relates to the depletion of global natural resources.
       Over-population is an example of exponential growth. It took all of human existence to reach a population of one billion early in the nineteenth century. But in less than two centuries it shot almost straight up to reach past 6.8 billion. Each time the population of the planet doubled the people who were alive at that moment numbered more than all the other people who have ever lived. But now we are also living more than twice as long as people did in the past so our numbers and longevity alone mean that as the most numerous mammal on the planet we now have a very heavy ecological footprint. It takes a lot of land, air and water to support us and keep us alive.
       As such our planet was only designed to support a global population of about four billion (half of what there is currently). We need to establish a zero population mentality until the natural world can clean itself. Then, if we didn’t learn anything, we can start all over again.

At a recent meeting of all the province’s financial ministers with the federal government, they called for more growth in this country with money being pumped into “infrastructure” (roads, bridges, parking garages, etc.). The goal is obviously to kick-start the economy, but this tact will only contribute to more use of cars, and trucks, as well as the production of more GHGs. Those infrastructure funds could be used to fight climate change, help with the redesign and redevelopment of our cities; even with the money from the Mars project. We should be designing smaller cities, downsizing, so that we don’t need cars. We aren’t balanced.
       Are we really concerned about climate change? Just like a magician, on one hand we subsidize the oil industry but, on the other, we bring in carbon taxes and cap-and-trade taxes.

Problems that can be solved with money aren’t problems;
True problems are ones that cannot be solved with money.

Governments just keep on spending, but strangely, things don’t get any better. The only thing that gets bigger is the debt. Ever heard of the financial stresses that existed way back before Ontario was a province and Canada was a country: the “Panic of 1837″, the deep economic depression of the 1880s, and the worldwide economic downturn of 1896.

The Crisis is Real, however . . .

The Chinese symbol for crisis is made up of two parts, danger and opportunity. The opportunity comes from recognizing that we cannot continue on the same path that got us here. We have to reflect on how we arrived at this moment. Search for the root causes of the problem so that we can search for ways to avoid danger and discover new solutions that are truly sustainable.

§ § §

Mankind created the economy. If it doesn’t work, we have a responsibility to change it. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

The biosphere which is composed of air, water, soil and biodiversity was created by God.

“You can’t solve a problem with the same intelligence that created it.”
– Albert Einstein

Posted by: righthandblink | December 28, 2016

Murder at 11 Wellington

Murder at 11 Wellington

Disaster struck Parliament Hill late on February 3, 1916. The bitter cold played havoc with rescue attempts and the freezing of fire fighting water lines. Reports indicated that the fire raced quickly but by early morning was mostly under control, although there was another outbreak.
       Confusion reign on Capital Hill with the city full of war refugees and soldiers – French, American, British, German – many standing in the cold watching the inferno.
       “Who’s in charge?” He asks of the first person he finds in a uniform.
       “Renault, … Inspector Louis Renault, head of the Dominion Police (DP). He’s over there,” pointing.
       “Renault? I’m Ferguson. George Ferguson, special investigator from the Attorney General’s office.”
       “Yeah, you can see I’m a little bit busy.”
       “I’m not here to be a bother. I need to know if everybody has been accounted for. Who’s missing?”
       “It’s a bit early to tell.”
       “Is there a team searching for bodies yet?”
       “They started a couple of hours ago, even though the rubble is quite hot. We’ve set up a temporary morgue across the road at the Dominion Police offices. Check with the coroner, a guy named Fiennes. He should be there.” Looking at his watch, “I have to get back anyway so I can introduce you.”

Due to the weather, the buildings had already cooled enough for the Fire Marshall to start looking to confirm suspicions of arson and possibly find bodies. Extra constables were brought in to help with the search and they were receiving assistance from the local police and the army.
       In the morgue, introductions seemed almost automatic as they do in times of crisis. Staff Sergeant Lacelle was already with Fiennes. Seven bodies were lying on individual stainless steel tables. The coroner was looking forlorn.
       “Preliminary autopsy results have identified the seven bodies that appeared on your list of missing staff,” he said, “but they just brought in another two bodies.”
       Ferguson looked at Renault.
       Fiennes continued, “There is obviously something underhanded going on here. The last two had their hands and feet tied. They were gagged. And it appears that their heads were hooded. What’s going on here?”
       Renault said, “At present, that’s classified; as will be your autopsy results. Eyes only to my attention. Understood?” Fiennes stared at Renault. He understood.

