Craig Eisele on …..

October 28, 2014

The Greater the Wealth The Greater the Lack of Ethics??

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 6:45 am

At last, an explanation for Wall Street’s disgrace, Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and other high-society crimes and misdemeanors:  A  new study published in the Proceedings of that National Academy of Sciences found that wealthier people  were more apt to behave  unethically than those who had less money.

Scientists at  the University of California at Berkeley analyzed a person’s rank in society (measured by wealth, occupational prestige and education) and found that those who were richer were more likely to cheat, lie and break the law than those who were poorer.

“We found that it is much more prevalent for people in the higher ranks of society to see  greed and self-interest … as  good pursuits,” said Paul Piff, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate at Berkeley. “This resonates with a lot of current events these days.”

In the first of  two studies, researchers found that those who drove more expensive cars (an admittedly questionable indicator of economic worth) were more likely to cut off other cars and pedestrians at a busy San Francisco four-way intersection than those who drove older, less-expensive vehicles.

In other experiments,  wealthier study participants were more likely to admit they would behave unethically in a variety of situations and lie during negotiations. In another, researchers found wealthier people were more likely to cheat in an online game to win a $50 prize.

Greed is a “robust” determinant of unethical behavior, according to the study.

“This has some pretty clear implications,” said Piff. “Inequality is very much on Americans’ minds, and the potential effects of severe inequality on individual levels of behavior are major.”

Large sums of money may give people greater feelings of entitlement, causing those people to be the most averse to wealth distribution, Piff continued.  Poorer people may be less likely to cheat, because they are more dependent on their community at large, he said. In other words, they don’t want to rock the boat.

“People in power who are more inclined to behave unethically in the service of gains and self-interest can have great effects on society as a whole,” said Piff.

And it’s difficult to say whether richer people get to the top because of their unethical behavior or whether wealth causes people to become this way. “It seems like a vicious cycle,” he said.

Nevertheless, Piff said these results obviously don’t apply to all wealthy people. He noted that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were among the wealthiest people in the world and also the most philanthropic. He also pointed to high rates of violent crime in the poorest neighborhoods in the country that counteract the study’s findings.

Piff said he hoped to further his research by figuring out ways to curb these patterns of behavior among wealthier individuals.

“What it comes down to, really, is that money creates more of a self-focus, which may account for larger feelings of entitlement,” said Piff.  “We hope to further study how we can curb these patterns and how that will affect our social environment.”

Check this out: SEND CONGRESS MANURE

reblogged from SendThemManure.wordpress.com

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Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 1:51 am

Mr. Craig:

We have Launched our GoFundMe Campaign: gofundme.com/SendCongressManure
SEND CONGRESS MANURE
Sick and tired of Politicians in Congress spewing the same BS out of their mouths and never listening to “We The People” Lets send them back what come out of their mouths.

“SEND THEM MANURE”

A five dollar gift to me will help me send 5 pounds of Manure to Congress 10 dollars for 10 pounds and so on up to whatever amount you are comfortable with giving.

My goal is ONE TON (2000 pounds) for Each of the 435 Members of the House of Representatives and 100 US Senators for 535 Tons of Manure. It will make a monumental statement to Congress of our collective frustration with their behavior and attitude.

This is like hiring your personal lobbyist to take your messages to Congress. Please leave a message even if it is anonymous for me to take to Congress with the Tractor Trailers full of Manure when they are delivered.

I know my Goal is HIGH… but it takes a real symbolic effort to make Your Voices heard in Washington.

Please join my cause with whatever you feel you can afford and know that no matter how much or how little YOUR VOICE will be heard and its odor will carry for miles.

SEND THEM MANURE.. the same thing that comes out of their mouth when they think we ar too weak to stand up.

Thank you

http://www.gofundme.com/SendCongressManure

Originally posted on Send Them Manure:

SEND CONGRESS MANURE

Sick and tired of Politicians in Congress spewing the same BS out of their mouths and never listening to  “We The People” Lets send them back what come out of their mouths.

“SEND THEM MANURE”

A five dollar gift to me will help me send 5 pounds of Manure to Congress 10 dollars for 10 pounds and so on up to whatever amount you are comfortable with giving.

My goal is ONE TON (2000 pounds) for Each of the 435 Members of the House of Representatives and 100 US Senators for 535 Tons of Manure. It will make a monumental statement to Congress of our collective frustration with their behavior and attitude.

This is like hiring your personal lobbyist to take your messages to Congress. Please leave a message even if it is anonymous for me to take to Congress with the Tractor Trailers full of Manure when…

View original 79 more words

October 26, 2014

Yes, We Really Are THAT Racist!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 8:00 am

How Racist Are We? Ask Google

By SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ

Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in 2008 and 365 electoral votes, 95 more than he needed. Many naturally concluded that prejudice was not a major factor against a black presidential candidate in modern America. My research, a comparison of Americans’ Google searches and their voting patterns, found otherwise. If my results are correct, racial animus cost Mr. Obama many more votes than we may have realized.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Quantifying the effects of racial prejudice on voting is notoriously problematic. Few people admit bias in surveys. So I used a new tool, Google Insights, which tells researchers how often words are searched in different parts of the United States.

Can we really quantify racial prejudice in different parts of the country based solely on how often certain words are used on Google? Not perfectly, but remarkably well. Google, aggregating information from billions of searches, has an uncanny ability to reveal meaningful social patterns. “God” is Googled more often in the Bible Belt, “Lakers” in Los Angeles.

The conditions under which people use Google — online, most likely alone, not participating in an official survey — are ideal for capturing what they are really thinking and feeling. You may have typed things into Google that you would hesitate to admit in polite company. I certainly have. The majority of Americans have as well: we Google the word “porn” more often than the word “weather.”

And many Americans use Google to find racially charged material. I performed the somewhat unpleasant task of ranking states and media markets in the United States based on the proportion of their Google searches that included the word “nigger(s).” This word was included in roughly the same number of Google searches as terms like “Lakers,” “Daily Show,” “migraine” and “economist.”

A huge proportion of the searches I looked at were for jokes about African-Americans. (I did not include searches that included the word “nigga” because these searches were mostly for rap lyrics.) I used data from 2004 to 2007 because I wanted a measure not directly influenced by feelings toward Mr. Obama. From 2008 onward, “Obama” is a prevalent term in racially charged searches.

The state with the highest racially charged search rate in the country was West Virginia. Other areas with high percentages included western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, upstate New York and southern Mississippi.

Once I figured out which parts of the country had the highest racially charged search rates, I could test whether Mr. Obama underperformed in these areas. I predicted how many votes Mr. Obama should have received based on how many votes John Kerry received in 2004 plus the average gain achieved by other 2008 Democratic Congressional candidates. The results were striking: The higher the racially charged search rate in an area, the worse Mr. Obama did.

Consider two media markets, Denver and Wheeling (which is a market evenly split between Ohio and West Virginia). Mr. Kerry received roughly 50 percent of the votes in both markets. Based on the large gains for Democrats in 2008, Mr. Obama should have received about 57 percent of votes in both Denver and Wheeling. Denver and Wheeling, though, exhibit different racial attitudes. Denver had the fourth lowest racially charged search rate in the country. Mr. Obama won 57 percent of the vote there, just as predicted. Wheeling had the seventh highest racially charged search rate in the country. Mr. Obama won less than 48 percent of the Wheeling vote.

Add up the totals throughout the country, and racial animus cost Mr. Obama three to five percentage points of the popular vote. In other words, racial prejudice gave John McCain the equivalent of a home-state advantage nationally.

Yes, Mr. Obama also gained some votes because of his race. But in the general election this effect was comparatively minor. The vast majority of voters for whom Mr. Obama’s race was a positive were liberal, habitual voters who would have voted for any Democratic presidential candidate. Increased support and turnout from African-Americans added only about one percentage point to Mr. Obama’s totals.

If my findings are correct, race could very well prove decisive against Mr. Obama in 2012. Most modern presidential elections are close. Losing even two percentage points lowers the probability of a candidate’s winning the popular vote by a third. And prejudice could cost Mr. Obama crucial states like Ohio, Florida and even Pennsylvania.

There is the possibility, of course, that racial prejudice will play a smaller role in 2012 than it did in 2008, now that the country is familiar with a black president. Some recent events, though, suggest otherwise. I mentioned earlier that the rate of racially charged searches in West Virginia was No. 1 in the country and that the state showed a strong aversion to Mr. Obama in 2008. It recently held its Democratic presidential primary, in which Mr. Obama was challenged by a convicted felon. The felon, who is white, won 41 percent of the vote.

In 2008, Mr. Obama rode an unusually strong tail wind. The economy was collapsing. The Iraq war was unpopular. Republicans took most of the blame. He was able to overcome the major obstacle of continuing racial prejudice in the United States. In 2012, the tail wind is gone; the obstacle likely remains.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is a doctoral candidate in economics at Harvard. 

October 25, 2014

The Polarization of America: Politics at Its Worst.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 2:47 am

MARCH 19, 2012, 1:35 AM

The Uses of Polarization

By T. B. EDSALL

A primary goal of a presidential campaign is to incrementally increase margins of support among volatile and persuadable demographic groups like single women angered by attempts to restrict access to contraception or voters with long commutes worried about gas prices.

A second goal is increase turnout among supportive voting blocs — conservative whites in the case of Republicans, African-Americans in the case of Democrats. This goal is accomplished most often with polarizing tactics like the exploitation of wedge issues.

The target constituencies can be huge — white men, Hispanics, seniors – or, with the emergence of sophisticated micro-technology, smaller slices of the electorate, ranging from laid-off manufacturing workers to women golfers.

This is not news, but how does such a strategy actually work? A source who was willing to be identified only as a Republican strategist with extensive experience in national campaigns described to me in an e-mail how he looks at an election in which there are no significant independent candidates:

  • White Independents. G.O.P. needs to win by double-digits.
  • Moderates. G.O.P. loses by 20 or less, you win, lose by 30 or more, you lose.
  • Latinos — what percent of the electorate do they represent? What’s the margin?  Nationally, if Latinos are 8 percent of the electorate, and the Democratic-Republican spread is within 25 points [37.5 Republican - 62.5 Democratic], that’s good. If in 2012, it’s Latinos are 10 percent of the electorate, and the Democratic-Republican spread is voting Democratic 35 points or more [32.5 R - 67.5 D], that’s serious trouble.
  • White women. Win by 5 to 9 percentage points, you win. Break even or lose, serious trouble. Overall, in 2012, we are looking at the G.O.P. having to win white voters by +19 points if Latino composition is unusually high.
  • That actually means white men over 60 have to be huge for Republicans — and you can’t let Dems make serious inroads among white women over 60.
  • Downscale whites — Obama approval has to be roughly in the mid-30s and he has to get whooped — while white college grad job approval cannot be higher than the low 40s.
  • Whites age 18-29 — you have to carry them. McCain lost by them 10 percentage points and he got totally swamped.

While the thinking of professional operatives may seem cynical or excessively calculating, it is a key element of election preparation by both Democrats and Republicans.

Democrats, for example, consistently seek to raise turnout among union members, urban voters, Hispanics and, since the emergence of the gender gap in the 1980 election between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, female voters.

In the 2004 election, the Bush-Cheney campaign explicitly sought to polarize voters to increase turnout among potential supporters.

Matthew Dowd, who ran polling and much of the planning for Bush, explained the 2004 Republican strategy to me just after the election. “Most voters looked at Bush in very black-and-white terms,” he said. “They either loved and respected him, or they didn’t like him.” In the face of this reality, “we systematically allocated all the main resources of the campaign to the twin goals of motivation and persuasion. The media, the voter targeting, the mail — all were based off that strategic decision.”

Politically, the 2004 strategy was a striking success. Four years earlier, in 2000, when Bush campaigned as a “compassionate conservative” with the goal of minimizing polarization, he had not been so fortunate, losing the popular vote by a margin of 500,000, and taking the ballots of voters calling themselves “independent” by only 2 points. He won the Electoral College by a slim 271-266 margin (or 5-4, as some liberals like to say).

In 2004, Bush did much better, losing independent voters by one point, but carrying the Electoral College by 286-251 and winning the popular vote by 3 million. In other words, polarizing tactics that divide the opposition party, pitting pro-gay-rights Democrats against anti-gay-rights Democrats, for example, may have contributed to Bush’s diminished support from independent voters. Those losses, however, were more than made up for by gains among voters already inclined to cast a ballot for Bush, but who needed stronger motivation to go out and do it.

“Those Americans whose attitudes and behavior most closely reflect the ideals of democratic citizenship are the most partisan and the most polarized.” 

— Alan Abramowitz

The Bush 2004 campaign and its allies made heavy use of wedge issues — from stem cell research to attacks on John Kerry’s Vietnam war record — to raise Republican turnout and depress Democratic voting.

The basic approach of building support among key demographics does not, however, always require divisive maneuvers. There are multiple ways to deal with diverse constituencies, including raising the numbers of ballots cast by members of reliable groups, suppressing turnout among hostile groups and keeping margins of defeat, where possible, to a minimum.

It is almost certain that President Obama will not carry a majority of white voters without college degrees, a basically Republican bloc. He can, however, try to keep his losses among these voters to, say, 42-58, instead of a more damaging 33-67 margin. The possibility of making gains with this group has been improved for Obama by the prospect of running against Mitt Romney, whose campaign has struggled in the primaries with this sector of the electorate.

The Obama campaign’s attempt to cut into the Republican advantage among white working-class voters was on display last Thursday when Vice President Biden appeared at a United Auto Workers rally in Toledo. “Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich — these guys have a fundamentally different economic philosophy than we do,” Biden told the cheering crowd. “In 2009, no one was lining up to lend General Motors or Chrysler any money or, for that matter, lend any money to anybody. That includes Bain Capital. They weren’t lining up to lend anybody money.”

Over the past decade, campaigns have been taking giant steps forward in their use of technological advances like micro-targeting, improved analytical and statistical models and other data-heavy mechanisms, which they use to identify and locate key supporters and persuadable voters. Micah Sifry, co-founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, argues that Obama’s aggressive development of predictive modeling, data mining, social networking and other fine-grained techniques may prove crucial. “If the 2012 election comes down to a battle of inches,” Sifry writes, “where a few percentage points change in turnout in a few key states, making all the difference, we may come to see Obama’s investment in predictive modelers and data scientists as the key to victory.”

The power of campaigns to create and motivate new swing voters dovetails with the political strategy of driving polarization. Information science has geometrically improved the ability of campaigns to accurately identify specific voters who are angry or threatened and most easily motivated by hard-edged, divisive messages, on such issues as race, taxes, welfare and other hot-button subjects.

The key is that this technological innovation is taking place within the larger context of increased ideological consistency across the two parties. “Since 1960, the two parties have evolved from miscellaneous coalitions of regional interests spanning the ideological spectrum into two unified and ideologically coherent political parties, on the European model,” Michael W. McConnell, a professor of law at Stanford University, writes. The Democratic Party was formerly made up of “two distinct and ideologically incompatible elements: a white, conservative, largely racist Southern Democratic Party, and a mixed-race, more progressive Northern Democratic Party,” McConnell points out. Motivated by the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the two parties began to reconstitute themselves as consistently left and right, a process that continues to this day.

Bitter social, moral and cultural conflict has driven up turnout: as voters become more ideological, they develop a stronger interest in the outcome of elections, and a greater likelihood of going to the polls on election day. “Those Americans whose attitudes and behavior most closely reflect the ideals of democratic citizenship are the most partisan and the most polarized. In contrast, it is among the uninterested, uninformed, and uninvolved that moderation and independence flourish,” Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University, wrote in his recently published book, “The Polarized Public.”

At the same time, the percentage of the electorate that can accurately be described as independent — without partisan allegiance — has shrunk to about 7 percent, according to Ruy Teixeira of the Brookings Institution. While the importance of such voters has diminished, in a closely balanced contest these relatively uninvolved men and women have the power to determine the outcome: in the 12 presidential elections from 1964 to 2008, four – 1968, 1976, 2000 and 2004 – have been decided by 2.5 percentage points or less.

Perhaps the most important factor going into the 2012 general election will be the most difficult to gauge: the degree to which the candidates themselves motivate or turn off voters. A detailed analysis of the 2008 presidential turnout by Arthur Lupia, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, concluded that “when considering whether or not to support John McCain in 2008, a number of Bush voters decided, ‘No We Can’t.’ The number of 2004 Bush voters who decided to stay at home, or to support a Democrat, in 2008 did not grab the same kinds of headlines as new voter stories, but they were a sufficient condition for Obama’s Electoral College victory.”

Democratic voter enthusiasm has been running well below 2008 levels, indicating that this time around, Obama faces a substantial hurdle in replicating the surge in turnout that helped propel him into the White House four years ago – although there has been some improvement recently. Conversely, Mitt Romney, the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination, has so far demonstrated little ability to inspire Republican loyalists, showing weaknesses similar to those that characterized Bob Dole’s 1996 and McCain’s 2008 campaigns.

The strategic choices facing both Obama, who has moved to the left in recent months, and Romney, who is well to the right of where he was in 2008, are not easy. Every approach presents significant dangers.

In each of the 12 to 15 battleground states, from New Hampshire to Nevada, the campaigns will have to make a decision. If they choose to focus on the small fraction of independent or swing voters, then a more centrist strategy wins out; if they choose to galvanize the base, then a more ideological and polarizing strategy will dominate, putting their standing with independents at risk. But if they focus on their core voters, independents may be repulsed.

As the electorate itself becomes more and more polarized, the balancing act gets harder and harder. In this sense, as each candidate seeks to incrementally increase margins of support among key constituencies and to intensify participation not only among “pure” independents but also among loyal voting blocs, Obama and Romney face the same problem.

Thomas B. Edsall, a professor of journalism at Columbia University, is the author of the book “The Age of Austerity: How Scarcity Will Remake American Politics,” which was published in January.

White Dad Wonders How to Raise His Biracial Kids

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 2:41 am

White Dad Wonders How to Raise His Biracial Kids

Race Manners: African-American culture will always be there for them. His job is to teach a healthy outlook.

My wife and I have been married one month (to the day) and been together for about four years before that, so naturally the subject of kids has come up. She is mostly black, and one-quarter Cherokee, while I’m as white as Wonderbread, with mostly Scottish and German ancestry.

 

We’re excited to introduce our future kids to things we love about my heritage, like the Scottish games and Oktoberfests (my wife has a fondness for bagpipes that confounds me), as well as the various science fiction and fantasy TV shows, books and games for which a mutual love was the introduction of our relationship.

But the part of me that nags at the back of my mind can’t shake the idea that it’s an unbalanced cultural education that ignores a fair portion of our kids’ ethnic history. And then the other half of my brain kicks and starts worrying I’m being racist for thinking I need to ‘raise my kids more black’—as opposed to just sharing the activities and culture my wife and I enjoy.

I’ve brought this up with my wife, who tells me I need to relax. I guess I’m just hoping for a matching second opinion.” —Worried by Whiteness

 

Yes, relax.

In fretting that you won’t be able to deliver a sufficient black “cultural education” to your future kids, I think you’re stressing yourself out by thinking too narrowly about what counts as African-American culture and who gets to access it.

So, exhale as you read this: Despite what Saturday Night Live tropes, McDonald’s Black History Month commercials and Tyler Perry films might have you believe, there’s not actually an agreed-upon, inflexible, checklist of “black” ways to behave, places to go, foods to eat or music to listen to.

Maybe you sort of know this already. After all, you say half of your brain is bothered by the very idea of going out of your way for more “black culture.” Perhaps that’s because in some way you sense that much of the information you have about what that means reflects an oversimplified and outdated caricature of real people.

That’s not to say there aren’t certain unique cultural touchstones that are totally homegrown by African Americans. There are. There’s the music and dance that everyone wants a piece of, leading to ongoing debates about appropriation. There’s the black church experience that can’t be re-created. There are the culinary traditions that came straight from slaves’ ingenuity and miraculously survived to become sentimental parts of many people’s upbringings. Which is why this happened on Twitter when I publicly confessed to a cultural blind spot — seeing sweet potato and pumpkin pie as pretty much interchangeable:

 But here’s the thing. We can joke about the markers of the black experience and black culture—who has them, who doesn’t, who should have to return a black card—because everyone gets that it’s complicated. Everyone understands that like many other parts of American life, this experience changes with time and geography and perspective. And that it expands to include people who claim it rather than rejecting the ones who missed out on a piece (or two or three).

Today’s black culture has room for a president who was raised by his white mom in Hawaii, for the children of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, for families who live a multicultural life in California or an Afrocentric one in Philly. It makes space for members who are Jewish, who are vegans, who are atheists, those who think blackness is defined by achievement and respectability and those who think it’s honored by pushing for broad social justice.

And guess what? I’m confident that some part of that culture will be accessible to your kids—who will welcome them, even—when and if they want it. Even if you do nothing at all to push them in that direction. That’s what one white father of adopted black children experienced when he realized they were “asserting their blackness in a black environment” for the first time and said he felt “a bit proud of their budding racial independence.” There’s a good chance your children—like these children, and like many Americans of all colors—will feel the draw of what Rebecca Walker called Black Cool in all its manifestations.

That’s why I’m not that worried that if you fail to balance your Oktoberfest celebrations with their black cultural equivalent, your children will be permanently deprived.

But here’s what I am worried about and where I think you shouldn’t relax at all.

First, even if you never get out the Kwanza candles, and even if you regularly shun soul food for German cuisine, make sure you don’t leave a void in your kids’ upbringing when it comes to how to make sense of being black. If you do, the world will be quick to fill it in for you. And, unless things change dramatically between now and when they’re conceived, it will say loud and clear that their race makes them unattractive, not smart, not worth protecting and inherently threatening. In other words, that it makes them problems.

You don’t want them to end up like the biracial girl who felt she had no choice but to change her name from Keisha, or the many adults who welcome the assurance that they’re “not like other black people” or go out of their way to be condescending to prove their difference.

How do you do this, as a “white as Wonderbread” dad? If music, food, religion, literature and traditions aren’t in your cultural wheelhouse or your wife’s, forget them. Here are the tools you must give your kids, though: media literacy and critical thinking to help them filter the messages they receive. Confidence that will make them brave enough to explore new atmospheres. Curiosity about how history informs the world we live in today. Cynicism to question everything from statistics to stereotypes. Whether or not you’re talking specifically about their African-American heritage, these should be everyday, ongoing lessons.

Second, when it comes to the activities that you and your wife love and plan to share with them, don’t make them feel unnecessarily like outsiders or interlopers because of their race.

Will they be among the few brownish faces at Oktoberfest celebrations? Probably, and that’s OK.

But when but when it comes to science fiction and fantasy, there’s no reason they should feel like they’re betraying or negating or ignoring their blackness by being interested. To get this across, maybe you need to rethink some of your own assumptions about what interests and activities are inherently nonblack.

There are people who are into all this stuff who look like your future kids, just like there are people who look like them in the formerly lily-white fields of tennis, golf, gymnastics and ballet. Check out the Black Science Fiction SocietyBlack Girl Nerds and Africomics, just for a start. Tapping into resources like these will be one good way to ensure that they don’t feel unnecessarily isolated in these worlds or conflicted about enjoying them.

It’s possible that this—an expanded, modern, flexible and evolving view of what constitutes black culture—might take some work and some reprogramming of your own thinking.

Luckily, the kids aren’t even here yet. So you have plenty of time.

The Root’s staff writer, Jenée Desmond-Harris, covers the intersection of race with news, politics and culture. She wants to talk about the complicated ways in which ethnicity, color and identity arise in your personal life — and provide perspective on the ethics and etiquette surrounding race in a changing America. Follow her on Twitter.

October 24, 2014

Issues of Biracial Children “Cross” By Langston Hughes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 4:59 pm

Issues of Biracial Children

“Cross”
By Langston Hughes

My old man’s a White old man,
And my old mother’s Black,
If I ever cursed my White old man,
I take my curses back.

If I ever cursed my Black old ma
And wished she were in hell,
I’m sorry for that evil wish,
And now I wish her well.

My old man died in a fine White house,
My ma died in a shack,
I wonder where I’m gonna die,
Being neither White nor Black.

