Humans Have Gone Rogue


Humans can choose to avail ourselves of kinship with and empathy for our non-human family…

My friends and colleagues who label themselves Environmentalists, use language that masks the intensity of the violence committed against sea and ocean life. Even well-intentioned allies that I admire and respect, unwittingly use the same violent euphemisms that obscure the true injustices hidden inside words like “offshore drilling” and “marine bio-exploration”, both code for business based manifest destiny and the ghettoization of the seas. I am committed to peaceful practices, and strive to use peaceful, clear language, however I do believe in naming things as they are so that we clearly understand our challenges. Oil exploration is more than a “noisy and chaotic rudeness” that scrambles sea mammals’ perceptual organs; “drilling” essentially overwhelms and clouds the senses that they use to survive, to find food, to find and communicate with family and pod members, to travel safely and avoid predators and environmental risks. What scientific terminology and current environmental language lacks is any indication or acknowledgement that oil companies purposely use violent, gitmo bay-esque sensory deprivation tactics. The risks are not a harmful by-product of oil exploration technology, they are the purpose of said technology. Science and industry can create many painless and helpful things, why then do they create harmful techniques and machinery to search for oil? Oil technology actively dissipates and discourages ocean animals’ life re-producing behaviors and opportunities. IT IS WARFARE. Oil explorers intentionally use WMD’s (the sonic air-guns and other devices) to displace the animal populations. Just as sea trawlers were created to rip up the seabed in search of Blue Fin Tuna, Oil drilling IS the intentional slaughter of sea-life so that oil will become easily accessible.

Humans have gone rogue because those of us who truly empathize with the dire plight of other life forms on our planet number less than our counterparts who are either numb to it, or economically oriented in their opinion. Humans have no more right to earth’s “Stuff” than other life forms, yet we plunder forward as if imperialism, and the plundering of resources is the natural order and all existence awaits colonization.

The Situation Today

In the same ways that ghettos around the world represent the isolation and containment of socially undesirable people within one under-served location, and jail is the first step toward sociocultural exile or physical death, oil exploration and drilling ghettoizes sea life.

Drilling nullifies opportunities to thrive, and natural, life-sustaining resources like nutrient–rich food, space to exercise / play / stretch is aggressively occupied by armed men. Traditional nee customary procreation rites and techniques of child-rearing all but disappear when external forces isolate generational knowledge into disparate locations, eventually sapping the spirits of the young and wizened elders alike. Oil rigs, air-gun based oil-exploration and oil ships ARE seek and destroy based weapons, they ARE the patter-rollers that isolate, capture, torture and/or destroy sea-life. It is their purpose. Each time our elected representatives make concessions to the oil industry, they spit on the trust and power that we’ve lent them. We elected them to do what is true and just for all, yet it is often the last item on the agenda. Do we really need to amend the founding documents to include  the sovereignty and inherent value of animal, human and plant life? Why can’t we trust our elected representatives to simply uphold the most peaceful of all sentiments? If not through representation, what shall we do? I think that we should simply hold ourselves accountable  in our daily life by setting new standards, ethics and practices. We can reclaim power from those who squander public trust.

Paul Nicklen

Image by Paul Nicklen, high quality wildlife photography available for purchase on Art.com. Click image to visit.

I’ve chosen to speak out, to take the time to write about this, to sign the petition and make my voice heard in a state where Oil they drill oil then ship to Japan and other points east. Not many Americans realize that we SELL oil, we don’t just consume it. In Texas, the United States sells oil for use elsewhere, so know that any congressional bill in favor of Arctic oil drilling only seeks to drain the geologic lifeblood from under America just any other “third-world nation”; that is, a weakened nation-state that must exploit and sell its natural resources because it’s finished products are intentionally undervalued or overpriced in the global marketplace.

What Can We Do?

