World Protests: Can You Hear Me Now?

In the last couple days mass protests have been spotted in Egypt comprised of the supporters and the opponents of former President Mohamed Morsi. On one side there is an army ready to enact its ultimatum to overthrow the government and instate a new political power. On the other side is the Muslim Brotherhood that would take on the deadly army in order to preserve the former president’s reign and ensure that democracy under Islamic law stays.

The people of Egypt fear what is happening to their beloved country and the economic crisis that is taking place and so the protests rage and violence ensues.  The Military Coup will most likely result in a dictatorship being reinstated, but who is to say that a president within a “brotherhood” is not like a dictator himself. Furthermore, the phrase”will most likely result in” is still an ‘up in the air’ statement. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and with the Military Coup, we may see the fall of democracy in Egypt take place while the immediate reinstatement of military power to rule over all is enacted, ‘temporarily’ of course. One thing is for sure: the people of Egypt all just want peace and prosperity for their children, their friends, their family, and their country. Just like those of the past, they rally together, on one side or the other, showing their pride and commitment to what they believe is most important. The world has heard their cry, a reaction for good or bad will be delivered, like it has been in the past.

What past you say? Let us take a stroll down memory lane and explore several world protests most significant to our mother Earth.

Related Article: Conservation Efforts of Earth

French and American Revolutions

The French and American revolutions were caused by the aristocratic rule that undermined the people and exploited their freedoms. Both of these revolutionary periods took a long time to resolve the ongoing problems of tyrannical monarchy. The French Revolution lasted some 10 years from 1789-1799; overthrowing the monarch King Louis XVI, giving power to a republic, and finally ending with the Consulate under Napoleon Bonaparte.  The American Revolution era lasted some 20 years starting around 1763 and finally ended in 1783 when a peace treaty marked the full separation from British power. The world watched and learned as nations became independent of monarchs and set examples for future nations to follow.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Martin Luther King Jr.’s words will never be forgotten as they rang through the ears of 250,000 supporters of the civil rights movement rallied together on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was an effort to end racism in the United States of America and the support it received helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, finally freeing a people from oppression and racism. The movement became of staple in the society of America and an example for bringing rights to others in the future. Even now as we struggle with gay marriage being accepted we frequently reference what Martin Luther King Jr. set out to accomplish.

Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989

Probably the most memorabe in my mind would be the Tiananmen Square protests where students led demonstrations against the slow reform process that was taking place in China. The students followed astrophysicist and professor Fang Lizhi, who preached liberty and democracy after returning from tenure in America. The student protests inspired people in Beijing to follow suit, proclaiming the need for human rights and human power, only to be met with military resistance and martial law. The famous image of this protest was the “Tank Man” where one anonymous and yet to be named man stood in front of 4 military tanks as a sign of protest against military ultimatums. To this day this image is referenced during talk of peace or protest.

February 15, 2003 Anti-War Protest

Let’s not forget one of the most recent cries for peace that spread from DC, looped around the world through  more than 600 cities, and came back around to ring in president Bush’s ears: The all expansive War on Terrorism. In Rome 3 million people cried out against the war with the slogan: “stop the war, no ifs or buts”. Madrid rallied just over 1 million people to stop the war. The US had over 150 cities rallying to support peace and to stay out of Iraq. The world cried out for peace on February 15, 2003. Sadly, the world at large was ignored, and the invasion of Iraq took place only a month later on May 20, 2003, finally ending in 2011 after 2 years of withdrawing troops from Iraq. The message remains though, with one of the biggest rallies for peace to date, that we as a people want to coexist peacefully.

Related Article: War On Drugs

Where these are only 5 other protests out of many, many more significant protests, it is important to remember what they stood for: Hope. A hope for change, a hope for a better life, and a hope for peace. This article, of course, was not an attempt in any way to mock anyone or to devalue the lives that have been lost in any of the public outcries that have taken place in the past and that will unfortunately follow. This was simply a tribute and a remembrance to what has passed, inspired by the recent events in Egypt.

