Iraq Death Toll and Monetary Costs

I need to rant about the loss of life in Iraq because it is nothing less than total insanity, but more than that, this war does not make any sense in terms of our national security.

I heard the news regarding the number of US servicemen who have died in Iraq so far, it’s just passed the number of people who died in the 911 event.

I wish it were only this many. Just like Viet Nam the numbers are manipulated.

If a soldier is seriously injured and airlifted to a hospital outside of Iraq, say Germany, and subsequently dies, that soldier is not counted in the Iraq death toll.

In years past, functions like security and supply lines would have been handled by the military. The deaths of people performing those functions would have been counted in this death total. Now these functions are outsourced to private corporations and when those people, civilians, die, they are not counted in the death count. It’s been some time since that number passed the 10,000 mark.

The Iraqi civilian death count is estimated to be at the lowest 14,000, and highest, in excess of 100,000. There is no official estimate, most estimates seem to fall between 40,000 and 50,000 deaths and between two and ten times that number of injuries.

We have spent 316 billion dollars prosecuting this war. 316 billion dollars could have bought us about 316 Peak GW of wind power generation capacity. In real terms, because of wind variability, that would be equivalent to 105 GW of thermal capacity. 1 GW is a fairly ball park figure for a nuclear power generation station (often multiple reactors of 500-600 Mw), so this is would have displaced approximately 105 nuclear reactors. That would require no fuel, produce no radioactive waste or CO2.

To put this in perspective, with a 30% thermal conversion efficiency, one barrel of oil can generate approximately 500 kwh of electricity. Iraq produces approximately 500,000 barrels per day, between sabotage incidents, that’s 250 million killowatt hours per day energy equivalent for all the oil Iraq produces.

105 gigawatts of real wind generation capacity (316 megawatts peak), equals 105 million kilowatts x 24 hours/day = 2.5 billion killowatt hours per day from wind. So we could have had the ten times the energy equivalent of all the oil Iraq produces for the same amount of money we spent on the war in the last four years. And that capacity would go on generating electricity for decades.

Never mind the moral issues of all the lost life and suffering that has resulted from this war, from a purely economic standpoint we would have done much better investing in renewables, wind energy in particular, and we’d have something sustainable, the oil fields will deplete.

Economic strength is of greater significance in terms of world influence than is military strength. We proved this in the cold war with the Soviet Union. They sacrificed their economy for military capability. When their economy fell apart, so did their military capability.

We are doing the same thing the Soviet Union did. China is concentrating on their economic prosperity and becoming increasingly more influential in the world. The US is concentrating on military strength. Our economy is being destroyed in the process. When it totally collapses, so will our military.

Large investments in wind power are now happening simply because the economics are favorable. Between 1999 and 2005, our wind generation capacity quadrupled. Installed capacity is forecast to grow by 60% in 2006. Wind power has become competitive with energy generation from coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy, but requires no fuel, produces no carbon dioxide or radio active waste, nor are there huge decommissioning costs. The lifespan of a nuclear power plant is limited by neutron embrittlement of the reactor vessel. Decommissioning is expensive because the reactor vessel and internal structures are radioactive as a result of neutron activation. There are parts that wear on a wind turbine, eventually bearings and other components will need to be replaced just as with any mechanical device, but save for these maintenance issues, there is no finite limit on the useful lifespan of a wind turbine.

We should be putting our energy into making this happen even faster instead of stealing another formerly sovereign nations resources. It’s not just the moral thing to do, it is also the economically sensible thing to do. If we control all the worlds oil, it will still run out in the not too distant future. The reality is that even with our military force, we can’t control the worlds oil resources. China’s growing economy will buy them increasing influence and the ability to acquire much of that oil. If we build wind generation capacity, that’s ours, and it’s renewable, it will keep producing energy for generations to come. We can adapt our transportation to utilize this energy.

Maybe we can do the hydrogen fuel cell thing but I don’t think that’s going to be the most viable option. Battery technology exists today that would enable the production of electric cars with a 300+ mile range that could be recharged in three minutes IF the infrastructure existed.

The best approach might actually be a combination of both technologies. The best way to move large quantities of electricity from where it is produced to automotive charging stations would be via DC high voltage superconductive transmission lines. The technology exists now. There are companies already commercially producing superconductive transmission lines. Another advantage of combining both of these technologies is that surplus power can be used to generate the hydrogen, helping to reduce the effects of variability in wind generated electricity.

One proposal that I think makes a lot of sense is to use hydrogen as the cryogenic cooling fluid for these superconductive lines making them act simultaneously as enormous capacity electricity transmission facilities and liquid hydrogen fuel delivery systems.

Think about the possibilities, check my numbers. I did try to utilize realistic figures, a 30% thermal conversion factor for power from oil is actually quite optimistic. The drive train of a car does far worse. The 30% capacity factor of wind power generation is based upon existing wind farm operational data. The costs of wind power installed capacity includes transmission and ancillary support costs.

