Saturday, November 21, 2020
Friday, November 13, 2020
How do you register and vote for a few dead voters?
Did you register and vote for a large number of people,
and there happened to be some dead ones there?
How many people did you register and vote as?
Not just the few you were caught doing, being dead.
Was it Emerson who wrote that finding a fish in the
milk indicates it has been adulterated? You don't think
"it's only one fish." You do think, "Something is fishy here."
Saturday, November 7, 2020
WATER CRISIS, FLINT, MICHIGAN, 2014-2019
The first topic was why Flint officials wanted to change the city’s source of water; as Anna Clark explained:
“It had been relying on water from Lake Huron from the Detroit Water Department for about 50 years. The quality was good, but there was a lot of unhappiness about the affordability. It was extremely expensive — the most expensive or among the most expensive water rates in the country. And especially for a city with a very high poverty rate, this was really getting to the point of crisis. And a lot of folks really felt like, ‘We want our own water system. We want some more control.’ So, it decided, it was under state-appointed emergency management, that it was going to switch to a new water department. And until that new water department was built, it was going to temporarily use the Flint River as its drinking water source, and sort of reboot its 50-year-old water plant to provide that.”
Changing the source of water from Lake Huron to the Flint River in 2014 led to issues of contamination from lead pipes that caused a public health hazard. The incident is the subject of an extensive article in Wikipedia [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_water_crisis], and it garnered major coverage in the traditional national media as well.
The Flint River water was not given the same treatment that the Lake Huron / Detroit River water had received, and thus it was left more corrosive to the lead pipes in use in Flint. One public health study found that high lead levels in Flint children went from 2.5% of that population to 5% during the period before the condition was remedied.
On January 5, 2016, Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, declared the city to be in a state of emergency, and this was followed by a similar declaration by President Barack Obama, who authorized additional help from two Federal agencies.
Several government officials were fired over the incident and over a dozen lawsuits filed. Near the end of 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate approved a $170 million program to ameliorate the situation in Flint. In 2017, Flint had come within the relevant Federal limits for lead in its water supplies. Studies of the residents’ health during the crisis found an increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases, fetal deaths due to all causes, and a reduction in fertility. A different study did not find the water to have been a cause of an increase in stillbirths and neonatal deaths.
An article by the Mayo Clinic [https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/lead-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354717] notes, “Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children younger than 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.
“Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning in children. Other sources include contaminated air, water and soil. Adults who work with batteries, do home renovations or work in auto repair shops also might be exposed to lead.”
The Mayo Clinic article gives an extensive list of problems caused by lead in the body, and the unborn and newborn are particularly susceptible. Usual sources of lead poisoning are related to lead-based paints or lead pipes in older homes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [https://www.cdc. gov/nceh/lead/default.htm] indicates there is no safe level of lead in the body, though it has a target of reducing it to below 10 micrograms per deciliter in blood.
At the start of 2019, the new governor, Gretchen Whitmer, signed an order requiring prompt public notification of such harmful environmental conditions in the future.
At the same time, the performance of the Michigan Department of
Environmental Quality (MDEQ) was criticized as inadequate and
WATER CRISIS, FLINT, MICHIGAN, 2014-2019
even racist [https://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2019/ 01/04/flint-pipe-replacement-mayor/2242666002/] by Paul Mohai, a University of Michigan professor; in this article written by Pamela Pugh, chief public health advisor for the City of Flint, Michigan, it notes that some commenters have maintained that the citizens of Flint, a largely minority community, were not given adequate notice and remedy for the problem caused by the water-source switch, largely done for relatively minor cost reductions. Pugh finished her piece in the January 4, 2019, Detroit Free Press, this way: “As a new administration takes over our state’s government, it is a chance for that government to shift from a place of paternalism and austerity and become a government that listens to, understands and interacts with its distressed communities, a government that recognizes the necessity of a recovery and rebuilding approach that is Flint-driven and solely motivated by making Flint whole.”