Are We Afraid to Talk About Race Anymore?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 1:07 pm

JUNE 7, 2012, 12:24 AM

Not Afraid to Talk About Race

By CHARLES M. BLOW

Hey, I heard that: “Oh, no, the black columnist is writing about race, again.”

Yes, I am. Deal with it. The moment we allow ourselves to be browbeaten out of having important discussions about issues that persist, we cease to command the requisite conviction to wield the pen — or to peck on a keyboard, but you get my drift.

Varying political views among racial and ethnic groups are real.

They have always informed our politics, and no doubt they will continue to do so. The idea, naively held by many, that the election of the first black president would nullify racial grievances, bridge racial differences and erase racial animosities has quickly faded. We find ourselves once again trying to wrestle with the meaning and importance of race in our politics.

In fact, one could argue that examinations of racial attitudes in politics have become more fraught as racial motives, political objectives and accusations and denials of racism and reverse-racism serve as a kind of subterfuge hiding resentments and prejudices.

Either racial attitudes are naked, blatant and visible, this thinking goes, or they’re nonexistent, manufactured by race baiters and hucksters as devices of division. The middle ground, sprinkled with land mines made up of racial labels, is now a place where fair-minded people dare not tread.

That’s a shame.

But it’s not going to stop me. Strap on your lead boots and let’s go for a stroll.

Pew Research Center American values survey released this week offers fascinating insights into how racially divergent values and the changing racial compositions of political parties influence our politics.

Let’s look at the racial makeup of the two major parties: from 2000 to 2012 the percentage of Republicans who are white has remained relatively steady, about 87 percent. On the other hand, the percentage of Democrats who are white has dropped nine percentage points, from 64 percent in 2000 to 55 percent in 2012. If current trends persist, in a few years the Democratic Party will be a majority minority party. But the largest drop in the white percentage has been among Independents: they were 79 percent white in 2000, but they are only 67 percent white now.

The racial diversity among Democrats and the lack of it among Republicans means that the two bases bring differing sets of concerns to the national debate.

For instance, blacks and Hispanics are far more likely to believe that poverty is a result of circumstances beyond a person’s control than a result of lack of effort.

Blacks and Hispanics also look far more favorably on the role of government, particularly as it relates to guarding against poverty and evening a playing field that they feel is tilted. Seventy-eight percent of both blacks and Hispanics believed that government should guarantee everyone enough to eat and a place to sleep, while only 52 percent of whites agreed with that idea.

This is not to say that minorities who favor a stronger government want more government handouts. There was very little difference in the percentage of blacks, Hispanics and whites who believed that poor people have become too dependent on government assistance programs (it’s pretty high for all three groups, at 70, 69 and 72 percent, respectively).

They seem to want a chance, not a check.

To wit, 62 percent of blacks and 59 percent of Hispanics say that we should make every possible effort to improve the position of blacks and other minorities, even if it means giving them preferential treatment. Not surprisingly, only 22 percent of whites agreed with this idea. Only 12 percent of Republicans — almost all of whom are white — agreed. This percentage has been decreasing since 2007, while the percentage of white Democrats who agree has been increasing.

Now what does that mean for the presidential race?

A staggering 90 percent of Romney supporters are white. Only 4 percent are Hispanic, less than 1 percent are black and another 4 percent are another race.

Of Obama’s supporters, 57 percent are white, 23 percent are black, 12 percent are Hispanic and 7 percent are another race.

And what of the all-important swing voters (those who are undecided, who lean toward a candidate, or who say that they could change their mind)? Nearly three out of four are white. The rest are roughly 8 percent each blacks, Hispanics and another race.

That might explain why the Pew poll found that the swing voters lean more toward Obama voters on issues like civil liberties and the role of labor unions, but are closer to Romney voters on the role of social safety nets, immigration and minority-preference programs.

Put another way, Romney voters and swing voters — who are both overwhelming white — agree on the more racially charged issues.

Pointing out these correlations is not only valid, it is instructive and helpful. In large part this election will be about the role of government in our lives, and different racial and ethnic groups view that particular issue very differently.

The economy always looms large, but for those who feel left behind by the economy even when it’s roaring, but especially when it sputters, social safety nets and governmental activism can also have tremendous weight.

The trick will be to have a conversation about the direction of the country that takes that into account but lifts the language to a level where common goals can be seen from differing racial vantage points — to show a way to be merciful to those struggling while providing a path to financial independence and social equality. Contrary to what many Americans think, most people do in fact want a hand up and not a handout.

October 23, 2014

How Microgrids Could Change the Future of Our World

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 11:28 pm
Tags: , ,

How Microgrids  Could Change the Future of Our World

As the cost of solar energy has fallen, it has opened up new markets that were once unimaginable in energy. Five years ago, it seemed impossible that a million homes in the U.S. could be powered by solar energy, but that’s the goal of just one company — SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY ) — and it hopes to accomplish this goal by 2018.

As the cost of solar energy falls and new technologies like energy storage, smart meters, and demand response advance, new opportunities open up, like microgrids, which can create a self contained energy ecosystem. If designed right, microgrids can produce more renewable energy, cause less strain on the grid, and even provide technology that could change energy around the world.

What’s a microgrid?

A microgrid is an electric grid that is much smaller than a city, state, or national grid and contains both generating assets as well as energy demand sources.

It may contain distributed solar on rooftops, ground mounted wind and solar generation, smart meters, energy storage, and even demand response. The main electric grid would then feed into a central point that would control all points of the system and communicate with the main grid, which would still provide a feed of energy to the microgrid. Below is a graphic from Siemens, a large grid supplier, that shows what a microgrid may look like.

Microgrid components

From the grid’s perspective, microgrids could turn hundreds of points of demand (homes) into a single point of demand, simplifying operations and giving more control within the microgrid. In some locations, the microgrid could even operate independently of a central electric grid.

Solving the grid’s main problem with rooftop solar

One advantage is that microgrids would alleviate the major problem utilities say they have with rooftop or distributed solar’s intermittent supply to the grid. By dealing with one large point of contact, the microgrid could smooth out demand from the larger grid and even store excess energy produced within the microgrid for use during times when solar energy production may be high.

If designed correctly, the microgrid could actually improve a utility’s cost structure by reducing the amount of spinning reserves required to pick up when intermittent energy sources, like wind and solar, reduce generation.

It may soon be possible to invest in the solar system on your neighbor’s roof. Source: SolarCity.
So, how does this change the world?

The revolution of the microgrid will be noticed here in the U.S., but it could also transform impoverished nations with little access to energy worldwide. There are currently 1.3 billion people worldwide who lack power, and most of them live in locations far from a traditional energy plant or electric grid. It’s also often infeasible to build a fossil fuel plant or run transmission lines from the central grid to these locations. So, creating a microgrid with local energy sources is a logical solution.

It just so happens that many of these communities in Africa and India are also home to tremendous solar energy potential. If these communities had the ability to build their own grids, produce energy, and store energy, they could improve life immensely. It’s possible the improving economics of solar energy, energy storage, and microgrids could improve the lives of billions of people.

Who will play in this market?

So, who is going to be building microgrids and community energy assets?

The first two companies I think of are SolarCity and SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR ) . SolarCity is the largest distributed solar installer in the U.S. and has invested in Off-Grid Electric, a Tanzania-based company that provides solar lighting in Africa. It is also developing energy storage to store energy for emergencies within the home that could be transferred to microgrids both here and abroad.

SunPower is working with 7 of the top 10 homebuilders in the country and is testing energy storage systems that would be valuable for microgrids as well. It’s also building utility-scale projects in Africa and the Middle East, building out capabilities in places where solar energy potential is highest. Below is a short explanation of SunPower’s energy storage vision.

 

Sun Power plans to store energy at homes

No doubt companies like Siemens and General Electric would be in this market as well, but microgrids would be more line extensions than new growth markets.

The grid is changing

As distributed energy becomes more common, and utilities adapt to the new normal, where homeowners can own power-generating assets, we’ll see new opportunities emerge in energy. One concept I think communities will see as attractive is the microgrid. If built properly, they will put the power in the community’s hands and give consumers more control over their energy choices. If that happens, it will be a positive development for the world of energy.

Another energy transformation in the U.S.

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Socratic Methods of Living a Good Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 1:36 am

7 Practical Lessons From Socrates on Wisdom, Wealth, and the Good Life

Warren Buffett believes that temperament is more important than IQ when it comes to successful investing. He said recently that “you absolutely have to have the right temperament. Otherwise, something will snap you.”

When it comes to developing your temperament, who would be more helpful? The self-assured hedge fund manager talking his own book on CNBC or one of the wisest philosophers in human history?

The answer to that question is pretty obvious. Below are seven quotes from Socrates that might be helpful for those investors who aspire to self-mastery. The quotes were compiled from Bettany Hughes’ outstanding book The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life.

1. “Those who are already wise no longer love wisdom – whether they are gods or men. Similarly, those whose own ignorance has made them bad, rotten, evil, do not strive for wisdom either. For no evil or ignorant person ever strives for wisdom. What remains are those who suffer from ignorance, but still retain some sense and understanding. They are conscious of knowing what they don’t know.” Here, Socrates notes that many of us are aware of our intellectual limitations, even while we’re striving to acquire wisdom. This is a particularly important insight for investors who can benefit enormously by remaining committed to the pursuit of wisdom throughout their lives.

Buffett’s investing partner Charlie Munger has made a persuasive case, on numerous occasions, for the importance of lifelong learning, regardless of your level of expertise. He feels that if he and Buffett had stopped learning at some point, then the “record would have been much worse than it is.” The key to the game, according to Munger, is to keep learning about a wide variety of different disciplines. Clearly, Munger has been very successful at the game, having turned his love of reading into a billion-dollar fortune.

2. “Well I am certainly wiser than this man. It is only too likely that neither of us has any knowledge to boast of; but he thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know.” Socrates is famous for knowing the limits of his knowledge. His simple insight can be very beneficial for investors.

Every day we witness Wall Street experts – with impressive credentials – who are extremely quick to weigh in on things they can never really know. Many of them, for example, have been predicting a stock market crash, year in and year out, since 2009. Listening to their advice could have cost you a lot of money.

Just like Socrates, truly wise investors are aware of their own ignorance. They can’t predict whether or not the market will go up or down in any given year. Rather, they make long-term bets on the ability of our economy and individual companies to grow over the next decade and beyond. Such wisdom represents a considerable edge for ordinary investors versus Wall Street pros.

3. “Oh my friend, why do you, who are a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens, care so much about laying up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all? Are you not ashamed of this?” This is a simple plea by Socrates for all us to have more balance in our lives. Far too many executives in America today (particularly on Wall Street) focus too much on power and money, while neglecting ethics and sustainability. Steve Jobs made a similar point when he said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.”

4. “For I go about doing nothing else than urging you, young and old, not to care for your persons or your property more than for the perfection of your souls, or even so much; and I tell you that virtue does not come from money, but from virtue comes money and all other good things to man, both the individual and to the state.” I love this particular quote, though it’s not easy to decipher. He appears to be saying that all of us don’t spend enough time striving for moral perfection. If we did, then good things would result.

Of course, we all know people of poor character who are very successful in life, so clearly money can be gained without virtue. But I think Socrates is saying that virtue is the most important thing in life, and that money can’t buy it. And those who focus on pursuing virtue will be well-positioned to achieve all those things they desire in life. I’m not sure this is actually true, but I like to think that it’s true.

5. “Fellow citizens, why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth, and, yet, take so little care of your own children, to whom one day you must relinquish all.” This quote is particularly helpful to those of us who are parents. Many of us work tirelessly on behalf of our children, while ignoring them in the process. The time we spend with them today, however, may actually be more valuable than any material things we might leave them tomorrow.

6. “In truth, the fear of death is nothing but thinking you’re wise when you are not, for you think you know what you don’t. For no one knows whether death happens to be the greatest of all goods for humanity, but people fear it because they’re completely convinced it is the greatest of evils. And isn’t this ignorance, after all, the most shameful kind: thinking you know what you don’t.” When I first read in high school about the trial and death of Socrates, I was very impressed by his stoicism in the face of the ordeal. He wasn’t afraid because he had no idea what death would be like. Why do people just assume it’s bad, he wondered? He approached the mystery of death in a purely rational way.

Such an approach can be extremely powerful in other areas of life. When Charlie Munger was once asked what accounts for his enormous success, he replied, “I’m rational. That’s the answer. I’m rational.” In the emotional world of investing, that turned out to be a pretty effective edge.

7. “At the time, I made it clear once again, not by talk but by action, that I didn’t care at all about death – if I’m not being too blunt to say it – but it mattered everything that I do nothing unjust or impious, which matters very much to me. For though it had plenty of power, that government didn’t frighten me into doing anything that’s wrong.” To me, this quote is a simple, yet eloquent statement on moral leadership. Socrates is referring to a time when the Athenian government asked him to arrest a general who would then likely be murdered in cold blood. Fortunately, Socrates was able to avoid punishment, despite his refusal.

We all need to stand for something in life, and sometimes we’ll need to pay a price for our beliefs. For those of us who approach an investment as business owners, we may want to think hard about what types of companies we’d like to own and not own.

Living the good life
So, what was the good life for Socrates? I think it was spending his days striving for moral perfection, and teaching anyone who would listen what he had learned from his quest. Perhaps he realized along the way that he didn’t need a lot of material goods to pursue what he loved. That seems like another important lesson for all of us.

Can You Actually Predict a Business Failure Far in Advance

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 1:34 am

Playing With Fire: A Framework for Predicting Failure

How many times have you read or heard someone predict that such-and-such retail company is on the verge of bankruptcy? And how many times did that not actually happen? My guess is many. Maybe you’ve even thought or said something along these lines yourself. I certainly have.

During the last few years, one after another brick-and-mortar retailer has fallen victim to the e-commerce juggernaut Amazon.com. The first wave of failures, catalyzed by the financial crisis, claimed the lives of Borders, Circuit City, and Linens ‘n Things. Now, a second wave is gathering strength in the distance. In its path are Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and RadioShack. Indeed, even Wal-Mart’s domestic division seems stuck in a downward spiral of negative same-store sales.

If you’re an investor, this begs an important question: Is it possible to distinguish an existential crisis at a retail chain from one that’s serious, but temporary, and therefore survivable? If you can do so, not only could you sidestep a horrible investment, but you could also profit from an eventual drop or rebound in the underlying company’s stock.

Why it’s hard to forecast failure
One of the reasons it’s hard to predict if and when a company will go under is because bankruptcy isn’t simply a matter of solvency — that is, of having more assets than liabilities. If this were the case, even a novice investor would be able to forecast the downfall of the most complex publicly traded corporation. All it would take is a cursory glance at the shareholders’ equity portion of the balance sheet.

This doesn’t mean solvency isn’t important; because it is. But it’s nevertheless rarely the precipitating cause of failure. The downfall of former electronics giant Circuit City provides a textbook case. When it filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2008, it was the nation’s second-largest electronics retailer, with more than 700 superstores located in retail shopping centers across the country. And more to the point, its final balance sheet listed $3.4 billion in assets versus $2.3 billion in liabilities. Thus, not only was Circuit City solvent, its book value exceeded $1 billion.

 

circuit-citys-book-value-between-2004-and-2008_large

If solvency isn’t the issue, what is? The answer is liquidity. When a company is in its final throes, the most acute problem it faces is the inability to convert assets into cash, which can then be used to buy inventory and satisfy expenses like rent and wages. This happens when creditors lose faith in a company and stop accepting its assets as collateral for lines of credit. It’s this, in turn, which triggers the actual demise.

Take this announcement from Circuit City a week before it went bankrupt:

Following the company’s second-quarter results, the company’s liquidity position and the sharply worsened overall economic environment led some of Circuit City’s vendors to take restrictive actions with respect to payment terms and the credit they make available to the company…including in some cases not providing customary increases in credit lines for holiday purchases.
And the same was true at Linens ‘n Things, which was solvent to the tune of $323 million at the time of its failure in May 2008. Here’s what it said two weeks before doing so:

The rapidly increasing financial storm outside the company, together with our operating results, has accelerated credit and insurance problems for our vendors, causing them to recently begin imposing significantly more restrictive payment terms. These factors have had a dramatic effect on our liquidity outlook for the remainder of the year. We have made the decision to postpone today’s interest payment as we continue to work with our constituencies to explore a number of alternatives to strengthen our balance sheet and improve liquidity.

book-value-table_large.Finally, while former-bookseller Borders Group was technically insolvent when it sought bankruptcy protection at the beginning of 2011, it, too, acknowledged that illiquidity was the final straw:

.

During the third quarter, our borrowing capacity under our revolving credit facility was reduced as a result of a third party valuation that lowered the estimated liquidation value of our inventory. Due to this and other factors, including our lower than projected sales, we are taking several actions to improve our liquidity. At the present time, we are in detailed discussions with potential lenders for replacement financing that we believe will provide sufficient liquidity through at least the beginning of 2012.
It probably goes without saying that Borders was unsuccessful in its efforts to secure replacement financing. Two weeks later, it announced the decision to “delay payments to certain parties — vendors, landlords, and others.” And less than a month after that, it went kaput.

A framework for assessing liquidity
The fact that illiquidity is typically the cause of a retail company’s failure presents a problem for the average investor. This is because it’s far harder to compute than solvency.

The conventional approach is to compare a company’s current assets — such as cash, inventory, and accounts receivable — to current liabilities — namely, debts and obligations that will come due within a year. But this measure, known as the current ratio, can be misleading because it includes inventory and receivables, which often can’t be converted into cash at face value on sufficiently short notice, and because it ignores cash flow, which is the very essence of liquidity.

On top of this, there’s a subjective element to liquidity that can’t be captured in financial statements. This follows from the fact that a company’s liquidity depends on its creditors. And its creditors are less interested in shorthand measures of fiscal health like the current ratio, and much more concerned with beating competing creditors to the punch, thereby securing repayment before it’s too late.

It’s for these reasons that a retail company’s chances of suffering a fatal liquidity crisis can best be gauged with two questions. First, does the company have a history of sustained and accelerating quarterly losses? This matters because losses erode book value, which is a proxy for a company’s ability to borrow. And second, are the company’s operations burning through more cash than they’re generating? If so, then the company has a serious problem on its hands because its cash coffers aren’t being replenished — a fact that won’t go unnoticed by creditors.

.

radioshacks-quarterly-net-income_large.

The recent experience of RadioShack offers an instructive example. During the last few years, its net income has fallen precipitously, culminating in an ongoing streak of nine consecutive quarterly losses. This trend has wreaked havoc on RadioShack’s book value, reducing it by a staggering 91% during the last 12 quarters. Its latest estimate pegs the figure at a mere $73 million. Meanwhile, the electronic retailer’s free cash flow is also in a perilous state. In the last two quarters alone, its operations burned through $200 million more in cash than they generated. Things have gotten so bad recently that the New York Stock Exchange is threatening to delist RadioShack’s stock.

A similar story is unfolding at J.C. Penney — though the concern, while great, is not as acute as it is in RadioShack’s case. Following a bungled rebranding attempt initiated by a former CEO, the department store chain has lost a total of $2.9 billion during the last three years. This has driven its book value down by 42%, and leaves it with a net worth of only $2.8 billion. And even more disturbing than this is the speed at which J.C. Penney is burning through cash. At its current run rate, its operations are consuming an average of $307 million more in free cash flow each quarter than they generate.

By contrast, if you use this framework to assess the fiscal health of Walmart, it becomes clear that predictions of the discount retailer’s impending demise are greatly exaggerated. Despite an uncharacteristic and problematic series of negative same-store sales in its U.S. division, the Arkansas-based company continues to be both extremely profitable and liquid. It typically earns between $3.5 billion and $4.5 billion each quarter, and generates billions of dollars in free cash flow. The net result is that Wal-Mart’s book value continues to grow, albeit at a slower rate than it did during the first few decades of the retail giant’s existence.

The bottom line on predicting failure
The point here is that identifying companies on the verge of failure is both harder and easier than it’s often made out to be. It’s harder because the analysis calls for more than a simple assessment of solvency. But it’s easier because there are two alternative questions that investors can use to gauge whether a company is facing an existential crisis like RadioShack, or rather one that’s serious, but temporary, and survivable like Walmart.

This is an important lesson for investors looking to profit from stocks in companies that are flirting with disaster. If you guess right, the returns can be extraordinary. But if you guess wrong, then you could lose your entire investment. It’s for the latter reason, in turn, that speculating like this should only be undertaken by the most experienced and risk-averse investors.

 

WCW Wednesday October, 2014: KL

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 12:19 am

This is my very first WCW (Women Crush Wednesday) I have ever made. There are very very few women I would ever even think of making this designation to…. but the one I chose today…. my first…. is by far the best one I have knowledge of or about, and as such, she has the honor, albeit a possibly dubious honor, to not only be my first but the most important.

I chose K.L.

Who is KL? I won’t dare to embarrass her with a full revelation as to her identity but I want to share with you, my reader, why this woman was selected.

Those who know me and have come here over the last 8 or 9 years to read know I have traveled extensively around the world. The map on the side of this blog is a good indication of the extent of my travels. Over 70 countries so far and I have a lot more to go. Some months ago I tweeted to KL that in my opinion and of all the tens of thousands of women I have seen… she is one of the 5 most beautiful women in the world. That assessment was not BS or bluster or a pickup line as I have had no interaction with her since. BUT I have followed her on occasion and would like to share with you WHY she is so much more than a physical beauty, and because of these following “Other” things I find her worthy of any man OR woman’s crush.

KL is a West Indian woman. A particular culture I have intimate knowledge of. She is Jamaican and was raised in NYC for a time and Englewood, NJ. Up through that time I know of nothing remarkable.

However KL Joined the USAF (United States Air Force) apparently raised herself to a Noncom rank of Sergeant and served in the Military Police. Why does this matter. Well. First it makes her an honored veteran. Second it means she can handle herself. Not only with a weapon but also self defense. Some may think that subduing intoxicated service personnel is easy, but I assure you that is usually not the case. If one has occasion to see her FB Timeline or her Twitter feed you would know she still holds those she served with and those who have served in high regard and expresses concern in these turbulent times for their safety.

But do not think she is a chatter box on twitter or FB ~ she is not. She is reserved and eloquent (well mostly) in how she expresses herself. She is not afraid to call people out for their bad behavior. She has good high standards for herself and for others and is very selective for those she calls “Friend” (I know as I am not one of them…)

The articles she shares and those that she tweets shows a woman who is fully aware that there is a world she lives in that goes beyond her current employment and existence. She is without a doubt a worldly person.

Looks great in a bikini and especially in a “Charlie” by Matthew Zink (They advertize it as  a new swim lifestyle brand dedicated to the seduction of the perfect bikini,  but I think it reaches it apex when worn by KL) KL makes the brand pop

She is NOT dependent. She is very INDEPENDENT. She recently stated that she is not afraid to fight for any man in her life, but she will never fight OVER a man. She values LOYALTY in man. She is not so enamored with boys. She is not a money grubber and has stated she would rather a man in her life that was honest and loyal even more than his earnings. As she said she makes enough that no man has to take care of her. A REAL woman!!

She is not afraid to travel the world. Given that she served in NATO headquarters in Brussels I realized some of her qualities and her interest in other cultures. She is determined and brave as she has even traveled to other countries ALONE… I have HUGE respect for that as too many people make any excuse for not traveling and exploring the world. I read once that the one place she really wants to go and spend time in is Paris… and as a romantic myself I hope she goes with someone special and that it will have real significance for her.

