Posts Tagged ‘Science & Technology’

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Technology and Words Changing First Nations – Right or Wrong?

25/08/2012

I was offered the opportunity to participate in an Ontario Power Authority initiative  – Giibimidowing Gidakiiminaan – Keeping, Respecting & Caring For Our Land Treaty #3 Conference – August 21 – 23, 2012 in Kenora, Ontario at which I jumped readily.  It was my opportunity to motivate, encourage & talk about possibilities – in renewables, but even beyond.

My dealings with First Nations, in the past, have taught me that I am but a stranger, an outsider to them.  How would I know anything about who they are or how they live?  Perception & reality are significantly different in my books.  However, I always make it a point to speak from the heart and this opportunity was no exception.

So off I flew to Thunder Bay where I met some of the other speakers and together we set off by car to Kenora, Ontario.

Trees, grass, water.  Clean air. True blue skies.  Not like the haze many have grown to become accustomed to in the Greater Toronto Area.

Sunset in Kenora, Ontario – beautiful, priceless

However, this area is not without its environmental – economical – technological – societal problems, quite the contrary.  Another type of unhealthy haze has been inflicted, and it is one that separates us huge concentration of southerners from the realities & truths of those living in the true north (which people in Kenora laugh and say they consider themselves in the south of the the north!).

Kenora, Ontario, some 5 hours drive from Thunder Bay – 3 hours drive from Winnipeg, Manitoba, lies in Treaty #3 First Nations area.  Unfamiliar with Treaty #3 and its’ important historical significance in Canada?

“Treaty 3 was an agreement entered into on October 3, 1873, by the Ojibway Nation and Queen Victoria. The treaty ceded a vast tract of Ojibway territory, including large parts of what is now northwestern Ontario and a small part of eastern Manitoba, to the Government of Canada. Treaty 3 also provided for rights for the Métis and other Ojibway, through a series of adhesions signed over the next year.

It was the third in a series of eleven numbered treaties between the Crown and North American First Nations. Despite being the third of these treaties it is in fact more historically significant in that its text and terms served as the model for the remainder of the numbered treaties. Treaties 1 and 2 covered an area about the same size and in fact had to be amended to reflect some of the developments arising out of the negotiation of Treaty 3. At the time that it was negotiated it was anticipated that the terms of Treaty 3 would serve as a model for future treaties and would require the amendment of Treaties 1 and 2 [Letter from Minister of the Interior Campbell to Lieutenant-Governor Morris, 5 August 1873, Public Archives of Canada (“PAC”), RG10, vol. 1904].

Treaty 3 has particular historical significance because of the litigation that ensued between the Crown in Right of Ontario and the Crown in Right of Canada over the significance of the treaty and the respective roles of Canada and the provinces in relation to aboriginal peoples. The first of these cases is the St. Catharines Milling v. The Queen [(1888), 14 App. Cas. 65 (P.C.)] which dealt with the question of the ownership of lands subject to a treaty (a question that was decided in favour of the Province). The second, A.G. (Canada) v. A.G. (Ontario), [(1910) A.C. (P.C.)], dealt with the question of whether or not Ontario had to indemnify Canada for the expenses incurred in negotiating the treaty and the ongoing costs of fulfilling the treaty obligations. Canada lost this case as well with the Supreme Court of Canada and the Privy Council holding that Canada was responsible for Indian affairs and the welfare of Indians and that the treaty had been negotiated to achieve broad national purposes (such as the building of the transcontinental railway) rather than to benefit Ontario. The significance of these decisions is still a matter of discussion in the Canadian courts.

Treaty 3 is also significant as there exists a written record of the native peoples understanding of the treaty. This is known as the Paypom document. It is a series of notes that were written for Chief Powassin during the treaty negotiations, and documents the promises that were made to the First Nations people. The promises in the Paypom document differ in a number of ways from the printed version available from the Canadian government.” – wikipedia

As a result, First Nations has no trust in outsiders and their talk about this and about that.  Not just with this treaty, but with a number of ‘agreements’ and/or ‘contracts’ and/or ‘initiatives’, many First Nations takes the stance that others don’t live up to their end of the ‘bargains’.  This is not to say there are no First Nations people who develop trust or ally themselves with others, however, they do with much caution.  In either case, I don’t blame them.

Making a long story short, I spoke my presentation from the heart and managed to connect with many, like Willy – a 74 year old elder, who has been attending all kinds of meetings and gatherings about the community, “… since 1981.” he said.

“I’m not afraid of progress. But.  There is a right way and a wrong way of doing it.” he almost whispered at me, as his aged wise eyes looked at me, the breeze blowing about his straw coloured, long hair.

Willy, an Elder from Treaty #3 has been attending community meetings since 1981.

