Thursday, July 23, 2015

You are a cash cow

Actually, we're all cash cows, but I wanted to get your attention.

Apple uses the cult of personality to overcharge its customers for equipment that is sexy looking but with less stability and features than its competition. However, Microsoft gets the prize for out-and-out subterfuge designed to squeeze more revenue from its customer base (cash cows).

How do they lie and cheat? Read on.

As a corporate entity with retail concerns, Microsoft of course wants to increase and maximize their profit margin. Just like a car manufacturer, they have a product they want consumers to choose, so they use whatever means they can think of to generate that interest.

Ford is one of the oldest and still one of the most profitable car companies. Judge Microsoft for yourself in this side-by-side comparison that follows:

Microsoft advertises in print and electronic media.

Ford does the same.

Microsoft employs research and development teams to produce products that will hopefully capture your interest as a consumer.

Ford does the same.

Microsoft has marketing teams that determine the maximum price you are willing to pay for any given Microsoft product, and charge you one penny less than that.

In order to remain competitive in a field with much more competition, Ford must base their price points on production overhead, because if they used the Microsoft method, they would eventually fail to more efficient companies.

Microsoft uses back room deals (and threats of breach-of-contract) with computer manufacturers to guarantee that software competitors are not represented in new computers (look up the history of Netscape and Internet Explorer).

Ford produces their own hardware, so there is no way for them to commit this monopolization technique.

Microsoft forces its customers to upgrade their operating system (OS), whether they want to or not.


Now wait just a second, Sponge Freddie! How could any company force their customers to buy something they wouldn't otherwise decide to buy on their own?

Behold the shifty corral that keeps all the cash cows submissively chewing their cud:

1) Microsoft begins the process by officially no longer supporting a particular OS by a certain date.

2) The warnings begin long before the OS is "deprecated": If you use it past date X, you will be risking the ruination of your computer, due to those pesky hackers doing nasty things to you online. You decide to ignore the warnings, because you are comfortable with, and enjoy using, that particular OS. Plus why should you pay more for a new OS when you can do everything you want with your current one?

3) Microsoft, knowing this is the default mindset of all users except chronic early adopters, starts their underhanded machinations to force your hand once the end-of-support day passes.

4) Suddenly one day, without warning, an Adobe Flash update renders you unable to watch YouTube videos and most others. This is because Adobe has adopted a new API from Microsoft that is intentionally not backwards compatible with the OS that existed right before the one(s) they still support. The short explanation of an API is that it's a software component that, among other things, provides rules for what will and will not work with it.

5) Being unable to watch videos is a major problem, but you are a clever user who realizes there are old updates for Adobe Flash available online, and decide to go back to your previous version of Flash. But this is a band-aid that soon completely fails, because one of the features of the new API is that new videos being produced with the new version of Adobe Flash refuse to work with your older version.

6) You dig further and realize you can use the new update if you upgrade your version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer! So you visit to upgrade your version of Internet Explorer.

7) Microsoft's web site identifies your OS as the one they have most recently "deprecated," so when you navigate to the page to get the version of Internet Explorer you need to use the new Flash update, you are informed by Microsoft that the desired version of Internet Explorer is not compatible with your OS, which contradicts Wikipedia's list of what will work with your OS.

8) Again, being a clever user, you realize you can download a legal, untainted version of Internet Explorer that you need from places other than Microsoft. So you do so, and attempt to install it. Lo and behold, it installs and works just fine, despite the creators of it insisting it won't.

9) This works for a while, then doesn't, as Microsoft is aware of your desire to avoid upgrading to their latest OS, and has many factors in play to force you into a corner.

10) On other fronts, other software developers play into Microsoft's scheme, such as game makers. You know this because suddenly your favorite online game, which has always supported your OS, performs server maintenance which includes an update that you can't reverse if you want to continue playing. And guess what? With no warning, officially or in forums, your OS can no longer start the game. Why? Because the developers are forced to use a new API from Microsoft. If they don't use it, they can't access some new feature(s) they wish to implement for their game, that could make it more fun or cool for their players to use.

