In Support of Nuclear Energy

 In Support of Nuclear Energy

When ever nuclear power is mentioned there are many that question is use

In Support of Nuclear Energy

By Megan Wallin 

Controversial Power Source

Utter the word “nuclear” in a discussion about the environmental impact of alternative power sources, and you’re likely to garner some attention. While people are happy to indulge solar power, wind power, and other less controversial sources, nuclear energy has a less neutral effect—to put it mildly.

Is It Dirty And Dangerous?

The assumptions regarding nuclear energy range from “dirty” to “dangerous,” with only a scattered few endorsing its use. But, what is nuclear energy? Few can define it. The best answer I can give is, nuclear energy is essentially a zero-emission energy source generating power via fission. Through the process of splitting uranium atoms, heat released by this fission, creates steam to spin electricity-producing turbines which then produces energy for human use.

Research Shows Nuclear Energy Is Viable 

Nuclear energy reduced carbon dioxide emissions by at least 476 million metric tons, according to a 2019 Nuclear Energy Institute study. Energy.gov compares this type of impact to “removing 100 million cars from the road and more than all other clean energy sources combined.”  Additionally, NEI confirmed the efficiency of such practices, stating that wind farms require more than 250 times as much land in order to match nuclear energy plants, and solar plants require 75 times more land. When stored properly, nuclear energy  is also a space saver due to its density. Six decades worth of nuclear energy produced in the U.S. would fill fewer than 10 yards of a football field. And it can be reprocessed.

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DANGER AHEAD: Cyber Hacking On The Rise

Cyber threats to world economies is growing daily

DANGER AHEAD:

Cyber Hacking On The Rise

Colonial Pipeline was hit with a devastating ransomware cyberattack in May 2021 that impacted computerized equipment managing the pipeline. The attack forced the company to shut down approximately 5,500 miles of pipeline in the United States, crippling gas delivery systems across the Southeast and Mid Atlantic states and panicking consumers.

By William Jones and D.S. Mitchell

Terrorists. Criminals and Cowboys

The ongoing digitization of all aspects of modern life should be concerning.  Governments world-wide are facing new challenges to keep both business and government secrets private in an increasingly threatening world of cyber criminals, state sponsored terrorists, and cowboy hackers. With increasing online and data usage, government databases have become primary targets for hackers and other cyber terrorists and criminals. Recent events have shaken the U.S. government and citizen confidence. Hackers can compromise data and as Chris Krebs said recently, ransomware attackers are the greatest threat to our digital world. Krebs served as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the United States Department of Homeland Security from November 2018 to November 2020.

Cyber Warfare

Cyber warfare is defined as actions by a nation-state to penetrate another nation’s computers or networks to cause damage or disruption. It may also include non-state actors, such as terrorist groups, private companies, political or ideological extremist groups, criminal organizations, and activists.  Cyber attacks  have been a cause of concern for years, as the frequency of data breaches has increased along with their complexity and (economic, military, and political) implications, including elections and military catastrophe an ever growing possibility.

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Celebrate World Bee Day May 20, 2021

Celebrate World Bee Day May 20, 2021

May 20th is World Bee Day

World Bee Day Celebration May 20, 2021

Purpose

The purpose of the international day of celebration is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators in the ecosystem.  World Bee Day is celebrated on the birthday of pioneer beekeeper Anton Jansa, May 20, 1734. There’s good reason to pay attention to the bees. There are over 20,000 bee species and most are in decline. This includes the American honeybee. The honeybee is however a small fraction of the bee population.

Keystone Species

Bees are keystone species — ecosystem engineers that are pivotal in supporting healthy habitats for birds, insects, and mammals in ways not always recognized. They pollinate wildflowers and other plants, which is crucial for maintaining genetic diversity of the ecosystem. They also help create and shape natural areas where other animals live and find food.

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Digital Revolution: Kinda Awesome

Digital Revolution: Kinda Awesome     

Trevor K. McNeil

 

Going Digital

Everything is going online, the so-called “Digital Revolution” generally considered to be as significant as the Industrial Revolution. For good or ill, more things are moving online from correspondence to media. The terms “old media” and “new media” going from cultural terms to more significant distinctions.

