It seems to me that the world powers have double agendas and speeches because nothing seems to be improving in the last few years in world relations. We are witnessing total chaos and selfish diplomatic relations where no one wants to give and are more focused on the gains- and the ones making the most of it is Daesh and other radical groups amongst all this turmoil.
I have always thought that most humans are greedy and selfish by nature and it runs in our DNA. Since the day of the cave man we always needed more food and shelter for our families than our neighbor and more recently more territory and resources for our countries. Nothing has changed, and as a consequence, what is going on with the terror attacks and threats is really alarming and frightening. I grew up in Peru in the 80’s and early 90’s and know the feeling of constant terror and intimidation as we had with the Shining Path and the MRTA.
As in many science fiction movies about our future in planet Earth, human kind might end up destroying each other for a few oil wells and in the near future for water and food. Human population growth is unsustainable unless there is adequate resource management between countries and a fierce determination to work towards planet unity and sustainability above all.
Events are escalating daily and all of this has already impacted the world as we knew it. Financial markets, travel, distrust, pandemics, fear, and instability looms our near future. We better be prepared and hope that rationale prevails over greed and control, for our own sake.
Let’s pray for peace and unity
Is the Niño Godzilla going to make its appearance this year? Apparently yes, the question is how strong it is going to be. The world’s climate is out of whack. Every day we are witnessing strong and cataclysmic events that were only known to have happened in the distant past. Looks like we are into the hot and drought and/or flush floods age-global warming- and this change is bringing major disruption to the planet’s climate and ecosystems.
The El Niño phenomenon is happening once again and for a while there’s been much speculation on its probable strength, but more recently as its presence is more than evident, the Niño has been named Godzilla for its magnitude. The name “El Niño” originates because this phenomenon usually appears towards the end of the year and used to coincide with Christmas time and the arrival of Jesus Christ. This name originates in South America from the impact of coastal currents in Peru and Ecuador.
A couple of days ago, the largest hurricane ever recorded in the eastern pacific struck Mexico on Friday night, it went from a tropical storm on Thursday to a Cat 5 by Friday evening in a few hours. Fortunately, it mellowed down as it made land fall thus minimizing destruction as of Saturday morning. This last summer has been one of many tropical storms and hurricanes in the eastern pacific something that only occurs every so many decades and one that is definitely related to el Niño. The waters around the equator are extremely warm as one can notice from the above map and the entire planets weather is altered. I reside in the Bay Area of Northern California and this last summer has seen plenty of beach days to the delight of beach goers. The usual foggy conditions did not occur regularly and the sun shined almost every week end at the coast with warm waters.
Because of these warm waters, the warmest I have ever felt in San Francisco since I moved to the Bay Area in 2001, have altered marine wildlife into different patterns. This last week a Great White shark was filmed feeding of a seal next to Alcatraz Island inside the San Francisco bay for the first time, in the same are that five days later a swimming completion was to take place-sketchy- and one distance that the prisoners like Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly residents of Alcatraz when it was a prison would have loved to cover to make an escape run only 1.5 miles distance to the mainland. In addition, increased shark attacks in the Hawaiian Islands and in the Eastern seaboard of the US this last summer. Sharks showing up in areas remote to their usual waters such as in Arica, Chile last week and cold water species disappearing and being replaced by tropical marine wildlife.
This El Niño event, which has been under observation for months now, still poises the question: How strong is it going to unfold? Scientists and weather people still don’t make the final verdict because it is too hard to predict. Let’s just hope that Mini Godzilla is the one that shows up and not angry Mama Godzilla, which could unleash massive destruction around the globe in the months to come.
Preparation is key in the next few months.
Diario Correo, Lima Peru
The agreement between Turkey and the US to allow the use of the two bases in Turkey for the US fighter planes is most likely the beginning of a new era and a game changer in the fight against ISIS. This agreement was reached after Turkey recently suffered first hand violent attacks in its territory and decided to join the fight against the terrorists groups that are threatening to spill into their territory from south of the border. After feeling the heat of violence they are ready to actively confront the regional threats and this barbaric trend of the extremist groups.
