Saturday, June 28, 2014

China - The Best One Volume History

Nations are what their deeds are.
G. W. F. Hegel, The Philosophy Of History, p.74

If you are not living under a rock, you don't need anyone to tell you that China has become, in recent times, a very large force in the world. This is of course going to be real trouble in the near future. A good way to understand this is to have a basic understanding of the history of China. The problem is that the peasants of the Peasants Republic of China has a history that covers roughly about eight thousand years.
Worried about China? Forget about it..
 As a public service for his world wide readership the Oracle of Ottawa has been keeping an eye out for the perfect modern day summary that the modern busy person of today could read and benefit from. The problem with Chinese histories is that there is  a lot of them and most of them are as boring and as dry as fried out area of hell. The ideal situation would be to discover one that was written by someone that was actually on the ground at the time of the big modern changes that we are all presently dealing with today.

It is all a pretty tall order, but the Oracle of Ottawa has discovered just the ticket recently, by total chance of course, while still ever working on his "thinking about thinking" project. The name of the work is: A History of Chinese Civilization by Jacques Gernet.(Second edition...) It is under 800 pages, but is the most readable history of Chinese civilization that the Oracle of Ottawa has ever seen. And for good measure the Oracle of Ottawa has read it and most heartily recommends it as the work that hits the spot.

The one you want...
 The work has been translated into English and published by Cambridge University Press which is all that has to said as far as the bona fides are concerned. The book consist of eleven parts, broken into numerous chapters. After reading through it, the reader will have a very strong handle on what makes China tick, and why it ticks in the way it does. It explains most clearly the greatest weaknesses of China as a society in the modern world. The time period covered is from 8,000 B.C. up to 1989 A.D. with that nasty business in Tiananmen Square. The work is very well illustrated, with tons of summary facts and chronologies for handy quick reference. 

This is a most useful work for persons that are thinking of investing and /or doing business in China. (Don't!) Or for people that just want to understand the evening news somewhat more clearly. The main idea is that China is totally different from the Western World. It explains why, and why it will never change. It also explains the great structural weaknesses that presently are built into Chinese society  The Oracle of Ottawa has also included a video of another Canadian who has also been on the ground very recently and comes to pretty much the same conclusions as Gernet does but in an even more hard hitting way. Enjoy...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Solving Fusion - Excuse Me But...

For the robust, an error is information; for the fragile, an error is an error.
Nasim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed Of Procrustes, p.72

The Oracle of Ottawa has been hearing that fusion is just around the corner since he was a teenager in the 1970's. And like the end of the world, and that Canada is going to run out of natural gas next year, the Oracle of Ottawa is still waiting. The only difference between then and now is that now the Oracle of Ottawa's bags are packed.

Tokamak - We just need a simpler tube?
 You wonder is what going on the world of big egg headed science. The Oracle of Ottawa has commented on this subject at least once before in this humble blog. Deep into the darkest night the Oracle thinks things. And when  it comes to fusion the Oracle wonders why mere mortals keep thinking that they can create a star process on earth. And then he thinks some more, and wonders why would you even want to do that?

Most mortals alive today at the time of this writing cannot even begin to visualize the sheer massive magnitude of the space, materials and utter sheer physical forces required for a star to kick into the fusion process. How much larger is our sun compared to the mass and volume of the earth? Well the suns diameter is 109 times greater then the earth, and it weighs 330,000 times more than the earth. And it has a surface temperature, that is on all the time, of about 5,500 degrees C! And somehow we are going to copy this awesome force on puny little earth. Give the Oracle of Ottawa a break.    

 And as the Oracle of Ottawa was watching another utterly futile piece of fusion propaganda on You Tube, he came to a rather startling realization. A Tokamak is nothing but a great big vacuum tube. How about the irony of that? Over half of the people living today have never even seen a vacuum tube, let alone know what it is. But the Oracle of Ottawa remembers them very well indeed. They were in everything once. And the really old fashioned tubes were honking large and ran very, very hot. Come to think of it, the whole point of this fusion thing is to boil water at around 100 degrees C. Why in hell do we need a process with a minimum temperature of 5,500 degrees? D'ohhh.....

Saturday, June 14, 2014

'Chain Gang' Tim Hudak Gets Crushed - Good Riddance!!

Men always love what is good or what they find good; it is in judging what is good that they go wrong.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, Chapter 7

It is with great relief that the Oracle of Ottawa can report to his worldwide readership that you will not be seeing OPP officers standing shotgun over chain gangs at the side of our roads, highways and controlled access freeways, if you happen to be visiting Ontario anytime into the far far future. That threat and a whole lot of others fell by the wayside on Thursday last of this week.

'Chain Gang' Tim - Campaign to oblivion...
 It was the 2014 Ontario Provincial Election that settled it all, once and for all, for most of our lifetimes. For any corporate whores that were hoping that Ontario was soon to become a Right To Work Province like some third world southern American State, you can catch the next flight to Mexico. That was a another winger dream that also died last thursday for the next couple of decades at least.

As the Christian Fundamentalists in their shiny patent black leather shoes pack to go back to the winger think tanks that they came from in the United States, they have all come to the same conclusion; the right wing revolution will never catch on in Canada. These Canadians are just too smart to buy the think tank wrecking crew bullshit. As far as the minions of the 'Harper Government' are concerned, the on loan wingers will not be returning any calls from now on.

