Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Medical AI: How Blood Test Technology Proves AI will NEVER Work (Sorry Bill)

Corrected: 3/29/2023

Even if you haven't been waiting on the Age of Aquarius since The 5th Dimension made the theme popular in 1969, the movement of Pluto out of the capitalistic sign of Capricorn and into the free thinking sign of Aquarius has the technology industry buzzing with anticipation.

Not to give up an opportunity to postulate a future dependent on the computer, Bill Gates has published a relatively brief (7 pages compared to a whole book) list of predictions to ride the wave of astrological fortune telling. Likely more for the purpose of finding backers than civic responsibility, Gates, as so many others have, see this time as an "explosion" of good fortune rather than a re-evaluation of the profiteering pattern of the last 15 years. In the end, it will be Gates' desire for wealth that will fly in the face of Pluto's entry into Aquarius.  

Since one can not argue with the future, it will be the purpose of this article to show how the great advances that Gates is so quick to tout may be just smoke and mirrors like a magician's show.  After all, the invention of the hammer to replace the rock was probably see as something no one could top.

Blood Tests: Accurate, Worthless or A Computer-Generated Trick

Let's take a look at the widespread use of blood tests and monitoring as an example of how current AI is is used. 

The assumption is that these tests make health professionals job both easier and more accurate. . That may not be how it really works and because such tests are used almost exclusively, they may also be worthless in the long run.  We may yet find out that all this is just a distraction from what really ails this Earth and in that case, these tests will be just a slight of hand trick to grow an economy that is bloated and unhealthy in its own right.

How the Tests Were Created

While blood is certainly an important part of animal anatomy, our belief that it is a window to the inner workings of the body may be simplistic. Not only must blood cells do their job at high speed but they must also do it continuously and sometimes with limited resources.

Blood tests are based on mathematical criteria that is assigned randomly based on what people believe to be healthy.  In this way, software makers standardize a system that instead should be very intimate and person.  Recommendations are made based largely on the narrow limits of the data analysis.   In reality, when professionals take these tests at face value and coding doesn't look past the math, serious errors can be made.What appears to be a logical and sound decision making process is little more than sorting figures because of their similarity and not the patients specific health needs.

How the Circulatory System Works

All to often, even in higher education, the circulatory system focuses on the heart and not how the blood does the important work of distributing and collecting nutrients through the body.  In fact, had the focus been on the relationship between blood and cells rather than the heart, Science would have long ago realize it isn't the body that wears out but our environment which has become compromised.

Remember, the human body is designed to survive and that requires some hard choices when the environment doesn't provide what it needs.  For that reason, the composition of your blood is continuously changing. Every breath you take, every bite of food and medicines, every emotion and every activity changes the nutrient levels of your blood. So why  do we believe one blood test a year is adequate to make all health care decisions?

While set up to survive, the body also has the limitation of keeping all cells equally supplied. In order to do that task, blood steals from healthy cells and gives to damaged ones. With out proper environmental support, the body becomes increasingly less healthy, overall. Medications are treated like food and go where the body chooses, not specifically where they were intended. Here is were blood tests and monitoring can mislead a patient  Consider thesse situations.

1.Cholesterol is produced by the body any time a diet is too rich in carbohydrates (any plant based food). Yet, healthcare  recommends such a diet then prescribes a Statin to reduce cholesterol. Because of how blood handles Statins, other fats may be attacked leaving the patient with muscle weakness or brain fog.

2. Restricting salt is recommended. Too little salt can cause bladder incontinence, mental health issues, irregular heart beat, high blood pressure and pain. But healthcare providers stand by that recommendation and prescribe other medications to deal with the side effects of a diet too low in salt.

3. Sulfur, a primary component in insulin, is required for many other body functions. Yet sulfur is not tested for.  Rather than test for a sulfur deficiency which would help the body as a whole, providers choose to focus on blood sugar only leaving blood to continuously recycle the mineral from one place to another in the body.  When sulfur gets too low, a person might experience thinning hair, skin irritations, difficulty conceiving, and early arthritis.  

Add monitoring equipment for blood sugar or activity levels and the robotic instructions for keeping numbers in line can lead to a one-size-fits-all lifestyle that keeps people from achieving their own destiny. 

Why True AI is NEVER Going to Happen?

Hopefully, you are beginning to see that current AI is not really artificial intelligence but the method by which society is made to conform economically.  Computer records and tests are today's weapons  much like a guns and violence were used in the early days of this country. They limit free thinking and keep us lock in an inefficient system of political chaos.

Power is wielded through current systems of AI which manipulate data, make decisions along limited lines and steer the future in a particular direction.  Not until AI has the ability to evaluate thoroughly, speak openly and discuss decisions broadly will true AI be possible.  While certainly welcome in a Aquarian Age, giving up the computer as a tool of oppression seems unlikely for modern man. 

The one outcome that is likely in the next twenty years is for us to realize the computer had a hand every social, political, economic and environment crisis in the last several decades. Being able to see these issues clearly will be the greatest gift the World can get from the Age of Aquarius. 





Wednesday, March 8, 2023

First Amendment Rights: The Difference between Journalists and Civilians

Based in an elementary school history lesson, America's image of Freedom of Speech is a mixture of romanticized legend (Federalist Papers, Tombstone Epitaph for example) and irresponsible behavior by those who wield words like guns.  

If you think that is a questionable comparison, let's see how it works.  

Most gun owners keep their firearms well secured and use them only when necessary. It is the overblown concept of 2nd Amendment Rights or  Freedom to Bear Arms that convinces people the Constitution protects and permits their inappropriate use. The 2nd Amendment was never about ultimate power but a necessary protection for hunting food, and protection from natural (rabid animals, Indians, predators) as well as criminal activity.  It was given because in the early days of this country, the government provided no police force or paid army.  A civilian accepted the responsibility of protecting his family and in return the government allowed all people the tools needed to do so.  

Freedom of Speech/Press was offered in the same manner - a civilian right to allow discussion of varied ideas in order to get the best of a community mindset.  It was NOT intended to control the narrative for profit as it does today. 

