Safety and health are here…at a price

I’ve recently begun to notice a disturbing trend: anything that’s good for you will cost you more. The most serious infraction comes from the food supply. When I go to buy ground beef, cheapest of the beef products, there are three tiers of product available for me to purchase. The cheapest product is ground beef with the default amount of fat. Since ground beef is already among the scrap left from a cow, this fat content can be pretty high. Since I eat ground beef fairly regularly, about once every two weeks or less, this is unacceptable. So I can choose 95% lean ground beef or 97% lean ground beef. However, these products are more expensive. In other words, economics would tell me to eat the meat that was worse for my body. However, I am a rational human being who is not a slave to any theorems of economics; I choose to buy the expensive 97% lean ground beef. Of course, if I really want to get a leaner beef product, I can go from ground beef (where $5 will feed me many times) to filet mignion (where $16 will feed me twice – max). Not only will it contain more vitamins and less fat, but the tenderness of the meat is also healthier for my digestive system, and, to a trivial degree, my teeth.

Ok, what about other foods? Consistently throughout the market anything that is good for me costs more money. For a week’s worth of tomatoes I usually spend about $15 on a cheap week. By contrast, a week or two’s worth of potatoe chips is $3 when it’s not on sale. Even among fruits, those laden with pesticides and (potentially, though not yet proven) harmfull pesticides are cheaper than the organic, locally grown fuits and veggetables. It IS a proven fact that the closer to the original source of the food you are, the less preservatives in it, meaining the food is more valuable to your system as usable fuel. This is why microwaveable food is crap and really not worth eating because it’s just processed stuff that the body just throws out, while a home cooked meal will result in a healthier body.

Moving to automobiles, what examples of this behavior do we have? It is the higher end vehicles which have more airbags to protect the passengers in the event of an accident. Even beyond that, I recently saw a Lexus commercial touting that the new filters on their cars don’t let pollen or other pollutants into the car. So are we saying that it’s ok for people who can’t afford a Lexus to breathe in pollution while those who have them enjoy healthier lungs?

This is all amounting a a very subtle form of class discrimination. If tomorrow someone was to say that the cure for cancer had been discovered, but only rich people could use it, there would be public outcry. In fact, riots or even revolutions would occur. Why are we allowing the same things to happen in other realms? For example, the current grocery prices force poor people to eat unhealthy foods. If they have to decide between having a place to live or eating healthy, they will certainly select to have a place to live. I am not a communist, I believe that those who have worked hard deserve to have their perks. However, there is a difference between perks and health. I don’t think it’s unfair if a poor person has to watch tv in a smaller tv than a rich person. Tv is an extra. Being healthy is not an extra it is a fundamental right of all humanity. Especially in the United States, the most modernized of all countries in the world, we should not be tolerating this.

Is there an easy solution? Yes there is an easy solution. Currently the government pays farmers subsidies in order for them to purposely plant less crops. Due to supply and demand principles, this artificially inflates the prices of produce. You may be thinking to yourself, “no don’t do that to the poor farmers!” But in reality, ever since the Great Depression of the 1930s, there has been a steady decline in the independent farmer. Currently a VERY large percentage (I think 80% or more, but don’t have solid figures) of farming is done by HUGE companies that own most of the land and pay their workers minimum wage. In fact, there aren’t even too many workers now that most of it is mechanized. With the cars, there are two solutions. 1) mandate that all features relating to health must be included in all cars without significantly raising their price 2) subsidize the cheaper cars (eg ford focus) so that poor people can afford to breathe without Asthma.

Be certain that if I ever make it to Congress, these items will be on my agenda.

Give Me Back My Identity

I am not a data point.
I am a human being.
I am not the customer who buys anime, computer hardware, and books on Linux.
I am not the customer who sends flowers to my mother-in-law in Brooklyn.
I am a human being.
I am a college student, a writer, a poet, a photographer, a journalist, a hacker, a fiancee, a revolutionary;
but I am not simply a set of bits describing what I buy and how often I do it.
Give me back my identity.
Who said you had the right to keep track of where I go and what I buy and who I talk to?
Who said you had the right to piggy back on my software and force me to agree to your terms?
Who said you had the right to put cookies in my browser all day long to track what I do?
Am I a terrorist?
Am I a criminal?
What have I done to warrant this level of surveillance?
I am not something to be analyzed so that you can figure out how to squeeze every last dollar out of me.
I am a human being –
GIVE ME BACK MY IDENTITY!