To summarize, what we have spent on the war in Iraq, so far, could have bought us ten times the total energy output of Iraq, every day, essentially forever, without the loss of life and without the generation of all the CO2 burning 500,000 barrels of oil per day would create.

Election Scare Tactics

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how the terrorism propaganda has been ratcheted up now that an election is coming up?

Also, you may have noticed how the gasoline prices are falling just before the election. The oil companies are easing up on the artificial shortage they created so that we’ll vote for the same bastards that got us into a major war and resulted in the $3/gallon prices we’ve been paying at the pump. The same forces incidentally that were responsible for the Enron fiasco. You can count on gasoline going right back up on November 3rd.

Coast to Coast AM in particular, first I hear Art Bell on a weekend tell us how the Muslims will continue until either everybody has converted to Islam or died. Strange, I’ve never had a Muslim make any serious attempt to convert me or condone the killing that is going on here and abroad.

Art Bell had another guest a week ago that espoused the view that the agenda was first to overthrow the United States, and then when we were out of the way, the rest of the world would be easy by contrast. I think not. I think he’s seriously deluded to think that the Indians and Chinese people are just going to roll over and play dead.

Then George Norey on the following Monday interviews Hamid Mir, the editor of an Islamabad-based newspaper, The Daily Ausuf. This person has been in touch recently with the Taliban leader who claims that Taliban will launch the largest offensive against American troops in Pakistan at the beginning of Ramadan, which should start on September 24th.

He also claims that Al-Qaeda operatives in the United States have nuclear weapons smuggled in across the Mexican border, and can strike at anytime.

I think these claims are basically bullshit intended to whip up fear in the American public in hopes they’ll vote for Republicans who they erroneously believe will protect them.

If Al-Qaeda were in possession of nuclear weapons, I think Israel would have been the first to disappear off the map and become a glow in the dark radioactive wasteland. But I am hard pressed to believe Al-Qaeda could have acquired nuclear weapons while Iran, with much greater resources at their disposal, is still working to develop them.

I also seriously doubt that the Taliban is going to wait for a holiday to attack American forces.

If another country invaded the United States, I have to think that there would be those of us that would want to go to that country and inflict whatever harm we could.

Don’t buy this crap, because that’s what it is. If Bush hadn’t squandered several hundred billion dollars, ten thousand American lives and 100,000 Iraqi lives on a senseless war to control oil fields, we would have Bin Laden by now.

The truth of the matter is they don’t want Bin Laden captured, they want a credible threat so they can justify wiretapping our phones without warrants, jailing people without charging them with a crime or allowing them a prompt and fair trial, restricting our travel, and monitoring and interfering with every aspect of our life. Pretty soon you won’t be able to go to the bathroom without a government license and a camera watching you.

It’s time we insist on democracy here in America before worrying about it in other countries. Out with the Diebold audit-proof voting machines, and in with traceable fair elections.

The military-industrial complex Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of is upon us. It is even more insidious than president Eisenhower had imagined, having taken on a completely international presence.

Prior to the change of the millennium I had envisioned 2000 would usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. I had the feeling we’d toss these war mongers out and get on with managing the planet to the benefit of all it’s occupants.

It was silly of me to believe this would just happen by magic. The control of media by conservative forces has insured that protests do not get news coverage like they did in the Viet Nam era, so this tactic so far has been ineffective.

What can we do? Well one thing we can do is start becoming wise consumers. Do everything we can to reduce our consumption of petroleum products. Become aware of what consumer products these multinational corporations produce and avoid them. And don’t buy the propaganda on the conservative controlled news media.

And on the subject of conservatives, I remember when conservatives used to like to associate themselves with fiscal responsibility. Has anybody been keeping track? The last three REPUBLICAN presidents ran up the largest national deficits in history. The last DEMOCRATIC president balanced the budget and was paying down the national debt.

When you vote this November, ask yourself if you want to continue mortgaging our country. Ask yourself if you want to continue to support the party that launched the first US preemptive invasion of another sovereign nation in our history. The party that manipulated intelligence data to build a case for war.

I mean come on folks, am I the only one to see something is seriously wrong in this country?

Regarding Iran, does it not seem so odd that we are concerned with the possibility of them developing nuclear weapons when Pakistan already has them? Let me give you a couple of things to consider regarding this:

In the middle east, Saudi Arabia has the largest oil reserves, the present Saudi government is at least on the surface friendly to United States interest, but that is much less true of the populous. One of the reasons we invaded Iraq is that keeping bases in Saudi Arabia threatened to cause an uprising overthrowing the current government. We needed another place to put them that was central to the region. And what better place than the country that had the middle easts next largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia.

Guess which country is number three? Yes, it is Iran. Surprise surprise. But oil isn’t the only interest the Bush administration has in the region. And more specifically vice president Cheney has very personal interests in the region. Cheney has uranium mining interests. Iran has developed a technology for extracting uranium from low grade ore that lowers the cost of doing so by a factor of one hundred from that of conventional methods. Specifically, Iranian scientists have developed a microbe that can efficiently extract uranium from low grade ores.

