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I finally got around to watching this yesterday and it was immensely powerful for me in understanding the human history surrounding slavery, racism, women, cruelty, survival, etc.. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in expanding their awareness regarding such things.

The mini-series is free to watch from the CBC website, there are 6 episodes, each is about 50 minutes in length.

I found the main character to be a huge inspiration. Her strength of spirit and determination given the struggles and circumstances she faced are a testament to the idea that change is an option. We can all learn much from Aminata Diallo. :)

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Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 10:33 AM PST

“Their minds can’t be changed.”

by jbalazs

That statement is made based on a belief system. It is not a universal truth by any stretch of the imagination. It’s patently false on its face and we prove that to ourselves each and every day. We change our minds all the time. I changed my mind half a dozen times over the past hour trying to decide if I would write this diary or not!

So this brings about the question:

If that statement is patently false, then why do so many people continue to believe it’s true? What’s the worst that can happen if minds can be changed?

With your permission, I would like to share my thoughts on that question below the orange curly-cue.

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If the world stopped burning fossil fuels for energy RIGHT NOW and carbon emissions came to a full stop, we would survive as a civilization. It would take decades, perhaps even centuries, for Mother Earth to begin correcting herself and we would still face climate change disasters in the short term as the planet would continue to warm based on the amount of warming gases that are already in the atmosphere, but humanity and civilization as we know it would likely survive. Right?

What if we came to a full stop in 5 years? How would we fare? Not as well compared to stopping today but we could still prevent a full on extinction event within that time frame. We can do it. It is entirely within our reach via technology available now to power the planet exclusively with solar and wind power, yet we just sit back and "wait" for the powers that be to do it for us.

I have news for you: if we wait for them to save us, we are most certainly doomed.

So what exactly is preventing a full on switch to green energy sources? I see four main barriers:

1. The choke hold the fossil fuel industry has on governments around the world restricting political will. They have the financial and political power. We don't.
2. The vast majority of humanity has been lulled into a false sense of security and are apathetic (thanks again primarily to the PR machine of the fossil fuel industry using their wealth to promote climate denial and ensuring the ignorance of the populace).
3. Costs in dollar terms.
4. Fear and resignation from those who recognize the problem but are convinced they don't have the power to change it.

Until six months ago, point 4 was my excuse and SolarCoin gave me hope and determination about a potential path forward that holds within it the solution to overcome points 1 and 2 with order instead of chaos. It was just a glimmer of hope but one small spark in the darkness is sometimes all it takes to breathe life into a vision.

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I have been a member of the DKos community since 2004 and I have participated here in fits and bursts over the past decade. My activity here has tapered off in recent years but I still visit the site often to get caught up on news that I find relevant to my view of the world. I particularly enjoy the many posts here related to climate change as they tend to be factual and honest, two traits I respect a great deal!

I will admit that when one is factual and honest about climate change, it becomes increasingly difficult to be hopeful that the necessary changes can be implemented in time to prevent disaster. I have often felt despair when I see the dangers the planet faces and my inability to do anything about it. I get angry when I see the ignorance of so many people who have been bamboozled by the "global warming is a hoax" crowd. I get frustrated when I see governments around the world continue to pacify the fossil fuel industry and do absolutely nothing to reduce CO2 emmissions while every year that passes, the situation we face becomes even more dire.

When it comes to climate change, the only emotions I have had are negative ones and feeling helpless was right at the top of the list.

Until now.

SolarCoin has given me the first ray of hope I've had since 2007 when I first watched An Inconvenient Truth.

Join me below the orange photon and let me share my SolarCoin story with you. And maybe, just maybe, some of you may also catch a glimmer of light peeking through the cloud of CO2 that hangs over us all.

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Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 12:58 PM PDT

SolarCoin: Do you generate solar?

by jbalazs

SolarCoin is a new and interesting venture into the cryptocurrency space. The aim is to grant the majority of coins (99%) to people around the world who generate solar power. 1 SolarCoin = 1 MWh of solar energy production. The first official grant was given a few days ago to a woman in Phoenix, AZ. She provided her proof of generation back to 2010 of 23.559 MWh, verified with her provider SolarGuard, and 23.559 SolarCoins were sent to her wallet. You can see the transaction on the blockchain here.

