Monday, February 28, 2011

Why building schools in Afghanistan makes good military sense. (Response to today's Colbert Report)

I watch the Colbert Report, and today the second interview was with Reagan's undersecertary of Defense who made some good points and some really bad ideas regarding Afghanistan.
Good points:
We need a time-line to leaving Afghanistan. We cannot be there indefinitely. I completely agree. By giving the government a due date they will quickly put their act together like Iraq did after Obama told them we were leaving. The terrorists act are nothing like they were four years ago and their government is a lot better. (sidenote: We would already be out of Afghanistan, if we didn't invade Iraq, but that's a different story an obviously up for debate.)
We need to hunt down the terrorists and end their lives. He is right, they are radical and will not let up. They must be destroyed.

Bad points:
We shouldn't be building schools, "the military is not a peace corps." This is misguided. Afghanistan's literacy rate is 36%, making the majority of people unable to read the Koran. I am currently working through it and the terrorists do not follow it. Currently, a terrorist can walk into a remote village, tell them what the Koran "says" and lie about all of it. The people in the remote village will have no way to check meaning that whatever they say is true to them. They will follow whatever the terrorists say no matter what. However, if we continue to build schools and the people can read their holy books then they will be able to have debates with the terrorists in their now obvious lying and then the terrorists will lose recruits. I don't even know how many of the recruiters even know what their book says to be honest. By leaving the people uneducated and vulnerable to their propaganda the terrorists will continue to have power indefinitely over the country and region. We cannot win if the people can be so easily persuaded to their fight. However, by building schools and growing Afghanistan's economy the reasons to join the terrorists fight are eliminated once the people lead productive lives and the terrorists will eventually lose power.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Simple Argument for why Unions for public workers are necessary

When you have a group of 5000 or more people trying to negotiate with 200 or fewer employers, like in the government sector, it will be impossible for 5000 people to negotiate with 200 without a representative from the masses. Also, my Dad works in the public sector and where one of my uncles who does the same type of job (programming) can afford to go on family trips to California every few years while one trip for one of us is an extremely expensive undertaking. Without unions, thousands of workers with the same status all under one employer would never be able to negotiate. Unions are much more effective for the employer too in fact. Instead of having to deal with each employer at once they just talk to the union's elected president, elected for their speaking skills, leadership, and negotiating skills, which improves the time of the employer and the standard of living for the workers. This is why unions are necessary in the public sector, without them there would be no dialogue between the workers and employers which is an extremely unstable model because the negotiation is then replaced with strikes.

Recipe for World Peace

Throughout the world we can see many things, revolutions, tyrants, freedom, and other things throughout the world. The United States has 300 million people and according to the Department of Commerce 2007 US Resident Travel Abroad, collected presumably by customs forms, we travel mostly to European countries and places in North America and least to poor nations and most Middle Eastern nations, with an obvious exception to Egypt. A total of 64,052 Americans traveled abroad in 2007. This makes 240,000 Americans who did not.

Most Americans have never traveled outside the United States. Their experience with the world is severely limited and any experience they have with the outside world is limited to what they get through the media. This is a problem because we are the most powerful nation in the world and our citizens should all have some experience with other cultures whether they are as similar as Canada, or as different as Japan, both nations which made the list.

I think that Americans age 11 and up should be offered to travel somwhere outside the country as part of a delegation no matter how wealthy their parents are. As it is currently, the students that are able to travel are children of people with lots of money. This makes the vast majority of Americans unable to travel outside, giving them a very limited viewpoint. This is not good because then when the media consistently talks about one nation or another distorting the facts, most Americans have no one to confirm these facts with or to use their own experience to prove or disprove the media's story. Beyond this, this makes many people outside of the world that are not exposed to Americans to have a very unfavorable view of us because they have never met a single American. I think of countries in and near the Middle East and other places with extremely unfavorable view of us who have not met any truly normal American, only rich businesspeople.

Another problem with this is that people in most other countries cannot come to America easily, they need to apply for a Visa which is an expensive and time-consuming process that turns most away from visiting America. I think of people from despotic governments that do not know what another lifestyle is like, having lived their entire lives in their own country. They have nothing to compare their place to and do not know how people in free nations live. This is why I am opposed to Visas. Visas do not stop terrorists, as we saw in 2001, and most of the countries that require visas do not have any terrorism anyways. All of the people in the Western Hemisphere, Southern Africa, East Asia, and Europe should be able to visit America Visa-free. By doing this when someone has an unfavorable view of us in those places someone will be able to tell them what we are really like and fight the messages of how terrible we are coming from some foreign media outlets. More than this, they will be able to see how we live and take home the ideas of our types of freedom, improving their lives at home. This happens in America with many Americans who have traveled to Canada seeing their health care system imagining how its post-2003 reform efficiency could be implemented here.