If that technology were to come into widespread use, what do you think would happen to the value of Cheneys’ uranium mining interests? I believe this is the real reason for all the stink about Iran’s processing of nuclear fuel.

I don’t want to go down the path we’re going down. I don’t want to allow a handful of power mad greedy politicians incite a war between Muslims and Christians. The Holy books of both religions tell us not to kill each other. People on both sides of the fence need to ask themselves if they really believe their leaders are in touch with God. I don’t for a minute, but I do believe our leaders are very aware of the motivational power of religions and are using them to manipulate us.

I gotta try and get some sleep now, it’s sure hard with the world in the turmoil that it is.

Willie Nelson, Marijuana & Mushrooms

I’m sure you’ve all heard the recent news with respect to Willie Nelson and a few others getting citations for possession of marijuana and “narcotic” mushrooms.

The drug laws in the United States are insane. Far more social harm results from the law than the abuse of the drugs that the law is intended to discourage. This isn’t to say that some drugs aren’t dangerous. It is to say that there has to be a balance between social harm the drug itself causes and social harm that results from drug laws.

Presently, that balance does not exist. We currently have locked up more than 2% of our population, the majority of those are locked up for drug violations. In the land of the free, a higher percentage of our population is locked up than any other country in the world. Those people, while they’re in jail, are not productive, and the rest of us have to pay to support them. In addition, once released from prison they will have a harder time getting a job with a criminal record, and we’ll have to continue to support them. Of coarse, the privatization of the US jail system means that there are major corporate interests making money off of this situation so there is little inclination to change it.

The meaning of “Narcotic” is a drug that induces sleep, generally opium or opium derivatives. For some reason years ago, congress mangled the English language yet again, by legally defining narcotics as any illegal drug.

In the interests of scientific accuracy, mind altering mushrooms are >NOT
In my view, marijuana shouldn’t be illegal, any more so than alcohol or cigarettes, and frankly those drugs have, in my view, far more reason to be illegal.

The LDL50, the dosage at which a drug is lethal of alcohol, is not far above the dosage at which signficant intoxication occurs. Further the damage from alcohol to the brain, liver, and other organs, is cumulative over time. Alcohol also tends to make people agressive. In the old days this mostly meant the occasional broken nose or jaw resulting from a bar fight. These days however, people are quick to pull out a knife or gun and minor disputes quickly become deadly.

When people drive under moderate alcohol intoxification, they tend to drive faster and with less caution than they otherwise would, while at the same time their reaction times are significantly slower. Alcohol, for most people, serves to reduce inhibitions, and on the road inhibitions are often a very good thing.

However, I believe the value of alcohol for many people is that it treats those afflicted with social anxiety, or to put it another way, it emboldens the meek and shy. This is why it’s known as a social lubricant. One sticker I received from a bar supply company read, “Thank Your Local Bartender, Helping Ugly People Get Laid.” Since the majority of us are ugly, I think that pretty much explains why prohibition was a large failure.

People under the influence of marijuana by contrast are mellow. You don’t see much in the way of fights happening from marijuana intoxification. People generally drive much slower under marijuana intoxification, they overcompensate for their reduction in reaction time, and have low accident rates. The LDL50 of marijuana is hugely high compared to the intoxification dosage and as a result there are no deaths known to be related to marijuana poisoning. The LDL50 would require an average adult human being to eat 1.2 kilograms, that’s about 2.6 lbs, of marijuna containing 5% THC for a 50% death rate, and a much larger amount if smoked.

Tobacco, now if there was ever a substance that should be outlawed, that’s it. I don’t have enough digits to count all the people I’ve known who have died from smoking related illnesses, and for essentially zero benefit.

But marijuana and psilocybe mushrooms both have known medical benefits. Marijuana when smoked is of coarse damaging to the lungs, but many people concerned about their health ingest it rather than smoke it to obtain relief of their ailments.

Marijuana has been effective as a treatment for some people with glaucoma that have been unresponsive to prescription drug treatments, including marinol, a synthetic form of the main active ingredient in marijuana. For someone who has a choice between breaking the law and losing their eyesight, there really isn’t a choice.

Marijuana has also been used by many epileptic patients to self-medicate. For many, it relieves siezures, for some it has the opposite effect. People, when it comes to their response to drugs, are individuals. But the same is true for prescription medications. The reason marijuana can provide this relief will become apparent momentarily.

Marijuana can stimulate appetite for cancer or AIDS patients, this can be a life or death issue. It has provided relief to migraine sufferers and people suffering from chronic pain related to cancer and cancer treatments. It also acts to suppress vomiting which is often a problem for those undergoing intensive chemotherapy.

Marijuana can also provide a reduction in social anxiety much in the same way that alcohol can, and for that reason it has become a popular recreational drug, as has alcohol, but it has fewer harmful effects, particularly if ingested rather than smoked.

