Thursday, February 21, 2013

Doomed to Repeat History by Our Very Nature

We are doomed to repeat history, no matter how much we study human history. Far better to study psychology and sociology on today's inmates of the prison of nature: our meta structure aka society may be seemingly different from previous empires, or economic regimes but it is governed by much the same underlying principles of human nature.

We are all amateur psycol/socio- ologists. All of us. However the professionals keep on uncovering some simple and uncomfortable truths. Two studies which came to the medias flitting lime light and caught my attention were the front-loaded- monopoly experiments and a socio-anthropological reality of actually being in the jungle WITH real jungle people and just presenting it all as it is, as it happened, explaining the experience as if it were visiting something completely jamais vu.

These two flashed into my little bubble of nuclear family supermarket budget economics, and reminded me of who I am and what I beleive. From really a teenager I thought that history was a lot of bunk, just as in Huxley and Orwells greatest works: he who understands how to control people can control history and therefore can control destiny.

I took psychology for a couple of years to avoid maths. One thing that was lacking in the lecturing was the sense that the personal, or individal can be universal. I went on to major in genetics, where the universal is often proven by the unique : within diversity there is a universality and to that whole there is a plethora of detail, of tangents and of red herrings which actualy bring you back round to the whole centre: DNA encodes in one operating system for everything, be that then a new metastatic operating system ontop of the original coding, you can trace it to the code and to some extent it is bound to do what the code allows it to do.

I am not now going to rant about nature versus nurture and some of the really quite disturbing "determanilistic" studies linking genes to behaviour and even personal success in business. However I am talking about the universality of man's behaviour.

To then not say that the core of the onion is inevitably DNA, I am rather saying that the outer layers of the onion we see as "society" or a grouped sociological phenomenology, are governed by layers of universal psyhcological principles or patterns to which history and technology are just bunk : they are the flaking layers of the onion which are most visible yet belie an underlying simplicity which is to be unravellend in a concentic manner.

From Putin to any given organistaional structure, I am saying of course there are very, very scarey underlying or even fundamental behaviour and personality types which make these organisations operate in often imoral and egoistical ways. In effect what I am writing about is that we are a species which thinks we have come a lot further than we actually have, by very virtue of being able to think like that. When in effect we have had very little time in evolutionary terms to change as individuals in order that we can naturlly coexist with the planet and without being so outright antagonistic and often destructive with each other at the "tribe" level.

So here we dive in:  "my tribe": THe papua new guinea experience with the naieve idiot savant approach: see as if never before, jamais vu. What and why is cannabilism to get the media to fund your tour. Flesh eating, to shit your enemy out or to just to be fed, is just a side show to the really frightening nightmarish lesson.

The real bush tribes were very, very sceptical and agressive to the visitors. Bows half drawn, nervous, negative facial expressions. A gambitof tobacco made, the ice hardly melted. Then some more gambiting, going mostly naked and smiling and having neutral body language. So there was the old tribal defence behaviour "Not us, not of us, not for us?"

Soon however, the personal contact grew. Food, hgunting, shiting and language exhcange happened. miles and laughs went both ways. By being small, the explorer could come in large. He was able to not only win their confidence, but within a week, become a friend of theirs. THey would cry for his loss.

Then we came back to the really scarey part: okay this part above shows that we are xenophobic, and can appear to each other as largely threateneing, while we actually could all be friends or lovers. But they then went to the core: why cannibalism?  Well it is about killing and not eating for survival directly.

One tribes man claimed to have killed three and eaten at least one. His claim for three kills was maybe exagerrated but he had killed one "ghost stranger" - a man on their terratory. He was afraid, he identified them as a stranger and just killed him like a hunted animal. What transpired was theat this ghost enemy was from a neighbouring tribe who were largely at peace and even freindly with their "long house". We learned later that the man had to pay compensation to the widow.

I don't think I have the time to go into the front-loaded-monopoly experiments now; but for me the story above awakened my own burning belief that how we behave as groups, tribes, nations even Soviets or Unions, is actually detemernined by some enevitabilities of individual behaviour: people are xenophobic and tribal, leaders are strong often blinded types, and leaders make organisations work along lines of fear and tribalness. The layers of the onions become an epi-phenomenon to this howver I believe that society is just bunk without our overcoming our fundamental illogical, racist, zionist, tribalist, religious xelotous behaviour and come to being a species which can act more logically about how we exist with each other and the planet.

People like me never want to lead the foolish and we just casually follow the brave. We just loose our ideals and pay the bills, while those "who want to work hard and get ahead" standing on other people, get to run organisations or at least are contenders.

This is always the great weakness of most liberal, socialist or humanist movements: great ideas, some of which could really work and HAVE really worked in say Scandinavia and Canada, but they lack the reptilian brain leadership of the right: the simple, we will win, we will dominate, we dont blink an eye if we need to cheat to get there. People get tired of that too, and as in the liberal back lash in the 90s who could feed off the right wing successes in the west in re-aligning the economies of the west, or in the UK Labour Landslide of  post VE 1945. People want progress, they want cooperation , they want "big society" but they like me just hope it all happens whule the people hungry for power are the types who dont care about cheating or morals or anything else really as long as they win for there tribe.