Back in Renault’s office, Ferguson couldn’t take it anymore. “Are you going to let me in on what’s going on, or do I have to pull rank?”
       “Ok, ok, ok. Lacelle, shut the door. . . . What I am going to tell you two is top secret. Not even the Prime Minister knows. Absolutely top secret, and classified. . . . During the evening last night, there was a meeting on the Hill ‘bout the war. A highly sensitive, very secret meeting. I can’t emphasis that enough. The meeting was to discuss the Canadian war commitment: topics ranged from staff changes, troop buildups, code books, new armaments design, production figures and manufacturing locations. They were also going to discuss intelligence and counter-intelligence operations.
       “What are even more sensitive are the names of those who attended that meeting. Sir Albert Edward Kemp, Minister of Defence, Sir George Halsey Perley, Minister of the Overseas Military Forces and John Douglas Hazen, Minister of the Naval Service. There was also a Dominion Police constable Jacques Vanaire present acting as a body guard and providing security.
       “Our staff has already interviewed their families. Kemp and Vanaire are still unaccounted for. Perley and Hazen had left the meeting early, but we don’t know what happened to the others.”
       Ferguson was going to speak but Renault held up his hand and said, “Let me finish.”
       “The House was in session last night. My staff is continuing to meet with families of those who were known to have been in the House. We expect to have a complete list by tonight. The list the coroner had been only preliminary.
       “I have also had the Ottawa Police confirm that all hotels and motels registrants within the city have been accounted for. Some may have been visiting or on a tour.”
       Right then loud knocking at the door and a flustered man in uniform burst in. The Fire Marshall, Jake Cameron.
       “Search efforts were initially concentrated in the area of the DOD Ministry office. When we look for aspects of arson, we look for the obvious. In this case it is reversed. Nothing’s there.”
       “Jake, what are you talking about?”
       Jake sat down and took a moment to pull himself together. “Due to the nature of the files and documents that the Defence department handles, they are kept in steel ring binders, old steel filing cabinets with combination locks and steel bookcases. But they’re all empty. Well at least most of them. . . . Most of the files appear to be gone. Disappeared. Flew away. Poof . . . It also appears that a cigar bomb was the ignition source that started the fire in the reading room, and I have a feeling that it was a diversion.”
       Ferguson said, “That missing information would certainly be of interest to German intelligence, and that ties in well with what we were starting to suspect and already know.”
       Renault repeated himself, “Jake, before we continue I have to say that everything related to this discussion has to be classified. It’s top secret. To my eyes only. . . . We have two bodies in the morgue that had their hands and feet tied. It looks very much like we are dealing with sabotage. The Germans are here.”
       Ferguson said, “Your group has been keeping a watchful eye on German activity in Canada and monitoring ‘enemy aliens’ especially those who have been identified as secret agents.”
       “Well that is true, probably more so than most people are aware.” replied Renault.
       “May I suggest, due to the situation, we issue an alert to immediately increase surveillance? I agree that this fire is probably sabotage and who knows when we will find out what they accomplished. We as yet don’t know what else, if anything, they may have done but we can’t wait to find out. We have to act now. They may be long gone.”
       “That’s a good idea,” replied Renault.
       “As well, we also need to monitor potential escape routes like the airfield, the bus and train stations and the waterways for any German activity,” continued Ferguson, “and can we get updates on all these activities as soon as possible.”
       To Lacelle, Renault stated, “Round up the usual suspects.”
       “If these unknown suspects somehow got through the Hill security, and into that meeting and then absconded with all those documents. . . . Those documents didn’t just fly away,” said Ferguson, “but I don’t think that they would have chanced getting it all out during the mass exit during the fire. The risk of getting caught would just be too high. So how did they get the stuff out? Have you done a complete search of the grounds?”
       “Not yet, there has just been too much to take care of,” replied Renault.
       “Let’s get a couple dozen constables and search for footprints leading away from the Hill, all the way down to the Ottawa River bank. We know there are going to be countless tracks from fire fighters all over the place but maybe we can find tracks leading away. Those files had to be heavy and would affect their walking in all that snow. We will start on the far western edge and sweep north to the river, then east to the canal, and back around.”

Sometime later, the frustrated search party walked south along the canal up to the lockmaster’s office and storage area. To the west of that building there is a small concrete block building which looked as though it was built right into the cliff face, maybe it was a storage shed. The area between the office and small shed is covered with footprints and a set of tire tracks. At the entrance door to the shed, they found blood in the snow.
       “The door’s locked.” said Lacelle.
       Ferguson yelled, “Break it down.”
       The inside was dark and as they entered they tripped over something. The light from a flashlight showed that it was a body. An Ottawa police officer. Shot dead. They all paused and stared at the far wall examining an old iron gate through which one can see a tunnel heading west toward the Parliament Buildings.
       “Ok. Where now?” asked Lacelle.
       Both Ferguson and Renault shouted their epiphany at the same time, “The train station.”
       Renault said, “Sergeant Brierre, take four men and get into that tunnel and find out where it goes. I need to know where it comes out. Look for anything that will help us determine how many there were. Maurice, we also need to know how long it takes to make the trip. Time yourselves. The rest of you to the train station.”

As they walked to the station, Ferguson and Renault threw ideas back and forth.
       “The simplest way to get away would’ve been to drive a car or truck, but this operation was well planned and they couldn’t count on the weather. A bad snow storm, like last week, would foil everything. Same for a bus.”
       “The ice would have stopped them using the river and the canal.”
       “A snow storm would close any airfield. The train is the only option.”
       “On top of all that, the whole place is crawling with police, firemen and the army. They would have had a plan already in place to get out fast, before things got bogged down. It’s been eighteen hours since the fire first started. That would put them down at the lockmaster house between ten or eleven last night. About fourteen hours ago.”
       “We’ll have to find what trains have left. My guess is that they would target Montreal, then Halifax. I’d be looking for a ship or freighter to Europe and Halifax is the only place this time of year with water access. Unless they tried for New York.”
       Renault said, ”The train station has always been under surveillance. But we got the army to station troops at strategic points around the city, one place being the train station. The man in charge of the army unit is Lieutenant Glen Bainbridge.”
       “Lieutenant, we are looking for those responsible for the Parliament fire. We don’t know how many there were. We believe that they have with them large containers of some sort. Like trunks or duffel bags. The quantity is unknown. They are probably Germans. Search everywhere. Question everybody especially any on duty after midnight last night.”
       “Contact us through my office.”