On the Bright Side

One of the positive impacts of the shift to New Media, and the general reduction in production costs, is the opening up of popular media to traditionally marginalized groups. People are more able to make their own media, free of the censorship, stigma and traditionalist bullshit still rife in the studio system. The sort of attitudes that would have female nominees banned from the red carpet for not wearing high heels.

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Reading The Fine Print Before You Sign

Reading The Fine Print Before You Sign

READING THE FINE PRINT:

17 Phrases To Understand Before You Sign

By D. S. Mitchell

Red Flags

Most consumer contracts and service agreements contain a lot of legaleeze. Best selling author Bob Sullivan warns consumers to read the fine print. Red flags should go up when you see any of the following common phrases in a contract you are about to sign.

1.)Free”  We all know nothing is free. You have probably heard the expression, “if you aren’t paying for the product-then you are the product.” The meaning of course is that your personal information is probably being sold to advertisers. OR, maybe it is free now, but you may be committing to pay later. WHICH, takes us to:

2.) “Free Trial”  You often see phrases like this one, “Free 30 day trial.” (We won’t charge your card until the end of the trial period.) Do you really expect to remember to cancel on the 29th day?  Corporations have spent millions of dollars to learn that the average consumer will not cancel before the end of the 30 day period.  

3.) “Reduced Price for Six Months” This one falls in the same category as ‘introductory price offer’ and ‘free trial’ scam.  $59.00 a month for six months may sound great in January, but if it is going up to $150.00 in June is it actually a good deal? You are the only one that can decide that. And again, will you remember to cancel before July 1st if you decide that the high monthly price after the six month period isn’t worth it?

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OPINION: A New Economic Model

OPINION: A New Economic Model

The rust belt cities of the United States are reminders of the dead and dying ndustrial Revolution

OPINION: A New Economic Model

By Trevor McNeil

Standards Of Study

Strange as it might seem, there is a standard in the study of history that sources used should be the most recent. This is because new things are being discovered all the time and what we knew about a particular event or context in 2001, can be radically different than what is now known in 2021. Philosophy and more theoretical disciplines have no such standard. Which is the only way to account for the continuance of some of the less applicable ideas. Economic theory is no exception.

One, Or The Other

Looking at the modern political landscape, and one would be left with the impression that there are only two ways of doing an economy. Laissez-faire capitalism as laid out by Adam Smith in his book The Wealth of Nations and communism, as dictated, no surprise there, by Karl Marx, in several, mostly unreadable books. Wars have been fought over these ideas, and continue to be cause of strife and division to this day. Despite most people not really understanding what they are.

Persistence

As evidenced by the slogan, on the communist side, “smash capitalism” without specifying which of the three primary schools of capitalism to which they are referring. On the other hand, those who support a free-market capitalism have been blinkered enough to refer to nations such as Norway as “communist.” An absolutely hilarious accusation considering the system is most accurately described as a “corporate democracy.” It is a little known fact that the main reason so many Norwegians speak such good English, roughly 80% of the population being fluent, is the nations massive export industry, the majority of the buyers being from English-speaking nations.

Old Ideas, New World

Basically both schools of thought are wrong in my humble opinion. At least in terms of modern society, root cause of their obsolescence being the time when the ideas were formulated. The Wealth of Nations was written soon after the kick-off of the Industrial Revolution, and was at least partly an attempt to explain it. The Communist Manifesto was written in 1848, and was one of the main criticisms of the effects of the Industrial Revolution and a low-key rebuke to Smith.

The Unforeseeable 

They are both important documents in terms of understanding basic economic theory, and how we got to where we are. Neither, however, have any real bearing on modern society. Neither Smith nor Marx could possibly predict nor comprehend the massive change technology has made in the last couple of centuries. To the point that the rise of the Information Age is largely seen as a Digital Revolution, on par with the Industrial Revolution in terms of its overall impact. The production based economies in which both Smith and Marx were writing, either no longer exist or are rapidly dying. The term “disruptor” coined specifically to refer to this process.

