Thursday, November 17, 2016

Climate Change versus Employment

Climate change is not a new phenomenon. It is a weather condition that has been taking part in cycles over the millennia; and by all accounts, the next cycle has been 50 thousand years in the making.

The bottom line is that climate change is a natural ecological event that is going to happen irrespective of humanity’s effort to stave it off; stave being the operative word.

Global-warming is another kettle of fish altogether: besides it being a natural ecological occurrence that takes place every-so years, it is also an occurrence that is aggravated by human consumption and industrial activity.

On the natural side, volcanic activity, solar radiation and the earth’s cyclic movement through the Galaxy/Universe, et al, all play a role in keeping the environmental scales in fine equilibrium, or not.
On the human side, industrial growth, human green-house gas generation and fossil fuel usage all contribute to upsetting the fragile balance that encompasses the environment, atmosphere and the way the eco system deals with these eventualities.

Although the Industrial Age is lauded and praised for much of the technological development that is being experienced today, it has brought with it unforeseen (maybe) side-effects; side-effects that have malignantly contributed to the many environmental problem and human enslavement being experienced today.

Yes, medically, technologically and financially, humanity finds itself riding the waves of success and development (although the last one is debatable.) Humanity is at an all time high: lofty life-spans, healthy bank balances and prosperity. And now that the ‘east’ has caught up and surpassed western developments, life has accelerated to the next level faster than anticipated.

Humanity has become technologically and information hungry. It has huge wants-and-needs that are being met by extravagant usage of natural recourses and over capitalisation of available real estate, all drawing upon the human propensity for avarice to drive those wants-and-needs along.

The main challenge facing modern Governments is employment: how to create avenues that help foster employment versus creating avenues that produce profits, thus keeping the economic status-quo fresh, is the quandary? It may be argued that other systemic life issues are of more importance but without employment, the system will consume itself to the overall detriment of humanity – the money energy cycle needs to be maintained.

To my mind, all the talk of climate change and or global warming will come to naught if the employment factor is not fixed. A hungry person does not care about the environment. A dejected unemployed person does not care about the environment. As a matter of fact, both types of people are more given to fits of pack-rage and destructive tendencies than those that are gainfully employed.

The South African Minister of Energy Affairs recently stated that renewable energy initiatives will cut employment as renewable-energy power generating plants, besides being more energy efficient, are also human real-estate efficient e.g. wind farms require less human-power to keep the equipment operational than that of a coal fired power station. Solar farms face the same employment dilemma.

With the growth in the human population expected to reach nine billion by the year 2030 (by recent extrapolations,) the employment quandary increases with each passing year. A prospect that is going to place even greater stresses on the environment due to the logarithmic growth in energy demand, food requirements, and other natural resources. A prospect that is neither positive nor captivating for the coming generations of humans.

I am of the opinion that the existing democratic (or whatever other forms of Government there are around the world) and capitalistic energies are in dire need of an overall. These energies worked well during the birth of the Industrialisation age to about 20 years ago. Since then, they have been faltering and overwhelming humanity at a dizzying pace of consumption. Changes to both systemic energies will not be easy, but the alternatives are worse.

Carl Sagan once said that if humanity can survive past its puberty stage (speaking of human development in the greater scheme-of-time,) the future will be humanity’s oyster. Unfortunately, very little positivity is pointing in that direction.

“The needs and wants of the people need to be addressed and pacified. Workable solutions have to be constructed in such a way that either gainful employment is generally guaranteed or alternatively, that a new means of income generation is implemented i.e. doing away with the traditional capitalist way of doing things.” ~ Global Warming: A Growing Woe

But, it is always easier to talk about climate change and the positives of life when one is gainfully employed!?

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Murder most foul: An Oscar in the making

Of recent, my thoughts have been beset by the way people have been reacting to certain emotive news subject featuring Oscar Pistorius. Here is a person, disabled as he may be, that in the wink of an eye, has undergone a life changing experience. The incident in question refers to the ‘alleged’ murder of an up-and-coming female model at the point of his gun. The why it happened is the current furore of public speculation that is being driven to insanity by the media sharks, hungry for sensationalism, melodrama and sales.

In taking the time to read all the news reports on the Oscar troubles and their associated public commentaries, one gets the feel that all is not well in society at large. In breaking down the commentaries into their various headings, which range from Religious pundits quoting scripture and their brand of theological edits to explain or bless the embattled soul, to the downright obnoxious who relish in making what-really-happened extrapolations fact based on mostly yellow-page styled journalism, and their own narrow life experiences.

Of course, in between all the ‘listen-to-me’ commentaries, one does find the down-to-earth type comments that express sadness, disbelief, scepticism, and pose elucidating questions relating to the muddled hype traveling the internet, the printed word, and the airwaves.

