Miscellaneous Green News I'm Tracking:

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Examining The War Within Our Own Country And The Subsequent Wars We Cause



Something worth reviewing before we do it again...

At some point, the Generals, politicians, and leadership who can't manage with all their wisdom, power, technology, sub-contractors and claims, to come up with any better "end-games" to the endless embroilment's asked of our citizens; their tax dollars, the lives of those who serve in the military, and the lives of the natives within whichever region we have now invaded; need to be held accountable for the results of these shameful conflicts, the trillions of taxpayers dollars, the INSANE death tolls and utter quagmires they create.

Leaving whole countries (including ours) in ruin; emotionally, politically and financially, is unacceptable! ...it's heinous!! ...It's criminal!! Yet, the wrong people are suffering and being punished!

The loyalty of our brave citizens can't continue to be expected to shoulder the burden of foolish decisions, "unintended consequences", and/or the losses caused by fools in positions of power and economic influence. And each of us as voters can't continue to participate in a seemingly naive manner each time we enter the polls.

This (embedded) compilation video of the many reunions we've witnessed over the years on the News and YouTube, serves as a very touching and emotional portrayal for so many reasons. Yet, it is the captured moments of only the elated, happy, relieved emotions!

           http://youtu.be/hkGzqpGx1KU - Part 1
Christmas Edition: http://youtu.be/2SjVXFItWnQ
Imagine if you were forced to watch (or much less live) the realities of those facing painful, sad, lonely, detached, deceased, divorced, unparented, unemployed, underappreciated moments! The REAL sacrifices made DAILY to remain embroiled in the two longest (and incredibly simultaneous) wars in our history are simply IMMEASURABLE!!

There is no way to calculate the cost, the losses, the sheer sacrifice by so many! If it doesn't make us rethink, (once again,) our approach to war, retaliation, crude oil dependency, our votes, our stewardship of "super" power, etc., then nothing ever will!!
...how is the "soul" of this country affected by such irresponsible leadership?

My hope is that functional healing and recovery can occur within this Country, in relation to all the many (somewhat unspoken) tolls, which our policies have yet again placed on so many hundreds of thousands of our citizens over the last dozen years. The status quo has a death toll, and a toll on our entire society which we much STOP ignoring!

Reexamine your "loyalties", your "traditions", your peer pressure, your own resulting political views, and where they have gotten us! Then vote based on personal testimony; versus just that of the latest titillation. You now have a lifetime of your own observations and experiences which must compel you towards individual thinking, and an individual vote that can actually count for better wisdom.

Remaining subject to campaigns, miscellaneous claims made for ratings and/or poorly associated anger and resentment; or a lack of desire to study the real causes and effects of our history and humanities; is no longer a responsible way to participate in this democracy!

Ignorance has become a personal choice for many, within this era of our "information age". If you are reading this, then you have the ability to rise above your own previous voting limits. You can now aggregate your own fact checking; clarifying any intended responses and forge a true ability to evaluate your own positions and votes. (Sounds like "work"? Well, if you didn't work for your vote, then you are simply taking it for granted; and you sure shouldn't EVER brag about it's subsequent representation!)

Your clear alternative is to continue being fed some slew of "programming" & "commentary". We simply owe it to our historic (and at times, shameful) sacrifices made, to stop confusing the two for "news" and "facts"! Our own ethics and our countries soul are worth more than this confused version of "common" sense. Our media is NOT a reflection of our merit, nor should it be used to limit our Country's worthiness for a better future and life for those who trust in each of our democratic decisions.

You have a chance to do something both knowledgeable and redeeming; something worthy and capable of fixing our countries many mistakes and lacking wisdom.
...you're either part of the problem, or part of the solution.
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Our new life, our new adventure! The Pacific paradise island of Kaua'i!

We're relocating to the country. Well... more of a "paradise" with no traffic and fewer people. 
...No, I'm not talking about Brenham Texas, with the happiest cows and greatest ice cream.
This is more of a tropical pradise, rather than a contemporary topical one...
                                               { Kaua'i Hawai'i }
After more than 80 combined years of Native Texan living, snugly under our belts, we've finally decided to venture out into a new life, overseas! To be more accurate, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!