Studies have shown that smoking marijuana does not increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer, however, smokinig marijuana does increase the likelihood and decrease the age of onset of emphysema. If you can’t breath your just as dead as if cancer had killed you.

Scientists have known that Tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, affects the brain by docking with cannabinoid receptors in the neurons. Until recently, the function of these receptors was unknown.

It is now known that the cannabinoid signalling system involves retrograde signalling, that is to say it signals across a synaptic pathway in the direction opposite that normal signalling occurs. It has an inhibitory function on the upstream synaptic sites that in effect tell the upstream neuron, we got the message already, stop sending. This prevents damage to neurons from overstimulation stress.

Knowing that, it is easy to see why marijuana has many of the effects that it does. Since it is acting like the natural endocannibinoids, it is having an inhibitory effect on the brain neurons it affects. Cannibanoid receptors are not present to a significant degree in the autonomic nervous system, those parts of the brain dealing with things like breathing. This is why the LDL50 is so high.

Epileptic seizures involve a situation where a large number of neurons in the brain begin to fire simultaneously. The inhibitory role that the cannibanoids in marijuana provide can, for some people, inhibit this activity. For others, it can make it worse.

Clearly however, there are many medical uses and even used recreationally, it is less harmful than other recreational drugs.

Psilosybin, a chemical compound present in psilosybe mushrooms, is another substance that has been made illegal that in my view, is not deserving of it’s illegal status, and I would also argue that LSD, has, for some people, real material benefits as well.

A recent scientific study published in this months Scientific American Mind magazine, did a blind study in which a group of people were given either psilosybin or ritalin. They were monitored during these trials and neither the test subjects nor the monitors knew which substance they had been given.

While psilocybin did create some short term anxiety, and I’ve got a story about that, but later, in follow up interviews two months later, 79% of those who were given psilocybin stated that it had moderately or greatly enhanced their sense of well being or satisfaction with life. 67% of those who took it in this study reported mystical experiences.

LSD in low doses, on the order of 25-50 micrograms, has been found to increase creativity and productivity. This is 1/4 to 1/2 of the minimal dosage typically used for recreation, and often experienced recreational users will take 20-40 times this amount. It is well known that Silicon Valley lives on LSD, software developers thrive on the substance, and without it productivity would probably decline significantly.

There are two dangers with both psilocybin and LSD, the first is that individuals verging on schizophrenia may, in some cases, be pushed permanently over the edge. It is rare, but it has been known to happen. For this reason, any individual who has any schizophrenic tendencies should not experiement with these substances. The second danger is that, at high doses, the disconnect from reality can become so profound that an individual could harm themselves. To address the latter concern, most people when using these substances will employ a “babysitter”, someone who remains present and drug free during the users experience.

Lower dosages, 25-50 mg of LSD, or smaller amounts of mushrooms, do not cause this major disconnect, but do allow a sort of directed creativity and modification of reality. The directed creativity is very useful to people who must be creative to earn their living, and for that reason these substances, LSD in particular, are popular with many people in fields involving creative endeavors. This is not to say that people can’t be creative without drugs, it is to say it is helpful to some who would otherwise have difficulties. One thing I have heard many people say is that it gets them past writers block.

In my view, the risk/benefit ratio of both of these substances is sufficiently skewed towards the benefit side of the equation that they should be legalized. I think it would not be unreasonable to require people undergo psychological screening for schizophrenic tendencies if they wish to use these substances to eliminate the small element of risk that is present.

In particular, I believe that LSD, if it were readily available in 25 microgram doses, would be both safe and useful in a non-recreational but mind enhancing way. Now, there are people that will take 2000 micrograms at a time and go do extremely stupid things, but I don’t think outlawing substances will ever adequately address the issue of stupidity.

Now with this understanding of these substances, you can understand why a country music star just might have some of these substances aboard his bus. Yes, they are illegal, but could he earn a living making music without them? Would we have the benefit of his productivity?

This is an instance where the social harm caused by the laws far outweighs the social harm of the substances themselves.

I went through a better living through chemistry era myself between about 15 and 25 years of age. When my first child was born, at that point I realized I was responsible for a life other than my own and had to be functional at all times because with kids, particularly young kids, emergencies happen. They slice open lips, break fingers, crack skulls, etc, things that can not wait for you to become functional later and deal with. So when my first child was born, that was the end of my better living through chemistry era.

However, that decade did provide me with some valuable insight. At least I think it’s valuable. First, for me, marijuana was overall not a positive thing. I have asthma, it aggrevated it. It is anti-motivational, and I have a hard time getting motivated under the best of circumstances. And while very early on, initially I did experience some interesting states of mind that gave me some insight as to the nature of the way we interact with reality, that was a very transient effect, later the effect was very much like alcohol is for me, it makes me tired and uncoordinated, except with marijuana you could add “hungry” to that. Marijuana for me was largely a big waste of time and money, and if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t.