To all my brothers and sisters in Egypt, to all the supporters and opponents of Morsi, and to all the protesters of the world that are straining to have their voices heard: I wish you the least bloodiest road to your goal and may peace and prosperity find you. May we all live in a world where protests are a thing of the past, and where violence and war are no longer necessary or even thought of.

Finally, in the spirit of America’s Independence Day, I wish that all other countries, oppressed or yearning for freedom, may one day be able to cheer, as we privileged Americans do, for their own country’s Independence and Freedom. Happy July 4th America!

Cheers!

 

Research:

Egypt Crisis: Protesters

Brotherhood of Morsi

Newyorker Military Coup

Army Ousts Egypt’s President

President Mohamed Morsi

French Revolution

Louis XVI of France

Napoleon Bonaparte

American Revolution

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

I Have a Dream Speech

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Voting Rights Act of 1965

Ten states to tackle gay marriage

Tiananmen Square Protests

Fang Lizhi

Tank Man

Anti War Protests

Invasion of Iraq

Independence Day, Fourth Of July

Wondergressive: War on Drugs

Wondergressive: Conservation Efforts of Earth

Conservation Efforts of Earth’s Seven Continents

Captain-Planet-Cartoon-Wallpaper Captain Planet conservation

Captain Planet and the Planeteers by Ted Turner

‘Mostly Harmless.’ The only entry in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy used to read just ‘harmless,’ but after much careful deliberation and much intensive high-level editing, writer Ford Prefect was able to attach “Mostly” to Earth’s entry.

Since then segue writers (probably just me) of the world have attempted to relate the science fiction musings of the Great Wizard Douglas Adams to articles about global conservationism.

Speaking about global conservationism – funny you should even be thinking about that, I’ve compiled a list of conservation programs and projects from around the globe. You know, because when the NSA is watching you or your money is being spent on the military it’s nice to sit back, relax, use some comma splices, and learn about some good old-fashioned-down-to-earth wholesome people.

Related Article: The 5 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot

 

Africa

Oh sweet Africa! The continent of origin. A place both filled with beautiful landscapes and plagued by poverty, war and oppression. Despite the evils that happen there, there is quite a lot of good-natured conservation going on.

For example, I present the KAZA project. This project aims to connect portions of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe in an effort to co-facilitate human and wildlife-life.

It’s the size of a European country. The inhabitants include 2.5 million people, a quarter of a million elephants, 3,000 species and some of the last hopes that Africa’s wildlife will endure the 21st century in substantial numbers.

writes Michael J. Coren. But despite all of the good that this project will likely achieve, some critics are a bit skeptical.

Some question whether or not the focus is in the right place

Critics are also concerned that the project may end up enriching foreign tourism companies rather than local communities.

But whether or not this can save the declining African wildlife, it is wonderful to see these nations working together to bring balance to the force. Lets just hope that their efforts are for good.

Related Article: The 5 R’s Follow Up 1: Refuse

 

Asia

In Indonesia, there are many many many forests. Ask two of our writers, editors, and big cheeses in chief. I’m sure that they could tell you all about it. But where there are forests there are paper mills, tooth pick factories, and beavers. Lots and lots of beavers.

In this case the beavers are corporate and have decided that the woods might be a bit more precious than they previously had thought.

After recieving a lot of flack- and rightfully so- for their destructively belligerent deforestation practices (dbdp for short), Asia Pulp & and Paper has put a hold on their farming of national forests. The company, which holds a substantial amount of private land, has decided to focus on farming renewable trees that they’ve grown. This comes as a significantly awesome change of pace from the fern gully-eske practices which they so loved.

Related Article: The Profound Intelligence and Intuition of Elephants

 

North America

Oh to be a cowboy crossing the Great Plains of the United States. As you load your riffle, the rail car (built by slaves, and migrant workers) bumps a bit in protest and some of your precious gun powder spills to the floor. No worries, though, this hunt is easy. You load your riffle, take aim, and fire a round. You believe that you’ve missed your target but in all actuality the bison has been downed.

This sort of reckless behavior is exactly what caused the decline of the North American Bison population. Manifest Destiny-ers(?) took the land and it’s bounty as theirs and theirs alone.

