Then I saw this video of interviews conducted with voters at a Romney rally in Defiance, Ohio.
In the video description is a scary bit of info:
Election observers believe that Ohio is the state most likely to decide who becomes our next President. These interviews were conducted with Ohio voters at a recent Romney rally in Defiance, OH.
- Obama makes last pitch with Boss, Jay-Z in Ohio – Chicago Sun-Times (suntimes.com)
- A Funny Video || Chris Rock makes a convincing argument that Obama is white (aspoonfulofsuga.wordpress.com)
- Chris Rock: “Barack Obama Is A White President You Can Trust” [VIDEO] (newsone.com)
- Ohio. (thebrennerbrief.com)
I have never been the biggest Chris Rock fan, not that I don’t like him. But in the last couple of days, a video was released via the Jimmy Kimmel Show where Chris Rock pleads to the undecided white voters to vote for Obama.
I’m not American, so I can’t really vote for Obama, but damn it’s funny!
Since last week, the Eastern Cape has been getting a lot of rain. In fact according to the Weather Guru (link below) up to this morning 389mm of rain fell in the Port Alfred area. Click here for details on all areas from last week to now. He also shared this info:
With still 8 days left in October we have not only exceeded the record in Port Elizabeth as being the wettest NON FLOOD year on record and the second wettest year on record since 1955 (when records started at airport)
Reason for calling it a non flood year is that although we have had a lot of flooding, there is no ONE SINGLE EVEN/DATE that stands out like for example 1 September 1968
Comparative figures up until the end of October
1974 966.5 mm
1981 923.5 mm
2012 985.4 mm up until 22 October
For the entire year the total for 1968 was 1068.4 mm. We thus need just over 83 mm before the end of the year to beat that record
Facebook has been buzzing about the heavy rains and people are posting photos like crazy, especially since Saturday.
Where to get more info and updates:
Metro Newspaper: http://www.metronewspaper.co.za/
Follow the Weather Guru for up to date reports: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Weather-Guru/192566374124112
Algoa FM Gallery: http://www.algoafm.co.za/galleryphotos.aspx?id=201#!prettyPhoto
Grahamstown Photos: http://penneyspix.co.za/gtown-rain.php
Some Images from Facebook:
This year I decided that I wanted to start growing my own vegetables. There was no specific reason, I just wanted to have fresh, homegrown veggies that hadn’t been sitting in cold storage for weeks or months on end.
Since I’ve started, in about July/August, my little veggie patch has started to finally look like something. Being a bit of a geek as well, I spend a lot of time researching how to do it better, be it by reading articles, watching videos or whatever else.
Naturally, while reading articles and finding resources, you come across some related topics, one of which is GM, or genetically modified, foods. The scary part is that a lot of people wont even know what I am talking about. I just had to share some of the stuff that I’ve come across.
What is GM food?
To understand what all the fuss is about, you first need to understand what GM food is.
For centuries man has been “genetically modifying” food by natural methods, such as selective breeding, where you grow a plot of corn and only take seeds from the ones that were resistant to things like fungus. You would do this year after year until you were left with a crop that was almost completely resistant. Even with chickens, you could find which eggs contained less cholesterol and breed only those chickens until you were left with a low cholesterol egg producing chicken.
With the advent of genetic engineering, scientist have been able to eliminate the trial and error method of selective breeding by simply injecting specific genes into the plant. For example Monsanto produce a herbicide called Roundup (glyphosate based) which kills any plant it comes into contact with. Monsanto then sell seeds that are resistant to Roundup. Farmers can then spray their crops with Roundup and be sure that only the crops themselves are left. These seeds are patented and you cannot reuse the seeds from these crops.
Another example is where BT toxins (Bacillus thuringiensis) are inserted into GM food crops to kill pests.
Since 1994, when Calgene (now owned by Monsanto) first marketed its Flavr Savr delayed ripening tomato, GM crops now include, but are not limited to soybean, maize, cotton, canola, squash, papaya, alfalfa & sugar beet. In 2010 and estimated 10% of crops worldwide were GM crops. In the US, by 2010, 93% of the planted area of soybeans, 93% of cotton, 86% of corn and 95% of the sugar beet were genetically modified varieties.