We promised ourselves when we were married a little over 18 months ago in Varenna Italy, that we would not remain in North Texas any longer than required, in order to discover a more appealing place to call home, and make suitable arrangements for the relocation. In keeping with this goal, in just over 6 weeks time, we will be relocating our lives to the Island of Kaua'i !!! ...and we couldn't be more thrilled!! :-D

                                               { Varenna Italy }
~ The weather played a crucial role in our determination: ~
Every summer we are brutally reminded as to why we wish we lived somewhere with a more accommodating climate; as our local temperatures exceed 100 degrees on a humid, daily basis; and at times, remains there for more than 100 days of the summer!! Subsequently, each year, we've been noticing our comfort with staying indoors throughout these months, becoming more and more the norm.

~ Our health remains our primary inspiration: ~
While it use to be the case that I would add a few pounds in the winter, and shed a few during the summer. This trend has become confidently derailed in more recent years! And speaking only for myself, my waistline is no longer allowing me to ignore this fact!

So we felt a place with a perfect year round climate, and adventures around every bend, valley, beach and mountain; within a concentrated paradise of 500 sq miles of unmatched, beautiful, island living; should quite naturally remind us each and every day to enjoy our reaming health and all the natural surrounding beauty, such environments provide on a much more habit forming, regular, year round basis.
                                               { Kaua'i Hawai'i }
There will simply be no excuses and very little hesitation to jump on our mountain bikes, or finally dust off our two ocean Kayaks, when the climate is ALWAYS an admirable 72-78 degrees! ..and the beauty, natural terrain and trades winds are calling.

~ Paradise beckoned: ~
The Island of Kauai (a.k.a. The Garden Island) ticked off almost all of our relocation, "different than Texas" / ex-patriot goals. Sans the fact (excuse the French) that we are fortunately able to remain "patriots" of our native country! :-D

We'll actually be able to speak the language; to all but about 8-10% of the population. (Bonus!) The connectivity of the home office, and Paula's nursing skills, will all still serve us well; insofar as creating additional financial security during this period of our veritable "working retirement". (Lucrative!) And we can no longer complain about the only true native culture in our midst being that of Oil and Cows, (of which we own neither,) nor the lacking geographical beauty of our 11 brief weeks (out of 54!!) of somewhat enviable North Texas annual climate.

                                               { Kaua'i Hawai'i }
In addition we hope the vast expanse and beauty of the Pacific, also serve as an effective "jumping off point" for a future life of additional, annual adventures. At least that of 3-8 week visits to other far off countries and cultures through routine "home swapping" adventures, further down the line; well after we've established our own little patch of paradise.

The goal in our later years will be to give a few Europeans a year a chance to enjoy our pieces of Hawai'i; as we in turn, go and experience their homes, steeped within various European destinations and cultures. So this move is just the start in a slate of intentional living geared towards further expanding our exposure to more cultures, people and places. (Not that being native to the Bible / Cotton belt hasn't been an eye opener, and a scorcher! ...it's just high time to venture onwards and outward.)

~ Counting on future trends: ~
Fortunately, many more Europeans now tend to achieve their ultimate goal of a Hawaiian vacations; however they also lean towards longer vacation commitments than their U.S. counterparts. So finding lodging well suited for more extended breaks has become the norm for such European travelers. Subsequently, "home swapping" has begun to serve as a very good option for these distant travelers, and is a trend sure to grow in popularity as the Internet refines it's version of "Collaborative Consumerism" and more easily verified accountability and/or confirmed credentials of those adventurous consumers.

Meanwhile, we have a home in Paradise to build. And 12 months out of the year of mid 70's temperatures to enjoy!! :-D

                                 { "Zero Home" by Miller | Hull }
Here's to a smaller waistline, tone physiques and forgetting all about the long LONG summers of 100+ degrees! ...followed by perhaps a five week reprieve of beautiful weather; headed towards the short days of chilly cold, snowless winters; lacking topography or snow adequate for suitable winter recreation. I'll sadly forgo my annual snow skiing trip to Colorado or New Mexico, for a few extra refreshers on catching a wave.

Paula was never a fan of winter recreation anyway, so even my winter trips were becoming far less frequent since tying the knot. This way, she gets her beaches, and I get my year round recreational activity adventures! Now, if I can just convince her to take up mountain biking on actual mountains. ;-)
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Why some subcultures have shamefully mastered the art of persecution ...And why you must avoid it!