After leaving the train station, Ferguson met Renault at the Hill’s Café next door to the Dominion Police Offices. They sat in a booth at the back of the place out of earshot of curious onlookers and reviewed the train departure schedule as they ate.
       Renault asked, “Do you think they would just hole up in a farmhouse or something?”
       “Probably not. If they think they have gotten away with it, their handlers will want what they took as soon as possible. It could affect the outcome of the war.”
       “We could use it to our advantage. Let them think that they got away with it, but change all the codes anyway.”
       Ferguson said, “But the problem is with all the other stuff they got. We can’t change that. Troop numbers, production figures and manufacturing locations.”
       “Ok. So they are probably going on a train to Montreal, through to Halifax. On that we can agree.”
       “Get the army and local police to monitor all points en route to Halifax. We’ll issue arrest warrants and photographs of those we suspect. Include that they are considered armed and dangerous,” said Ferguson.
       “Sergeant McGrath is in the DP offices as we speak questioning suspects that had already been brought in, trying to find others, and will bring us a list of those who appear to have vanished. He has had informers scouring the streets and hangouts since early this morning.”
       “Renault, there are a number of questions that needed answering,” said Ferguson, “and I don’t want you to think I am casting a veil of suspicion over your organization, it’s just that we can’t assume anything and the hell with anybody’s pride. Understand? I really don’t know who to trust. Somebody is feeding somebody information. See for yourself, here’s a list of questions that have popped up.” He showed Renault a page in his notebook.
       While Renault was perusing the questions, McGrath mysteriously appeared through the cigar smoke, “We have narrowed the list to four people. They were all seen yesterday, but for some reason, they are not around today. Nobody seems to know why: Heinrich Strasser, Howard Koch, Conrad Veidt and Torben Meyer. This may also help. It’s a telegram from Signals branch that have been monitoring all radio transmissions. Seems that the army’s code-breaking section broke a German agent’s cipher that they thought might be of interest.”
       Renault read the telegram, “‘Operation proceeding. Shipment en route. Arrange transport.’ . . . . Time-stamped 7 a.m. this morning. Sent from the Château Laurier.”
       “Inspector Ferguson?”
       “And you are?” as he looked at another uniform that appears through the smoke.
       “Captain Isaac Singleton, aide to Major-General Sam Hughes. On behalf of General Hughes we would like to extend our complete co-operation and assistance. Can you give me your latest status report?”
       “Thank you Captain. We believe the suspects have escaped Ottawa by train and headed east possibly to the coast. About an hour ago, the train stopped somewhere outside of Halifax, near a crossing at a place called Milford Station. Someone pulled the emergency cord. According to onlookers, a number of passengers got off the train and loaded some large trunks onto the truck that was already there, obviously waiting for them. Then they took off. Details are somewhat sketchy but the local police are questioning the remaining passengers and have sent a car to attempt to follow the trail from where the train stopped. Milford Station is not far from the coast.”
       “This war isn’t contained just in Europe,” expressed Singleton, “We have information that may coincide with your case.”
       Sitting down, he continued, “Here’s the story: Dartmouth police are investigating concerns received from neighbours about three men who had quietly moved into a vacant house without the owner’s permission. Folks noticed that the men avoided even the most casual contact with the community, and slunk back and forth from the house through the woods rather than travelling the main roads. Their behaviour aroused suspicions that the three were German spies or fugitives from other crimes. Fear of German spies has been common since the early days of war.
       “The investigating constable, who went to the house with three local men to back him up, came face to face with one of the occupants, who fired two shots at the constable. He’s dead.
       “The three strangers slipped away during the confusion. Witnesses described them as between thirty and forty years old, well-dressed, with plenty of money to spend on provisions.”
       Ferguson looking at Renault said, “There may be more going on here than we realize.” then looking at Singleton, he said, “We need to get some more manpower on the ground searching for these guys.”
       “That’s why I’m here,” said Singleton, “there are two Battalions of the Nova Scotia Rifles 106th Battalion stationed in Halifax; and the No. 2 Construction Battalion, The Black Battalion, is in Truro. Both groups are waiting for deployment overseas. They’ve been sitting around and could use some action.”
       “As you can see here on the map, this road, County Road 224, runs almost straight from Milford Station to Sheet Harbour. If we make the assumption that they are headed for the coast, that would be our best guess. Can you deploy those troops along the coast between Halifax and Port Dufferin just north of Sheet Harbour. Maybe we can still intercept that truck. What are the odds that they’re planning to rendezvous with a submarine?”
       “We need to get the navy to patrol along the coastline north and south of Sheet Harbour.” Pausing Ferguson said, “You wouldn’t be able to get a plane in the air, say from Halifax, and monitor the roads for that truck? We also need some troops at the Halifax harbour, just in case. And at Sheet Harbour.”
       Singleton smiled, “Done. Done. Done,” then left in a hurry.
       Ferguson asked “When can you have them in place?” but he was already gone.

The waiting was torturous. It seemed like hours, but it was only minutes. An update from the constable at Milford Station arrived. According to the passengers interviewed, four men had left the train while it was stopped. There was a car and a truck waiting, each with their own drivers. They took six large trunks from the train. Once the vehicles were loaded, they went north.
       Looking at the map, Ferguson commented that County Road 224 goes north from Milford Station but then turns south toward the coast.
       Singleton telephoned with the first report, “No word yet but we’re airborne. We got a privately owned aircraft out of Halifax. We put a radio operator and observer on board. Presently they’re following County Road 224 toward Sheet Harbour. Reports are now being passed to the troops on the ground about vehicle movements. Troops have been dispersed and are working their way along the coast.”
       “Make sure they know that they are looking for a car and a large truck.”
       Singleton had just hung up when the phone rang again, this time directly from army intelligence, “The navy had two frigates in Halifax harbour. Together with a number of smaller craft they are now patrolling along the coast around Sheet Harbour.”
       The troops and police from Dartmouth had already arrived in Sheet Harbour. While monitoring the harbour, they recognized the three men who shot that constable and escaped capture. They are located in a boat in the harbour. Police and the army are holding back and keeping out of sight.
       “Thank goodness it is day-time. It would be a nightmare to attempt to locate those vehicles if we had to do it in the dark.” Francine, Renault’s secretary, was making another pot of coffee when the next report came in from Singleton. “Located a car with a large truck on 224. Wait . . . Are we lucky, they just turned off into a farm just north of Sheet Harbour. Troop transports have been notified and are ten minutes behind.”
       The troop transports had stopped on 224, blocking the lane from the farm that joined the road. After the troops had encircled the farm buildings, they found the truck and the car hidden in the barn but the suspects and the loot was gone, just disappeared, again. The plane that had been circling couldn’t see anything any more because it was getting dark and visibility was far from good.
       Ferguson ordered the soldiers to hold their positions at the farm and at the harbour, but to stay out of sight.
       The clock was ticking. Everyone heard this imaginary tick-tock, tick-tocking in their ears. It was now dark in Nova Scotia and in Ottawa.