What does this have to do with me?
There has never been a long-term study of the effects of a diet including GM food on humans. I am also no expert on these matters, but there are more than a few articles on the possible effects of GM foods.
Genetically modified foods are not necessarily a bad thing (if correctly and openly regulated), but the way things are right now, people have a right to be concerned. Everyone out there should be able to make up their own mind up about GM foods. New Scientist have a rather informative article on the pros and cons of GM foods.
Also see the selection of articles on GM food from New Scientist: http://www.newscientist.com/topic/gm-food
The article below describes possible dangers of GM foods to our digestive systems. It also has links to various other articles on other dangers:
The Wikipedia article on the controversy surrounding GM food is rather detailed and a must read. As with any Wikipedia article use your own discretion and read the sources.
The WHO has also released a FAQ of sorts regarding GM foods.
The Daily Mail in the UK has also reported that toxins which were meant to be destroyed by the gut have found their way into the bloodstream of pregnant women and even the umbilical cord.
Even though GM crops are meant to be pest resistant, among other things, recently breeds of “super-insects” are now surfacing resistant to the toxins in the crops.
Another problem with GM crops is what they go into from harvesting. How many products on our shelves use GM foods in their production?
There are so many articles, and resources out there, but these are some of the highlights
The following video is a nice summary of the dangers
Who is behind this?
Monsanto are no strangers to controversy, before they became a biotech firm as they are known today, they produced and had a virtual monopoly in the US for Polychlorinated bipyls (PCBs) which were used as coolant fluids in transformers, capacitors, and electric motors, and in a wide variety of other industrial applications. It has been banned since 1979 is the US and worldwide due to it being a persistent organic pollutant. Until it was banned in the US, Monsanto continued to defend it’s safety. Who is to say it is not the same case with their Roundup herbicide or engineered seeds?
Monsanto is also known for its involvement in high profile lawsuits, as both plaintiff and defendant. It has been involved in a number of class action suits, where fines and damages have run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, usually over health issues related to its products.
Other controversial products include: rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) which is used to increase cow’s milk production and terminator seeds which ensure only one generation of seeds survive.
Monsanto are not alone, as the controversies between the other companies include: CFCs (Dupont were credited as one of the inventors and largest producer), neonicotinoid pesticide (Bayer pesticide that can kill off honeybees and other non-targeted insects) and countless more. For more details on the controversies surrounding the above companies, have a look at the Wikipedia articles under the relevant sections (links are above).
Unfortunately, these corporate giants have deep pockets and Monsanto especially influence those in power.
What can I do?
Simply grow your own and enjoy fresh from the garden veggies. It is very satisfying to pick your own veggies and enjoy the wonderful flavour and freshness. You don’t need a lot of space, there are lots of ways to use what little space you have.
Follow these facebook pages for some great ideas and info:
Google is definitely your friend in this regard as well.
But if you’re not the gardening type, then just make yourself more aware. See below:
Be more aware of what goes into the food you buy. Learn more here (available via web and mobile):
Find out more about South Africa’s GMO labelling draft amendment to the Consumer Protection Act 68/2008
Goverment Gazette: http://www.acbio.org.za/ACB_35776_9-10_TradeIndustryCV01.pdf
California’s Proposition 37 (November 6 2012), Vote YES
Very detailed article about the proposition: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/why-californias-proposition-37-should-matter-to-anyone-who-cares-about-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
The giants push millions into advertising campaign to vote against the proposition: http://www.carighttoknow.org/ad_blitz_pummels_support
Al-Jazeera article for a bit of non-US viewpoint: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/09/20129257471016420.html
- Genetically modified foods, depopulation, and california proposition 37 (sott.net)
- The World According to Monsanto (panoffolin.wordpress.com)
- When is time for genetically modified humans? (english.pravda.ru)
- 10 reasons why we don’t need GM foods (gmoawareness.org)
- How to Avoid Genetically Modified Food (readersupportednews.org)
- Monsanto makes rats grow tumors; are humans next? Then…Monsanto enters pharmaceutical business, plans to manipulate gene expression in humans via diet (ascendingstarseed.wordpress.com)
- What does GM mean? (eslschoolforenglish.wordpress.com)
- 10 Reasons Why We Don’t Need GM Foods (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
Just over a month back, I blogged about the Woolworths racism saga and how I felt that we can’t blame Woolworths for the BEE policies they need to follow.