It is important to question the merit of any organization which remains relevant or inspires loyalty on the basis of persecution.

Persecution is an extremely attractive tool of manipulation, coercion and solidarity. But it is also a mindset which primarily serve emotions of fear, exclusivity and in turn requires discrimination; all while providing a constant justification for any subsequent action and attitudes defending itself might require.

The nature and conveyance of persecution is one of the simplelist to inspire and claim; given the fact, it only requires finger pointing towards any single individual or larger groups which think or ar motivated in different ways and for different reasons than the belief or group you chose to represent. In other words, as long as there are different people with different beliefs and positions, there will always be claims of persecution. Therefore it is a naturally perpetuating belief set, with no end in sight! Yet such claims serve in no way towards growing or strengthening any formal position or belief within a chosen organization or sub-culture, beyond that of fear, paranoia, and additional prejudice.

So where do feelings of persecution have their place in your own life as an American Christian, or as a person of any chosen faith or even political or social positions of allegiance?

Here is a simple test for those enthralled by the "theology of persecution":
  • Does a belief or feeling of being persecuted increase your sense of empathy and sympathy for others who have gone through trials or are not just like you?
  • Does a belief or feeling of being persecuted allow you to feel more love for others or less?
  • Does a belief or feeling of being persecuted make you feel as if your God is smaller or greater?
  • Can you describe the nature of the persecution your faith and beliefs are under while also explaining the nature of God's sovereignty?
If you're feelings of persecution don't allow you to feel a greater sense of empathy, sympathy, love, and faith in God as well as exemplify you likely belief and understanding that he is "always in control", then it holds little to no place in one's current faith or life.

To believe in something which causes you to waste energy on a feelings of fear, negativity, prejudice, contempt, righteousness and/or piety is a waste of time. To believe in something that denies God's presence, or implies God's loss of control or intention for his children and his planet, is a waste of time. To believe in something that misses the point of His redeemer, His Son, your Savior and the grace, mercy, love and forgiveness that you have been shown and taught to ALWAYS feel for EVERY living soul and creature on this planet, is a waste of time.

Is your faith increased through your current set of beliefs or do you find it challenged and potentially diminished? Are you the source of your feeling of persecution, or is God? Is fear a result of your version of faith or is it God? Are their numerous contradiction in your current version of faith or cohesion?

If persecution and pride are just a few of your many vices where related to your current version of faith and the theology you feel you are faithfully following, an examination of "your walk", your current spiritual journey, your current perspective on God, grace, atonement, Love and forgiveness might be in order.

Part II

No aspect of your faith should be inspired through the balming and fearing of others. No aspect of your faith should be strengthened by feelings of a few of being superior to others whom your are sure hold less knowledge, understanding or faith than your own merits.

Instead your faith should be centered around "the work", a.k.a the change, the improvements its makes in you. And these improvements must include humility, rather than pride. Love, rather than prejudice. Generosity, rather than reservations.

If your faith has convinced you to withdraw from certain aspects of living. Or serves in some manner to separate your group of "believers" from the rest of society, then it has lost any and all relevance or value it might have ever been afforded.

If your faith has convinced you that Science is a lie, that the tolerance or inclusions of others is a bad thing, that equal social and human rights are a privilege for a select few, that you can now distinguish clearly the sin in others lives, while resting assured that your own life amount to less sin than theirs - if any of the delusions has become not only a basis for your feelings of false persecution, but also a basis for your faith in God, then you have placed yourself in a world of very little faith and understanding. You have shrunk you God down to a level of human understanding and human limits rather than elevated him to a level beyond your own limits.

Don't be a person of such little faith... Little understanding... Little vision...

Be a person of HUGE grace... Be a person who is humbled by underserved atonement and forgiveness. Be a sinner, who understand no man or women is without sin, and no sin or amount of them are better, worse, or less than those which you have committed, ignored or sought redemption for in your own life, or the life you have yet to live.

Concern yourself in a faithful sense with one person in this world. With yourself. And work on unconditionally loving others, rather than feeling you have determined something so significant about them, that you now see fit as to whether or not they can be categorized as a person who is as deserving of God's love and Christ Grace as you are.

Such determination are not yours to make... You can only be one thing when you do so, WRONG!

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Death by Denial, or Death of Denial - your choice...