I do not feel the same about psilocybe mushrooms however, and to a lesser extent LSD. I never took more than one hit (~100 micrograms) at a time and only a couple of times so my experience with LSD is very limited. For me it jacked anxiety up to the point of really being uncomfortable, was too disorienting, and even at that low dose lasted too long. And while it seemed like some of the experiences were profound, I found myself afterwards knowing that I had experienced something important but couldn’t remember it except for the very surface. For this reason I never tried a higher dose, the type that results in major disconnects, total lose of self, etc. It was just too frightening and a feeling of being out of control. But I am prone to anxiety, for others this isn’t necessarily the case.

Mushrooms on the other hand I liked, they were my favorite drug at the time, but hard to obtain because I didn’t know enough about mushrooms to go hunting them by myself and only occasionally could I get someone to accompany me that did, so mostly I had to buy them from others who would collect them.

Mushrooms were also not popular amoung many of my peers, often because they would get stomach cramping or vomit as a result of their ingestion. They did not affect me this way however (else I wouldn’t have eaten them again as I really don’t like vomiting). I do know people who were into peyote which pretty much involved violent projectile vomiting every time and I just couldn’t understand why anybody would voluntarily subject themselves to that.

I only had one negative experience with mushrooms and it was really pretty mild. One time I decided to eat some while watching the movie “Altered States”. Let me tell you this is absolutely the wrong movie to watch.

There is a scene in the movie where a man starts to grow hair on his arms like an ape that was used in the experiements. When that scene came on, I looked at my arms and they were growing ape hair too. So I got this momentary anxiety jag, but then realized, I’m just imagining this because of the shrooms and the film, so I changed the channel to CNN, where they were talking about nuclear disarmament. Well, this wasn’t a good choice either, because for some reason I became convinced the full nuclear arsenals of the United States and the former Soviet Union, had been launched and would impact in about five minutes. And while I spent 15 seconds or so trying to decide what to do with the last five minutes of my life, very shortly again I realized it was the shrooms and the news, so at this point I shut the news off, put on the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour album, and sat on the floor and vegetated for four hours.

Well, it wasn’t complete vegatating. Nope, while I was sitting there, I was looking at the corner of my apartment, where the floor and two walls met, and while I was looking at them they opened up and there was just black empty space. And then after a while I realized I could control this and make things happen. And I spent much of the time off in other places, gardens, tropical paradises, and I would dissolve into them, the distinction between where I ended and the rest of the universe began, that border dissolved and dissappeared, and that was really my first experience of being connected with all that is.

I learned things about the nature of reality, that it is highly maleable, and that the solid nature of our day to day experience is an illusion. And we are part of that great reality, we are not isolated from it except by the mental wall we construct between outside and inside ourselves. What I learned through this experience is very much congruent with what I have learned through scientific channels, but its an experiencial learning which carries with it much more meaning. It’s like the difference between learning to pitch a baseball over the plate and knowing all the physical laws and mathmatics involved. The experiencial knowing is infinitely more valuable. Understanding all the mathmatics and physics involved won’t make you a significantly better pitcher, but practicing actually pitching will. Knowing the physics will help you make adjustments, but it doesn’t substitute for practice.

I have to say though that I think my experience with recreational drugs was atypical because I was not really interested in “feel good” drugs, I was interested in expanding my understanding of the nature of self and the greater reality, the all that is, of which I am a part. I believe this exploration is worthwhile. But it’s not the only route, nor the best route.

After I stopped smoking marijuana, I experienced a lot of anxiety issues for the decade that followed. I think this is part just my genetic nature but I think marijuana use greatly exacerbated it. The reason I believe lies in the inhibitory nature of THC. The human brain is tremendously plastic and adjusts to environmental conditions. If something causes a sustained increase in one neurotransmitter, it tends to reduce the number of receptors for that transmitter to compensate. This can be a slow process for some things and a relatively fast process for other susbtances. In the case of marijuana I think it is quite slow, gradually causing a down regulation of cannibinoid receptors. I don’t have any scientific proof of this, it is just speculation based upon how it seems to have affected me and others. I believe that after I stopped using it, that down regulation now dampened an inhibitory signal that would normally prevent overexcitation and undue stress to neurons. I think that one of the reasons that anxiety gradually damped over the decade that followed is that the brain gradually readjusted to the absence of THC intake. So between this and making asthma worse, it wasn’t worth it, if I had to do again I wouldn’t.

Now with respect to LSD and mushrooms, while in high doses they can both provide profound mystical experiences that can be very useful to the individual, their effect on memory function at those high doses is not good, more so with LSD than mushrooms, which lessens the value of those experiences.

But these were the kinds of things that interested me, I wasn’t interested in substances like cocain, heroin, opium, speed, etc. I did try methamphetamine once and found it to be a profoundly unpleasant experience. I was at a party and after it took effect I was absolutely paranoid, convinced that the cops would be there any minute to haul us all off to jail forever. I don’t understand why it is so addictive for so many people, other people obviously must experience it much differently than I did.