The one great lesson that the Oracle of Ottawa learned from this election is that the right wing wingers cannot take their own bullshit at all. The well funded trade unions in Ontario went right for the conservative style attack ads full bore, and it worked perfectly. It soon appeared that 'Chain Gang' Tim couldn't take as well as he tried to give. The big union bosses easily out spent the corporate whores. Like the Liberal gas plants it was money well wasted.  
The other great lesson is that the corporate whore pollsters are so corrupt and for the right wing that they are all but useless. They actually thought that the people of Ontario were stupid enough to vote the way that the flawed polls indicated. The people of Ontario simply stopped talking to them. And when the dust settled on Thursday night last, the pollsters were more humiliated than 'Chain Gang' Tim! It was high and wonderful comedy that the Oracle of Ottawa enjoyed very much.

It was a room of less then fifty supporters that were outnumbered by the media that greeted the defeated 'Chain Gang' Tim as he came to deliver his resignation speech. The Oracle of Ottawa was wagging for hours after that. As the Oracle of Ottawa was driving down many Ontario roads the next day, that were chain gang free, he listened to the right wing talking heads writhing in winger agony on the AM radio talk shows. It is only about another year to wait and it will be the turn of the 'Harper Government'... The Oracle of Ottawa id greatly looking forward to that...  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

'Harper Government' - Twilight Of The Revolution?

The people had not yet heard the cry of war.
Homer, The Iliad, Book 4, Line 331

At the time of this writing, late into the night, deep in the secure bunker, the Oracle of Ottawa ponders the present state of the 'Harper Government' Right Wing Revolution. Lets see; the conservative mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford is now somewhere deep into rehab. And is essentially out of office. 'Chain Gang' Tim Hudak, the head of the Conservative Party of Ontario is caught in a very dirty and tight provincial election and will soon realize a longly held dream. He will probably be a greeter at some Wall Mart early next week.

Danny hopes for a gun registry and fully funded mental health programs...
 Meanwhile at the federal level, the Oracle of Ottawa can't help but notice the recent change in the presence and demeanor of Stephen Harper of the 'Harper Government'. Ever since that ex PMO officer released his book and the Supreme Court of Canada utterly trashed the great man, yet again, he now has a different look. The snarkyness has greatly increased. It was very evident in that Abbott press conference earlier this week. Could the once great man be having a slow motion nervous breakdown?

When the subject got to a carbon tax and the recent actions of President Obama to combat climate change, Ole Steve kept to the winger script. There was no attempt to moderate the tone, even as his own hole was starting to come down on him, he just pushed on with a bigger shovel. It all got much stranger latter into the scrum on the subjects of sex workers and legal pot. These things were not banned because they were hurtful, they are banned because they are harmful! Or some such bull shit words to that effect. Why doesn't the 'Harper Government' ever say that about guns?       

Today was the funeral in Moncton for three fallen Mounties. The Prime Minister of the 'Harper Government' gave the usual fire and brimstone winger speech. Great photo op, the folks of the base in Duck's Ass Alberta just love it. More law and order, less government, why hell, someday,  no government! The Oracle of Ottawa can't help but think that this sad event would have never happened if we still had the old gun registry, and if we actually had fully funded social programs for youth mental illness. The word is leaking out that the family of the shooter tried and tried. Spending Canadians tax money on that is just stupid. And when the specters rise up out of the trailer parks for their last stand conservatives rub their hands together in glee, another funeral, another photo op...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Brazil - Couldn't Even Afford The Roof

Direct approaches make a distinction between means and ends that often does not exist in reality.
John Kay, Obliquity, p. 50

You know the Brazil 2014 World Cup of soccer is going to be an utter train wreck when somebody in Canada even realizes it from watching the old fashioned vulgar TV media. Billions of dollars have been poured down the proverbial shit hole. The Oracle of Ottawa really thought that story on the stadium built up the Amazon River was especially a laugher. It ought to be a hoot watching all the pussy Euro types drop dead one by one, as the weeks progress. And even someone called jay low, who ever that is, has now refused to show up! The omens are really adding up. 

No soccer for paupers?

And the overall look of the structural rigidity of said stadiums, as far as the Oracle of Ottawa is concerned, look to be somewhat shakey, to say the least. But the Oracle will concede that watching the video on You-Tube of one of them collapsing with a sell out house will certainly be great summer entertainment. Seeing as there is no war scheduled this summer in the sand spit Middle East. You have to take what you can get in the off season.

The main broadcaster of the World Cup in Canada is the poor old CBC, Canada's State Broadcaster. The Oracle of Ottawa can only wonder what the hell they were on or what they were thinking. God only knows how many millions of scarce cultural resources were pissed away to secure the transmission rights. The Oracle of Ottawa figures that at least 10,000 people in Canada, a country of over 35 million people, will be watching at one time. Soccer sure as hell can't compete in the ratings when the almighty Blue Jays are on a hell of a roll this season. Why anyone would want to watch soccer when they can easily watch Major League Baseball is an utter mystery to the Oracle of Ottawa. 

The latest information at the time of this writing states that most all the essential services will be out on strike before the first tip off. That will be something to check out the progress of between innings as I watch my daily baseball game or two or maybe even three. The parts where the locals rob and kidnap the foreigners at will ought to be also most amusing. Not to mention all the weird STD's that will be transmitted back to the developed world after the said great event.  

If you need any more proof that soccer is a corrupt, fixed game with a totally corrupt and out of control board of governance, I guess you will be tuning in, to watch the paint dry. What really makes the Oracle of Ottawa wonder late into the night is why an up and coming country like Brazil would even want the hassle and outsized risk and expense of holding such a train wreck, when they so many other pressing problems on their own patch. Of course the answer to that is easy. Every one has gotten greased. The money is secure in a daisy chain of off shore tax havens, impossible to trace, and proof of a very successful political career.  And as far as the poor and destitue are concerned, Fuck'em, there is plenty more were they came from...