Mike Ault's Blog
Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.
Friday, January 11, 2013
In experiments with rats in high-density populations the incidents of psychotic and anti-social behavior in the rat populations soared. While the violence and behaviors in the inner-cites of places like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and London may be explained away through environmental stress due to overcrowding, Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut hardly fall into the super-dense population categories. What else can cause people to behave in ways that are considered inhumane and psychotic? One is brain-washing, either deliberate or accidental. In well documented cases using hypnotic suggestion and other techniques subjects, who normally would eschew violence in any form, were made to shoot, stab, blowup or in other ways harm other people, admittedly in a simulated environment, but the subjects didn’t know that it was simulated.
If you look at references about brain washing you will find they all utilize to some extent several key methods:
1. Drugs to make the subject more compliant and open to suggestion
2. Sensory deprivation
3. Sleep deprivation
5. Utilize a stressor
6. Repetition of key ideas, phases and concepts
One of the most prescribed drugs for pre-and-post adolescent children is arguably Ritilin. Ritilin blocks Dopamine uptake thus increasing the amount available. This blocking of Dopamine leads to enhanced concentration and ability to stay on task, it also makes the subject more compliant and open to suggestion. Of course Ritilin isn’t the only psycho-active drug used to control behavior, Prozac, Adderall, Concerta and several others are also used. This shows we meet the first of the key methods.
In the 1950-1970 timeframe most children played outdoors and spent very little time indoors watching TV or playing video games since video games had yet to be developed. Beginning in the 80s and now coming to full bloom most children spend an inordinate amount of time glued to the TV or video games, with the TV or computer becoming a de-facto electronic babysitter. Unfortunately this use of an electronic babysitter results in sensory deprivation as only sight and hearing are usually engaged depriving the children of the full immersion sensory input that was present in outside playtime. So now we have met the second key method.
With the breakdown of the family unit and most homes requiring both parents to work, rules such as bedtimes and other key constraints on behavior have become lax. Many children are not getting the needed number of hours of sleep because of this. This we have met the third method.
TV and video games (and other computer behaviors) are isolating. Some may argue that social computing such as Facebook, Twitter and other networks are opening communication, however, these technologies lack the honesty of face-to-face communication. The person on the other side of the virtual communication could be who they say they are or someone with an agenda using the virtual communication as a means of manipulation. So rather than providing sincere communication much virtual communication can fall under the heading of propaganda, lies and falsehoods leading to further isolation from reality if that is the primary means of communication. Video games can lead to complete isolation in a made-up world, I can testify the fact that before I recognized them as the time drain they are I would spend hours, isolated and alone, striving to get to the next level of a game. So we can also show we meet item 4 of our list.
Stressors are all around us, usually we are taught to deal with them in non-violent ways. Bullying, verbal abuse and other stressors are all present to some degree in many schools causing further isolation of specific individuals. Individuals are isolated because they are different or refuse to fit in. This of course drives up real isolation and feelings of resentment making that person self-stressing in the brain-washing cycle. The feeling that everyone is against them is reinforced, sometimes over years of time, especially when ill-conceived zero-tolerance policies punish both bullies and victims equally.
Finally, what ideas or concepts are being driven into the conscious and sub-conscious brains of our children, especially those addicted to violent video games? Desensitization to violence and killing and a complete amoral attitude toward the taking of life is what most violent video games teach. Most first-person-shooters involve killing everyone who isn’t a part of your group. Now, as a child I played army, cowboys and Indians, and other “violent” games, but the guns didn’t shoot, there wasn’t splattered gore, severed limbs and carnage over and over again. At the end of the game when I was a child we all were still friends and no one was dead. We knew we were playacting with those army, cowboy, spaceman and other games and we weren’t isolated, drugged, sleep and sensory deprived and didn’t play the games for several hours each day with no other play.
Essentially we are drugging children into a receptive state, allowing them to be sensory and sleep deprived, overloading their visual and auditory senses with images of death and violence and then wondering why they behave like monsters.
Do all children exposed to video games become monsters? No, of course not. However there are a certain percentage of individuals that with the combination of the five factors mentioned will become a killer. Now, it could be argued that even without the five factors some percentage of individuals have a predilection for becoming a psychopath. In many cases, the warning signs were there to tell us the individual needed help, but in our society of political correctness we tend to overlook behaviors that would have thrown up alarm bells before suing each other became the national pastime.
