Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bandwagon Believers

Warren Buffet recently reiterated a simple truism re: Gold "bandwagon investors make their own Truth... for awhile". I have always extrapolated on such truisms to explore how far you can take them in understanding a deeper truth. Ie: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" could be broadly rephrased to suggest that "Beauty is in the I of the beholder... along with everything else." One's perceptions even as they are enhanced by technology are still limited by the narrow bandwidth of our human faculties and while we seek to arrive at fundamental conclusions we can rely on, they are forever to be limited by our simply not knowing all the variables and the changing condition of those variables.

Today's access to information over the internet is pretty much an unfiltered array of soapboxes, like this one, with every possible notion and nuance that such a broad spectrum of humanity can conjure up and yet, it is still limited by the level of skill one has in cross-referencing, verifying sources and the real work of researching a topic.

Getting back to "the beholder" I mean to say information from sources other than the internet, primarily ones own experience and observations. As I said, I rely on truisms more than long dissertations because I want to analyse for myself my more immediate experiential perceptions to understand what is actually observable and verifiable within my capacity to do so.

So if "bandwagon investors make their own truth", then I would naturally extrapolate from that that "bandwagon believers make their own truth" as well and if we bring that chicken home to roost we can see what we are up against in our local politics, particularly environmental changes and the general belief that close to $7,000,000 worth of Islands Trust bureaucracy is somehow protecting our environment without even the purchase of one acre of land to preserve. That increasing the budget on one hand and yet spending a further $400,000 in a navel gazing exercise to 'explore a trite policy statement' is somehow a a justifiable or efficient use of our tax dollars.

It all adds up to an extremism that we need to excoriate by seeking to contain The Islands Trust to their simple land planning mandate. Writing long reasoned letters to Trust Council is useless when they openly admit that they are simply playing a numbers game of counting the yeas and the neys as to whether the public is accepting or rejecting their proposed budget increases.

Needless to say, they should take that proposed $400,000 'policy statement discussion' and subtract it from their tax requisition and somehow continue to explore ways to trim their insatiable squandering of our tax dollars on this endless ideological fixation on environment and how it changes like every other aspect of the Universe we know and love.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weird Science

Be nice if these guys could get on the 'sane' page. I am talking about new age 21st century freakin' climatologists. It is more like we are witnessing the birth of a new religion with all the classic elements in a kind of tired recipe that most religions are founded on; guilt, wrathfull gods of nature, humanity's sinful ways, heathen deniers and a huge appetite for donations.

One minute you are reading "Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years (since 1997). The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age... Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, according to the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit", then the next news cycle and blogs galore - suddenly all those scientists are the bad scientists who are irresponsible and clueless.

From the public's non-scientific mindset and with access to this deluge of contradictory data, one wonders about 1 or 2 degree graphic charts expanded vertically to dramatically show some kind of change, any change at all. The so-called hockey stick graph goes higher depending on the proportionate use of graphical design accentuation... dare I say, I miss the days when you could trust science, even its theories. Now there seems an emotional fervour that does not instill much trust at all, in fact it is almost evolved to a faith based system of sorts since only the high priestscientists are supposedly 'in the know'.

Meanwhile, sadly a friend of mine sits out on the deck of a local pub imagining he is on the deck of the Titanic. Any disciplined religion or science that brings on that sort of hopelessness is surely suspect for its extremism.

Being only a virtual realist, I am not sure where that line goes too far over into despair, but it can't be healthy.

Solution: disconnect from the madness, pull the plug on your radio and TV, forget the 11:00 o'clock news blues and then, when you are left to your own resources, you shouldn't find anything quite so urgent as the subtle realization that you are dreaming!

Like now?...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pecuniary Interest versus Procedural Irregularities

In spirit I supported the Petitioners on behalf of taxpayers, however I was disappointed that the Petitioners themselves neglected to pursue the front and centre issue that a video appeared to show were procedural irregularities.

Rather the Petitioners seemed, from the judgement, to have prioritized inferring direct or indirect pecuniary interest and requesting disqualification. This kind of inference was noteably lacking in evidence or proof despite the structural aspects of the societies allowing for potential remuneration of directors who might one day be ex elected officials. The Judge needed evidence not inference.

Consequently, the judge could only go so far as to conclude in part that..."in these circumstances, the petitioners concerns are understandable. In the sphere of local government politics, it would be in everyone's best interests to ensure that future local government meetings follow properly transparent procedures". Earlier he found that our CRD director had been imprudent yet did not go so far as to say improper in a similar case. His final judgement was not particularly surprising.

Suffice to say that that acknowledgement and the Islands Trust's own "How to Stay out of Trouble" guidelines to conflict of interest issues are about the best we can expect coming out of the community addressing this important issue.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Are Smart Meters too Smart for their own Good?

Nary a change goes by the board on Salt Spring Island where there is not some extreme group protesting change, as if it were not the fundamental Operating System of the Universe. I think I preferred when it was Global Warming, at least that was tangible, but climate change? How innocuous can you get?

So I'll take two Smart Meters thanks. Why? because the state of artificial intelligence is an unreasonable fear and I fault BC Hydro for choosing such a loaded name for a simple upgrade. What would have been wrong with just saying everyone is getting a new Hydro Meter? People like 'new and improved'. Don't they know that people have an inherent fear of computers to begin with let alone claiming they have humanistic characteristics like intelligence or Smarts?

Anyway just thought I would mention that I would at least like the freedom of choice from my fellow islanders, given that they declared an undemocratically arrived at decision, island-wide ban without asking me. I am hoping that the wireless feature lets me more carefully see why my Hydro bill is where it is at. Too many electronics? Nope, I like to be warm in the winter and I don't like the acrid pollution of wood burning stoves that environmentalists oddly enough don't seem to have a problem with.

Incidently while visiting our friends on Kauai recently, Hydro was going for .45 cents a Klw... can you imagine? How does that compare with our mere .08 cents? The point being that heat or no heat they need the same operating budget. Anyway... looking forward to the future as always.

A Special Thankyou

Despite the recent court ruling which by rights should be more closely scrutinized, to all the Petitioners representative of a wide sampling of the community, once again, thank you for bringing this important issue of conflict of interest to the community's attention.

To the Islands Trust and 'Humphreys' too numerous to mention, thank you too, obviously this whole affair has had a constructive impact on policy with the recently released publication reminder for old and new Trustees - "How to Stay Out of Trouble". A detailed explanation of what conflict of interest is and isn't should now be amply clear enough even for future judges. It is surely recommended reading for any elected officials or society directors in general. Better late than never.

To all the secret or otherwise closed societies out there, I hope the next time you consider coming to the taxpayer-funded trough, that you do us all a favour and seek traditional public donations first to test the support validity of your cause and then most certainly recuse yourselves as directors from voting yourself funds if you are the ones in a conflict of interest situation. Again, refer to the Islands Trust publication above if you don't understand the subtler nuances of the legislation.

Paul Marcano