Like a gun, each person can elect to keep his words locked up and use them only when necessary or use them indiscriminately with harm and carelessness.  That is an individual protection and when misused can be punished in the same way that misuse of a firearm can be handled. 

But today's media is a group of people and companies with a single goal of providing information that people like rather than that which is dry and factual. As individual citizens, reporters have rights. As employees those rights are negated and replaced with a civic responsibility to act ethically and objectively regardless of position or salary amount. 

Sloppy Reporting Undermines Good Government

The election of George Santos and others such as The Squad, Marjorie Taylor Green and Madison Cawthorn should not be laid on the shoulders of voters but on the advertisers and media that clearly published erroneous information then stood behind the First Amendment to escape backlash. At one time, journalists were smart and mindful of the role they played in educating a diverse public. They understood the information they presented and felt the need to explain rather than simply post a piece of fluff. 

Today, America limps along with an unethical government focused on wealth rather than quality of life.  The media that was supposed to call out such a government has become its twin and seeks wealth even to the point of misleading the country.  

In the absence of good leadership and quality reporting, there is no choice but regulation to limit the level of misinformation.  

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Political Reform 2023: The Constitution May Not Allow It. Here's Why?

**Please note: This post is not intended to support extremist viewpoints of either party but to explain how and why our government may not work as well as we would like. These words also do not support Putin in his handling of the Ukraine and Crimean Wars. Since the break down of the Soviet Union, there has been one primary sticking point with Russia.  It is now--as it was before WWII--a country without a year round port.  Instead of sending billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, would it not make more sense to come up with a long term plan that addresses such trade. As it says here, our federal government can only use money or might to solve problems . Shouldn't Biden lead by example and show American citizens how to work with people he doesn't like or accept.  Peach is not based on military muscle but on the feeling that people are safe.  

The Suez Canal was just such an enterprise. Spend billions on creating a frost free canal system that would serve Russia and other countries along that mountain range.  The UN was supposed to be the peace maker but it is busy fighting climate change.  Someone is going to have to blink. 

 "Draining the Swamp" is just the latest catch phrase for political reform. Many  

citizens, from both parties, feel that our current government lacks something--a heretofore undefined quality that will turn it into the ethical, efficient, and collaborative system in which we believe. Yet, change never seems to come, no matter how loud the rhetoric or strong the voter support.

The excuses are many, The old block change and the young rush into decision making without thinking. Politicians lack the moral fiber to sidestep corruption and special favors and, of course, there is a a two-party election system which does not adequately reflect the diversity of a large and vibrant country. Are any of these factors really to blame or is it something else that shackles American government into a series of big plans and divisive protections that simply creates chaos? Perhaps it's time for the young and old in Congress to look beyond age and party affiliation before it wastes another two years doing little more than campaigning for 2024. 

Constitution 1.0

While this country does a good job of hanging with the big boys in global politics, one has to remember that it is still operating on its Constitution 1.0.  Countries like Egypt, India, China, Japan and even those in Europe have a political history that spans thousands of years. Unlike the US, each had a monarchy which gave up total authority for representative government.  To them, our two hundred plus years of experience is nothing. Why is it that Americans feel that their founding fathers had all the answers--even to questions that had not yet been asked?

What was Our Early Government LIke?

To often, our vision of the past is simple and based, at least in part, on fable.  We believe our country to be founded by those who stood up for their rights against the Crown and then developed a system of government that is envied by other nations around the world.  

That perception might be just a tad off.

Here are some interesting tidbits that give a different view of what our early government was actually like. (National Archives source)

1. Early on, the colonies were governed by a well-defined system of local and regional offices that were based on English, French or Spanish law. There was no need for an overseer as most operated independently, even from their home countries.  Today, those structures remain much the same as they did back then.

2.  The First Continental Congress was not for the purpose of gaining independence but for dealing with foreign affairs, trade and tariffs.  Not all the colonies saw a need for centralized authority and one colony did not send representatives this go around.

3. A year or so later, the Second Continental Congress began meetings with a recorded 56 members in attendance. The group meet as needed but without authority from the colonies.  It would be fifteen months after British forces began engaging the colonists that this Congress would finally declare its intention to leave British control.

4. The Declaration of Independence was drafted by a committee of five and ratified by all representatives over a three day period of time.  Not all members of that Congress signed the document reportedly because of a delay in getting the final copy ready.

5. Continuity was a problem. More than a third of the signors of the Declaration of Independence would not participate in the forming of the new government (nine died, some could not attend for personal reasons). Ages varied between 26 and 81. The first version of  government was approved during war time but not set in motion until 1781 when the colonies finally approved the measure and agreed to come together as a unit.

6.  After several years of disorganization, a Constitutional Convention was called in 1787 for the purpose of amending the original Articles. New members brought new perspectives. Debating in closed session for three months, a new Constitution was finally drafted, signed and sent on to the states.  It would be a year before the 2/3 majority was reached and operations begun.  The document would not be ratified by all 13 colonies until 1790. 

7. From 1776 through April of 1789, this country operated, as it had before the War, without a strong centralized government. George Washington, one of the constants throughout the 15 year process to develop this government accepted the position of President.  Other founding members of this government, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, etc) would act as its first Presidents.

But did this sporadic effort result in an effective and functioning authority that secured the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness the way we have been told.

Is Constitution 2.0 Needed?

From the comfort of a computer screen, a general theme runs through the Federal government from beginning to end. At the outset, it needs to be remembered that the US did things backwards. 

It might not have seemed important at the time, but this group of colonies had no common identify on which to bond. While other countries had their revolutions and abolished the monarchy as the head of state, each remained intact as a result of a common cultural background and loyalty, not a specific faith in the new governments.

For the United States, the process of taking authority away from those that had maintained order for a hundred years or more required more negotiation and lower standards than if it had started with a strong centralized government. Even today, patriotism tends to be for its military more than its leaders.  