Yesterday a Facebook group, which I happen to follow, shared my blogpost on their page and I happened to come across it this morning. There were also some comments on the original post, which I replied to, but there are some comments from the facebook post that I wish to address.
Before I begin, let me just state three things:
- I think Woolworths are wrong in what they are doing, still doing, but the “boycott of Woolies” has been pretty ineffective as far as I’m concerned. Not that it has been much of a boycott, people involved could have spent the energy on more relevant & important things, but it’s easy to basically do nothing else but avoid one particular shop and call it “taking action”
- I don’t think BEE is an effective means of redressing the mistakes of the past. Any policy which is related to giving preference to one race over another will always be met with criticism and even fear. Almost 20 years on and BEE has done anything that wouldn’t have naturally happened anyway in my opinion. If anything BEE has only made a very small minority of the African population much richer and the majority even worse off.
- At no stage did I say I like agree with Woolies, the ANC or BEE. But laying the blame on one company is never going to solve the problem. So Woolies close their doors, then what, do you think that is going to change things? If anything it’s just more ammunition for the ANC to use against white people.
Now as for the comments, Let me address each one individually:
Well Richard, I am definitely not saying you should sit back and eat it up, if it something you feel strongly about, by all means do what you feel that you need to do about something you feel strongly about.
We are not the only country in the world where discrimination occurs, that isn’t to say it doesn’t happen, yes racial discrimination is happening, but that isn’t the only type of discrimination. What about gender and caste discrimination in India, Saudi Arabia and other countries? What about religious discrimination all around the world. Even when it comes to race, I really doubt we are the worst.
You want to protest, fine, but a quiet boycott by maybe a few thousand white people is barely a start, it’s almost insignificant.
Dear Melanie, thank you for your condolences, but they are however unnecessary and unwanted. From your comment I could assume that you are a narrow-minded fascist bigot, but I cannot know that, so I won’t call you that. The Moral? Don’t make assumptions, simple. In response: If I were brainless, I would not have an opinion, even if it is different to yours. Pinko? I am hardly sympathetic to our socialist government, apathetic maybe, but not sympathetic. My time is spent better on other things. As for Liberal, yes possibly, I consider myself very open minded, so I’ll give you that one…
Hardly… From the end of August, after an initial drop of R400 which was at its lowest on the 10th of September, it has now gone R200 beyond what it was at the end of August (http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/WHL:SJ)
I agreed with you until your last sentence. “Whities” are definitely too lazy when it comes to standing up for what is right. And when they do something it is generally something insignificant. Like saying you’ll never shop at Woolies…
Oh Lord, again with grammar and punctuation… Asskissing, uncomfortable? Hardly, and as for liberal, like I said, possibly, because I do consider myself open minded.
The majority definitely love the victim mentality and until everyone stops blaming one another, there is no hope for us as a country.
Mockracy is definitely the right description.
- I Blame Woolworths, No Wait… (myconflictedself.wordpress.com)
- Whites against Woolworths: doth they protest too much? (dailymaverick.co.za)
- What’s racist about Woolworths’ ‘blacks only’ job Ad? (akanyangafrica.wordpress.com)
As a South African, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard about the Woolworths “racist” scandal earlier this week bought to light by internet marketer, Justin Harrison, who followed up a few days later with another post. No surprise it made news, after all didn’t SAA just go through the same saga?
If you are still not sure what I am going on about here are some links to what is happening:
There are probably many more but these should give you an idea
While as a white South African male, my initial reaction was to throw my arms in the air and scream bloody murder, as many did, after reading some alternative views and letting the dust settle, I find that I can’t really blame them at all.