The observers in the harbour waited patiently. There was only one left on the boat. Two had left a while ago. They were being shadowed. When anybody left the area they assigned one man to shadow and, in a bit of inspiration, another to walk ahead. The plan was for the two watchers to alternate positions. When the shadow charged ahead, the point man would fall back and take his place; and they’d go on switching back and forth throughout their shift.
       By this approach, they followed the suspect to a bay just south of Sheet Harbour where they waited. Not long, for others came along. They were lead back to a small row boat.
       Once they loaded their gear, the army pounced. After the arrests were completed the perpetrators and the evidence was sent on the train back to Ottawa, under heavy military guard.

Back in Ottawa everyone had gone home. It was a clear night. Ferguson stood at the window staring at the burnt out hulk across Wellington Street. He and Louis were both smoking cigars and enjoying a well-earned libation of single malt, Old Tennis Shoes. They were alone in the office.
       “Those two guys, Perley and Hazen, who left that meeting early before the fire started, we should put them under surveillance. And their aides. They’re not above suspicion. Nobody is. They may have known what was going to happen and got out. I’ll leave that with you, Louis.”
       “Those unanswered questions you showed me all point to someone inside the Dominion Police passing on information or providing information to a third party. Could be a mole working for the Germans?”
       Ferguson said, “Well, Louis, we’ll just have to wait and see.        That’s a whole other story.”

§ § §

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

© 2016, David Huffman

Posted by: righthandblink | December 28, 2016

The Great Escape

The Great Escape

 

Old Macd was lying on the ground. Blood was oozing out from under his head.

“Is he dead?” asked Roscoe.
Tom said, “I don’t know. . . . How does one tell?”
“Hold a mirror under his nose. If it doesn’t fog up, he’s dead.”
“No fog.”
Death by pecker.

The escape committee had worked out every detail. The tunnel option had been rejected. Climbing the fence wasn’t an option. The final choice had been a two-pronged attack: some how putting the old guy out of commission while keeping the fence gate open. It would take precise timing and coordination; something that turkeys weren’t especially known for.
       The plan was to distract Old Macd when he came into the paddock to feed them. A diversion would lead him away from the gate where he would be attacked by Delta Force composed of eight of the largest and strongest turkeys. This hit team had tried a multiple pecking attack on a couple of chickens with positive results, depending on your point of view.
       The diversion was crucial. It had to distract Macd before he could lock the gate. Just in case, a backup plan had been devised where a special kamikaze squad would be sacrificed by plugging the gate open with their bodies.

The plan had worked. The onslaught flocked out of the gate amongst a cry of glee. Freedom at last.

There were casualties. The eggs had to be left behind. But to them turkeys, heaven was a better option than thanksgiving dinner.

© 2016, David Huffman

Posted by: righthandblink | May 24, 2016

Dragons and Demons and Monsters

Dragons and Demons and Monsters

The realization of the importance of what you’re about to read blossomed while watching “The Force of Nature” with David Suzuki. Suzuki said that the challenge we face as a species is to get things right. We has been around for how many centuries, and yet he was implying that we still don’t get it? Why?

First we have to recognize that our world is shaped by such things as gravity, enthalpy, the speed of light, the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Those are forces of nature that impose limitations on the way that we can live. Another is the biosphere, the zone of air, water and land that is the source of all we need to survive and flourish. So protecting its health should be our highest priority.

How important is the air we breath? Most of the parents of this world wouldn’t put a plastic bag over the head of their children and seal it tight. Of course not. What a stupid comment? Right? But isn’t that what we’re doing with climate change. It’s the same thing.

It doesn’t appear to be any different from when they used to throw babies into the sacrificial fires at the temples to appease the gods. Speaking of gods, its really weird, a few centuries ago people believed in dragons and demons and monsters. We really believed in them. And if we thought that we pissed them off, we would do anything – giving them jewels and gold, sacrificing virgins (human beings) – we’d do anything to appease those things.

 

Well today, it may appear that we don’t do that anymore. We came to realize that they were figments of our imagination. But what we did was to go out and replace them with other figments of our imagination called the economy, capitalism, free enterprise, currency, the market, and now we bow down before them just like the way we did before with dragons and demons. Just read the financial pages. The economy is the bottom line . . . Well, it’s not. We ultimately have to face up to the laws or forces of nature.

We invented these things – the economy, capitalism, free enterprise, currency, the market. They aren’t real. So, if they are not working, then we’ve got a responsibility to change them. What a novel idea! And yet we act as though they are somehow immutable and we have to bow down to satisfy them. If they are not working, then we’ve got to change them.

Our great boast is our intelligence. Well, we are a clever animal, aren’t we? But what intelligent creature knowing that air and water are sacred would then proceed to deliberately dump our most toxic elements into them. We are air. We are water. Whatever we do to the air and to the water, we do directly to ourselves.

Our economic woes started here in this country just after we arrived. But they have been going on in Europe for centuries. It’s like we are carrying this “bad aura” around like a black cloud over our heads. It’s like it’s stuck on us, like a plague of sorts. It would be accurate to say that this problem on ours has been with us ever since our ancestors got kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Things may have improved somewhat when Noah was floating a tourist company transporting around bored couples while the rest of the world was in liquidation, but then it started all over again.

We have been in this country of ours over 270 years. Financial stress started here shortly after we arrived, way back before Ontario was a province and Canada was a country. Ever heard of the “Panic of 1837”, the deep economic depression of the 1880s, and the worldwide economic downturn of 1896. And that’s only a few.