She made some other references to other facets to her personality and interests.. Some very personal and intimate but I will not dare repeat as she is much too good a woman to ever embarrass and I have too much respect for her to do that as well. But I can say with impunity I have found NOTHING about this woman that is bad or a turnoff…

If anything she has been too trusting sometimes with some men and has been used by them, and I could never understand why they would do that to a woman so interesting and deserving of so much as KL. Maybe she is too good or to trusting of men she likes.
In any event I find it reprehensible that she should be played by any man, and have come to the conclusion that they just were not real men or worthy of such a woman as KL. (Enough of this…. I mean it but it sounds too…. umm…. Condescending)

She fights her own battles. Is not afraid to stand up for herself. She used to tweet that a well stoked freezer had strip steaks that she could cook up for breakfast. I was concerned that she was not culturally Jamaican. I had that notion dispelled in an instant but when she tweeted about one of my favorite foods. Not just curry~ but GOAT CURRY and Fried Plantains and rice and beans. Oh my! I had to go out and get some for myself the next day… YUMMY good… but if you think the sound of it is not so nice, than you have to understand why you would never make my top 5 list. I love ethnic foods from around the world.

I find it awesome when someone has eclectic tastes and a thirst for knowledge and cultural experiences. A person who does not travel and experience the world is like owning a book about the world and never opening the damn thing. KL won a lot of respect from me for these parts of her.

KL appears to relish education. Langston Hughes is a favorite author and she is currently planning her net career which she has indicated would be a choice between Medicine and Law. I look forward to catching a tweet or two and learning one day which sub specialties she has interest in for those professions that can help me glimmer another side to this fascinating woman.

A Few Adjectives that help describe KL: Intelligent, Beautiful, Sexy, Intelligent,  Articulate, Energetic, Insightful,  Aware, Fiscally Astute, Entrepreneurial Interests, Independent,  Self Sufficient, Educated, Internationally Aware and Interested, Worldly, West Indian/ Jamaican Cooks, works her proverbial butt off and is good at what she does (and trust me if you know what she does you have to also know it takes real dedication and tolerance to work that hard in that field and still be employed) ..… a real man would be hard pressed to find a single flaw in such a woman… but it will have to be a real man for only a real man can handle a strong woman, and KL is all woman .

Dang she even has great taste in Automobiles with her recent purchase of an Audi…

So I am proud today to tell her that she is my first choice for WCW Women Crush Wednesday. And KL, you really “all that” and so much more … I wish you the very best in your life as you have continued to earn it on your own every single day! It truly was wonderful to have followed you over the past year or two. You have ruined me for any other woman…. well almost..

Did I mention she is a Sagittarius? LOL

Says a lot about her independence and determination in life if you believe in all that…

SOO.. This is about it.. While there is a LOT more to say on why KL would be any Mans crush let alone mine…. well… this has to suffice before it looks as if I want to write her Biography…. but I guarantee you that what I have listed barely touches the surface of who she is.

One time she referenced a disabled Brother. Not sure if it was an analogy in a what if situation about a bus pass.. but I do know she loves her family….. and admires her mother a lot…. but the disabled reference has specific impact on my life so it meant a lot to see it referenced even if it was not her brother specifically… the insight was particularly poignant for me to see.

How I wish I had met her in person. I would have made sure I knew what actual shade and gender she wanted in the “Goldendoodle”Puppy….  and that she got it…. but I never would have put it in a Celine Bag…. . of that I am sure…  that would have had to be separate package…. 

October 10, 2014

New and Exciting Project Launching

There is a new project launching in the next week to 10 days. it will be called:

“Give It Back To Congress”

 

It should appear on several Crowd Funding Platforms.

Sales should be done on eBay and Amazon and payments  as low as 5 dollars and 1 dollar thereafter can be made.

Given the State of Our Nation I hope you will find it entertaining and compelling to participate in this project

August 30, 2014

Outline on being too smart sometimes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 1:59 pm

A Genius Learns To Start Working Hard

What is it like to have an extremely high IQ?

Pretty much everyone responding to this question on a popular thread agreed that it can be difficult, as geniuses and near-geniuses may have difficulty relating to other people and lack the motivation necessary to succeed.

One of the most interesting answers came from a former colleague , an innovation analyst at XYZCo, who explained how he struggled with having a high IQ before realizing he had to work hard.

His answer is published anonymously below:

I have what most would consider a high IQ. I test in the top 1% in almost all testing I’ve done throughout most of my life. I would assume for those who have used and engaged it, it has been rewarding. It has been my best friend AND  my worst enemy at alternating times in my life. I have, for the most part, done very little with mine, which has been a source of frustration, depression, and, at some points, marital strife.

Schooling

Academics were my first out, with a mediocre academic career that featured little work on my part, always perfect test scores, and an ongoing army of teachers who felt they were doing me a favor by passing me because I knew the material, rather than failing me for my work ethic. It helped that I attended a new school nearly every year due to my military upbringing, so teachers felt sorry for me rather than recognizing my self-destructive pattern of behavior.

Friendships

I will admit that my IQ isolated me quite a bit. I was too smart to fit with the “popular” kids, and my being the perpetual new kid didn’t help. I was also the least accomplished and laziest of my intellectual peers, so didn’t fit in that group either. Mostly, I ended up with the people who didn’t care…the stoners one year, skateboarders another, emo kids another year, and always a small group of friends to play D&D with. I never had a set group identity.

Oddly enough, be it friends or professional contacts, I have never found it too difficult to relate to other people strictly based on IQ. I’m much more likely to find issues with people who are married to specific ideologies. I have always ascribed to the Einstein quote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” My background in customer service helped, but I also realized that while I can, for instance, take apart your computer at a near circuit level, I can’t work on an engine, fly a plane, design a building, or paint the Mona Lisa. Everyone has talents, and IQ is just one of many that people can possess. It is certainly one of the most advantageous in modern society, but its not the only one that is worthwhile.

Work

After high school (I never went to college for more than half a semester until recently), I found I simply lacked motivation to excel. There was always a high-minded philosophical basis for my stagnation:  Buddhist ideas against the accumulation of material possessions, a smug sense of escaping from the consumerist ideology that consumed American culture, etc. As long as my job paid for my hobbies, I was content to maintain a job that offered and expected very little from me. With my love for technology, I ended up at multiple help desk jobs of varying positions for over 10 years.

At some point, before I began to understand my own culpability in the direction of my life, my intellect became poisonous. I started thinking about moving forward in my career, but never in terms of what *I* needed to do, but in the self-pitying belief that others simply failed to recognize my gifts and give me what I was DUE, either because they felt threatened or because they were unable to recognize and relate to my intelligence. Everyone always said the same thing, “You’re so smart/talented, I’m surprised you’re still doing this”, and so was I, though I shouldn’t have been. I believed my intelligence entitled me to opportunity, and it soured me on my professional relationships for a long time.

I’m not sure at what point I came to the realization that it is the outcome of the sum of your talents, and not the talents themselves, that define you as a person. Probably around the time I met my wife, and became a father. It wasn’t just about SUPPORTING my children, or accumulating money, because there are plenty of starving artists raising amazing children. But I have no gift for art or music. My intellect is really all I have, so I knew that if I was going to teach my children self-worth, to make the most of the talents and opportunity they had, I would have to stop making excuses and do it myself.

The last few years have paid off. My success has grown, in professional circles inside and outside my work. I’ve moved from doing things I *know* to doing things I *love*, paying my dues along the way, and not taking shortcuts. I hope that I’m showing my children that simply having a gift isn’t enough.

That being said…

Family

I wish I could say I’ve “fixed” everything about me that my high IQ has “broken”, but that isn’t the case. I spend a lot of time, far more than I should, inside my own head, or working on problems that interest me, time that should be spent with family. I let my children spend too much time steering their own destiny, with little or no limitation, and they mostly choose to spend it glued to a computer playing video games. It is difficult for me still to find balance between everything that needs to done at home, and the things that I feel I need to do for myself. I’m not getting any younger, and I wasted a great deal of the opportunity of my youth. However, my constant NEED to better myself combined with the fact that I still struggle against poor habits, easy distraction, and severe disorganization cause my wife no end of frustration as I pursue whatever the “next thing” that consumes me might be. She is an angel for putting up with it, but her grace doesn’t excuse me from my obligation to find a better balance.  At the same time, I have to work harder to make sure I don’t miss the opportunity of my sons’ youth as well. Children seldom care about your work ethic if you’re not around the rest of the time. It’s a work in progress, but never one you should give up on.

Aggressive and sometimes illegal debt collectors at their worst

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 12:57 am

What have we become?

It was almost 11 a.m. on a Tuesday in October when Jennifer Posey received the first voice mail.

“This is Jimmy Lee calling from CheckCare. Just letting you know we’re in full force,” he said. The man had a thick Southern accent that stretched the word “you” into a two-syllable accusation. “We’re going to have warrants out for your arrest in Columbus, Ga.,” the man threatened. “We know you have an apartment on the canal in Clearwater.”

It was when he mentioned her home in Florida that Posey began to feel anxious. “We’re hurting you,” he continued. “We’re hurting your family, your son’s family, your cousin’s family. Whatever we can do to get you to pay.”

Forty minutes later, her phone rang again. “What about that 12-, 13-year-old child you’re trying to raise?” the voice sneered.

That’s when Posey called the police.

“This is my 12-year-old child!” Posey says. Later that afternoon, she received a letter from the Warner Robbins, Ga., franchise of CheckCare, one of the nation’s largest networks of check guarantors.

The letter claimed that Posey owed $3,560.23, an allegation she refuses to discuss. The amount, she says, was beside the point. “I don’t care if it’s one dollar or 1 million. You don’t threaten to harm my child,” she says.

Posey’s experience, while extreme, is far from uncommon. As the effects of the Great Recession continue to fester in neighborhoods across the country, more Americans than ever report being abused, harassed and deceived by the notoriously unregulated debt-buying and -collecting industry. In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission received an unprecedented 180,000 complaints about these companies, nearly 13 times more complaints than were reported in 2000.

The debt collection industry is like the Luca Brasi of lenders, and there are big bucks to be made in enforcement, whether you’re working for Don Corleone or MasterCard.

The debt collection industry is like the Luca Brasi of lenders, and there are big bucks to be made in enforcement, whether you’re working for Don Corleone or MasterCard. Today, debt collection is a $12 billion business, with more than 4,500 companies and, according to the Better Business Bureau’s recent report, more ruthless tactics than ever. The abuse is part of the industry’s strategy to get people to pay up — a job that’s gotten even harder since Americans lost millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in wealth throughout the recession. According to John LaRosa, the research director of Marketdata Enterprises, which released a 2012 report on the industry, “Agencies have to work much harder to collect, making more calls, using more aggressive tactics.”

The only problem? A hell of a lot of these tactics are illegal, and a new government agency has resolved to fight back.

Fake sheriffs, phantom firms

Approximately 10 percent of all Americans, or 30 million people, are currently being pursued by debt collectors. Of these, more than 100,000 people report being subject to predatory or illegal tactics every year. Some are called incessantly, often well after 9 p.m., which is prohibited under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Others reported being threatened with arrest or felony charges by collectors, both of which are also prohibited.

Sometimes the behavior of debt collectors is egregious to the point of being ridiculous. In Erie, Pa., one company named Unicredit Debt Resolution Center hired employees to dress up as fake sheriff’s deputies so they could deliver fake subpoenas and even haul people into a fake courtroom where — you guessed it — a fake judge would coerce them into disclosing their bank account information and even handing over the titles to their cars. Other actions are downright scary. One California-based company threatened to shoot and eat people’s pets and even dig up the bodies of deceased family members, all in its efforts to intimidate them into paying.

In Erie, Pa., a fake judge would coerce people into disclosing their bank account information and even handing over the titles to their cars.

Often debt collectors harass people over debts that aren’t even owed. More than a third of the complaints released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) were from people being pursued for debts that weren’t theirs or that they had already paid. The latter problem plagued Maryland resident Edgar Moreno after his daughter was in a car accident in Arizona last fall. One of the first things he did was send her a prepaid card to cover her hospital charges. She was only 22; the last thing he wanted was for her to have to deal with bills and forms while she was convalescing.

In November he received a letter from the hospital saying that all his daughter’s medical bills were settled. But a slew of letters sent to her home by Professional Credit Services alleged the opposite. According to Moreno, the company — a third party hired by firms to collect debts — barraged her with so many threatening letters that Moreno finally had her mail forwarded to his home. He tried repeatedly to contact the company to inform it that his daughter’s bills had been paid, but he couldn’t get anyone on the phone.

“It’s like a phantom company,” he said. Finally, he took to the Web, writing indignant complaints on consumer sites like RipOffReport and the Better Business Bureau. “They’re taking advantage of people when they are most vulnerable, at the worst times of their lives,” he said. “She didn’t even owe anything.”

Neither Professional Credit Services nor any of the other agencies mentioned in this article responded to repeated requests for comment.

Reform and robo-signing

For decades, the business of debt collection operated with too little government scrutiny. The most comprehensive federal regulation, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, was written in 1977, back when the idea of the Internet was fiction and students taking out loans for $58,000 a year in tuition seemed as improbable as flying cars. Besides being outdated, the act is also restricted to regulating third-party debt collectors, meaning major banks like JPMorgan Chase or giant stores like Macy’s are exempt from the rules when trying to collect money they lent. The Federal Trade Commission has sued dozens of collectors over the years under the act, including Expert Global Solutions, the world’s largest collection company. But the agency lacks the authority to write new laws. As Chris Farrell, correspondent for the NPR show “Marketplace,” recently wrote in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the industry is essentially the “credit economy’s Wild West.”

But there’s a new sheriff in town, and it has vowed to clean up the business. Last year, the CFPB began overseeing large debt collectors under the Dodd-Frank Act, which gives the agency the right to regulate both large banks and non-bank financial service providers, such as payday lenders, mortgage services and debt collectors.

In July, the CFPB announced it was “put(ting) companies on notice.” By December, the agency had released thousands of complaints about debt collectors, sued one of the largest payday lenders and announced it was developing new rules to regulate the industry.

Of the more than 7,000 complaints the CFPB has published so far, more than 2,000 were from people who reported being pursued for a debt they didn’t owe.

Stopping debt collectors from pursuing the wrong people, as in the case of Moreno’s daughter, is one of the CFPB’s main areas of concern. Of the more than 7,000 complaints the agency has published so far, more than 2,000 were from people who reported being pursued for a debt they didn’t owe.

The information breakdown often occurs when people’s debt is shuffled around or purchased by debt buyers for about four cents on the dollar. When a buyer purchases debt from another company, what it’s really buying is a spreadsheet filled with names and phone numbers of the alleged debtors, from which the company then tries to collect the full amount owed.

These spreadsheets are frequently filled with mistakes or missing information, said Claudia Wilner, a senior staff attorney with the New Economy Project, a resource and advocacy center in New York City. Through the organization’s free legal hotline, she and the other attorneys have spoken to thousands of people who say they are being pursued by debt collectors based on faulty information.

“We have talked to many people who don’t owe these debts,” she said. “Or even if there’s some aspect of the debt they recognize, the amount has ballooned so much as to be completely unrecognizable.”

The debt collectors also use these spreadsheets to sue people in civil court. According to a class action lawsuit in New York, suing collection agencies often fail to serve people with the required notices of complaint to inform them of their court dates. Instead they simply robo-sign affidavits that claim the notices have been served. Then, when people don’t show up in court, the judge enters a default judgment against them, allowing the debt collection agencies to freeze bank accounts and garnish wages. Remember: All of this action is based on the error-ridden spreadsheets, leading to cases of people having bank accounts frozen over debts that weren’t even theirs in the first place.

Wilner, who is working on the class action suit, said she was “heartened” to see the CFPB recently fine the massive payday lender Cash America $3.2 million for similar shenanigans, including robo-signing court documents.

“I would really like to see the CFPB take similar actions,” she said.

 
 

Legal loopholes

Debt collection laws also vary from state to state, and there are issues that consumer advocates say the agency won’t be able to remedy, no matter how aggressive its new laws are. In Minnesota, for example, third-party debt collectors can initiate lawsuits against people without even filing documents in court. This legal quirk ended up confusing St. Cloud resident Tammy Wold into missing the 20-day window she had to contest a claim, which she said is at least $1,500 more than what she owes.

On a Saturday morning in October, a man from the Law Office of Joe Pezzuto, LLC, arrived at Wold’s door and handed her papers that he said were a legal summons and complaint. But when she examined the papers, she noticed there was no court number. Suspicious, she called the county clerk’s office, only to be told there was no record of a lawsuit there either.

“They call it a summons, but it’s not an actual summons,” she said.

When someone sees court papers without a court file on them, she assumes that they are bogus.

Peter Barry

Minneapolis consumer rights lawyer

That’s exactly what collectors want people to believe — but it’s not the truth, said Peter Barry, a consumer rights lawyer in Minneapolis: “The collection industry wants you to think it’s a fake lawsuit because then they’ll get a default.”

Barry, who does not represent Wold but has sued numerous other Minnesota law firms for debt collection abuses, said that this legal loophole is an example of how the collection industry seeks ways to confuse consumers.

“The fact that she believes that it’s a bogus lawsuit goes to the larger problem in Minnesota that the collection industry has intensely lobbied to get service rules that favor them,” he said. He speaks to a half-dozen people each week who believe, as Wold did, that the summonses they’ve received are false.

“When someone sees court papers without a court file on them, she assumes that they are bogus. Just like if I gave you a dollar bill without a serial number on it, you wouldn’t take it,” he said.

An underlying problem

These types of state-by-state loopholes will be nearly impossible for the CFPB to regulate. But the bigger problem, others argue, is that it will be impossible to reform the collection industry without recognizing the underlying issue: the debt itself.

To the increasing number of Americans who are forced to assume debt to pay for basic needs, cleaning up the collection business can sound a little like slapping a fresh coat of paint on the Titanic. It might be a nice touch, but we’re all still going under.

“I’m glad to see the CFPB exists, and that it seems to be taking a hard line with collectors,” said Ann Larson, a professor at the City University of New York and a participant in the group Strike Debt. But in the long term, she said, people are going to have to challenge an economic system that pushes them into debts that — with flat-lined wages and skyrocketing educational, medical and housing costs — fewer and fewer people can afford to pay back.

Recent headlines echo Larson’s words. On Dec. 9, Shaun Donovan, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, announced that the United States is in the midst of “the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has known,” while The New York Times reported that medical costs have ballooned to the point that a single stitch costs $500. Student debt, meanwhile, has topped $1 trillion, dragging down both a generation and the overall economy.

“I just don’t see how you could address one without the other,” Larson said.

August 22, 2014

Are Raising Minimum Wage and Social Security and Medicaid Expansion Enough to Run On for Democrats

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 8:56 am

The Democrats should make these three  issues central to the 2014 campaign:

1.  Raising the Minimum Wage.

2.  Protecting Social Security.

There are many reasons for raising the minimum wage, which provides an annual salary of $15,080 (more than $7,000 less than the poverty rate for a family of four of $22,283).
Besides the obvious goal of relieving these families from daily economic distress, raising it will decrease the outrageous transfer of wealth from taxpayers to minimum wage corporations such as those in the fast food industry and Walmart.  This is a blatant subsidy to those companies, which we provide in the form of food stamps and Medicaid  — funds that should be part of employees salaries.

In fact, raising the minimum wage is linked to deficit reduction, by shifting some of these costs from the taxpayers and the government to the minimum wage paying corporations.

But another beneficial effect actually connects a higher minimum wage to preserving social security.

The current social security cap on earnings is $113,730.  Most of us here believe that the preferable ways to provide additional solvency to social security include: (a) raising the cap, (b) raising the cap after a “doughnut hole” between the current cap and, e.g., $250,000, and/or (c) applying the tax to capital gains income.

The current House of Representations (and the less than 60 vote Dem majority in the Senate) makes any of these politically impossible.

However, raising the minimum wage may be less politically impossible than raising the cap.

Approximately [3,550,000 workers make the minimum wage or below (see http://www.pewresearch.org/... ) in the US.]  If the minimum wage is raised by $2.00 an hour for, say 3,000,000 people, they will make collectively an additional $12,480,000,000.  Applying the current payroll tax rate of 6.2% results in an additional $773,776,000 contribution per year to the social security trust fund.

I will leave it to the actuaries among us to figure out by how much that additional contribution would extend the current projected date of 2033 for depletion of the trust fund.

But it doesn’t seem insignificant.

With the uncertain fate of health care (at least as a 2014 issue), these two issue are a great opportunity to let people know what we are for and they are against.

Greg Sargent highlights a stunningly callous remark from Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell about his constituents who are finally getting health insurance for the first time, in large part from Medicaid.

“Well look, if I went out here on the street today [and said], ‘You guys want free health care?’ I expect you’d have a lot of signups,” he said. “People signing up for something that is free” is the only thing about Obamacare in Kentucky that could be considered successful.Asked more than once what parts of Obamacare, if any, were beneficial to the millions of people in the country without health care, McConnell had only one answer, stating repeatedly: “The law should be repealed.”

Sargent wonders whether Democrats can win running on Medicaid and against attitudes like McConnell’s, and the perception that the law mostly benefits poor people, but won’t help them.

Dems may well worry that if the Medicaid expansion gets framed solely as expanding a government program for the poor—the handout that McConnell describes—it could put them at risk. Dems will probably emphasize that the expansion is sound budgetary policy,arguing that it makes sense for states to accept huge amounts of federal money.

Medicaid expansion, though, is more than just budgetary policy and it’s more than just assistance to the poor. The number of community hospitals closing, particularly in rural areas in red states, shows dramatically that it’s not just about  the uninsured.  The hospitals are closing because they are losing Medicaid funding that Medicaid expansion was supposed to replace. When Republicans refuse to take the Medicaid expansion and don’t come up with any replacement funding, hospitals close.

Those hospitals don’t just close for poor people. They close for everybody. And health emergencies don’t just happen to poor people, they happen to everybody. The lack of health care access to entire communities because of stupid, stubborn Republican opposition to Obamacare is definitely something Democrats can run on.

5 Myths About the ‘Information Age’

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 3:05 am

 5 Myths About the ‘Information Age’

Confusion about the nature of the so-called information age has led to a state of collective false consciousness. It’s no one’s fault but everyone’s problem, because in trying to get our bearings in cyberspace, we often get things wrong, and the misconceptions spread so rapidly that they go unchallenged. Taken together, they constitute a font of proverbial non-wisdom.
Five stand out:1. “The book is dead.” Wrong: More books are produced in print each year than in the previous year. One million new titles will appear worldwide in 2011. In one day in Britain—”Super Thursday,” last October 1—800 new works were published. The latest figures for the United States cover only 2009, and they do not distinguish between new books and new editions of old books. But the total number, 288,355, suggests a healthy market, and the growth in 2010 and 2011 is likely to be much greater. Moreover, these figures, furnished by Bowker, do not include the explosion in the output of “nontraditional” books—a further 764,448 titles produced by self-publishing authors and “micro-niche” print-on-demand enterprises. And the book business is booming in developing countries like China and Brazil. However it is measured, the population of books is increasing, not decreasing, and certainly not dying.

2. “We are firmly entrenched in the information age.” This announcement is usually intoned solemnly, as if information did not exist in other ages. But every age is an age of information, each in its own way and according to the media available at the time. No one would deny that the modes of communication are changing rapidly, perhaps as rapidly as in Gutenberg’s day, but it is misleading to construe that change as unprecedented.

3. “All information is now available online.” The absurdity of this claim is obvious to anyone who has ever done research in archives. Only a tiny fraction of archival material has ever been read, much less digitized. Most judicial decisions and legislation, both state and federal, have never appeared on the Web. The vast output of regulations and reports by public bodies remains largely inaccessible to the citizens it affects. Google estimates that 129,864,880 different books exist in the world, and it claims to have digitized 15 million of them—or about 12 percent. How will it close the gap while production continues to expand at a rate of a million new works a year? And how will information in non-print formats make it online en mass? Half of all films made before 1940 have vanished. What percentage of current audiovisual ma­terial will survive, even in just a fleeting appearance on the Web? Despite the efforts to preserve the millions of messages exchanged by means of blogs, e-mail, and handheld devices, most of the daily flow of information disappears. Digital texts degrade far more easily than words printed on paper. Brewster Kahle, creator of the Internet Archive, calculated in 1997 that the average life of a URL was 44 days. Not only does most information not appear online, but most of the information that once did appear has probably been lost.