ISIS has expanded in the last few years like a cancer and so far has had much success regardless of some recent defeats. But the reality is that this extremist organization is led by professional and well trained people that their goals are to expand and govern states around the world-see attached article and map. This threat has to be dealt with and more sooner than later because of its rapid expansion.
In this week’s news, the country of Syria is already facing a facto partition; it took less than a week to see the impact of the Turkish-US agreement. It is for sure a game changer as I mentioned earlier. The ideal scenario is to rid Syria of Assad and stabilize the country after his fall but this will be once again a challenging task. First, to tumble him and second, if this happens, the power vacuum that is left behind as we’ve seen on other countries once the dictator falls will create immense chaos, but still a better situation than having him in power along with ISIS and other groups all fighting each other. The Turks are not fond of Assad either and once he falls it would be much easier to go after ISIS. In the meantime the plan is going after ISIS through Turkey and figuring out what to do later once the region starts to stabilize in Syria and Iraq.
Along with the bombings, intelligence will be the most important area to develop to minimize loss of coalition troops. Like in business, Location, Location, Location; in this warfare Intelligence, Intelligence, Intelligence, will be the way to go- obtain it with cash- to eliminate ISIS leaders and disrupt their operations with precise bombings and eliminating terrorist rats hiding in their holes, while minimizing civilian casualties as much as possible. This, complemented with special operations assaults to seal the deal, and slowly but surely the tide can be reversed even if it takes years but the civilized world has to be in the offensive-this problem is not going away. Unfortunately, according to the US department of defense, the recent trained forces that are being sent to Syria are not responding as planned, but they are getting better and larger in number and in the long run they will have an impact along with the other tactics.
It will be interesting to see now that changes are happening fast with this deal, how will the recent nuclear treaty with Iran will unfold. Iran is a provider for Assad and an ally to keep him in power. There is a conflict of interest here. Most likely Assad will be able to secure part of Syria for himself, cronies, and followers but is already losing some of its territory and new states may arise. I am completely amazed to the extent that Assad can go to remain in power regardless of human life, destruction of his own country, selfishness and stubbornness. The territories that he is losing are purposely being bombarded to annihilation so the people left behind won’t be able to survive in the ruins. This guy is now part of history as an evil individual and will rot in hell for his sins along others, for his crimes to humanity. Russia is also a supporter of Assad and Iranian ally, so will be interesting to see what happens next.
Four million Syrian refugees have fled the country and eight million people have been displaced within the country. This is a situation of unprecedented proportions and one that will take decades to sort out. Among all this suffering, two good Turkish people shared their fortune with some of these poor souls.
“The good will always prevail over the evil”
Grexit has been averted for now. Greece has accepted the terms of the EU and are harsher than the previous ones in the referendum of last week. The situation did backfire for them. After further consideration and outweighing consequences, both sides adapted their proposals and a deal was reached last Sunday. On Greece’s side, the situation is grim, with massive reforms coming their way to restructure the country’s finances and as always the poor and senior citizens will take the burden of the situation. Goods will cost more because of sales tax hikes, all underperforming public companies will be privatized, pensions will be lowered, and many other indicators will be adjusted to meet the terms of the bailout.
This is the third bailout in recent years. The EU and its main leader Germany, was not about to continue financing the good life of the Greeks. Since the introduction of the EU Commonwealth, the smaller economies-such as the Greek- took advantage of the riches that came their way with the creation of this economic block and did pretty much nothing to live within their means and just lived of the tourist industry-which is the main source of income alongside with some olive production- and not diversified to other productive activities. There is really no other big contributor for the economy and it is hurting them.