Hybrid

In the post-Digital Age, with old industry corroding into rust belts and an increasing number of people working for themselves, particularly online, how does one now engage with the new reality? Might I suggest a hybrid approach, similar to that practiced by the Calvinists. In this system, there is an emphases on service-based businesses, usually run by an individual or family, working as hard as they can to make as much money as they can to put back into the business. Paying the employees, if there are any, more, while putting money into the economy and providing a needed service to their fellow citizens, and taking care of their own needs. Just a thought.

https://www.calamitypolitics.com/2018/11/20/the-revolution-wont-be-live-streamed/

https://www.calamitypolitics.com/2019/02/08/economic-inequality-a-danger-sign/

Care of Personal Information

Keeping private information private. Knowing when and what to shred.

Care Of Personal Information

D. S. Mitchell

Old Magazines

I was in my home office going through old magazines trying to decide what to send to the recycler and what to keep for later reference when I flipped through a February 2016 Reader’s Digest article that offered information on shredding. Most importantly they described when and what to shred.  It seems our greatest danger is through ‘mass hackings’ of our credit information. No matter how cautious we are our greatest danger is as victims of other people’s carelessness, or bad intent.  But, every bit of protection we can develop should help keep our private information private. Kelsey Kloss article suggested the following things, we as individuals can do to protect ourselves.

Take Special Precautions with:
  1. Receipts: If you aren’t saving the receipt for taxes or other purposes and you made your purchase with a credit or debit card shred it. The receipt shows the last 4 digits of the card number and possibly your signature. Those clever crooks can use receipts for fraudulent returns and benefit from your store credit.
  2. Prescription Labels: Sometimes they are stapled to the prescription bag or on the bottle. Labels frequently list your name, date of dispensing, name and strength of the drug and dispensing pharmacy.  Crooks can use the information to refill prescriptions or steal your identity.
  3. Pet Medical Documents: Keep records of major events for the pets health history, but shred the rest.  The paperwork will show your name, address, phone and the pet’s name, which according to many studies to be the most common computer password choices.
  4. Airline Boarding Passes: Shred after landing. The boarding pass will show your name, your itinerary, and a bar code that in some cases will show your frequent flier number, which would allow thieves to “log in to airline accounts to view upcoming travel plans, check in to flights, and even cancel trips.”
  5. Return Labels: Shred free return labels that come in the mail and any envelopes showing your name and address. When writing a return address on an envelope omit your name. Identity thieves will use that information to collect more information from social media and piece together your identity.

Remember, any little thing we can do to help keep our private information private should be considered important. Do it, you’ll be glad you did.

 

DON’T THROW AWAY THAT OLD CELL PHONE

DON’T THROW AWAY THAT OLD CELL PHONE

Protect Your Home And Other Cool Things

D. S. Mitchell

More Uses Than You imagined

Today home automation and security are of growing importance. But between high start up fees, monthly costs, and the constant speed at which technology outpaces itself such technological upgrades can be expensive. Instead of buying something you will need to upgrade in a couple years, look to your old smart phone. Recent developments enable your old device to do a myriad of tasks. I have discovered a way to automate and protect my home with my old cell phone, an app, and a bit of ingenuity.

Step One: Choose An App

Choose an app that’s features are most important to your homes safety and find an app that’s going to best suit your needs. Once chosen download the app onto your current phone and your new one. Walk through the setup on your new phone, then log into the app on the old phone. Be sure to select “camera” rather than “viewer,” if that is an option.

Step Two: Mount the phone

Point your old phone’s camera toward whatever you want to watch and protect. The device will have to be connected to a power source since the phone will always be on, and you may want to purchase a cheap wide-angle lens to provide a wider view. Then you simply check the app on your new phone to periodically check in on your home.

More Things To Do With Your Old Phone 

Home security isn’t the only thing your old smart phone can do. Create a baby monitor. Much like a security system, you can turn your old phone into an affordable baby monitor. Set up the old phone in the baby’s room and use your new phone to Skype into their room. You can find apps to make this process easier.