It Still Continues Today

More recently, in the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister of Britain, initiated a massive program of privatization. She sold off the steel industry, water, electricity, gas, telephone, airlines, and oil. In 1986, financial and banking services were deregulated. It was called “The Big Bang.”

We all know that unregulated markets have been implemented globally. We have them here. The nature of unregulated markets is to be volatile; bubbles are allowed to inflated and then eventually they burst.

In 1987 there was Black Monday, markets fell spectacularly. It was the largest one day percentage decline in stock market history.
In 1992 there was Black Wednesday when currency speculators made fortunes against the pound.
In 1997 there was the Asian Contagion (Meltdown) where in one year $600 billion disappeared from the stock markets of Asia.

And then, in September 2008, the financial markets imploded. President Bush made a famous comment “The market is not functioning properly. There has been a widespread loss of confidence.” He compared the market to a person with feelings, someone who woke up on the wrong side of the bed and fell off, was having a bad day but tomorrow would be feeling better.

On September 15, 2008, Lehman Bros filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Yet only one week later it was announced that workers in their New York office would share in $2.5 billion in bonuses. It is estimated that wall street firms paid 18.4 billion in bonuses paid last year [2008], the year of the crash.

“Despite the court of populous rhetoric on taking on the fat cats and standing up to the little guy, saving main street and not wall street, we are witnessing a transfer of wealth of unfathomable size. It is the transfer of wealth from public hands, from the hands of government collected from regular people in the form of taxes into the hands of the wealthiest corporations and individuals in the world. Needless to say, the very individuals and corporations that created this crisis.”
— quoted from “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein

We’ve had over 270 years of politicians creating debt and pumping it into the economy. Ok, sometimes it worked. But only for a short time. Generally, it doesn’t work. In all the confusion, someone is getting rich. The only thing that improved or got bigger, was the government debt.

§ § §

RACE TRACK POLITICS

At one time, many years ago, I had a conversation with this politician about finances. He explained what it was very difficult to determine a budget and to manage the governments finances. He said that they wanted to spend the money where it would have the greatest benefit for the economy. But that was difficult to determine.

He then used an metaphor to explain the predicament. He compared the problem to going to the race track and not knowing which horse to bet on. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose.”

I just stared at him in disbelief . . . Then I said, “When I go to the race track, I bet with my own money. When you go to the race track you aren’t betting with your own money. You are betting with my money. You’re not loosing your money. You’re betting and loosing the taxpayers money!” 

§ § §

So these “institutions” of the economy, capitalism, free enterprise, currency, the market, don’t work. It is understandable since we invented them without any respect for the laws of nature. We’ve got a responsibility to change them. If they are not working, then we should change them.

That money that the governments had borrowed increased the public debt and was originally borrowed, so we are told, on the premise of helping us. It had to go somewhere. We’re told that it gets invested in the “economy,” but the public is not getting rich from it. But someone is?

The privatization that Margaret Thatcher started back in the 1980s continues today. In Ontario, the latest public-owned company to go onto the chopping block is Ontario Hydro.

 

Renewable, Green and Healthy . . . for a Sustainable Tomorrow!
© 2016, Right Hand Blink

 

 

Posted by: righthandblink | May 24, 2016

Ask the Right Questions

Ask the Right Questions
It’s all about doing your Due Diligence

What is Due Diligence?
You probably already know about due diligence. You can see its application in
real estate. You want to buy a house, but you don’t want to make the wrong choice or get stuck with a lemon. So you do some research. You hire a home inspector to check out all the physical aspects of the house. What is good and what needs replacing, and when. You will also hire a lawyer to check out everything legally, like the people you are buying the house from actually own the house, that the taxes and utilities have been paid and are up to date. That’s called doing your “due diligence.”

Well, due diligence actually applies to everything we do in life. Granted, as we get older we have the wisdom that we have gained through experience and a lot of bad decisions, such that as we get wiser, the amount of time we spend on due diligence gets shorter, and probably more accurate. Sometimes it is a pain in the neck to do the due diligence because we just want to go ahead and do it. But you remember all those emotional impulsive decisions that you made once, and lived to regret. We say that we don’t care if it is right or wrong, but we will care when we have to cope with the consequences. If we’re lucky, it will turn out alright. Ask yourself a question: Is your due diligence, just like flipping a coin? If it is, then isn’t that a lot like gambling?

So make a note of the following:
If you are going to do something but you don’t know if it is right or wrong, then don’t do it. Because if you do, no matter what, you’ll be doing it for the wrong reason. Always do your due diligence first.

And when you use due diligence to solve a problem, the first thing you want to do is define what the “Real Problem” is. We are going to look at two examples:

FIRST EXAMPLE
A presentation on TED by Jane Chen on her new product ‘Embrace’, a low-cost infant warmer.

Chen’s concern was about all the babies that were born in India and died, especially premature babies, or premies, as a result of there not being enough incubators. Incubators are very expensive so she designed this special wrap-around blanket that could perform the same function as an incubator but at a fraction of the cost, US$25.

I was really impressed with what this young girl had done but something bothered me about it. For a while I couldn’t put my finger on it. I ended up realizing that in spite of her good intentions, Chen wasn’t solving the problem, she was actually making it worse, magnifying it. It’s unsustainable, and sooner or later, something is going to happen to fix the problem, and, believe me, none of us want to look at or understand what that is going to be.

I’m not a bad person and I love babies just as much as the next person. Thermo-regulation is only one component of the challenges that premature babies face, especially in India. There was no thought given to what would happen next after stabilizing the temperature.

What she had unintentionally done was to give credence to those people and allowed them to believe that it was alright to continue getting pregnant and producing more and more children in a world where our population is growing at an exponential rate and is the biggest contribution to climate change and greenhouse gas production on this planet.

Chen hadn’t completed her due diligence and determined what the real problem was. And that is very unfortunate.