First Nations Treaty #3 has a number of issues that are affecting their communities, and in no small manner.

3 hydro electric dams stand at the centre of much controversy.  First Nations describe how the frogs have disappeared.  No longer do the sturgeon grow.  In September of 2011, Grand Council Treaty #3 filed an application for judicial review. Respondents are the Province of Ontario as represented by the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).  The main issue at the centre of this review is the Respondents failure to perform their “duty to consult” in good faith with First Nations.

“… the Ontario Energy Minister’s direction to the OPA to develop the Hydroelectric Contract Initiative (HCI) without Aboriginal consultation. In question is the OPA’s development and implementation of the  HCI, the decision by OPA to enter into an HCI contract for existing hydroelectric generating facilities (Calm Lake, Sturgeon Falls, Fort Frances, Kenora, and Norman) in Treaty 3 territory with ACH Limited Partnership (ACH). As of May 2011, these dams are owned by Calgary based BluEarth Renewables Inc.” – GCT3  (Please read here for full text)

Sounds as though, once again, people are not living up to their ends of ‘bargains’ … and so the cycle continues.

How about the proposed ‘solution’ of dumping toxic nuclear waste into the communities up there?  (Click here for full text of story.)  Nuclear Waste Management was on the agenda for the discussions as well.  Their displays, which likely cost thousands and thousands of dollars, took a whole day to put up, I watched it.  They were complicated, showed large pictures of business people and were overwhelming, even for me.

In no way is this an effective way of communicating to First Nations … and again, the cycle continues.

There’s more.

In December of 2011, Treaty #3 launched an education lawsuit against the federal government – the reason? ” … a breach of their treaty right to education.”

Inexperienced teachers & disintegrating schools.  Yes, it’s real and not fixed, even if Mike Holmes has drawn attention to the appalling living conditions, as he did in his December 2011 CBC article entitled, “Stop building junk on reserves.”

And if that doesn’t get you, let’s just go deeper down the rabbit hole and talk about how shocking Pikangikum truly is.

If you have never heard of this place, you need to.

In 2000, this First Nation was given the horrible and terribly sad title of, “Highest Suicide Rate in the WORLD” (I used wikipedia as a reference, but that info is not complete & certainly paints a picture leaning toward female inhalant abuse. It’s way more than that, affecting all.)  And, it hasn’t stopped.

In fact, this area is especially worse than ever.

I met a local from the area who shall remain nameless, due to the sensitivity of this information.

In March of 2012, MacLean’s published a story called, “Living and dying in Pikangikum.”  While it does speak to the horrors of life up in the area, it surely isn’t giving up the whole picture.

Picture a home, barely a structure, empty. No beds, no appliances, nothing.  A First Nations woman, standing in the middle of it, with utter desperation in her eyes.

Where to get another $500.00 together for just one more tab of Oxycontin.

Yes, comfortable ladies and gentlemen, reading this online, having encountered this sad article somehow through the internet because you are able to.

One tab of Oxy goes for $500.00, usually split into 4 – so 1/4 tab per person at $125.00.

How about a mickey?  A mickey of alcohol is $250.00.

Who controls all this?  I won’t write it out loud, but they surely are not angels.

We should all be ashamed of ourselves, allowing such injustices to continue to First Nations.  In fact, one of the Elders, a ‘Grandma’ said,

“First it was smallpox.  Now this.  Why not just give them smallpox and be done with it.”

It is not right to have our eyes shut for us to this, or for us to shut our eyes to it ourselves.

So, if you didn’t know about all this, dig deep.

Go even deeper and talk to First Nations.  What?  You can’t or don’t know how to? That’s bull. Keeping us separate is an excellent way to keep the cycle of abuse going.  I have and no, I don’t always believe everything … whether it’s from the government or from First Nations.  But I have observed this now myself having been there and there is no denying that while technology can most definitely be used to improve the quality of all of our lives, it has also become apparent that it can also create great problems that cannot be swept under the rug: it’s as simple as having the power to transport in drugs and alcohol to remote locations and turn viable people into zombies walking around ghost towns, as some really evil people are capitalizing on the genocide of a people.

But don’t believe me.  As I said, go find out for yourself.  And if you do not find this sad, shocking, angering, then perhaps all is lost and we live in a soul-less, money loving people filled country.

I hope that some of you reading this can connect even more dots in between with the mind-bending and twisted way some of our communities are merely being given perceptions, words & stories that makes the “jobs & prosperity” buzz over resources & technologies sound so great.

If we have such wonderful communication technologies, how come we seem to have difficulty in communicating, educating, negotiating & consulting with First Nations?  If guns kill people, spoons are making Harper fat.

It is also my hope that heartfull, responsible people will step-up and champion the introduction of new ways that are right, to the benefit of our communities and the children of our future.

But what do I know?

