What’s your slant?

Monthly archive

December 2018

Forensics, Fraud and Fairness

in The Life Slant/The Tech Slant by

*Jennifer Mnookin, Dean of UCLA’s School of Law recently released a research paper on “The Uncertain Future of Forensic Science.” To begin with, the “science” of forensics always had a goal, and that was to “scientifically” prove that discovered evidence supported the conclusion that a person was guilty of a crime. The intention was to convict citizens who had committed crimes, an altogether honorable mission.

Iniquitous Experts

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Japan Joins Pirate Whaling Nations

in The Life Slant by

*Japan has given its six months’ notice to leave the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and resume barbaric and inhumane commercial whaling.

Since 1987, Japan has hidden behind a thin veil of “lethal scientific whale research.” Not only has Japan produced no meaningful scientific discoveries in 31 years, but also, they have been selling whale body parts in the commercial marketplace.

By renouncing research and declaring commercial whaling as their primary objective, Japan now joins Norway and Iceland in their open defiance of international conservation law. All three countries are pirate whaling nations. Keep Reading

Delete Social Media

in The Life Slant/The Political Slant by
Delete social media

*The advent of social media was first welcomed as harbinger of world peace and connectivity. It’s creators put forward that an increasingly connected world would lead to a global society of peace and understanding. Borders would dissolve and national affiliations would be shed in favor of a new, global identity. We would be “Earthlings”, not Americans or Russians or Australians or whatever. Once disparate economies would blend and merge, lifting people out of poverty and enriching those who could tap these new markets. Isolated communities would become part of the global cultural zeitgeist.

Rather than moving humanity towards this utopian goal of a global, interconnected community, its proliferation and creep into every facet of one’s life made it a powerful and unchecked tool of misinformation, surveillance, and corporate psychology. It devolved into a laboratory of mass manipulation where sociological and psychological experimentation could be performed on an unprecedented scale. A powerful tool of propaganda and misinformation that has opened a whole new front of information warfare. In short, it has become the bane of modern existence and is doing significantly more harm than good to our societies, our institutions, and our collective mental health.

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Fighting For the Last Vaquitas, Sea Shepherd

in Reference/The Life Slant by
vaquita

*In the midst of a horrid Man made accelerating Sixth Mass Extinction, the direct action conservation movement, Sea Shepherd, is leading the charge to save the most critically endangered marine mammal on the globe – a porpoise call the vaquita.

This gorgeous 4-foot, 100-pound member of the cetacean clan (whales, dolphins, porpoises) is teetering on extinction.

Image credit: HuffPo

These secretive marine mammals reside in the upper Sea of Cortez near the mouth of the mighty Colorado River.

The vaquitas have been sideswiped by Man at every possible turn. For more than a century, Man made long lasting toxicity has poured into this United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage marine wonder. All life therein contains horrid poisons.

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General Motors – Change for the Sake of Change

in The Money Slant by

*How to succeed in business in the twenty-first century: Outsource as much as you can, to the point that the CEO makes over four-thousand times what the poor schlub doing the grunt work is paid. Ask the government for bailouts, and then make sure you have an excuse for not paying back all that you were loaned, by compensating the government with stock you know will never be worth the amount you borrowed. Concentrate your efforts to specific models or types of products as the future, even when you’ve suffered huge losses by betting on that model’s marketability, and your firm’s limited ability to make new models profitable (let alone work) before. Put all of your bets on unproven models, unproven technology and areas where your firm has limited experience and expertise, especially when your firm’s past experience with innovation is sketchy at best, and when your business has a track record of abandoning innovative thinkers. The American car culture is passing on. Read on to see why.

“That men do not learn much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”- Aldous Huxley Keep Reading

Teen Climate Activist Rallies The Children

in The Life Slant by

*What happens when the world’s leaders fail to act as empathetic reasonable adults? The children of the Earth are rising to the occasion as sentinels for Nature and their future.

In August, a 15-year-old Swede named Greta Thunberg began a solo climate protest by striking from school. That strike, Strike 4 Climate, has gone global. More than 20,000 students from 272 towns and cities in Australia, Belgium, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. have walked out of class. Keep Reading

Big Oil’s Deadly Atlantic Surveys

in The Life Slant by

*Last week, the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) approved five permits, or, Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHC) for oil and gas seismic surveys along much of the Atlantic Seaboard.

It’s the first oil and gas exploration in the U.S. Atlantic in 30 years.  The approval, which requires a final consent from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, has hideous consequences for millions of sea creatures.

seismic surveys
Sonic explosions demolish cetacean eardrums, which result in internal bleeding that leads to a slow and very painful death. Image credit: Alan Walter/Reuters

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The Democratic Facade of Russia

in The Political Slant by

*The Russian state operates on paper as a federal republic. Much like their democratic and parliamentary cousins, they have a distinct legislative, presidential, and judicial branch, hold elections, and have a constitution. However Russia’s erratic behavior in the international community, such as their brazen murder of Sergei Skripal and their intrusion into U.S. elections, have exposed them as something entirely different. They are effectively a kleptocratic oligarchy, with Vladimir Putin as its center, operating under the false facade of democracy.

The oligarchs are the 15-20 richest men in Russia and serve at the behest of Putin. They include high level executives at Russia’s largest companies, military and intelligence officers, and powerful government officials. The oligarchs use the resources and powers of the state to protect their wealth and enrich themselves by both legal and extrajudicial/illegal means. The whole bureaucracy of the state exists as a legal instrument through which Putin and the oligarchs operate with impunity. They can enact self-serving legislation, enforce bogus laws, prosecute and incarcerate rivals, seize property, illegally gather intelligence, control information and media, and make war under the pretense of legal, internationally recognized government activity.

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“You know what? Fuck It!” era of Politics

in The Life Slant/The Political Slant by

*We are now in the “You know what? Fuck it!” era of politics. This is being exhibited during elections and referenda and by politicians themselves as throwing caution to the wind – or simply blurting out exactly what’s on their mind rather than fudging and waffling.

The YKWFI trend can be good or bad, depending on your viewpoint, and you might be delighted with certain manifestations of YKWFI while despairing at others. These moments are not necessarily limited to one end of the political spectrum.

Brexit in the UK and the election of Donald Trump as US president are the two most obvious manifestations of YKWFI. This is not to insult those who voted leave or for Trump – indeed, for many people, to have the YKWFI moment in the privacy of the voting booth in either the EU referendum or the last US presidential election was not necessarily because of stupidity or paucity of intellect* or lack of serious thought and soul-searching before polling day. For many, the YKWFI moment was borne of desperation, of years of feeling neglected, of wanting change even if might seem unpalatable to others, of figuring their vote could lead to an outcome that was a risk worth taking.

Fuck It Politics

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Tightening the Tether on Tasteless Tech

in The Tech Slant by

*As economies have moved forward, more and more complex arrangements, instruments, and machines have come into existence. For example, the reason we can make music earbuds so small now is because of rare earth magnets, made of praseodymium, which is mined in the U.S., China, Russia, Australia, and India. Many of the resources needed to produce the inventions of our modern society are linked around the world. As I have stated on numerous occasions, we have been in a global economy since the East India Company of 1600.

Big Tech - Global Economy
Image Credit: The Economist

There have been several game-changers in economics, mostly two Industrial Revolutions, the revolution of the late 19th century when machines became essential to make other machines, and the more recent tech boom. Let’s review some of the industries that tech has affected.

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