SECOND EXAMPLE
The Ottawa School Breakfast program

There was an article in the Ottawa Metro News on October 23, 2015 titled “School breakfast program turn 25.” The program was started in 1990 when teachers and school staff were noticing that lots of kids came to school hungry. The effort began in 1990 in 25 schools serving 1,000 students and now operates in 175 Ottawa schools, serving 13,500 students.

The teachers and school staff originally started providing food out of their own homes but that no longer provides sufficiently for the program. It has became unsustainable. The only way this program is able to continue is with special fund-raising events.

In an era where sustainable is ubiquitous, does it not seem strange that we continue to develop programs that end up being unsustainable. It would be appropriate for the Breakfast Program to be financed and paid for by the parents of the children being fed. Easy enough, but the far greater problem is why are there twenty-seven (27) food banks in Ottawa?

Which Charity to Donate to?

Once someone told me that the way to pick a charity to donate to, is to find out how much of their donations actually go to the ones they are trying to help. Not bad. But that can be misleading for charities can be classified into two types: one that just helps people who are in need, maybe the victims of a flood, and the other, who identifies a problem in society, then decide to go out and solve it.

Any charity or non-profit that is established to combat a problem, should first take the time to determine what the actual problem is. Such that, once that problem is solved, then that charity or non-profit is no longer required. Then, and only then, will we have solved a problem. If that isn’t done, whatever program that is put in place will end up being just magnifying the problem, with it getting bigger and bigger. That is unsustainable.

If a charity has existed for many years and doesn’t solve the problem that they were originally designed to solve, then they didn’t choose the right problem to solve in the first place. They should re-evaluate its objectives and goals.

What are we doing wrong?

In both cases those involved at the beginning just saw “a problem” and took it upon themselves to do something about it. Commendable. If they would have taken the time and asked the right questions they may have taken a different path.

What they did shouldn’t surprise us. When anybody attempts to solve a problem today, their first instinct is to throw money at it. Being in a capitalistic society, we have been conditioned to know that if we throw enough money at a problem, it will go away. The governments keep throwing money at problems. But we have found historically that this type of solution doesn’t work.

Problems that can be solved with money aren’t problems;
True problems are ones that cannot be solved with money.

 

The success of any project is always based on what kind of results are forecast as compared to what kind of results are attained. From the perspective of making sure that nobody goes hungry at school, the program could originally be considered a success. However, we have to ask what the impact of the project was on the problem: whether the program eliminated the problem or did it change it in any way? Matter-of-fact, the program just ended up getting bigger and bigger, with the end result being that the problem was never solved. So then we have to conclude that the focus of the program was incorrect and there was an error in identifying the original problem.

Now we should apply our due diligence experience to solving the climate change problem. If we as the right questions we will probably get a lot of answers that we may not like. But if we are honest with ourselves, we know that if we apply those answers, then we will solve the problem.

§ § §

 

Renewable, Green and Healthy . . . for a Sustainable Tomorrow!
© 2016, Right Hand Blink

 

Posted by: righthandblink | May 20, 2016

The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven
How you can survive climate change.

Are you concerned about where we’re going? A lot of people are. We all have the sense, this intuition. We’ve seen a pattern out there. We sort of glimpse it here and there. That this is really bad news. A lot of the stuff that is happening in the world.

To say that climate change is a big issue is to put it mildly. Its implications are massive. As with most things in life, the response and solution should be proportionate to the problem. Given the scope and characteristics of global climate change, the solution can be nothing short of a massive cultural transformation. But the experts, like Richard Heinberg, say that we are already past the time where massive cultural transformation could be implemented.

In a perfect world, the atmosphere would harmlessly absorb all the waste we dump its way. There would be no climate change. If only the world were perfect.

In a second-best world, we would simply and easily do what is required to reduce GHGs, and adapt to the changes to which we are already committed. Climate change would be a pest, but we would deal with it, quickly and relatively painlessly. If only the world were even second-best!

In the real world, it’s not so simple. Because there are so many complexities and dilemmas inherent in the climate change issue, solving it isn’t so easy.

We all know the consequences of climate change only too well – the storms, the floods, the heat waves, the droughts (which will definitely affect food production), and all of their associated effects. They all, in one way or another, contribute to human pain.

We know that climate change is a result of the increase of temperature of our atmosphere and we know that the most widely-understood component of climate change is mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. We are a society still largely dependent on fossil fuels for powering our factories and fuelling our cars, and we still have lots of cows, despite their bad habits. Greenhouse gas emissions continue.

So we do know what to do to solve the problem. The solution is quite simple – stop burning fossil fuels and stop eating beef. Simple enough. However, no one is prepared to do that because of what they feel would be the eventual adverse affects to the economy. In Ottawa, the City Council can’t even decide to stop speeders by using photo radar. Why? Because history has shown that making such decisions about public safety, although it is a crucial consideration, jeopardizes political job security. It’s political suicide. If they can’t so much as solve some traffic problem, then how on earth are they going to solve climate change! That’s why we keep hemming and hawing around, vacillating. Waiting for someone to come up with a magic pill – or in this case, a bullet.

“The problems that science is attempting to solve
were originally created by science.”

With that reality in hand, how does a single individual person prepare for what is going to happen? There are some genuine issues here, and although these issues may be complex, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the basics. You don’t need to dress it up in a lot of jargon. Most people are smart enough to get the basics. And the basics are what you need to start making sensible decisions in your life.

What are the basics? To best describe the basics, we have to find out what is important to you. Have you ever thought about what is really important to you? Today many people will say that the important items in their lives are smart phones and computers, maybe jobs, and cars.

However, two hundred years ago things were different. What was important then was family, health, food, water and survival, maybe Indians and gunfighters. You know, the basics. Things that we now take for granted. The consequence of this lost has been that family, health, food and water are now taken for granted, and what we take for granted today might not be here for our children. That is a consequence that some of you really don’t want to live with? They are still important to us but we have lost our basis for comparison. Let’s explain.