Here are more similarities:

  • The states still manage daily life often without appreciation. 
  • Authority is still taken from states creating an adversarial political divide. 
  • What Washington can do is limited to war/defense and wealth/trade/commerce. 
  • The quality of representation is still inconsistent and ever changing. Remember there are no required job skills to be elected and roughly 85% of Congress is up for election every two years. (ex. A teacher must be college educated, licensed, have a background check and tested for TB before they can be hired yet they have no staff and make about 25%  of a Congressional salary)
  • The size and diversity of the country lends itself to favoritism and discrimination between the states.  Federal policies often take sides in boundary or commerical disputes

Ironically, the Federal government is doing exactly what it did when it started and continues to work within the existing Constitution.  It is unlikely that political reform will be possible without a constitutional overhaul.

The Future

Delving into the actual workings of the early Federal government did offer some insight into how and why fovernment operates as it does.  Remember, there are only two main purposes of this body.  The first is to defend the country and the second is to facilitate trade and commerce.  

Two hundred years ago, there was no stock market and the federal government was a shell of what it is today.  As government has grown, it has had to justify its existence.  That means going to war against anything and everything while making money doing it. (Battling an uneducated workforce with student loans) Think about it. Is Climate Change real or is it like communism, a great threat that never seems to materialize. (There are currently five countries that are labeled communist, yet none have successfully incorporated that ideology into their lifestyles--per Encyclopedia Britannica) Why does Biden fear a form of government that is nothing more than a theory? Because without a perceived threat citizens would begin to question why we pay taxes. 

The same goes for commerce. By constantly changing the rules (minimum wage, emissions standards, and required healthcare), the United State would not be seen as one of the richest countries in the World. Is being a citizen of a rich country worth it when half of your salary is drained away with taxes and mandated services.  Maybe not?

Unfortunately, what this country needed two hundred years ago was leadership that would bring it together. Instead, it has further divided its citizens by defending some and abusing others. Will the Federal government tear the country apart just so that it can put it back together again (Make America Great Again or Build Back Better)

Note:Only when citizens stop seeing the World as something to fear will the Feds have to rethink its purpose.  Maybe it is time to rewrite Congress' job description with Constitution 2.0. The states can do that regardless of what Washington wants.





Saturday, January 21, 2023

SNAP Reform: Iowa Does It Right. Food Snobs SO VERY Wrong (A FACS Teacher Explains)

** Update:  February 2023: the Food and Drug Administration has approved new labeling for milk alternative that allow it to be sold as "MILK".  Likely an effort to circumvent restrictions in WIC standards, this move is also another way for the Biden Adminstration to slip in climate change efforts under different labels.  Nutritionally using these products increases the likelihood of Type 2 diabetes and weakens immune systems without complete proteins. As a whole, a plant-based diet takes more land, more storage, and more transportation than other diets.  So, from an economic standpoint, Biden's measures make climate advocates happy, support crop farmers while under cutting the dairy industry, and of course, grow the health care and pharmacuetical industry by making everyone sick.  And people think its all about the money. 

 On October 27, 2022, this blog published The Farce of Food Insecurity: How Federal Spending Fosters Hunger (and illness) in America which exposed some pretty harsh realities how food is used to grow an economy rather than feed citizens.  The following post will explain how wrong Obama-era food program were particularly for low income families and children.  

Within a few days, those internet advocacy news rags that pounce on political stories with little or no research will be experiencing some digestive distress after calling out Iowa's state proposal of some badly needed reform to the SNAP food assistance program  In the end, these "cruel" ( measures are going to make those who voted in the affirmative look both knowledgeable and fiscally responsible.  Sources such as Salon , The Raw Story , and even  Business Insider will have to eat their words when science proves these changes to be good for citizens as well as at a lower cost to tax payers. 


Contributing to the inflation that has elevated food prices for over two years, the sad, and rarely acknowledged truth, is that Federal Food Assistance dollars regularly purchase items that have no food value (diet drinks, almond milk,etc.), and, high dollar splurges such as premium cuts of meat, imported out of season fruits and vegetables and high glycemic snacks that contribute to type 2 diabetes and childhood obesity. 

Perhaps this will be the first step in squashing the "fresh food snob" mentality that has kept quality foods and hunger relief from those who receive benefits.

Started by former First Lady Michelle Obama, the unreasonable expectation of providing fresh food on a daily basis for school lunches was a pipe dream from the beginning. Anyone working in agriculture and around food service understands all too clearly that mankind did NOT survive for five thousands years on fresh fruits and vegetables.  To believe it is possible even in a global economy is simply naive. 

Before further explaining what the bill likely says, readers need to recognize that fresh foods are largely unregulated, highly prone to food contamination, spoil easily, cost more, and are not  tested for food value. Frozen and canned foods have most of the prep work done for you and are tested regularly for quality. In short, NO ONE should be buying fresh food when a canned or frozen food option is available (except eggs).

**ONE MORE THING: Good nutrition is not about how fresh a food is but about how much food can be purchased for a dollar.  By banning the expensive options, lawmakers make MORE food available at a lower cost.  Good nutrition starts with good shopping.

Let's educate readers (and journalists) as to what foods are REALLY banned. 

American Cheese (Food) - Likely shortened by a writer who has not idea what it is American Cheese and American Cheese Food are two different things.  The American Dairy Association has been trying to get the USDA to heavily regulate the use of cheese food for decades.  Consisting of less than 50% milk, cheese food is mostly fat and offers little or no protein to children who like its single slice packaging. If it's slices come wrapped in plastic look elsewhere because that is the sign of a low quality food. 

White Bread - Long on the list of low quality foods, white bread is used far more than it should be in low income lunches.  Tortillas, flat bread or even crackers make a better energy source.  Sure to cause your blood sugar to spike unless you are very active.

Fresh Meat - This is a legal term used for exports as well as retail grocery sales. Fresh meat DOES NOT mean all meat but only that meat which is cut and package but never frozen.  Frozen and canned meat options have come a long way since the days of Spam (the food) and Treet (its competitor).  Top quality beef, chicken, pork and turkey can be found in one pound cans that only need to be reheated. The cost is likely half of fresh and some can be as low as $1.00 per 4 oz serving (think Quarter Pounder).  Frozen chicken breasts, fish, and sausage add variety in a way fresh meats cannot.  

** This is the extent of the highlights most sources mentioned. Here are a few others that might also be added to the list. 