While many of you seem to have an aversion to cryptocurrencies, I am of the same opinion as this guy:

Google Director of Ideas and former technology advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Jared Cohen, says that digital “crypto-currencies” like Bitcoin are here to stay. “I think it’s very obvious to all of us that crypto-currencies are inevitable,” he told the audience at SXSW, in conversation with Chairman Eric Schmidt, to promote their co-authored book, The New Digital Age.
So let's not turn this into an argument about Bitcoin, ok? :)

For more on SolarCoin, follow me below the swirly sun!

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If you take a look at this website, it shows the number of bitcoin nodes running in each country around the world (these are the computers running to both mine bitcoin and provide the network for transaction confirmations when bitcoin are used). So I pulled some other numbers to do a quick analysis: 1. number of computers per country and 2. population. When looking at the penetration of the nodes in the world and sorting them, we have the following:

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Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 07:38 PM PDT

Thirteen Years

by jbalazs

New finding shows climate change can happen in a geological instant

( —"Rapid" and "instantaneous" are words geologists don't use very often. But Rutgers geologists use these exact terms to describe a climate shift that occurred 55 million years ago.

In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Morgan Schaller and James Wright contend that following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years.

Scientists previously thought this process happened over 10,000 years.

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Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 06:26 PM PDT

Arctic Cyclone: Happening Now

by jbalazs

I initially read about this earlier this week in a post by a University of Ottawa professor. The title of his blog post, The Great Arctic Flush, was enough to cause concern. Reading his post only served to deepen that concern. There is potential that we could see major loss in sea ice over the next week...

Here is what he said then:

Within 2 weeks the Arctic Ocean will be completely transformed. The cyclone that appears 6 days out on both the US and European ten day forecasts will massacre the sea ice in what I call "The Great Arctic flush".
Now it appears the cyclone has begun and, as usual, is barely being covered by the media. I found one source discussing it today, Scientists watch Arctic cyclone chew up sea ice, and while this cyclone isn't as strong as the one that caused so much damage last year, the ice is much weaker than it was last year. So we could be in for a fairly major arctic event in the coming days.
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Years ago when I was finishing up my MBA, I wanted to be a Management Consultant so I did ton of research on potential companies that I could send resumes to. Bain & Company was on that list, among others. So tonight I finally decided to see what the connection was between Bain & Company and Bain Capital. I hadn't bothered to look up the history until now and as I started reading through the wiki entries on both companies, I noticed some interesting things.

So I decided to throw this diary together and put it out there to see if anyone has any further insight into the goings-on behind Bain Capital's creation and where the money came from and if Bain Capital was possibly created as a vehicle to transfer partner cash from a struggling Bain & Company to be protected in Bain Capital.

More below the squiggle.

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I just picked this up on the AP from this morning and thought I would share it for any of you who may have missed it. This appears to be rather dire news from the South Pole.

Study: Antarctic glaciers slipping swiftly seaward

GENEVA (AP) — Antarctic glaciers are melting faster across a much wider area than previously thought, scientists said Wednesday — a development that could lead to an unprecedented rise in sea levels.

A report by thousands of scientists for the 2007-2008 International Polar Year concluded that the western part of the continent is warming up, not just the Antarctic Peninsula.

Previously most of the warming was thought to occur on the narrow stretch pointing toward South America, said Colin Summerhayes, executive director of the Britain-based Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and a member of International Polar Year's steering committee.

But satellite data and automated weather stations indicate otherwise.

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FALSE ALARM: No need to keep reading, it looks as though the folks at NSIDC posted some faulty information and their website is now updated.

I had quite an eye-popping moment when I went to look at the daily chart on the Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis website. The first thing I noticed was the drop off in sea ice extent shown on the chart that is clearly evident over the past couple of days. However, as I looked closer at the image portion of the update on the left, I saw PLENTY of blue in the Hudson Bay and little blue spots popping up all along the Canadian North and Alaska.

Needless to say, this gave me some concern...

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Sun Nov 02, 2008 at 03:32 PM PST

The election night story: tears

by jbalazs

I settled into my usual Sunday talk show routine this morning. I got my coffee and some breakfast and settled on the couch with one of my cats curled up on my lap. There were a few moments that brought me to the following conclusion:

Be prepared on election night to see people break down on national television. With the exception of Fox News, I expect to see at least one national media figure/pundit/politician on each major broadcast break down in a teary, emotional reaction because of the enormity of Barack Obama's win.

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