The crisis underscored the importance of clean, safe drinking water supplies.
or at DWC's amazon.com author's book title list https://www.amazon.com/s?k=douglas+winslow+cooper&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Beyond Persuasion: How to recognise and use Dark Psychology, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and Mind Control in Everyday Life
Author: Rebecca Dolton
Reviewer: Douglas Winslow Cooper
This book’s title grabbed me immediately. Persuasion, influencing the thinking of others, fascinates me, as does the general study of the mind. But what is “beyond persuasion”? It is manipulation, largely the subject of this book, and compulsion, touched upon only in passing here.
I will follow the author’s outline to share some of the valuable information she presents.
Whereas persuasion may arguably be done to you by someone for your best interests, at least as they perceive, manipulation is done against your welfare.
We benefit from recognizing both persuasion and manipulation, but most importantly we need to protect ourselves from the latter, the book’s primary theme. Ms. Dolton promises to show us the tricks that others often use with little regard for our wellbeing.
Manipulation vs. Persuasion
“Manipulation” means to influence in an underhanded manner, to the disadvantage of the one being manipulated. Sadly, it is too common in many contexts, especially where rewards of some type are being competed for. People manipulate others selfishly. Persuasion is less malign, often benign. You may be persuading someone “for their own good.”
The author notes that manipulation is often marked by sadism, selfishness, and malevolence. Manipulation may involve authority, deception, or even force. Manipulators often convince their targets that the desired behavior is “right” or that it will make them loved or respected.
Dolton cites psychologist George Simon’s triad of characteristics that separate a manipulator from a persuader: concealed aggression, targeting of weaknesses, and ruthlessness.
Are we all manipulative? More or less. And less is better.
Right or Wrong – The Ethics of Manipulation
Our desire to fit in with our group, whatever it is, exerts a depersonalized force on each of us to conform. Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay, “Self-Reliance,” noted that society is in a conspiracy against the individuality of each of its members. Some of this is necessary for society to function; some results needlessly in our not knowing what we want or should do. Then group-think swamps individual cognition.
“Churches, cults, political parties, and other institutions that draw clear lines between members and outsiders provide their members with strict, clear guidelines of behavior and attitudes….and separate members from outsiders.” Today, you are pro-Trump or anti-Trump, and deviation from your group induces scorn.
Persuasion used to harm others is often called “manipulation,” and this could well have been the title of this fine book. So, the intent is more the determinant than is the method. In a personal context, greater care is needed than in a business context, where the participants realize that some persuasion is selling or manipulation. Whether deception is used is a significant criterion for whether persuasion or manipulation is underway. If one is dealing with criminals or with enemies in war, manipulation is often defensible.
Dark Psychology 101
The psychology of those who routinely manipulate others is sometimes called “dak psychology,” a field that studies a subset of personality types: Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy. The author discusses these usefully and at length. Unfortunately, such people are hard to spot at first, often tending toward “friendly” and “compassionate,” the better to fool their victims. The characteristics of those in the “dark triad” are explored in depth. As are many other traits, these are significantly heritable and hard to correct. Such people cause real harm, especially as they tend to be drawn to leadership roles, where manipulation pays off.
They tend to be good-looking because they realize the value of physical attractiveness in influencing others and thus spend more effort on enhancing their looks than most others do.
As they are skilled at manipulation and hard to detect, much less change, your best defense is avoidance.
Mind Control and Brainwashing
“Brainwashing” received national attention after the Korean War, when the collaborating behavior of many of the Americans who were Chinese prisoners of war was studied. Few if any limited their release of information under interrogation to “name, rank, and serial number.” Their captors were skilled at instilling guilt and obtaining cooperation through persuasion and manipulation and punishments and rewards. The manipulator is seen as the enemy but still complied with. A 12-step process is described. Escape is the only cure. Release from captivity needs to be followed by counseling and deprogramming.