So who do we blame? The ANC? Aren’t they are just trying to correct the imbalances of the apartheid era, the imbalance which has still not been corrected, despite close to 20 years of being free of apartheid? Well that is debatable since their policies have only seemed to benefit a very small majority of their followers, but that is something else altogether.
So do we blame white people? Can we blame the children of the post-apartheid era, like myself, who were too young to know what was happening? So do we blame our parents? After all they did nothing while the National Party ruled the country and implemented apartheid policies. They should have put their lives on the line, they should have done more, right? While it went on for far too long, the entire world also did nothing really, so can we blame them?
Maybe we should blame the Germans and countless other supremist goverments for giving our apartheid government ideas? Or maybe we should blame the Dutch and/or British settlers for coming to this country and taking it away from the indigenous people, the Zulus, the Xhosa, the San, et al? Not really, much like the Romans did for them, they bought a little bit of civilisation to the region.
Maybe we should blame the Romans for bringing the first hints of civilisation to what is now Britain & Netherlands or the Celtic or Germanic tribes for settling there in the first place? No?
What I’m trying to say is that history is exactly that, history. If we are going to just try to point fingers and play the blame game, nothing constructive will come of it, people will get angry and say stupid things which will piss off other people who will say more stupid things.
Lets say, hypothetically, as a white male in SA, you were looking through a newspaper for a job and you saw a job that you wanted to apply for. At the end it tells you, preference is given to BEE candidates or to disabled black women. Of course you think to yourself, “Fuck I hate this BEE crap!” or whatever else you may think, but is your next step to now launch a boycott against this company, or do you move on and try again?
The only thing that Woolworths did wrong was the way that they worded their job post really, and of course the way they handled the PR nightmare they bought on themselves, but I think after initially going into a flat spin, they have managed to correct their mistake, and isn’t that what we wanted?
Personally, I went to Woolies yesterday and bought some chicken they had on special. And next time I feel like some smoked snoek pate, I will go again.
- Whites against Woolworths: doth they protest too much? (dailymaverick.co.za)
- your cracker boycott is bullshit, honky! (pissingblood47days.wordpress.com)
Yesterday I read an article on the BBC website that got my mind spinning. The article is about how the UK Office of Fair Trade (OFT) has decided to launch a study into the high price of fuel. In the UK the price for petrol and diesel went up 38% & 43% respectively from June 2007 to June 2012. There are other factors they are investigating, but the bit that got me thinking was their citizens being upset about the 38-43% increase (Read the article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19489908)
This past month our petrol prices went up to their highest ever levels. A litre of 95 octane petrol now costs R11.97 inland and R11.62 along the coast.
Since June 2007, our petrol prices locally have gone up by a massive 59% for 95 octane unleaded and 65% for diesel! The chart below shows us in a bit more detail how the prices have risen and fallen over the past 5 years. In 2008 you may recall that oil prices rose dramatically, reaching a record $147 during July and then dropping to around $40 in December. However despite the oil price being lower than at it’s peak, we are paying R2 more a litre.
Looking at food prices isn’t much better. I chose six random food products that I felt were quite common among all income groups, being: 1l Full cream milk sachet, loaf brown bread, 1kg whole fresh chicken, 1kg beef chuck, sunflower oil & 1kg carrots.
The increases ranged from 30% (chicken) to a massive 104% (Sunflower oil).
Separately, however, these didn’t make much sense, so I went to a bit of effort and created a weighted average between fuel, food and oil prices and compared them to the trend over the years and this is when it made more sense
If you look at the below chart, you will see red, green and blue solid lines indicating the movement of fuel, food and oil over the 5 year period, while the dotted lines indicate the trend created by this movement.
The purple line (X) is based on year on year inflation over this period, in other words what price increases should look like.
But what do you notice if you compare the 3 trends and the solid purple line? This clearly indicates that fuel, and by comparison food, since SA relies on transport via our road networks, follow the trend of oil prices rather than the actual inflation rates given by government, which granted takes into account much more than I have: house prices, car prices, etc.