The economical benefits to making tourism easier are immense. By exposing local businesses to currently inaccessible income from tourists people make less money than they would otherwise, which hurts our economy. Our cities would become wealthier and the people who make the city would have more money to do things they want.

Some tourists will choose to visit small towns throughout the country. This will expose many people in rural America to tourists from many parts of the world that would fight xenophobia, and expose currently isolated Americans to other viewpoints and cultures. Also, these small towns would get income they otherwise wouldn't have. It would make rural traditionalists wary when pundits speak against a minority. This will improve our attitude and face in the world. We have nothing to lose.

This would be an excellent way to improve our relations with the rest of the world. I think it could be done by either by private, non-profit, or public institutions. However, it is easy to see that the current system for non-profits does not get as much done as could be, so it should be improved.

If you are interested in this, look at People to People, a non-profit organization that was founded by President Eisenhower to promote world peace through understanding:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Charity - Ideas on how it should be done

I am looking at Central Africa's political situation right now. I have known they were poor for my entire life, but when I look at the capitals of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo I truly realized how poor they are. Their capital cities, also their largest cities, with all the powerful people in the country are opposite each other on a river. There is no bridge between them. I don't think a single road in either country has ever been paved. Along with this no one has electricity or clean water to drink most of the time, even in their capital cities let alone their other parts of the country. They have no economy to speak of and have epidimics, like AIDS and malaria that further cripple their life expectancy, economies, and standards of living. If this wasn't enough, the war in Eastern DRC has claimed more lives than any conflict after WW2 sending refugees to different parts of the country, notably Mbuji-Mayi.

The United States has been helping them by teaching them modern farming techniques so they can develop their country's agricultural sector. This is only a start. What could be done is to give charities grants to go into these central African countries with the tools and money needed to hire local people to build infrastructure in their countries. One reason that charities should do this is that they are more frugal than the military. They stretch their dollars more and means that they have more impact. The way I think would be the most effective long-term to go about work building these nations is:
  1. The people in these countries have work and money flow directly into the hands of the currently impoverished citizens.
  2. They learn how to build roads, be electricians, build the infrastructure needed for a world economy. When the aid leaves we leave behind workers who can keep their economy running after the aid leaves.
  3. They get the infrastructure they need to build more schools, trade schools, and universities so that they can have professionals of every profession.
This benefits everyone for several reasons. Currently, crime is rampant in these areas and it is a hotbed for disease to develop. Diseases for which we have no immunity frequently come out of Central Africa because they do not have the medical care necessary to treat the first cases or the laboratories to develop the cures as they appear which threatens all of humanity of another outbreak by delaying cures for local diseases.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Those overspending corrupt Dems did it again. They balanced the budget

For the past seventy years we have had a national debt. For the past seventy years it has only been balanced once. That was done in 2000 from the by President Clinton. In 2001-2008 the amount added to the debt per year grew substantially on a monthly basis. Taxes were cut, military was over funded, and nothing was done to necessary programs in health care whose costs grew out of control. For 6 years the executive and legislative branches were controlled by believers in laissez-faire economics, an idea condoned by all economists, even the ones calling themselves "Republican."

Yet all we here is how the democrats overspend and it always goes out of control when they are in power? This doesn't follow the facts. Wake up America, look at the numbers and you will see that this is a total lie done by masters of propaganda. These are the same millionaires who support huge tax breaks for the rich that after the deductions makes them spend almost nothing. AND THEN THEY COMPLAIN ABOUT THE DEFICIT THEIR PUPPETS CREATED!!!!! I hope that the Republicans block this like everything else the President proposes and find some small complaint that has been spun to fatten their supporters pockets and the spin machines with tax breaks. Who's corrupt now?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sympathy for Egypt

In wake of Egypt's military coup, I give my sympathies to the people. I hope that they will elect a government that will put their interests at heart and not as some other middle eastern nations have done and succumb to terrorist groups. If they remain strong with a benign government they could become a beacon of hope to non-conservative Muslims throughout the Middle East that Terrorists can be defeated. This will be a major blow the Wahabbi movement.

Remain strong Egypt. Your future is in your hands.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How to get the Infrastructure for Fuel Cells in Less than 3 Years.

Pretty big goal, go from being near the bottom of the heap of industrialized nations in terms of renewables to the top considering our massive size. Many people are going to say this cannot be done, but I know it can through economic tax incentives.