So, what is the fix? For some children who are true psychopaths there is nothing you can do to stop their destructive spiral other than isolating them from the rest of the world. However, by enforcing discipline, teaching self-worth, ensuring children get a majority of their play from interactive sources external to TV and computers and eliminating or restricting TV and video game play are a start. We must also break the narcissistic me-first, entitled behaviors so prevalent in todays society. We should require strict reviews by multiple Doctors before placing children on psycho-active drugs. We need to teach conflict resolution so we can reduce the chances of violence being the only outlet for destructive impulses. In addition in schools and other social settings bullying must be mitigated and inclusion of children from diverse backgrounds taught.
If we don’t get a handle on this violence generating brainwashing I am afraid our society as a whole may face a lost generation of children sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and misguided experiments in child rearing.
Monday, June 18, 2012
I got to spend Father's day canning with my oldest daughter. I like to cook but had never done canning before. Canning is the process of preparing foods for long term storage by boiling them to death. First you prepare what it is you want to can, it should meet certain requirements to be either water bath canned (the easiest) or pressure canned (the hardest). We just did water bath canning. First you prepare the food you want to preserve, such as fruit preserves, vegetables, etc. usually this involves some type of heating for a specific period of time, for example, for the green beans we used for Dillibeans you steamed them for 3 minutes. You then prepare the brine solution, usually a combination of water, white vinegar and spices (which of course you boil).
Then you boil the jars and lids to sterilize them. You then add the prepared vegetables or fruit to the jar, pour in the brine, a bit of canning salt and crisper, and any additional seasoning, for example the dillibeans had some dill and a clove or two of garlic in each jar. The you seal the jars and pop them into a boiling water bath for 10 minutes or so. The boiling water sterilizes the contents of the jars and forces a bit of the air out by heating it, then when you remove the jars from the bath and they cool, the contraction of the contents and whatever air is left pulls the lid to the jar down tight, sealing it in a germ, mold and bug free environment until you open them.
The Wasabeans (which used Wasabe and red pepper for spaces) and dillibeans described above will be ready in about 2 weeks, I can't wait! I am enjoying the various Strawberry jam, butter and other sweet things right now. All in all a very enjoyable day with my daughter.
Monday, May 21, 2012
It is amazing how when we look at the tax records of some of these very rich people we see that they don't give much to charity. Now, don't get me wrong, many of the ultra-rich give a great deal, but many don't even give the 10% they can claim on income taxes. If they don't want to give the money they say they want to right now to the government, how about giving it to charity?
Maybe from now on the government should immediately impose whatever tax these folks say they should have to pay on 100% of their income regardless of source. I'll bet the canaries would be singing different tunes if this were to happen.
Something tells me these rich folks have already come up with a tax avoidance scheme that would shield their incomes such that they won't pay any more than they do now even if the tax rate was set to 75%. All of a sudden, as soon as their incomes were taxed at 75%, their apparent income would drop to the point where they would not pay any thing more in taxes than they already are.
Call me cynical I guess. As soon as some one says "Go ahead, tax me more" you can bet they have something planned to defeat that tax.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Before I start let me say I am a believing Christian who has been born again and I believe in Jesus. Now with that out of the way, let me say I also believe in evolution, dinosaurs, the earth being 4.5 billion years old and lots of other scientifically proven facts and theories.
The creation myth was told to early man by his elders as a way to explain the universe and how we got here. It was limited by the knowledge available at the time. The myths were handed down for generations before they were written down. Even if they started out as truth, by the time they were codified they became a far different story than when they started.
My great-grandmother boarded a ship in Denmark as a little girl with her mother and sailed across the Atlantic to America, sometime between the time of sailing and the time she (my great-grandmother) arrived in Iowa, her mother passed away leaving her alone except for cousins. Now I have told this story to my children who may tell it to their children, etc. on down the generations. How many of the facts do you think will make it even to the third generation removed from the actual event?
Now imagine a group of people get ostracized from their tribe who reside in a very fruitful area. Perhaps they were kicked out because they knew something they shouldn't about the leaders or perhaps because they came to a different set of beliefs. So we have a group of people that were kicked out of a paradise for obtaining knowledge. After several re-tellings and answering the inevitable "what were their names Mommy? Who were they daddy?" it becomes a single couple who fled a paradise because they gained knowledge and eventually evolves into a creation myth of a magical garden where they were cast out because they ate the forbidden fruit of knowledge. Maye they were cast out from their tribe because they wanted to wear clothes, who knows? Little things like "Who did Cain and Able marry" and "Where did the people Cain went to live with come from" seem to be glossed over, sorry, either the Bible is the whole truth as some say, or it is only part of the truth and much has been forgotten or left out, it can't be both ways.