How does one find comfort in denial? Sounds like a confusing, contrived approach to life...
But we all know folks who have attempted it...

Such exhausting efforts in denying the facts and the realities around us, infiltrates so many aspects of each person's lifestyle that it literally changes who and what we are. Both externally and internally. There is ultimately no denying the impacts denial can have on those who choose to cling to it.

Be it... Religion, career, health, politics, commerce or relationships; in every way we fit to believe and interact we are presented with an ability to either accept an empirical reality or to deny that which most if not all facts would postulate as true and inherent to reality.

Admittedly, at times when I think about the time spent, the lives spent in denial, it creates so many anxieties and upheaval in my own fortitude and optimism.  For instance, on the religious front, the lengths must one go to in order to deny evolution? You literally have to ignore the nature of the gas which fuels your car, and the earth and ground which you walk on. (Case and point: http://youtu.be/vfp4Ci1b0TI) And this is often founded of course as some moral stance by those in defence of God's story of creation.

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” 
― Galileo Galilei

In the mind of those who struggle with and attempt to wage such moral battles for the sake of presumed persecution by science, I think it is worth reminding them, that denying the atom exist, can not diminish the effect nor the development of an atomic bomb. But can you imagine a world where those feeling most morally accountable, also embraced the very sciences, wholeheartedly, which are and will guiding our future? If you ever wanted to render your religion irrelevant, I can't think of a better way than denying science as valid or real.  And when has the denial of facts ever served as a valid, permanent or worthwhile form of leadership, much less the stewardship of one's faith?

Additionally, the daily lies some individuals must tell themselves in order to continue eating their way to an early grave are just as astounding. You must even ignore your eventual inability to jog, to run, to sit comfortably in a seat, to fit into clothes; even those perhaps bought just months ago.  At such a point you are now beholden to a physical manifestation of denial.  Which many might think would be the easiest denial to recognize or avoid, but it is no less prevalent within our society that the type of religious and political or social forms we witness every day.

The "truth" one has to stretch even within their own mind in order to fathom and imagine everyone else in their life or this world is wrong, but that they are right, is astounding. You have to ignore any basis for functional communication. You have to adopt a notion that apologizing and repentance is a weakness, rather than a strength.

“Long experience has taught me this about the status of mankind with regard to matters requiring thought: the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them, while on the other hand to know and understand a multitude of things renders men cautious in passing judgment upon anything new.” 

The dismissive position one has to take as a Christian to find solace in prejudice and discrimination against countless sub-cultures, despite the entire purpose in Christ life, is a great example of the separatism many forms of denial can lead to. You have to reinterpret everything about the salvation Christ describes; and convince yourself it is somehow founded in the judging and condemning of others, rather than the love and grace you are to bestow.

When physical science, biology, spirituality, sociology and rationality are all areas of one's human experience a person is willing to completely ignore or dismiss, as pr when it suits them, there is not much that can be done to live a realistic, sincere, cohesive life with such a person. Nor should your days be spent in reprehension, regret or remorse over the eventual deterioration of such a destructive relationship or experience.  This deterioration after all, was by their own design, and was never an action or a choice you were offered an ability or option to prevent.

When adamant denial leads to positions of extreme isolation and/or separatist movements, only the most blatant of interventions will typically intervene effectively. And when folks find refuge in larger groups, political movements, or religious affiliations to solidify or support their denial, there is little any small scale intervention will offer or accomplish. So you are left with very few options.

"If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of 
myths is explained in this way."
― Bertrand Russell

Life is too short to sit around just waiting for denial to become rational thinking. Nor is your time well spent waiting for a lack of forgiveness, waiting for the denial of evidence, the mocking of facts, the dismissing of reason, or the insecurities of those who cling to such things to give way to grace, humility, healthy love, healthy living, and a new found balance and respect for themselves and those around them.

While it is true the politics of such people may ultimately or previously have had some bearing on the shaping and misdirected leadership of this country or the city, state and even household you live or were raised in. And while it is true that family members who cling to such reprehensible tendencies of denial can make all those around you miserable; and there is little denying a miserable family can make for a miserable life. Acceptance must be found, and in essence forgiveness must be offered.

