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A new era in science and discovery, thank you China.

185566965This week we saw China landing a probe on the surface of the moon, as I type the rover “Jade Rabbit” is moving over what has been deemed very interesting young lava flows, between one and two and a half billion years old. The United States space administration NASA  has been banned by congress from doing business with the Chinese, and China was banned from the International Space Station (ISS) because of human rights violations.

Now China is probably about ten years away to catching the united states in space technology, but with the current US attitude to spending on science the US is probably just giving away it’s lead in space. China is determined to move forward and not make the mistakes the US made in throwing away it’s advantage. Will the US like other Asian nations meet the threat of a China in space with updated funding on technology to counter this new threat. Neil DeGrass Tyson has said many times that it was competing with the Russians that created the Apollo moon missions and very little to do with science. I agree with him on this and wonder when the Chinese missions will give the united states congress the impetus to start a new venture into space.

Will this be a boon for space exploration or a venture to make competing technology for a new space race/ cold war scenario? Personally I don’t see China moving backwards due to more freedoms for some in the nation, and increased personal wealth among it’s citizens bringing better standards of living, it would be hard to move in reverse now.Where it could get messy is with China’s capability to launch satellites and possibly the means to shoot down other countries satellites, it may turn into a technology war. With Hacking of government facilities from China and other nations that don’t like the United States, and the absence of urgency by the United States in securing it’s Government cyber self. And the outsourcing of Government work in the name of expertise but with out proper oversight, leading to leaks AKA Edward Snowden.

My solution is to separate science and government completely and allow China to have access to the ISS, as the Unites States moves away from government funded space exploration and into the private sector. It seems a bit naive to think the Chinese won’t get access to this technology anyway.  We could use diplomatic means to allow Non-Chinese to be on their Space missions in the future. I think the Chinese on one hand would prefer we didn’t do this as it might take away a bit of the glory, but it may suite the Wests interests by not creating a new cyber war.

Our Government should take vital systems off the web so that no hack will be easily possible from abroad. The United States government needs to stop outsourcing jobs to the private market place and hire the real people to keep our data secure, this isn’t big government but it’s smart government. There also needs to be a new definition on what is private and what is not in this new mobile technology world. Our antiquated notions of privacy don’t cut it when everything you do is now open to not just who you share it with but their friends and anyone else with access.

How small should government be?

big-governmentIn the united States we have a situation that is a bit different from other countries, in that you have two governments over you. One being the State which has it’s own rules and depending on politics is either for or against the Federal Government. This means that we have federal laws to protect citizens that can be completely ignored by the states by finding some loophole. In other countries the laws would be primarily from the Federal level and the state would be in charge of running the state services financially. So the conflict I see today with Conservative governors trying their best to undermine the healthcare law by not expanding Medicare, and not setting up healthcare exchanges seems to be just a United States thing!

I grew up in Europe with universal healthcare, AKA socialism, but the truth is when you break a leg it gets fixed, don’t even have to be in the communist party! So when people cry out socialism over the ACA AKA Obamacare, I wonder with the rest of the planet how you can be so miss-informed. When you sign up for Obamacare it’s with a health insurance company, not the government. You can compare prices and choose the plan you like, that’s called the market place and it’s definitely not socialism. As to the reports of death panels, a true government health plan is Medicare, and as of yet seniors have not heard about the death panels. Most seniors love Medicare, even the ones who don’t realize it’s government healthcare.

Then I hear people saying that government is bad and we need small government, lets take America back to some time in the past. Is this before we had safety standards for industry or building codes. Is this before we had food safety, or tried to have food safety if the FDA gets funding. How dare it try to tell us what to eat, I love contaminated beef. Or maybe that toy from China is the greatest, and the poison doesn’t worry me; I won’t be sucking on it! I know bridges are falling apart, and yes if States politicians  put infrastructure up there and not getting reelected (both parties), maybe there wouldn’t be so much unemployment.

So I come back to my question; how small should government be? I don’t like waste, and this includes my tax dollars, I don’t like to have politicians telling me what to do, vote sensible laws and I have no problem. I respect laws (well most of them anyway). I believe in religious freedom, you should have the freedom to practice your religion with out the government imposing on you. Of course people who are not of your religion have the right to follow their own religion and follow their religions rules (hence freedom). When those religious rules don’t conflict with the laws of the land. Imposing your religious teaching on someone not of your church is in fact religious persecution, and we don’t like that!