4. “Libraries are obsolete.” Everywhere in the country librarians report that they have never had so many patrons. At Harvard, our reading rooms are full. The 85 branch libraries of the New York Public Library system are crammed with people. The libraries supply books, videos, and other materi­al as always, but they also are fulfilling new functions: access to information for small businesses, help with homework and after school activities for children, and employment information for job seekers (the disappearance of want ads in printed newspapers makes the library’s online services crucial for the unemployed). Librarians are responding to the needs of their patrons in many new ways, notably by guiding them through the wilderness of cyberspace to relevant and reliable digital material. Libraries never were warehouses of books. While continuing to provide books in the future, they will function as nerve centers for communicating digitized information at the neighborhood level as well as on college campuses.

5. “The future is digital.” True enough, but misleading. In 10, 20, or 50 years, the information environment will be overwhelmingly digital, but the prevalence of electronic communication does not mean that printed material will cease to be important. Research in the relatively new discipline of book history has demonstrated that new modes of communication do not displace old ones, at least not in the short run. Manuscript publishing actually expanded after Gutenberg and continued to thrive for the next three centuries. Radio did not destroy the newspaper; television did not kill radio; and the Internet did not make TV extinct. In each case, the information environment became richer and more complex. That is what we are experiencing in this crucial phase of transition to a dominantly digital ecology.

I mention these misconceptions because I think they stand in the way of understanding shifts in the information environment. They make the changes appear too dramatic. They present things a historically and in sharp contrasts—before and after, either/or, black and white. A more nuanced view would reject the common notion that old books and e-books occupy opposite and antagonistic extremes on a technological spectrum. Old books and e-books should be thought of as allies, not enemies. To illustrate this argument, I would like to make some brief observations about the book trade, reading, and writing.

Last year in 2013 the sale of e-books (digitized texts designed for hand-held readers) doubled, accounting for nearly 20 percent of sales in the trade-book market. This year they are expected to reach over 20-25 percent. But there are indications that the sale of printed books has increased at the same time. The enthusiasm for e-books may have stimulated reading in general, and the market as a whole seems to be expanding. New book machines, which operate like ATM’s, have reinforced this tendency. A customer enters a bookstore and orders a digitized text from a computer. The text is downloaded in the book machine, printed, and delivered as a paper­back within four minutes. This version of print-on-demand shows how the old-fashioned printed codex can gain new life with the adaption of electronic technology.

Many of us worry about a decline in deep, reflective, cover-to-cover reading. We deplore the shift to blogs, snippets, and tweets. In the case of research, we might concede that word searches have advantages, but we refuse to believe that they can lead to the kind of understanding that comes with the continuous study of an entire book. Is it true, however, that deep reading has declined, or even that it always prevailed? Studies by Kevin Sharpe, Lisa Jardine, and Anthony Grafton have proven that humanists in the 16th and 17th centuries often read discontinuously, searching for passages that could be used in the cut and thrust of rhetorical battles at court, or for nuggets of wisdom that could be copied into commonplace books and consulted out of context.

In studies of culture among the common people, Richard Hoggart and Michel de Certeau have emphasized the positive aspect of reading intermittently and in small doses. Ordinary readers, as they understand them, appropriate books (including chapbooks and Harlequin romances) in their own ways, investing them with meaning that makes sense by their own lights. Far from being passive, such readers, according to de Certeau, act as “poachers,” snatching significance from whatever comes to hand.

Writing looks as bad as reading to those who see nothing but decline in the advent of the Internet. As one lament puts it: Books used to be written for the general reader; now they are written by the general reader. The Internet certainly has stimulated self-publishing, but why should that be deplored? Many writers with important things to say had not been able to break into print, and anyone who finds little value in their work can ignore it.

The online version of the vanity press may contribute to the information overload, but professional publishers will provide relief from that problem by continuing to do what they always have done—selecting, editing, designing, and marketing the best works. They will have to adapt their skills to the Internet, but they are already doing so, and they can take advantage of the new possibilities offered by the new technology.

To use an an example from my own experience, I recently wrote a printed book with an electronic supplement, Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris (Harvard University Press). It describes how street songs mobilized public opinion in a largely illiterate society. Every day, Parisians improvised new words to old tunes, and the songs flew through the air with such force that they precipi­tated a political crisis in 1749. But how did their melodies inflect their meaning? After locating the musical annotations of a dozen songs, I asked a cabaret artist, Hélène Delavault, to record them for the electronic supplement. The reader can therefore study the text of the songs in the book while listening to them online. The e-ingredient of an old-fashioned codex makes it possible to explore a new dimension of the past by capturing its sounds.

One could cite other examples of how the new technology is reinforcing old modes of communication rather than undermining them. I don’t mean to minimize the difficulties faced by authors, publishers, and readers, but I believe that some historically informed reflection could dispel the misconceptions that prevent us from making the most of “the information age”—if we must call it that.

Robert Darnton is a professor and university librarian at Harvard University. This essay is based on a talk he gave last month at the Council of Independent Colleges’ Symposium on the Future of the Humanities, in Washington.

August 21, 2014

What could possibly go wrong Economically for the rest of 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 11:49 pm

There are, however, several potential trouble spots to watch, and most of them expect to see a pullback sometime in 2014.

Rising rates. The first worry is the possibility of a sharp, rapid move higher in interest rates. While an improving economy should be able to withstand a higher rate environment, the concern is that rates could rise too much, too fast.

Since the Fed announced it would taper its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program, interest rates have been rising, helped also by improving economic data. The 10-year yield Tuesday touched 3.03 percent, closing the year at its the highest level since July 2011.

“Trouble usually comes from the bond market, and the bond market is in the process of normalization,” said John Stoltzfus, chief market strategist at Oppenheimer Asset Management.

Stoltzfus said a selloff in bonds could feed on itself as investors seek redemptions from bond funds. Analysts worry that the housing recovery could be a casualty of interest rates that run too fast, if mortgage rates abruptly move higher.

But most strategists do not see the 10-year yield leaping wildly ahead.

“We have fair value of 3.5 in the 10 year,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. “I don’t think that’s enough to roil the markets, roil the economy. The banks will certainly benefit, encouraging them to come back to traditional borrowing and lending.”

Even as the Fed steps back from its QE program, it has stressed that it will keep short-term rates low for a long time.

Slowing profit growth. Earnings season gets underway in mid-January, and that may be the first test for stocks.

“Probably the biggest risk on the radar screen are the markets themselves,” Ablin said. “Come the second or third week in January we start looking at earnings results, and we could see managements with downbeat forecasts. In that environment, where we’re at an all-time high in just about everything, I think that’s really going to be our first test.”

Margins are at a cyclical peak of about 10 percent, and he expects earnings to grow just about 3.5 percent next year.

“The question is are we going to be able to maintain margins?” Ablin said. “Are we going to accelerate profit growth?” The low interest rate environment has helped companies with margin expansion, he added.

Citigroup’s Levkovich said weaker earnings growth is certainly a risk, but there’s also a risk that earnings could surprise to the upside.

“Earnings could come in stronger. There’s more operational leverage in business than people perceive,” he said. “Margins are really high because companies have been efficient.”

Levkovich points out that only two of 10 sectors have higher margins than they had in the last earnings peak in 2007.

“Eight are meaningful below—there’s operating leverage to the upside,” he said, adding that lower tax rates and interest rates have helped margins.

Levkovich has a target of 1975 on the S&P 500 for 2014, recently raised from 1,900 based on expectations that profits will help drive it higher.

Inflation. As the Fed begins to step away from quantitative easing, the expectations for inflation have fallen along with commodities prices. But a number of analysts worry that the economy could strengthen enough to stir up inflation, even as the Fed tries to keep rates low.

“Just a perception within the market that the economy is doing well enough and there could be a reason to justify higher interest rates with a projection of higher inflation—that could give us a spike [in rates],” Stoltzfus said. “We’ve had two generations of investors right now that have never felt a bad bond market.”

Washington. The debt ceiling debate could pick up steam in the coming weeks, but even though it is on the short list of worries, most strategists do not see Congress going to the brink again.

“It could be political dynamics that people start worrying about again as we move toward the middle of the year,” Levkovich said. “There are a variety of factors, but I think Washington’s always an interesting place to watch.”

Both parties were blamed for the government shutdown, and he said it is unlikely the Republicans would risk the mid-term congressional elections with a big debt ceiling battle.

Geopolitical risks. Overseas threats are always a concern, and Levkovich points out that there could be currency disruptions in emerging markets.

China’s credit crunch also casts a cloud, but Stoltzfus said he expects the country to manage and add positively to global growth.

“It’s exasperated by regulators, needing to curb bank lending,” he said. “We think China is more a contributor than a risk factor.”

“My key wild card is obviously Europe,” said Ablin, adding that it needs to create some kind of stimulus to assure a synchronized global recovery.

The positive U.S. energy story is bullish for America, he said, but if it drives oil prices too low, it could cause disruptions in economies that rely on oil production, including Russia and the Middle East.

July 1, 2014

Ramadan Mubarak 2013 …. Which Means “Blessed Ramadan”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 4:18 am

To My readers of the Islamic faith I send you greetings on this Ramadan 2014

Divine Blessings On You...

June 9, 2014

10 greatest threats facing the world in 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 7:54 am

The World Economic Forum on last year released its Global Risks 2014 report. How Accurate has it been so far this year?

“Taking a 10-year outlook, the report assesses 31 risks that are global in nature and have the potential to cause significant negative impact across entire countries and industries if they take place,” is how the World Economic Forum describes the report in a statement accompanying its release.

“The risks are grouped under five classifications—economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological—and measured in terms of their likelihood and potential impact,” the statement says.

The report canvasses the views of 700 experts from around the world. Ten of what the World Economic Forum calls the “global risks of highest concern” for 2014 are as follows:

•Fiscal crises in key economies

“Fiscal crises feature as the top risk in this year’s Global Risks report. Advanced economies remain in danger, while many emerging markets have seen credit growth in recent years, which could fuel financial crises. A fiscal crisis in any major economy could easily have cascading global impacts.”

•Structurally high unemployment/underemployment

“Unemployment appears second overall, as many people in both advanced and emerging economies struggle to find jobs. Young people are especially vulnerable—youth unemployment is as high as 50% in some countries and underemployment (with low-quality jobs) remains prevalent, especially in emerging and developing markets.”

US top global risk is America’s foreign policy
Ian Bremmer, Eurasia Group president, shares his firm’s annual list of top global risks for the nation, including America’s troubled alliances, diverging markets and the new China. This is a do or die year for Iran, says Bremmer.

•Water crises

“Environmental risks feature prominently on this year’s list. Water crises, for instance, rank as the third highest concern, illustrating a continued and growing awareness of the global water crisis as a result of mismanagement and increased competition for already scarce water resources.”

•Severe income disparity

“Closely associated in terms of societal risk, income disparity is also among the most worrying issues. Concerns have been raised about the squeezing effect the financial crisis had on the middle classes in developed economies, while globalization has brought about a polarization of incomes in emerging and developing economies.”

•Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation

“Even as governments and corporations are called upon to speed up greenhouse gas reduction, it is clear that the race is on not only to mitigate climate change but also to adapt. Failure to adapt has the biggest effect on the most vulnerable, especially those in least developed countries.”

•Greater incidence of extreme weather events (e.g. floods, storms, fires)

“Climate change is the key driver of uncertain and changing weather patterns, causing an increased frequency of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. The Global Risks 2014 report draws attention to the combined implications of these environmental risks on key development and security issues, such as food security and political and social instability, ranked 8th and 10th respectively.”

•Global governance failure

“The risk of global governance failure, which lies at the heart of the risk map, was viewed by respondents as one of the risks that is most connected to others. Weak or inadequate global institutions, agreements or networks, combined with competing national and political interests, impede attempts to cooperate on addressing global risks.”

 •Food crises

“One of the top societal risks in the report, food crises occur when access to appropriate quantities and quality of food and nutrition becomes inadequate or unreliable. Food crises are strongly linked to the risk of climate change and related factors.”

•Failure of a major financial mechanism/institution

“Over five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the failure of a major financial mechanism or institution also features among the risks that respondents are most concerned about, as uncertainty about the quality of many banks’ assets remains.”

•Profound political and social instability

“At number 10 is the risk that one or more systemically critical countries will experience significant erosion of trust and mutual obligations between states and citizens. This could lead to state collapse, internal violence, regional or global instability and, potentially, military conflict.”

Is Income Inequality Biggest Global Risk?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 12:41 am

Severe income inequality is the biggest risk facing the world, according to a study by the World Economic Forum.

In a landscape of 50 global risks facing the world over the next 10 years, respondents rated severe income inequality as the most likely global risk. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “almost certain” to occur, severe income disparity was given a risk rating of 4.14 by the experts, ranking above chronic fiscal imbalances (3.99), greenhouse emissions (3.91), water supply crisis (3.85) and mismanagement of population aging (3.83).

It is the second year in a row that income inequality has reached first place as the most likely global risk. Major financial systemic failure gained the top spot for the biggest global risk in terms of impact.

Branko Milanovic, the lead economist at the World Bank’s research group, said that severe income inequality could fuel mass migration and popular uprisings.

“Global inequality reflects two types of increasing inequalities: rising gaps between nations (which cause migration) and rising inequalities within nations (which cause protests, disenchantment and revolts). So, in that double sense, what happens to global inequality is very important,” (Milanovic)

Governments and Inequality

As the financial crisis in Europe and the U.S. forces governments to reduce their budgets, debt and spending, government entitlement policies have been cut and income inequality has increased.

“[Government policies] impact a lot,” Milanovic said. “Obviously through tax-and-transfer policies, but also through a host of other rules, regulations and subsidies,” he added.

The financial crash in 2007 changed the role and priorities of global governments .

“With the financial and then fiscal crisis, the redistributive role of government has become more limited. Also, with globalization, taxing rich people and mobile capital is harder,” he said. “Thus, globalization increases the political power of highly skilled individuals…for whom there is a global market, [and] reduces the power of those who cannot easily move.” .

As U.S. politicians begin to negotiate over the debt ceiling and spending cuts that the December “fiscal cliff” deal postponed, the debate on social services has come to the fore again, particularly as the gap between “haves and have-nots” increases.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported in 2011 that between 1979 and 2007 the top 1 percent of households saw their income grow by 275 percent, while for the bottom 20 percent, income grew by just 20 percent. For the middle 60 percent of Americans, average incomes grew just under 40 percent.

Another global superpower, China, offers an interesting example of income disparity, with rapid economic growth leading to an explosion of China’s middle class. Meanwhile, an estimated 128 million Chinese are living under the poverty line (that’s 13.6 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 per day, according to the World Bank).

Europe’s Inequality

Dimitris Pavlopoulos is from the VU University of Amsterdam and is the co-author of a pan-European analysis entitled, “Accounting for Inequality in the EU” assessing income disparities between and within member states.

“For an increasing number of people, the fulfillment of basic needs, such as food, education and health, is problematic,” he said. “Even in countries with traditionally equal income distributions and strong welfare states, such as the Netherlands, the number of people that cannot make ends meet is increasing.”

Income inequality in the EU has been driven by the deregulation of the labor market and the retrenchment of the welfare state — and it will become more pronounced and destabilizing in the near-future, he added.

“It is quite clear that income distribution will become more unequal in the coming years,” he said. “The common perception is that even if the current crisis is overcome… a jobless growth will follow. In a scenario of high unemployment and large dispersion in labor earnings, we can expect a strong increase of income inequality in all EU member states.”

Pavlopoulos says such a scenario creates a “very gloomy” outlook for Europe. “Whole parts of the population will find themselves with little prospect for proper integration in the labor market. In southern Europe, we can safely speak about a ‘lost generation’,” Pavlopoulos said.

Two-Tier Societies the Future?

While experts associated with the World Economic Forum might agree that severe income inequality is the biggest global risk in the near future, the desire, not to mention the ability, to solve income disparities is limited.

They [Governments] cannot do much because they are cornered in by the financial system, on the one hand, and corporate globalization on the other. An increase in taxation needs to be multilateral in order to avoid “beggar thy neighbor” policies (in other words, competitive reduction in tax rates). That is something that EU and U.S. could in principle achieve, but most likely political cowardice will prevent .

But regulation and spending on education could help, as could massive infrastructure projects. Last Year’s protracted debates over the “fiscal cliff” in the U.S. showed that conflicting political ideals make it nearly impossible to find agreement within a government, let alone between countries.

If not, the world can expect more two-tier societies like that in Brazil, where gated communities and elite private schools for the rich exist cheek-by-jowl with “third world” ghettos.

June 2, 2014

Analysis of Alternative Fuels and How They Can Be Used in the Immediate Future

I am a Strategic Planner who finds solutions to issues and problems that seem to have no solutions. Management information systems are NOT  part of this planning solution methodology. If there is any one guiding principal to my work it is “If you cannot solve the problem you are facing, than you are facing the wrong problem. Changing the definition of that problem can lead to alternative solutions that were not previously considered or even dismissed as impractical.” The problem with most companies strategic planning is they do not look outside their own small domain. hence broader encompassing solutions are never developed let alone implemented.  Alternative Fuel Vehicles are a prime example. and that is the topic of this posting. I will try to write in as simple terms for the better understanding of everyone.

To Understand the options in Alternative Fuels for Vehicles as well as why they have not been more popular and hopefully concluding with a proposed solution we must consider in addition to the technology  necessary for these vehicles but even more important the ultimate consumer’s behavior and their life style and actual “home” locations. This is in addition to the “Chicken or the Egg” issue of infrastructure to fuel these vehicles vs. manufacturing  of these vehicles.

After the following discussion about current alternative fuel vehicles, there will be an attempt to give you a brad based strategic plan to implement the actual full scale production of one or more of these vehicles.

Electric Vehicles:

There appears to be 2 main reasons why these vehicles are not selling in  large numbers

Fist Elon Musk must be given enormous credit for his efforts in the electric vehicle market. His designs are first rate and his ultimate concept is good, but for the following reasons not great at this time:

Consider consumer behavior. Most people will go to an alternative gas station rather than wait 5 minutes for an open pump.

In the current society of instant information and fast food, instant meals and electronic communications that are in real time, NO ONE wants to wait 30 minutes to charge a car battery let alone 12 hours or more. Worse is the vast majority of the batteries for electric vehicles will only go a maximum of 100 miles or less and will need a re-charge, or a fully charged substitute battery (currently weighing over 1,000 pounds), which currently must be returned to the same location.

Less than 1/3 of Americans live where they can actually plug into an electric outlet. Apartments, town houses, condominiums. high rises just to name a few of the locations where you cannot run an electric cord to your vehicle. Compound that by the fact that many of these homes that “COULD” plug in will need an electrician to run wires to an outlet which increases the cost of the vehicle and must be done before you bring the vehicle home.   A small cost but a turnoff for many who would even consider this vehicle.

Unfortunately Battery Technology is lagging far behind demand and while there are exciting things on the horizon the market is still limited partially by current technology limitations the other by a low use demand curve even if it was feasible.  Imagine if there was a demand for 80-100 million batteries within 5 years and an additional 40 million + every year there after… would there be more research into this? It is possible, but you have to be able to see the bigger picture to know how to develop and implement such a grand vision… and it requires a collaboration of strategic partnerships (non financial) .

So with this scenario can you decide how to make Electric a easy convenient and affordable vehicle for most Americans??

Natural Gas Vehicles:

You probably know there are many Forklift trucks that are electric or use propane. However propane is not a suitable alternative fuel for passenger vehicles or even commercial fleets from Tractor trailers to buses and multiple vehicles.  Most of these larger vehicles run better with natural gas and have a greater efficiency.

LNG and CNG Alternatives

LNG or liquid natural gas has its share of users from ships to tractor trailers. Clean Energy Fuels is a company founded by Boone Pickens has had good but limited success in establishing fueling stations along major highways and Interstates where these tractor trailers can fuel up. However it is not practical for your neighborhood as the demand is too low.

LNG is more pure than natural state Natural gas. it is on average 99% Methane while regular natural gas is about 95%. Further depending on the canisters used there could be a corrosive action inside of them.  But the Liquified Natural gas must be cooled at sub zero temperatures which makes it more expensive. 

The cryogenic temperature  of LNG (think liquid nitrogen freezing) makes it extremely difficult or impossible to add an odorant.Therefore, with no natural odor of its own, there is no way for personnel to detect leaks unless the leak is sufficiently large to create a visible condensation cloud or localized frost formation. (Your home natural gas has a odor added to it so you can immediately sense leaks.)  Further if LNG is stored over an period of time without withdrawal and replenishment the methane content will continuously decrease and the actual physical characteristics of the fuel will change to some extent.

Additionally LNG is more dangerous and requires special permitting to instal the natural gas because of the potential of explosions and the technology necessary to keep it liquid (cold)

I comment Boone Pickens for his vision in Natural Gas uses and his continued efforts with our government to effectively make use of this abundant natural resource. I believe Clean Energy Fuels will be not only profitable this year but for many years to come as his efforts for the Commercial Market will pay off handsomely and will reduce Carbon emissions.

Unfortunately I do not believe it is practical for passenger vehicles  and other smaller commercial vehicles in local neighborhoods.

>>>

CNG is Compressed Natural Gas. Gas in its natural state is not pressurized . Along most of the pipelines and in your home it is pressurized at 60 PSI (pounds per square inch). Three are many municipalities and towns and cities even national deliver services that are using natural gas in their vehicles now.  Some have a compressor on site to make the filing faster and service only their own fleets.

While the benefits of Natural gas is not in question the delivery system is. Since the pipeline is low pressure the fill time is long (often 15-20 minutes or longer) unless there is a compressor and storage available. Even then there would come a time that the demand outstrips the capacity of those pumps. 

Then there is the investment in the pumps required to dispense this gas.  High investment if you must install one in your own home and that is IF your home has Natural gas available. but as I said above SLOW if you pump at the station. Compressed natural gas is abundant, cheap and half the emissions of Oil/gasoline and does not have to be imported.

Last is the weight of the current fuel tanks for CNG in your vehicle. Not nearly as bad as a battery that weighs 100+ pounds, but still heavy and bulky in space requirements.

Still CNG is probably the most effective Alternative Fuel for Vehicles at this time and in the near future.

There is a plan however that can make this the fuel of choice within 18 months that will be proposed at the end of this article.

Hydrogen or H2

THIS is my favorite fuel. With zero emissions it is the best environmentally along with the battery. It was the promise and introduction of H2 Vehicles that caused me to pursue this project on my own for the last 12-14 years. It has tremendous promise.  Sadly we are not ready for it.

There are several prototypes for H2 Fuels. That is what makes it confusing for many. One prototype is where water (specialized ultra clean water Or as we know it H2O with is hydrogen and oxygen) This is put into a process inside of the vehicle where the H2 is filtered out and the electron  fuels the electric motor or fuel cell that then runs the vehicle and runs the ca. When the H2  is reunited with Oxygen  at the end it becomes water(H2O)  again.

The other method is to provide the Vehicle with Hydrogen which is then used to run a fuel cell that also runs the vehicle

IN both of these prototypes there is usually  battery  as one might find in a hybrid today that is able to capture excess energy such as when braking or coasting and the vehicle is equipped with what is easiest to describe as mini generators  of sort that give the energy back to the battery to use in the vehicle.

Unfortunately even though Toyota  and others have developed a limited introduction there has been no infrastructure in place to develop the amount of Hydrogen needed for a large scale production of H2, nor is there an effect distribution model except pumps at existing fueling stations which would have to be  installed at great expense and then a refilling network established to service them.

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Conclusion and Proposed Solution

The above indicates 3 alternative fuels. Below is a possibility of HOW over a brief period of time we can develop then and provide them to all of the United States and other countries with the first full scale production of these vehicles starting with the 2016 models.

I regret I will not be giving the details of the project in this post. I am after all is said and done a business man and hope to establish a business around this project.

If you have read up to know hopefully you have had some of your own ideas of how to make these fuels available to the general public. From my perspective there must be a developmental progress along with Strategic Partnership in the4 following areas:

1/ Establish the best fuel to start with. Personally I believe CNG is appropriate. Given that cost of fuel so low at this time it makes it the most practical of all the fuels to bring 400+ miles per tank and at a continued cost fro the next 5 years under 40 dollars per fill-up.