To not accept that these bastions of ignorance and habits of lying to one's self exist, would be no better than the denial such people depend on. And to not forgive why a person chooses to deny realities and cling deception and/or an avoidance or acceptance and facts, is not prudent. Forgiveness must be offered, because your life must go on and be functional, actively and usefully lived.

You can't function when you find yourself trapped in the misery of another's denial! You can't function when you are a slave to the burdens their limitation are determined to create and present. You must represent a freedom, and an awakening, and an honesty they are not yet (and perhaps never will be) willing to depend on.

You must get far away from a lifestyle and manifestation of daily lies, and their subsequent daily struggles and inherent negativity; and instead intentionally walk towards habits and promoters of reasoning, critical thinking, communication, acceptance, discovery and the most astute interpretation of current, past and future events your own experience (and those shared by others,) has provided you thus far.

Denying realities for the sake of enabling other's denials is an utter waste of your own experiences and time spent living. Coddling the hatred, the judgments, the fear and disdain so many around us may exude as they deny the truth, only serve to give purpose to such ignorance. We were not born on this earth to serve as pawns and followers of such frail, ridiculous and insecure thinking. Our lives all have a much greater opportunity.
Image Link: http://goo.gl/7ELqf

(Analogy warning! ~next three paragraphs~ ) ;-)
When you finally realize, after perhaps many embarrassing years, that you have served as an "audience member" to the wrong "show"; perhaps a very "poor performance" or performer; a 1 out of 4 star, production... When this realization finally hits you, you must quickly learn to read, listen, and accept the reviews and opinions of others who have seen these types of bad pictures before and no exactly which ones should be avoided.

(To continue the analogy,) It is very likely, your own discernment between a bad film and a good one may still be a bit blind, hindered, and/or lacking. Therefore, in order to avoid continuing to serve as a naive audience member or worse yet cast member (or a pawn) in this horrible production, you must start trusting the wisdom of those who are not trapped in your seat or season ticket holders.

There may indeed only be one take, once chance to live our lives... However, there are many performances within this life! There are many matinees, many box office opportunities, many more and new examples of healthier, lucrative, purposeful moments, occasions and days ahead! (Leaving this analogy zone...)

Head forward! Head towards a new venue... Depend on reliable sources of information; those, less judgmental, less afraid, less turbulent, and more honest resources.

A "blood relation" doesn't guarantee a fulfilling example of honesty and sincerity.  A long standing position within a company, doesn't naturally convey or promote a severance or retirement which will fulfill feelings of purpose and happiness. The size of a community under the roof and steeple of a religious institution does not directly equate to the accuracy and truth which will be found within those walls.

Learn to discern the truth in you from the lies of others. Start a life that is meant to be lived each day with intention. Intentional living, matched with honesty and an avoidance of denial. Intentional living which seeks vigilantly to place you nearer to the gifts you desire. Lean on and search for the personal traits which you are best fashioned to draw strength from, reproduce and enjoy.

An artist must seek a creative environment and/or build their studio! A scientist must find a place where theories can be tested and facts are accepted. A bad politician must find voters willing to believe whatever they are told. A good public servant must be willing to listen and uphold the needs of others in ways few of us have witnessed. Your own votes must be an example of testimony and truth, rather than that of titillation and fear.

It may take you 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years to come to realize many of these patterns, or to feel an incentive to avoid their destruction in your own life. However long, whatever the age, rest assured the next 10,20,30, or 40 years would best be spent avoiding such destruction, insecurities, fear and prolonged exposure to the types of denial which only serve to rob you of your time left here on this planet!

Free yourself from such delusions!

Extreme cases of denial (delusion) are actually a form of psychosis.
Any delusion is always a mistake!

Who we spend our life trying to please or fellowship with, certainly changes everything! ...either for the worse or the betterment of our lives.

We must often look back in review of those who we initially thought were worth so many sacrifices. "Hindsight is 20/20!" Everyone has made bad calls at one point or another in trusting or supporting endeavors that were far from worthwhile or mutually healthy.

You are not alone. And life will get better now that you head forward with those costly trials and painful lessons under your belt. The pain and anger will also fade. Forgive yourself and forget the rest... They don't deserve any more of your energy or time.

Stay strong!!

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Friday, January 18, 2013

What Criticisms About Windows 8 Should Be Yielded Versus Ignored?