“Mind control” became known in the discussion of cults, like those that led to mass suicide in Jonestown. The techniques relied more on rewards and the desire of the participants to conform and to obtain praise from their leaders. The manipulator is seen as a friend and eventually complied with, often without realizing a change has occurred in the participants’ thinking. “The most important weapon you have against it is your ability to think critically.”
NLP – Theory, Research, and Development
“Neuro-Linguistic Programming” (NLP) maintains that ”language has a direct and measurable effect on the brain’s neurological processes.” Its practitioners have found subtle ways to enhance our words’ influence on the behavior of others.
“It is used variously as a self-help tool, a persuasive tactic, and a tool for manipulative influence.” The author wants us to protect ourselves from NLP manipulation. NLP's key concepts are subjectivity, consciousness, and learning.
NLP techniques of influence include: establish rapport (often by mimicry), gather information about the target’s problems and goals, make interventions to shift the target’s image-associations, and integrate changes by having the target view himself differently. It is more an art than a science.
NLP – Practical Applications
You can use dissociation to break the mental connection between one state of mind and a stimulus for it. You can reframe an argument to change its context radically. Use anchoring, “a simple physical stimulus to recreate a powerful emotional state,” such as putting your hand on someone’s arm while reassuring them. Imitating them, subtly, is “mirroring” and can lead them to enhanced trust in you.
“…affirmations are also an NLP technique.”
The book presents a set of questions to help you analyze what is likely to succeed with a given target. Persuasive “scripts” are described.
Knowing these techniques, you can recognize them when used on you. Avoid physical contact. Analyze vague words. Keep alert and in the present.
Most of our communication with others is, surprisingly, non-verbal…body language. The signals vary from culture to culture. For example, how close one comes and where one person touches another will convey much about their relative status and their relationship: intimate, personal, social, or public. The tone of voice counts heavily, too.
Some body language is easier to master than others: facial expressions, head and neck movements, body posture, shoulder positions, gestures, handshakes, breathing, various physical movements.
Persuasion - Professional vs. Personal
Commercial contexts announce to all involved that persuasion is underway, possibly manipulation, too, and the participants often give each other more leeway in what they find acceptable.
The best business persuaders are often in fact manipulators. Rebecca Dolton lists six tactics of persuasion/manipulation described by influence guru Robert Cialdini: reciprocity, social proof, commitment and consistency, liking, scarcity, and authority. If done with the other person’s wellbeing considered, that’s fine.
How to Recognize and Defend Against Controlling and Highly Manipulative People
“The better the manipulator, the harder they are to catch.” They are good at making their targets feel responsible. Generating guilt is a favorite tactic. Your best response: say “no!” You may need to enlist allies. Never get separated from your loved ones. Watch out for those who make you doubt yourself. Don’t accept responsibility for their hurt feelings. Be alert to repeated harm and their repeated criticisms. Retain supportive allies. Continue to work toward your goals. Communicate honestly. Challenge any manipulation. Know your rights.
Say goodbye to manipulative people.
Scores of information sources and their web links end this book.
My evaluation: this highly readable and informative book is a treasure.
Monday, September 7, 2020
We are told that suburban White women are turned off by President Trump's personality, which is their right, and that they will therefore not vote to re-elect him president, which seems almost slanderous, reinforcing the stereotype that women voters are more influenced by superficialities than by fundamentals. Say it isn't so, Joe.
Have we really reached such a low level of rationality that we let personality trump policy? Heaven help us if that is so.
More likely, the achievements of the Trump presidency, the recent demonstrations of internal uproar, and the hard-left promises of the Biden-Harris-Sanders cabal will convince most of those who would put style over substance that we cannot afford to do so.
To solve the problem of water scarcity we need to save water, which every person on Earth can do. To achieve this, it is necessary to reduce the amount of its consumption in industry, agriculture, households, avoid leakage, not pollute and rationally use water resources.