High Water Beverages - From diet drinks to Hi-C and Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktails.  Many beverage makers sell sugar water as foods.  Lining the shelves these products take the place of 100% juice products.  The profit margin of these drinks is enormous. 

Deceptive Snacks - Everyone deserves a piece of candy or a good chocolate chip cookie once in a while but items like granola bars and fruit snacks sound healthier than they are.  Expect to see a few of these items banned. 

Chips - Contrary to some dietary advice, potatoes chips offer a good supply of essential sodium and potassium.  Other chips like Cheetos, Doritos, corn chips and pretzels are in the same basic category as flour and white bread.  

WARNING - Finally a word of warning about how some websites are using this new item to raise money for questionable charities promising to feed children.  The USDA school lunch program is one of the most comprehensive food access programs there are to children of all ages, rich or poor.  Each lunch meal must provide approximately half of all the calories a child needs in a day. If they eat breakfast as school there access is up to about 80% of needed calories.  It might not be the food they want to eat but to say charities are supplying money to federal school lunch programs is likely fraudulant.  Think twice before you give. The local food bank is the best way to support your neighbors who need help. 







Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Atmospheric Rivers: How Urban Infrastructure Contributes to Weather's Desperate Measures

**Update: California has had record breaking rain and snow fall in the weeks after this article was originally written. NBC News did a short piece confirming that modern infrastructure wastes as much as 80% of the water Southern California receives in a year. These wasteful improvements were and continue to be promoted by the Amry Corp of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency. Protecting the environment is not the goal. Protecting economic development and wealth are.  Had California been set up to capture is rainfall instead of send it back to the oceans, its drought would have been over long ago and other states would not have had to give up water to support California. 


For all the hype, neither scientists nor journalists do a good job of explaining weather events. What they now label as an atmospheric river is not a new phenomenon but one that has been predictable and understood for centuries. With a bit of clear communication, this belief that the Earth's climate is changing might resolve itself in short order.

What is an Atmospheric River?

The jet stream (the way weather flows around the planet) has always moved along the same west-to-east path in the northern hemisphere. In like fashion, the southern hemisphere has a similar east-to-west flow.  Nothing has changed in that regard. 

What seems to have changed is the volume of water in the atmosphere, although concerns based on historic records is a bit dishonest since detailed records are rare and unverifiable. So if the jet stream has always been the train tracks for global water distribution, then what has change that requires such drastic action by current weather patterns.

At this point it is good to remember that those with the power to make great changes to the human experience rarely understand HOW their actions will impact the environment.  With only themselves to answer to, they assume their choices are safe and  effective for the planet.  Human initiated change is a much more likely culprit for causing drastic weather as we will see.

So What Has Change to Cause Atmospheric Rivers

Climate change anxiety is based on the premise that the environment is the same and only weather has changed. That is fundamentally false. Every scientific study or media report that compares similar historical numbers is breaking the first rule of Scientific Inquiry - Control all Variables. In other words make sure you are looking at the big picture instead of jumping to conclusions to get on the evening news or be more opular in the right political circles.

Think about it. A hundred and fifty years ago, all energy was based on the use of fossil fuel, now considered to be the cause of climate change. Does that make any sense at all?

There was no large scale use of electricity. Wind and water were only used for specific mechanical applications such as steam engines and gear-driven machinery.  ALL other energy used for heat, cook stoves and lights came from some form of carbon emitting fuel source.  If it didn't destroy the planet in the previous 5000 years of recorded history, why would it suddenly cause problems now? 

While the move to electricity is the primary environmental change that has occurred over the last 150 years, there are others that have also taken a toll as well.

For this post we will look at how improving urban life worked against Nature's way of hydrating a sustainable land mass.  Maybe then we can all see that a small change in our behavior can make a big change in planetary health.

Urban Infrastructure's Hidden Environmental Costs

Since California seems to be at the center of whether today's weather is normal or a sign of ecological disaster, we will use that location for this explanation. 

Certainly, the early days of San Diego and San Francisco had their challenges. The problem of too many people and not enough water has never been overcome. Sanitation is another ongoing challenge.  But, could this be a man-made problem and not a natural one? 

Back then, short  rain showers washed away the smell of animal waste and open sewers.  Ditches, cobble stone streets and brick or plank sidewalks allowed the rain to soak into the ground and do the job Nature intended.  Cisterns and rain barrels collected water for washing and other uses. Well water was used sparingly. All was good  until it wasn't.

With more people and heavier traffic, dirt roadways needed constant maintenance.  Paving stones and wood planks were used in some areas but eventually a mixture of tar and gravel offered a hard surface that was water resistant and durable. With public water, indoor plumbing and underground sewers soon to follow, water conservation was quickly passe. Now, concrete and asphalt separate rainfall from the ground it is supposed to reach.

But for all their efficiency, what these improvements did to the environment could not have been anticipated.  As California and other parts of the United States deal with strange weather and geological events, laying blame on carbon gases seems more finger pointing and desperation than scientific proof.  Isn't it time to fess up and admit mankind put comfort ahead of environmental protection.  Now with eight times the global population, nature simply cannot carry the burden of as urban locations make it harder.

Rainfall: The Unwanted Necessity

It has been a hundred years since California persuaded the Federal government it was economically necessary to take water from a river  approximately 300 miles away. The Federal government complied and built the Hoover Dam to solve California's water problem.  But what was California's water problem? Was it really a lack of rain or was it how they managed the rain they got. Now we do the math.

Here's how it works.  

For every inch that falls, 17.4 million gallons of water is distributed over each square mile of land (www, Happening over several hours, the process is very effective and without danger to property or life. Urban infrastructure, however, blocks such rainfall from getting to thirsty ground and instead sends it back to the oceans without much benefit.   Can this simple wasting of water REALLY make a difference to the environment? Obviously science does not think so or the Environmental Protection Agency would have banned it decades ago.

For the purpose of exploration, let's assume that California's cities send half of their annual rainfall back into storm drains and out to sea within a few hours of it falling. Exactly how much of an impact can there be?  Here's your answer.