George W eat your heart out.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Danger of The Super Poor, Super Rich Divide for Scotland and Europe

A quite amazing fact is that Angola receives more in international aid than it's top ten mining and oil companies pay in corporate tax to the country. Also they pump out in their sector and over in Congo, more than the UK sector of the North Sea does today. Yet they are poor and conflict ridden.

With the mass redundancies around Europe announced today, and the wave of public sector down sizing about to crash in the coming two quarters in countries including those in the UK, the recession is likely to continue for most ordinary workers outside some key growth industries like petrochemicals and oil field technology.

The real danger here is that society becomes split for ever with the power of politics resting with the rich and international corporates who will proceed in the way Starbucks has and the way in which companies operating in Angola do: government is either in their pockets or powerless to do anything.

Another divide opened in the 1980s in the public sector in the UK, and is starting to widen here in Scandinavia now: the technocrat and public sector management divide in pay, conditions and actually responsibility taking for failure. This is driven by both efficiency drives and in the entire outsourcing and tender management process. For the former this stems from the demand for measurement of the start point of the public sector "mis-performance" - the  perceived inefficiency of health services and all that is not private. However in the UK in the 1980s this lead to the very invisible, beaurocratic inefficiency which resulted in an NHS with more non health line managers than there were beds. Secondly the tender process means that people from outside any health service expertise are employed and bring their own baggage and power attitude to confuse the system by destroying good practices with newer often just as good practice as was in place, but change for the sake of change and showing they weild power. They learn along the way of what the health service needs are, and then become super consultants or are estalted to management with six figure, non health industry matching salaries.

The real hope of the newer new Right, is to completely de-unionise the health industry : for instance there is a concerted campaign to remove union representatives from payed positions in the NHS in the UK because it is seen as socialist waste. However, that in Germany and Scandinavia such partnerships are very often seen as good industrial relations where an employee is dedicated to the workers side, and also another internal watchdog for health and safety should line management wish to cover cracks or hide bad practice from middle and upper management.

In achieving de-unionisation, they will make the health industry at the point of care for those not doctors or with the highest training, an uncompetitive career and the whole tender process will go round in cycles of quality repremands, legal demands for more cash to deliver things not completely  black and white in the provider's contracts and of course bankruptcies and judicial closure of companies conducting illegal practices.

Health and Education are two of the last battle grounds for right wing dogma which is in a fight against  common sense and good, proven practices. even the introduction of best-practice (ISO EN's for example in some routines or medical procedures) because the new Right want new social engineering in the School system and revision to systems without actually first establishing what is working and best practice. The baby gets thrown out with the bathwater, and today there should be a humiliating defeat for the English Tory Party as they admit that scraping a well established system is wasteful change-for-change's-sake and will of course confuse employers who do not feel the need to spend time comparing say a 21 years old's education in 2022 with a 27 year old's. Rather employers in all sectors want more people to do the standard skills, more people to be helped with maths and physics and more people to be highly computer user-ware literate as school leavers.

On this point we lead to another very wasteful part of the dogma of market mechanisms for education, which is upside down: the market is for young people as consumers, and the suppliers are the insittuions with the subsidy being loans supported and underwritten by the Government.  This is across the board in many countries. The problem being that middle class teenagers are pandered too, and want either glamerous careers in media or to just take the easiest route back to the womb of education as a teacher or academic in what they prefer to read at school when they are 15-17. This is a completely upside down approach.

Luckily many countries including the UK have seen the value of apprenticeships in practical skills for various industry and public provision. However for University level, there should really be a slashing of places in those purely academic subjects to allow only the best, most committed students to study say Philosophy or Medieval History. Sure run courses on ethics and history for engineers, taught by academics from these dusty cloisters,  but make them relevant.

Access to education is though now becoming more and more an affluent middle class focus rather than a means of social mobility adding value to individuals and the entire economy. This is happening all over Europe, because Students are too big a money bucket for the rich owners of housing and for companies looking for cheap, non "waster" part time and seasonal employees. So here we have a dilema that talented working class or even subsistence- class offspring cannot afford to go to the best Universities if to a university at all or have to work so much on the side that their studies suffer. At the same time, middle class students shun subjects with ample career prospects for those which few succeed to actually establish themselves in , as mentioned media and academia.

Funnily enough through out Europe there is a consensus or kind of positive moving status quo on one area once staunchly government owned: that is transport. However most transport has in fact been run for a very long time along the lines of either private sector or indeed the military ( or both if you take that much of management practice and hierarchy in English institutions was quite closely evolved from how army and empire were run) so in a way it was an easy privatisation for Governments while a hard take over for the private sector: "institutional memory" and the usually very well established safety routines have meant the private sector have struggled to make glamerous city margins, while also outright failing on many capital projects or maintenance ( site: channel tunnel, network rail, Norwegian privatised rail maintenance fiasco)

It all really comes down to the aim to bring wages down and get people to work longer hours for the same pay, while the rich, no...correction...such that the rich and bourgeoisie can get richer.