I’m no expert in matters like this so if anyone out there can give me a better explanation I will gladly accept it, but as if climate change wasn’t reason enough for us as a species to move away from oil and fossil fuels as a source of fuel and energy, then surely this should be even more reason?
The sources for all the above prices and rates are:
Petrol Prices: http://www.aa.co.za/
Food Prices: http://www.namc.co.za/
Oil Prices: http://www.investis.com/
Inflation Rate: http://www.liberta.co.za
- Petrol Prices: Watchdog Launches Probe (news.sky.com)
- Petrol price warning: Trouble ahead (itv.com)
- Petrol companies too quick to raise prices – AA (nzherald.co.nz)
- Hike in petrol, diesel prices likely after Sept 7 (ibnlive.in.com)
- Petrol price increase could have been avoided (jbaynews.com)
- Record high petrol prices ‘unlikely to ease’ (radionz.co.nz)
- Petrol prices in Germany hit all-time high (english.ruvr.ru)
- Fuel prices do not reflect international costs – PL spokesman (timesofmalta.com)
Yesterday (10 October 2011), millions of Blackberry users (tens of millions according to The Guardian) suffered service outages on their Blackberry devices due to server issues at the Slough data centre in the UK. It finally came back up in the early hours of this morning (11 October 2011), but a little earlier many reports of yet more outages, or sluggish connectivity were being talked about on the various forms of social media.
In the US they have been losing the battle for a while now against Android and iPhone. The EMEA region, which the outages affected have been the one area where Research In Motion (the company that develops Blackberry), has been reporting a success in building up it user base.
A quick look at RIM’s share prices shows that share prices have dropped by almost 60% since the beginning of the year (4 January – 10 October 2011). Not exactly making people confident now are they? If you believe the Guardian’s source:
RIM has been ignoring problems with its server architecture that could prove its downfall for years. “They didn’t start looking at scalability until about 2007, when they had around 8m active devices,” the former employee said: “The attitude was, ‘We’re going to grow and grow but making sure our infrastructure can support it isn’t a priority.’ They have their own clunky infrastructure to do something that you don’t really need a clunky infrastructure to do anymore.”
Thanks, but I’ll stick to my Android. According to Gartner, for quarter 2 of 2011, Android devices had just over 43% of the mobile OS market worldwide (compared to 17% for quarter 2 last year). iOS, the OS for iPhones and iPads, were the only other OS to show any significant growth – 18%, up from 14% the previous year. Blackberry dropped from over 18% to under 12%.
I can see this dropping even more after the last two days…
- BlackBerry services collapse again (telegraph.co.uk)
- BlackBerry service crash affects BBM messaging for millions (guardian.co.uk)
- Blackberry Service Crashes for Millions Worldwide (foxnews.com)
- BlackBerry data outage in Europe, Middle East, Africa (news.cnet.com)
- BlackBerry servers crash, millions without BBM (techradar.com)
- BlackBerry Service Crash Affects BBM Messaging For Millions In Europe (paidcontent.org)
Most of us wouldn’t have heard of WikiLeaks up until a few weeks ago, then all hell broke loose. As it stands today, wikileaks.org, the original website is down and founder Julian Assange, has been arrested and denied bail by the British authorities, after a European Arrest Warrant was issued by Sweden in an alleged sexual assault investigation. I have to admit, that up until the last week or so, I knew very little about WikiLeaks. I knew they existed, but besides knowing what they did, knew very little else. That was until 28 November 2010.
WikiLeaks started announcing from the 22 November 2010, via Twitter that they would be releasing cables from a collection of over 250,000 leaked United States embassy cables, in what is the largest set of secret and confidential documents to have ever been released into the public domain. Even just before the scheduled release of the the cables, there were DDoS attacks on their servers, which were alleged to have caused an additional 4-6 Gb/s of traffic to their site. The release went ahead as scheduled though with an initial 243 cables being released, along with simultaneous press coverage from El País (Spain), Le Monde (France), Der Spiegel (Germany), The Guardian (United Kingdom), and The New York Times (United States). The plan is to release the cables over an extended period, for their full effect to be felt. Since the start, they have been releasing a steady flow of cables, with a break recently, possibly as a result of their various issues.