But after this era, initially to try to find ways to combat the anxiety, I learned some meditation techniques, and I found that with regular practice, something I have not been good at lately, I was able to achieve states as profound as those induced by drugs, but then I could retain my memory of the experience much better afterwards, and it was something I could nearly instantly come out of it the physical situation dictated it.

I was able to go to some of the same gardens and tropical paradises I visited with chemical help, and I was able to experience that same dissolution of the boundry between self and all that is, only with much greater clarity and memories of the experience.

I truely believe that if everybody could have these experiences, we would have a much better world, we wouldn’t squabble over various religions because we’d all realize our connectedness. We wouldn’t destroy our environment and other life because we’d realize our connectedness with it. We would focus on the global good of all living things instead of our own selfish wants. I’ll admit that I haven’t done this regularly enough to maintain this focus myself.

Weird Dreams

I had a couple of very odd dreams last night.

In the first one I was out riding a Yamaha motorcycle (is there such a thing?) in some very desert like and remote area.

There was this gas station kind of out in the middle of nowhere, very old looking and rundown, but they had the newer style gas capture nozzles there.

There was also an oil drill rig nearby. The owner of the gas station told me the well was owned by his brother and they pumped the recovered gases back down the well to pressurize it and make the oil flow better.

The road that led up to the gas station ended there, but maybe a half mile before that there was a fork in the road, and the other fork led up to this little shack of a bar.

I was sitting in the bar talking to people there when this very oddly dressed man came in. Before he left he mentioned that he was from another time and got here via a time machine.

I asked him if I could see the machine, he said no, I asked him if he could tell me how it worked and he said it involved rapidly spinning masses. Said a crude one could be fashioned out of the machines they use to make golf balls. Then he said he had to go and left very rapidly.

I really wanted to see the time machine so I tried to follow him, but by the time I got out of the building he was past the fork of the road and nearly up to the gas station. I tried to start my motorcycle but I was so much in a hurry I couldn’t function.

Then I woke up out of this dream. The weird thing is that I have never owned a motorcycle or ridden one. A minibike is the closest I’ve come. But in the dream it seemed completely natural.

I also wonder where the idea of the time machine or the setting came from. I hadn’t watched or read or listened to any sci-fi real recently.

And the setting, desert, not like any place I’ve ever been, except perhaps in passing to get somewhere else.

Then I went back to sleep and had another dream. In this dream I was with some underground rebel group, and when I say underground I mean literally underground. In this dream there was a huge series of connected caverns extending some several hundred miles into the earth, and in the dream they weren’t hot just normal temperature and they were occupied by us, whatever we were.

The surface people wanted to hunt us down and kill us but they wouldn’t go more than a few miles below the surface. So we devised this plan to collapse the caverns they were in while they were in then when they tried to come after us.

I awoke out of that one before we executed the plan, but it was a very weird dream, traveling about between these connected underground caverns. We traveled on foot, large groups of us, but we were able to travel very rapidly. I don’t know how we could see, I don’t remember us carrying any lights nor any specific source of light in the caverns.

Sometimes I have odd dreams like this if my stomach is upset or I’m not feeling well, but that was not the case this morning.

Canada, PNE, Rod Stewart

I took two of my kids and wife up to Canada for the last day of the Pacific Northwest Exhibition, a fair that they have in Vancouver BC once a year at the end of summer. It used to be not so heavily commercialized with a lot of fun stuff, lumberjack contests, etc.

I have to tell you I love going up to Canada but hate coming back. Even if the border is busy, the Canadian border guard officers are always courteous and professional. They’ll collect the information they need but they do it in a courteous manner.

The US border guards by contrast are the most arrogant impolite unprofessional bastards you could hope to encounter. Well that’s not entirely fair, maybe 1-in-10 are actually polite. The prick I got stuck with tonight sure was not. It really burns me that the officers of a foreign country, where I don’t have any legitimate right to enter but am allowed to, are much nicer than those of my own country. I was born in the US and I have just as much right to be here as those guards, but they’ve got an attitude like, “we’re God and you’re dirt”.

Our border guards should be able to collect the information they need in a polite courteous respectful manner like the Canadian guards. There is no legitimate excuse for government employees (OUR employees) to treat us like they do.

This whole increased border security, where they’re going to require a passport next year, is just a bunch of crap too. There is no way this will be effective at keeping terrorists out, almost all of them that participated in the 9/11 attack had legal visas. And if you want to get something in you can run a boat down the coast, hike or take logging roads across the border, ship stuff, fly a drone over the border, etc. It’s not like you can’t buy explosives and other supplies to cause massive death and destruction right here in the US.

All this increased security is doing is costing US taxpayers more dollars and inconveniencing them more. It is not providing any real security benefits that can’t be very easily thwarted.