*San Diego - With annual precipitation of about 10 inches, losing 5 inches would cost the city proper 87 million gallons per square mile. The city of SanDiego is 372 square miles in size so the amount of rainfall lost into the ocean in one year is approximately 32.4 BILLION gallons.  if you add a frugal 100 gallons of water per person per day to the flow, SanDiego flushes just less than 78 billion gallons of water back into the ocean each and every year.   That's enough water to provide each resident with half a million bottles of water annually. (please check the math because it seems a bit unrealistic to me too!)

* SanFrancisco City - Even though SanFransisco proper has a much smaller footprint and population, its annual rainfall amounts are 2.5 times that of SanDiego.  Annual rainfall loss would be 9.75 Billion gallons.  Daily wasted water at 100 gallons per resident would add another 30 billion gallons for total water loss of approximately 40 billion gallons or 3.3 million bottles of water per resident per year.  (again, feel free to check the math)

Certainly, these figures seem too large to be factual but this is simple math and not computer manipulated data.  Could these examples indicate that storm drains, sewers and erosion control, while an important part of urban growth, may be a contributor to the drought conditions that nag the state. Doesn't it seem that the discussion needs to turn towards civic responsibility for water management and away from current climate rhetoric that allows bad environmental habits to continue and fester? But then blaming a tiny molecule which can't defend itself does seem a good political maneuver to distract citizens from the truth.

Nature's Response

Divergent thinking always has value.  Let's look at this from Nature's perspective. If every coastal community in the world, unnaturally forces billions of gallons of water back into the seas could this explain why they appear to be rising even though the polar ice caps remain comfortably below freezing.  Can mankind not see that leadership's obsession with building an artificial lifestyle is at the heart of Nature's desperate measures to rehydrate every continent. 

The Threat of Old-School Infrastructure

At the beginning of this piece, we talked about what had changed in the world. For those not up on their history, it was called the Industrial Revolution and along with world wars and global economic woes, it has been 150 years of changing the environment to suit one species -- humans.  Now, we need to decide if we are smart enough to keep the lifestyle while adapting it to be environmentally friendly.

Unfortunately, President Biden, and several others before him, see infrastructure as being the same as what it was in the late 1800s.  Creativity, problem solving and forethought have no place where the economy makes the rules.  Perhaps the greatest gift the environment will get over the next two years is political gridlock. 

 Environmentally sound infrastructure is not hard. Consider these options, not just for coastal cities but for all communities. 

1. Recycle gray water (dirty water that has been used but not contaminated) by having property owners install drain fields or plumbing for washing cars, watering the lawn, etc. Why use potable water for anything but personal use and food. Change will also come faster if individuals take the lead rather than wait for decisions to be politically sanctioned.

2. Encourage plant growth from which water evaporates to increase humidity levels reduce atmospheric volatility. Air can only retain so much moisture. Dry air is a great place to dump huge amounts of water from the atmosphere.

3. Revert to septic tank use for new construction so that water is continually returned to the ground and underlying bedrock.

4. Use gray water for public use such as fighting fires, washing planes and runways, operating steam driven boilers and machinery.  Using potable water for such operations not only is expensive but questionable for the environment. Nature loves its dirt. 

That's enough thought for one day.  Look for some more postings to get politicians to think first and spend last.  Good luck Mr. McCarthy. 


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

NBC's Climate Clique: A Future of White Christmases (Repost)


CNN White Christmas Map

** A year ago , this article was posted to highlight the climate change hype that had NBC reporters concluding that the days of a White Christmas were all but over as a result of climate change. NOW, the media is bemoaning the appearance of snow as a prophecy of climate change. 

The facts have not changed nor has the science.  Snow, rain and drought are a function of human civilization. We strip the atmosphere of naturally occurring gases and wonder why it isn't raining. Then the World reverts to fossil fuels because of a War in Ukraine and we complain because now we have too much weather.  Oh and that volcano in Hawaii is likely doing its job to bring rain and snow to the mountains of Mexico and the US. 

As long as governments think politically instead of scientifically, the World will bounce back and forth between good weather and bad.  Replacing fossil fuels to punish a  country only harms the environment and the World's citizens.

Original Text Below

More like a high school clique than a knowledgeable group of writers looking to spread good news on Christmas, NBC's climate change reporters share more similarities with the popular kids' table than many would like to admit.  We have all seen it and some of us have even been a part of that highly restrictive, narrow-focused mindset that feigns superiority while being ignorant of even the basic principles of good form. Thursday's Future White Christmas coverage during the NBC Nightly News airing was not only disappointing in its timing but also wildly prejudicial in blaming the unseen and undefined evil of our time--Climate Change.  

Declining White Christmases--Truth or Hype?

Climate change coverage today is a popularity game. There are three things you must have to be considered an enlightened media source. Those three things are simple: 1) Do not offer any scientific explanation, just trends 2) Use math to make things seem awful 3) Find an expert who belongs to the same doom-n-gloom club.  NBC does that very well. It is a shame they are not interested in looking at climate change as a function of changing times rather than the end-of-the-World scenario that gets viewer attention. 

Read on if you would like to get some relevant information that explains why different locations may or may not see snow for Christmas. 

A La Nina Year

On October 14, 2021, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) announced the official presence of the La Nina phase in the Pacific Ocean. La Nina years typically mean warmer and drier weather during the winter months for at least the lower half of the country.  Regardless of climate change, these years have always meant a year with little or no snow for many locations. NBC is well aware of this phenomenon and reported on it in October.  Instead of explaining that La Nina was going to make it more difficult for snow to form, this reporter went to the blame-climate-change format and took the easy, and politically correct, way out. 