Friday, February 01, 2013

XC SKi Waxing: Klister TIme!

Only february and a big thaw back and re-freeze comes to spoil the party. Runs are over 200m alt. And icey, old snow which has however been lovingly churned up and patted back down into what looks like a normal winter run, but is actually made of hard, large ice crystals on an icey base.

Ski-able it was however, very much so. While we await affordable "zero" wax skis to hit the market and cover say -10 to +5 , (the latest  nanotech skis or otherwise synthetic textured kick zone inserts), we have to resort to the necessary evil of clister.

We turned up and it was -10C today with the sun now of course a little higher on the sky. Starting out 1150 on a day off from work, this was not just relaxed but practical- conditions would be a little softened and the air easier to breath with the sun up a while.

Having base wax, two layers, and some blue hard wax left, I just decided to plug on with lots of layers in the recommended pyramid of layers, more in the middle of the kick zone. Ignoring the advice to use clister.

Why ignore good advice from people who ar finished for the day and have done 12-18km!?? Well I hate using clister out on the day. It is horrid stuff. In the SmøreBu, it can atleast be heated or ironed on. On a cold day, it becomes like a resin and the fish bones become like a wax free pattern because they won't smooth out.

2km in and nearly all my wax was warn off, so out with said clister, still -9C and on with wishbone pattern of it then this hard resin like state.

Clister will go on top of hard wax effectively, it is just messy, but actually maybe easier to get off than using just clister types from the base upwards so to speak.

On the first hill it felt like having skins on: good grip! At the top, the clister was a mess of blobs with ice crystals hanging out them. No good for anything but up steep hills.

With the sun high in the sky, on a day truly stolen from heaven, the idea struck me to 1) heat the clister on the skis in the sun to soften it. 2) Hold the tube in my armpit for a while to soften the damn stuff.

The black skibase warmed up such that the ice melted and the clister became much more pliable, I was able to smooth off the blobs and then add more clister flowing now from the tube, to acheive  kind of one and a half layers. Good effect. This lasted to the top another 4km away.

Even at the top, the heel area was bare and so more or less to protect the base and have some kick for some of the little "stops" ie short, steep slopes which break up the general down hills stretches. This then lasted enough all the way home, 6km or so.

So nice enough at the car park again, there was less clister and it was hard on the ski surface as the sun had left the lower parts of the course some time ago. So I could pack the skis. BUT don't forget them, especially not at the end of season.  They have to be cleaned, if only to stop your annoyance at how mobile and sticky the stuff gets at anything near room temperature.

Okay, so you have no wax iron, or would rather not use your new pro bit of kit on the bloody effing glue stuff.

Putting Clister on At Home with No Iron Around.  :

( pierce the metal seal of a new tube and put cap back on )

Put the tube on a water-radiator or in an oven set to 40-50*c . Check it does not get too hot to hold.  Let cool to warm enough to hold.

It will be really runny now, kind of like a squeezy.honey. So open the top carefully. Then apply it on either side of the ski base taking care use it sparingling. If it is really runny then a line down the middle of each surface can be laid, and then spread out. If it is easier to control, then the classic herring bone application with dabs down each side of the groove can work. Smooth out with the tool and then of course clear the groove.  Cool the ski outside, and then re-warm the glue sorry klister, and apply another layer.

Bind your skis at each end of the bow ie well clear of the kick zone where the skis meet each other "face to face" so to speak.

For really really hard days, you can then apply another layer in the car park and check for wear underway.

Getting Clsiter OFF, no Iron Around:

You want to absolutely avoid skis getting near anything about 150'C. So a fire or what ever can be too hot. However, most cabins and houses in the north and the mountains have a heated floor or two, so that can be the heat source. Take a 70 to 80cm long layer of the synthetic base cleaner cloth and lay it on the kick zone. Press on. Now take kitchen roll a little longer and place on, and use poly-bands or masking tape to make this paper layer into an effective wrapping. Lie face down on the floor and leave for an hour.

Get base cleaner out, with more paper and the spatula tool. Take off the paper,Run the tool down the synthetic cloth, rolling it then over on itself, and then dumping the excess onto the roll of cloth as you go. Be hygenic! Take off the whole legnth in this way and then discard responsibly. Use then base cleaner and cloth to remove the last.

The benefit of using the tool is that you can also take off the now useless was base if you started out with that like me today. Not all of the clister will stick to the cloth, but a lot will soak and run into it, thus making for a very quick and quite rewarding job!

You maybe want to clean back from the heal and reapply a little glider here because clister travels backwards into the glide zone just enough to be irritiating.

I just put right on a hard base wax spray once the ski is dry of all solvent, and I am happy to put clister on the top of this again or cross my fingers than new snow comes and I can avoid glue!