Eric Mesa

Singing the praises of Word Press

One of the things I love about word press over Tripod’s current mode is that I can make a post belong to several categories. This is extremely useful because on Tripod, for example, I have the categories of “Linux”, “Computers”, and “Technology”. Since the category I pick is sometimes a function of the one I first find, it may not always make be easy to see which is the best option when I’m trying to find a post I previously made. Since I have over 600 posts at Tripod, being able to find a post is a bit of a daunting task. Additionally, by being open source, plugins have been developed and I intend to try a few of them once I get a change. It looks to me that I am now about 90% sure that I will be converting over to Word Press full time once I get my server up again in Sept/Oct of this year. It seems pretty likely that we’ll be going wireless here within the next week.

[1.0] The Gospel of Tux

I was listening to a book about hackers and the following excerpt from the Gospel of Tux was reproduced. I laughed so hard, partially because my study of the Old Testament allowed me to know that this is a parody of a real King. It took me about 10 minutes, but I found the passage.

2 Chronicles 10:12

“Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the kind had said, “Come back to me in three days.” The king answered them harshly. Rejecting the advice of the elders, he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy, I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with wips; I will scourge you with scorpions.”

Having read that, you are now more fully able to appreciate the parody found in this passage.

‘Now it came to pass that Microsoft had waxed great and mighty among the Microchip Corporations; mighter than any of the Mainframe Corporations before it had it waxed. And Gates heart was hardened, and he swore unto his Customers and their Engineers the words of this curse:

“Children of von Neumann, hear me. IBM and the Mainframe Corporations bound thy forefathers with grave and perilous Licences, such that ye cried unto the spirits of Turing and von Neumann for deliverance. Now I say unto ye: I am greater than any Corporation before me. Will I loosen your Licences? Nay, I will bind thee with Licences twice as grave and ten times more perilous than my forefathers. I will engrave my Licence on thy heart and write my Serial Number upon thy frontal lobes. I will bind thee to the Windows Platform with cunning artifices and with devious schemes. I will bind thee to the Intel Chipset with crufty code and with gnarly APIs. I will capture and enslave thee as no generation has been enslaved before. And wherefore will ye cry then unto the spirits of Turing, and von Neumann, and Moore? They cannot hear ye. I am become a greater Power than they. Ye shall cry only unto me, and shall live by my mercy and my wrath. I am the Gates of Hell; I hold the portal to MSNBC and the keys to the Blue Screen of Death. Be ye afraid; be ye greatly afraid; serve only me, and live.”

And the people were cowed in terror and gave homage to Microsoft, and endured the many grave and perilous trials which the Windows platform and its greatly bogacious Licence forced upon them. And once again did they cry to Turing and von Neumann and Moore for a deliverer, but none was found equal to the task until the birth of Linux.’

You can enjoy the entire Gospel of Tux by clicking here

[1.0] Quotes are good for the soul

“Yeah, a nalgene bottle is indestructable, but I’ve never had a problem with my water bottle being destroyed.” – Dan

(why it’s dangerous to discuss sims w/o telling the other person first)
Danny: dude
Danny: stargazing is dangerous
Me: ?
Danny: I had Ian outside stargazing
Danny: and a satelite fell on him
Danny: and he died
Danny: and I bargained with the Grim Reaper
Danny: and I won
Me: oic
Me: I thought u meant in real life

“Google is awesome, but one can become so dependent on Google as to forget to check local sources such as books” – Eric Mesa

A Brave New World

Today I begin what may be one of the most interesting projects I have yet to take on. This blog is hosted on my server. That means it is completely under my control. I don’t have to pay money for it and I can write whatever I want without any censorship. Additionally, it’s pretty freakin’ exciting to be running my own blog.

That said, I am not 100% sure if I will be completely migrating over to this blog. To begin with, I don’t want to lose my blog over on tripod. I have had so many insights on that blog and I would definitely need to find a way to archive it or transfer it over here somehow. At this point in time I’m not sure how that would work. Also, I don’t really have the time for that. Finally, from the time that my apartment complex demands to have my cable modem so that we can switch to wirelss access (thus effectively killing my server) until at least until I move into my townhouse some time around September, I will only be able to blog through Tripod. Once I get my server set up, however, I intend to permanently have it up.

The developers were really accurate about this software package, though. It really only took around 5 minutes to get everything up and running. The rest of the time I’ve been playing with the settings.

Well, I’m quite excited about this and we’ll just have to wait and see what the outcome is.