2/ Develop a delivery system in conjunction with the Auto Manufactures.  Thji8s has been partially done. A hybrid Carbon Fiber  4-5 liter Canister that can be pressurized to 25,000 PSI. The technology has been confirmed. It cannot have aluminum as is traditionally used inside the canister because of the pressure. Nor can it be completely Carbon fiber as the Carbon Fiber becomes porous and would leak. So a new method of construction had already been developed.  I have to that Lamborghini for the seeds to my thought process on this.  (If they want to provide a new on to me in thanks and appreciation I would be happy to have it….LOL)

3/ Develop Strategic Partnerships: Auto Manufactures along with regional filling depots. These will start with the CNG and later be able to be utilized for the  H2 canisters that will follow when the Automotive industry is ready for Hydrogen. It will also take a little while longer to develop the necessary methods to supply enough H2 to fill the estimated 40 million canisters  demand by the second year of operations. to start this phase

4/ Partnership with the 5-600  regional refilling depots that have already been identified for a distribution system comprising 150-250 ,000 fueling stations (this is far greater than the number of existing gas stations)  but easily accomplished under the Business plan section of the Strategic Plan.

5/ Strategic partnership with a natural gas company to supply estimated 20 Billion Cubic Feet of Natural gas per week within 5 years after the start of operations that is roughly a trillion cubic feet per year

6/ The same system of distribution and locations can be used for the hydrogen filling depots and fueling stations as well as intimately Battery distribution when battery size, weight and storage  comes down in weight to between 10 and15 pounds that can give at least 100 miles of operations to a vehicle. This established distribution system system can provide on site recharge stations for exchanging batteries as well as returning batteries to the depot for refurbishing or recycling at the end of a number of charging and recharging cycles.

Every canister will have an RF chip that will identify the source of manufacture, components, usage locations of activity to facilitate distribution model as well as other information that can be sued to effectively maintain these batteries and canisters and stations they reside at.

Remember at the beginning of this article I said “If you cannot solve the problem you are facing, than you are facing the wrong problem. Changing the definition of that problem can lead to alternative solutions that were not previously considered or even dismissed as impractical.” Well hopefully this article inspires you in some way to look outside the immediate problem and find al encompassing solutions in your life and businesses as well. 

As you have read the drawbacks and benefits of each Alternative Fuel, understand these are my observations and opinions from the last 12-14 years. I am not  now nor have I ever been employees or associated with not worked in any capacity in the Automotive, Oil and Gas Industry or  anyone in the businesses I have listed above. ALTHOUGH I was involved on the buyers side of some GM assets (factories) in the early 1990’s .

Some may call this a fantasy. Others have said it may be visionary. I just call it common sense. There has been no real plan in the last dozen years that would make alternative fuels an actual reality. I will stake my life on the fact that this methodology is out best bet to do so and that the plan that has been developed includes the cost of start up and how to fund the entire start up with 18 months.. in time for the 2016 automotive sales season.  I have dug down into the nitty grity details of  auto manufacturing, canister manufacturing, cost analysis, and distribution and supply costs. THIS can be done and can be good for the nation and good for the economy and good for any partners, both strategic and financial.

The Transition from CNG to Hydrogen and Battery revenue streams is planned for throughout the implementation in a seamless manner. . 

NOTE1: Discussion of Ethanol and Bio Fuels such as bio oil were not addressed as it is my belief they are much lesser alternatives for vehicles than the ones listed above

NOTE 2: If there readers who have interest in this type of start-up and want to discuss this project in more detail I encourage you to make contact with me. It is imperative however that you have the necessary political lobbying structure and corporate management techniques as well as access to executive management of those in the automotive manufacturing industry. for as stated above I have no inroads into them.  It is through these inroads that we can effect an extremely almost obscenely low start-up cost for this business. Hence these are critical for any potential partnership with me on this project. If  someone is willing to follow this long thought out and refined process in both the strategic planning and business plan there  is a very realistic expectation an exit strategy that would  have a valuation in excess of 25 Billion Dollars in 5 years time and continued growth for the next 5-7 years and then a flattening for the next 10 before new technology would make this company  antiquated unless adaption is incorporated into the Business plan.

Journalist inquiries are also welcome. However the details of this project cannot be shared without a  confidentiality agreement which would include significant penalties for violation.. but for evaluation purposes I am willing to discuss with anyone the general overall project plan.

 

 

 

May 28, 2014

I saw her from a distance. I never knew her for real. I tried BUT…..

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 9:16 pm

Beautiful people like her are naturally elusive. You can never fully have her, her spirit was born free and had no intentions of changing. Her essence was meant to be shared, and experienced, but on her own terms, not to be possessed and controlled by outside standards or expectation. She was comfortable in her skin, and secure in her own thoughts. Her being attracted attention but she desired much more than to be seen; her appetite was for something bigger than herself. She was here to teach us that it’s less about how you get what you desire and more about how you treat what you value. How effort and appreciation can arrest the heart, and how patience and thoughtfulness can consume the mind. She only desired to be loved fully, but never controlled, she wasn’t here to be handled. And though she was misunderstood by the fearful, and seemed as a bit reckless by the careful. She still existed, whole and unashamed. She was free, alive and full of life in her own world. And it was beautiful to see.

Rob Hill Sr

 

 

you ARE a soul you HAVE a body

April 2, 2014

Obama is a do nothing president .. Or so I was told before this…..

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 10:24 pm

If you’re one of those folks who thinks President Obama is a “disappointment,” you haven’t been paying attention the last few years. And those of you who try to draw comparisons with the Bush Administration should put away the hallucinogens and have your memory checked.  If you were in a coma for the eight Bush Years, I apologize and forgive you. But please join the real world. So far, this president has done most of what he said he would do if elected; imagine what he could have done by now if progressives had supported him and not given him a Congress that doesn’t look at him as if he’s the demon seed.

Not only is he NOT a “disappointment,” he’s pretty much the opposite. And no, I don’t just say that because he took out Osama bin Laden, helped Libya determine their own destiny for the first time in a while, and because he seems able to handle international incidents without starting a new war. The guy does nearly everything we elect a president to do, and he doesn’t brag about it constantly.

Is he perfect? No, he’s human. Does he deserve some criticism? I suppose, but I must admit I haven’t seen any complaints that were  based on anything having to do with the real world. One I can’t forgive him for is pulling Janet Napolitano out of Arizona. But the thing is, on balance, he’s mostly stellar. Besides, criticism about certain specific problems is one thing; taking on an overall “Obama sucks” meme not only had the potential to put Willard Romney into power, it is and was also a lie. Just because you wanted a president who would give you a glitter-farting unicorn and didn’t quite get that doesn’t mean he’s not doing well at the job we hired him for.
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What follows is a PARTIAL list of Obama’s accomplishments so far. Unlike many such lists, there is a link to a citation supporting every single one.

Legislative Prowess

Despite the characterizations of some, Obama’s success rate in winning congressional votes on issues was an unprecedented 96.7% for his first year in office.  Though he is often cited as superior to Obama, President Lyndon Johnson’s success rate in 1965 was only 93%.   http://n.pr/i3d7cY

 

Fiscal Responsibility

Within days after taking office, he signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts, and combating waste and abuse.   http://1.usa.gov/dUvbu5

Created the post of Chief Performance Officer, whose job it is to make operations more efficient to save the federal government money.   http://n.pr/hcgBn1

On his first full day, he froze White House salaries.  http://on.msnbc.com/ewJUIx

He appointed the first Federal Chief Information Officer to oversee federal IT spending. http://www.cio.gov

He committed to phasing out unnecessary and outdated weapons systems, and also signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop waste, fraud and abuse in the defense procurement and contracting system.  http://bit.ly/hOw1t1     http://bit.ly/fz8GAd

Through an executive order, he created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  http://bit.ly/hwKhKa

 

Improving the Economy, Preventing Depression

He pushed through and signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as “the stimulus package,” despite the fact that not one Republican voted for that bill. In addition, he launched recovery.gov, so that taxpayers could track spending from the Act.   http://1.usa.gov/ibiFSs   http://1.usa.gov/e3BJMk

In his first year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and stimulated the economy 3.5%.  http://reut.rs/i46CEE

He completed the massive TARP financial and banking rescue plan, and recovered virtually all of its costs.   http://1.usa.gov/eA5jVS   http://bit.ly/eCNrD6

He created the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan.  http://1.usa.gov/goy6zl

He oversaw the creation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years. http://bit.ly/hrrnjY

He oversaw a bailout of General Motors that saved at least 1.4 million jobs, and put pressure on the company to change its practices, resulting in GM returning to its place as the top car company in the world.  http://lat.ms/zIJuQx

He also doubled funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership which is designed to improve manufacturing efficiency.  http://bit.ly/eYD4nf

He signed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act giving  the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud in every corner of the financial system. It also created a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial fraud that led to the economic meltdown.  http://abcn.ws/g18Fe7

He signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which was designed to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit card practices.  http://1.usa.gov/gIaNcS

He increased infrastructure spending after years of neglect. http://bit.ly/f77aOw

He  signed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, expanding on the Making Home Affordable Program to help millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures. The bill also provided $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and to stabilize the housing market.  http://bit.ly/eEpLFn

Through the Worker, Home Ownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, he and Congressional Democrats provided tax credits to first-time home buyers, which helped the U.S. housing market recovery.   http://bit.ly/dZgXXw   http://bit.ly/gORYfL

He initiated a $15 billion plan designed to encourage increased lending to small businesses.
http://1.usa.gov/eu0u0b

He created business.gov, which allows for online collaboration between small businesses and experts re managing a business. (The program has since merged with SBA.gov.)   http://www.business.gov

He played a lead role in getting the G-20 Summit to commit to a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the global financial crisis.   http://nyti.ms/gHlgp5

He took steps to improve minority access to capital. http://bit.ly/f9xVE7

He created a $60 billion bank to fund infrastructure improvements such as roads and bridges. http://bit.ly/e1SSaQ

He implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs.  http://bit.ly/ibhpxr   Many are of the opinion that he saved the entire auto industry, and even the economy of the entire Midwest. http://bit.ly/gj7mt5

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he saved at least 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors that would have otherwise been lost.   http://1.usa.gov/ez30Dc

He dismantled the Minerals Management Service, thereby moving forward to cut ties between energy companies and the government. http://nyti.ms/bw1MLu

Provided funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police and firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession.  http://bit.ly/g0IKWR

He used recovered TARP money to fund programs at local housing finance agencies in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan.   http://on.msnbc.com/i1i8eV

Crafted an Executive order establishing the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans. http://bit.ly/eyqsNE

 

Wall Street Reforms and Consumer Protection

Ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money.  http://huff.to/eAi9Qq

He pushed through and got passed Dodd-Frank, one of the largest and most comprehensive Wall Street reforms since the Great Depression.  http://bit.ly/hWCPg0   http://bit.ly/geHpcD

Dodd-Frank also included the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau http://1.usa.gov/j5onG

He made it so that banks could no longer use YOUR money to invest in high-risk financial instruments that work against their own customers’ interests.  http://bit.ly/fnTayj

He supported the concept of allowing stockholders to vote on executive compensation. http://bit.ly/fnTayj

He wholly endorsed and supported the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 that would close offshore tax avoidance loopholes.  http://bit.ly/esOdfB    http://bit.ly/eG4DPM

He made a deal with Swiss banks that permits the US government to gain access to the records of criminals and  tax evaders.  http://bit.ly/htfDgw

He established a Consumer Protection Financial Bureau designed to protect consumers from financial sector excesses.  http://bit.ly/fnTayj

He oversaw and then signed the most sweeping food safety legislation since the Great Depression.  http://thedc.com/gxkCtP 

Civil Rights and Anti-Discrimination

He advocated for and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which made it a federal crime to assault anyone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. http://bit.ly/gsMSJ7

He pushed through, signed and demanded the Pentagon enact a repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that forced soldiers to lie to fight for their country, and put our troops at risk by disqualifying many qualified soldiers from helping.  http://bit.ly/fdahuH http://bit.ly/mZV4Pz

He appointed Kareem Dale as the first ever Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy.  http://1.usa.gov/fi5IY0

Helped Congress pass and signed the Civil Rights History Act. http://bit.ly/th0JC8

He extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.  http://1.usa.gov/g2RLCj

He’s appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history.  http://bit.ly/g1lA7D

He issued a Presidential Memorandum reaffirming the rights of gay couples to make medical decisions for each other. http://1.usa.gov/aUueGT

He established a White House Council on Women and Girls  http://1.usa.gov/rFfqMM

He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers. This was after the GOP blocked the bill in 2007. Only 5 Republican Senators voted for the bill.   http://bit.ly/fT3Cxg

Wrote and signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies evaluate the effect of their policies and programs on women and families.    http://bit.ly/e1puTk

He expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act. http://1.usa.gov/dSbI0x

Under his watch, National Labor Relations Board has issued final rules that require all employers to prominently post employees’ rights where all employees or prospective employees can see it, including websites and intranets, beginning November 2011.  http://1.usa.gov/qu2EhQ

 

Fighting Poverty

He provided  a $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps). http://nyti.ms/gfLqyM

He signed an Executive Order that established the White House Office of Urban Affairs.  http://wapo.st/eWECA8

 

Improved Foreign Relations and American Status Abroad

He visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any previous president during his first six months in office.   http://bit.ly/hZycda

As he promised, he gave a speech at a major Islamic forum in Cairo early in his administration. http://nyti.ms/dKvY4g 

He did much to restore America’s reputation around the world as a global leader that does the “right thing” in world affairs, at least according to the rest of the planet.   http://bit.ly/h743y7  http://bit.ly/ho4TCr

He re-established and reinforced our partnership with NATO and other allies on strategic international issues.  http://1.usa.gov/e7QuDj

Closed a number of secret detention facilities. http://nyti.ms/rpUc9l

He improved relations with Middle East countries by appointing special envoys. http://1.usa.gov/tiGAGe

He pushed for military to emphasize development of foreign language skills. http://bit.ly/AxUCLV

Offered $400 million to the people living in Gaza, called on both Israel and the Palestinians to stop inciting violence. http://bit.ly/9axfWh

He refused to give Israel the green light to attack Iran over their possible nuclear program. http://bit.ly/xVmSZK

He worked to make donations to Haiti tax-deductible in 2009.  http://huff.to/6YkAVY

He established a new U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.   http://1.usa.gov/eX28DP

Issued Executive Order blocking interference and helping to stabilize Somalia.  http://1.usa.gov/hxdf8U

He established new, more reasonable policies in our relations with Cuba, such as allowing Cuban-Americans to visit their families and send money to support them.  http://n.pr/hY3Kwa   http://nyti.ms/emQBde

He ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It was Republicans (and a smattering of Democrats) who prevented him from following through.  http://bit.ly/eW6CVF

Ordered a review of our detention and interrogation policy, and prohibited the use of torture, or what Bush called “enhanced interrogation.” He ordered interrogators to limit their actions to the Army Field manual.  http://bit.ly/g6MTuC

He ordered all secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere to be closed.  http://bbc.in/h6N9ax

He released the Bush torture memos.  http://bit.ly/hWJ5z0

On his second day in office, he signed a detailed Executive Order that banned torture, reversed all  Bush torture policies, and put the United States in compliance with the Geneva Convention.  http://1.usa.gov/dL6Zve    http://nyti.ms/hzWWys

In response to the emerging “Arab Spring,” he created a Rapid Response fund, to assist emerging democracies with foreign aid, debt relief, technical assistance and investment packages in order to show that the United States stands with them. http://bit.ly/zfmGv9

Passed the Iran Sanctions Act, to prevent war, and to encourage Iran to give up their nuclear program. http://1.usa.gov/wLtNjb

Ended the Iraq War. http://tgr.ph/ru0tyS

He authorized and oversaw a secret mission by SEAL Team Six to rescue two hostages held by Somali pirates. http://bit.ly/y8c9Fz

 

Better Approach to “Defense”

Created a comprehensive new strategy for dealing with the international nuclear threat.  http://1.usa.gov/gDX1nE

He authorized a $1.4 billion reduction in Star Wars program in 2010. http://1.usa.gov/gLFZl2

He restarted nuclear nonproliferation talks and built up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols to where they had been before Bush.   http://lat.ms/gkcl3i

He signed and pushed to ratification a new SALT Treaty.  http://bit.ly/f3JVtw

Negotiated and signed a new START Treaty that will last until at least 2021.  http://1.usa.gov/cI1bC4

Through the Defense Authorization Act, he reversed the Bush Administration and committed to no permanent military bases in Iraq.   http://bit.ly/hk73OJ

He developed the first comprehensive strategy with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan designed to facilitate the defeat of al Qaeda and the withdrawal of most troops, as well as the rebuilding of Afghanistan. http://wapo.st/ee4Xcs

He returned our focus to Afghanistan, stabilized the country, and began the process of withdrawing our troops. http://bit.ly/lNXUna

Fulfilled campaign promise and ended our involvement in Iraq, and will complete full troop withdrawal before Christmas 2011. http://onforb.es/nTUk4Z

He took steps to severely weaken al Qaeda and limited their ability to terrorize the world.  http://yhoo.it/n5lXs6

He negotiated and signed a nuclear nonproliferation treaty with India. http://1.usa.gov/aHp0Cn

He took decisive action to use NATO to limit the slaughter of innocents in Libya, so that the Libyan people could topple a despotic government and determine their own fate.  http://aje.me/qAh4Sj

 

Treating  Soldiers and Veterans with Respect

He made sure that families of fallen soldiers could be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB, by providing funding for it.  He also ended the media blackout on coverage of the return of fallen soldiers.http://nyti.ms/glqN66   http://bbc.in/gWSSkA

He funded Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with an extra $1.4 billion to improve veterans’ services. http://1.usa.gov/huhqfo

He provided the troops with better body armor.  http://bit.ly/hzSv2h

Created the Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record program for military personnel, in order  to improve the quality of their medical care.  http://1.usa.gov/f4yaxW

He put an end to the Bush-era stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan beyond their enlistment date. (personal note: my son will be in harm’s way for six fewer months with Obama as president, so you know I love this one). http://nyti.ms/e2YQ7Q

He supported and signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which made more money available to enable better medical care for veterans.  http://1.usa.gov/fN4ur1

He ushered through the largest spending increase in 30 years for the Department of Veterans Affairs for improved medical facilities, and to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities.     http://1.usa.gov/gY8O3x

He created the Green Vet Initiative, which provided special funding to the Labor Department to provide veterans with training in green jobs.  http://bit.ly/epwUQY

He oversaw a $4.6 billion expansion of the Veterans Administration budget to pay for more mental health professionals.  http://bit.ly/gjzTxX

 

Education

He has repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process.   http://bit.ly/gYWd30   http://bit.ly/e9c7Dr   http://bit.ly/eEzTNq

Completely reformed the student loan program, to make it possible for students to refinance at a lower rate.   http://nyti.ms/dMvHOt

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he invested heavily in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education.   http://1.usa.gov/gGRIAr   This includes a major expansion of broadband availability in K-12 schools nationwide   http://bit.ly/fNDcj3 , as well as an expansion in school construction.  http://bit.ly/fYwNrV

Also through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he put $5 billion into early education, including Head Start. http://1.usa.gov/tzT2Rr

Signed the Post-9/11 GI Bill, also known as GI Bill 2.0 http://bit.ly/hPhG7J 

He oversaw expansion of the Pell Grants program, to expand opportunity for low-income students to go to college.  http://bit.ly/hI6tXz

He passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which provided an extra $12.2 billion in funds.  http://1.usa.gov/dQvtUe 

 

Greater Transparency and Better Government

He signed an order banning gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch. http://bit.ly/fsBACN

He signed an order banning anyone from working in an agency they had lobbied in previous years. He also put strict limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House.   http://nyti.ms/gOrznV

He held the first-ever first online town hall from the White House, and took questions from the public. http://bit.ly/gVNSgX

The Obama White House became the first to stream every White House event, live. http://1.usa.gov/kAgOP5

He established a central portal for Americans to find service opportunities.  http://www.serve.gov

He provided the first voluntary disclosure of the White House Visitors Log in history. http://1.usa.gov/hQ7ttV

He crafted an Executive Order on Presidential Records, which restored the 30-day time frame for former presidents to review records, and eliminated the right for the vice president or family members of former presidents to do the reviews. This will provide the public with greater access to historic  White House documents, and severely curtails the ability to use executive privilege to shield them.
http://1.usa.gov/gUetLb

He improved aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, and issued new guidelines to make FOIA more open and transparent in the processing of FOIA requests.   http://1.usa.gov/gjrnp2

 

National Safety and Security

He’s restored federal agencies such as FEMA to the point that they have been able to manage a huge number of natural  disasters successfully.   http://bit.ly/h8Xj7z

Authorized Navy SEALS to successfully secure the release of a US captain held by Somali pirates and increased patrols off the Somali coast. http://nyti.ms/efBO7B

Has repeatedly beefed up border security http://bit.ly/mMYB4i

Ordered and oversaw the Navy SEALS operation that killed Osama bin Laden. http://bit.ly/jChpgw

 

Science, Technology and Health Care

He created a Presidential Memorandum to restore scientific integrity in government decision-making.
http://1.usa.gov/g2SDuw

Opened up the process for fast-tracking patent approval for green energy projects.  http://bit.ly/j0KV2U

He eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. He also provided increased federal support for biomedical and stem cell research.   http://bit.ly/h36SSO    http://ti.me/edezge

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he committed more federal funding, about $18 billion, to support non-defense science and research labs.  http://nyti.ms/fTs9t7

He signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first comprehensive attempt to improve the lives of Americans living with paralysis.  http://bit.ly/fOi2rb

He expanded the Nurse-Family Partnership program, which provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families, to cover more first-time mothers. http://bit.ly/jRRRJc

His EPA reversed research ethics standards which allowed humans to be used as “guinea pigs” in tests of the effects of chemicals, to comply with numerous codes of medical ethics.  http://bit.ly/bKgqdS

Conducted a cyberspace policy review.   http://1.usa.gov/gmbdvC

Provided financial support for private sector space programs. http://bit.ly/fn8ucr

He oversaw enhanced earth mapping, to provide valuable data for agricultural, educational, scientific, and government use.   http://bit.ly/dNTRyP

He ushered through a bill that authorized the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products.  http://on.msnbc.com/fiKViB As a result,  the FDA has Ordered Tobacco Companies to Disclose Cigarette Ingredients and banned sale of cigarettes falsely labeled as “light.”