The PNE has become quite commercialized over the years and now closely resembles a super-sized Puyallup except far less anal. Here in the states, all of the animals have signs, do not touch, bites, etc, because the owners are afraid of being sued.

Up there, if you’re stupid enough to allow a horse to nibble on your fingers, too bad. They’re not going to stop you.

Click on this image to get a larger version. I had hoped it would give some idea of the scale of the event but for some reason Blogger is really reducing the resolution.

There was this crazy comedian / juggler that juggled fire, and abused volunteers from the audience heavily. This one lady volunteer, she was slow beyond belief, at least a five second delay between stimulus and response. He was trying to setup a deal where three volunteers juggled with him simultaneously but she was just too slow. He’d tell her to catch something with her right hand, she’d catch it with her left, at which point he says, “No, You’re other right.” It was all in good fun though.

But an unexpected highlight was an outdoor concert at the amphitheatre. I heard a band playing a second I didn’t recognize, or like, but then the voice sounded familiar. Is it? Yes, I can see that it IS Rod Stewart. And that first song turned out to be the only one I didn’t like.

I have to tell you this was an experience because I was expecting a rather sedate performance. For a guy of 61, he is quite the athlete. And the interaction with the audience is phenomenal. His songs on studio recordings sound rather low key and sedate, not so when he’s got an audience to work with.

He is an extremely expressive guy.

And he really loves to cart the microphone stand around, swing it around, do anything with it except use it to hold the microphone. Actually the microphone IS in the stand, it’s a wireless variety and he carts the microphone with stand all over the stage and below the stage into the audience.

At one point in the act he brings a bunch of girls up on stage. Gets them to dance and has a variety of other antics.

One of the girls he brought up was this elderly woman. He got her dancing, showered her with attention, and you could see on her face she was loving every second of it. I thought it was so cool of him to do that for her. And it was obvious he enjoyed it as well.

In fact the whole act, which lasted approximately 1-1/2 hours and was entirely free save for the admission fee to the fair ($15 Canadian per person). He was incredibly interactive for the entire act and really seemed to get into it. Not at all what I would have expected based upon his studio recordings, and not at all what I would have expected for a man sixtyone years old. He is still incredibly athletic and limber and very entertaining. I have a lot more photos and I’ll post more in the future after I have time to process them and figure out why Blogger is mangling them.

This is a shot of North Vancouver taken from an outside elevated patio at the Red Robin there on Oak and Broadway. One cool aspect of this photo is that I managed to get this hand held, I didn’t have a tripod steady. It took a couple of attempts to get the exposure reasonable and a couple more to do so without any camera shake, this was a 1 second exposure.

And this shot, not quite as difficult, 8 tenths of a second. There are neon signs on the side of the building below the patio that are illuminating this tree giving it the blue color.

Anyway, got a bunch more and will post more in the near future. But need to do some processing and sorting first.


Commonly held belief is that a real objective reality exists, and that for the most part it’s interaction with us is one way. It affects us and we can only in minor, local, and limited ways affect it.

Because of various experiences I have had in my life I am not of this belief. I believe reality is a two-way collective interaction and that there is no such thing as an objective reality, there is a kind of consensus reality, but it’s more of an overlapping number of subjective realities, not truly objective.

Each of us has our own subjective views and because our interaction with reality forms part of that reality, we each have our own subjective reality, there is no objective reality. But there is still overlap and interaction between our realities. Certain things we all agree on, or mostly agree on, and those few who simply refuse to agree with the majority, they’re simply nut cases. That would be me probably.

You remember when we were children, our parents read to us a story of the little train that could? I think I can.. I think I can..

I think there is a much deeper truth in that than most people know. I believe that our beliefs regarding what is possible actually affect what is possible. It’s not just a function of believing in ourselves and our own abilities. To be sure, that is important, but it’s also a function of believing what is possible, what can actually happen or be made to happen by anyone.

I think the universe or maybe multiverse is the correct term, is very complex. I think there are as many universes as there are conscious entities, and each of us occupies our own, and yet, our universes also all overlap in a consensus reality.

My reality includes such things as the possibility of flying or levitating without mechanical aid. It’s happened to me exactly once, I’ve never been able to reproduce it, so it won’t pass mainstream scientific scrutiny, but for me, one incidence is enough for it to become part of my subjective reality. Likewise for out of body experiences and little aliens visiting us in flying saucers. I have had more than one out of body experience actually.

I’ve never seen a ghost though so my subjective reality doesn’t include ghosts. Still, I don’t discount other peoples experiences with them.

I have tried to make EVP’s (electronic voice phenomena), recordings of ghosts if you will, and have not succeeded. I only live a block from a cemetery and two children fell out of a tree and died at the house I am living in before we moved in. So if ghosts exist this ought to be spook central, but EVP turned up nothing for me. A friend of mine was into recording EVP’s when I was a kid, this way proceeded the Art Bell show. We’re talking like 35 years ago, using a small portable reel-to-reel tape recorder. He would record white noise from an FM radio tuned off any station, and then play the tape back and listen for voices. I tried this but all I ever got was a recording of white noise.

