Tag Archive: good

Robots and Fuel Strikes – What Are People Supposed to Do?

The Role of Work – What Is It?

  • Robot waiters in China

    Robot waiters in China

    The role of work is at the heart of many societal norms, take the so-called “protestant work ethic”.

  • The current strikes in France, inspired by the fuel tanker driver strike, will have many of a “work ethic” mindset secretly envious but openly tut-tutting.
    •  http://www.thelocal.fr/20160526/french-fuel-crisis-4600-petrol-stations-run-dry
  • China, despite its vast available workforce, is expanding the world of robotics at a rate of 40% annually.
    • https://www.therobotreport.com/news/40-annual-growth-forecast-for-chinese-robotics

But what’s it about?

France

At the heart of the French issue is the unilateral imposition, without a vote, by the apparently socialist (but in reality just as no-liberal as the rest of the West) French government.  This imposes a relaxing of the 35 hour weekly work-time rule.

This is said to be good for employers.

China

Foxconn, one of the world’s largest computer & electronic equipment makers is ditching 60, 000 people, for robots!

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36376966

This is said to be good for…. erm….

Not Only That, But Also

Well, Big Mcdonald’s in the USA may be ditching workers for robots

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2016/05/24/fmr-mcdonalds-usa-ceo-35k-robots-cheaper-than-hiring-at-15-per-hour.html

Munch & Sleep

We all have to eat and in The West we use money to pay for it all.  We also pay for our dwellings and all the knick-knacks that make our lives what they are (studies thumb while blundering down high street with little box in hand).

The role of money in our lives and how we get it is paramount.

Now let’s consider those workers striking to keep their hours down, their money up and the role of robots in all of this, because it affects us all.

Sooner or later, most of us will have to consider our place in this robotic world.  Really.  What will you do?

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

French petrol staion queues, 2016

Workers Going Nowhere in France

  • Work is NOT the be-all and end-all of everything.
  • Happiness is the be-all and end-all of everything.  (n.b. not the pursuit of happiness, just your average, every day happiness.  Goddit?)

So if:

  • McDonald’s and other fast food outlets ditch real human workers for robots (maybe just a food window like on the Star Trek Enterprise?),
  • waiters are replaced by robots,
  • computer makers ditch real people for robots,
  • doctors and even surgeons are replaced by robots,
  • trains, planes, buses and cars are all driven by robots…

…then we will all have much more free time.

BUT, and it is a big but,

  • How will we pay for our free time?

And for all those tut-tutting about the French workers on strike and jealous of a fully paid 35-hour working week

  • Where will your job be?
  • Where will you get your money?
  • Where’s your protestant work ethic now?

How will universal happiness be attained?

Because:

  • Not everyone is blessed with the muses.
  • Not everyone can be a politician.
  • Not everyone can run quaint tea shops and sell tat to tourists.
  • Not everyone can be a plumber.

Don’t start the argument that people will be needed to fix the machines, the phones, the computers.  Electronic devices are consumables now and do not need fixing.  They just get replaced. The people that currently devise new machines have been redundant for many years.

In fact, most new computer circuitry is designed…by computer!

Terminated

…and with robots creating robots that do all the work, what place for people?  With decision-making robots, maybe the Terminator series are closer than we think?

Terminated

Terminated

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(Karmic) Retribution on Pacific Webworks?

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on Internet “Business”, Pacific Webworks.

Tangled Web

Tangled Web

Following several knock-downs by disgruntled, ripped-off individuals and hefty wallops from Google, it appears that running legal is difficult for Utah based business Pacific Webworks (PWW) ….  They’ve just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Announcement here.

This allows them to stay in business and re-organise their debts… gives them a “fresh” start, it says.

Sow and Ye Shall Reap.

Karmic retribution is a bit like Jesus’ saying about reaping what you sow.

If you examine this web search on this website you will see that I have written several articles on PWW and their previously dodgy web practices.  Many times I warned them that their behaviour would lead to no-good.  I stated that I did not have to do anything – that karma would see them fail – and so they have.

The Future

PWW, formerly a tarmac company, now has time to figure out what to do.  If they stay legal I wish them well and hope they prosper.  If not, there’s always karmic retribution.  Reducing this makes us and the world, better.

 

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Facts and Lies: UKIP Checking

Nobody can be bothered to check facts.