As cattle ranching and fenced-in farming became more and more popular so too did it become popular for the bison to die. The  pre-columbian Americas boasted a bison population of more than 60 million. In 1890 the population almost entirely died out. There were only 750 left. Now, with much effort, the population is stably rising with approximately 360,000 bison roaming the Americas.

Bison conservation efforts by organizations such as The American Bison Society have dramatically aided bison, buffalo and many other species in an attempt to rejuvenate endangered populations.

Related Article: GMO Labeling Going In Right Direction In The US

 

South America

Ahh sweet Guyana, the Caribbean nation of South America. Now, you’re about to witness a rare quoting of wikipedia and if this were a dos X meme it’d read something like this: I don’t always quote Wikipedia but when I do It’s about the biodiversity of the only English-speaking non-island Caribbean Nation in South America.

The following habitats have been categorised for Guyana: coastal, marine, littoral, estuarine palustrine, mangrove, riverine, lacustrine, swamp, savanna, white sand forest, brown sand forest, montane, cloud forest, moist lowland and dry evergreen scrub forests (NBAP, 1999). About 14 areas of biological interest have been identified as possible hotspots for a National Protected Area System.

Basically, Guyana is a wonderful paradise for nature’s plants and wildlife. It turns out nature thrives here for one simple reason: There aren’t very many humans living there. The population density of Guyana is 3.8 humans per square mile. That is single digits. To put that into perspective, The population density of Rio de Janeiro is 16,100 humans per square mile.

So not only does Guyana boast an incredibly low impact, the people that do live there want to keep it beautiful. The government is actively working to set conservation guidelines for when people find out about Guyana

The Government of Guyana, under the leadership of President Jagdeo, is taking major steps to protect its natural resources. In 2002, the government granted Conservation International (CI) the world’s first “conservation concession” to protect 81,000 hectares (200,000 acres) of primary rain forest in the Upper Essequibo watershed.

Related Article: Your Old Android Phone Can Save the Rainforest

 

Antarctica

In 1961 Japan, the U.S., the former Soviet Union, the U.K., France and several other countries agreed to “not do anything stupid in Antarctica“. The cleverly named Antarctic Treaty aims to:

to utilize the area for peaceful purposes only and prohibit to establish military bases and to carry out of the maneuvers, to promote the freedom of scientific investigation and cooperation in the area, not to assert, support or deny a claim to sovereignty or create any rights of sovereignty, and to prohibit any nuclear explosion and the disposing of radioactive materials.

Since that time, 36 other nations have signed onto the Antarctic Treaty.

Related Article: 2800 Year Old Lake Life Survives in Complete Isolation

 

Europe

Europe, the land of the conquerors, gypsies, and well-to-do aristocrats has much need for conservation. Because of its relatively high population density the types of conservation projects that go on here are a bit different. It seems that those wishing to do some good work have to really try hard to find areas to protect.

The EOCA is a conservation project base for those planeteers looking to help out in their own way. One project, focusing on the Alps, was successful in removing tons of unused metal from old ski lifts.

 From an abandoned ski re[s]ort, they took away about 50 tonnes of different waste materials. These included the remnants of ski lifts and a pile of concrete blocks – left from winter sport activities in the 1960’s and 70’s.  The slopes of the Montagne de Lure have been returned to a wild state, for the rare Orsini’s Viper, to allow the wild tulips and fritillaries to spread, and for the pleasure of its visitors.

Even in densely-packed Europe there are ways to protect the environment.

Related Article: Sweden is Running Out of Trash

 

Australia

And before I go on, I must take a second to marvel at how awesome it is that Australia is: an island, a continent, a nation and pretty bad-ass.

Down under, there are many conservation projects. The Tasmanian forests are dwindling. It’s a shame as they are a beautiful place. When you have a forest, you have people who would like nothing more than to chop it down to pulp for paper. The conservation of the Tasmanian Forests  comes amid

Growing concerns about the negative public perceptions of the logging of these forests and changes in the market have contributed to this decline and a loss of opportunity. The forest agreement is an attempt to break this downward spiral. It attempts to find a way to protect forests and protect people whose livelihoods are tied up with the forestry industry.  It seeks to open opportunity for the industry to move onto a more sustainable higher value path.