Baseline for Comparison

We need to look at where we came from, to see where we are and where we are going. We all need a Life BASELINE to be able to compare our present day with the past. Usually our only knowledge about the past comes from our older grandparents. Automobiles have only been around for just over one hundred years, yet we all believe that they will be around forever. We need a reality check.

For you to understand this concept, I will use an illustration: A young fishing boat captain out of Boston was recently asked how the fishing was. She said it was great. She commented that they only had to go north from Boston to the waters off of Nova Scotia to catch 200 pound marlin. To her, life was good. 

Then we talked to an old sea captain and when we mentioned what the younger captain had said, he laughed at her comments. He said that they “only had to go one mile outside of Boston harbour, and the sea was teeming with fish. 200 pound marlin, blah! We’d throw ‘em back ‘cause they’re too small.”

With a baseline for comparison, we see that today things aren’t so good anymore – the changes we have gone through to get to the present day have not created as good a world as we thought we had. Things aren’t as good as they once were. Oh, maybe we don’t have to worry about Indians anymore, at least for the most part, but at best, things today are mediocre. A baseline gives us that reality check. And what is important is not what you don’t see today, but what it was that caused the change to occur since your baseline was first established.

Your Own Personal Life-boat Strategy – The Magnificent Seven

You need to provide the essential services that you and your family will need in the event of a crisis. You have to think about essential services, real essential, what is really important to you.

It’s easier than it sounds.There are seven basic necessities you need: shelter (including clothing), food, water, energy (electricity, heat and power), transportation, security, and healthcare. We call them “The Magnificent Seven.” There used to be only five, but we have added security because of the times we will be in, and healthcare because of our aging population.

 

You must be able to provide, for yourself and your family, these necessities by yourself, or have access to them, without any reliance on external forces, such as, and especially, the government (we’ve already showed you why you can’t rely on the government – see above). Don’t get concerned about oil. We have only had oil for the last 150 years, so, once-upon-a-time, these necessities were available to us, albeit, not in the form that we would really want to use today.

You should use these basic necessities, the Magnificent Seven, to create your own personal life-boat strategy.

 

Renewable, Green and Healthy . . . for a Sustainable Tomorrow!
© 2016, Right Hand Blink
Posted by: righthandblink | May 20, 2016

We have seen the enemy

We have seen the enemy . . .
and it is us.

 

This cartoon reminded me of a story about a conversation I once had with an architect. She had a bug up her butt and starting off telling me about politicians and who can trust them. I have no idea where this topic came from, but we both agreed with a number of comparables about why we can’t trust politicians, in specific, and governments, in general.

How politicians tell you one thing, and do something else. And they always have a good reason for making a change, even though they end up loosing billions of dollars. How they say they will solve this problem or that problem, and promptly forget, usually after they get elected. Politicians continue to borrow huge amounts of money, increasing our debt (which they never talk about), and pump it into the economy, or more literally, put it in a pile and burn it. Both have the same effect because taxes keep going up but nothing else seems to change. We still have the same old problems.

Have you noticed that there is concern about consumer or householder debt in this country but there is never any mention of the government debt? Aren’t the leaders suppose to set an example for us? Aren’t we actually following that example? I remember in my teenage years believing that I didn’t have to get a “good” job because I could just live off debt – something I learned from the government.

My architect friend was especially concerned about the stalled economy. The dialogue got rather heated; you know, emotional.

The conversation slowly changed direction and we started to focus on everyday problems: schools, busing, families, children, that sort of thing. This all progressed to global issues like the environment and climate change, over-population, pandemics, the refugee crisis, and such. It was an interesting conversation. You could see that she was upset about the number of problems that face the human race.

Then a funny thing happened. She said that all those big problems we as individuals cannot solve. She summed up our discussion with “We’ll have to leave those problems up to the politicians to solve.”

I was floored. I was speechless. All I could do was laugh. She was adamant on one hand that politicians couldn’t be trusted to do anything, then, on the other hand, she said that we’d have to leave the most gravest problems of mankind for the politicians to fix. She accepted no responsibility for what has happen to this planet and she wanted absolutely no responsibility for fixing any of the problems that man has created. All I could do was laugh.

This cartoon sums it up rather appropriately: “We have seen the enemy . . . and it is us.”

Don’t get me wrong. We need governments for roads, healthcare, police and fire services, and the like. But governments, although necessary, have assumed a position of where they have forgotten about the people and are focused on the economy.

And last of all, the most terrifying phrase in the English language; “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help!”

© 2017, David Huffman

Posted by: righthandblink | May 19, 2016

Has Peak Oil Occurred Yet?

Has Peak Oil Occurred Yet?

M. King Hubbert

The guy that basically is most renown for the peaking concept was a person named of Dr. M. King Hubbert. Hubbert was probably the most famous and influential geologist of the Twentieth Century. He worked for the Geological Survey. He worked for oil companies like Shell in their research division.

In 1956 at some industry convention Hubbert made a startling speech combined with a bunch of graphs that basically said that early in the 1970s, the United States was going to peak in oil production and once we reached that point it didn’t matter how much we drilled or how fast we drilled or how much the price of oil was, we would basically start in decline.

Few people took him seriously in spite of the fact that he was so universally respected. If you go back and you read the U.S. petroleum history, one of the most incredible ironies was that in 1970 Dr. Hubbert’s reputation was in shambles. His critics said all the time, at least in print, you remember that old guy that said we were g oing to run our of oil in the early ‘70s. Look, the United States has never produced as much as this year.

That was the year it peaked. It seemed to take the better part of a decade or more before the oil experts in the United States looked back and said isn’t this interesting, we clearly peaked.

Went on to predict a global production peak for the 1990s which probably would have been accurate if not for the oil shocks of the 1970s which drove oil prices so high that they destroyed demand and a result of that oil production actually decreased for the first time in history during the first part of the 1970s and this had the effect of delaying the global peak for ten to fifteen years.