Every year, we send billions of dollars to the Middle East, funding terrorism, and causing environmental problems (go to LA and smell the sweet air) by burning more fossil fuels than any other nation, except maybe China. Fossil Fuels are dirty, there is a limited amount in the world and are only in certain regions despite being demanded by every country. The high demand and decreasing supply will inevitably lead to us running out in 50-100 years (estimation). So, we need to use another fuel source that will last for hundreds of years. Fortunately, this already exists and the principle behind this technology was discovered by Schönbein in 1838. This is of course the fuel cell. I know how we can have fuel cells be able to run across America by 2015 and stop giving billions of dollars to big oil every month.

What we do is give tax breaks to owners of gas stations that install hydrogen pumps. If they can save money by installing the pumps and tanks than they will do it. Once the pumps are in, they will be able to attract business from people with fuel cells from all over the country and we will have energy independence and terrorists will stop getting our oil money. The major part to this is that the hydrogen could be produced on-site. In an October 2006 publication by the Department of Energy, Hydrogen Production, it ends by saying that developing technology to create the fuel for electric cars was going to be available in the near-future.

The only question is how do we produce the fuel cells? The answer is in two steps: on-site hydrogen production and on-site electricity production to offset the shock to the grid.
  1. It is possible and almost feasible to get the hydrogen by splitting water molecules with electricity which gives you the hydrogen you need to fuel cars. On-site tanks could store the hydrogen like they currently store fossil fuels which is as easily and quickly dispensed as gasoline.
  2. The amount of energy to split a water molecule is large. It would be a large shock to the grid to be developing that much hydrogen on our current aging grid. On top of roofs nothing is produced. The elements are kept out of the house and then nothing else is done. If there were tax credits for everyone who puts solar panels on their roofs than there would be enough surplus power to power the splitting of water atoms at fuel stations. Then once people have the solar panels on their roofs saving them money on electricity, that would also stimulate the economy.
Now that the  question of power has been addressed, how do we get the infrastructure for such a massive amount of space so that one can do a road trip from any two points in the Contiguous United States (and Continental once Canada improves their infrastructure) in a short period of time? The answer is economical and simple. We already have it. We have enough gas stations throughout America that if they all got the proper incentive to install hydrogen pumps than people could quickly phase out fossil fuels. If the Federal Government gave tax incentives of a 100% tax break over two years to owners of fuel stations who successfully install water splitters, hydrogen tanks, and hydrogen pumps, we could have all the infrastructure we need in three years after the start of the program. We will have our energy become sustainable and destroy our carbon footprints.

We are Americans. Our country is the greatest nation on Earth. The first nation to have the radical ideals of freedom of religion, speech, press, and other radical ideals. We are a leader of the world and if we make a radical change across a continent the rest of the world will follow. It is in our power to become greater. Let's do it now. Let's end our addiction to foreign oil with a fuel source that will not run out until the Earth is absorbed into the Sun.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My analysis into the illegal immigration issue.

Immigration is a contentious issue for Americans. Arguments made for having stricter borders include:
1.               They come in and use services without paying back.
2.               They don't have to pay income tax.
3.               We have to pay for it when they get sick.
These are the economical issues and can all be fixed by changing both the tax system and the immigration process. If it was easier for people to become American citizens they would come and pay their taxes like everyone else. Since strict citizenship requirements are doing more harm than good because of illegal immigrant's realistic fear of taken advantage of, the current citizenship requirements that are not necessary should be relaxed because all they are doing is causing this major contentious issue. The major change that should be done to solve this issue is to end the immigrtion lottery. The immigration lottery limits the number of immigrants from each part of the world. This makes farm laborers have to come illegally to fill jobs that otherwise would not be filled. shows that Americans don't want to be farm laborers. Also, a lot of people who are sometimes put into this category are drug dealers. They should not be counted in the statistics because they go across the border a lot bringing drugs in and money out. So they are another issue.