This article isn't a criticism or endorsement of Microsoft's new Windows 8 OS, but rather an encouragement in discernment when deciding which of the countless reviews on this new OS offering are probably most useful for those wishing to evaluate the product from a distance.

I will admit my own perspective on the Windows 8 OS, might differ a GREAT deal from any of those being offered more flippantly offered by your standard foe of "tech reviewers". I feel there is a huge difference in what a reviewer might think he should be reporting on, and what a company like MS is certain it must focus on. This definitely creates some significant issues for any of those wishing to assess a book by it's cover.

Most reviews of tech are hardly the types to read the whole book, or even feel their audiences care for them to, before posting a reaction to a product. However, a good tech reviewer, (of which there are few!) must first present and explain the challenges being directly managed, overcome and even nurtured by a company like Microsoft in order to really consider it's subsequent results and product evaluations, useful for any consumer market.

With Windows 8, Microsoft, is trying to build a bridge between the current meme of tablet based touch screen user interfaces, and a truly productive, formidable OS. (Incidentally, no one in the industry has attempted anything of this nature to date!) It is doing this with an understood responsibility to 90% of the worlds PC's / servers and computer users. Therefore Microsoft's ability to throw out everything, or further "revolutionize", without also respecting it's current massive majority of every major industry and computer user out there, has to be approached somewhat carefully. Here lies the biggest problem - doing something / anything, "carefully innovative" can certainly be a mixed bag.

Once approximately 3-4 minutes of learning curve are properly taught to a new Windows 8 user, the method in their madness (and this approach to "carefully innovative",) and the beauty of this new OS, is easily embraced and eventually fully appreciated. However this few minutes of instructions, flies in the face of picking up some one button tool, and swiping back and forth on a screen full of 3rd party icons of low powered mobile apps. When that is the measure by which a "good or simple" product is defined, I guess there are other who "win".

If someone really desires to maintain the level of productivity their company or craft requires; but also wishes to embrace a touch screen form factor of mobile computing while using their most productive 3rd party tools; they don't have an issue taking the 3-4 minutes to embrace the unique nuances of Windows 8. However, if you're a tech reviewer, and you think it is relevant to compare Windows 8's somewhat half-baked, initial "simplicity" to that of a OS which has no role in any major industry nor any significant market share in the PC or Enterprise markets; and can subsequently fly in the face of any respective industry or user's current goals; than the results of such reviews will be completely lost on the first set of the vast majority of profit driven, mission critical customers and consumers.

Microsoft's OS solutions are still the only game in town when it comes to any solution which can be implemented for enterprise purposes. (Other than Linux, which requires an exceptional level of internal support and knowledge.) But it is also the only game in town for users who wish to perform serious production based task while maintaining a since of broad support, options and dependability for legacy and future standards as well as innovations. Each consumer type represents not only the types of policies Enterprise clients demand; but moreover the value added responsibilities and responses any production based consumers should be taught to appreciate.

Unfortunately, we have seen quite a setbacks through the influence of certain "popular" consumer platforms, in both mobile computing and even an understanding of policies which should be followed in order to avoid obsolescence and/or squandered our tech investments. Mobile computing should first and foremost instill a since of freedom and convenience. Yet this freedom can't come at the expense of security, productivity and value. When we naively trust a platform which fails to also consider the back office, or enterprise and broader infrastructure priorities; or we approach an ecosystem which prioritizes controlling its user's choices or sources for content, applications and/or any form of media; we are completely limiting mobile computing promise of freedom and greater computing value, despite it's countless burgeoning opportunities.

In the case of a company like Apple, what is good for the share holders is rarely good for the consumer. In the case of Microsoft, given the fact they maintain 90% of any and all computers which have any significant impact on our Financial, Communication, Enterprise, Transportation, Military, Intelligence, Commerce, Design and Engineering  Entertainment, (YOU NAME IT!,) industries; what is good for this massive, vast majority of computing market share, is in turn, naturally good for the share holders. The goals in other words are QUITE different!  One seeks to control you once you arrive, the other benefits much more in simply maintaining the productivity and resources of those whom already utilize their technology.

