I read the article and I watched the video and I even caught some of the german the CEO of Nestlé was using. In the video he makes lots of arguments, including that drinking water as a human right isn't something he thinks is right – because water should be considered a foodstuff, so it can have value, and that value shows how important and valuable it is. He also declares that genetically modified foodstuffs have been in use in America for 15 years with no ill effects and then kvetches about how Europe refuses to allow this kind of food out of safety sake.
I think his arguments come from a place that I would characterize as obnoxious capitalism. This is what happens when money clouds your thinking so you don't see individual people anymore, you just see the bottom line and big numbers you can crow about. Like supporting 4 million people with your company and so forth. Each of his arguments is something I would expect a capitalist to make, one who has lost his inherent humanity. So, lets unpack them one at a time.
I was born and grew up in the Great Lakes region. For me, potable drinking water was never a concern – the city I grew up in had such excellent drinking water that you could make ice from it, and then pour it into a glass and drink as much as you wanted without having to worry about any ill effects from that water. Water here is common, so common as to be beyond thought. Potable water is free, available to everyone who wants it, and as much as they care to drink. Anyone can walk up to any business or restaurant or house and ask for a glass of water and get that very thing without paying one cent for it. This is something that is very important to understand about America versus the rest of the world. It is only in America where the water is free and clean and healthy. Everywhere else, you could drink the water that's available and reap the consequences of that action – or you could pay for bottled water. This CEO of Nestlé comes from a culture where water is Evian or Perrier. It's bottled, it costs money, so obviously his instinct is that water isn't a human right – because it would mean that the companies that sell good water would be forced to give it away for free. This is something that Americans take for granted and it was something, as a child of the Great Lakes, had no operating concept of when I went to France. In Europe, if you wanted to quench your thirst you had only a few options – wine or beer, bottled water, or your own urine. The last is unpalatable, but it is sterile and in a way, minimally potable. I think that the outrage over this video about water should be tempered by the light of cultural sensitivity. Poor Europeans have no operating knowledge of water so clean you can stick your head in Lake Superior and drink until you burst and you have absolutely nothing to fear about what comes next. No parasites, no bacteria, no cross-contaminated sewage-laden water supply to fear, just pure clean crystal clear water and a nearly inexhaustible supply of it to boot! So I for one write a pass for this poor swiss, or german, or whatever he is – ultimately European person and his weak understanding of just how vital and important water truly is. This is why we call it the New World here, we don't suffer from water scarcity or doubts about water quality, and it's free. It's something that I remind myself regularly when the political winds smell of shit here in the United States, yes, life can be difficult, challenging even, but. BUT. BUT WE HAVE FREE CLEAN WATER. How much is that worth? More than gold, more than money, more than anything. Humans can go without food for weeks and not die. We can't do that kind of survival when it comes to water, we need water too much, it's too dear. So temper your wild exhortations about leaving the New World, and think about water. For us, as Americans, the idea that water is a human right is so obvious as to be a complete surprise that not many consider it to be as we do. The Great Lakes are our blessing, worth more than any treasure on the planet. More than Gold, more than Copper, more than Platinum. Sweet cold perfectly clean water.
Genetically Modified Food
Another point this CEO of Nestlé makes is a very wrong-headed argument that Nature is somehow out of balance and not good for us. He states that quite clearly, that he considers “Organic” food to be inferior to his processed food. He even goes so far as to claim that GMO food has had no ill health effects here in America where we consume it with abandon. I call bullshit. GMO food may not kill us after we eat it, but processed food, food with GMO ingredients, things that aren't wild produce and certified non-GMO protein sources are in fact killing us. This crap food is killing us slowly. Very slowly. Imperceptibly slowly. Look at what happened in the United States over the past 15 years. We have become sick! We're ill! We are obese, we're riddled with cancer, diabetes, if you open any random cupboard I bet you'll find pill bottles with medications designed to address our maladies like cholesterol, acid reflux, or diabetes. These maladies may or may not have a causal link to GMO foods, but one thing I can say is that I believe that they are linked, they certainly aren't doing us any good! I've screamed at people that a good healthy long life can be had if you avoid processed “cheap” foods like the plague! Yes, McDonalds is cheap, but is it really? Like GMO foods (yes, I link McDonalds and GMO together, not directly, but in the way that neither are good for you) and the cost of that food is cheap to acquire but devastatingly expensive when you consider the long-term effects of eating that food. Cheap to buy, expensive to overcome obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, high triglycerides… on and on and on. So, when the CEO of Nestlé claims that nature is not good and his GMO processed foods are, my response can be only this, Sir, you are so full of bullshit that you can't walk properly!