Add More Storage

Cloud platforms are not your only photo storage option. You can delete all the apps on your old phone and use it for photo storage, freeing up space on your new phone. This is a great option for anyone looking to limit their online presence.

Set Up A Universal Remote

Your old phone can serve as the universal remote for all your home’s smart devices, like a central hub that controls everything. Specialty apps like iRule an link all your platforms together. All you need is the app, Wi-Fi, and an old phone that can connect to the Wi-Fi.

 

Facebook, AI, yi, yi

Facebook, AI, yi,yi

Facebook

Facebook would rather cover up, deny, and deflect than fix inherent problems.

Facebook AI, yi, yi

By Wes Hessel

Facing IT

One of the largest trends in technology today is that of “Artificial Intelligence” or AI. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines AI as “a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers.”

Predictive Models

Facebook intends to connect with our brain waves

Facebook intends to literally connect with our brain waves.

The idea of bringing technological “thought processes” closer to human thought pattern isn’t a surprising goal. In particular, to aid companies in  handling repetitive tasks. But, more deeply, companies want to use a predictive modeling approach, to statistically glean an anticipated decision, occurrence, or reaction. Imagine a virtual coin toss. Statistically, how many times out of 100, 1000, 10,000 or ten million will a flip result in a heads or tails outcome? Or, that you will order a Marguerita, not a Tequila Sunrise.

Fuzzy Logic

A “fuzzy logic” algorithm evaluates the truth values of variables. It is employed to handle the concept of partial truth, where the truth value is measured across a range. Standard logic indicates completely true to completely false. Such “fuzzy logic” and other similar algorithmic programming methods are being used in many aspects of our life.  It is used from traffic management (be it vehicle, data, or human) to security (physical and virtual) to that “smart speaker” sitting on your table.  One place most of us (at least it seems) encounter such “machine intelligence” is with the king of social media, Facebook.

Book ‘Em, Mano A Mano…

Often simple thinks like posting and sharing are made difficult due to FB AI procedures.

Simple procedures like post and share are complicated by FB artificial intelligence platforms.

Parts of our interaction with others through Facebook are “one-on-one” connections – Messenger and so on; others are more like broadcasting, such as the classic “Post” and “Share”.  But behind those various communicative methods are multiple “back office”-type operations. Artificial intelligence systems and similar procedures are used more and more to do things as “easy” as suggesting your friends “Tag” up to these complex structures. For example, such structures are designed to help security people keep social medias safe, monitoring for prohibited language, identifying illicit bots, hacking, or illegal enterprises.

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The Dangers Of Sugar

The Dangers Of Sugar

The dangers of sugar are not obvious. The danger comes with the amount and daily intake

The dangers of sugar are compounded by repeated use. Sugar works slowly, its devastating results often taking years to manifest themselves in measurable ways, such as diabetes.

The Dangers Of Sugar

By D. S. Mitchell

When I started writing this article, my intention was to write a quick easy read, nothing in-depth, certainly nothing scientific. Something along the lines of, “Ten Reasons To Kick The Sugar Habit”. That plan was quickly dashed as I read one scary article after another explaining the dangers of sugar consumption. If you are suffering from any of the diseases highlighted in this article, remember, you are not alone. If you want a better, longer life, it is time to take a look at your relationship with sugar in all of its malevolent forms. 

THE DANGERS OF SUGAR: PART ONE

Sixty-Five Pounds Annually

The average American consumes 65 pounds of sugar annually without even being aware of it. That information alone should be a heart stopper. The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day and women no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams). On average each of us ingests 19.5 teaspoons or 78 grams a day. Research on the dangers of sugar on health are ongoing, and new information is being constantly being uncovered.

Dangerous And Addictive

If there was ever any doubt about the dangers of sugar they are being put to rest by a series of scientific studies. Research is proving sugar is both dangerous and extremely addictive. A person who drinks one 20 oz sugary beverage every day will cut their life expectancy by nearly five years. That is,  comparable to being a regular smoker. If that fact doesn’t get your attention, read on, it gets worse, a whole lot worse.