Other issues include:
  1. Undocumented farm workers can't go to anyone to report abuse for fear of being deported. They are a third class.
  2. Crime. Some people classified as illegal immigrants create crimes when they are here, mainly members of drug cartels. This can be be stopped by fighting the drug trade in schools through harsher punishments towards those who distribute drugs illegally and legalizing the consumption and licensed selling of less dangerous drugs that give them fast cash to increase production and distribution. They shouldn't be fought as if they are criminals, which they are, they should be fought as if they were businessmen too. This will do the following effects:
    1. The amount of demand for drugs would go down and it would be less profitable to sell drugs in High Schools which will cripple the Cartels from the power they currently had. There is no expensive military intervention required.
  3. More dangerous crossing points. If it was easier to come across legally than the drug cartels would be the only ones coming across the border illegally.
  4. Racism is a major topic since Arizona's bill has been passed. You can't tell an immigrant from someone who hasn't moved since before that area was given to us in 1848. It is ineffective and racist.
  5. Limits on immigrants to America. This only makes the problem bigger because people come despite that law. It causes more harm than good, so it should be removed.
  6. Habeas Corpus is REQUIRED to be respected by the Constitution.
  7. Green cards should be easier for Illegal Immigrants to acquire because they are here anyways and they don't want to go back to Drug-ridden areas for good reason.
  8. Some requirements for green cards should be removed: polygamy, and failing to make payments should be given an extension of one year or six months because of the decreased fear and increased income permanent residency creates.
However, I am sure the most important reasons for people coming to America from Latin America are these: People in Latin America are being killed because of the drug violence from the cartels. Jobs are also a lot harder to find and don't pay as much as in the USA. The way to have fewer people immigrate to the United States of America from Latin America is to fight the drug trade in the schools and have harsh and strict punishments for marketing drugs to people in public High schools and to make drugs temporarily legal and sold to adults in stores. This is the lesser of two evils because:
  1. As it is now, people can get as much of the dangerous drugs as they want. They will pay high prices for them and the money will go to the cultivators and drug lords. By legalizing dangerous drugs temporarily, they will be easier to get, but the amount of money that is made on them will be far less. Some money will also go to the government which means that when the people use the drug they will be paying for rehabilitation and it will no longer be lucrative for the cartels. It is evil, but the lesser of two evils.
Another factor in the issue is that the process for becoming an American is long and unnecessarily complicated. It takes a long time and trees of paper work to finish applying for a green card or visa. It is so long that some people, like one of my friend's friends, was deported because his lawyer forgot one piece of paperwork. He is now in Mexico and his family is still in Washington. I am certain that he is not alone with this issue, the process must be simplified so innocent people like him can get what they want and continue to be productive members of society. The only reason for not simplifying this would be that people don't want Hispanics coming to America, and that is racism which is against the modern fabric of every just nation.

Google Street View

Debates over technology can be very interesting and this issue is very good and hot!
I must side with Google on taking pictures of every street in the world for the following reasons:
  1. Tourism will boom when we can see everything. Planning trips becomes easier because you know exactly what the place you are going to looks like.
  2. We have had satellite imagery for the entire world for decades. Street view cameras blur names, faces (which is so effective it even blurs signs of faces), and numbers, protecting privacy, and when there is offensive imagery  the image is either not put on or promptly removed.
This is clear to me that it is no threat to privacy with Google's effective blurring of sensitive information. So I must say that it is no realistic threat to privacy.

    Wikipedia: Why It's altruism has built it up to become a diverse and accurate source for academia

    Wikipedia is an excellent source that can and should be used by students. It has risen to the same level of the most respected academic references that are written by scholars by the efforts of millions of people across the world doing research for a single cause in every language.

    Detail Offered Compared to Other Major Sources
    By allowing people to add information as they learn it, wikipedia has become the largest and most up to date depository of knowledge ever. (Crovitz)

    Ease of Use
        Wikipedia has several ways to delve into a subject. The most obvious is the search bar at the top-right corner of the page. Type in the name of the article and you will most of the time be automatically be sent to that page. This is the easiest way to do research and works for almost everything.
        Beyond that, there are other ways to retrieve specific information that can be useful when doing specific research. Portals give the most important links for popular topics. Categories are given at the bottom of every article with links to all articles dealing with a subject, from a year to a small field of science. Lists are given on every subject to existing articles and articles that still need to be created. Timelines are given on the most important events of all history. Another way to research bringing a total of six ways to search is the alphabetical list of all entries on each wikipedia.
        The most original way to use Wikipedia is via portal. Portals give the links to the most important articles on the subject making an excellent jumping off point to new research. Wikipedia allows people to get to articles specific to a small field quickly. These pages can then be used by students to quickly understand what their professors are saying through their concise language (Research by using Wikipedia).
        Thew most popular source that schools use, Proquest, has some major disadvantages to Wikipedia. Proquest gives the original texts on some but not all documents. Most of the time it does not include the sources that the author from “scholarly journals” used. Wikipedia always gives links to the original sources and the best site for that document. It may include that documents sources in its own links on popular articles. Wikipedia’s final advantage is that it’s free. Proquest is extremely expensive for academia and designed by “experts” (Comparing experience of proquest and wikipedia while writing this paper).