There are few "tech reviewers" who have the depth, fortitude or experiences and knowledge to interpret or understand the nuances of these vastly different priorities and responsibilities.  Therefor there are very few tech reviewers who would or could attempt to define the power or value each trend setting company has to offer it's current or future users.  ... proceed with caution; and hopefully a bit more discernment.  Don't let a hot topic or product trend being currently fortified by a naive, fickle, retail market, (nor the reviews who serve them,) impact the course of your own company's profitability, productivity or mission critical thinking.
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Your destinations affect the quality of your journey through life. Invest in travel which exposes you to new cultures; not just scenic overlooks and entertainment.

The valued gained from overseas travel to diverse cultures and places is a hard expense/investment for many to measure and justify.  As a result, countless American's each year, stick to "the basics". Simply choosing to travel or drive to domestic destination. Those that they are either already familiar with; or which seem to offer the best value; the best "bang for their buck".

In starting to plan our spring vacation to Europe and/or Asia this year; I'm reminded just how often the destination not only serves as a new place to visit, but also a new way of seeing life.  I am forced to make such mutual considerations, given the impact traveling has had in my own life thus far.  Not only the way in which we often measure our successes and failures, but also the way we view it's potential and the course in which it holds.

Also, keep in mind we are just one week away in this country, from selecting who will be or remain the President for the next 4 years. (and many feel their opinion and view on such things, is vital to the future and success of this country.) So many thoughts are therefore directed at how we come to choose such leaders and what motivated these choices.  I thought I might also draw that connection when discussing these befits of non-domestic travel.

Oddly enough, I have to admit; that as time and travel have come to pass in my adult life; the traveling itself has definitely had a bigger impact on the way in which I view life, both here and around the world. Much more than the simple passage of time.  So as I and others around me have aged, I have also witnessed, both; the narrowing views of the exclusively domestic travelers I'm surrounded by; as well as, the broadening affects on views and greater understanding of those who have made efforts to vacation abroad over the course of their lives.

As the saying goes, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." But even more than this, it allows a person to start re-examining how or why they became a person who sees the world with such a narrow, limited perspective.

     ...excuse me, while I digress once more on the topic of our pending election...
Within this heated political climate, and especially one which reveals so many of the conservatively constricted; perhaps at times destitute opinions, we are surrounded by here in the south; I have also found it very telling, when the most narrow, constricted, confused opinions I hear, are 9.9 times out of 10, sourced from voters who have indeed, NEVER ventured away from the shores of North America.
(For this matter, very few have traveled beyond a 5 state region! With perhaps the exception of some rare, individual destination flight or cruise taken to or from California, Florida, New York, Alaska, a Caribbean Island or elsewhere; on an apparent, "once in a lifetime" venture; spent primarily within a hotel, ship, beach front or on a mountain. In other words: seek to tour an entirely new culture, not just a single destination.)
     ...sorry for that...
The beauty and humility which can come from seeing ancient cultures which possessed lifestyles far beyond the comfort and luxuries of our own; or sharing a dinner with some of the nicest people you've never met, who all originate from a place, society and culture you have no connection with; can be an utterly wonderful experience! The type, movies, plays and books are written to share; but are easily yours to have.

Such profound reviews as those offered when traveling to different ways of life, can not only allow someone to overcome unfounded fears; moreover, it helps them respect and discover the abundant possibilities which surround them, even while they are at home. Thereby drastically expanding those daily choices and views; which were previously well outside the reach of more limited exposures to life and subsequent thinking.

Imagine, realizing once again, that you are not too old to grow and learn. Imagine the pride you would feel, discovering you were a broader, more open; a more understanding person this year than the last. Imagine, not being trapped within the confines of mindsets gleaned from only one mall, one neighborhood, one church, one cause, one family, one mind. Imagine the real world...

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventures. Ones we can all grow from if only we strive to view them with our eyes open. Whether you're day-dreaming, teaching your children, having a conversation with your friends and family, or voting; doing so with a closed, limited view of the world, is not only cheating yourself from experiencing a more capable life, full of wisdom; it is also cheating those around you of a more fulfilling, richer experience as they share their life with you.

Don't cheat yourself... Learn to think outside the confines of your own mind, the borders of the small world you currently live in. Don't just count on a book, the TV, a movie theater, a James Bond film or a Disney World trip to tease you with what life can actually be, smell, taste, sound and feel like when it is not trapped inside one person's typical realm of living and limited travel.

Find out why God didn't make you the smartest person on the planet. Find out what real beauty can look like, find out what new taste can inspire. Find out what you're missing...

Then learn to vote, share and live as if you don't have all the answers; or even the slightest knowledge of the real world. Become excited by that possibility, by that fact! Not scared of it, while clinging firmly to the desire to avoid any other truths or examples.

If you can't let go of your own personal limits in reasoning and considering of others unlike yourself, you'll end your life completely restricted by a white knuckled grip on ignorance and partial views. The types of limits which will never offer perspectives benefiting you or your loved ones on a level representative of your real potential. And that would be a shame for all of us.

In the future, book travel which reveals a new life, not just a new destination. Discover new cultures as well as new sights. Allow the most entertaining aspect of travel to be the positive difference it creates in your own future, and the lives of those you effect.

(My own written Facebook profile, represents just a small portion of my personally expanded views gained from traveling beyond our shores. It can also be read in the following blog:http://themichaelhulmeproject.blogspot.com/2011/09/when-will-wisdom-win.html )

10/16/2013 Update:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Fear is an effective bait for conservative positions. Our children deserve better!

Definitely the very sensible position you would hope more of us would have, and take, for our students; which is what makes the GOP's stance of eliminating methods for encouraging critical thinking from our Texas Public Schools so utterly devastating. As if our school system isn't already backwards and devastated enough as the 27th worse ranked in the nation.  :-(
(Further exacerbated by the fact the U.S. is already ranked 28th in the world!)

To summarize the GOP's position within the formal 2012 Platform, they recently published back in August; it states (and I'm paraphrasing):
"Critical thinking skills can serve as nothing more than a "behavior modification"; having the potential of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs."  The fear the GOP then further encourage parents to consider and adopt, is the idea that a student who is encouraged to "challenge their current fixed beliefs", will then become a student which will ultimately wish to "undermine parental authority."

Fear, is always such a wonderful bait for conservative positions, isn't it?  Sad...  :-(  So ironic, to encourage parents to, "fear the undermining of parental authority"; in order to encourage the blind allegiance of those who are susceptible to such fears, as they seek comfort through conformity and party loyalty.  Offer them fear of their own children's advancement and ability to think with critical pragmatism, so you can in turn corral those who have lost the very same ability by believing such nonsense.  So poor kids, never had a chance.

My first thought when I read the GOP 2012 published Platform was; how in the world would ANYONE feel it is healthy to encourage a young, student to simply conform to their own current level of "fixed beliefs"?!  I mean we're talking about a growing, living, young, students. Isn't the whole point, to encourage them to see who they might become; versus stagnating, right where they are or where they can be held back to conform to be.  Very sad.  Very telling of our countries decline in education and worldwide competitiveness. Shameful...

We must find inspirations and hope from speakers like Sir Ken Robinson: http://youtu.be/r9LelXa3U_I
In order to cope with the current disastrous leadership we are witnessing within our own political landsacape, which forces us towards "conservative" positions, at a time when radical changes are so desperately needed. (RSAnimate Productions are always enjoyable to watch as well: (Same speaker, different speech.)  http://youtu.be/zDZFcDGpL4U )

Regardless of how some choose to sugar coat the GOP's current 2012 Platform of the State's 2013 goals for our school's curriculum; (or how some attempt to more narrowly point to curriculum's associated with Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) & Outcome-Based Education (OBE)); the discouragement to teach skills related to establishing knowledge, comprehension & application; represents one of the scariest versions of continuing to limit our countries potential by forever limiting our students thought processes and/or ability to learn and think for themselves. http://goo.gl/ks6Xw

Many GOP supporters of such limiting "traditional" teaching methods, will simply tell you there is no modern mechanism for empirically measuring a students performance when they are offered any form of objective learning skills; therefore we must stick to age old  methods focused on rote learning and memorization.  Such as the dependency on flash cards and word memorization and spelling exercises in order to teach a language  versus any newer approaches of "Whole Language" instructive techniques focus on meaning and strategy instruction. The list goes one as to the nature of limits presented and maintained in every subject of elementary and secondary education.

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You can read the platforms full report, in it's entirety, for yourself at the following link: http://goo.gl/G1qAu  (Go to page 12, the section on "Knowledge-Based Education")
In contrast here is the Democratic Platform: http://txdemocrats.org/2012/platform.pdf
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