Just As Bad

Sugar does a lot of damage to our bodies.  With all the negative news about sugar is there an alternative?  Some people say, “just use a sugar replacement.” Whoa.  Evidence is mounting that sucralose, saccharin and aspartame are just as dangerous as sugar.  Research shows that sugar replacements injure and destroy the essential microbiome in the gut.  Microbiome are the millions of microorganisms inside our bodies that help us stay alive.  These microbes protect us against germs, they also break down food to release energy, and produce vitamins.

Find A Garbage Can

To make it clear, sugar substitutes are just as bad as the real thing.  In addition to the physical damage products like sucralose do, they are also associated with weight gain and glucose intolerence-the very things people use them to prevent.  Those folks trying to cut down on sugar may be drawn to advertised benefits such as “maple syrup’s antioxidant benefits” or “honey’s healing power”.  Forget such misinformation.  Sugar is sugar, no matter what form it takes. I suggest that no one consume them.  Keep them out of the house.  If you have any of these sugar substitutes in your cupboard toss them in the closest garbage can.

Highs And Lows

The body’s reaction to sugar is like taking a roller coaster ride; an unending ride to extreme highs, followed by extreme lows, sending the body into a spiral of endless cravings. People report being “hungry all the time”. Descriptions include “being obsessed with food”, and literally feeling “addicted” to food. It makes perfect sense, because everything they eat and drink is loaded with sugar.

Addictive Cycle

High sugar intake sends the body into a crazy, roller coaster ride of ups and downs.

The danger of sugar is easy to describe, it is addictive, sharing all the highs and lows of  any other addictive drug.

The danger of sugar is easy to describe.  As the addictive cycle begins, say after you eat a piece of cake, a predictable pattern begins.  Blood glucose begins to rise.  Then, Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers is released, messaging that everything is “great”.  Meanwhile, if you are not a diabetic, your pancreas is busy releasing insulin into your blood stream to help lower the threat of rising blood sugar.  High insulin levels signal the body to store fat throughout the body, including the liver.  With the release of insulin, blood glucose drops.

Another Piece Of Cake

As the sugar high subsides, your brain begins sending signals that you are ‘hungry’.  The ‘false hunger’ signals kick cravings into high gear, demanding another piece of cake. Predictably, as you consume that second piece or cake, or cookie, the sugar driven roller coaster takes the body on another crazy, dizzying ride.

Mood Swings

The ups and downs of unstable blood sugar will cause a person to experience mood swings, fatigue, and headaches.  As described in the “addictive cycle” unstable blood glucose contributes to cravings, which begins the cycle of “false hunger”.  When the body is under stress, it immediately kicks into fight-or-flight mode, releasing large amounts of stimulating hormones.  Interestingly, the body has the same chemical response when it detects low blood sugar, created by the insulin response.  After eating a sweet snack, stress hormones begin to compensate for the crash, by raising your blood sugar.  Unexplained anxiousness, irritability, and even tremors often result.  By contrast, those who avoid sugar have fewer cravings, and feel emotionally balanced and energized.

Sleeplessness

Can’t sleep?  Thirty percent of Americans complain of insomnia, or interrupted sleep.  Sugar may be keeping you up at night.  Researchers have found that eating more sugar, along with less fiber and more saturated fat, is associated with lighter, more disrupted and less restorative sleep.  Insomnia has been connected to diabetes, obesity and heart disease.  This deadly trio of health conditions, is now being directly tied to sugar consumption.

Sugar And Mental Health

Consuming high-sugar products like cookies, candy and sugary drinks, are associated with a higher risk of depression.  Researchers believe that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysfunction, and inflammation may all be reasons for sugar’s detrimental impact on mental health.  Sugar in fact, could be making you sad and depressed.  Capping off a bad day with a comforting sugar laden snack may make you feel worse in the long run.

Increased Depression

A recent Columbia University study found that post-menopausal women whose diets were high in added sugar and refined grains were at a high risk for depression. Study participants, that ate more dietary fiber, whole grains, vegetables, and unprocessed fruits had a decreased risk of depression. In another study, men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than men who ate less than 40 grams per day.

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