Math Misused

To be expected, the reporter and expert compared trends by referring to mathematical differences between now and the 1980s.  Acknowledging that in 1980 ( which just so happens to be one of the most erratic weather years on record), half of the country saw snow while only 40% of the country now enjoys the event, the viewer is left with the impression that the country is losing our White Christmas legacy. While technically correct, using math as factual proof of climate change without understand how those numbers were obtained, amounts to spreading misinformation no matter how accurate the computation. Interestingly, several media outlets have published similar articles based on a NOAA press release which manipulates the number even further to tug at the emotional heartstrings of readers.  (Reminder: President Biden's climate change funding is being held up at the present time and NOAA may have written the piece in support of this funding)

Snow: A Fickle Flake

If you live in the band of the country where the Jet Stream moves up and down on a regular basis, your understanding of weather and climate change is completely different than those who live in the upper Northeast, the Pacific Coast and the Gulf Coast.  You learn early on that snow only happens under the right conditions and it is temperamental a best.  Just the right combination of air movement, temperature and moisture are needed.  If that doesn't sound like a rarity, factor in the weaker upper atmosphere that is the result of Clean Air policies and mining of gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide for use in the healthcare, cryogenics and food storage industries.  You see snow only occurs in the upper atmospher and when there isn't enough movement and moisture WAY up in the atmosphere, snow simply doesn't have the chance to form.  The future of our White Christmas may have more to do with how strictly the EPA regulates the atmosphere than anything else in the environment. 

Human Interference

 Have you heard the phrase "Comparing Apples to Oranges"? It generally means that people try to treat difference situations as the same (Apples and Oranges are both fruit) when they are basically very different (applies are many different colors, Oranges are. . well. . orange. You get the drift).  This happens all the time with climate change studies which from a science perspective makes most of the findings invalid.  These interesting facts show how we, as in humans, are likely more to blame by our simple presence than any weather related reason for a reduction in snow fall. 

  1. One third of the US population wasn't here in 1980. That's 100 million people who are giving off heat in an environment that has not changed that much. A simple one degree increase in ambient air temperature because of all those people would be enough to disrupt snow production. Sad but true.

  2. There are 80 million more vehicles giving off heat, regardless of fuel source, than 40 years ago. That is in addition to the approximately 175 million cars, truck and other vehicles that were in use in 1980.  A bit of additional heat is the difference between beautiful snow and cold rain. 

  3. The increase in buildings needed to accommodate 330 million people that now call the United States home extends into places that have never been used for homes before.  Buildings, like people and cars, give off heat and can warm the air near the ground causing any snow that does form to melt before it reaches the ground.  Larger buildings such as warehouses, high rise apartments and office buildings can break the flow of air that is necessary for crystals to form.  Progress comes with a cost.  

In Conclusion

By now, you are beginning to see that what authority figures and advocates call climate change might just be unrealistic expectations.  The world of fifty years ago was fundamentally different because there was less of all the things mankind must have to survive. The additional 4 billion people of the world have done nothing wrong  There is a price that mankind has paid in poorer health, less wealth and more chaotic lives because of our dependence on every convenience. That price includes less chance for a White Christmas in many areas of the country.  All we have to do to bring it back to reduce our heat signature (not related to carbon footprint) and welcome a more simplistic lifestyle.  

Regrettably, NBC, other media outlets and most of all our government is more interested in economic growth than bringing back predictable weather.  More is the shame that like high school, the kids at the popular table, make life miserable for the rest of us. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Advertising Basics: Facebook "Cooks the Books" with Account Restarts to Add Profit Without Customers

** To help make this article's point that Facebook data is, at best, erroneous, this author is listed as an administrator on no less than six Facebook pages.  Truth is that only one of those pages has been used in the last three months and only two have been used in the last year.  The idea that six pages provides six unique opportunities for ad exposure is completely false.  

As if Facebook doesn't make enough money from its platform, the recent push to get users to reset their accounts is one quick and rather unethical way to scam advertisers and manipulate user data.   

In the advertising world, this is a common practice. Change the way you define your viewers and you change the way it appears to those placing ads.  After all, if you do not make it look good on paper then advertisers will take their money elsewhere.  By renaming the company, re-profiling users, and changing up the way ads are received, Facebook (like Twitter and other media) applies false advertising methods to trick its own advertisers.  

Recently, Facebook re-profiled our Just a Touch of Sass page.  Only after the process was completed did FB explain that the separation was irreversible with a clean slate and five years of lost posts. Rather than take the time and effort to re-post all our articles and then re-link them to older posts, Just a Touch of Sass has said good bye to Facebook for good. 

So WHY? does America tolerate this level of fraud and sleazy business models in our technology sector.  We reward greedy and abusive start-ups as long as they promise us a job.  In attitude, we are still the refugees who escaped poverty in Europe, worked the mines, forged the steel and were injured in countless factory fires because  we believe hard work pays off.  It seems today's technology operations believe something very different. , 

Interestingly, European countries have not only fined Big Tech for these practices but also levied heavy tax rates on income. After all, technology does not really build anything lasting. Without electricity, technology doesn't exsiste and that should tell us exactly what it is worth--NOTHING.  

Furthermore, Its expenses are low compared to its revenue (that's call a high profit margin) and it accepts NO responsibility for copyright infringement, misrepresentation of the original author's work and is driven solely by supporting its own narrow cultural philosophy.  It can't even claim to be an advocate of Free Speech since advertizers cannot say or promote any business in direct competition to itself. 

Just a Touch of Sass will continue to operate as it always has--with little or no thought to advertising revenue.  Perhaps this break with FaceBook is just the push that is needed to take this blog to a wider and more diverse audience. 

Look for us after the New Year to see if we make that dream come true.  

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Election 2022: Divisive Privilege in American Neighborhoods (Are No-Leash Cat and Fence-Out Laws Unconstitutional?)

With the election over and the media drumming up the illusion of a great shift in power, voters who kept the "red wave" from materializing understand that they made a conscious choice to maintain gridlock in Congress.  Some were Republicans. Some were Democrats.Some were young and some were old but together they corralled the runaway agendas that give privileges to some and take rights away from others.

As media outlets such as NPR (National Public Radio) and the Washington Post, publish concerns of public unrest and potential civil war, nary a one takes the time to identify the small issues which impact far more people than abortion or student loan debt or transgender lifestyles.  As small and insignificant as this list seems, just one can send a neighborhood into divided camps of opinion and recrimination. 

Take a look and see how these would effect you.

Unregulated Cat Ownership

As beautiful and funny as they can be, porch cats (outdoor, free roaming) are not well loved by all.  There is little that will set off a neighbor faster than a free-range cat that uses a well-maintained flower bed as a litter box or one that taunts a leashed/confined dog by traveling back and forth just out of reach.  Yes, it happens all the time. The question is why should cats be allowed to cause such distress while dog ownership is heavily regulated. Just the first example of divisive privilege in supported by weak leadership.