11) You think, to heck with this, I'll just dual boot to Linux and skip all this nonsense. Aha! A great idea, but Microsoft is one step ahead of you once again.

12) Microsoft Silverlight, which you need to watch Netflix (thank you, Greed Hastings), is not compatible with Linux. There are workarounds, but most people don't want to deal with the steps involved to make it happen.

13) The new EFI firmware and GPT partitioning scheme, which overcome the "limitations" of 32bit computing on an x86 platform, make it very difficult to dual boot, for all but the most astute computer geeks. No, Microsoft did not create EFI or GPT, but somehow new computers sporting their latest operating system just happen to puke on your shoes if you try to revert to your favorite previous version of Windows (now referred to as a "legacy" version).

So where does all this leave you? With no choice, of course! You must upgrade your OS to continue enjoying key features of your computer if you're too stubborn to move to Linux and don't want to pay artificially inflated prices for Apple toys. Score one more victory for Microsoft!

Microsoft: billions and billions.
Cash cow user base: zero.

Waterworld is coming! Waterworld is coming!

What follows is an article called "Dire warning of sea level rise from world's most famous climate scientist" by reporter Gary Farrow, published by the New Zealand Herald on July 23rd, 2015, along with my observations.

A new study, led by James Hansen, NASA's former lead climate scientist, and 16-co-authors, paints a very grim picture of the stability of the world's sea levels in the near future.

A once very high-profile NASA employee and his assistants have decided to up the ante in the struggle for research grants in a world no longer convinced it's going to drown.

Many of those involved in writing the report are regarded as being at the top of their respective fields.

In an attempt to prevent your bs alarm from going off, they want you to be confident that these aren't a bunch of fringe jokers.

The conclusion they reached was that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica are going to melt 10 times faster than predicted earlier.

They're dissatisfied with the boredom of global warming experienced by the general populace, and decided to liven things up with even faster ice-melting predictions.

This would result in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as few as 50 years.

This would result in some people and animals moving further inland, but only if the Earth behaved exactly like their manipulated data and computer models for 50 years straight.

The study has not been peer reviewed yet, but is generating a lot of thought about the future of the world's oceans, as well as the fate of human and animal populations that depend on their current state.

There's that pesky absence-of-peer-review factor again! Of course, that does not prevent the doom sayers from their misanthropic dance of panic.

It emphasised the feedback loop in the Southern Ocean.

An interesting choice, as the sea ice extent in Antarctica is increasing.

As the glaciers melt, cooler fresh water forces warmer salt water under the ice sheets, which results in them melting faster.

A fascinating theory, but Antarctica isn't actually shrinking in the real world.

It's a vicious circle, and Hansen says he hopes the findings will help persuade governments and large organisations to enact change, more than previous studies have.

It's a vicious circle, just like the one where the research grants start to dry up from a world that no longer fears becoming Waterworld, so then the climate scientists come up with another startling prediction based on selective data that supports their new (same old) theory.

The researchers used a combination of paleoclimate records, computer models and observations of contemporary sea level rise to come to their findings.

The researchers used a combination of old weather data, computer models custom-designed to bear out their predictions, and theory-friendly selections of sea level statistics to bolster their desire to scare you.

The study doesn't predict the precise timing of the feedback loop, but says it is likely to occur this century.

In order to insure their success, they've left the time frame wide enough to make a killing in research grants before the fear wears off. Although their research apparently predicts "dire" consequences if we ignore it, they wisely decide to leave the time frame ambiguous, to avoid laughing-stock status in a few decades.

The ultimate implication of this is that every coastal city on the planet may be habitable for only a few more decades, requiring "emergency cooperation among nations," as Hansen says.

For those of you who aren't sufficiently disturbed by their predictions, Hansen draws a frightful image designed to manipulate your emotions. And of course humanity, with all its ingenuity, could never, not even in fifty years, figure out a way to keep the water out if Hansen's vision of Waterworld was actually realized.

The paper will be published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, which is an open-access journal to encourage discussion, and it is important to note it will not be formally peer reviewed before it appears online.

To maximize the panicked ripples in the pond, the paper will be available to the public before peer-reviewers label it unsubstantiated exaggeration.