Browsing the cables available is a bit of a nightmare but The Guardian has an really awesome interactive database of all the cables released so far, which splits them into several categories and sub-categories. The actual cables are available to read and some of them are pretty scary stuff, with many international and domestic issues covered, ranging from nuclear weapons to the financial crisis and even specific characteristics of ministers and diplomats.
Since the first cables were released, PayPal, Mastercard and Visa have stopped payments to WikiLeaks and Swiss Bank Post Finance have closed their accounts. Yet each of them maintain it is nothing to do with politics, and have some bullshit story about it violates rules, blah, blah. On top of this several other companies have begun distancing themselves from WikiLeaks, including Amazon; even Twitter seems to have censored their trending topics.
Their founder and editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, has also had a really bad day at the office. It started with the news that Sweden were looking into issuing a warrant for his arrest. He later turned himself in to British authorities and was subsequently denied bail, and will be jailed until 14 December 2010 for his extradition hearing. According to The Guardian article:
The first complainant, a Miss A, said she was the victim of “unlawful coercion” on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Assange was alleged to have “forcefully” held her arms and used his bodyweight to hold her down. The second charge alleged he “sexually molested” her by having sex without using a condom, when it was her “express wish” that one should be used.
A third charge claimed Assange “deliberately molested” Miss A on 18 August.
A fourth charge, relating to a Miss W, alleged that on 17 August, he “improperly exploited” the fact she was asleep to have sex with her without a condom
Am I the only one that thinks that sounds a bit dodgy? If it is in fact not just trumped up charges, which I think they are, I apologise, but seriously? The US are also waiting for this to finish, so that they can find some charge from the US Espionage Act or something that will stick, but will be difficult due to their First Amendment.
As a contrast, and while I understand that it is by no means the actual winner, as it stands, he is the current favourite in TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year poll with a average of 91 out of 100 rating. Reuters even wrote an article about him today which illustrates the mixed feelings about the man. WikiLeaks has turned out not to be just one man, as they have promised to continue releasing cables as time goes by. They have not left themselves vulnerable I might add either; a heavily encrypted 1.4GB file was released via torrent and has been downloaded by thousands of supporters and if they feel they are losing the battle and are unable to hold against the pressure, a key will be released which will open the flood gates.
The whole saga has turned into The People vs several world Goverments and their puppet Corporations. I won’t even try guess where this is going but things will never be the same after the dust settles. The amount of information out there is mind-boggling and my intention of this post is to simply show what I have found and to make some sense of it… which is appearing impossible I might add. Today alone there were at one stage nearly 3000 sources covering the stories relating to WikiLeaks or Julian Assange and as of 7 December 2010, at 20:12 GMT, Wikileaks was mirrored on 1005 sites.
Will it turn out to be nothing but a huge bubble? I definitely don’t know, but it’s one hell of ride to be on.
- WikiLeaks: Mirrors List - http://wikileaks.cc/mirrors.html
- WikiLeaks: Entire WikiLeaks Archive - http://wikileaks.cc/file/wikileaks_archive.7z
- The Guardian: Interactive Database - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cables-wikileaks
- The Guardian: Data Downloads & Analysis - http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/nov/29/wikileaks-cables-data
- Wikipedia: Current Events Page - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_diplomatic_cables_leak
- Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/wikileaks
- Twitter - http://twitter.com/wikileaks
- Julian Assange arrested, reports say (guardian.co.uk)
- WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Denied Bail (mashable.com)
- WikiLeaks to keep releasing cables despite Assange arrest (guardian.co.uk)
- Factbox: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested (reuters.com)
- Julian Assange refused bail over rape allegations (guardian.co.uk)
- WikiLeaks: US Senator Joe Lieberman suggests New York Times could be investigated (guardian.co.uk)
- WikiLeaks to Continue Releasing Cables Despite Assange Arrest (mashable.com)