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he provided $500 million for Health Professions Training Programs.  http://bit.ly/ecQSgA

He also increased funding for community-based prevention programs.  http://bit.ly/frMPG3

He oversaw a 50% decrease in cost of prescription drugs for seniors. http://bit.ly/e5b1iq    http://1.usa.gov/fVNkt9

He eliminated the Bush-era practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug companies on price. http://bit.ly/fOkG5b

Two weeks after taking office, he signed the Children’s Health Insurance Re-authorization Act, which increased the number of children covered by health insurance by 4 million.   http://bit.ly/fDEzGv

He held a quick press conference, and urged Congress to investigate Anthem Blue Cross for raising premiums 39% without explanation. Rep. Waxman responded by launching a probe, and Anthem Blue Cross put the increase on hold for two months.    http://yhoo.it/e8Tj9C

Ushered through and signed the Affordable Health Care Act, which expanded health insurance coverage to 30 million more people,  and ended many common insurance company practices that are often detrimental  to those with coverage.  He also established  http://www.healthcare.gov/

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he allowed children to be covered under their parents’ policy until they turned 26.  http://nyti.ms/fNB26V

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he provided tax breaks to allow 3.5 million small business to provide health insurance to their employees, and 29 million people will receive tax breaks to help them afford health insurance.  http://nyti.ms/fNB26V

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he expanded Medicaid to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty level. http://nyti.ms/ekMWpo

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, health insurance companies now have to disclose how much of your premium actually goes to pay for patient care.  http://nyti.ms/fNB26V

Provisions in the Affordable Health Care Act have already resulted in Medicare costs actually declining slightly this fiscal year, for the first time in many years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Last year’s increase was 4%. Compare that to the average 12% annual inflation rate during the previous 40 years. http://1.usa.gov/oMxpTh

 

Strengthening the Middle Class and Families

He worked to provide affordable, high-quality child care to working families.   http://bit.ly/fNfidS

He cracked down on companies that were previously denying sick pay, vacation and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare tax payments through abuse of the employee classification of independent contractor.   http://nyti.ms/fOGLcj

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he cut taxes for 95% of America’s working families.   http://bit.ly/eSEI4F

Under Obama, tax rates for average working families are the lowest they’ve been since 1950.  http://bit.ly/f74pD8

He extended and fully funded the patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax for 10 years. http://bit.ly/eFeSdP

He extended discounted COBRA health coverage for the unemployed from 9 months to 15 months, and he’s extended unemployment benefits several times.  http://aol.it/evtVxD   http://nyti.ms/emrqKJ    http://bit.ly/hOtIpg    http://bit.ly/fTT7kz

 

Environment and Energy

He fast-tracked regulations to allow states to enact federal fuel efficiency standards that were above federal standards.    http://nyti.ms/e8e94x

He fast-tracked increased fuel economy standards for vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year. It was the first time such standards had been increased in a decade.   http://politi.co/hiaPKM

He oversaw the establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, which creates more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies. http://bit.ly/lZp73y

His EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history.  http://bit.ly/lP3yEL

He ordered the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances.    http://1.usa.gov/g3MTbu

He ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. http://reut.rs/fV155p  (As you can see, Republicans are trying hard to kill it.)

He oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers. http://bit.ly/mjnq2R

Bypassed Republican opposition in Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions.   http://bit.ly/froaP5

His EPA ruled that CO2 is a pollutant. http://bit.ly/iQTSNN

He doubled federal spending on clean energy research. http://bit.ly/iN0sCE

He pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars. http://bit.ly/j8UP5Y

He created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents.   http://1.usa.gov/fgfRWq

He reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and even proposed one himself. He also addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, officially reversing the Bush-era stance that climate change was a “hoax.”  http://bit.ly/dX6Vj3  http://bit.ly/fE2PxK  http://nyti.ms/hfeqvv

He fully supported the initial phase of the creation of a legally binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide.  http://bit.ly/eJ6QOO

He required states to provide incentives to utilities to reduce their energy consumption. http://bit.ly/lBhk7P

Following Bush’s eight year reign, he reengaged in a number of treaties and agreements designed to protect the Antarctic.  http://bit.ly/fzQUFO

Created tax write-offs for purchases of hybrid automobiles, and later he and Democrats morphed that program into one that includes electric cars.   http://bit.ly/glCukV

Mandated that federal government fleet purchases be for fuel-efficient American vehicles, and encouraged that federal agencies support experimental, fuel-efficient vehicles.   http://bit.ly/h5KZqy  http://1.usa.gov/fLWq5c    http://1.usa.gov/hmUSbk

He oversaw and pushed through an amendment to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorizing advances from Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. http://1.usa.gov/yTRYVo

He also actively tried to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to eliminate the liability limits for those companies responsible for large oil spills. http://nyti.ms/bxjDi3

He initiated Criminal and Civil inquiries into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. http://nyti.ms/bVuB7a

Through his EPA, he asserted federal legal supremacy, and barred Texas from authorizing new refinery permits on its own. http://bit.ly/ww8eMd

He strengthened the Endangered Species Act.  http://bit.ly/hscjsH

His EPA improved boiler safety standards to improve air quality, and save 6500 lives per year.  http://bit.ly/jYH7nt

Through the EPA, he took steps to severely limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to increase their efficacy in humans. http://bit.ly/fBuWd2

He increased funding for National Parks and Forests by 10%  http://bit.ly/fbJPjY

He announced greatly improved commercial fuel efficiency standards. http://1.usa.gov/oQiC1K

He announced the development of a huge increase in average fuel economy standards from 27.5mpg to 35.5mpg starting in 2016 and 54.5 starting in 2025   http://1.usa.gov/qtghsW

 

Other Stuff

He has expanded trade agreements to include stricter labor and environmental agreements such as NAFTA.  http://bit.ly/etznpY

He oversaw funding of  the design of a new Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History, which is scheduled to open on the National Mall in 2015.  He protected the funding during the recent budget negotiations.   http://on.fb.me/fD0EVO    http://bit.ly/ff5Luv

Oversaw and passed increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. http://bit.ly/dFb8qF

He nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Justice in the court’s history, and the women represent only the third and fourth women to serve on the court, out of a total of 112 justices.   http://huff.to/eOChg6  http://bit.ly/i02wgP

He appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history, including more women than any other incoming president.   http://bit.ly/dX6vNB

He eliminated federal funding for abstinence-only education, and  he rescinded the global gag rule.  http://bit.ly/eCFAI1  http://bit.ly/f92drF

He loosened the rules and allowed the 14 states that legalized medical marijuana to regulate themselves without federal interference.   http://huff.to/eQfa7j

His FDA banned the use of antibiotics in livestock production. http://bit.ly/jUjLzo

Ushered through and signed national service legislation, increasing funding for national service groups, including triple the size of the Americorps program.   http://bit.ly/idgQH5

Yep, a DO-NOTHING-PRESIDENT ….  and this was from almost a year ago. 

Republished from     typepads. com

Did a Black Man Discover the Fountain of Youth?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 10:02 pm

Did a Black Man Discover the Fountain of Youth?

 

“100 Amazing Facts About the Negro”: Learn about the legend that predates Ponce de León’s legendary search.

Note: For those who are wondering about the retro title of this black-history series, please take a moment to learn about historian Joel A. Rogers, author of the 1934 book 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro With Complete Proof, to whom these “amazing facts” are an homage.

Amazing Fact About the Negro No. 61: What myth of eternal youth in Africa inspired Europeans for centuries?

Whenever he encountered a counterintuitive fact, my mother’s brother, my Uncle Ed, was fond of saying, “That’s another one of those things that ‘they’ just don’t tell us,” as if key bits of information about the order of things were systematically being withheld from black people. At the top of my own list of things we weren’t told in school is the fact that the legendary Fountain of Youth was not only thought for centuries to be located in Ethiopia, but that the man who had discovered it and ruled over it was a black man.

European artists even painted portraits of him and sometimes decorated their maps of Africa with his image. European kings, popes and explorers from Marco Polo to Ponce de León knew of him and his magical realm. That’s right: When de León and his Spanish compatriots were wandering around the swamps of Florida, trying not to be eaten by alligators, it was a black man and his mythical fountain for which they were likely searching. In fact, one way to think of the conquest of the oceans and the eventual navigation around the Cape of Good Hope in the late 15th century was that it was motivated, among other things, by the desperate search to find this black patriarch and tap into his wealth and military might. The goal wasn’t only to help liberate the Holy Land, but also to experience this king’s secrets of immortality.

Whatever his true name might have been, he was known throughout Europe as “Prester John,” the formidable priest-king of ancient Ethiopia.

The Fountain of Youth in Ethiopia

While most of us associate the fountain of perpetual youth with the New World, especially Florida, that has only been the case for the last 500 years. For a much longer stretch of history, actually, dating all the way back to the fifth century B.C., its home was believed to be in Ethiopia. Back then, the First Persian Empire touched three continents, but Ethiopia resisted invasion. In his voluminous History of the Greco-Persian War, the first grand historical narrative (440 B.C.E.), Herodotus recounted how the king of Ethiopia, protective of his lands, scoffed at the average life span of a Persian—80—while “most” of his people, “the long-lived Ethiopians … lived to be a hundred and twenty years old, while some even went beyond that age.”

At first, Herodotus writes, the king attributed this feat to the Ethiopian diet, “boiled flesh” and “milk,” but when his visitors “showed wonder at the number of the years, he led them to a fountain, wherein when they had washed, they found their flesh all glossy and sleek, as if they had bathed in oil—and a scent came from the spring like that of violets. The water was so weak, they said, that nothing would float in it, neither wood, nor any lighter substance, but all went to the bottom. If the account of this fountain be true, it would be their constant use of the water from it which makes them so long-lived.”

In 1001 Ideas That Changed the Way We Think, Robert Arp suggests this was “[t]he first recorded mention” of the Fountain of Youth in history.  There had to be a reason Ethiopians appeared to live longer, and in Herodotus’ account, that reason was what Italian author Umberto Eco describes in his latest work, The Book of Legendary Lands, as “the underground spring of Ethiopia” (though Eco is quick to point out the near universality of fountain imagery in world culture, from variations on the Garden of Eden and the Romance of Alexander to the ancient myths of the Far and Middle East). In the Judeo-Christian context, man’s obsession with defying what seemed to be his inevitable fate—aging and death—sprang from his banishment from the original “earthly paradise.” Another lesson from the Bible—Psalms, 68:31, to be specific—was the prophecy: “Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.”

Introducing Prester John

We think the arrival of Beyoncé’s latest album on ITunes this month was meteoric, but 800 years earlier, the mysterious arrival in European courts of the so-called “Letter of Prester John” ignited a search for an African king and his kingdom unrivaled in its geographic scope, one lasting centuries in endurance. Let’s just say that the quest to find this black king was no passing fad. Malcolm Letts, author of the distinguished 1947 article, “Prester John: A Fourteenth-Century Manuscript at Cambridge,” in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, believed the story of Prester John had been transmitted orally well before his letter, so that when it arrived in Europe in the 12th century, witnesses were ready to receive—and believe—it.

Already, there had been word of a representative from Prester John visiting the Pope from “India” in 1122. (“India,” as we will see, often referred to the horn of Africa.) Then, in 1158, Otto, Bishop of Freising in Germany, published his famous Historia de duabus civitatibusIn it, he told of a visit he had observed a decade before between then-Pope Eugene III and a Bishop Hugh, of Jabala, Syria, who, in pressing for another crusade, referred to “Presbyter Iohannes” as the Christian king who had scored a decisive victory against his Persian, Median and Assyrian rivals on the other side of the Tigris River before his own horses had been stymied in crossing over it into the Holy Land.

In describing the encounter, Otto traced Prester John’s ancestry to the Magi we know as the Three Wise Men or Kings who, from the East, brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus during the first Christmas season. And one of the Magi, Balthasar, was said to be black, making him the Ethiopian’s king’s nth-great grandfather.

The Letter of Prester John

Nothing added to Prester John’s luster like the letter attributed to him that landed on an emperor’s desk in the year 1165 A.D., and then spread across Europe in reproductions in an astonishing multitude of translations and reproductions in the mid- to late-12th century. To be clear, no source I have read believes the “Letter of Prester John” was actually written by one of the kings of Ethiopia. In fact, the best current thinking is that it originated in Western Europe and was, as Letts writes, a Latin tapestry of borrowed sources well-known at the time, including Alexander, the Vulgate Bible and the writings of Pliny, Solinus, St. Augustine, Isidore of Seville, the tales of Sinbad the Sailor and even Jewish Rabbinical writings. Yet the myth of this African king was “irresistible,” Letts concedes, because of its “miraculous powers” to conjure a distant world, cut off from Christian Europe, so that it soon “filled the early maps with monsters and fables, gave a new impulse to geographical discovery, brought fresh hope to Christendom and provided story-tellers with material which lasted for centuries.”

The letter that would soon become fabulously famous was, as Umberto Eco reports, addressed without a date or return address to Manuel I Komnenos, the Byzantine emperor (1143-1180), but it also reached Pope Alexander III and Frederick I. Its sender’s full name was “Presbyter Johannes,rex potential et virtue dei et domini nostril Iesu Christi.” Among his many fantastical boasts about his kingdom was that it had peace without poverty, an abundance of wealth and precious stones, a sprawling palace, an invincible army, an array of ever-more intriguing creatures and a hierarchy in which 70 kings paid him tribute. “If indeed you can number the stars of heaven and sands of the sea,” its author wrote, “then you may calculate the extent of our dominion and power.”

The difficulty in tracking the original letter, Letts writes, is that it was copied and recopied so many times and in so many languages it eventually swelled to 100 paragraphs with “various interpolations.” And the more that it was reprinted, the more fanciful it became as “an early contribution to the literature of Utopias.” By Letts’ count, there were 100 different manuscripts of the letter, including 10 in the British Museum. John Mandeville was the first to introduce it in English in the 14th century, and, Letts notes, in the 13th-century German poem “Der Jungere Titurel” it was “woven directly into the story of the Holy Grail.”

Whether the letter was meant to be a piece of “anti-Byzantine propaganda” or “one of the rhetorical exercises so beloved of the learned of the period,” Eco writes, “the phantasm called up by some imaginative scribe served as a pretext for the expansion of the Christian world toward Africa and Asia, a friendly prop for the white man’s burden.” Adding to its seductive powers was its “description of a land inhabited by all kinds of monsters, rich in precious materials, splendid palaces and other marvels.”  Even if it was a “monstrous fable,” as Letts writes, a fable with monsters and miracles sells, especially during the Crusades, when Christian Europe desperately needed military allies.

The scramble to find Prester John was almost immediate—but where did he actually reign? In the letter, Prester John had identified himself vaguely as ruler “in the three Indias,” which, in the 12th century, included “Nearer and Lesser India (the northern subcontinent), Further or Greater India (the south), and Middle India (Ethiopia),” according to Charles F. Beckingham in Prester John, the Mongols, and the Ten Lost TribesAt one time or another, all were in play. When Pope Alexander III learned of him from his physician, he sent him off with a letter addressed “to his dearest son in Christ, John, illustrious and magnificent King of the Indians” (in which he cautioned him against excessive immodesty). The year was 1177, and the doctor was most likely headed for Ethiopia, Beckingham writes. Unfortunately, he was never heard of again.

For much of the 13th century, following the opening of the Mongol empire east of Europe, explorers searched for Prester John in Central Asia and the Far East, including Georgia, Mongolia, even China; then in India, home of the shrine to St. Thomas. But as men like Marco Polo struck out in finding their man, the target shifted to what they hadn’t yet seen: Ethiopia. In his letter, Prester John had described a mirror in which he could look out and see the world, but so far, the world (at least, in Europe) couldn’t see him.

The Link to Africa

“My own impression is that it was as a general title that it [‘Prester John’] first reached Europe,” Sir E. Denison Ross wrote in 1926; “that from the outset it referred to the King of Ethiopia, and that the confusion which arose in the twelfth century was partly due to the wide application of the term ‘India,’ and partly to the inaccessibility of Ethiopia.” Did race also have anything to do with this confusion?

Not really, Matteo Salvadore argues in his 2011 article, “The Ethiopian Age of Exploration: Prester John’s Discovery of Europe, 1306-1458,” in the Journal of World History. While it is certainly true that white Christians had inherited associations of blackness with evil, and of black people with the cursed descendants of Ham, given their ongoing struggle against Islam, the potential alliance offered by an African Prester John “trumped” the divide of race. “Unlike those Africans who did not qualify as either Christian or civilized and were mistreated as others,” Salvadore writes, “Ethiopians enjoyed a status of belonging within the Christian world,” starting in 341 A.D. when Christianity became the official state religion of the kingdom.

Influencing the shift of the search for John and the Fountain of Youth to Ethiopia in the 14th and 15th centuries was a series of actual diplomatic missions from Ethiopia—first to Jerusalem, then to mainland Europe.  Believe it or not, Ethiopians were present in Europe as early as 1306 (at the behest of Ethiopian King Wedem Ra’ad) and in later years participated in important councils that helped form a benign impression of Prester John’s realm; though, to be clear, Ethiopians never understood why Europeans persisted in calling him “Prester John” when the real title wasNegus. Whatever differences existed between Ethiopians’ practice of Christianity and Christianity in Rome, they both focused on the enemy they shared. The most faithful of Prester John’s believers even argued he was able to control the flow of the Nile River at its source, which, if enforced, could put a serious hurt on its Muslim neighbors.

Prester John and the Fountain of Youth

To account for Prester John’s age, and work around it, Robert Silverberg writes in his 1972 bookThe Realm of Prester John that the legend of the Fountain of Youth in Ethiopia was blended in as an interpolation. Here’s the version transcribed from “a slightly later manuscript” in Silverberg’s book:

“ ‘Whoever drinks of its water three times without having eaten will have no illness for thirty years; and when he has drunk of it, he will feel as if he has eaten the finest meat and spices, for it is full of God’s grace. A person who bathes in this fountain, whether he be of a hundred or a thousand years, will regain the age of thirty-two. Know that we were born and blessed in the womb of our mother 562 years ago and since then we have bathed in the fountain six times.’ ”

In other words, Prester John was letting readers know that, by the miracle of the Fountain of Youth, he was 562 years old and going strong. As a result of this interpolation, building on the Fountain of Youth Herodotus had identified in Ethiopia 1,500 years before, “Europe’s difficulty in making contact with Prester John, then, was of no moment,” Silverberg argues; “for he was immortal, and could wait a while longer to be discovered.” Prester John was in that most exclusive club of personalities who had staying power for centuries, not years or minutes.

The Portuguese Encounter

So, did anyone actually meet Prester John? The answer is, yes, sort of. The winners of that amazing race were the Portuguese, who, from their small country on the Atlantic coast of Europe, saw in Africa the key to their burgeoning empire. In the 1400s, Prince Henry the Navigator ordered his ships down the West coast of Africa in search of Prester John, Christian allies and, he hoped, gold, spices, and that elusive Fountain of Youth.  Slaves followed, first to Europe and then across the Atlantic.

In 1497, Vasco da Gama became the first European to circle the Cape of Good Hope, eventually traveling up the coast of East Africa, as we all know. What our teachers didn’t tell us was that da Gama was also carrying with him a personal letter from Manuel I, the King of Portugal, which he had commanded da Gama to present to the black king himself. Ten years before, Sir Ross notes, the king of Portugal sent another man, Pedro de Covilham, to find Prester John; and in 1490 de Covilham made it to Ethiopia after stopovers in India. The only catch: De Covilham was kept from returning by the King of Ethiopia, who considered it against “the custom of his land to allow foreign visitors to leave,” Silberberg writes. Another overture was made from Ethiopia itself in 1512, when Queen Eleni, the dowager regent for the still too-young Ethiopian king, sent an envoy to the Portuguese in Goa, India, asking for a military alliance to help smash her country’s Muslim neighbors; apparently, she even included a tiny black cross that was cut from the True Cross.

The year to remember, however, was 1520, when a Portuguese expedition under Don Rodrigo da Lima entered the realm of Prester John in Ethiopia. Critical to the embassy’s enterprise (and its memory) was the lone priest on board, Francisco Alvares, who in 1540 published his account,A True Relation of the Lands of Prester John of the Indies. In analyzing it, Cates Baldridge, author of Prisoners of Prester John: The Portuguese Mission to Ethiopia in Search of the Mythical King, 1520-1526, shows how Alvares temporized what could have been a far uglier scene of disappointment and misunderstanding. Let me cut to the chase: What Alvares found in Ethiopia of the 1520s wasn’t the proof of a myth but a young, though battle-tested ruler named Lebna Dengel, also known as Dawit or David II (1496-1540).

“His complexion might be chestnut or bay, not very dark in colour,” Alvares wrote in his journal. “He is very much a man of breeding, of middling stature.” Baldridge explains: “Since it had long been the custom for the Neguses of Ethiopia to marry the daughters of Moslem potentates on the fringes of their empire, it may well have been the cases that the successive Lions of Juda had cumulatively inherited more of the distinctly Semitic characteristics of Arabian peoples than the average Abyssinian commoner.”

Unlike in Otto’s account of the Magi connection, Negus Dengel said he believed he was descended from a long line of kings reaching back to the Old Testament’s King Solomon, who, legend had it, fathered a son, Menilek of Abyssinia, with the Queen of Sheba. As Baldridge explains, this was written down in the Ethiopian holy book, the Kebra Nagast, or “Glory of Kings” (dating from the 14th century), so that “there was a kind of rough equivalence of self-regard between the European phantasm called Prester John and the Lebna Dengel who had just laid stealthy eyes upon our priest” Alvares wrote.

While no fountain of youth was found by the Portuguese in Dengel’s realm, there was a poetic parallel: Just as Prester John had eluded European eyes for centuries, in actuality the Ethiopian Negus lived in a migrating capital of 20,000 to 40,000 people in makeshift tents that could be moved easily to keep their enemies on their toes. Because Dengel had just recently killed his Muslim rival, Mafouz, he was not immediately keen on an alliance with Portugal. However, by the time the embassy departed in 1526, Dengel was ready to reach out for what his predecessors had sought from Europe. The goals, Salvadore writes, were technology, artisans and the fulfillment of an inverse prophecy: that Ethiopia would one day be strengthened by the outstretched arms of a Frank king.

The problem was that by the time Dengel’s letters made it to the kings of Portugal, Europe’s interest in Prester John was fading. Not surprisingly, reality was less alluring than myth, and with the crusades a thing of the past, Europe was increasingly focused on its own internal struggles over Christianity, Baldridge explains. Making matters worse was the arrival of Jesuit missionaries in Ethiopia in the mid-16th century searching for converts to Roman Catholicism—not exactly the best way to build bridges.  “The kingdom of Ethiopia matched the taste for the exotic that was part of the search for Prester John, but it fell far short of utopia and failed to make a serious ally against the Islamic powers,” Andrew Kurt writes in “The Search for Prester John, a Projected Crusade and the Eroding Prestige of Ethiopian Kings, c. 1200-c. 1540,” in Journal of Medieval History. As a result, “[t]he elevated status of the monarch in European minds was deflated.”

De León’s Legendary Search

That didn’t mean the search for the Fountain of Youth was over, however.  While we must be careful not to exaggerate Ponce de León’s obsession with finding it in the New World (some even call it a myth), Umberto Eco describes him, in historical memory, as “the apostle of the fountain of eternal youth.” The searchers included Juan Garrido, the “first African American” we met in Amazing Fact No. 2 and in Episode 1 of my PBS series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Crossas well as the Englishman Sir Walter Raleigh.

While the successors of de León eventually moved onto other anti-aging cures, Prester John lived on in world literature, from Shakespeare to Voltaire to Umberto Eco’s own contemporary novel, Baudolino. In this way, art has served as the true fountain of youth, constantly remakingLegendary Lands for each generation. As a devotee of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, I know nothing can popularize a scholarly find greater than a novelization of a classical myth. When, at last, an African mythic hero is transformed from page to screen, let it be the story of the mighty black king, Prester John, and his magical Fountain of Youth, still hidden away somewhere deep in the marvelous mountains of Ethiopia.

April 1, 2014

how to change the world by learning to lead

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 1:08 pm

The One Thing You Need To Know To Be A Great Leader

How Leaders Approach Impossible Problems

The makings of great leadership have been analyzed for centuries. Marcus Buckingham, in his best-selling book “The One Thing You Need to Know: …About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success,” aims to pierce through that complexity with one simple maxim:

To be a great leader, you must find what’s universal, and capitalize on it.

Unlike managers, who are concerned with the incremental growth of individuals, Buckingham says leaders “rally people to a better future.” In order to unite large groups around a single vision, leaders find success by filling universal human needs, he says. Chief among them is the need for clarity.

Leaders are able to provide clarity in four basic areas:

1. Who the organization serves: Clarifying the audience calms employees’ anxiety about trying to please everyone, he says, and focuses their thinking. That focus gives them greater confidence in their decisions.

2. The core strengths of the organization: While defining competencies may help allocate resources, more important is the emotional rather than rational response, Buckingham says. It gives employees reason to believe they will win, which fuels their persistence, resilience, and creativity.

3. The organization’s “core score” or measurement of success: Leaders should tell followers which measure they should focus on and provide a benchmark for success, he says. To limit complexity, it’s best to choose just one metric to highlight, he notes, and oftentimes improving that core score buoys several others.

4. Immediate actions to take: Talk and theory only go so far. At some point, leaders must act. Those actions provide clarity about what’s important to you, and encourage your people to follow suit. Be they systematic or symbolic actions, they establish new behaviors, emphasize select priorities and clearly show the better future you envision.