It is, nonetheless, very sobering food for thought as to where climate change is taking us.

It is, nonetheless, very interesting water-cooler chatter for those who don't have anything better to attend. Mr Farrow, as a responsible journalist, feels the need for this disclaimer just in case the study is deemed balderdash.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

When they speak, listen *closer*

In the "Frequently Asked Questions About Evolution" section of the web site, the first question is: "Did we evolve from monkeys?"

Here is's answer:

"Humans did not evolve from monkeys. Humans are more closely related to modern apes than to monkeys, but we didn't evolve from apes, either. Humans share a common ancestor with modern African apes, like gorillas and chimpanzees. Scientists believe this common ancestor existed 5 to 8 million years ago. Shortly thereafter, the species diverged into two separate lineages. One of these lineages ultimately evolved into gorillas and chimps, and the other evolved into early human ancestors called hominids."

For those interested in evolution and human origins, some form of this has probably already been read or heard before. But here's a challenge for you:

Modern Darwinists love to imply or actually state that those who question evolution by natural selection (macroevolution, or speciation) are merely mindless sheep who don't seem to be capable of critical thinking. What I propose to them is that it is actually they, not the skeptics, who are displaying sheep mentality by simply accepting an idea without closer examination.

To illustrate this, I will provide the paragraph from above broken down sentence by sentence in italics, with a critical observation immediately following each one.

Humans did not evolve from monkeys.

That statement sounds reasonable enough, however we have yet to see any factual support for or against. Let's continue reading.

Humans are more closely related to modern apes than to monkeys, but we didn't evolve from apes, either.

Again, the statement sounds reasonable, but we still haven't seen any proof yet. Let's continue.

Humans share a common ancestor with modern African apes, like gorillas and chimpanzees.

Another reasonable sounding idea, but now there have been three ideas stated as though they are facts, and nothing presented to support them. Let's continue, in the expectation that eventually these are more than just an opinion.

Scientists believe this common ancestor existed 5 to 8 million years ago.

Here's where the Darwinist devolves from a critical thinker to a sheep.

Notice the latest idea begins with "Scientists believe..." This presents the relevance of the following:

1) True or not, it is what scientists believe, not what they know for certain.
2) It implies all scientists, when in fact it is evolutionary biologists and other scientists friendly to the idea of speciation who believe it, not all scientists. There are many accomplished and intelligent scientists who question the premise, based on lack of physical evidence.
3) Where is the fossil evidence of this "common ancestor"? It does not exist, that's why scientists "believe" instead of know.

At this point, we have heard the crucial "common ancestor" referred to twice. Surely the presumed ancestor will merit an identification further in the paragraph? Sadly, no.

Shortly thereafter, the species diverged into two separate lineages.

This is now the fourth statement that sounds like a fact, but instead is just an idea or theory based on looking at the present fossil evidence, and trying to make it fit the tree-of-life model evolutionary biologists can't seem to think beyond.

One of these lineages ultimately evolved into gorillas and chimps, and the other evolved into early human ancestors called hominids.

This is what the fossil record appears to indicate, but only if you assume speciation to have occurred.

Now... if you take the time to think critically about information you encounter regarding evolution by natural selection, you will find that "believe," "think," "may have," "probably," "could have," "might have," and a host of other similar phrases and words are used to present the theory of how ultimately all life came from one single biological origin.

This is because although Darwin's theory regarding the origin of species is now pounded in our faces as fact, it must constantly be massaged and finessed to continue fitting the mold that Darwin himself proposed.

However, due to the refusal of evolutionary biologists to look critically at their own pet theory, anyone who disagrees with speciation is treated as a crazy person, or at least ignorant. Those familiar with academia will understand the pressure exerted on those who go against the flow.

A remarkable twist of truth, as it applies to human experience.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Our faith in science

The National Science Foundation, or NSF (not to be confused with the politically motivated and notorious NCSE), has defined three specific forms of scientific misconduct: fabrication, falsification and plagiarism.