So when people say small government do they mean just the federal government, and the disaster aid, one of the most powerful militaries in the world & shear influence of the United States means nothing. They just want the State to be the body in charge, local politics only. Maybe some people just have not liked being part of the Union, and would prefer secession from the United States completely. Form a theocracy and live away from those heathens who believe women have a choice and should be paid the same as men. Have the freedom to marry who you love, and not denounce it in public; but when you are caught just go to therapy and ask god for forgiveness, and it will be ok!

So how big or small should government be?

I don’t give a rats ass, it should not waste my tax money and should be looking after my best interests. Don’t spy on me unless I have actually done something to deserve it. And allow me to pursue endeavors in the future for my families happiness and myself. I am not afraid of government, I get to vote; but I want it to function for my interests and not just for the corporation who makes donations.

When it comes to Health Care what are the real questions we should be asking?

exercises_in_wardI was reading an article about Kate Middleton‘s pending birth of a new royal, and the differences between private and a National Health Service (NHS) facility. Some of the differences are going to be quite obvious, the private hospital will feel more like a hotel stay than a hospital. While the NHS will get the job done without frills and champagne, probably a meal and some tea.

I read criticisms of the NHS with long waiting times and lack of funds, and I agree that health care (unless you are a wealthy nation) is not at first glance a money maker. In the WHO ranking the USA comes in 38th when it spends more than any other nation on healthcare, Britain is 18th. All this tells me is in the united states money doesn’t guarantee the best results.

I find comparisons of these two systems most of the time to be unfair. Those who say universal/government healthcare is socialist and this is somehow bad have no idea what they are talking about. This is about healthcare not a political ideology, these arguments are used to scare the ignorant into thinking that the government is evil. Of course the government is suddenly good after a natural disaster, or for creating food standards and building codes, providing a military to protect your right to say the government is evil!

OK back to healthcare; my complaint with comparing the two systems are the money spent on each is vastly different, value for money should be the real question there. Also the complaint in the States from people like me is the millions that cannot get any medical care. And lets face the truth is that any medical care is better than none. What universal healthcare would do in the USA is compete with the insurance companies throwing off the monopoly they have had in the last thirty years. Finally the price of healthcare in the USA may go down to realistic levels. I realize some medical professionals would be upset no longer earning three times the wages as their counterparts on the rest of the civilized world, but it would still be a very good wage.

Can private hospitals and public hospitals compete? The short answer is yes, they do in many countries. England and Ireland have universal care and medical insurance plans, so you have a choice and they can work in harmony. In the USA there is also government healthcare, Medicare and VA facilities are in fact government healthcare; though some would deny this due to vested interests in the current system. There are in fact vast amounts of money to be made in healthcare, personally I think the government should take a leaf from the insurance companies and use that model to create a system that provides universal care while also helping to pay for itself.

I personally think Americans compared to Europeans are more critical of their government because in Europe you actually get more for your taxes than you do in the States. I don’t like my taxes wasted & I am just as pissed as the next person with government corruption. I just think providing care to members of the same society is a cultural choice, not a political one.

Matthew 25:41-46 (New International Version (English Translation))

41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

What tech scares me?

What is technology? I am sure the answer today would be very different from even ten years ago. The change has happened fast and has been global!

Today I looked at the next version of the iPhone. It’s hard to believe this innovation started only five years ago.
With the change toward a truly mobile digital society, hardware and software have improved so much that today we should really just look at what works for us, not question whether it will work!

With this innovation in tech, including data networks that allow us to interact in so many new ways, we have as a society met a contradiction.

The tech we want to work so well for us in our digital world needs to know who we are so it can serve our online needs. For this reason some have felt a considerable loss of privacy. While there will always be instances where I agree that data belonging to a individual is a precious commodity and should be protected, my geek self wants to avail of the new innovations in technology; including the mobile integration and the new ways tech will allow me to transact business & interact with friends & family.

We do as a society need to decide what info is normal to give out to function in this new world, & how our info will be used & kept from abuse. This needs to be standardized and universal, because at this stage many different aspects of our digital self are floating around without control and safeguards. Until this is sorted I feel that the general population is at risk, and in a quest for profit some businesses don’t give data handling the security it really deserves; and this lack of clarity does scare me.