The second way is to form more and larger reservoirs with fresh water. Experts such as Qian Dang, Xiaowen Lin, and Megan Konar recommend improving the technology of water treatment and catchment. While a surface reservoir can safely be filled and emptied without damage, that is not true of underground reservoirs, aquifers, which cannot be raised and lowered so easily. In some regions it may be economically and technologically feasible to process salt water into fresh water, another promising way to solve the water deficit problem. It is essential to use other sources of the hydrosphere - to use glaciers and to increase the number of resources used and the amount of each harvested (Gayfer, 2008). If developed nations continue to work to develop water technology, then shortly it should be possible to solve the problem of the freshwater deficit.
Furthermore, it is necessary to change the methods of water consumption. In agriculture, for example, use drip irrigation. Practical use of water resources contributes to a sharp increase in the competitiveness of the economy. A system of practical water use can be built at a regional level (when a river or lake is perceived as a single object), and at the national level (International Atomic Energy Agency, 2011). In this connection, it would be logical to assume that the states such as Colorado that are located upstream should not only not seek to build regional regimes for managing international water resources, but also resist this, to prevent the increase in the influence of their downstream neighbors. However, this go-it-alone strategy has relatively clear limits and needs to be balanced against the loss of the benefits of regional cooperation.
Alternatives that the downstream state can offer in exchange for a mutually beneficial regional water use system are multiplying as the world market becomes more dynamic and multi-agent (International Atomic Energy Agency, 2011). In this regard, the value of such benefits as the creation of free-trade zones, facilitated access to the national labor and capital markets, access to innovative technologies for practical water use and hydro-power facilities is continually growing (International Atomic Energy Agency, 2011).
Gleick and Iceland (2018) noted that increasing populations and industrialization along with predicted climate changes threaten freshwater supplies. Water insecurity is “much more likely if governance is weak, infrastructure is inadequate, and institutions are fragile.”
Gleick and Iceland list some risk-reducing options:
• putting caps on water usage;
• improving irrigation practices and technology (irrigation being
70% of water withdrawals worldwide);
• planting water-conserving crops;
• “introducing social safety net programs;”
• reducing food loss and waste;
• slowing population growth;
• establishing urban water conservation programs;
• improving water treatment and conservation;
• negotiating watershed agreements;
• updating water information systems;
• investing in water reuse and in water capture by dams, dikes, and levees;
• protecting the forests and wetlands, and • strengthening the relevant governance bodies.
They classify the threats as
• diminished water supply or quality • increased water demand
• extreme flood events.
They write that analysts are emphasizing now that conflicts arise not only due to political differences, but also to economic, demographic, and social factors somewhat affected by resource constraints.
Anderson and Libecap (2014) favor greater use of property rights and market mechanisms in determining the ownership and usage of water resources. Property rights are ownership of an asset that, with the owner paying the costs and obtaining the benefits, avoid the problem of the “tragedy of the commons.” “There is no simple analysis, however, that can tell us whether markets are better than regulation or vice versa. The answer depends on the relative costs and benefits of alternative institutions.”
Award-winning economist, the late Elinor Ostrom (2014) studied in detail the common-pool-resource (CPR) governance issues described in her Governing the Commons. Ostrom proposes another model, one in which the participants can regulate themselves with binding laws/contracts, established unanimously. The players have an incentive to monitor each other and a referee to enforce penalties. She gives as an example the successful use of agreed-upon daily rotation through a set of fishing locations in Turkey, with monitoring (and enforcement) handled by the fishermen themselves. Factors internal to the group involved or external to it may make some arrangements feasible and others not. She lists the difficulties faced by “centralizers” and “privatizers” that make any sweeping generalization likely to be wrong. “Policies based on metaphors can be harmful” she concludes. One might say, “the devil is in the details.” As with other complex issues, further study is desirable.