M. King Hubbert, said “. . . an economic model based on infinite growth but fueled by finite natural resources is doomed“. Oil is a finite resource and without it, everything we hold dear, our way of life, is just not sustainable. Ironically, there’s also a saying from oil-rich Saudi Arabia that goes: “My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel.”

Peak oil “discovery” in the United States was in 1930. The U.S. peak “production” was in 1970. Global oil discovery was back in 1964 and there have been no ‘significant’ discoveries of oil since then. To
understand the term “Peak Oil,” think of it as in terms of the flow rate of crude oil; the point at which they can’t pump any more, any faster, out of the ground.

Peak production occurs about 40 years after the peak discovery. You can only observe peak production after it has happened, like looking in the rear view mirror of your car.

Oil was first discovered in 1859 and it took us until May 2005, 146 years, to use up the first trillion barrels of oil. What is shocking is that we will use the second trillion up in 31 years, or 23 years from now. With no allowance for raising demand nor the difficulty for getting the more difficult stuff out of the ground.

So Has Global Peak Oil Occurred Yet?

Yes. Global production of oil peaked in May of 2005. That is the conclusion of Matthew R. Simmons, Chairman, Simmons & Company International, who determined the date for peak oil by analyzing actual production figures.

 

Coinciding with that, in the September 2005 issue of Scientific American, Chevron, one of the world’s largest oil refiners, ran a two-page advertisement saying. “It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil. We’ll use the next trillion in 30 years.”

That 30 years added on to 2005 makes it 2035 when Chevron predicted that we would run out of oil. Keep in mind that running out of oil only means that there won’t be enough oil to feed our voracious appetite. There will always be oil on this planet.In May 2005, the world was consuming 91 million barrels of crude per day (mbpd). If you divide the remaining one trillion barrels of oil by 91 mbpd and then divide the result by 365 to convert it to years, the answer is, again, the year 2035.

According to a report from the National Petroleum Council, July 2007, “HARDTRUTHS, Facing the Hard Truths About Energy” (a comprehensive view to 2030 of global oil and natural gas) “total global demand for energy is projected to grow by 50-60 percent by 2030, driven by increasing population and the pursuit of improving living standards.” A 50 percent increase to that 91 mbpd would make it about 140 million barrels per day, and, if they could pump that much, it would push that 2035 date back to 2024. Less than one decade away.

This same report indicates that the problem here is the decline of existing oil fields, and it’s a problem that gets very little public attention. Not only does the oil industry need to steadily increase total output to meet the world’s appetite for oil — by at least 50 percent in the next 25 years — it must also replace output that vanishes as existing fields get older.

The same shift is apparent in another report also issued in mid-June 2007 by the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Here the IEA statistics are startling. The agency calculates that non-OPEC fields have an average decline rate of 4.6 percent a year, with some fields — including many recent deepwater developments — declining at a stunning rate of 15 to 20 percent a year. This is yet another verification that in mid-2007 we had already passed global peak oil.

Yet for some reason, the IEA, and, for that matter, everybody, have refused to actually use the words “peak oil” to describe this year-over-year decline in the oil supply.

Fracking

Fractioning is a relatively new method used to remove oil and natural gas from shale. With the advent of fracking there has been an increase in the production of oil and gas in North America. They have been drilling hundreds of wells every month. Some experts say that the United State could be self-sufficient within 20 years, however, it should be pointed out that the increase is no where near of sufficient quantity to make us self-sufficient. Five or ten million barrels of fracking oil every year does little to quench our consuming 91 million barrels of crude per day (mbpd).

What is more discouraging is that a new well goes dry in 6 to 9 months and each well required 4 to 5 million gallons of water of which one million gallons becomes toxic and unusable. There is already a water shortage in the United States, so where are they going to you get the water and where are they going to put all that toxic water? These are serious problems. In our quest for the all-mighty buck, are we really going to trade energy for water? We can live without energy. We can’t live without water.

Cummulative Affect of Declining Oil Supply

It’s not the running out of oil that should be of concern. It’s the declining supply. The cumulative affect of declining oil supply can be illustrated with the formula: 1- (0.96 ^ 5). A 4 percent decline over 5 years will result in a total 18.4 percent reduction of oil on the world market. That’s in just 5 years. To give you some context, the oil shortage during 1973 that caused lineups at gas stations throughout North America, was caused by just a 4 percent constriction in the supply of oil. Imagine what a 18.4 percent constriction will do? This will probably be an end to the gasoline supply as we have come to know it. What gasoline that will be available will probably be reserved for government and military use.

Even if we are wrong as to the exact date, we shall be feeling the affects of the constriction long before the oil is gone. The constriction will probably strangle that’s left of our economy. If you wait until then to put your lifeboat survival plan together, your Plan B, it will be too late.

A peak in world oil production will also trigger a peak in world food production. Then we have to consider what is happening with climate change. As oil supplies are becoming scarcer and less secure, many countries are looking to other fossil fuels such as coal. New technologies can make coal much cleaner, but a large increase in coal use alongside continuing dependency on oil could magnify the greenhouse effect. In other words, peak oil is going to accelerate global warming.

Today, government’s goal is to build our economies and it is all based on growth. The father of the peak oil movement, U.S. geologist M. King Hubbert, said “. . . an economic model based of infinite growth but fueled by finite natural resources is doomed. Oil is a finite resource and without it, our way of life is just not sustainable. Ironically, there’s also a saying from oil-rich Saudi Arabia that goes: “My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel.”

Since petroleum is the life-blood of everything we do (and I mean everything), without it, everything (and I mean everything) stops. The eventual depletion of oil reserves and its far-reaching effects will take us and the next generation to a life that existed some 200 years ago.

 

Renewable, Green and Healthy . . . for a Sustainable Tomorrow!
 

© 2016, Right Hand Blink

 

 

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