So many there is a way for both companies and people to work together to not completely destroy the world as we know it.

Related Article: The Effect of Agriculture on the Planet

Our Powers Combined…

 

Sources:

http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Hitchhikers-Guide-Galaxy/dp/0345453743/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371569115&sr=1-1&keywords=ultimate+hitchhiker%27s+guide+to+the+galaxy

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/kaza_ambitious_africa_experiment_to_preserve_threatened_wildlife/2527/

http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680000/african-nations-team-up-to-create-a-nature-preserve-the-size-of-sweden

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa

http://www.kavangozambezi.org/index.php

http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2013/03/22/how-asia-pulp-paper-learned-put-down-chainsaw

http://www.wcs.org/saving-wildlife/hoofed-mammals/bison/the-american-bison-society.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_bison

http://www.newgeography.com/content/003438-the-evolving-urban-form-rio-de-janeiro

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/guyana/population-density-people-per-sq-km-wb-data.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guyana

http://www.conservation.org/where/south_america/guyana/Pages/guyana.aspx

http://www.env.go.jp/nature/nankyoku/kankyohogo_en/kankyo_en/hogo/kokusai/

http://www.ats.aq/e/ats.htm

http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/acf-opinion/forests-deal-only-solution

ObamaCare and the 49-Employee Company

obamacare

Whether you love it, hate it, think it goes too far or not far enough, the gears of ObamaCare are grinding along, theoretically to be fully implemented January 1, 2014.

The politics of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act notwithstanding, the law illustrates quite clearly the difficulty—and indeed the folly—of massive, top-down re-organizational efforts governments around the world like to employ. Human beings are dynamic creatures that respond to stimuli in order to maximize their own benefits. However carefully politicians craft the language of their regulations, people find remarkably easy ways to sidestep such obstacles, often to the detriment of the economy and the grand schemes of politicians.

ObamaCare induces businesses into providing health care for its employees by issuing a fine on those that don’t. This penalty does not, however, apply to businesses that have fewer than 50 employees. Recognizing a loophole when they see one, many business owners will likely take the easy way out and simply refuse to expand their company past the dreaded 50-employee barrier.

This phenomenon has already been seen in France, where once a company has 50 or more employees the business is obligated at great cost “to establish a committee on health, safety and working conditions and train its members.” This obligation is so expensive to business owners that many choose to deliberately limit themselves to only 49 employees, only crossing the threshold when it’s clear that having x more employees outweighs the deleterious effects of further regulation.

The National Bureau of Economic Research recently performed a study analyzing the effects of such regulatory burdens on French companies. France imposes stringent regulations on companies once they have more than 9 employees; more severe restrictions kick in once businesses have more than 49 employees and again at the 100 mark.

Here’s a graph showing the frequency of French companies by the number of their employees:

France-employment-graph1

The difference between 9-employee and 10-employee companies is dramatic. The drop-off between 49 and 50-employee companies is also plainly evident. This graph zooms in on the data, further illustrating the stark and unnatural reality that there are almost 3 times as many companies with 49 employees than with 50:

France-employment-graph2

Business owners in France routinely discuss their “companies” rather than their singular “company.” As it turns out, it is common practice to maintain several businesses under the 49-employee threshold rather than aggregate them into a single entity. Perversely, the paperwork and bureaucratic red tape involved in starting and maintaining multiple businesses is seen as a better alternative to biting the bullet and hiring that unlucky 50th employee.

The French economy has numerous problems—recently their union work ethic was lambasted by US CEO Maurice Taylor, who accused the French laborers of only working three hours a day-– and their unemployment rate is shockingly high. Struggling to respond to a jobless rate north of 10%, President Francois Hollande has promised to make the economy a priority during his term. It is clear that onerous and arbitrary economic regulations actually damage the economic climate, slowing or even preventing recovery. Lessening or striking them from the books would help revive the economy by simplifying the cost and the process of doing business.