Focusing on the Colorado River is the in-depth study, “The Colorado River and the Inevitability of Institutional Change,” the extensive and definitive work (Kenney et al., 2011) of a team of scholars (Douglas Kenney, Sara Bates, Anne Bensard, and John Berggren). Noting that the Colorado River is one of the most thoroughly studied natural resources in the world, the authors comment, “By almost any standard, it is the jewel of the American Southwest–and it is in trouble.” Its many major contributions to the region are threatened by predicted increases in the demand for its waters, while its flow is likely to decrease. The fundamental problems are: a complex set of legal arrangements for its use, a projected shortfall between the allowed allocations and the expected flow in the future, and the legal ambiguities involved in settling claims to the flow.
Five issues are highlighted by Kenney et al. (2011):
• The Upper Basin Delivery Obligation
• The Interbasin Apportionment
• Deliveries to Mexico
• Administration of Compact Calls
• Compact Rescission or Reformation
Much of the latter part of the document involves describing the opinions of many of the leaders of the Colorado River Basin. In sum,
• they recognized the need for change due to increased risk of shortages;
• they preferred conflict resolution to litigation;
• they desired more diverse input into resolving the issues.
Options favored included:
• getting more public involvement in the issues,
• obtaining more agreement on the ways to handle a variety of river-flow scenarios,
• studying the current and future use of the river water,
• harnessing the political modalities to regulate the relationships between the Upper and Lower Basins and among the states involved.
An extensive analysis and evaluation of options for assuring adequate water supplies in the Colorado River Basin was published in 2012 by the Bureau of Reclamation. Four water-supply scenarios and six water-demand scenarios were studied to try to predict the future needs. Comparing the medians from the supply and demand scenarios, the likely imbalance by 2060 is 3.2 maf [million acre-feet volume of water], with a wide range of uncertainty. Some of this can be met with reservoir storage to smooth out variability. By 2010, the ten-year running average of demand had already exceeded the ten-year running average of supply, and the trends were for this difference to increase. Over 20,000 computer simulations were run to study the impact of the various options considered. Figure 4 of the report shows the various options and their cost estimates and the percentage of the 2010-2060 years in which the system is vulnerable. There are wide ranges of vulnerabilities, and the costs vary as well, but are limited to about $2 billion to $7 billion per year. The report does not choose the best option, leaving that to others.
Western Resource Advocates put forth the following proposals in 2014 [https://westernresourceadvocates.org/publications/the-hardest-working-river-in-the-west-colorado-river-basin/] “The Hardest Working River in the West: Common-Sense Solutions for a Reliable Water Future for the Colorado River Basin” identifies five innovative solutions that could eliminate Western water shortages stemming from the over-taxed and stressed Colorado River and meet the water needs of the West’s business, agricultural and growing population through 2060.
The facts are clear: the demand for water from the Colorado River exceeds the supply. By 2060, we can expect a 3.8-million-acre-foot deficit in river supply. Coming up short could put 36 million people’s drinking water, agriculture, future economic growth, the $26.4 billion outdoor recreational economy, and a quarter-million jobs in jeopardy. In addition, the river’s imbalance is wreaking havoc on the West’s natural ecosystems, harming world-class fisheries and unique natural wonders. In addition to identifying the challenges, the report details five affordable solutions to ensure a reliable water future, improve the health of the Colorado River, grow the economies of the seven Basin states, and protect essential Western natural habitats:
• Municipal conservation, saving 1 million acre-feet through improved landscaping techniques, rebate programs that incentivize water-saving devices, installing new appliances and fixtures, and standardized, routine water audits across municipalities.
• Municipal reuse, saving 1.2 million acre-feet—Wastewater and gray water can be treated for potable use, and reused for irrigation, industrial processing and cooling, dust control, artificial lakes and replenishing groundwater supply. Rainwater harvesting using innovative new technologies is a simple additional step.
