I don’t Vow To Thee My Country: the difference between patriotism and nationalism

I don’t Vow To Thee My Country: the difference between patriotism and nationalism.

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A desperate plea from an Israeli Jew

North American voices – especially Jewish North American voices – are probably the most critical voices right now. [MR: I would add that in the face of crimes on this scale, all voices of reason and compassion need to be heard wherever and however they can.]

Our Way to Fight

Via Jewish Voice for Peace:

”My name is Eran Efrati, I am Jewish, a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, and a 7th generation Jerusalemite.

What I’ve seen in Israel over the last few weeks is beyond anything I have witnessed in my life.

Gaza under attack, July 2104                                Gaza under Israeli attack, July 2014.  Photo: The Times, UK.

I’ve seen terrified Palestinian children in Hebron and Halhul, sitting on the ruins of their homes.

I’ve seen Israeli mobs in the street chanting ”death to Arabs” and pulling out Palestinian men from their stores to beat them as other Israelis stood idly by. I’ve seen Israeli soldiers lined up at the Gaza border, ready at a moment’s notice to invade.

And now, like you, I’ve seen the climbing death toll in Gaza, over 100 dead and some 500 injured – all by Israeli missiles, with no end in sight.

As much as it…

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Systematic attacks on our privacy are not ‘normal’.

ING Netherlands plans to reward customer behavior so that the customers to companies  ‘ads tailor inspection companies fit into the prevailing’ new normal ‘. But we should not just accept it.

Dear Ben Caudron , internet entrepreneur and technology sociologist

Monday was like a feast for the few of us who believe that privacy is important enough to keep talking about. The morning news took up an interview of William Debeuckelaere of the Privacy Commission of MO * magazine. Debeuckelaere gave a few examples of what can happen to our information that is widespread on Facebook. Later that day, the story was the the focal point for bank ING Netherlands for paid information used for marketing.

Naturally, I was pleased with the attention of the media for these examples of how personal data would be used to make money. For a moment I cherished the hope. The hope that this would bring attention and indignation, that would encourage individuals to  think about the possibilities inherent in our technological permeated society. I thought it was actually a bit humilating for ING Netherlands. It suddenly gave a face to the normalization of systematic attacks on our privacy. This gives the impression that the bank does exceptionally naughty things. ING Netherlands actually does nothing but exploit economic opportunities that arise.You can not blame ING. That’s what companies need to do.

User Profiles

Now that we can no longer live without digital technology, it is apparent that a new material has emerged: data. The new gold. Who delft deserves. That the strong brands of so-called social media have already understood this and have used it to  their advantage. Do you really think that Facebook and Google survive by virtue of the ads they show? Data gathering, the patterns of hidden data revealed by sophisticated algorithms and the results – User profiles – are sold to marketers looking to improve ‘consumer insights’, business is booming.

The intention of ING Netherlands is in a sense quite special. As a rule, banks need income not mega data, to coaxes them in game with our money. Recently the game that was primarily an exchange of digital information has become a lucrative product: user data. ING Netherlands also aims to beat that. Byproduct of currencies

In its pilot project, the ING Netherlands is actively involved in the process that normalizes this practice.

If I were an economist, I would mumble that it is logical. But I am a sociologist, so I mumble something else. Like this: if its pilot project works then ING Netherlands actively participate in this process by which practices are normalized. That is the prevailing story of what is technologically possible is inevitable, the new standard should also be strengthened and disseminated.


The pilot project of ING Netherlands fits into the story of the ‘new normal’. An example of what is called technological determinism. That technological determinism may well be the dominant discourse does not make it the desired discourse.

Society is clearly driven by digital technology, but that does not mean that we should leave it to the parties who are profiting from this development.

Without a doubt we gain from the technology we create, but we are also at the tradeoffs of how we want it to be used, so that the technological society remains a human society rather than a technological society.

Freely translated from: http://www.tijd.be/dossier/mobiliteit/Systematische_aanslagen_op_onze_privacy_zijn_niet_normaal.9476711-2336.art

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National campaign on UK food poverty: End Hunger Fast

This is the true Christian spirit.