To my mind, the issue arises from the inclination we have of putting people on pedestals based on certain of their witnessed above-normal human prowess while casually ignoring, or not taking into account, their very human side. A side that plagues Homo Sapiens across all walks of life. Had Oscar or his girlfriend been one of the average billions, would the dastardly incident have caused a stir or even the lifting of an eyebrow?

What is on the table, although complex in nature is a simple question of a human being, being human. Oscar is a real human being that has to content with real-life fears, aspirations, mental torments: depression; misery; despair; despondency; and bouts of ego.

Although there is a growing faction of activists who feel that the female girlfriend is being side-lined by the attention the fallen superstar is receiving while the victim lies dead, it cannot be denied that while she was an up-and-coming cover-model superstar, Oscar is the newsmaker of the day: he broke the moulds of human perceptions, he made history and he moved the human imagination to greater heights enforcing the new-age ethos that nothing is impossible.

Yet the pedestal was created, assembled, manufactured and cemented in place, firmly affixing the feet-of-clay of the disabled superstar to it. Is this because we need heroes to give credence to our feeble lives? Is this because we need hope to an otherwise humdrum existence? Is this because we need something to grab-onto which seemingly makes sense and affirms our desire to a better life?

There is of course the possibility that all the adoration and adulation that Oscar received over his period of fame played havoc on his frail human psyche which led to the development of the commonly known prima-donna syndrome: a rather common human weakness that has manifested itself in many Hollywood stars, musical idols and political statespersons. 

The way forward for him is going to be tough and brutal. Fortunately he has the money to employ a high-powered lawyer which by all accounts, gives him a decisive edge in maneuvering through the mazes of legalese and jurisprudence processes.

The way forward for the hapless family of the deceased model is likewise going to be filled with much despair, depression, anguish, sleepless nights and questions.

To me, the bottom line to the entire fracas is never to put a human being on a pedestal for in the end, it is only a human being. Yes, appreciate their achievements and accomplishments but there is where it should end.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bestiality, Doping and Fickleness

So the famed American cyclist has ‘come clean’ to paraphrase the media hype. Really?

Given the American propensity for hype, truth-and-reconciliation marketing and self-aggrandisement, the well-publicised talk show was a beautifully choreographed piece of circus performance complete with a voluble ring-master, obedient slew of lawyers and agile camera shots. All that was missing were the wild animals, dogs and clowns; and maybe they were all present…just in disguise!?

I wonder what the famed cyclist’s appearance fee was?

And speaking of criminal congress, the constitutional court has found that the South African sex offender’s act is unconstitutional in that consenting persons should be allowed to entertain copulation without the fear of being labelled criminals. Of course the section in question is mainly about teenagers engaging in consensual sex and not really about adults but still, given the population growth, there are a lot of young orgasms taking place irrespective of laws, mandates and adult aversions.

Then there is a clip in the South African media about a ‘petite blond’ having been sent for mental evaluation for having had intercourse with a Terrier and a Labrador. Is this because the breeds in question did not give their consent or is it just because she found sex with the loving breeds sensual?

And speaking of defloration, I wonder if SANRAL will also be sent for mental evaluation due to them screwing the public without their consent; or the use of protection?

And on the subject of being screwed by the system, it was reported that some rating agencies have warned the USA that they will suffer a rating downgrade if they do not raise their debt ceiling. If one follows the line of logic, debt is master. In other words go ahead and create more debt i.e. print more money, and all will be well with you. Pity that the same opportunities are not afforded the masses. These will just have to continue to bend over and smile. After all, it is the American way.

Personally I find the whole flaccid affair distasteful. America is still classed as the greatest world economy yet it owes more than it has. What does that say for the people earning in US Dollars? How valuable is their money really? How will this whole sexual affair affect us as outsiders to the whole game play? Maybe our saving grace is the other American invention; Viagra.

As for erections, our dear farm workers down in the Western Cape have once again taken to the streets with whatever they could get their hands on to protest their miserable salaries, blaming everything and destroying everything in the process. What a warm afterglow the SAPS must be enjoying, having had to face the brunt of anything that can be thrown, hurled and chucked. Maybe the SAPS should take a step back, cordon off the area and let the protesters do what they do best. At least this way the SAPS can’t be blamed for hurting a poor protester or innocent onlooker. In retrospect, this type of passive action would also be judged as criminal by public opinion. I find the whole affair offensive and prejudicial to all concerned for winners there will not be; especially not for the workers.

Anyways, while I type in the afterglow of all the excitement I am confronted by the idiocy of it all. 

I am struck by what strikes people as important e.g. Lance Armstrong. Since when is the doing and screwing’s of a sport personality of such importance that it occupies center stage in world news; specially when wars are raging, unemployment continues to escalate, and the financial systems is in tatters?  Oh wait, Tiger Woods…and now he wants to re-marry his ex. 