UKIP, the Lernaean Hydra of British politics

UKIP Hydra
[credit: Jon Worth, please click image ]

For months I have endured a deluge of facts and lies, all leading up to yesterday’s election. (I voted Green – there were only European elections in my area, so no local stuff).  Mostly, it’s all been around UKIP.  They really have stoked the fires, first lit by this government that wasn’t elected and that has done a raft of nasty things never included in their 2010 manifestos.  But the fires against the disadvantaged are really aflame now.

It’s UKIP wot done it guv.  It’s Suzanne Evans talking – click here to pause her waffle.

Tactics

The Chubby Elite

UKIP’s backers are some of the sharpest, wealthiest people in the land.

UKIP’s tactics however, have been to take on all crackpots of all kinds, then, when the fuckwit says something beyond the pale, they evict them.

This has the effect of being news-worthy, and as we in entertainment know, all news is good news.  The normal triumvirate of red, blue and orange have had a few gobshite moments, but UKIP beats them hands down.

The litany of UKIP’s tactics is strewn across the web, but a fairly recent summary and discourse on them can be found on Another Angry Voice (AAV).

Fact Checks #1

As Tom at AAV noted in the link above, UKIP-ers are not fond of reading anything beyond the first few lines of anything and have a raft of weird ideas all   the stuff headed up and analysed with examples, summarised neatly here:

General abuse Confirmation Bias Denial of reality Just making stuff up
Conspiracies Meta-slander Persecution complexes Marxist fearmongering
Talking in absolutes This is a “Hate group” The Censorship fallacy Fascist sentiments
Straw-manning You called us racist Humourlessness Right, I’m definitely voting UKIP now!

It’s all very “lowest common denominator” (LCD) stuff.  Confirmation Bias rules, okay!

 Fact Checks #2

Though I despise UKIP and parties like them, I do try to check facts, from all over and presented by anyone.  Even those that I support get it wrong sometimes.  Question everything!

UKIP’s Suzanne Evans on Radio 4

I heard that Evans had been quoted as saying that UKIP ” had difficulty appealing to the educated, cultured and young” with regard to the voting in London.  It was on the BBC Radio 4 “Today” programme.  You can listen to the whole thing here for the next few days.  If you do a Google search for the phrase, “difficulty appealing to the “educated, cultured and young”” a whole raft of websites, news organisations, social media and news agregation websites are all reporting this very same thing.  The search produced >1000 – here are 3.

This Reddit chat is a notable exception to the broadcast-info-with-impunity-or-checks brigade and also has a link to the interview.  They say she never said it and provide a textual view of the interview.

She Never Said It!

Return to top

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The trouble is, she never actually said it!  This is my recording of the show, editted down to Suzanne Evans’ interview and compressed for audio clarity before MP3-ing it.

 It’s True – She Never Said It!

Ukip members wait for results of local election in Croydon

So why are all the news sites and almost every Google search result saying that she did?  ( Well almost all – a Reddit chat also says that she never said it. )  The Independent report even has a nicely forlorn UKIP blokey.

In the interview, then interviewer actually says that it was a colleague in London  (not known, not named) who, she said, UKIP “had difficulty appealing to the educated, cultured and young”

 

 Conclusion

Either:

  1. The truth of the matter is that people hardly ever check anything nowadays.
    • The deluge of information is too great.
    • Everyone expects reputable news providers to do properly journalistic background checks.
    • The BBC interviewer never checked.
  2. The truth of the matter is that all news providers are in collusion with the establishment to maintain the neoliberal status quo.
    • The UKIP freaks who commented on AAV are correct in that it is a conspiracy.
    • UKIP freaks are right in that the BBC shows anti-UKIP left-wing bias.

The trouble with #2 is that UKIP contains part of the powerful establishment elite.

  • Farage is a former banker and apart from a host of wealthy backers, the normal tory paper (Daily Telegraph – torygraph in common parlance) is now swapping sides since the tories are not right-wing enough for it’s wealthy  owners, the reclusive, island-owning, tax-avoiding, feudalistic, Sark-criticising (because it won’t allow them to set up a tax haven),  Barclay Brothers.
  • Many other establishment papers likewise share a divisive, right wing, xenophobic stance.
  • The BBC has had rafts of governement enforced right wing management changes (government plants is the phrase).
  • The BBC has given more airtime to Farage than any other panellist on “Question Time” except for Dimbleby.

This leaves #1.

Answer:

Nobody can be bothered to check facts.

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Life is fleeting so first of all learn about death

Nichiren – The Importance of the Moment of Death

Lotus Blossom in McClelland Art Gallery - contrasts to the large sculptures...

Lotus Blossom in McClelland Art Gallery – contrasts to the large sculptures…

With it’s dramatically sombre title, “The Importance of the Moment of Death“, Nichiren tells us exactly what’s on his mind. The text of the letter shows that it was sent to an unknown person to read to the lay nun Myōhō.  Presumably she was unable to read… Whatever, Nichiren knew several lay nuns called Myoho and this one’s a widow.

We know he despised the “Pure Land” and other teachings and espoused the Lotus Sutra as being the final version of a lifetime’s work and thought by Shakyamuni, who most know as the Buddha.  His outspokenness brought him many enemies in feudal Japan.

He was drawing to the end of his life, being 56, with 4 years to go.  In this piece he states exactly what he thought – and did! The sheer poetry when he talks about the transient nature of life, is like majestic magic.

Looking back, I have been studying the Buddha’s teachings since I was a boy. And I found myself thinking, “The life of a human being is fleeting. The exhaled breath never waits for the inhaled one. Even dew before the wind is hardly a sufficient metaphor. It is the way of the world that whether one is wise or foolish, old or young, one never knows what will happen to one from one moment to the next. Therefore I should first of all learn about death, and then about other things.”

So I gathered and considered the sacred teachings of Shakyamuni’s entire lifetime, as well as the writings and commentaries of scholars and teachers.

Which is what Nichiren really did.  From a young boy he sought the true nature of existence.  And using the metaphors that without white there can be no black, and without life there can be no death, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo was the fruit of his lifetime’s studies.

Nichiren explicitly says (above) that it was from looking at dead people at such an early age that he commenced his life’s work and started studying Buddhism!  What a fantastic thing from such a gloomy beginning!

Encouragement

  • Nichiren encourages the lay nun Myoho that her recently deceased husband is okay.
  • He also says that she will be (and is currently), okay.

The persistent care and trouble that Nichiren takes over ordinary people is noteworthy; he continually encourages, when things are just pottering on as well as when people are at their darkest hour and are troubled.

How does he say these things?  Here?

The key passage for me is here:

Carina Nebula

Carina Nebula

One who upholds the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra transforms the black lacquer of the evil deeds of a lifetime, and of countless kalpas of lifetimes in the past, into the great merit of good deeds. All the more so is this true of one’s good roots from the beginningless past, which all take on a golden hue.

And when your deceased husband chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo at the end on his deathbed, the evil deeds of a lifetime, and from the beginningless past, changed into the seeds of Buddhahood. This is what is meant by the teachings called “earthly desires are enlightenment,” “the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana,” and “attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form.”

And because you are the beloved wife of such a man, the teaching of women attaining Buddhahood without doubt also applies to you.

The image is that of a huge dying star, the Carina Nebula which is likely to cataclysmically pop.  From its remains, new stars will be made, which is the whole point of it all.   Nichiren then goes on to finish saying,

…if this were to be a lie, Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and all the Buddhas of the ten directions, who are Shakyamuni’s emanations, would be liars, great liars, evildoers, and those who deceive all living beings and cause them to fall into hell (…)  It would not be Nichiren’s lie; rather it would be the lie of all the Buddhas in the ten directions and three existences.

But consider: How could such a thing ever be?

I will explain this matter in detail when we meet.

I would love to had been at that meeting!

And in Another Letter to the Lay Nun Myoho…

ShunnedThree years later in another letter to the nun, Nichiren again encourages the nun.  Her loneliness has increased as she is shunned by her family – all for chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

In fact in this letter, we get a clue to Nichiren’s realisation that Buddhahood applies to everyone.  He paraphrases Shakyamuni’s disillusionment with the women of his time and at the same time praises the lay nun Myoho, when he says,

I have received your gift of a light summer robe.   You have been left behind by your deceased husband in a woman’s situation, and are separated from your relatives, too. You hear nothing from your one or two daughters, who are not to be relied on. Moreover, you are a woman who is hated by others because of this teaching. You are just like Bodhisattva Never Disparaging.

I had therefore thought that, though women would tarnish their names and throw away their lives on meaningless paths, they were weak at following the path to Buddhahood. But now you, born a woman in the evil world of the latter age, while being reviled, struck, and persecuted by the barbaric inhabitants of this island country who are unaware of these things, have endured and are propagating the Lotus Sutra.

She must have been a tough one.  She chanted the daimoku, probably just like in this YouTube video.

Conclusion

Operating Table

Operating Table

Nichiren does not explicitly say, to my eyes, what “The Importance of the Moment of Death” is.  But his meaning is clear.

The importance of the moment of death is to be chanting The Daimoku of The Lotus Sutra, even if it’s only in your head.

I did this when I had an operation a few years ago, just as I was going under the anaesthetic.  Of course I woke up later (like dah…), but my faith was paramount in my thoughts as I drifted off, though weirdly, I almost forgot…..  Here’s how.

I was completely empty of thoughts, or a bit shocked, as they prepared my hand for the drugs, maybe my face showed trepidation or something to the anaesthetist, but she said “most people try to think happy thoughts or faces at this time” – it was then that I remembered I’d previously promised myself many times to chant as I went under…. so I did… and just in time.

  • I continue.
  • Clifford Worley Quote

    Clifford to Clarence Worley – Click image for Quote

    I have a set drill in my head now that should I feel I’m a goner, to chant, even if it’s just inside my mind.

  • Is this mad?  Not for me.
  • Will I forget again?
  • Who can tell?  But though I quoted this at the top from Nichiren, I’ll repeat it again here…

It is the way of the world that whether one is wise or foolish, old or young, one never knows what will happen to one from one moment to the next.

“So quit fuckin’ around!”

– from True Romance (1993)


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Lifevantage Terminates and Sues Major Distributor

Introduction

Jason Domingo

Jason Domingo

Lifevantage (LV) announced that, at the unanimous recommendation of its Board of Directors, it has terminated for cause its relationship with Jason Domingo and Ovation Marketing Group, Inc., one of the Company’s lead distributors. The Company also announced that it has filed suit against Mr. Domingo and Ovation in Federal Court in the State of Utah for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets.  See typical market report.

The detail (see link below) shows that LV made $10.9m in 2010 and $208m in 2013 – this is despite the investigative activity into Protandim, LV’s main product, by LazyManAndMoney and others…!  Distributors were paid $91m from which $2.6m went to Domingo.  They say he was the lead distributor.

The Detail in the Lifevantage Case

The case details are on PACER – summarised here:

Case details:

2:13-cv-01037-DB Lifevantage v. Domingo et al

Dee Benson, presiding

Date filed: 11/19/2013

Date of last filing: 11/19/2013

Assigned to: Judge Dee Benson

Demand: $775,000

Cause: 28:1332 Diversity-Breach of Contract

Court Filings of Lifevantage v Jason Domingo

You can view the court documents (19 pages) on the attached file:

Lifevantage v. Domingo et al

 

Jason Domingo,President, Ovation Marketing Group, Inc.

Domingo has been in business for many years.  This letter of his to the FTC is dated May 28, 2006 and he states he’s been in network marketing for 14 years, meaning he started back in 1992.  Chillingly, he quotes a Dr Charles King that by 2016 one in two Americans will be involved in network marketing.  Thankfully, we don’t appear to be treading that path.

The Court Case

The letter of his makes good reading, especially with regard to the free market and in comparison to the Lifevantage court case….  In this, they claim he:

  • Has been laying the groundwork for setting up a competitive business
  • Disparaged the company
  • Is setting up a competitive business
  • Used his disposal of 90% of his stock as proof of these claims
  • Sent  an email to Randy Haag disparaging the company where he said “there is no statement too strong that speaks to the malfeasance of this management team.  Greed and ego has gripped my (sic) beautiful company by the throat.” – Stirring stuff indeed!
  • If Domingo had worked properly, they’d have paid out tens of millions more to distributors.

In total there are three main actions, divided into a myriad of clauses.

  • They want a 12 man jury public trial.
  • They want all costs.
  • They want $775,000

Malfeasance

Domingo used the word malfeasance to describe the LV management team.  I had to double-check the meaning.  It means:

The commission of an act that is unequivocally illegal or completely wrongful.

In detail, it means:

Intentionally doing something either legally or morally wrong which one had no right to do. It always involves dishonesty, illegality, or knowingly exceeding authority for improper reasons. Malfeasance is distinguished from “misfeasance,” which is committing a wrong or error by mistake, negligence or inadvertence, but not by intentional wrongdoing. Example: a city manager putting his indigent cousin on the city payroll at a wage the manager knows is above that allowed and/or letting him file false time cards is malfeasance; putting his able cousin on the payroll which, unknown to him, is a violation of an anti-nepotism statute is misfeasance. This distinction can apply to corporate officers, public officials, trustees, and others cloaked with responsibility.

Well. Most of what I have seen about LV fits into that. It’ll be interesting to see how this case pans out. I suspect it’ll not come to court.

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