I have had one experience that leads me to believe there is a reality to some part of us surviving physical death. I had a friend in high school who went into the army after he graduated. After a couple of years he came back, he had a grapefruit sized tumor in his chest. They treated him with chemotherapy and the tumor disappeared. However, the chemotherapy they used had about a 20% chance of causing lymphoma, even if the primary cancer was completely eliminated.

About two years later he came and visited me and told me that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and they expected that he had about two weeks to live. He seemed amazingly at peace with the situation. He says it wasn’t causing him much pain, some problems with bleeding gums but rinsing with hydrogen peroxide helped.

He said he would try to contact me after death if possible.

Anyway, since they gave him approximately two weeks to live, he said he was going to go on a trip and say goodbye to friends in other parts of the country. He left on that trip and died before returning.

Shortly afterwards I had a dream that he came to my apartment (this was 25 years ago when I was still in an apartment). He came to the door just like he did in life and I answered the door. I was surprised to see him. I ask him, how can you be here you died? He said don’t worry about it just enjoy the time we have. I tried to ask him about what it was like where he was. He would not give me any specifics, he would only say he is ok and not to worry about it.

Over the next couple of years I had many dreams like this. Every one of them had the quality of seeming very real, not scattered and discontinuous like most dreams.

Then in one dream he told me that it was the last time he could come to me like this. And that was the very last dream in which he did.

I’ve had many friends die over the years, but no others have ever come to me in dreams like this. But also no others told me they would try to contact me after death.

However, one very friendly cat I had keeps coming back to me in dreams. He was an exceptional cat. Most cats don’t come when called, but he would usually come to me when I called him. Sometimes when he was outside he would not come when I would call if he didn’t want to go in, but if I got worried, then he’d show up at least so I could see him and know that he was alright. He could somehow sense when I became worried, otherwise when he was outside he would not come.

He loved human attention. I’ve never had a cat like that before or since. When he comes to me in dreams it is very similar. I had one just last night where I went down into the basement to check equipment, and there was a kitten version of one of our current cats that came into the basement. I picked him up and carried him out and headed upstairs, and there was the cat that had died, so I picked him up too, then there was an adult version of our current cat, so I also picked him up and carried two full sized cats and the kitten into the house.

This dream was particularly odd, but our dead cat does show up a lot in dreams, some of them seemingly a lot more normal. But other pets I’ve had haven’t done this. I have at times thought I felt him walk across the bed while I was sleeping. Our other cats do that but these times they were outside or sleeping elsewhere.

I don’t know what the nature of that part of us that remains is but these experiences convince me that it is something.

I am very puzzled by my friends unwillingness to say anything about his existence other than he is ok and not to worry about him. He didn’t say he was wonderful, having a swimmingly good time, or anything about the nature of his reality and what he does in spite of the fact that I kept asking these questions, only that he was “ok” and not to worry about it and enjoy the time we have.

So anyway, some form of existence beyond physical death is a part of my reality as a result of these experiences. I also feel like he must have somehow gotten a glimpse of where he was going to be while he was still alive, because I can think of nothing else that would explain how peaceful and accepting of his situation he was before his death.

You know what I like about blogging is that I can share these thoughts easily. What I don’t like is that only infrequently do I get any feedback from you.

I think the overlapping portions of our subjective reality allows for a phenomena where if a group of us believe something is possible, it is much more likely to manifest than it is for us individually. I think there is a collective effect, actually a synergistic effect.

I have had also some very strong psychic interaction with some individuals. One friend in high school, our conversations would never have sentences longer than two words because by that time the other person already had the complete thought in their head and started to reply.

He had come up from San Diego, California to Seattle. He was describing for me one day a strip mall near where he lived, and all the sudden I had this absolute clear vision in my head. I stopped him and continued the description myself, down to exactly what stores were arranged in what order, and I got it totally right. But that was the only time I ever got a vision like that, most of the time it was just knowing what the rest of a sentence was going to be kind of thing.

I am of the belief that the Internet is really duplicating in a physical consensus reality what really is an innate capability of human beings and perhaps all life. We’re already connected with super high bandwidth connections that operate at the speed of thought. We just don’t know how to use them. I think we’ve disconnected because we feel guilty and embarrassed about the terrible things we do to each other. I believe this is really what Genesis and original sin and separation from God are referring to.

Well anyway give me some feedback, I’d like to hear your ideas. Also, tell your friends about my blog. I’d like to interact with more of you.

End of Summer…

August is over, end of summer. Pretty soon the weather will return to the usual dreary rainy cold miserable crap that it usually in the Pacific Northwest. Depressing how fast it went. Was too busy trying to stay alive this summer to have much fun.

And still there is much work ahead. There’s got to be an easier way to make a living than running an ISP.

Right now I wish I could just jump into another life.