The parallels between the universe creation myth and what scientists say really happened only differ by the timeline.
I believe the entire issue with translation errors has been dealt with ad-nausium and I will refer the interested parties to any number of good websites or books about that subject.
The Bible's truths are the rules given show us how to interact with each other and how to live a Godly life. There are stories, myths and facts in the Bible and we must constantly strive to understand the differences. So many people want to limit God to a description written by sheep herders and fishermen 2000-6000 years ago, something simple people can understand. I prefer my God to be richer, fuller and more mysterious than those simple people could ever understand.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
With home schooling you can spend time with the child when it is convenient to learn, indeed the entire day can be a series of learning events. My 5 year old grandson has read a book to me, does basic math and is on the verge of basic algebra. He and his three year old sister are also learning Spanish and other more complex topics through a CO-OP of other home schooling parents. I even helped a little with a science lesson but I need to do more, I just wish they, or we lived closer, it is a 60 minute drive to go visit. Of course, he is also more computer savvy and likes his learning games that he is allowed to play 30 minutes a day.
At a recent consignment sale Michelle picked up a lap harp and a whole pile of music for it, now Mikie loves to play that as well and does a bang-up job too! Once he develops a bit more hand strength and coordination she plans to start him on guitar and dulcimer, he already loves to sing. I guess I need to dust off the woodworking tools and build him a Dulcimer of his own. Of course I have also seen a place where you can get a kit that has cardboard and wood that you can use build your own Dulcimer, maybe he and I can do that as a project once he is old enough.
With all the troubles we hear about in schools these days, I am really starting to like the home-school option, combined with a good CO-OP with other like-minded parents the kids can be taught more, get socialized and in many places even opt to play on regular school's sports teams should they desire.
With home schooling Mikie and his sisters (Hannah and Lily) get to spend lots of quality time with Michelle, and learn to help with home chores. They help tend the chickens, help with house work, and Mikie really likes helping his Dad with the various maintenance tasks around the house. The kids also get plenty of outdoor playtime. One of their gifts this last year partially from us was a really nice wood play set outside where they can climb, swing and role play to their hearts content.
I am looking forward to helping with science and math as Mikie and his sisters progress. Of course it won't be long I fear before they start asking questions I can't answer!
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Anyway, the average for my mile walk so far is about 20 squirrels now how that compares to national averages I don't know, but they seem happy and healthy and are enjoying the bumper crop of maple seeds this this year. I also watch for interesting birds and anything interesting my neighbors may or may not be doing. To tell you the truth, so far my neighbors are fairly boring, the usual yapping dogs, odd looking cats and over done yards. With the kids out for spring break (remember before the PC era it was called Easter break?) I don't even get to see the latest clothing fads as I pass them at the bus stop.
On my walk this morning I saw a relative rarity (no, not a teenager up before noon) I saw an albino squirrel in the wild. White fur, pink eyes, pale skin, the entire albino genome in a compact package. Of course small albino animals of any ilk are rare because being different makes them stand out from the rest of the herd (or is that a dray or scurry for squirrels?) and makes it hard to hide from predators.
I am sure there is a cosmically important lesson there but I haven't had enough coffee to decipher it from the background noise. Anyway, the brain may actually be awake enough no face AWR and Statspack report analysis now (for those not aware, Oracle databases use these to tell me what is wrong with them) so I will close for today, time to rejoin the scurry!
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
The Legislative creates the laws and sets the budget. The Executive has veto power over the laws made, sets policies, deals with foreign powers, etc. and the Judicial makes sure the other two follows the constitution and sets precedents used by lower courts to judge the constitutionality of the various states laws and other issues.
Now we have a POTUS who feels the the Supreme court shouldn't overturn his favorite law because they aren't elected. He actually said it was unprecedented which means that the Supreme court has never overturned laws passed by the legislative branch. As a point of order over 158 laws passed by the Legislative branch were found unconstitutional. It is the job of the Supreme court to overturn unconstitutional laws. Supposedly the POTUS is a constitutional scholar, I wonder which constitution?