Tag Archives: world order

Is Trump the Trumpet?

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Here-now is the space-time to speak out.

It’s hard to get my mind around: space-time.  The hyphen shows a single concept, but our minds treat space and time as distinct and essentially unrelated elements.  Not so.  Let me explain, before I get back to President Trump.  And why we need to do speak out, here-now!

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Mythos: Free Will, free choice?

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Humanity has long pondered the question of free will; and whether  chicken or egg came first. Like Xeno’s paradoxes the questions identify flaws in both language and logic.  What does Free Will (FW) really mean?

Mythos is the ancient Greek counterpart to logos (reason). The two sides of mind. Myths help us understand and live in this world. They carry a deep truth, even if the events are not factual.  This Atlantic article‘s title was “There’s No Such Thing as Free Will –
But we’re better off believing in it anyway.” A mythos.  It was “one of the most read and hotly debated Atlantic pieces this month. The galaxy of philosophical issues called “free will and determinism” is where morals and physics come together. In other words, it’s a subject that genuinely matters, and one that’s a hell of a lot of fun to argue about.”  Want to try?

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Water is vital for life; sugary drinks not.

“Please give us nothing but vegetables to eat & water to drink” Daniel 1:12

At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.  Daniel 1:15 (~600BC)

The book of Daniel, is not your typical religious text. It’s part of the Old Testament; part I of the Christian Bible. (In case you don’t know, part 2, the New, is a glorious story of redemption or being saved which may or may not be metaphysical.  It’s so hard to know with words, but the words are indeed very useful.  Which is why they survived.)

The core of the Old Testament is the 5-book Torah given to us by Moshe, our Father.  With no archeological evidence for Moses, could he be a scientific created of the Egyptian elite?  The timing fits with the reign of Akhenaten, the only monotheistic Phaoroh. After him, they reverted to the traditional Egyptian gods.  The speculation is that the religious monotheists established Israel as a colony of Egypt, allowing them to live in peace but away from the new regime of polytheism.

In contrast, Daniel reports a historical character. Like Jesus, Daniel’s story was written long after his death; in Daniel’s case hundreds of years.  The value of both stories is to remind of us deep spiritual and practical truths.  Such as diet health, and feeding our microbiota (bugs).  Eat your vegetables; don’t drink sugary drinks!

I found this pictures on Wikipedia; I hope they don’t mind me using it.  It highlights the simple but hard act of self-denial.  Rejecting sensual pleasure over health.  And his fellows behind him in the portrait show that that Daniel did not do this by himself.  We act best as teams.  And perhaps the result is the ability to go to the lion’s den, by himself.

Are you interested in following Daniel’s dietary advice, and tell me upon its impact on your health?  If so, the first step is: who is the team that will help you?   How can I help you?

And if you have the time, have a look at this project on vaccines as an educational tool.  And why am i vegetarian?.

Capital gains tax: “too blunt a measure”

Is this true?  Of course, it is – any single measure as compared to a carefully crafted range of strategies is needed to deal with the “Auckland housing crisis”.  The most important measure is to increase not only the quantity of housing, but also its quality.

The Housing & Health evidence is compelling: it can be a cost-saving investment, as well as improving health.  We need warmer and less damp houses, and make sure that we support the poorest to be able to afford enough energy.

So, why does the government not invest in quality housing?  The potential to design new communities always comes at a cost to the old.  And the benefits of the new not evident until it is built.  Can we re-design living around our biological needs, and not just profit?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs implies a certain standard set of needs that all humans need.  Shelter is but one of these, so why not design for the package of food, clothing, transport, and so on.  The main need now is connectivity for access to an incredible range of resources.

If we ask the question how can we most efficiently and effectively achieve this, the best answer till now has been the market.  The magic of the invisible hand that achieves optimal outcomes from individuals serving their own interests.  But new technology offers new opportunities; including to address the over-concentration of wealth in a hungry world.

One simple solution with profound impacts would be to move to a single financial transaction system for NZ.  This could make retail banks redundant;  the optimal solution?