I am in awe of the general commentaries made by those with access to on-line news sites and the blogosphere. Commentaries that judge and hold in abhorrence human infractions and public incidences without first checking on and ensuring that the facts are correct.

I find it interesting that for every ridiculing article written about dear uncle Zuma, the more the ire of the ANC rise against the press. In the laws of physics, sooner or later the one will disappear for no two forces can occupy the same place, space or time. History will tell.

And now that France has joined the conflict in Mali, all is as it should be: Fucked up! At least I know that the sun rises in the east.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013: The new Apocalypse

2012 was marred by many eventualities, wars, paranoia and conspiracies. Truth was the main objective behind any of the aforementioned but it suffered greatly at the hands of father time.

Take the Mayan end-of-time proclamation that came to pass without not even as much as a belch from our dear friend the sun.  Was the whole 21 December brouhaha a hoax or just a failing in interpretation? Irrespective on how one sees it, the affair did stir much in the way of media writings, blogs, books, speculations, documentaries and debates; all in all, a pleasant diversion to the everyday humdrum of human life.

The Lance Armstrong doping debacle also grabbed the imagination of the populace. Here is a story so sordid and scheming that even the most ardent fans of the Icon were left reeling at the truthiness of it all. Yet, the whole judicial issue was based on circumstantial and inferred indictments: solid proof has yet to be presented. Yet again, a non-political story managed to divert the attention of the masses away from the realities of life, if only for a brief moment.

There is a rumour doing the rounds that Armstrong is toying with the idea of coming clean; and possibly on Oprah. Once again only time will tell what the truth really was.

The American elections and the ANC party elections were entertaining to say the least. President Obama like President Zuma was presented by the media as being in danger of losing his crown. The election figures showed a different story.  Was the whole pre-election news mongering engineered to keep the masses entertained and filled with angst about the future?

The Green Movement, as is the custom, again made lot of noise during 2012 pushing their agendas (noise pollution,) used much paper on pamphlets and other marketing materials (from trees, plants, etc) undertook many miles of travel on roads, air and sea (using natural resources,) and wore down many shoes on mass-actions necessitating the purchase of new ones by the consenting participants (leather, electricity, waste, etc.) Civil disobedience and damage to property pail into insignificance when compared to the foregoing wastage practices.

The great Mandela fell sick and instantly caused a panic amongst the pack of media wolves and loving adherents: some hoping to be the first to publish a piece of the action while the rest spent their time in prayer, vigils and hopeful Facebook postings. What is going to happen when the great-equaliser death eventually does go knocking is anyone’s guess but it will be sad and interesting.

2012 also delivered many deaths as is the norm given the mortality state of life; some deaths more notable than others but all eliciting equal amounts of sorrow from grieving loved ones. The one lesson that sticks out by the devastation left behind by the-great-equaliser is that life is promised to no one.

Oh yes, and positive thought, or the religion thereof, has become entrenched as the new black.

What was notable about 2012 is up for grabs and the answer(s) will depend on socio-economic and gender and employment status of the respondee.

What about 2013?

Well, as yet there have been no reported or observed conspiracies or rationalised paranoia that have reared their ugly heads; likewise for doomsday seers, new-age religious prophets or apocalyptic mystics.

Wars continue unabated, politicians are still being self-serving, fat cats are still raking it in, the populace is still being screwed to every till point and bank counter, the unemployed will soon be able to take over the governing of a country for having the most active members, and prejudice still is paramount in most minds.

I’ve heard talk of a 30 year cycle of change which is apparently  approaching its conclusion, of the age of Aquarius where enlightenment will reign supreme, of economic transformation where all will be treated fairly, of Governments becoming more open and amiable and of Father Xmas finally attending one of Oprah’s talk shows. In the words of Fry and Lewis: The more things change, the more they remain... insane.

At least the Facebook Soap Opera changes every 5 minutes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why the obsession with the American elections?

Why the obsession with the American elections?

Here is a country that has the highest deficit rate (16 trillion Dollars) yet still gets viewed as the largest economy in the world?

Their track record as a rescuer of countries is beyond poor?

Most of the accepted paranoia and conspiracies are American driven?

Their application of Democracy leaves much to be desired?

Their record in usurping their own constitution has no equal?

Why the obsession with the American elections?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DSTV: A Winning Experience

It all started on a whim; something to the tune of “why not. What have we got to lose?” Then the fateful call from DSTVs marketing department a few weeks later changed all the acuities and made the anticipation a reality. As a matter of fact, being speechless and totally gobsmacked comes to mind.

Anyways, the whole affair revolved around a DSTV initiative to reward its viewers, and a partner, for being loyal subscribers. The prize: a 4 days all-expenses-paid excursion to the fairest Cape that included much wine tasting, VIP status at the TOPS Gugulethu Wine Festival, a tree-planting ceremony, sight-seeing excursions and some me-time.