Germany and France which lead the block were fed up with the situation and particularly Germany said enough. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen as the bad girl in the movie but she had a double obligation, to its people and to the EU. The German people that are extremely austere and that live very much within their means-recently in a survey most Germans said that if they’ve win the Lotto they would save the money compared to other nationalities were would go on a shopping spree, that is how austere they are- said, do not bail any more.
After further consideration from both sides and after Putin’s expression that he would take care of the Greeks, an ultimatum was agreed for now. Putin was probably drooling like a wild beast before making a kill, because of what this opportunity represented for the Russian Federation to annex Greece, in addition of the recent annexation of Crimea by force. It would have been a midfield goal for him, but this was averted for now. Anything can happen really, Greece could receive more money and after not delivering the terms of this ultimatum they could turn to Russia in a couple of years, yet to be seen.
Greece probably also considered the immediate consequences of leaving the Eurozone, sure in the midterm they would’ve been able to somehow stabilize the situation, but in the short term it would’ve been chaos. Huge monetary depreciation- were money is worth less and less by the hour- rampant unemployment, suicides galore, bankruptcies, crime- you name it- and finally, if choosing the Russian option, becoming a 21st century colony of Russia.
The days of “La vida Facil” are over. It is not the Greeks peoples fault but of their leaders and public policies that have led them to this situation. This way of life has been going on for a while and people just went along for the ride and being good tourists hosts and having a good life in the Mediterranean. It is not Germany and France’s fault either. The EU cannot afford this type of economies anymore. The world’s economy cannot afford this type of monetary behaviors either, the easy days are over and volatility is immense now that all markets are interconnected.
* Athens is burning right now, looks like it is going to be a long and hard recovery.
“Greece fell asleep in their Olympic laurels, it is time to rise again like the Phoenix”
The Peruvian Moche culture has diverse evidence of wave riding during its existence between 100AD and 700AD, but because of additional evidence found in the northern Peruvian site, wave riding has been a regular practice since much earlier. There is evidence that dates back to 3,500 years ago. This is outstanding if you consider the creativity these people had to navigate the breakers of the Huanchaco beaches not only as a means of subsistence but recreational as well.
There is current debate to who rode waves first, the Polynesians or the early Peruvians. It is still subject of controversy, but Peruvian scholars keep finding evidence and are determine to prove that the Moche ancestors were the first civilizations to surf the waves. Some like to state that, the early Moche rode waves in rudimentary crafts and the Caballito de Totora-Little Reed Horses- and that the Polynesians were the first to surf on a wooden plank standing up.
Many Peruvian surfers, and some scholars, claim that wave riding in Peru goes back more than 5,000 years. Gabriel Prieto, of Yale University’s Anthropology Department, is somewhat wary of this claim, though the Huanchaco-born archaeologist has uncovered carbon-dated evidence that wave riding has existed in northern Peru for at least 3,500 years, long before even the Moche and Chimú. Any which way, both civilizations get credit for being the first in the Globe to be the precursors of this fascinating practice, now sport. Maybe, with the current research, in the not too distant future more evidence will come to light and will confirm current theories.
“First on Waves”, just like the Wright Brothers, “First in Flight” of 1903 in the soft coastal dunes of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina-“Pioneers”. Both activities have come a long ways. Surfing today has evolved thanks to amazing technology that has contributed to the sports development in terms of power and acrobatics- Aerials- and of riding giant waves assisted by a motor water craft- Tow Surfing. Showcasing here what power surfing and aerials are to what surfing is today, Jordy Smith of Republic of South Africa, #18 of 45 in the World Tour, surfing in California last winter. Riding the giant waves of Nazare, Portugal, Pioneer Garrett McNamara. Not only the surf lineup has male testosterone presence, but beauty, grace and power is also present- girls are shredding.
In Aviation, from that first flight in a rudimentary craft, we are on the verge of having commercial flights to space-$250,000 a pop- thanks to a few entrepreneurs that are developing the technology, and on the other hand we are travelling further and further away from Earth in planetary exploration and seeking new civilizations. The future holds fascinating stuff.