• Agricultural efficiency and water banking, saving 1 million acre-feet— Agriculture is the river’s largest water use, extending across 5.7 million acres of arid Western land and consuming more than 70% of the river’s water. Voluntary improved irrigation efficiency, regulated irrigation, rotational fallowing, crop shifting, and innovative irrigation technologies are already being used by farmers. In addition, water banking is a marketbased approach that allows farmers (and others) to bank their unused water voluntarily.
• Clean, water-efficient energy supplies, saving 160 thousand acre-feet—To reduce the need for water to cool thermoelectric power plants, Colorado River Basin states can continue to pursue energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy like wind, solar photovoltaics, and geothermal, which require little or no water.
• Innovative water opportunities, generating up to 1 million acre-feet— Inland desalination in certain areas with brackish groundwater and surface water is a viable option to stretch water supplies, potentially generating 620,000 acre-feet of water. In addition, dust-on-snow management can help save a minimum of 400,000 acre-feet of water while removing dense invasive plants in upland areas will save a minimum of 30,000 acre-feet of water.
In the end, we can say that almost all the solutions to the problem of providing drinking water in the future are in the hands of man. Nature gives us practically inexhaustible sources of life; from all of us, from each of us, only one thing is required - to preserve what nature is providing.
or at DWC's amazon.com author's book title list https://www.amazon.com/s?k=douglas+winslow+cooper&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Industrial nations more readily adapt to variations and shortages in water supplies, while less-industrialized nations, those dependent on agriculture primarily, find droughts and floods more difficult to manage, competing for scarce resources. In some areas, water shortages lead to conflict and migration.
Among the leading countries now, not much effort is being made concerning planning for future water shortages. As often happens, while there is no problem, it seems that we do not need to pay attention to the factors that could lead to its formation.
Here are some suggested measures that would help improve the internal situation of the leading countries and further their economic enrichment:
Firstly, it is necessary to ensure stable financial support for the water sector in the U.S. For this, it is necessary to form an economic mechanism for apportioning water use at national and interstate levels. Financing of the water sector at the expense of various income sources should cover its costs, considering the prospects for further development.
At the same time, targeted social protection of the population should be ensured. Note the importance of the attraction of appropriate incentives for private entrepreneurship in solving the problems of the water sector. Progress in water financing will be facilitated by state support for producers of relevant material resources and owners of water supply and sanitation systems through subsidies, subventions, soft loans, customs, and tax incentives.
Also, attention should be given to training the staff needed to manage modern, innovative technologies to increase the attractiveness of water and environmental projects for international donors. Measures should be undertaken to ensure the availability of credit - all this will also contribute to progress.
Considering the world-wide need for potable water, it is necessary to strengthen external financial assistance to poorer regions of the world, which is why it is worthwhile to assess the financial needs of each country, balancing sources of financing and providing directions (water supply, sanitation, irrigation, hydro-power, mud protection, recreation).
It will take much work to develop innovative financial mechanisms. For example, it is possible to develop both domestic and international donor programs that will invest in human development and help the needy obtain fresh water; such programs in the future will help provide confidence to the countries’ leaders to develop economic mechanisms in the sphere of providing fresh-water resources.
Besides needing innovative financing and management methods, innovative technological fixes may include the creation of artificial forests in arid regions, the harnessing of glaciers and the drilling of deep wells. Moreover, weather modification, while quite exotic now, may be entirely feasible in the future - increasing the precipitation from clouds and perhaps even the release of moisture from fog.
I will continue serializing here the Microsoft Word transcription of the final galley proof .pdf copy ot WATER WARS, and the book itself is most conveniently found at amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Water-Wars-Sharing-Colorado-River-ebook/dp/B07VGNLSMX/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=water+wars+by+carter+and+cooper&qid=1577030877&sr=8-1
or at DWC's amazon.com author's book title list https://www.amazon.com/s?k=douglas+winslow+cooper&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss