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Opinion: A Word On Today's Society

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  • Opinion: A Word On Today's Society

    Phoronix: Opinion: A Word On Today's Society

    I recently read Michael Larabel's article concerning the Chernobyl disaster, as well as the comments that followed it, and, after writing the text I felt I wanted to write, I would like to share it - and to know your thoughts. It is inspired in the accident and its consequences, but covers a broader field: society and its individual dimension - which, in my opinion, being the first source of all the problems, is usually avoided, being the discussions and the treatments targeted instead to its symptoms. I would like to bring attention to it again...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTY3MzU

  • #2
    Highlighted words in an article, for once.

    It slightly sounds like the guest is talking against Michael…

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    • #3
      If you want to save energy you must first analyze where it is mostly consumed. I doubt that supermarkets consume so much power. Datacenters probably consume more, therefore you should stop using Internet to stop supporting them. And if you will not go to casino than you will sit at home and consume some power there (light, computer).

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      • #4
        I agree that being personally responsible for your energy consumption is the best way to make a difference. I know quite a few folks around me that always talk talk about the evil oil companies at the coffee shop, then they get in their truck and drive home to their natural gas heated house! Change starts in your own life.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Calinou
          It slightly sounds like the guest is talking against Michael…
          That was not my intention at all.

          Originally posted by Szzz View Post
          If you want to save energy you must first analyze where it is mostly consumed. I doubt that supermarkets consume so much power. Datacenters probably consume more, therefore you should stop using Internet to stop supporting them. And if you will not go to casino than you will sit at home and consume some power there (light, computer).
          Supermarkets and casinos were only examples. I haven't got any numbers, but I bet that, if we added shops, commercial centres, advertisements, and the rest, they would make a very big amount of energy. And, by the way, the Web is, as you mention it, another field for quotidian irresponsible. Computers, in general, host more holes than one would imagine. It may sound stupid, but the only solution is to stop using them, or to use them as less as possible - that's what I do. The problems of technology, the shadows behind it, is that, while being so "wonderful" and having such a potential to improve our lives, hides slavery; nowadays, it is impossible to study everything, so there's no other option than to rely. If we were to be prudents, we would wait until we can truly assimilate all these changes that technology queues, keeping ourselves from them as a safety measure.

          A word on pretended needs. Remember yourselves several years ago, in the "epoch" when there weren't these "smartphones". You didn't know them. Probably, you were as happy as you're now, if not more. And nowadays, almost everyone considers those devices necessary. Of course, the same could be said of forks or hammers, but neither forks nor hammers take such attention. So: be careful. Don't trust those that appeal to "progress" and the "need for technology", because they're just trying to maintain this crazy order for their benefit. You don't really need it - it has just stolen freedom from you.

          It's interesting to see how unhappy people are -in general-, despite all the things they have. Resorting to Nietzsche and Hesse, people are only refusing what would truly satisfy them -culture, I believe-, taking false refuge in all sorts of things.

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          • #6
            Thanks Kalrish. I always get misty-eyed when geeks go idealistic. Joke. I do, and also recognize your advocacy of something a bit beyond coffee-house idealism. Obligatory bumper sticker on the obligatory dogged-out mid-80's Volvo wagon at this month's obligatory Democratic county convention: "Get involved -- the world is run by those who show up!"

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            • #7
              If you seek to be true humans, beware of your actions. Be honest in every small sphere of your lives, and you'll be walking insignias of true freedom.
              Do you want a conclusion? Well, if you do, you'll be disappointed: The truth is in you. In each of you.
              PERSON as a fiction by itself cannot "exist” nowhere else other than within a STATE, which is also a fiction by itself.
              From standing on some geographical area maybe it would be possible to formulate the right of a man to join the certain society, but the obligation on this never and under any circumstances. In addition, if on these basis the society does not allow its member to leave, then it is neither free, nor a society.

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              • #8
                I disagree with the article. While there are many ways one can reduce their personal energy usage, and certainly there are a great number of ways that many large businesses can become more energy efficient; this does not solve the problem.
                When a new piece of technology becomes commonplace, it changes the conditions required for an individual to survive. 100 years ago, cars were not absolutely necessary and many people still traveled by horse. In the modern world however, there are many places where owning a vehicle is a necessity. The point is, people are not using more energy out of choice. It is a symptom of living in the present that people must travel long distances in gas-powered vehicles, communicate and perform work through computers, refrigerate their food, use lighting fixtures to work at odd times in the day, etc. As you mention in the article, it seems too much focus is on debating what source of energy will be used rather than how much will be used. That is the way it has to be though; regardless if everyone in the world became more energy conscious that won't stop the world trending towards more energy usage. It can't be stopped anymore than the progress of technology can be stopped.
                If there ever was a time when people should be debating what energy source to expand on, it is now.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Szzz View Post
                  If you want to save energy you must first analyze where it is mostly consumed.
                  Why? This is as stupid as saying you shouldn't bother curing the common cold if you can't cure cancer and AIDS as well. Or like saying you're not really helping by giving to charity unless you give everything you own. Every little bit helps. Cynicism doesn't.

                  We don't have to give up everything we enjoy to bring our personal energy consumption down to more sustainable levels. Just do what you can. Switch to more efficient led lighting and maybe schedule a personal "Earth Hour" a couple of times a week like we do. Prefer local produce to imported stuff. Use public transport and maybe walk to the corner shop instead of driving. Turn off that TV you're not watching and that second monitor you're not actually using at the moment. As a consumer, buy from businesses you see making an effort (but do not buy into the ever-popular greenwashing bullshit). You don't actually lose anything and you still contribute.

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                  • #10
                    Spoken like a true tyrant

                    a broader field: society and its individual dimension - which, in my opinion, being the first source of all the problems
                    Of course, blame the individual. Dictators have been blaming individuals for thousands of years, starving them, throwing them into ovens, gassing them, mass graves, serfdom and servitude as far as the eye can see.

                    The irony is that Chernobyl was built not by a free people, it was built by a tyrannical communist thug regime that built zero controls and safeguards into it because *GASP* they like all dictatorships do not care about the individual.

                    This article isn't thoughtful, its pathetic. Dictatorship caused the problem - collectivism is the source of all evil - and the individual is who takes the blame.

                    The individual is not problem, the individual is the solution to the problem.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Szzz View Post
                      If you want to save energy you must first analyze where it is mostly consumed. I doubt that supermarkets consume so much power. Datacenters probably consume more, therefore you should stop using Internet to stop supporting them. And if you will not go to casino than you will sit at home and consume some power there (light, computer).
                      I don't think that's right. Computers are remarkably power-efficient; a single incandescent light bulb often consumes more than an idle PC, and the major power draw is the screen, which needs the energy to generate light.

                      On the topic, as an ecology student, I have to say that I disagree with the article on that the power draw is increasing due to people using more and thus we can go back. There are several ideas about how to solve the ecological crisis, and the "going back" view is one of them, but it's not a credible view. We could throw away all the technology and go live like in medieval times, and it would only make everyone less happy. It wouldn't actually help the environment as much, because technology also brings efficiency. With today's population growth, we absolutely cannot afford such a loss of efficiency.

                      Cutting down on unnecessary, waste usage is something we could realistically do, yes, but it's a gradual shift. It's also something that is actually happening as we speak (and if World War III doesn't start, it should continue). A hundred years ago nobody thought about such things, while nowadays people are markedly starting to realise that energy saving, along with other environmentally-friendlier things like recycling, is important. It can be seen in the changing laws (like the European Union banning incandescent light manufacturing and now about to ban halogen bulbs as well), changing attitudes of everyday people (cashiers actually asking people if they want a plastic bag instead of just automatically giving one etc.). And everyone can indeed participate in this shift (albeit the biggest effect is gained through laws and education, the latter to make sure people understand why the former are needed).

                      Changing the economy could help, but we don't know a model which would work better than what we have. Communism is perfect – in theory; in nobody tried to game the system, everyone would be happy, but due to humans being selfish goats it doesn't work in practice. Capitalism is more about making it hard to game the system, but it's an imperfect system from the get-go, mostly built around increasing consumption (which today is bad, because we don't have the resources to do that any more). It's also fairly dated, not that well suited to the current virtual goods and whatnot. The system in Star Trek could be a preview of what is to come (3D printers producing all the goods and therefore no real goods needed; money eliminated, everyone working to become known, famous, satisfy curiosity or to help humanity as a whole), but it probably also wouldn't work due to being too perfect. Same with political systems – democracy is perfect, but it also assumes everyone has perfect information and can vote; dictatorships are the opposite, you have to hope the dictator knows what he's doing, but if he does, then it works better under imperfect conditions. And parliaments are the middle ground between the two, people vote for who they think know what they're doing (often times it happens that they do not, or try gaming the system).

                      So with regards to the economy, perhaps it just needs revising. Changing some priorities, defining new patterns, that sort of thing. And it should be gradual. Which might mean it's happening already (Kickstarter is a good step in that direction). So I'm pretty hopeful about this, too.

                      So if we have a problem, and things are changing for the better, everything just comes down to time and black swans. Is the change happening quickly enough? Maybe, maybe not, we can't tell from where we are at the moment. "Enough" is also subjective. We can often calculate some of that (with climate change and such), but black swan events can happen and throw everything out of balance. If the war did start, suddenly we would have a much harder time meeting those deadlines; unless we'd get a counter-swan and someone would invent cold fusion for military purposes, which would then solve the energy demand problem...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by halfmanhalfamazing View Post
                        The individual is not problem, the individual is the solution to the problem.
                        The individual is the problem [B]and[B] the solution. No system will solve anything if each one hasn't solved it by itself. You argue that I meet the dictator profile; I say you already live in a dictatorship. Yes, it's hidden behind ideals and democracy, but the majority is anyway driven as if it were under the will of a dictator, because it's an unthinking majority[1]. Is that the freedom you were talking about?

                        All dictatorships are bad, true. However, isn't it equally bad, if not worse, to pretend freedom while people's will is buried under technology and entertainment? The only difference between our game and the Romans' circus is that our victims are not dying in front of us.

                        Lastly, do you believe there are controls here? Do you have any warranty? Don't you think economic liberalism offers way more room for cost mitigation via security supression? What you see is a fiction, a terrible lie that will end in tragedy.

                        [1] Taken from the song "The Unthinking Majority" of Serj Tankian

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by halfmanhalfamazing View Post
                          Chernobyl was built not by a free people, it was built by a tyrannical communist thug regime that built zero controls and safeguards into it because *GASP* they like all dictatorships do not care about the individual.
                          Hi, Paul Joseph Goebbel, great to meet you. Did you survive in Antarctica using UFO salvation device or cloned? BTW, please bomb few more contries into middle age, as current TV serials become too boring, no drive. Georgia or Ukrain maybe? Use force, choose yourself. Carefully choose, with all data you collect looking mails, phone, and try to use ecologic pure bomb components, remember, you are civil regime ! And, just as we all there, when you decide to return United States public debt. Debt is so nice, lets all world work for you.
                          Last edited by storm_st; 04-27-2014, 02:15 PM. Reason: spelling

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by halfmanhalfamazing View Post
                            Of course, blame the individual. Dictators have been blaming individuals for thousands of years, starving them, throwing them into ovens, gassing them, mass graves, serfdom and servitude as far as the eye can see.

                            The irony is that Chernobyl was built not by a free people, it was built by a tyrannical communist thug regime that built zero controls and safeguards into it because *GASP* they like all dictatorships do not care about the individual.

                            This article isn't thoughtful, its pathetic. Dictatorship caused the problem - collectivism is the source of all evil - and the individual is who takes the blame.

                            The individual is not problem, the individual is the solution to the problem.
                            I don't agree with the bit you quoted, but I also disagree with you. The thug regime wasn't communist. They pretended to be, yes, but that doesn't make it true. Lenin was the actual communist; it just so happened that probably nobody else around him was, they just went with that to gain more in personal gains. Lenin did try to go the whole way, he even removed currency, but then everyone saw that the plan wasn't working – drivers simply refused to drive, because they were offered to be given food and other necessities in any case; but the producers of food also refused to produce food, because they were offered transportation in any case. If everyone did believe in the idea, then it all would have worked out, both drivers and food producers would continue working. However, the mentality was totally not there. So he had to back off and start socialism, whose goal was to make the society ready for communism. It never reached the goal. Note that I'm from a post-soviet country, so here we know the details fairly well.

                            That all had nothing to do with the political situation, aside from the fact that it was a convenient excuse for dictators to sweep some things under the rug. After all, Nazi Germany was capitalist, very much so, and yet the political situation there was identical. So yes, dictatorships caused problems, but collectivism has nothing to do with it. Note that Eastern societies are traditionally collectivist, they often value the community over the individual, and they live more sustainably than the individualists in the West (it just so happens that some other traditions there demand a lot of children, so they have their own problems with that).

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                            • #15
                              OMG.
                              1. The cause of the accident at Chernobyl was human error. Simply they turn off security system and RMBK is for military use.
                              2. UN report about chernobyl says only 100 deaths are associated with failure.Most people have no idea what happened there. Today you can take trip there and there is less radiation as in Paris. History knows bigger failures example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster
                              3.Only ignorant likes greenpeace members may argue that the action like hour for earth are good. And yes i'm electrical engineer.

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