Thane Pullan

Thane Pullan
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Homophobia and Racism, solvable or not?

Prior to the passing of the equal marriage bill in New Zealand I had a quite an interesting conversation with a friend he was saying that it was practically pointless and won't solve homophobia etc.

I disagree entirely that it is pointless but he has a point. The civil rights act hasn't stopped racism after 50 years, which makes the idea of equal marriage being a magic bullet crazy. I don't think many people think this. Whether homophobia will completely go away, I doubt it, but things, over time have and will get better. Take racism for example: People are not literal slaves now, people have poor education, low paid jobs and live in poverty. This is partly due to being denied opportunities and also the accessibility of additional educational assistance ie well off families can afford to hire tutors. It is also a fact that hungry kids don't learn at the same rate. Have things gotten better? Yes. Has the problem gone away?

Absolutely not. By the way poverty is one of the main drivers of crime, which also results in less job opportunities as people aren't willing to hire criminals. There's also racial profiling by police and there was a very recent story of a white prom being held in Georgia.

I am not sure what causes racism other than ignorance and stupidity. The causes of homophobia are a bit different, you have the religious right sprouting their nonsense and also some closeted homosexuals struggling with their sexuality which makes them lash out at other homosexuals. I was kind of one before I came out almost six years ago. I was also a full time nerd and didn't see anyone, so no harm done. The religious angle will lessen over time, as well as the "homophobic homosexual" angle as more and more people get comfortable at coming out. Part of this has to do with legal acceptance and visibility which results in snow ball effect on general acceptance.

It is however important to examine society constantly, there's still problems, including in the GLBTI community with the acceptance of feminine gays etc. Perhaps society's problems can't really be solved.
Posted at 28/12/2014 08:54:42 UTC 0 comments

How to solve climate change

Something must be done about climate change, we're running out of time. Fortunately governments across the world are introducing carbon reduction legislation, unfortunately this may not be enough with the upcoming industrialization of countries such as India etc.

Telling corporations to reduce carbon emissions has not been particularly effective in the past. The Kyoto Protocol was practically ignored. I don't think that this an effective course of action. Not only do Oil companies rally against climate change legislation but they fund organizations to spread misinformation to the public about climate change and buy up media like newspapers so they can get them to not cover climate change. Big Oil/Mining won't give up their profits and it's pointless to expect them to. It is also not effective to turn it into a marketplace with the Emissions Trading Scheme/Cap And Trade. In my opinion this is absolutely pointless and doesn't solve anything. All you're doing is moving money around. Corporations can also just pass costs on to consumers, I don't think that this is very effective in solving the problem.

I strongly believe that global warming requires a technological solution. We're not going to solve this otherwise. Asking corporations to reduce emissions is not working. The answer has to be technology, specifically carbon sucking technology. We can already imitate trees with 1,000 times more power. We should build these on a large scale, it could make a difference. Other solutions could involve carbon capture but as I understand it's both difficult and expensive to store carbon in large amounts. One thing that I need to stress is technology always improves so while it may not be viable now it could be viable if enough research goes into it. Perhaps we just need to find alternative ways of dealing with carbon. As climate change gets worse, I'll be highly surprised if we don't resort to the solutions I outlined. The sooner we do this, the better.
Posted at 28/12/2014 08:51:45 UTC 0 comments

My thoughts on The Zeigiest Movement

Let's talk about the Zeitgeist Movement. The Zeitgeist Movement is basically automating everything so nobody has to work. At first it sounded crazy, then I warmed to the idea after the third movie came out. Now a conversation with a supporter has kind of turned me off, but I think that their ideas are still praise worthy. I just disagree with the way they go about it, and, thinking about it as a write this, they have attributes of a cult.

I love the idea of skyscraper farms, self driving cars and automating every part of manufacturing so goods and services will be generated automatically. However this poses problems with non renewable resources and land. An answer for this is "Some people will want to be on top, however other people wouldn't mind being on bottom", which is a leap of faith.

Another common criticism is if nobody worked nothing would improve. I disagree, I know if I don't do something constructive I get bored and depressed. However in a world with realistic sex robots (eventually) maybe I can live with not being constructive. However not everyone is motivated by the same things, some people do actually want to make better for people and even if the rest don't, things will still improve. Some of the technological progress hasn't necessarily been inspired by profit. This requires a different mindset. People today crave for wealth and success. This has to change. There is also a satisfaction with oneself by people who work for a living followed by contempt for people who don't. This has to change. Also this mindset can make people idiots! Some people would rather vote for a party that would punish beneficiaries rather than one that reduces unemployment. If unemployment is reduced there will be less people needing welfare therefore the ratio of your taxes that is spent on the welfare system would go down. Apparently some people are too stupid too understand this.

I would have left things here a month ago but a conversation with a Zeitgeist supporter really annoyed me.

He refuses to vote in the US presidential elections because it would "legitimize the system". This is such a stupid position. The system is already legitimate, a few thousand people not voting does absolutely nothing to change things. If you are not using your voting power to vote for the lesser of the two evils, your are only helping the worst party. The two parties are not the same, this is an overly simplistic view, although they may be extremely similar on many issues. If you don't like what's being offered, get involved, put up your own candidates etc. Not voting and just hoping things will change will accomplish nothing, and furthermore your inaction becomes part of the problem.

Why I say that The Zeitgeist Movement has cult like attributes is you basically have a leader that is promising a divine future, encouraging people to not go with the \'system". These are attributes of a cult. I'm not necessarily calling The Zeitgeist Movement a cult. I also note that there is no clear path other than just hope that people change their ways, the equivalent of offering continuous hope without actually doing anything productive. Believing that the attitudes that humanity's attitudes as a whole will change also requires a giant leap of faith. Personally I'm not sure that I can subscribe to this belief.

Upon further reading, their monetary history seems to be sketchy, with misquotes etc. Thinking about it, a red flag was them saying that 9/11 was an inside job, which I don't believe is true. Though the mainstream explosion theory is just plain crazy. No explosion was necessary for the planes to come down.

Conclusion: This is an odd position. Originally I was going to write this from a more supportive position however I have modified my views very recently, as recently as today. I am still very keen on the idea of using science and technology to automate nearly everything, but I do recognize the problems. Additionally I view some parts of the movement as being counter-productive and to learn that the films were creative with facts is really a turn off. I support the scientific ideas behind The Zeitgeist Movement, but not the people behind it.
Posted at 28/12/2014 08:49:02 UTC 0 comments