The system would pay for itself by enabling a range of financial transaction taxes that would be collected seamlessly, replacing current income and sales taxes.  A capital gains tax, added to this regime, that would apply to the sale of houses (excluding first homes, unless over $2m) would be fair and appropriate way to reduce demand while the supply is built up.

Eating together: less cooking, more health and connection

Why is the standard unit for eating the household?  We have institutions that provide food to its inmates.  Sadly, the government just blocked a proposed law to provide breakfast and lunch for those who go to schools serving the poorest fifth of New Zealand children.  This is despite the OECD having advised that more redistribution of income would be good for the overall economy.

The primary concerns of maximising our time and our health are at a trade-off. We can optimise this by reducing the time we spend on preparing food.  If you are rich, you can employ people to provide you food.  (And we can all indulge in this luxury for one meal when we go to a restaurant).  But is there a community-wide way to reduce time in food preparation while improving the nutrition, and hence the health of the population?  If so, this would save all of us money, by reducing the burden of disease that we all pay for through our national health system.

Community kitchens provide food as a safety net to the homeless.  One reason for eating at home, is its convenience.  But if food could be provided as cheaply, as tasty, and also more healthy   – eating in a communal setting would meet many needs; especially for those with the least resources of both time and health.

Mass food production is usually with food that has had its nutrients processed out and additives to enhance taste or shelf life.  While this has provided cheap and tasty food, the adverse health consequences are increasing important as diet-related diseases account for large and increasing public health costs.  The other key aspect here, is that the food industry is such a massive enterprise.  Perhaps, the most powerful lobby in the US.

Can we change from food industry to food for health?  Can we develop communal eating options that can meet the needs of most people?  Perhaps the real question is why don’t we?

Happiness is…

…a formula that we can learn to solve, stated as: Happiness = Reality – Expectations.

A tweet widely twittered, the new unit of conversation.

Rightly said,

can change expectations by infinitely more than described reality.

Both levers for happy-ness.  The essence of its scale so fine, not a line, an exponential curve of mine, with value e by your convention.

Got it figured? Just change what you expect, if you wish to be happy. And be grateful.  Or as Buddha says, be detached from outcomes, focus on your efforts.  Mindful, Compassion with Equanimity.

Ebola: fetid transmission

Ebola could be considered a pandemic virus with the travel of cases across continents to the US; except that transmission has been limited to West Africa. The outbreak started in Guinea; reported to WHO on 23 March 2014; and  spread to four other West African countries: Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. Whilst Nigeria and Senegal seem to have contained the spread, the three other countries continue to show an increase of cases, as at mid September.

Ebola may be amongst the most fatal viruses for humans; but relatively easy to prevent its spread, as cases are not infectious until after they become sick; unlike measles or influenza that are usually infectious before full-symptoms. The 2003 SARS virus outbreak was controlled because most cases were not infectious before fever onset; with Ebola virus transmission looks even more restricted and requiring close contact with infected body fluids.  Of course, the virus could change at any time to become airborne! I am not sure if/how one estimates the probability of its doing so, but to me it seems more likely not to do so, but how can I say that?

Ebola virus was not ‘designed’ (or adapted) to infect humans as its primary host); bats being the prime candidates.  Fruit bats, if it matters to you.  SARS is believed to have also originated from bats (probably via the civet cat in markets that really should not exist in the 21st century).  We are at risk of more new animal virus as human activities encroach on other species, and the kinds of contacts humans have with dead animals.

It is hard to predict what will happen with the spread of this virus in these three countries in West Africa; many other countries are at risk of importing a case; or perhaps a new outbreak from ‘bush meat’.  But it seems possible that the outbreak will be contained by changes in behaviour that are currently enabling spread: at root the lack of trust in government, inadequate health resources, and ritual practices.

The world has been slow to respond, and the response could have been more strategic.  The costs to health systems yet to be measured, but if the result is improvement in health delivery, perhaps the outbreak has a silver lining.  Meanwhile, are you and your family ready for the next  emerging disease outbreak?  Remember, it will be human reactions and not the virus that causes the most damage.