ObamaCare will likely have the same effects on US businesses as France’s strict legislation has had on theirs. Seeking to avoid regulatory oversight, and seeing a perfect opportunity to do so, many businesses will simply refuse to hire that 50th employee and escape from detrimental and unnecessary burdens. Companies have been well aware of the future effects of healthcare legislation since its signing. That likely already accounts for some of their reticence in hiring new workers and why the US unemployment rate stubbornly hovers around 8%.

I am not here to pass judgement on ObamaCare itself or the intentions that lead to its enactment. The point is that regulatory burdens do indeed affect how businesses operate. Companies respond to incentives the same way that individuals do. By drafting these types of regulations, politicians inadvertently (?) help ensure that more people will be left without health insurance because employers are skirting such obligations by refusing to hire new talent. These laws create perverse incentives that make businesses less likely to hire new employees, keeping unemployment up and the economy down.

People are not a monolithic entity and they do not often respond to legislation the way that Washington predicts. As has been proven continuously throughout history—and just as often ignored– the best way to encourage business is to stay out of the way and make it easy to do business.

Laws and policies like ObamaCare and Too Big To Fail muddle the economic waters and contribute to the slow and painful US recovery that the nation now endures. Ending them would be a powerful message that would help unshackle business owners from the capricious laws of Washington and spur the economy on to a real and sustained recovery.

Sources:

Report from the National Bureau of Economic Research

Mystery of the Dying/Disappearing Honeybees Solved

Colony Collapse Disorder is a serious threat to commercial, and many wild honeybees around the world.  Scientists have been scratching their head trying to understand why so many honeybees are disappearing,  abandoning their hive and subjecting their queens to painful starvation and death.  Is it an all out bee revolution? Actually, new studies are pointing the finger at a class of pesticide called  neonicotinoids.

These pesticides, known as ‘neonics’ are used widely throughout the US and are also staples in home gardening products. The chemicals are a nerve poison to insects, and is likely responsible for the bees not being able to find their way back home.

The evidence is overwhelming.  Harvard even recreated massive colony collapse by administering minuscule amounts of a popular neonic to a hive.

Researchers at Harvard state that,

“There is no question that neonicotinoids put a huge stress on the survival of honey bees in the environment. The evidence is clear that imidacloprid [one of the most popular neonics on the market] is likely the culprit for Colony Collapse Disorder via a very unique mechanism that has not been reported until our study.”

That mechanism is high fructose corn syrup, which did not affect bees until it was mixed with the neonic in 2004 -2005. The very next year massive Colony Collapse Disorder began to affect the US.

Poor agricultural practices like monoculture, massive land development, and GMO planting may also be factors contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder.

Many countries, including Poland, France, and Germany have begun banning pesticides linked to bee deaths and have seen dramatic improvements in the overall health of their bees.  Colony Collapse Disorder is a warning, and if we act quickly to solve the problem, it will not bee too late.

It is unknown whether Einstein actually said it, but there is a famous quote usually credited to him that holds a great amount of truth nonetheless:

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.”

Time to alter our farming practices and get these agricultural monopolies out of our back pockets.  Why not empty our pockets all together!?

30,000 Year Old Cave Paintings Are Actually Animations

A new study suggests that 30,000 year old Stone Age cave paintings found in multiple sites throughout Europe  implement animated effects. 

The paintings superimpose two drawings on top of each other so that horses appear to gallop, buffalo flick their tails, and birds flap their wings.  The effect is most noticeable when viewed with flickering torch light.

The reserachers also beleive that people of this period created early thaumatropes, or discs with a pciture on each side that, when spun with a string, crate what appears to be animated movement.  The researchers mentioned “a bone disc found in 1868 in the Dordogne. On one side, the disc features a standing doe or a chamois. On the other side, the animal is lying down. Azéma and Rivère discovered if a string was threaded through the central hole and then stretched tight to make the disc rotate about its lateral axis, the result was a superimposition of the two pictures on the retina.

They are claiming that these tools were the far distant beginnings of cinema.

How about a 30,000 year retrospective Oscar for our ancestors that made the movies that we love possible?