One may do a simple search on the Internet and read about many documented examples of research misconduct in recent history. This information is not trumpeted on the streets or force fed to you as a media consumer, but it has been readily available to the public as of the 21st century.

A person on the street would not think to look for this kind of information because the general public has a deeply developed trust of anything classified as scientific. But now that you know about this phenomenon, how do you feel about it?

It would be unreasonable to distrust all of science due to some researchers' deceptive practices. However, now that this reality has reared its inconvenient head, just which researchers do you trust? More importantly, how can we, the non-science-degreed laymen, effectively discern which findings are to be trusted?

The human propensity to further one's own agenda by fudging data (facts) is a longstanding behavior that permeates all of society; to have faith that scientists are above this kind of behavior would be foolish. Foolish because scientists are humans first and foremost, and as such are not above the moral failings of us all.

Why does this merit a blog post?

Because an entire scientific, industrial and societal edifice arose from the institutional doom sayers of global warming (cleverly recharacterized as "climate change"). This politically enforced edifice continues even into today, despite strong evidence to the contrary, such as:

1. Carbon Dioxide (the star player of Human-Caused Climate Change, or HCCC) has been rising steadily for around a century, yet for about an entire third of the 20th century, from the 1940's to the 1970's, the global temperatures were level or dropping. During this time, the scientists holding sway predicted another Ice Age! Look it up if you think I'm exaggerating.

2. Global temperatures have not continued to rise, as was predicted by scientists when global warming was introduced to the public. In fact, by simply looking at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations global temperature graph from 1990 to 2014, anyone can clearly see the world is going through another cooling trend, much like the 30-or-so year period mentioned earlier.

3. All the HCCC jabber in recent years is centered around the Arctic ice (official term is "sea ice extent") melting away more each year. But what about the Antarctic ice which is increasing despite warmer temperatures there? Get this: scientists are saying that the Antarctic ice is increasing because of the warmer temperatures.

4. Not only are the temperatures in Antarctica warming, but they're warming even faster than the global trend. This completely flies in the face of all common sense, scientific or not. A major premise of HCCC is that the greenhouse gases that humans are responsible for are accelerating the warming of the planet, thus melting the Arctic ice.

Number three in the above list is a classic example of scientists manipulating data in order to support a hypothesis. Some may oddly argue, "What's wrong with that?"

Here's what's wrong: if some scientists themselves aren't properly following the rules of the scientific method, then why do we automatically exercise so much faith in whatever they say?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Kite Runner Commandments

In the movie Kite Runner, the father explains to the son that all the sins that we are to avoid are all some form of stealing, therefore, by his own reasoning, theft is the only true sin.

The story takes place in Afghan society, with their religious and moral codes of conduct as an attendant parameter. However, when I saw the movie, and I heard the father relay his idea to his son, I immediately thought about the Ten Commandments and wondered if the father's philosophy applied there as well.

When I examined each Commandment through the theft filter, I found 100% confirmation, with minor qualifiers.

Let's take a look.

#1 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

We rob God of His proper place in our lives and the universe when we 'worship' anything other than God.

#2 "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image..."

Again, giving our spiritual devotion to any object other than God is robbing God of his sovereignty.

#3 "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain..."

This one pushes the envelope a bit, but one could observe that taking God's name in vain goes beyond simply robbing God of His deserved respect, and includes disrespect on top of it, thus adding insult to injury.

#4 "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy."

To not remember the sabbath day is to steal time away from God that should have been spent not laboring.

#5 "Honour thy father and thy mother..."

If you dishonor your parents, you rob them of their pride in your existence.

#6 "Thou shalt not kill."

This is an easy one; if you kill someone, you not only take the victim's life, but also you steal from every person who cared about him or her.

#7 "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

If you commit adultery, you steal all kinds of things. You steal trust from your spouse, you steal dignity from anyone who may be in love with your lover, and you steal integrity away from you and your lover. You also steal from God, because His model for humans is monogamy, not the selfish "free love" that the world loves to promote.

#8 "Thou shalt not steal."

Enough said.

#9 "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."

If you lie and cause another person to be wrongfully identified, you have stolen the truth from them, and stolen the truth from the world that now incorrectly thinks that person is guilty.