An even better argument against this preferential ruling is that domesticated cats are an invasive species. With no natural predator other than the coyote in the East, domestic, free-range cats are no different than a python released into the Florida Everglades or Kudzu planted on a highway bank. Besides being carriers of all manner of respitory disease, they are just as subject to rabies and not always vaccinated.  Even if "fixed", domestic cats can damage landscaping with their high nitrogen (and smelly) poop, strip the bark from young trees when sharpening their claws and decimate the song bird population in short order.

On the flip side, fed cats do not necessarily hunt for food. Owners who leave food out encourage wildlife to abandon their natural feeding habits, take up residence near homes and invite predators (coyote, hawks, bear) into the backyards of families and individuals. Moreover, why should the slow moving possum or touchy skunk dine on bugs and carcasses when a feeder of yummy kibble sits on every back porch in the community.  With a range of several hundred feet in any direction, the concept of this being a victimless crime is unjustified.  Sadly, the wildlife that has been invited in by irresponsible human behavior is trapped, shot, or poisoned believing they are harmful to residents.  Owners never consider their cats are MORE likely to transmit disease because of their close personal contact with humans. 

Does the Constitution not provide for equal treatment under the law? Should cat owners not be held to the same standards as dog owners? With millions of tax dollars being spent each year to deal with the feral cat population, why aren't owners held accountable?

Because some politician is too afraid of losing votes and too focused on economic growth which always brings inflation to act responsibly and treat citizens equally under the law. 

Fence-Out Laws

Contributing to the cat issue and other boundary landmines in a modern world, Fence-Out jurisdictions protect irresponsible landowners by forcing responsible ones to build and maintain expensive fencing (aka Fence Out danger).  Started when range wars were settled with guns and violence, fence-out laws may have worked when dealing with livestock but do little to protect property from such dangers as wildfires, pesticide usage, over bearing landscapers, obsessive environment protection policies, hikers/camping and yes, cat owners who think the best cat is an outdoor cat. 

As the law is currently enforced, boundary lines are owned equally by each side. A neighbor can tear down a fence or hedge without notification, mow your yard if you don't take care of it to their satisfaction, spray pesticides indiscriminately, and install a fence on your property without verification of the property line.  In other words, the neighborhood bully has the right to be a bully without impunity.  How is this policy constitutional in a country that was founded on the protection of individual rights? 

Today, those elected to govern care more about wealth and avoiding bad press than standing up for what is right.  Is it no wonder that people fear violence from those who have no respect for private property?

Where Does It Leave Us?

As a result of decades of legally permitting one group to take advantage of another, this country has slipped into a mindset that fraud and persecution is acceptable, even normal.  While the Beatles tried to persuade the World that "All we need is Love" (dun, da, dun, da duh), such an attitude is naive at best and only increases division and anxiety in this country.

Only when Congress, state legislatures and local government govern for the majority and not the special interest can America ever be great again.  As the 2022 mideterm shows, citizens have a lack of confidence in both political parties.  Until Congress abandons special interests which feed economic growth and buy votes, citizens will need to clog the courts system with lawsuits and civil actions that regulate one person at a time.

What an incredible waste of time, effort and money because the focus of today's leaders is being elected rather than serving the whole. 


Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Farce of Food Insecurity: How Federal Spending Fosters Hunger (and illness) in America (A FACS Teacher Explains)

** Update: The Food and Drug Administration is supporting Biden's climate change policy as it approves language that deceptively labels of milk alternatives as real milk.  Certainly people need a variety of foods to remain healthy. but promoting a plant-based diet across the board is both nutritionally unwise but functionally unsustainable.  Maintaining a plant-based diet takes more land, more storage, and more transportation than a protein based one. A plant based diet also increases the likelihood of diabetes and weaked immune systems. It is a great economic growth industry thogh. 

 To put it short and sweet, NO ONE in America should ever go to bed hungry and yet, as the holidays approach, the media sends out emotion laced storie stating that food is scarce in this country and that something needs to be done about it.  Is that the truth or is it a subtle method of persuasion designed to lower residents expectations while increasing tolerance of government inefficiency.  Read  below and make up your own mind.  

 America, The World's Bread Basket

According to Investopedia, the US is one of the four largest food producing countries in the World. Ironically though, how that food is distributed changes it from a necessity of life to an economic growth tool. Sadly, malnutrition and hunger are very much woven into American politics as both parties use food as a weapon against its own people. Not surprisingly, Americans pay high prices and get little food value for their money as a result.

Simply put, government agriculture and trade policies are not designed to FEED people but to FEED the economy and bargain for loyalty around the globe.

Yes America, federal policy laid out by the Food and Drug Administration, US Departments of Agriculture and Commerce and other regulatory agencies choose to foster hunger and poor health in its general population. They do this by taking a hands-off approach with corporate interests such as Nestle, General Mills, PepsiCo, and many others.

Why do both Republicans and Democrats support food production methods which put people at risk for illness and death?  Because it is good for Wall Street and Wall Street is everything in today's global economy.

Food Labeling Shows Declining Food Value

To get a better idea of where Congress puts its priorities, all it takes is a look at food labeling. So complicated to understand, the numbers on a label tell the story.  One does not need to be a registered dietitian to understand low numbers and lots of zeros translate into food that has little quality. In today's market, it would take 10 snack bags of potato chips and you still would not get the sodium and potassium which are needed for good hydration.

Interestingly, the FDA allows countless products with little or no food value to be purchased with food assistance dollars.  One specific example is alternative milk products. California's almond milk is an acceptable food source even though a serving of this high priced milk look-alike is the equivalent of eating three almonds and drinking a glass of salt and vitamin infused water. 

Is that worth 10% more than whole milk with 5 times the calories, 8 times the protein and naturally sourced vitamins and minerals? Economically, sure it is. In terms of feeding the poor, its a scam on every level.

What does the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Do?