Each of us must be honest with ourselves to make different choices about the ways we travel, what we choose to buy and consume, and then shift our philosophical approach to match. Our next steps must show our willingness to consistently choose to do things differently. This includes shifting our approach to democratic representation. It is time for us to fire, impeach, un-elect poor congressional, executive, gubernatorial, mayoral, any and all elected representatives who knowingly pass bills that advocate for the deaths of the innocent or deny legal standing or rights to any citizen, human, animal or other life-form. It would be unacceptable if the people were to re-elect, or otherwise positively reinforce elected officials who undergird their voting and alliances with violence.


An image of: Free Beluga Whales Swimming in the Ocean

Available for purchase at art.com. Click image to view original.

A Pod of Beluga Whales Swim at the Waters Surface by Norbert Rosing

Why must we voters must always petition politicians to do what is right and just? Why don’t they automatically vote against greedy, trickster bills and policy, and then tell us that they did so? Inaction indicates that they do not have a positive, peaceful / non-violent moral compass and therefore SHOULD NOT represent the people. We hire them to do good works on our behalf at the policy level in the Nation’s capital, so that we can work, provide for our families and build a social fabric and nurture an environment that nurtures life in all its life-affirming forms. Why then must we always chide, cajole, and hambug elected officials to do these very things? If they DON’T affirm peace, freedom or sacredness of all beings everywhere, then what IS their orientation toward life, your life, my life, and who did we really elect to represent us?

The Visionary Activist – Diving into the Dark – February 23, 2012 at 2:00pm
http://kpfaweb.kpfa.org/misc/utilities/players/1pixelout/player.swf
Click to listen (or download)

Since we live in the age of digital petitions, you should sign the petition with “Don’t Be A Bucket Head”. This effort is from a vetted source and the signatures will be hand delivered to Washington. I trust mytho-astro-poetic genius, seer and weaver of aligned context Caroline Casey, and she trusts Michael Stoker. On her KPFA show, Visionary Activist, she invited Micheal to speak, and he explains the situation and shared the beautifully melodic vocalizations from Beluga Whales, and Ringed-Seals.

Listen to the amazing sounds of Ring Seals, Beluga Whales and learn about the 5-Year Oil Exploration bill before Congress

SHARE THIS WITH OTHERS, and WAKE THEM UP!

Digital Storytelling for Branding


I’ve started collecting instances of animated digital stories. This video from Moo.com matches their light and quirky branding. The music is bluegrass-y, the visuals march along at double-speed, and the stickers created in the video would be very familiar to their average viewer: likely a professional, artist, small business owner or professional artisan. I challenge you to show me a person who is in the market for $50 business cards who hasn’t been exposed to a small batch handmade soap or exotic coffee from Smallsville, St. Elsewhere.

A caption-less video that affords the viewer an omnipresent procedural view, assumes that the viewer already possesses a baseline understanding of the subject. The video then is not purposed as an informational piece, it is a promotional one.

The video shows the entire production process;  from when the user initiates the order, to the printing, cutting, order fulfillment and mailing then finally end-user implementation. The video presents each part of the process so quickly that the viewer quickly realizes that one must grasp the images as meaning or else miss the entire message. The video doesn’t have any captions or titles, so the speed remains constant throughout, and there is no external presence inserted. We are left to our own devices to interpret the images before us. This indicates that MOO assumes that the viewer already understands or has a baseline conceptualization  of  the product design interface, printing press and paper cutting process.

A person without such a mental schema would not understand the images presented to them.

For example, we, the omnipresent viewer, watched the user design their stickers “at home”. Next, we watched the file become a printed object. We saw the “chomp” motion of the paper-cutter, and we watched the disembodied hands of the worker gather the stack and place it into the MOO package. As the omnipresent viewer, MOO gave us a front row seat to  view of the entire process, and are thus expected to understand it, to comprehend it, to make sense of it because of the social capital we bring to he table.  Such a video assumes a baseline knowledge on our part, which indicates their audience has certain  experiences, information and professions which would need their services.

Moo presents this video on the front page of their website with the caption:

Ever wondered how we go about making our products? Well, for the very first time ever we’ve caught it all on camera.

It is advertising lay-speak : akin to the hunter laying on their belly on the forest floor, so that he or she will blend into the bushes. The hunter wants to be hidden, obscured from view.  This particular  introduction implies that MOO accidentally caught the slippery production process on tape, like a puffin just wandered into the trap of their frame, and they decided to share it with the rest of us who have no idea what the centuries old printing process looks like.

Clever. Clever indeed.Even knowing all that I do about digital storytelling and advertising, I’m still designing my MOO cards…how DO they make them anyways…. 🙂

BODYWORK beckons…


I’m Steppin’ Out to Salon 294 tonight to the opening of BODYWORK. classic car aficionados, gawkers, technophiles and marxists alike will be out in full force to see this rigged-up combo of my personal favorite, the  classic El Camino truck, with the cab of an East German Trabant. Of course this car display would be incomplete without the mechanic and pin-up girl, none other than Liz Cohen the ironically bikini-clad nouveau feminist classically trained artist herself. How could I possibly forgo such a delicious a mind-mash of representative feminist material intellectualism?

The New York Times did a feature on her foray into Low-rider culture, which she chose to delve into to learn the methodos, style and culture.

Former BP CEO Tony Hayward Arrested by Louisiana Police this Morning


We at BP are sorry to see him detained. Better him than me.

BP Chairman Carl-Henrich Svanberg

June 17, 2010, 10:45am

written by Asit Schuldbe

In a closed-door press conference this morning, BP Chairman Carl-Henrich Svanberg confirmed that a specially appointed Louisiana Police Task Force arrested BP CEO Tony Hayward during an early morning raid of his Delaware waterfront hotel penthouse. While it remains unclear if known big-business advocate, former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin participated in the coordination of this interstate effort, sources tell us that the former Mayor declined a recent dinner invitation to Hayward’s penthouse, citing “a previous engagement”.

Bail has not been set, however some legal experts expect that the prosecution will hinge most of their case on the present and ongoing damage to protected sea-turtle nesting grounds. Given the multi-terrain and aquatic, migratory habits of the sea turtle, damage to any of part of their range of habitats, experts are predicting swift decisive punishment grounded in the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Clean Water Act of 1972.

Statements issued by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen assert that Mr. Hayward is personally liable for the BP Oil Spill, under the landmark 1972 Clean Water Act : Clause 32A, subsection B,  exhibits ii-iv states that: “The CEO of any corporation, whether domestic or foreign which sells, harvests or distributes any water-borne natural resource from or within those waters adjacent to the shores of the United States,  shall be considered “unnatural predators” and held directly and individually responsible for any ecological or species degradation or environmental destruction.  It is hereby acknowledged that the CEO is the figurehead of a corporation is the leader, voice and conscience and is thereby liable for any corporate misdeeds. The Clean Water Act hereby permits the arrest and prosecution of the responsible CEO.

Said CEO will be subject to arrest upon final collection of physical proof of culpability, assigned a public lawyer and granted a fair trial within the affected municipality before a jury of his peers. Fair sentencing shall be limited to any combination of the following: fines, seizure of assets, public service and / or imprisonment within the aforementioned locale(s)”.

If convicted, his or her assets will be immediately be seized and liquidated prior to distribution among affected families and communities. Corporate profits, operating budgets and off-shore accounts will be prioritized and allocated (without delay or excess machinations] to long-term environmental and wildlife rehabilitation, no-fee small business grants and social reparations programming.

Recent updates from Reuters News Wire and Associated Press have just confirmed that UK Prime Minister David Cameron will not seek to repatriate Mr. Hayward stating that the financial losses of one man [ Mr. Hayward] and one corporation does not compare to the economic, emotional and physical suffering of marine life and the millions of working people affected directly by Mr. Hayward and BP’s continued oil spill into the Gulf Coast. Prime Minister Cameron also made a personal phone call to President Obama ensuring his full cooperation with the case.

Guilty as chargedAlthough Mr. Hayward was again slated to appear before congress this morning, sources confirm that this morning’s arrest prevented his ongoing testimony. The congressional caucus proceeded gainfully nonetheless, and crude oil continues to pump into the Gulf.

fin.

No this did not happen in our reality, but shouldn’t it? If no one is held responsible, how then will things change?

Conceived of and written by: Shawndel N. Fraser. This work is a piece of fiction. I have used the names of real public figures, however the events and legislation described are purely works of my idealistic, fanciful imagination, which is prone to musings of alternate realities wherein wrongdoers, regardless of socioeconomic status pay for their transgressions by appearing before the commoner and judged in a court of law.

Corn for Cat Pee…Is this our best option?


Dear Thinkers,

I am completely confuddled, dumbergasted and awefulwhemed by this new product, the Wolrd’s Greatest Cat Litter. I mean really, what terrible turn have we taken to resort to using Whole-Kernel Corn as cat litter? I mean, truth be told, I think felines are incredible animal companions, however that is beyond the point I am making here:  People are being sold on the idea of using FOOD to dispose of CAT URINE and FECES. Add to that the fact that growing corn is very water expensive. It takes a lot of moisture to sustain corn from seedling to cob, and the shape of plant along with our harvesting methods means that the water used in its production is never returned to the ecosystem. Why then do people make “green claims” about corn, advertising it as so environmentally friendly.

The emergence of this product just suggests that corn subsidies have produced such an overwhelming surplus, that to sustain our corn-bullied farmers not only is corn added to most everyday products from food to commercial processes such as the glossy coating on milk cartons and magazines. Apparently, the next viable market that is ready to be saturated with corn is that of the domestic cat. Yet one more of  one-thousand uses for corn. If, George Washington Carver could see us now!

 

A thousand uses for the peanut and sweet potato!!!

American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor.

 

I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised though. After all, we already use potable drinking water for our own waste, and dump garbage on healthy marshlands and call it “waste disposal”. Well, I say “in for a penny, in for a pound”, so if you decide to go out and buy the World’s Best Cat Litter, you MUST put it in The Litter House, the World’s Best Litter Box! 🙂

Thank you  to Richard J. Ferris for bringing the Worlds Best Cat Litter to my attention.

In sustained thought…

Shawndel

Food Wrapper Coating Found in Human Blood


Keeps Out the Grease, But...

Keeps Out the Grease, But...

 

Hello Thinkers!

I chanced upon this quick article on Discovery.com wherein Emily Sohn discusses recent findings that the plastic coating placed on fast food wrappers actually breaks down and enters our bloodstream. Worse still, it mutates into a carcinogen in the body, and is likely linked to cancer. The icing on the proverbial cake is the fact that these wrappers, through our poor waste management actually enters our waterways in such quantities that the very same carcinogens that are found in human blood over here in the “civilized world”, has also been found in similar concentrations in the blood of Polar Bears all the way across the earth. I mean, really? Really really?

Someone please tell me where the surprise is? Because I missed it. Manufacture only cares about protecting the public enough so that they are not vulnerable to lawsuit. R&D, or research and development is ultimately aimed at producing inexpensive technologies that seemingly add value to the goods being sold so that higher charges result in greater profits. The fact that the long term effects of these chemicals is unknown, just as its leeching potential was unexpected and unstudied only serves to reinforce my grim understanding of the production rationale that corporations abide by.

The last line of this article quotes a scientist who says he doesn’t know if we should be concerned yet…Tell me really, at what point does one try to put out a fire in ones home? Do you wait until the fire singes you to be sure that it is actually hot, or do you spring to action as soon as you smell smoke  so as to prevent major losses.

Ah Science. If any one ever wonders why i chose environmental psychology, a social science that remains pretty uncorrupted / co-opted by industry, it is for this reason. In the physical sciences (and some of the social sciences) your funding determines just how much common sense and morality you can weave to your research. Being beholden to private interests for your wages means that you are immediately co-opted, despite your best intentions otherwise. That co-optation leads to short-sighted, fretful assertions like :

“I don’t know if it’s time to panic, and I doubt it is,” he said. “But we really don’t know what it’s doing. It’s something we need to worry about. It’s something we need to find out about.”

David Hasselhoff won’t be the only one with a K.I.T.


Talking Cars Could Hit the Road by 2012

'Talking' Cars Could Hit the Road by 2012

In a recent Wired.com article I read about the forthcoming technology designed to make cars ‘talk’. I must say, aside from the anthropomorphization of technologies (how can a car ‘talk’ so much as imitate what we imagine the process of ‘talking’ subsists of. Despite this marionette show, the car cannot hold spontaneous conversation or offer novel commentary. All things that it can ‘talk’ about are never in relation to the driver, nor outside of the realm of its programmed parameters).  Anyway, that digression was a train wreck! Lets return to my main thought shall we? 
 
I chanced upon this article which primes us for a new talking car technology to be introduced sometime in 2012. However, not being a technophile (nor technophobe), rather a technocritic and academic, I can already see where this will lead. First, There will be a an outpouring of funding to feed hungry researchers, my colleagues in need of grants; the only hitch? they must perform studies on the efficacy of these type technologies. If they can demonstrate even a moderately positive correlation between decreased collision rates  and their installed technologies, then they will receive the funding dollars. Secondly, once the efficacy is ‘proven’ by science, the time will be ripe for insurance companies to pounce, looking for ways to increase premiums for those who cannot purchase such gadgets yet still need to drive.
 
The third phase will be the point in time when the use of this and affiliated technologies will be a major variable in determining your insurance rate. Once technology companies unite with the insurance industry under allied interests, they will make a full court press via their Washington Lobby to make installation of these talking devices mandatory in every new car. It won’t be long before the older ones will be required to be retrofitted. 
 
Now reading this particularly ‘ranty’ post, you may think”consipracy theory abounds!” but remember the NYC Yellow Taxi strike a few years back? You can watch a great video summary New York Times online.  I would have included it here if it were possible to do so. Do take a moment to view it if you can. Moving on, NYC Yellow Cabs were bullied a few years ago into purchasing random technologies that do not benefit them (GPS, Credit Cars terminals and passenger screens displaying weather and corporate advertising). These technologies continue to cost the drivers 5% of their income with each transaction paid with credit card, plus the costs of installation and purchase of the devices, maintenance for the taxi itself plus the technology and service, while corporations profit from the product sales and service as well as the revenue generated from its proliferation and the nominal advertising fees.  Guess who profits from this, TLC and City Government make revenues from both, and passengers will have a series of bright screens and more noise in addition to the celebrity pronouncements to contend with during their taxi rides. 
 
To be clear, these working class taxi drivers subsidize a technolgy that they never wanted in the first place! The Taxi Drivers resisted, they organized and eventually went on strike, however the cards were stacked against them and they sadly failed in their valiant fight. There you have it, cars are not private domain though they may be purchased with private dollars. I think that it is the condition of being licensed which subjects you to arbitrary impositions from the licensing agency. As such, all drivers are vulnerable to the upcoming onslaught of mandatory technologies that WILL be required in our cars.  Do not underestimate them, technology companies backed by the powerful insurance and automaker lobby will soon motivate, if they have not already, to make concrete strides to co-opt the optional silence of your car interior and to demand more of our already limited income to subsidize their desire for more profit.
 
Just to refer back to my previous green-washing post not all green washing is about nature-hued technologies. These changes they will couch in the idea of safety for you, your family and your car. Protecting those things most precious to you, your family and your merchandise. Many of you will believe it, and when it becomes mandatory, the rest of us will have to buy into it, belief be damned.
 
“What would the timing be?” you may ask… Well, once GPS and this talking technology no longer seem like luxury goods and profitability levels out  because they will have saturated their original markets, it is then that we will feel the effects of their lobby efforts in Washington. They will press for mandatory installation in new cars, and it will likely piggy back on ‘green-technologies’. How is this for a slogan:  “Saving the earth by getting you there faster, saving you by getting you there safer”.  Kinda catchy…I’d buy it…NOT!