#10 "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."

If you greedily desire something that someone else has, you have robbed God of the gratitude He deserves for the things you *do* have, and you have also robbed yourself of your own peace of mind.

So, all in all, theft really is a no-no... especially if no one else appears to be watching.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bye bye Global Warming, hello Future Freeze

 What follows is an article called "Scientists: Sun's irregular 'heartbeat' could mean future freeze" by reporter Ashley Fantz, published by CNN on July 14th, 2015, along with my observations.

(CNN)Scientists have made a discovery about the sun's "heartbeat" that they say indicates that Earth's Northern Hemisphere could experience a deep freeze in 15 years.

Scientists have grown bored with their global warming theory, and have decided to thrill the masses with a new product of their imaginations.

The sun has a "solar heartbeat," or cycle of activity, that produces energy that causes sunspots and solar flares. Scientists at Northumbria University in northeast England developed a model that illustrates the history of these heartbeats and that predicts there will be irregularities in them. The model suggests that solar activity will fall by 60% during the 2030s.

Scientists have decided to design a new theory around existing data, with the hope of producing another windfall of research grants from a population afraid of freezing to death, as decades of threats of global warming have become impotent based on personal experience.

According to the Royal Astronomical Society, the researchers studied the sun's magnetic field activity between 1976 and 2008. They compared their predictions with average sunspot numbers, another strong marker of solar activity, the society reported.

Researchers took a cherry-picked collection of data from 1976 to 2008, and used a particular aspect of that data (average sunspot numbers) to support their hypothesis. As a description of one element of data extracted from the 1976-2008 data, "another strong marker of solar activity" becomes a selling point with the selective use of the word "strong."

The researchers' model showed a 97% level of accuracy, said Valentina Zharkova, a Northumbria University mathematics professor.

The researchers' model shows a 97% level of accuracy because the data they chose to use conveniently supports their hypothesis. Notice how the opinion of a mathematician becomes handy for astronomers trying to prove this particular point; unlike for evolutionary biologists, who claim the odds against us being here are merely improper calculations because 'obviously,' speciation by natural selection happened.

So how cold could it get?

So how cold do the scientists want you to think it will get?

The scientists say their findings could mean a deep freeze like the one Great Britain experienced around 1900, when the Thames River froze over.

This time, scientists are shooting for less apocalyptic results than their original global warming predictions, because they have learned that the general population are not quite the rubes they previously thought.

CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller says the study looks intriguing, but it has not been peer reviewed, or subjected to the scrutiny of the larger scientific community.

One wise scientist steps forward in an attempt to prevent the entire "scientific community" from being a laughing stock once again.

"This isn't published research yet," he said.

To scientists trying to seed future research grant generosity, fueled by paranoia, this is beside the point.

"Our ability to forecast the specifics of a solar cycle is incredibly poor. It's worse than forecasting in a hurricane season."

Just replace "solar cycle" with "global climate change," and this is what should have been pointed out during the initial global warming scare, as the data for that particular prediction was and always has been very selectively chosen to support the hypothesis.

Doug Biesecker, who works at the Space Weather Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, agrees with Miller.

Another reasonable voice we could have used in the early 1980's.

He said the research shouldn't give anyone the idea that because the weather may cool, climate change is not something to be worried about.

I spoke too soon; apparently Biesecker is still holding onto global warming, even though through time, the theory has been refuted by additional data dismissed by the original researchers.

"It's a very complicated issue," Biesecker, an expert in solar physics, told CNN. "Does the sun have a role in our variable climate? Yes. Is the dominant role? No. Even the concept of the sun being responsible for Europe's mini ice age -- it's not hard-and-fast true."

Translation: regardless of what a single scientist, or even an entire "scientific community" would like you to believe, theories are still just theories, and should not be confused with facts, especially when dealing with past events that are no longer subject to the scientific method (designing and performing experiment[s] to test a hypothesis).

Bottom line: The research needs a closer look.

Taking a closer look at any given research may not always be the friendliest activity toward that research, if the scientists wish to continue to be taken seriously.