The next thing that scares me about the future of technological integration is the lack of education. We are making powerful mobile computers that allow many different kinds of interaction, but as a society, we are not showing our youth how to use these things in a polite manner. Is there no etiquette when it comes to new mobile tech?

People defend the right to be careless in the name if freedom of choice; I still see people texting while driving. If we live in a society and not on an island by ourselves. Society should demand a behavior that allows individual freedom without inflicting those around us with stupidity.

I love tech & innovation. We live in a wonderful dreamland of new opportunities, but as a society can we start thinking about how our digital self represents our true self, and how much of our true self we need to divulge to create that digital self, without putting our true self at risk!

How the Internet or Web is changing our world.

We live in a mobile world, I find it easier to get my news & write my blog on my phone. We have our social networks, too many for me to be actually social. Personally I think texting is the most social program. As I’m actually having a conversation rather than just making statements.

The social thing like other online programs will change as one loses popularity as another takes the lead. Just like trendy bars in Los Angeles. They are only the flavor for a short time.
There are other ways our world is changing.

The Arab Spring would never have occurred without social networks. Groups who wish to promote their cause now have a platform. This can be good or bad depending on the cause!
I believe in free speech, but hate & violence are not free speech. The promotion of free speech while restricting hate is the challenge of the modern web.

Pornography (the industry), is actually on the decline due to the web. With so many free online sites & people willing to put their exploits on the web for free!

I see a change in our TV viewing in the near future. The only thing holding change back is the media companies. The advent of the reality show (oxymoron), was probably the worst thing to happen to TV since its inception. I have never understood the purpose in giving fools a platform just for ratings. I know it’s cheap but there is no value in it!

The web will be our answer to this, as content & software develop more of our viewing pleasure will be web based rather than just network TV. It will of course have to be paid for. My hope is we move to a one payment system for everything. Web, tv, data, because in a digital world it’s all just data! You pay for the data you use. Very simple & no throttling thank you.

I do wonder what will happen to the TV when we get all our news and shows on our mobile devises. Will the TV just be for gaming? We are in a constant state of technology transition waiting for the next leap. Only when that’s settled & people have decided what works do we know. Until then it’s just opinion, this was mine!
Thank you!!

Where are the moderates?

It’s a fact the GOP has moved to the right over the last ten years. A conservative in England would be considered a socialist in the US.
I know religion plays a large part of this swing, which makes me dislike organized religious groups even more now. But is that the only radical group at play?
Where are the fiscal conservatives gone. Didn’t they see bush & his cronies ruin the economy. Wage wars & give tax cuts with no consideration. And yet when the next President tried to fix it they just tow the party line. Call him a socialist and do nothing to help fix the economy. Even Reagan understood you can’t just fix it with reduced spending. So he increased taxes to raise revenue. It’s the same today!
Any fool knows in order for economic growth money must move.
The so called job producers have decided not to produce the jobs, even though they still have their precious tax cuts. The Republicans will not put through legislation to spur job growth as it would make Obama look good.
So we have a stagnant economy kept stagnant because the politicians are playing power games.
So where have all the moderate conservatives who can see through the bullshit gone?

Disappointed Democrat.

In the last week I have seen money buy votes, money has become the changer in politics in the USA. Yes it has always been involved, but when the Court decided a corporation was a person in Citizens United, (don’t you love the name of the ruling that negated the citizen’s vote). Now foreign entities could be spending money to influence politicians here. And with no disclosure it’s made the American political system a bloody joke.

I was hoping that Scott Walker would be removed but that didn’t happen. Some say it’s because people in the state didn’t think that was the correct way to remove him. Others thought cutting the unions power was a good thing. Unions have become less relevant in recent years in states that have enacted good worker legislation. But I don’t think that is the case here, Scott Walker wanted to remove the unions power as the unions finance democratic politicians, while corporations finance Conservative politicians. This will make Wisconsin a red state for the conceivable future; which has nothing to do with the states budget. Do I think the people of Wisconsin were duped; yes I do!

But after the heat blows over and the election buzz cools down, it’s time to look again at what the politicians are doing. Not what they say they are doing, because these things are not often the same!!

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