Thursday, March 30, 2017

The things you can do with 10,000 days

10,000 days from now, I'll be in my 60's, probably looking at retirement.

I've been building homes in Winnipeg for over 15 years now.  "I've been skipping work like a stone" lately:

It's OK, I'm not A-OK right now.

I told my family I don't want to be a carpenter anymore.  I've worked with them for a long time (picked up the trade from my dad) and I love them all but I need to do something else with my time.

I've been bouncing around with different ideas on what I want to do.  Teaching was one, writing in some way or another, photography and journalism are all things that I've been contemplating.  Politics has interested me lately, as well as cyber security.

I keep playing with ideas but it's gotten to the point where I can't just sit around talking about this stuff anymore.  It's difficult, but I have to just pick something and go.

There is this idea... this hunt for truth... that I keep wanting to pursue.

I want to hunt down lies and rip them apart like a wolf hunts down its prey.

 A picture can speak in any language and can tell many stories.  A photographer/journalist that goes to the dangerous places in the world.

I wouldn't mind doing that... at least for a few days.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Alexei Navalny

"US state department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement: "The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law, and the ability to exercise their rights without fear of retribution."

"The most prominent critic of President Putin, Mr Navalny began his anti-corruption campaign with blogs aimed at state-controlled companies in 2008.
He moved on to opposing the ruling party, United Russia, calling it the "party of crooks and thieves".
He led massive protests following the 2011 election, the biggest in Moscow in December that year, after which he was arrested and jailed for 15 days.
He has said he will run for president in 2018, but a court has convicted him of embezzlement, which would bar him. He denies the charges, calling the case farcical."
Today, Alexei Navalny is my hero.  To rise up to the corrupt power and say, "Hey man... Fuck you!" but in a legal, by the books way is pretty awesome.  Kudos to you Mr. Navalny, I know I'm just one man, but you have my support.

Cat theatre!

I've been learning a lot about Russia recently.  A few days ago, I was asked to watch my friend's cat.  The last time I had a cat, I really wanted to prove that smart cats can learn tricks.  I taught her some simple things like fetch and how to jump on a chair on command.  I'd like to teach "Mew", my new cat, some tricks as well since she exhibits a lot of the same intelligent characteristics.  Yesterday I discovered that Russia has been running cat shows for years.  Peta has complained and I think that any show that involves animals has to be extremely careful but if they do a good job, I really like seeing what animals can do when we take the time to train them.

There are some newer "cat circus" shows on youtube.  Acro-cats brought some clever and absurdly cute ideas:

So, I've been wondering about what tricks I can teach Mew now.  It'd be fun to bring something original to the table.  The mind of a cat is a tricky one.  I believe Mew can be trained mainly because I can see she has a desire to impress plus, she really loves her treats.  It's something I noticed with my previous cat and I think it's key.

Yesterday, I started by holding the treat above a chair and issuing a command.  She doesn't get the treat until she sits up in the chair.  (She has to do this to reach the treat)  I'll keep doing this until I can take a step back and get her to do it without me holding the treat directly above her.  Eventually, Cinder, my previous cat, would listen when I pointed at the chair and she would sit patiently for her treat.

This is a primer for other tricks.  It's the most simple trick I can think of for a cat.  Once she's learned how to do this, I can start with other tricks.

I might do some research on what other people have done for more advanced tricks.

2152 days later

It's been a while.

I just left this comment on Reddit this morning (under my username, Batchet.  Also on Twitter with that name):

The climate denial machine is a propaganda machine that can be set to various modes. Exxon and Koch are not the only companies running one. Shell and other gas companies around the world put large amounts of money into convincing people climate change isn't real too. Does Rosneft or other monstrously large oil companies do the same?
Most likely. In fact, running an external climate denial propaganda campaign doesn't just sell more oil for a country like Russia, it makes our countries less educated. People believe scientists and science educators as "untrustworthy". Therefore, a disinformation campaign is not just an attempt to make more money, but an attack on a country's education and economy.
For a long time, the propaganda from both sides was about ideologies. When communism didn't work out, the Russians still pushed propaganda but for different purposes, election meddling and so on. I think both machines teamed up and started to sing the same "climate change denial" song.
I don't know how much climate denial money comes from what country, but I'm guessing since Russia's economy is so heavily invested in fossil fuels that it's likely that they make a fair contribution.
Another point to make is that both Rosneft and Exxon benefit from the ice caps opening up as they've put a lot of money into obtaining arctic oil. They literally teamed up to do this and it would seem to me that they both knew that climate change awareness could fuck up the whole thing.
Other countries may be guilty of these misinformation campaigns too. The more I learn about this stuff, the more complex I discover it is.
Simply put: When we can shut down these industries of lies, we'll be able to push forward much faster.