Grace + Truth

End Hunger Fast Half a million people used food banks in the last year in the UK. Charitable support programmes are rapidly expanding but nonetheless a quarter of families are shrinking portion sizes. 5,500 people were admitted to hospital for malnutrition last year.

The massive growth in the numbers going hungry has been fuelled by rapidly rising food prices (30.5% increase in 5 years), stagnant and falling real incomes, unemployment, casualization of work and incompetency in reform of the benefit system. 30% of those visiting food banks do so because their benefits have been delayed, 15% because they are under sanction.

Social justice

It is great that so many volunteers and churches have responded to the rise in food poverty by starting up practical responses such as Foodbanks.  But we also need to care about these underlying causes: we need to speak up about the conditions which are creating this demand.  Our enthusiasm for…

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Among the oldest records of earth’s climate

Researchers around the world are taking ice core samples from mountain glaciers and polar ice sheets. Studying trends in local areas contribute to the big picture of global climate.
An ice core can be taken from a 3,500 meter borehole, providing a record from 110,000 to 750,000 years. Snow presses down on layers of compressed snow that become ice. Layers of compressed ice are easily identified by the naked eye.
These layers provide information on annual atmospheric conditions. That is, temperature, precipitation, atmospheric composition. Temperature can be directly measured. The balance of oxygen isotopes is measured, that is the percentage of light oxygen to heavy oxygen, resulting from past condensation and evaporation.

In the the layers of ice, are particulates of dust, volcanic ash, pollen and small pockets of air. Air is ”trapped” in between ice crystals making up the layers of ice. These air bubbles hold the past atmospheric conditions.

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Week 1: Climate Change – challenges and solutions

Climate change and energy go hand in hand in today’s grand challenge. The energy that we we consume and produce is the singular most common measurement of our ”human” interactions with our enviroment.

Energy coming from the sun is expressed as TSI, Total Solar Irradiance. The measurement is taken at the surface of the earth’s atmosphere. [1] TSI provides the energy that powers the earth’s climate. This measurement is 1.361 kilo⁠watts per square meter (kW/m²). However, not all this energy makes it through the outer atmosphere. The illustration at [2]  shows the measured results of various types of radiant energy and the greenhouse (blanket)effects. We see that the earth also emits energy, heat. Some of this radiation has the exact wavelength that carbon dioxide molecules will absorb. In fact, each of these atmospheric gases, H2O, O3, CH4, N2O, and CFCs, have their own absorption and emission wavelengths. The emission of heat/radiation returns heat to the earth, not all of it, but according to the illustration [2] , of the 350 Watts per square meter, 324 Watts per square meter is returned to earth. The illustration does not demonstrate paticulars such as, albedos (reflectivity of various surfaces).

Land and oceans have ”albedos” producing four different types of ”air masses” depending upon latitude and therefore ”insolation”. [3] Like having four different blankets. These earthly snuggies are, warm and dry over the tropical and subtropical land masses, warm and wet over the ocean at subtropical and tropical areas. Cold and dry ”blankets” are found at the temperate, subpolar and polar land regions, while cold and wet is found in the oceanic areas of temperate, subpolar and polar regions. These ”blankets” differ in temperatures which influence the pressure (pV=nRT) gradients of the ”blanket”. The earth’s atmosphere being a closed system, tossles these ”blankets” about causing ”weather”. (Presently, we shall not account for the important and significant Coriolis Effect.)

Since, we as consumers and producers of energy, obviously are a part of, or at least contributors of the earth’s interactivity of processes. All parts are interdependant.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_solar_irradiance#Solar_irradiance
  2. http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/measuring-solar-activity.html
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo#Climate_and_weather
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This scientist summed up the 2,200-page IPCC report in haiku

Put simply and concisely.


Have you read the latest IPCC report? Yeah, we haven’t either. It’s not that we don’t have the attention span to get through 2,200 pages; it’s that were subconsciously waiting for oceanographer Gregory Johnson to summarize the report in haiku form. And now the wait is over! Hooray!

Just for kicks, when he was sick one weekend, Johnson wrote 19 haiku, one for each of the major points in the report’s summary — which itself was 27 pages. (They don’t do brevity real well.) He combined them with watercolors to make, dare we say, a far more readable, eye-catching version of the original IPCC report. Here are a few of his haiku:

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