At this point in time, no one is really sure. What they are supposed to do is ensure safe food products and medicines be delivered throughout the country.  Unfortunately, they seem to be more concerned with punishment after the fact than preventing food safety issues as the baby formula, pet food and drug shortages continue to cause problems for many. Recently, Clorox recalled a cleaner which had been shipped and sold over a year ago. What good does it do to recall a product a year after it has been shipped and sold?

Secondarily, there appears to be no FDA food policy that stops tax dollars from being redirected to companies through products which are colored and flavored water or calories that provide few of the micro nutrients that improve general health, strengthen muscles, or regulate metabolism.  The same, generally, holds true for medications even when their proven efficacy is less than 50% and their list of side effects is dangerously long.

As an instrument of Republican and Democratic administrations, the FDA and USDA willing allow low food value products to flood the market which reduces the buying power of individuals. Claiming to be treating those who live in poverty fairly,funds can be used to buy popular foods even when high quality food products are cheaper.

Supply Chain Problems? Not likely. 

There is an old saying in business--Say it Enough. They'll Believe It.  The truth is that food companies have been shorting the American public on nutrition for decades.  Worse, they are now using the "Supply Chain" myth to alter recipes, reduce the nutritional content of their products and increase profits.  This practice has increased with deregulation and has made commercial foods more susceptible to contaminated and less nutritious overall. 

Add the sound of celebrities and talk show hosts proclaiming that there is a food shortage in this country and it isn't hard to realize they help make misinformation appear as truth.

Where does the REAL food go?

Naively, Americas want to believe in farm to table marketing that supports local agriculture. Commercial agriculture is very different. Actual food distribution in this country is a complicated system of tiers (see below) with the local grocery store being at or near the bottom  Politicians will not mention that they trade food products as if they were gold or silver.  While they ship food produced here to other countries, they import food that ends up on our tables.  Economics is everything, after all.

  1. Government Interests: It should be no surprise that government takes its cut at or near the top.  Active and reserve military bases, federal prisons and detention centers and, of course, the exports that are part of the every day wheeling and dealing called "foreign policy" take large quantities of food out of circulation without it ever entering a store.  With little packaging, large recurring orders and quick payment, it is good business to supply these operations first. Unfortunately, it is also susceptible to waste and mismanagement due to strict food safety guidelines which have unused food thrown away.  The FDA is currently recalling record amounts of food of all kinds.
  2. Non-Food Products:  From cosmetics and vitamin supplements to ethanol and cleaning products. Food is used for many things other than nutrition.  Today's gourmet pet food industry is also a drain on supplies in which there have been massive recalls over the last year or more.
  3. Commercial Operations:  This group includes any type of food prepared outside of the home.  Hospitals, residential facilities such as dormitories, school lunch programs(not actually a federally run program), convenience stores, vending machines, restaurants and catering businesses get the next cut of the pie (no pun intended). As restaurant owners explained at the beginning of the pandemic, these kitchens purchase bulk sized containers.  Good managers can keep waste to a minimum but because serving size is predetermined customers may simply not need or want as much food as is served.  In most cases, these chefs have access to whole foods and do not get the watered down versions which are found in many grocery outlets. 
  4. Value Added Foods:  There is one last attempt to turn an abundance of basic food into something pricey and that is called "Value-Added Products."  These products include the rotisserie chicken and sliced meats at the deli counter, servings such as juice boxes or individual containers and already molded hamburgers or specialty seasoned meats. Then you have quick fix boxed dinners like Hamburger helper and microwave pouches for steamed vegetable.   Any change from a food's original form is considered better and therefore more expensive.  For example, the rotisserie chicken that you pay $8.99 for is a 2 to 3 pound, mostly bone, bird that costs the store a dollar and a half.  The nutrition is the same but the size is a third of what an uncooked bird with a similar price would be.
  5. Local Grocery Outlets:  After all these other groups buy what they want, then food producers take whats left and package it for the most profit. Cheese that is cheese food.  Juices that are juice drinks.  Milk that is from a plant based mixture and meat that has been canned or breaded and fried.  Even more interesting is the number of imported foods that are found in the produce section or the meat section.  Besides foods which are largely devoid of anything but calories, the cost of these available products has gone up because of a scarcity result from preferential service to the federal government. 
**Recently, McKee Foods informed the US military that it would no longer supply products to military facilities. Its reasoning appears to be a conscious choice to supply the public rather than accommodate the large volume order required for government contracts.

Implications for Health

 As the World learned during the Covid-19 pandemic, not even the greatest healthcare system can fend off a virus when good nutrition is lacking. For fifty years, educated populations believed that healthcare was more important than nutrition. Now many are dependent on vitamin supplements and medications to maintain the illusion of health.  Still, the federal government skims the best off the top and fails to regulate what foods are marketed to children and the elderly. Sadly, a look at food labels quickly shows  that a fast food hamburger offers more balanced food value than a boxed mac and cheese with organic pasta prepared at home. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

WE ARE BACK! Sort of

**Interestingly, Version and other companies are now offering FREE upgrades with no increase in phone charges.  Perhpas they are getting the message that American business is getting to big for its britches and the American people are getting ready to take it to the woodshed. What a wonderful thought. :)

I have also repaired four older computers at a fraction of the cost of sending them to a repairman.  But it is the Internet that keeps us frustrated.  

Our local server is now 65 miles from our location.  It is so far from home, online purchasing is nearly impossible with a debit card.  The bank blocks purchases because I do not have LOCAL internet.  See why rural citizens distrust big business and their promises for a better life.  It doesn't matter how much speed you have if you can't connect in the first place folks. 

Original Post

After six weeks of internet and telephone troubles, we are back up and running. Is this just a preview of what rural communities will go through when 3G is turned off. Again, Congress lacks the ability to foresee the down side to its actions and only considers how good it is to for economic growth.   We will see what happens when millions of rural and low-income people have their phones turned off when companies like Verizon "make room for 5G" and more powerful internet.  All rural communities want is a reliable signal not the "fastest" or the "most powerful".  

I won’t be buying a new phone from Verizon.  This just one more example of planned inflation. Especially since rural communities will be lucky to get 4G service. 

Its nice to connect again.