“Human kind creativity and innovation has no limits really”
It is positive to see how renewable energy is making its way into mainstream around the world. Like many alternative technologies, it takes some time to gain acceptance and the learning curve to run its course. New technologies have setbacks at their inception and costs are relatively high until economies of scale make it more accessible to a vast number of consumers. During this developmental time there are forces against the development of these technologies because of direct conflict with existing technologies. There is the fear from existing technologies of potential competition and possible displacement from the market place because of better yields and overall benefits that in the short/long run make the older technology obsolete or unable to compete. In the past, the introduction of the railway, electricity, air conditioning, aviation, telephone, bridges, automobiles, Fax, internet, etc. they displaced existing technologies and had to endure obstacles like political lobbying, negative media, price fixing, sabotage; anything to make them look inefficient and protect the status quo. This process has repeated itself many times in history with the emergence of something new and better.
Today, In the case of renewable energy, the evolution process has not been any different and after a decade of implementation there is tangible evidence of positive results. One of the reasons for having low oil prices today is because of alternative energies that have enabled countries, cities, towns and individuals, to use energies other than fossil fuels. This dramatic reduction in oil prices has benefited the economy and has broken a cycle of high prices, dependency, and huge profits for mega oil companies. The environment has benefited as well with less pollution. These technologies are on the increase in their respective markets and there is no turning back.
Solar-China is the largest manufacturer of solar panels but Germany is the largest producer of solar energy followed by China, Italy, Japan and the United States. In the United States California leads in solar power generation.
Wind-In Europe Germany, UK, Denmark, and Netherlands are leading the way in wind generation farms. They are reducing their dependency from Russian fossil fuels and other suppliers and have aggressive expansion plans. China and the United States lead per capita around the world.
EV Autos- The overall growth in the US during 2014 was over 20% compared to the previous year in number of units. The Nissan Leaf leads the list with 30,000 units sold, followed by the Chevrolet Volt with 18,800 and Tesla Modes S with 17.300 units.
(These indicators vary from report to report and in the way they are measured, but illustrate the point)
Creativity and Innovation drives human nature
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Speech movement at the University of California, Berkeley. This was a movement that change the course of how we express ourselves publicly and the liberties that we have today to comment on politics, social issues, and information flow. For the most part, today we can express ourselves in any way we want while in other parts of the world you can be harassed by government or institutions, go to jail, or even be sentenced to death for not following guidelines or rules. We have come a long ways and should not forget about milestones dates from our history.
This movement started because of student frustration for not having a say on academic agendas, political issues and civil right movements while on campus. It was lead by Mario Savio, Michael Rossman, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg, and others. One of the things to remember about the movement and many other movements of this type, is the courage of its leaders and the ability to improvise as they went. Many times things happen at the spare of the moment, and that’s were creativity and determination fuel the cause. One of the anecdotes of the summer of 1964, October 1st in particular, is when Jack Weinberg was tabling on campus on behalf of civil rights movements-at the time it was prohibited on campus- he refused to show his I.D. to campus police and was arrested. The police car in which he was going to be transported was surrounded by students and the car did not moved for the next 36 hours. The car’s speaker and ceiling was used by leaders of the movement to rally the crowd. Soon after this day, Mario Savio gave his famous, courageous and brilliant speech, which showcases the frustration and determination of the movement:
… But we’re a bunch of raw materials that don’t mean to be — have any process upon us. Don’t mean to be made into any product! Don’t mean — Don’t mean to end up being bought by some clients of the University, be they the government, be they industry, be they organized labor, be they anyone! We’re human beings! … There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious — makes you so sick at heart — that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.
After this, arrests and harassment to the movement continued for some time, but the university gave in at the beginning of 1965 and started easing restrictions. Many other movements continued, including the Vietnam War, but this movement in Berkeley was the starting point for many civil rights movements.