Of course, for a leader to provide clarity, they must clarify their own thoughts. Buckingham suggests taking plenty of time to ruminate on success. Additionally, he advises that you carefully select those employees that you hold up as examples of success, because who you celebrate and why reveals much about the future you are trying create. Finally, practice and refine your message to its simplest, most powerful form.

Interestingly, Buckingham believes leaders are in many ways born and not made, saying that unflinching optimism and powerful ego are the talents underpinning all great leadership.

“Properly defined, the opposite of a leader isn’t a follower,” Buckingham writes. “The opposite of a leader is a pessimist.” Talented leaders are able to clearly see the obstacles they face, he says, but still firmly believe they can overcome present challenges to create something better.

And in opposition to some leadership theories that exalt being humble and quietly powerful, he says having vision isn’t enough. You have to believe that you are the best person to see that vision out and that requires ego, Buckingham says. Great leaders must have the confidence that they are worthy trailblazers and can find the answers along the way.

TV is not yet dead but some are writing it’s Obituary ….. at least in Canada.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 5:05 am

Most people reading this will know that Re:Source Media’s head offices are in Toronto and so as proud Canadians we care about our domestic TV and online market. It just make sense as a media production and content creation company to know how and why, where and when people like to consume media. And so we were interested in this latest CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) report on the media habits of Canadians. And we think you will be too as it clearly highlights the global trend away from appointment viewing and into a world of on-demand, platform-independent consumption. We have long tried to be at the forefront of creating and delivering media to our audiences wherever and whenever they want it and as the changing habits of Canadians suggests, this is a good strategy.

This is the start of a significant change…

More and more Canadians are tuning into online movie streaming websites such as Netflix, but it has not impacted traditional television viewing as much as it eventually will according to the most recent CRTC report published last week.

The percentage of Canadians that subscribed to Netflix grew from 10 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2012, while the number of Canadian basic television subscribers increased by one percent to 12 million, according to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)’s annual report.

Canada’s population is 35 million.

“More Canadians than ever are watching and listening to content on their computers, smartphones and tablets, yet the vast majority of programming is still accessed through traditional television and radio services,” CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a statement.

The amount of time spent watching television was down only slightly from 2011, averaging 28.2 hours per week, according to the report.

Collectively, Canadians watched 931.3 million hours of television per week, nearly half of which were Canadian programs.

Meanwhile 33 percent of Canadians also or instead watched Internet television, typically about three hours per week, up slightly from the previous year.

Over the coming months, the CRTC will hold public consultations that could lead to an overall in the way Canadians watch television and the prices they pay for cable or satellite television services, with new regulations to follow.

No changes are expected that would impact online movie and television streaming services, after the CRTC twice rejected calls requiring Netflix to buy a broadcasting license, which helps fund Canadian productions.

In an interview with CBC Radio last week Blais commented that broadcasting is changing and will never be the same.

He noted that almost every Canadian household once had a television set in their living room, but now the trend is moving fast toward on-demand video content that is available on various devices, including tablets.

Other facts from the CRTC annual report:

– more than two out of four Canadians owned a smartphone and more than one out of four owned a tablet in 2012;

– Canadian families spent an average of Can$185 each month on communications services;

– Canadians downloaded an average of 28.4 gigabytes (GB) and uploaded 5.4 GB per month; and,

– there were 27.9 million Canadian wireless subscribers versus 11.9 million traditional telephones at home.

Reflections on Haile Selassie

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 4:59 am

Reflections on Haile Selassie

WelcomeThe facts of his life are well known. Haile Selassie’s influence on the world is his most enduring legacy. Born Tafari Makonnen in 1891, Haile Selassie came to be identified inextricably with Ethiopia. Only rarely in the modern world does the story of a man become so closely linked to the story of a nation. It is said that great events beget great men, but they beget failures as well, and the boundary between the two is often defined by singular acts of courage. These the Ethiopian Emperor did not lack.

Not surprisingly, the fortitude of the man sometimes referred to as “The Lion” inspired Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and even Malcom X, each of whom corresponded with Haile Selassie –who advocated civil disobedience when it was necessary to remedy fundamental social injustice or Haile Selassierestore freedom to the oppressed. The Emperor’s presence at President Kennedy’s funeral is still remembered. It seems somehow appropriate that the motion picture Born Free was filmed in Ethiopia during Haile Selassie’s reign.

One speaks of leaders of men as though their public lives were completely divorced from their private ones. For a hereditary monarch, this should not be the case. What his children think of him is as important as what everybody else thinks. Haile Selassie was a devoted husband and father. His wife, Empress Menen, died in 1962. His sons, Sahle Selassie, Makonnen, and Asfa Wossen, had a great sense of duty to their father and to their people. Of his daughters, Princess Tenagne, in particular, excercised various official duties.

Haile Selassie ascended the throne in the era of polar exploration and slow communication. Africa’s oldest nation was little more than a footnote to the great stories of the day –something that Americans and Brits read about in the pages of the National Geographic. Some people still called the country Abyssinia. In certain countries far beyond Ethiopia’s borders, segregation and apartheid were long established and little questioned. Most other African “nations” were colonies. Even at home, slavery was technically still legal.

In such an era, words like “pan-Africanism” and “civil rights” were little more than esoteric philosophical notions entertained by an enlightened few. That a country as backward as Italy, whose widespread poverty prompted the emigration of millions, would seek to devour a nation like Ethiopia, was an irony too subtle to raise eyebrows outside the most sophisticated intellectual circles. With British backing, Haile Selassie returned to defeat the Italian army which, in the event, the Allies never viewed as much more than a nuisance. The British themselves considered the Ethiopian campaign in its strategic context –as a way to free the Red Sea from possible Axis control– as much as the liberation of a sovereign nation. To the Ethiopians, it was as much a moral victory as a military one.

The Emperor’s speech to the League of Nations denouncing the Italian invasion is remembered more than the aggression itself. It prompted essentially ineffectual international trade sanctions against a European nation but, like the Battle of Adwa four decades earlier, represented in a tangible way one of the few occasions in the modern era that an African nation defied the arrogance of a European one.

There were very few world leaders of the post-war era who had actually led troops in combat. Haile Selassie and Dwight Eisenhower were exceptional in this respect, which partially accounts for their close friendship.

Even when the foe is truly formidable, courage has a psychological side that has little to do with combat or physical victory. One may seem defeated materially without being defeated morally. Perhaps it’s a question of confidence, values or knowledge. Haile Selassie’s greatest strength was as a builder of bridges –across rivers but also between cultures. His travels took him to many countries, and he became one of the most popular heads of state, and one of the most decorated men in the world.

It was during one such voyage, in 1960, that he had to rush home to confront an attempted overthrow of the existing order. This perhaps served as a reminder that the most dangerous revolutions are found in one’s own house. The sovereign who was once known as a reformer now found himself resented by many members of the very social class his economic and educational policies had helped to create. Internationally, however, his prestige did not suffer. The Emperor established the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, with a headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The revolution of 1974 was supported by outside forces, and while its roots were domestic, its covert objectives cannot be said to have been supported by more than a small fraction of Ethiopians. Truth be told, administrative practices which worked well in 1950 were terribly inefficient by the 1970s, and a series of problems were cited as a pretext for a full scale coup d’etat. Ethiopia’s pre-industrial economy was no better prepared for Marxism than Russia’s had been in 1917. Communism’s ultimate social and economic failure, in Ethiopia as well as in Russia, certainly indicates democracy’s superiority, whether that democracy is embodied by a republic or a constitutional monarchy. The Derg’s alliance with the Soviet Union made Ethiopia the instrument of a foreign power, precisely the thing Haile Selassie resisted.

He had a Solomonic pedigree, but Haile Selassie was a man of the people. Perhaps that’s how he should be remembered.

March 26, 2014

I want thaaaat (45 Photos)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 12:21 pm

Mr. Craig:

really interesting things some I like some I don’t but all worth looking at

Originally posted on theCHIVE:

[chivegallery size="full" columns="1"][categories]

View original

March 9, 2014

2 AM March 9, 2014 … is it only USA that jumps an hour into the future this time?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 1:24 am

On Sunday March 9, 2014 US clocks will change at 2 AM local time to 3 am in a spit second … not scientific really… just a law so we can get more work done in the daylight… or so we have been told. 

Unfortunately that means an hour less for her to celebrate or sleep on her birthday…  which happens to be the same day. 

February 3, 2014

Black History Month: A Few Things About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with Quotes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 3:03 am

April 4th, 1968: 

On this date 45 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Here Are Few Memorable Quotes From Him

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MLK1

(Biography.com)

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2.

MLK2

(AP)

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3.

MLK3

(Wikipedia

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4.

MLK4

(Wikipedia)

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5.

MLK5

(History.com)

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6.

MLK6

(Biography.com)

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7.

MLK7

(Biography.com)

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8.

MLK8(Baylor University)

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February 1, 2014

Black History Month: A Little About Frederick Douglass

Lets Start Black History Month Day 2 with Frederick Douglass:

A Few Historical Facts About Frederick Douglass

 

1. Frederick Douglass was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in 1818.

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2. He chose his name from a character in Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake.

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lady of the lakw

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3. Although Douglass was born a slave, he escaped in 1838. He eventually settled with his wife in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

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4. Douglass published his autobiography,Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,an American Slave in 1845.

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narrative of the life

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5. He was  a strong supporter of the woman’s rights movement. Douglass attended the famous Seneca Falls conference in 1848.

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seneca falls

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6. Douglass also founded the Abolitionist Newspaper“The North Star” ..

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7. Douglass consulted with President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and helped influence the Emancipation Proclamation. After President Lincoln’s death, Mrs. Lincoln sent Douglass her late husband’s walking stick.

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lincoln

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8. In 1872 Douglass was nominated for Vice President of the United States as a member of the Equal Rights Party.

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portrait

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9.  Douglass died in 1895 in Washington, DC.

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January 30, 2014

All You Wanted to Know About People Born In the Chinese Year of the Horse

Filed under: China,Chinese — Mr. Craig @ 12:03 am
Tags: , , , , ,

 

Things to Know About People Born in the Year of the Horse

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The Horse Personality

Popular literature in the West speaks of “men being from Mars and women being from Venus.”  Well, in Chinese astrology, the Horse is associated with male and its complementary sign, the Sheep, with female characteristics. Independence is the “male” characteristic epitomized by the Horse. Anyone who loves cowboy movies knows the first thing a cowboy does upon riding into town is to tie up his Horse. You are most likely adventurous, fun-loving and enjoy the outdoors as well as a variety of sports. It’s no chore to get you to go to the fitness center to work out, but you truly enjoy the combination of working out and being outdoors–hiking, jogging, biking, rock wall climbing.

You can be a human dynamo. Furthermore, you can stay in an action mode a lot longer than the rest of us. Others probably see you as a vivacious person due to your high energy level. It’s not only your vitality that catches our attention and wins our respect. You’re quick in both mind and body, and cut a dapper, colorful figure as you rush in and out of our lives. In general you must have things your way—now. Occasionally impatient and rash, you tend to engage in impulsive behavior more than the rest of us. In truth stability is not your strong suit. You are fickle, especially when it comes to fashions

The Horse In Relationships

You are a fun member of any team and likely to be found where the action is. Yes, even though you are most independent, you still love to be around lots of people. The catch is it’s you who decide when and where the party will be. No one ever said you were afraid to make a decision. It wouldn’t be surprising if you’ve been accused of being headstrong more than once. Add to this a stubborn streak and a bit of a temper, and you can be difficult to be around at times.

You can also be selfish and self-indulgent as you pursue your interests oblivious to ours. You can be hard to live with when you don’t get your way. This independent streak of yours and your emotional aloofness can be a magnet for those of the opposite sex. People always seem to be drawn to what they cannot have. But like the Eagles songs says, “Desperado you better let somebody love you, you better let somebody love you before it’s too late.” In other words, do not let your independence be an obstacle to true love.

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Personality

  • Lucky Colors: green, red, purple
  • Lucky Numbers: 3, 4, 9
  • Lucky Flowers: giant taro, Jasmin
  • Year of Birth: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026

The horse ranks seventh of all the animals in the Chinese zodiac.

People born in the year of the horse are extremely animated, active and energetic. Horses love to be in a crowd, and they can usually be seen in such occasions as concerts, theaters, meetings, sporting occasions, and parties. With a deft sense of humor, horses are masters of repartee. They love to take center stage and delight audiences everywhere.

Sometimes, the horse is a little self-centered, but it doesn’t mean that he will not be interested in any problems except his own. However, a horse person is really more cunning than intelligent, that is probably due to the fact that most horse people lack confidence.

Health

Basically, horse people are very healthy, most likely because they hold a positive attitude towards life. However, heavy responsibility or pressure from their job may make them weak. Therefore horse people shouldn’t do overtime too often and then come home very late. Also, they should refuse some invitations to join parties at night.

Career

Jobs involving communicating with others attract horse people most. The sign of horse stands for leadership, management and decision-making. Horse people dislike taking orders. The horse can make it in any career that demands neither solitude nor meditation, for he is an extrovert and he needs to be surrounded by people who approve of him and flatter him. Good career choices for horses include: publicist, sales representative, journalist, language instructor, translator, bartender, performer, tour operator, librarian or pilot.

Relationships

People born during the year of the horse have a pleasant, amiable, easy-going disposition. With good humor and geniality, they are extremely comfortable to get along with, for they have the ability of instantly putting people at their ease. They are very quick-witted and are  right in there with you before you have had the chance to finish what you were saying; they are on to the thought in your mind even before you’ve expressed it. All these guarantee their popularity and a large following of friends.

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Are you Born in the Year of the Horse… does this represent you?? 

Thank goodness for open spaces, because the Horse needs plenty of room to roam! Energetic, good with money and very fond of travel, Horses are the nomads of the Chinese Zodiac, roaming from one place or project to the next. All of this Sign’s incessant activity and searching may be to satisfy a deep-rooted desire to fit in. Paradoxically, Horses feel a simultaneous yearning for independence and freedom. Horses crave love and intimacy, which is a double-edged sword since it often leads them to feel trapped. Love connections tend to come easily to Horses, since they exude the kind of raw sex appeal that is a magnet to others. This Sign tends to come on very strong in the beginning of the relationship, having an almost innate sense of romance and seduction. Horses are seducers in general; check out any A-list party and you’re bound to find the Horse in attendance. This Sign possesses a sharp wit and a scintillating presence; it really knows how to work a crowd. Surprisingly, Horses tend to feel a bit inferior to their peers, a misconception that causes them to drift from group to group out of an irrational fear of being exposed as a fraud. An impatient streak can lead Horses to be less than sensitive to others’ needs. These colts would rather take a situation firmly in hand as opposed to waiting for others to weigh in or come to terms with it. The lone wolf inside the Horse can at times push others away, but this also makes this Sign stronger and is a key to its success. Horses are self-reliant and, though they might lose interest fast in a tedious, nine-to-five day job, are willing to do the work necessary to get ahead. Horses tend not to look much at the big picture; instead they just follow their whims, which can result in a trail of prematurely ended relationships, jobs, projects and so on. This Sign really knows how to motivate others, though, and get a lot accomplished. Once they find some peace within themselves, they can curb their wandering tendencies and learn to appreciate what’s in their own backyard.

Compatibility

Best with: Tiger, Goat or Dog
Worst with: Rat, Ox, Rabbit or Horse

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2014 Predictions for the Horse

Love: 2014 will see variable fortune for Horses in love. If you are single, you may expect new encounters but, sadly, these will not be of a romantic nature. If you are married, be wary of quarrels; you may need to rethink your position on some issues, but good will come out of it should you do so. This year, new marriages may prove more difficult than in other years. Horses generally should be wary of friction within their relationships this year; disagreements are liable to becoming particularly heated.

Career: Be particularly wary of competitive colleagues and other potential rivals at work. You will have many choices this year in the path of your career, but should you choose to take them you will face stiff competition. Those in the public sphere need to be particularly wary of this, and of underhand behavior on the part of underlings. Private business is also likely to face difficulties in the year ahead.

Wealth: Horses should not trust to luck this year; the outlook is unstable, and caution is required. Any gains are liable to be offset by additional expenses. Though there are some auspicious signs, these are unpredictable, so treat any seemingly glowing opportunity with care.

Health: As the Chinese appropriately say, ‘horse-horse, tiger-tiger’, a phrase meaning ‘so-so’. Take particular care of your health and safety. This particularly applies should you find yourself around – or worse, on – lakes or rivers in the fifth lunar month.

General Outlook: 2014 will prove a challenging year. There are too many malevolent stars that will beset you for you to walk away unscathed, so be cautious on the larger issues that you may be affected only by those smaller and of lesser importance. You yourself will be prone to error, so heed advice from friends and elders. Make sure you have a solid financial plan this year so as not to enter into crisis on that front, and don’t take any financial risks. Be wary of your relationships; approach them with caution and keep your temper. This year in particular, you will need others to be cooperative and on-side.

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Best Travel Destinations for the Horse in 2014

While Dragons and Snakes are confined to the west, Horses are similarly confined at the opposite end of China.  Stay east, and don’t think of galloping off anywhere else. Graze in easterly pastures and you will be fine. There’s plenty of grazing to do.

Shanghai

There can be few names of foreign cities more romantic in the mind of the foreign visitor than Shanghai given its long connection with the outside world through land possession and international trade. The Shanghai of today is certainly a destination to tick off your list so now, Horses, is the time to do so. In its modern form as an up-to-date international metropolis, Shanghai can, at times, seem like another country outside China altogether. Long-standing connections overseas have given the city a uniquely cosmopolitan flavor all its own unmatched within the rest of the nation and rarely matched outside it. It is now the largest and most successful of China’s commercial cities, its importance such that it qualifies as a municipality in its own right, one of four under direct central government control as they seek to preserve its unique status. No surprise that its ancient heritage and modern atmosphere make it one of China’s top four tourist destinations. Horses should be sure to trot along to the Bund and the Oriental Pearl Tower, the most famous of Shanghai’s landmarks, but there’s plenty to see after that. There are too many museums to mention here, colonial architecture including some magnificent churches, theaters,parks,shopping malls, anything and everything for all tastes and interests. Don’t miss out on the old towns which have been swallowed up in Shanghai’s expansion while retaining their cultural heritage. Zhujiajiao and the old traditional buildings in the Qingpu district are particularly worthy of attention.

Nanjing

The capital of Jiangsu province, Nanjing has a long and troubled history. One of the four major ancient capitals of Imperial China alongside Xi’an, Beijing and Luoyang, it has served both as a cradle for Chinese civilization and as a magnet to those who would disrupt it. Nanjing’s is a painful history into which to delve too deeply, but for the lighter, more creative side of what this ancient city has produced we would recommend the visiting Horse check out the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, the Confucian Temple, the Yuhuatai Tomb of Emperor Zhuyuanzhang and his Queen, the Folk Art Museum, and top it all off with a relaxing stroll along the pretty Qin Huai river.

Hangzhou

The capital of Zhejiang Province, situated on the Yangtze River delta, Hangzhou has its own unique feel given its location on the West Lake, arguably the most famous lake in all China. This lake has gained such worldwide renown in its own right and in its surrounding scenery that many locations are listed by the World Record Association. It is said that ‘As there is paradise in Heaven, so there are Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth’. Nor is scenic beauty the only attraction. With a history of some 2,200 years since its foundation, Hangzhou is rich in culture, much of it again to be found around the lake itself. Given that much of your time here should really be spent around the lake area, we would recommend hiring a bicycle and considering renting a boat to cruise the waterways.

Suzhou

Often coupled with Hangzhou given their proximity, as in the quote above, Suzhou has its own atmosphere quite distinct from that of Hangzhou. Listed as a primary city for its historical and cultural background, established in 514 BCE, its 2,500 year history as of this very year, your year, the Year of the Horse, has made it one of China’s top ten tourist destinations. That history is largely focused upon the Wu people, giving it a unique color on the map of China for the Wu’s singular attitude and approach to life.

The most remarkable and memorable aspect of Suzhou is to be found in its traditional and ancient gardens. These are many, and to be sought out by the traveler for their fantastic variety and points of focus, whether they be built upon a theme of flowers, shrubs or rock formations. There can be nowhere better than Suzhou in which to see this ancient Chinese tradition of landscape art. Don’t get too caught up in the gardens, though. Exploration of Suzhou’s winding waterways, small bridges and alleyways, and the ancient architecture that is scattered throughout the city is something not to be neglected.

Huangshan

Huangshan is the famed ‘Yellow Mountain’, an area of some of the most fantastic scenery to be found not only in China, but also anywhere on earth. Be prepared for a lot of hiking here, and your reward will be some of the most spectacular sites you have ever seen. Located in the south of Anhui province, head for the Huangshan district of Huangshan city and you can’t miss it. It’s pretty big. What makes Huangshan unique is the sheer variety of forms and delights to be found here, all the classic images and experiences of pines clinging to fantastic rock formations, seas of cloud and, for relaxation, there are even hot springs located here, everything anyone could ever want from all mountains all here in one.

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Places to avoid

This may be your year, Horse, but don’t think you can have your way in everything. Inauspicious stars mean that Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Luoyang, Datong and, indeed, anywhere north is best avoided.

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Famous People Who Belong to Horse

The second emperor of Qin (230 BC-207 BC), or Ying Huhai, was the youngest son of Qin Shihuang.

Emperor An of Han, or Liu Hu (94 AD-125 AD), the sixth emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty.

Zhang Daoling (34 AD-156 AD), the founder of Taoism.

Genghis Khan (1162-1227), known as the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, was the leader of the Mongol Empire.

Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty (1678-1735), the fourth son of Emperor Kangxi.

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The City that Represent the Horse – Shenzhen

If any city in China has moved forward at a gallop, that city is Shenzhen. In the few decades since China’s opening-up policy was put into action, Shenzhen has exploded out from very humble beginnings into a huge metropolis, testament to its advantageous location for trade situated next to Hong Kong and with favorable access to the sea and thus international commerce. When it comes to sheer commercial power, those few decades have seen Shenzhen rise to fourth position behind Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. There can be no other place in China as symbolic of the rapid changes that have taken place in the nation as a whole.

However, Shenzhen is not all about economics. This is a vibrant, lively city packed with life and activity given that it has a largely youthful population drawn in from all quarters in China. Nor has it lost all its scenic attractions in the thrust to modernization, while it has added a few scenic spots of its own in its modernity. Check out ‘Splendid China’, (‘锦绣中华’)Sea World, (海洋世界); the Wildlife Park, (野生动物园); the Rare Botanical Garden, (珍稀植物园); and don’t forget the beaches, with some of the prettiest and most clement bathing opportunities around China.

The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as ‘Qianli Ma’, a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters).

Strengths
People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely.

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Weaknesses
They cannot bear too much constraint. However their interest may be only superficial and lacking real substance. They are usually impatient and hot-blooded about everything other than their daily work. They are independent and rarely listen to advice. Failure may result in pessimism. They usually have strong endurance but with bad temper. Flamboyant by nature, they are wasteful since they are not good with matters of finance due to a lack of budgetary efficiency. Some of those who are born in the horse like to move in glamorous circles while pursuing high-profile careers.  They tend to interfere in many things and frequently fail to finish projects of their own.

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Horoscope and Numerology Elements

Earthly Branch of Birth Year: wu
Wu Xing (The Five Elements): huo (fire)
Yin Yang: yang
Auspicious Directions: northeast, southwest and northwest
Lucky Colors: brown, yellow, purple; Avoid: blue, white, golden
Lucky Numbers: 2, 3, 7; Avoid 1, 6, 5
Lucky Flowers: calla lily, jasmine, marigold
Zodiac Sign Compatibility – Best match: tiger, sheep, dog; Avoid: rat, ox, rabbit

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Celebrities Born in the Year of the Horse
Louisa May Alcott, Chopin, Davy Crockett, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Sandra Day O’Connor, Rembrandt, Teddy Roosevelt, Sir Isaac Newton, Barbara Streisand, Cindy Crawford, Cynthia Nixon, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford, Jason Biggs, Jackie Chan, Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Leonard Bernstein, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Rembrandt, Ashton Kutcher, Emma Watson, Josh Hartnett, Katie Holmes, Kristen Stewart, Kobe Bryant, Genghis Khan, Emperor Kangxi and Yongzheng of China’s Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911)

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Fortune Foretelling in 2014
Overview:  It is their order to encounter the Year of Birth (Benming Nian), a year to offend “Taisui’, the god in charge of people’s fortune. In 2014, their fortune in all aspects will fluctuate, so will require great care. They may feel more stressed out, in which case they are advised to talk about it with close friends or councilors, and take part in group activities. Faced with any difficulties, they should be strong to overcome them all. If they treat people around them friendly and behave righteously, they will get through the year smoothly.