OPA Conference for Treaty #3 – Youth & Elders Forum

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TedX – Jacques Vallee – A Theory of Everything (Else) Article & Video

24/11/2011

Dr. Vallee was born in France, where he received a B.S. in mathematics at the Sorbonne and an M.S. in astrophysics at Lille University. Coming to the U.S. as an astronomer at the University of Texas, where he co-developed the first computer-based map of Mars for NASA, Jacques later moved to Northwestern University where he received his Ph.D. in computer science.

He went on to work on information technology research at SRI International and the Institute for the Future, where he directed the project to build the world’s first network-based collaboration system as a Principal Investigator for the groupware project on Arpanet, the prototype for the Internet.

A venture capitalist since 1984, Jacques Vallee has served as an early-stage investor and director of over 60 high-technology companies, a third of which went public through acquisitions or IPOs. Apart from his work with information science and finance, Jacques has had a long-term private interest in astronomy, in writing and in the frontiers of research, notably unidentified aerial phenomena.

His most recent book, The Heart of the Internet, is available free of charge on Google Books. He was awarded the Jules Verne Prize for a science fiction novel in French.

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Canada Wants Technology for the Holidays! ( video available in HD )

10/11/2011

Happy Holidays! (video available in HD)

(statistics provided by canada newswire article, Nov. 2011 – vital vision)

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Constellation View Video – CFH Telescope – Search 4 Nibiru Continues

19/10/2011

Despite the impotence of Elenin, there are still major storms, earthquakes and volcanoes (plus a whole slew of other conditions) that are still tormenting Earth and many are still looking for the answer … in the stars.

Does Nibiru exist? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it’s still wonderful to watch the stars.

Includes constellation overlay!!!

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Video from Green Flight Challenge, Full Scale Electric Power Aircraft Competition

12/10/2011

See the amazing aircraft of the Green Flight Challenge (GFC) from the Google Green Flight Challenge Exposition hosted by NASA at Moffett Field held Monday October 3, 2011. The event showcased the latest in personal aircraft innovation and featured advanced vehicle demonstrations.

Day 2: Green Flight Challenge

Info on Green Flight Challenge

Cutting-edge technology companies exhibited close by to the aircraft. Products and technologies were demonstrated and displayed (advanced vehicles and innovations).  Some of the exhibitors:

  • Verticopter – Personal VTOL
  • D-STAR Engineering – Electric Motor featuring 8kw/kg
  • Sinhatech – Laminar Flow
  • Motor Excellence – Motors
  • GSE – Bio-Fuel Engines
  • Kleenspeed – Car and Aero Technolgies
  • JoBy Energy – Electric VTOL
  • A.I.R. Inc. – Motor Controllers
  • Google – Autonomous Automobile
  • NASA – The Future of Aeronautics
  • CAFE – GFC Flight Testing
  • Extreme Capacitor, Inc. – Ultra-Capacitors, X-CapTM
  • Alternair – Electric Aircraft
  • Catto Props – Quiet Propellers
  • Sentry View Systems – Data Acquisition
  • Wrightspeed – Electric Drivetrains
  • Synergy – Synergy aircraft
  • Aerovel – Flexrotor UAV
  • IKE Aerospace – Seraph Aircraft
  • Brammo Inc – Electric Motorcycle
  • Matternet – UAV Last-Mile Solutions
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Anak Krakatau Volcano Raised To Highest Alert Status- Quakes Continuous, Warn Officials

02/10/2011

October 2, 2011 – INDONESIA – Indonesian officials have raised the status of one of its most dangerous volcanoes, Anak Krakatau, to a “standby” or level IV- the highest level.

Anak_Krakatau

The Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG), Surono said this is a rise in status that was set on Friday, September 30, 2011 evening at 24.00.  The reason for the elevated status is because of the high-intensity level of earthquakes.

Today, for example. “On October 2, 2011, at 00.00 until 12.00, there are 2745 recorded seismic events,” said Surono, when he was contacted by VIVAnews.com, Sunday, October 2, 2011.  Earthquakes under Mount Anak Krakatau, Surono added, were even felt all along the island of Anak Krakatau.