    Accuracy via Linus’ Law AKA Open Source vs. Closed Source Websites
    Wikipedia is closely related to the Linux philosophy known as Linus’ Law. Linus’ Law states: “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” This is the same way that Science papers are produced. (Russel Kay) A scientist starts an experiment and other scientists look for errors to help their friend and science which fixes all issues with the experiments. It has worked for over a hundred years and is how the Linux operating systems function, which has bade them as powerful as the expensive Apple and Microsoft operating systems. Wikipedia is no different. (Kutter)
        Perhaps the accuracy of Wikipedia is proven when academics occasionally test Wikipedia’s self-correcting  mechanism of Linus’ Law. According to Diane Skiba, A.J. Jacobs uploaded an article to Wikipedia with 15 deliberate errors. In 3 days volunteers had fixed all but one minor error.
        People watch Wikipedia’s pages to cancel bad edits and vandalism. Anyone can look at recent changes on the left hand side of the main page and see all the recent edits in reverse chronological order. Because the most popular languages have millions of users with somebody always combing the wiki, this makes vandalizing pages pointless. Another thing, scholarly sources on the internet will often have little information and have few links to check their sources. Wikipedia fixes these problems by having a lot of detail and all important pages have links so more information can be found quickly. (Experience while writing this paper)
        When compared to Britannica on random articles; Wikipedia hs four mistakes per article as opposed to Brittanica’s three (Brittanica). Since Wikipedia is fully written by volunteers this is an impressive statistic. This makes it practically equal.

    Impact on the Publishing Industry
        The impact on publishing corporations is probably the biggest reason publishing houses are in a media war with Wikipedia. Having information on all important subjects makes basic research in printed sources wasteful of people’s time. This combined with the accuracy of Wikipedia decreases sales of books which is why Wikipedia’s competitiveness shrinks the sales of book companies. The only option they have is to go to a media war saying how Wikipedia is inaccurate by lying how it’s greatest strength is a weakness.

        Wikipedia has articles in 276 languages making it accessible to everyone who has a computer and can read. Wikipediai s free of use. It follows the freedom of information philosophy. (Wikipedia Statistics page)
        Encyclopedia Britannica is only in English. It is also expensive to purchase and unless you are a member of a library that has subscribed to it, you won’t be able to use it. (Experience while writing this paper.)

    Usefulness as a Student
    As a student, Wikipedia is a great source when learning a new subject. It’s articles are clear, concise, and well written. It presents every subject as if you have never been exposed to it, making it an excellent jumping off point on a new subject. (Interview with friends)
        Wikipedia gives students the best sites on every subject they will touch as an undergraduate student. This is superior to Google because Google doesn’t filter between accurate sources and inaccrate sources without some very specific searches. The websites presented on Wikipedia are often academic, giving reliable information. (See the page for “Bacteriophage” which includes links to four universities, a trend among science pages) This is also superior to sites you pay for because they are harder and take more time to navigate. (Crovitz; Original research)
        Wikipedia is also being used as a teaching mechanism in the classroom. Instead of writing identical papers on a common subject, students create accounts and add to Wikipedia’s information in some classrooms (Goodman).

    Works Cited
    Baytiyeh, Hoyta, and Jay Pfaffman. “Volunteers in Wikipedia: Why the Community Matters.”
        Ebsco. Web. 15 Nov. 2010

    Black, Erik W. “Wikipedia and academic peer review: wikipedia as a recognized medium for scholarly publication?”
        Online Information Review. 32.1 (2008): 73. Platinum Periodicals, Proquest. Web. 17 Nov. 2010

    Crovitz, D., and Smoot, W. “Wikipedia: Friend, Not Foe.” English Journal 98.3 (2009): 91-97/
        Platinum Periodicals, Proquest. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.

        The American Biology Teacher 70.3 (2008): 138-138. Research Library.

    Russell Kay. “It’s the law!” Computerworld 12 Aug. 2002: Platinum Periodicals, Proquest. Web. 19 Nov. 2010.

    Proquest. Web. 18 Nov. 2010

    Skiba, Diane J. “Open Source: Will You Follow the Cathedral of the Bazaar Model?”
        Ebsco. Web. 15 Nov. 2010

    Spence, Des. “A Wicked Encyclopaedia.”
        Proquest. 19 Sept. 2009. Web. 16 Nov. 2010

    “Britannica attacks.” Nature 440. 7084 (2006): 582. Platinum Periodicals, ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2010.