So what is to be done? Teach children to cook! For the love of all that is good, learn to make your own food! Use wholesome ingredients, avoid processed food-shit, and if you can't afford to stuff yourself full, at least get a little something to get by! If we were serious about bettering our health and our happiness we would outlaw these processed food-shit items outright. They are not good for us and as a country, they could bankrupt us! Sure, McDonalds is cheap to buy and fills you up, but years later when you are riddled with cancers, obese, diabetic, and hypertensive the cost to keep your sorry body alive will be immense! What's the best thing that public policy can do to better our health? Ban GMO foods, ban processed foods, ban “fast food”. Ban this food-shit outright. If you did that, Americans would weigh less, we'd have less cancer, we'd live longer, we'd be regular, we wouldn't need insulin, and I bet we wouldn't need the handful of pills a day once we get to a ripe old age of 60!
But there is so much we can't risk, and that's really at the center of everything. We can't risk Big Agro and Big Pharma. If we did what we know we should we would have to tell all the drug companies and all the fast food joints to divest themselves in America and go elsewhere for their business. That's the trap at the center of all of this, we know that's the right way for us to go but we know we can't ever do it because it would upset the status quo. Ultimately my arguments can't be expected to survive in this harsh light when it comes to public policy matters, but I can make an argument to individuals and perhaps my arguments can make an impact there. If it's processed by a company, it's food-shit. Do you really want to eat food-shit? How much of your day do you spend eating food-shit? Minimally processed foods, produce, proteins, dairy – the things our grandparents and their grandparents considered as food is where we came from and where we should go back to! Learn to cook your own food! Can't cook? That's a bullshit argument and you know it. People who can't cook their own food are lazy and stupid and deserve their dark fate. If you hand the responsibility for eating well to some company, I wish you all the luck in the world. That company cares for your health about as much as a sea sponge does. Only those people who learn to cook care about their lives, the rest are just throwing it all away. Essentially if you eat this food-shit, and you are what you eat, then you are not made of anything good, you're made of shit.
So, what is best? Ignore this Eurotrash CEO and the wrong bullshit that he spouts. Take responsibility for your health and wellbeing. Take responsibility for your food! For the love of God, LEARN TO COOK.
Wow, what a long strange trip that was! I’ve got a lot of my amateur photography and I’ve been kicking around the notion of placing it all on my host and sharing it through my blog somehow. I started this sad trip with Pixelpost, then looked around for other LAMP scripts that could work after Pixelpost belly-flopped and died on impact. The issue I had with Pixelpost was trying to mass-import 218 pictures of my two cats. The software just couldn’t cope. So after a while trying to hammer a square peg in a round hole I just gave up altogether.
Then it struck me that I could use my WordPress blog maybe. I had a dim memory about something about Galleries. I can store as much as I like on my host and there’s no bandwidth issues so why not? So I did some reading in the Codex and well, there you go! Create a new Page, add Media, create a new Gallery and it’s EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED. Then I happened to notice JetPack and looked in there and it has Carousel feature which improves the standard Gallery control for WordPress. WOW! It was everything I wanted and it ate all 218 files without blinking and making new pages is a snap! Adding and removing pictures from the Galleries is just as easy.
So all that way and all that time blown out trying to get a weak system to behave itself and the answer was just under the covers in WordPress all along! I am exceptionally pleased. Thanks all you wonderful ladies and gentlemen at Automattic! Thankee-sai!
You can find these galleries on the main menu of my Blog, under the title of Photo Galleries. I hope you enjoy them!
Yesterday was a lost day. Absolutely no traction. I got stuck in the quagmire of web development. The project was quite straightforward, I wanted to create a form that could hold information, text, checkboxes, dates, lists you could check. Then I wanted to cast these forms as blog posts that could be commented on, tracked, just like I do on SupportPress. I naively thought this would be easy. Hah. WordPress ate hours wallowing in custom post type hell, then template hell. I gave up on that. Then I turned to Drupal, what a mess that is! It’s worse than Perl! Thousands of crisscrossed resources, some only work with older versions, some only with newer versions. What a headache. I thought I could force a bug-tracking system to bend to my will and so tried Mantis. That pretty much killed the last dregs of my day. What a mess.
So since there was no easy path, my investment was zero dollars and I really don’t care to slog around with struggling with web development I just abandoned the entire thing. There was a system called Gravity Forms for WordPress but it was $$$ and I couldn’t be sure that it would have worked and didn’t want to sink money into a solution that would probably not be adopted anyways.
But at least now I know. That area of web development is a mess. Bleh.
I tried a fair bit of cleverness just now. I found a bit of fan fiction online and copied the text to my Drafts app on my iPad. I’m at Chocolatea on Wifi and no access to any devices other than my iPhone, my iPad, and my Nook HD.
I wanted to get the text from my Drafts app over to my Nook HD. The best way? ePub. Or at least that was the challenge I had set for myself. Now I knew I could probably do it with the apps I had, Wifi, and Dropbox gluing it all together.
I opened the text in my Drafts app in Pages, which allowed me to export it in DOC format to my Dropbox app. So that was easy enough. Now I had my fiction in DOC format on Dropbox. None of the online file converters understands Dropbox, nor how to unpack the Public link URL that you can make with Dropbox. Instead of getting your document, you get HTML gunk from Dropbox. So I have another app on my iPad called Files Connect. I used that app to copy the DOC file from my Dropbox to my Windchilde account, so I could host it online *simply* (hah). Once I had a URL link that worked for the DOC file I went to Online-Conversion.com which provides a public service to convert DOC files into ePub format. I handed it my URL, let it go and it offered to email-attach the results to my email. Off it went. I opened Mail on my iPad, opened the email from the service, found the attachment and tried to open it on my iPad. My iPad gave up and offered to send it to a host of other apps that might handle ePub format, one of those was Dropbox, so I saved the data off to my Dropbox. Then I connected to Wifi on my Nook HD, started the Dropbox app and found my ePub file. I renamed it, then I exported it to my Nook HD.
What a mess. I got what I wanted to do but it took me about 2 hours of head-butting against online services and a lot of rigamarole just to do this one thing. I was half-hoping that Pages on my iPad would be Dropbox aware, and ePub aware, and it isn’t. No free apps exist that I could see that create ePub files from pasted in text or from other file formats.
At least it used up some time waiting for Scott to get out of work. At least there is that. As for interoperability, that’s hilariously not going to happen. At least not between iOS and Nook.
I sent three old iPhone 4’s to e-Cycle for recycling, they had a relatively good buy-back rate for the old devices. Of the three that I sent, only one was accepted. The other two were shredded and I got nothing for them, other than the vague satisfaction that the hazardous materials in them were recycled, probably.
I can’t really blame the company, it’s all there in black and white. Don’t send phones with active lines on them. Oops, that was my fault, but after hearing that they had this problem I thought I could just go into Verizon’s site and mark the lines as suspended. That didn’t do the trick. So the phones were summarily destroyed and recycled. I think that’s the part I don’t get, the rush to obliteration. Then again, I do get it, it’s a company trying to maximize all their angles and this is a rather convenient angle. It strikes me that they could have simply shipped the phones back to me or perhaps told me that my attempt at suspend didn’t work. Instead, they took the silent and cheap way out – shred the phones and mark the Unit Price as $0.00.
So, do I do business with e-Cycle in the future? I don’t know. I have learned my lesson at least, a phone you haven’t used in six months may still have a line on it. I don’t think I’ll be doing any further business with e-Cycle. It’s not because of anything overtly naughty, but just the sense that they didn’t care to even get back to me after I tried to disconnect the lines – that haste to simply shred and zero-balance fills me with doubt as to whether I got a fair shake on that deal, or not. I’m thinking not. While it wasn’t against any of the fine print, it did leave a rather bitter taste in my mouth, and I did learn a lot dealing with them, so perhaps in the end, it was good for everyone. I got a lesson, they lost a customer, and I’m wiser next time.
Now, to see if e-Cycle has any competitors.
UPDATE: They do have competitors, so at least there is a wide field available. Also turns out that the reports of the devices shredding were perhaps premature. They were found in a box, waiting for Verizon to disconnect them, since I sent that little nugget to Verizon today, it may take a bit for those devices to register as disconnected. I’ll update more as events unfold.
Since I had all the Twitter traffic from @MichiganDOT and @MDOT_Southwest automatically sent to my phone via SMS I’ve been able to catch various things that they post on their Twitter stream. One of those things is a political advertisement from Michigan farmers and their campaign “Just Fix The Roads”.
I stand behind the farmers for improved maintenance of our roads and I certainly support Michigan DOT in their efforts to raise awareness of our crumbling infrastructure problem. Every day I have to dodge potholes, wide cracks, poor drainage, and bridges that I really don’t trust completely. Every day I cross many bridges, across train tracks, across the Kalamazoo River, those sorts, and I have faith, weak as it is, that my trips across the bridges and over these roads won’t put me in danger. It’s faith, have to have it that way because our infrastructure has been ignored for so very long that what once was new and strong is now weak and crumbling.
After watching that video on YouTube, I can’t help but think back to around 2003 when we, as a nation, decided that declaring war on Iraq and Afghanistan was a really great idea. Back then it was before the housing bubble broke and before the criminal banks were unmasked for being as corrupt as we eventually discovered – and we thought two unfunded wars would be just neat as hell. Well, now that we have made our bed, it is time to sleep in it. I sympathize with the Michigan farmers, and I certainly support infrastructure repair, but what money do any of us plan to assign to such an expensive endeavor? It’s going to take a whole lot of cash to do correctly what must be done. Where will that money come from? The Federal Government can’t help – they just beat out the sequester, the federal budget is a rotten mess, congress is idle, filled with backbiting idle celebrities behaving poorly. So it’s up to the state to fix it’s roads, again, where is the money?
So this is what two unfunded wars get us. Awesome cosmic military powers come at a cost and surprise! This is what many of us on the left were trying to say while the right was busy getting it’s patriotic on. There is a lot of blame to go around, most certainly, but in the end it does the rest of us no good. Not only do the farmers struggle with our crumbling roads, but also the rest of us who have no choice but to dare the paths that Michigan calls roads and to dare our rusted out bridges. It was going to be expensive before the unfunded wars, now it might actually kill us. Either the roads will kill us (slowly, by a billion paper cuts) or financial apocalypse will because we’ve saddled our government with prosecuting wars when we should have been directing them to work on internal matters, like roads.
So, feel good about our proud military. They’ll have the funds and resources to do their job. Their incredibly important, more-important-than-everything-else job in Iraq and Afghanistan. Feel good, wrap yourself up in the flag, and be the proudest chief patriot when the bridge your car was on failed, the roadway crumbled and you ended up with the front-end of your very expensive SUV stuck in the mire of the filthy Kalamazoo River.
I discovered this bit of wisdom in the dimly lit corners of my pocket list. Enjoy.
“Anger is like a storm rising up from the bottom of your consciousness. When you feel it coming, turn your focus to your breath. Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body. Then look at, or think of, the person triggering this emotion: With mindfulness, you can see that she is unhappy, that she is suffering. You can see her wrong perceptions. You can see that she is not beautiful when she says things that are unkind. You can also see that you don’t want to be like her. You’ll feel motivated by a desire to say or do something nice — to help the other person suffer less. This means compassionate energy has been born in your heart. And when compassion appears, anger is deleted.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk and author of Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames
My abandonment of Google Reader is complete now. I have found an app that is independent of Google Reader, it’s called feedHopper and it’s available on the iOS App Store. It means that I’ll only be able to handle my RSS feeds on my iPad, but that’s okay, since that was where I wanted them to be anyways. The app is quite handy, you can set up Google Reader as a sync service, hoover in your feeds and then disconnect. Kicking Google Reader to the curb as it were. It comes feature complete with lots of sharing options including my beloved Pocket service.
I don’t think I’ll ever go back to Google Reader. I’m happy with what I’ve got. I recommend this app to anyone who used to use Google Reader. Now it’s time to dump all the apps that only work with Google Reader. In a way, Google dropping reader put a bunch of iOS devs out of business. Poof. Like that. That’s what happens when you hitch your horse to Google. You’ll need a 55 gallon drum of lubrication for what is coming. HA HA Dangly Bits.
At work I’ve been thinking about a particular system administration subject on and off for a few days now. When Mac is first installed all the “Optional Sharing Services” are all shipped defaulted to off, which makes sense and is fine. Generally speaking I’ve been fine with using Apple Remote Desktop to share the workstation, open System Preferences, and turning on whatever sharing bits I need to have on for the client workstations and that’s that. However that’s not really that elegant and I’ve been looking for a way to programmatically do it on the command line. As it is, Apple Remote Desktop can send Unix commands to connected workstations. All my client workstations are assembled in a neat little pile on my Apple Remote Desktop screen, as easy as you please. How can I turn on or off these Sharing services without having to upset the user. Ideally I want to turn these on without even sharing their workstation, to in a way, do it under the covers.
Enter the command systemsetup. G’duh. There’s even a handy-dandy template in Apple Remote Desktop that I’ve overlooked all these years that even has the details of the options laid out. So, in Apple Remote Desktop, select the stations you want to change, click the UNIX button, in there select the right template, change the user to root and send the command. Moments later, and in this case, SSH is up and running on the client workstation as easy as you please. Boom. No futzing with sharing workstations, no mucking about with System Preferences. Just simple, easy, like I knew had to exist. Now I know how.
This is actually the way I prefer to learn these things. This was something I sussed out, so it’s worth more than if I just spotted it in some bit of documentation. It took time and energy and it’s mine. The solution is worth something to me, and so I blog about it so I can celebrate Mac OSX and keep a little log in case I forget in the future. It’ll always be here.
Hooray for Mac OSX!