“The swarm of tremors are continuous and although small, 2 on the Richter scale, they are cause for concern because they are felt constantly,” he added.  He explained, almost since 2007, Krakatau has been stirred by unrest. “In a moment, it stopped, and erupted in 2009. I think this mountain is always in danger of erupting,” he added.

source Viva News

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15th Eruptive Episode Etna’s New South East Crater – IMAGES

30/09/2011

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The culmination of the paroxysmal eruptive episode at Etna’s New Southeast Crater as seen from Trecastagni, about 15 km southeast of the summit of the volcano, at 19:35 GMT (= local time -2). Photo taken by Boris Behncke, INGV-Catania

Fifteenth eruptive episode from Etna’s new Southeast Crater

On the evening of 28 September 2011, the New Southeast Crater (New SEC) of Etna produced its 15th paroxysmal eruptive episode since the beginning of this year, 9-and-a-half days after the preceding episode, which had taken place during the forenoon of 19 September. This event was of brief duration but of violently explosive character, with emission of lava fountains and lava flows from vents within the crater, but also on the southeastern and northern flanks of its cone. The event produced two main lava flows, which, however, were less extensive than the flows emitted by previous episodes. An ash plume was blown southwestward by the wind, but light ash falls have been reported also from the southern flank of the volcano, including Nicolosi and Catania.

20110928_008ctr_400Rhythmic ejections of ash from the New Southeast Crater at about 16:40 GMT on 28 September 2011, seen from Trecastagni. Photo taken by Boris Behncke, INGV-Catania

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Four moments in the evolution of the 28 September 2011 paroxysmal episode, from Strombolian activity and a small lava overflow to full lava fountaining, and advance of the main lava flow after the cessation of the main paroxysmal phase. These observations were made from the “Belvedere” site, about 900 m southeast of the New Southeast Crater. Photos taken by Stefano Branca, INGV-Catania

The “prelude” to this event was rather short. On the morning of 28 September, bangs were heard to originate from the New SEC, although no visibile phenomena were observed; bad weather conditions did in fact hamper visual observation throughout the day. di questo evento è stato breve. At about 14:00 GMT (= local time -2), the volcanic tremor amplitude started to increase, and rhythmic ash emission started from a vent located within the crater, at times accompanied by small Strombolian explosions. As during the previous paroxysmal episodes, the volcanic tremor source was observed to shift from its common location below the nothern part of Etna’s summit area toward the New SEC, and to rise toward the surface.

From 17:30 GMT onward, the Strombolian activity progressively increased both in the intensity and frequency of explosion, and eventually became continuous, with some bombs and scoriae being launched well beyond the crater rim. About 19:15 GMT, a small lava overflow was noted at the notch cutting into the southeastern flank of the volcano; shortly thereafter, small explosions started from a vent located within the same notch. The Strombolian activity then nearly ceased for about 3 minutes starting at 19:28 GMT, before there was a very rapid and violent upsurge in the activity at 19:31 GMT, marked by the onset of sustained lava fountaining. Nearly instantaneously, the most vigorous fountain, which rose from a vent within the New SEC, reached heights of 600-800 m. At the same time, a vent located on the southeast flank of the cone reactivated; at 19:33 and 19:34 GMT two powerful explosions occurred from a further vent on the eastern rim of the crater, which created visible shock waves displacing the clouds hovering around the crater, and launched large bombs to hundreds of meters of distance. At 19:36 GMT, lava fountaining to about 100-150 m started from a vent located at the northern base of the New SEC cone, which soon started also to emit a small lava flow.

The paroxysmal phase, with high lava fountains from all active vents, went on for about 20 minutes and then, about 19:55 GMT, the activity started to show a marked diminution. Between 20:05 and 20:10 GMT, all explosive activity ceased, whereas the lava flows – fed from the vents on the southeast flank of the cone and the vent at its northern base – continued to advance until 21:30 due to the emptying of flow channels. The lava flow emitted from the southeast flank of the cone reached the lower portion of the western slope of the Valle del Bove, somewhat southwest of Monte Centenari, following the same path as the lava flows emitted during the most recent three paroxysms (29 August, and 8 and 19 September).

Volcanic ash emitted during this paroxysmal episode was mainly blown southwestward by the wind; however, light ash falls also occurred on the south flank of Etna, including the towns of Nicolosi and Catania.

With this episode, the tendency of progressively longer repose intervals between paroxysms observed since the end  of July has been broken; this event came little more than 9.5 days after its predecessor. Furthermore, it has to be remarked that:  (1) the “prelude” phase was rather brief; (2) there was a short interval, only a few minutes long, of nearly zero activity before the most intense phase of activity; (3) the height of the lava fountains in this event was well superior to the fountain heights during the previous paroxysms; (4) the lava volume was comparatively small; (5) the paroxysmal phase was rather brief  (~30 minutes); (6) the fracture systems extending from the New SEC toward southeast and north reactivated.

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Panoramic view of the 28 September 2011 paroxysm as seen from the east flank of Etna. The main fountain emitted from one or more vents within the New Southeast Crater is seen at the center; at left, several fountains are jetting from the eruptive fissure on the southeast flank of the cone, and at right, a fountain rises from a single vent at the northern base of the cone. Photo taken by Klaus Dorschfeldt (EtnaWalk) and published with kind permission of the author (see also Klaus Dorschfeldt’s video of the paroxysm on YouTube)

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