The flight down to Cape Town was as usual a busy one but rather uneventful. The only excitement was the replacement of the satirical ‘beef or chicken?’ by ‘tea or coffee?’. 

The arrival was a bit chaotic with all the ‘winners’ trying to make sense of the received instructions but eventually, with all the initial  butterflies being shooed  away, all were settled into their respective colourful sponsor-adorned transporters.  The trip to the hotel, the Protea Fire and Ice, was uneventful but this too was soon replaced by enjoyment when first the Hotel Manager and then our smiling DSTV hostess welcomed and addressed the attendees to the melodic tunes of clicking glasses filled with a cape sparkling wine.

The rooms were cosy and clean, and warm given the inclement cape weather raging outside, with a spacious shower, toilet and basin area. The bed was an enormous affair covered by a comforting duvet, practical throw and supportive pillows.

Breakfast was likewise a welcoming affair with much food, help-yourself tit-bits and excellent sweet choices at ones beck-and-call. The coffee waitron completed the package by filling and refilling all the inviting cups.

The excursion package began in earnest on the first evening with a trip to the Nederburg Wines Estate; the same one that is currently playing host to the Masterchef South Africa TV series. The evening package not only included wine tasting but a four course Nouveau meal, lectures by two wine sommeliers, joviality and the ever-present ambience-capturing TV camera – something that we all would be getting used to over the course of the four days. 

The second day called for a deviation to the scheduled itinerary due to the continuing inclement weather which made the trip to the famous Cape Town Cable Car a thing to be desired but not experienced. Some decided to go sight-seeing at the V & A Waterfront to while away the time to the next programmed excursion. 

This came soon enough with the Alto Wine Estates playing the gracious hosts complete with a roaring fire, hot soup, sizzling tasty food and heart-warming wine. What made this experience memorable relates to the fact that we each had a turn at bottling our own wine – the yet unreleased soft-on-the-nose Alto Rouge - complete with designer label, cork and love; all in all, an extraordinary experience.

The day was concluded by a visit to the vibrant Bay Harbour Market in Houtbay: an initiative that encompasses live music, exciting food stalls and a vibrant flea-market all under one roof. Of course, being the guests of honour was a highlight in itself: we were welcomed by the General Manager of the Bay Harbour complex and interviewed by the DSTV production executive as to our experience so far. As part of the DSTV excursion package, we were also issued with VIP Cards and shopping vouchers to use and abuse to our hearts content. In typical Cape Town fashion, we all partook of the festivities until closing time at which time our gracious drivers, again adorned in their highly colourful sponsor-painted transporter vans, picked us up and whisked us away to the hotel in an atmosphere of jolly mirth, jokes and fast-quips by the imbibed passengers.

Sleep came none too soon.

The third day arrived to clear skies and pleasant temperatures which enhanced the breakfast fare. At 09h30 we were driven away to the family owned M’Hudi Wine Estate in Stellenbosch for brunch and more wine. On arrival, we were greeted by sunshine, vast expanse of vines and a homely wine-tasting barn that was decked by tasteful paintings. The affable patriarch gave new meaning to the term; endearing storytelling.
Brunch consisted of five courses lovingly cooked by the estate matriarch and served by the ever-smiling waitrons while the estate sommelier explained the wine pairing on offer. 

The afternoon was concluded by a visit to the Tembaletu School for the Disabled in Gugulethu where we were greeted by youthful voices singing in unison and thrilled teachers keeping the exuberant learners in control all the while adding their voices to the youthful choir.

The tree-planting ceremony was overseen by the school horticulturist and the much loved patron, Mzoli: a well-known character that has used, and continues to use his hard-earned prosperity to the benefit of the Gugulethu community. Twenty trees were planted by all in attendance.

The evening festivities were held at the TOPS Gugulethu Wine Festival in Gugulethu. The mix-of characters and ethnicities present gave the whole affair a cosmopolitan feel that was warm, welcoming and friendly; even the food queues were orderly and sociable.

Once again, sleep came easy.

Sunday morning arrived quickly, a perception that was heightened by the fact that all suitcases had to be packed and prepared for transporting due to the second change in the itinerary - as the sun was shining, a trip to the famed Table Mountain was organised literally in situ.

Given the time constraints of travel, sight-seeing and airport bookings, the excursion to the top of Table Mountain occurred virtually problem free; although some attendees were rather stressed by the ever-looming return flight schedule. Yet it all happened on schedule. After saying our goodbyes to the mountain Dassies, Table Mountain, Cape Town, Drivers and DSTV hosts, we all departed fully satisfied.

The return flight was quiet, unfussed and bland: a fitting end to an exciting weekend of festivities, travel and camaraderie.