My World of “Ought to Be”
by Timothy Wilken, MD

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Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Connecting Synergistically

Chris Lucas writes: Recognising the biases inherent within our current social organizations does require some education and openness, an approach allowing the free availability of critical information that is increasingly being prevented today by monopolistic media interests. Working together, rather than in opposition, can only increase the positive benefits to society as a whole. This synergistic fact is obvious after a little thought. Behaviours that tend to stifle or prevent people using their talents cannot enhance our overall lives, at best they can trade-off some values against others, usually leading to social divisions and a need then to resort to force to maintain the status-quo. A stressed 'master/slave' society cannot be regarded as a optimised one, thus it behoves independent scientists to look for and demonstrate better ways of political organization. The self-organizing ideas on which complexity science is based support (in principle) many similar (historical or current) forms of genuinely free social organization. If we understand that society itself requires cooperation to survive, then this empowers us to look more closely at cooperative effects in both human and ecological fields. This alternative (to the conflict based studies so dominant in the current life sciences), can be expected to show in stark relief the massive advantages of cooperation over conflict as a way of organizing our planet. To obtain these advantages however, this awareness needs to be globally disseminated, in such a way that the people of this planet understand that there are valid alternatives to the socially and environmentally crippling 'control freak' mentality evident within all our governments (in blatent opposition to their professed democracy), and the divisive company elites that they increasingly represent. (10/15/02)


Re-Examining: The Boston Tea Party

Thom Hartman explains: Conventional wisdom has it that the 1773 Tea Act - a tax law passed in London that led to the Boston Tea Party - was simply an increase in the taxes on tea paid by American colonists. In reality, however, the Tea Act gave the world’s largest transnational corporation - The East India Company - full and unlimited access to the American tea trade, and exempted the Company from having to pay taxes to Britain on tea exported to the American colonies. It even gave the Company a tax refund on millions of pounds of tea they were unable to sell and holding in inventory. The primary purpose of the Tea Act was to increase the profitability of the East India Company to its stockholders (which included the King and the wealthy elite that kept him secure in power), and to help the Company drive its colonial small-business competitors out of business. Because the Company no longer had to pay high taxes to England and held a monopoly on the tea it sold in the American colonies, it was able to lower its tea prices to undercut the prices of the local importers and the mom-and-pop tea merchants and tea houses in every town in America. This infuriated the independence-minded American colonists, who were wholly unappreciative of their colonies being used as a profit center for the world’s largest multinational corporation, The East India Company. They resented their small businesses still having to pay the higher, pre-Tea Act taxes without having any say or vote in the matter. (Thus, the cry of “no taxation without representation!”) Even in the official British version of the history, the 1773 Tea Act was a “legislative maneuver by the British ministry of Lord North to make English tea marketable in America” with a goal of helping the East India Company quickly “sell 17 million pounds of tea stored in England…” (10/15/02)


More for Less -- Virtual Keyboard

BBC News & Technology -- Canesta, from San Jose in Silicon Valley, has designed what it calls an integrated projection keyboard for mobile and wireless devices. Israeli developers demonstrated a similar device at CeBIT earlier this year. Basically it's a keyboard made of light, which heralds an end to the days of those working on the move having to lug around numerous gadgets. Jim Spare, Canesta's vice-president of product marketing, told BBC News Online the infrared keyboard is easy to use and, of course, weighs nothing. "You simply take your PDA and put it onto the table. It shines a keyboard onto the table and you just type on the table as if it were a keyboard. "The electronic perception technology watches your fingers move and translates that into keystrokes in the device. It can also do mouse functions so you get the ease of a full-size keyboard, but it appears anywhere you want to use it." The keyboard is made possible by a tiny sensor fitted with three chips - one to beam the keyboard image, the other two to pick up the movement of typing fingers. That typing movement interacts with the light and sends signals to the sensor. (10/15/02)


Al Qaeda's Weapon Designers Create Jacket Bomb

Newsweek -- Abu Zubaydah, the senior bin Laden lieutenant captured by U.S. forces last spring, has laid out in detail how Al Qaeda's tactics continuously evolve and include plans for an explosive jacket detonated by a suicide bomber to bring down a civilian airliner. Abu Zubaydah has told U.S. interrogators about conversations he had with members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad in which they discussed how explosives would be placed in an "ordinary but thick winter or rain jacket" after the insulation had been removed. "At the base of the jacket would be two wires, one red and one black, which the bomber would cross at an opportune time to detonate the device," according to Abu Zubaydah's account, obtained by Newsweek. The terrorist planners, Abu Zubaydah went on to say, had used their own metal and explosive detectors to determine which materials would elude airport safety. (10/15/02)


Pill Camera reveals the Inside Story

BBC News & Health -- A patient has swallowed a pill-sized camera to give doctors a better picture of her insides. Joanne Rossall, 26, said she had not felt a thing. The camera, which is just slightly bigger than a normal pill, should help doctors diagnose the stomach problems she has been suffering for over two years. Specialists at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, where she is being treated, say the camera will give them detailed images of her digestive system. The camera, which costs £300, is 26 by 11mm transmits over 50,000 colour images to a special unit worn on a belt during its journey through the body, which takes around eight hours. ... Dr Mark McAlindon, the doctor who carried out the procedure, said: "This a major advance. It provides a far better picture of the small bowel. "We've never had a way of seeing it like this before. Now we can see all five plus metres of it." (10/15/02)


Lucent Technologies lays off another 10,000 Workers

BBC News & Business -- US-based telecoms equipment maker Lucent has announced plans to lay off 10,000 workers. The lay offs, which come on top of several job cutting exercises this year, form part of a cost-cutting drive aimed at countering weak demand in Lucent's markets. News of the latest job cuts came as Lucent warned that it would rack up bigger than expected losses during the latest three-month period. It added that it would write off a 3,000 million dollar decline in the value of its pension fund against profits. The job cuts are expected to take effect by the end of next financial year, bringing Lucent's total workforce down to about 35,000. The company crashed to a $7.8bn loss, including a one-off charge of about $5.8bn, for the three months to July, and also reported a 16% decline in sales. ... News that Lucent plans to swing the jobs axe again came as French newspaper reports claimed that France Telecom may cut up to 20,000 jobs over the next four years. (10/15/02)


6:29:02 AM    

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