Career: Horse people are easily offended this year even for trifles, and seem not to keep a harmonious relationship with colleagues. Sometimes they doubt themselves too much, leading to a gradual loss of confidence. When finishing a task, they seek confirmation again and again from people around them. In this case, it is suggested to be confident and talk more to family instead of complaining to colleagues. Just keep a low profile, get along well with your boss and be careful of tricks by mean people and then achievements in your job will come.
Wealth: Their financial fortune will be unstable in 2014. It seems that there will be much unexpected cost. Thus to make ends meet comes first When managing money matters, they should consider accepting others’ suggestion. It is necessary to be careful to make any investment. Businesspeople should make a full scheme before making a large amount of investment, because the market will be changeable in the year.
Relationships: The fortune in love life for horse people will be just so-so. If they would like to get married in the year, it is strongly suggested to select an auspicious date according to the dates of birth of the bride and the bridegroom, or they will suffer a lot in marriage. Singles may meet several people that they have feelings for, but none of them are doomed to be their Mr./Ms. Right. If faced with a dilemma, they’d better refer to the idea or suggestion of their relatives and friends. Husband and wife will argue a lot in the year; a focus on communication and mutual understanding can avoid it. For all lovers, mutual trust is the secret for an everlasting relationship.
Health: As they offend “Taisui” this year, they may suffer some discomforts. Some insidious diseases like dermatitis may happen. To avoid that, they’d better have a full physical examination. Besides, they also need to be careful to avoid unexpected injuries by knives and others sharp items. Females should pay attention to problem in urinary system and males need to care more about their stomach. Adjusting their emotions and traveling outside will help with their health as well. They also need to remember not to eat too much for each meal.

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The Horse Revealed
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What can I expect in the Year of the Horse?

You might be surprised at my answer. It’s … You already know. Here’s the reason. You see of the 12 Chinese Astrology sign, Horse is the one that most closely resembles the characteristic of the animal, horse. But let me help you organize your thoughts. I want you to think about three places where you can find horses, cowboy movies, the racetrack, and the arena.

We learn a lot about horses in those old westerns. For example, the first thing a cowboy does when he arrives in town at the beginning of the show is to tie up his horse. They’re independent critters. So individual effort is favored this year. And in relationships – don’t be surprised if that special someone doesn’t want to be tied down. It’s also not unusual for a partner to wander off, just like the horse that isn’t tied up properly.

And how about those movie scenes where a herd of wild horses is majestically moving across the open range! Freedom. The open spaces. Adventure. Power. Yup. The outdoors and the environment are big this year. Get as much of the outdoors as you can into your vacations. By the way, you want to get in shape so you can run with those horses.

Speaking of running. How about the race track! Speed, getting a quick jump on the action, madly rushing to the finish line. Things’ll happen quickly. The pace fast. High drama. Passion. Quick thinking wins the day. You snooze, you lose. Get the picture? The race for glory. And there’ll be plenty of it. It’s a time to get in the game, to make your maximum effort. To run hard. But remember this, you have your limits. Everyone does. So make sure you get enough down time. Another caution. Opportunities could come fast and furious. Make your plans now. There’s always a risk with hasty decisions. But, you can reduce it by thinking about what you want before you have a need to jump into the fire.

Did I mention passion? Maybe I rained on your parade earlier. Stay with me. There’s an upside to relationships. Love and sex come alive with the Horse in charge. Again, think about the track. Drama leading up to the race. The gun goes off. A few minutes of frantic action. And it’s over! I think you get the point. You might get lucky, but for the most part forget about creating a lasting relationship or finding your soul mate (unless your sign is Sheep). On the other hand … Fleeting romances you have this year could become some of the most fun times of your life. So enjoy them.

Last but not least. The horse is a graceful animal. And it’s not just the track where we see it. Think about the equestrian events at the Olympics or a performance of the Lipizzaner Stallions in Vienna. You can expect to see great performances at the movies, theater and concerts. If you’re an entertainer, this is the year you’ve been waiting for! Flair. Style that flaunts itself. Might be time to kick your wardrobe up a notch. I’m not talking excess. Just enough to make sure you’re noticed. Maybe you’re shy. I’d never tell anyone to change who they are, but … Well, can you at least let go once in a while.

You put all three together, and what do you get? Adventure. Fun. Action. Flamboyance. Focus on individual achievement. Sounds like a good time to me. And it will be if you keep a hold on common sense and take breaks when you need them. Horses to the starting line…!

horse chinese new year 2014

January 29, 2014

2014 Chinese Astrology Predictions For Year of the Green Wooden Horse

2014 Chinese New Year Day will arrive on January 31, 2014.

Chinese Year of Horse begins on February 4, 2014 according to Chinese Astrology Calendar.

2014 is the Year of Wooden Horse  and Wood is related to tree or green.

Therefore, 2014 is also called

 Year of Green Wooden Horse.

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Chinese Astrology is a prediction theory using Yin-Yang Five Elements. The astrological birth chart built by Chinese Astrology Calendar is a combination chart of Yin-Yang Five Elements and 12 animals. Five Elements are Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth. Twelve animal are Rat, Cow, Tiger, Dragon, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog and Pig. All animal signs can be converted into Five Elements, Therefore, every birth chart has its own Five Element weights. Chinese Astrology use Yin Yang balance theory to predict people’s fortune.

The Chinese astrology symbol for 2014 Green Horse Year is WoodHorseMale woodHorse. Before predicting your 2014 fortune regarding to your money, career, marriage or health, you have to know what Type of Element you are and what your Lucky Element is.

The Lucky Element is the major factor to determine people’s good fortune. Basically, if 2014 of Green Horse contains your Lucky Element, then 2014 will be your good year. 2014 is Green Wood Horse year. Horse is in Fire group. Therefore, if your Lucky Element is Wood or Fire, then you will do well in 2014.

To know your birth chart, Five Element scores and your Lucky Element is from the Chinese Astrology Lucky Element page using your date of birth and time of birth.     Your Lucky Element     

The following is the example of the Chinese Astrology Birth Chart.

Chinese Horosocpe Birth Chart

The Birth Chart of June 15, 2008
Upper Row of Day Column (Day Master) represents the Person

Chinese Astrology Five Elements

Fire represents the person. This Birth Chart shows Fire-Type Person

This person was born on June 15, 2008 or June 30, 1948. The symbol of the upper row of the Day Column (a.k.a. Day Master) represents the person. So we can sayDay Master is Male Fire, which represents the person. The birth chart has too little Metal and needs more Metal to balance the Five Elements. Therefore, the Lucky Element is Metal.

2014 is Male Wooden Horse year. Horse contains mainly Fire. Therefore, 2014 is Wood on the Fire. Wood can help Fire to burn hotter, higher and longer. This birth chart already has too much Fire. The strong Fire of 2014 makes this birth chart even more imbalanced. It’s is not a good sign. The extremely stronger Fire lets this short-tempered person become even more hot-tempered. The irritating personality will bring very poor and hostile relationships with friends and siblings. Furthermore, the bad investment, money loss and  financial problems will come after.

     Fortune and Lucky Element      

The following table shows people’s luck in 2014 based on their Luck Element.

 When Metal is your Lucky Element, then 2014 is not a good year to you.

Horse of 2014 contains mainly Fire. Metal is afraid of Fire. Metal and Wood of 2014 are opposite elements; they have fighting relationship. Luckily, Horse contains Female Earth, which has attraction relationship with Wood of 2014 into Earth. Earth is the mother element of Metal. Metal shouldn’t be hurt by Fire too bad. But the fortune of 2014 is quite little. If Water is found in the birth chart or Major Cycle, then that can cool down the Fire and help Metal to survive. If Dragon or Cow is found in the birth chart or Major Cycle, then Metal will have the protection when Fire attacks. In this case, 2014 should be fine. If Metal is weak and hurt by Fire of 2014, then you need to pay attention on your respiratory system, because Metal is connected to lungs.

 If Water is your Lucky Element, then 2014 is not a good year to you.

Horse of 2014 contains Fire and Earth. Although, Water is not afraid of Fire. But Earth of Horse can protect Fire from attacking by Water. Also, Wood of 2014 makes Fire stronger. That means Water cannot win over the Fire of 2014. Water should be too weak to help the birth chart ,therefore the fortune of 2014 is limited. If Water is extremely weak in the birth chart, then we might have to pay attention on your kidneys, the urinary system.

 When Wood is your Lucky Element, then 2014 is a good year to you.

2014 is a Wooden Fire Horse year. Fire is the child element of Wood. Mother Wood always helps child Fire to burn stronger. Wood does the giving without taking. Eventually, Wood will burn into dust. That implies 2014 will bring some kind of opportunities first, then those opportunities will disappear. Therefore, when we get help or advice from people, we need to learn from them as much as possible. We need to prepare to do job by ourselves when the helpers are not available. If there is no Fire or little Fire in the birth chart, Fire of 2014 will become very helpful. This is because Wood (Tree) need water, earth and sunshine to grow taller and stronger. When lucky element Wood gains support from Fire, then stronger Wood will bring your better luck in 2014.

 When Fire is your Lucky Element, then your luck in 2014 is excellent.

Horse is the strong animal containing Fire. Wood is the mother element of Fire. Wood can help Fire to burn longer. Wood also can protect Fire from extinguishing by Water. Wood and Fire together form a perfect combination for Fire. The fortune of 2014 will come very soon and last for at least one year long. Although, Fire is the lucky element, you still need to keep your mind on your heart, cardiovascular system during strong Fire Year.

 When Earth is your Lucky Element, then your luck in 2014 is very good.

2014 is Male Wood Horse Year. Horse contains Female File and Female Earth. Fire is the mother element of Earth. Earth is afraid of Wood. But Male Wood of 2014 and the Female Earth inside Horse have attraction relationship into Earth. That implies Horse can turn Earth’s enemy into its friend. 2014 might bring a little trouble at the beginning, but it will end up a good result. Just be patience, something will be changing different and better right after spring.

 When Metal is your Day Master…

Wood of 2014 represents money or wealth to Metal. Therefore the money event will appear in 2014. If you have strong Metal in your birth chart, then you will have better money luck will be better. This is because you had known how to mange the money in the past. You should have a chance to increase your income, investments or wealth. But if you have a weak Metal in the birth chart, then you will feel short of money soon or later.

Snake of 2013 contains Fire. Horse of 2014 also contains Fire. Metal is afraid of Fire, which represents pressure, job, boss, teacher, career, trouble or law to Metal. Basically, your career luck will be same to 2013. If you were doing well in your career in 2013, then your career luck will continue and you might have better career promotion opportunity to expand your power and working responsibilities during 2014. If you have trouble in your career in 2013, then the job pressure will be still there in 2014. You might have much more workload and tighter schedule for your tasks.

2014 Wooden Horse contains Wood and Fire. Wood is money and Fire is career. If you are own your business and have strong Metal in the birth chart, then your business will grow more than your expectation and company’s profit will increase much more than previous year. If you work for someone with strong Metal, then you should have a job promotion or people will pay you more for your work. Money and career will arrive in the same pace.

But if you have weak Metal and Metal cannot fight against Wood and Fire, then money and job will bring you big trouble. If you are a business person, then you might have money loss in your business or you will pay penalty for your mistake in business. If you are an employee in an organization, you cannot be greedy on money. You have better not to receive illegal money. Otherwise, money will bring you bad reputation, even a lawsuit.

If you are a man, then Wood of 2014 is connected to women, girlfriend or wife. If you are single, then you should have chances to meet some women in the social networks. If you are married, then you will spend more time in activities with your spouse. If you are a woman, then Fire of 2014 connects to your boyfriend, husband or love opportunity. Therefore, a single woman should increase their social activities to meet more opposite sex. A married woman will spend time with her husband or her own career.

 When Water is your Day Master…

Wood of 2014 represents your outlook, performance, speech, behavior, freedom or expression. That means 2014 is the time to show your talent to people. Your social life makes you a little bit busier. If you become popular, the people will know you better. Therefore, Wood relates to your fame or reputation. If people like your manner, then you should earn a good reputation from them. If people don’t like your way, then people will give you negative reputation.

Fire of 2014 Horse represents your money, wealth, luxury life and financial status. The Fire Horse of 2014 is the continuation from Fire Snake of 2013. If you have good money luck in 2013, then the money luck will keep coming toward you. If you suffer the pain of money in 2013, then the money pressure will be there waiting for you to resolve.

Horse of 2014 also contains Earth, which presents the career, pressure or law. If you have strong Water in your birth chart, then both of your money and career luck will be great in 2014. If you Water is too weak in the birth chart and cannot accept the challenge from money and career pressure, then bad health might come after. If people cannot properly manage money, then there is a chance to encounter a lawsuit because of money,

Water people will face the challenge from reputation, money and career in 2014. It’s hard to win them all. But if they have good planning with confidence inside themselves, then it’s not difficult to earn money with reputation or money with career in the Wooden Horse Year.

Horse contains Fire, which is connected to girlfriend or wife to a man. Horse contains Earth, which is connected to boyfriend or husband to a woman. Therefore, Horse brings love opportunity and relationship for Water people. If you are single, you should attend more social activities. You should have chances to build good friendship. If you are in love, then you will spend more time with your love in 2014.

 When Wood is your Day Master…

Wood of 2014 represents your friends, siblings, or same generation relatives. You will spend some of your time with them in 2014. If your Wood is weak in the birth chart, then 2014 will be good year to you because your friends or relatives will be around to help you whenever you need. They will  provide good advice, which will make your job easier and bring your money investment luckier.

If your Wood is strong in the birth chart, then your relatives or friends will bring money trouble to you. It’s not a smart move to have risky investment with them or provide them a short-term loan. However, we sometimes have to spend money to help someone we love for their health, education, business, career or special events. And this might happen in 2014

Fire of 2014 Horse represents your speech, behavior, outlook, expression or talent. It’s time to make yourself becoming popular. If your performance is good, then you will hear lots of compliments from people. You will enjoy the social activities a lot with your friends. If people don’t your words and acts, then you will get bad reputation from them. The social life will make you tired.

Earth of 2014 Horse is connected to your money, finance or wealth. If you earn good reputation from people, then you will earn more income via that reputation. If your reputation is bad out there, then you will have difficulty to bring in money into your pocket.

Wood people will spend most of time to deal with friends, reputation and money in 2014. If you have good people relationship, then that friendship will help you to bring in great money and decent wealth all the way. But if you social connection is poor, then you don’t have to expect good luck in money.

Earth of 2014 is also connected to girlfriend or wife to a man. If you are male, then your love opportunity or love relationship will be better than a female. Usually, a man has a good love relationship, when he has good income during that moment.

 When Fire is your Day Master…

Wood of 2014 represents your parents, mentors, elders, protection, knowledge, education or medicine. Therefore, you will often contact your parents or persons who care you. Or you will spend more time in learning knowledge. Or you will pay attention on your health. Or you are planning to buy a valuable property. Or you feel lots of support in your career path. All these are the sign of Wood to Fire people in 2014.

Fire of 2014 Horse represents your siblings, relatives or same generation friends. Since you will spend most of your time with them, your social activities will increase. When similar age people meet together, either they spend money together, or they group as a team to earn money. If your Fire is strong in the birth chart, then you usually act as a group leader. Most of time, a team leader will do more giving than taking. From fortunetelling angle, a team leader will take less money into his pocket. If your Fire is weak in the birth chart, then you will get more support, advice, benefit from your group. Your money luck will be better than the group leader.

Earth of 2014 Horse represents your outlook, performance, expression or behavior showing to people. Fire of Horse brings many of your relatives and friends to you. Earth of Horse gives you opportunity to perform and show off. If your birth chart already contains lots of Earth, then people around you will criticize you talking too much. If your birth chart only has little Earth, people will listen when you talk and send you compliment. Either way, you will feel relaxing, freedom and joyful.

2014 brings you the love from family, elders, friends and youths. You will deal and contact with more people, since the increasing of social life. Sometimes, you need to be patience with people, strong Fire of 2014 might bring you short-tempered, which will bring you bad reputation. If you have blood or heart disease, then you need to check out your cardiovascular system before summer.

 When Earth is your Day Master…

Wood of 2014 represents your job, career, boss, police or law. Your behaviors or activities will encounter some restrictions. Or your work at company will bring you pressure. Or you might be losing courage when facing a big challenge. If you are a female, then 2014 also is a year for love relationship because Wood is connected to boyfriend or husband.

Fire in 2014 Horse represents your parents, elders, education, knowledge, or health. Therefore, you will spend some time to contact your parents, elders. You might focus on education to expand your knowledge and skills. You also might watch your health often. Fire is the mother element of Earth. 2014 will bring more support, safety, protection and stronger determination.

Earth in 2014 presents your siblings, friends or same generation relatives. Therefore, 2014 will be busy year for you to hang around your old and new friends. That’s a sign of money opportunity. Friends might advise and inform you the location of treasure. So you know where to get it. But it might be the other around, your friends want to share your treasure, then you need to donate some to them. This might happen, if you have strong Earth in your birth. In short, if Earth is your lucky element, then it brings you extra income. If Earth is an unlucky element, then money loss is possible.

2014 contains Wood, Fire and Earth, which are related to career, support and confidence. If you have trouble on the career before, then 2014 is a very good year for your career development. You have good job opportunity in 2014, people around like to support you and you have more confidence to take the challenge position. This is a sign of success in career.

2014 is Year of the Horse and it will arrive on February 4, 2014 in China Standard Time. The first day of Chinese astrology year is the first day of the Tiger month. That is the day of  Start of Spring in the Chinese Astrology Calendar. The Start of Spring is the time when the sun enters the 315th degree on the tropical zodiac. The Start of Spring in China Standard Time is at 6:04 A.M. on February 4, 2014. This day is not the Chinese New Year day. 2014 Chinese New Year Day is on January 31, 2014 in China Standard Time. Chinese New Year Day is the new moon day of the first lunar month. The new moon time is at 5:39 A.M. of January 31, 2014 in China Standard Time.

The Start of Spring in US Eastern Standard Time is at 17:04 P.M. on February 3, 2014, and in the US Pacific Standard Time is at 14:04 P.M. on February 3, 2014. Therefore, the 2014 Horse year starts on February 3, 2014 in US time zones.

Chinese Astrology uses one’s birthday and birth time to predict their fortune. The astrological birth chart is built by the Chinese Astrology Calendar, which is a combination counting system of Yin-Yang Five Elements and 12 animals. The Five Elements are Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth. The twelve animal are Rat, Cow, Tiger, Dragon, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog and Pig. Year of 2014 is Wooden Horse. Because Wood (tree) is connected to the color of Green.

Therefore, 2014 is the Year of Green Wood Horse WoodHorseMale woodHorse.

We don’t want to use Chinese animal sign from the birth year to predict people’s fortune here. We are going to use a much more accurate method by using techniques from Chinese Professional fortunetellers to do a 2014 prediction. The method is from the theory of Yin-Yang Five Elements to predict people’s fortune. The philosophy of Yin-Yang is the Balance. Traditional Chinese Astrology is a discussion about the balance of Five Elements. Each animal sign contains different Five Elements inside. So every animal sign can be converted into Five Elements. You can find your animal signs, Five Element weights and the astrological birth chart from ourChinese Astrology page.

Before predicting your fortune regarding to your money, career, marriage or health in 2014, you have to know what Type of Element you are and what your Lucky Element is from your Astrology Birth Chart. The Lucky Element is the major factor to determine people’s fortune. 2014 is the Year of the Green Wooden Horse, which contains Fire and Earth. If your Lucky Element is Wood, Fire or Earth, then 2014 will bring you some degree of fortune. The strongest element of 2014 is Fire. Therefore, People whose lucky element is Fire will get most benefits in 2014.

For details and an accurate predictions, the first step to know your fortune is to know which elements and animals are in your birth chart. You can find that information from the Chinese Astrology Lucky Element page using your birthday and birth time.

     Your Lucky Element     

The following is the example of the Chinese Astrology Birth Chart.

Chinese Horosocpe Birth Chart

The Birth Chart of June 15, 2008
Upper Row of Day Column (Day Master) represents the Person

Chinese Astrology Five Elements

Fire represents the person. This Birth Chart shows Fire-Type Person

     Fortune Basic – Lucky Element and Day Master Type     

2013 was the Year of Black Snake. Snake is the first year of the Fire cycle before Horse. The Fire of Snake is heat from the rising sun reaching to the top of sky. The Fire of Horse is the heat from ground which absorbs heat from the sun on the top of the sky. The Fire of Horse is hotter than the Fire of Snake. If you do great in 2013 because of Fire, then you will do even better in 2014.

2014 is Male Wood Snake Year. The Male Wood is connected to a tall tree. A tree needs sunshine, earth and water to grow stronger and taller. Horse contains Fire and Earth. If your birth chat contains water and Wood is your Lucky Element, then you will do well in 2014, too.

The following table shows people’s luck in 2014 based on their Luck Element.

Lucky Element How good is my luck in 2014?
  Metal It’s no good. Horse of 2014 contains mainly Fire. Metal is afraid of Fire. Metal and Wood of 2014 are opposite elements; they have fighting relationship. Luckily, Horse contains Female Earth, which has attraction relationship with Wood of 2014 into Earth. Earth is the mother element of Metal. Metal shouldn’t be hurt by Fire too bad. But the fortune of 2014 is quite little. If Water is found in the birth chart or Major Cycle, then that can cool down the Fire and help Metal to survive. If Dragon or Cow is found in the birth chart or Major Cycle, then Metal will have the protection when Fire attacks. In this case, 2014 should be fine. If Metal is weak and hurt by Fire of 2014, then you need to pay attention on your respiratory system, because Metal is connected to lungs.
  Water It is no good. Horse of 2014 contains Fire and Earth. However Water is not afraid of Fire. Fortunately, the Earth of Horse can protect Fire from attacking by Water. Also, Wood of 2014 makes Fire stronger. That means Water cannot win over the Fire of 2014. Water should be too weak to help the birth chart, therefore the fortune of 2014 is limited. If Water is extremely weak in the birth chart, then we might have to pay attention to your kidneys, the urinary system.
  Wood It is fine. 2014 is a Wooden Fire Horse year. Fire is the child element of Wood. Mother Wood always helps child Fire to burn stronger. Wood does the giving without taking. Eventually, Wood will burn into dust. That implies 2014 will bring some kind of opportunities first, then those opportunities will disappear. Therefore, when we get help or advice, we need to learn from our sources as much as possible. We need to prepare to do the job by ourselves when help is not available. If there is no Fire or little Fire in the birth chart, Fire of 2014 will become very helpful. This is because Wood (Tree) needs water, earth and sunshine to grow taller and stronger. When lucky element Wood gains support from Fire, then stronger Wood will bring you better luck in 2014.
  Fire It is excellent. Horse is the strong animal containing Fire. Wood is the mother element of Fire. Wood can help Fire to burn longer. Wood also can protect Fire from extinguishing by Water. Wood and Fire together form a perfect combination for Fire. The fortune of 2014 will come very soon and last for at least one year long. Although, Fire is the lucky element, you still need to keep your mind on your heart / cardiovascular system during strong Fire Year.
 Earth It is very good. 2014 is Male Wood Horse Year. Horse contains Female Fire and Female Earth. Fire is the mother element of Earth. Earth is afraid of Wood. But Male Wood of 2014 and the Female Earth inside Horse have attraction relationship into Earth. That implies Horse can turn Earth’s enemy into its friend. 2014 might bring a little trouble at the beginning, but it will end up with a good result. Just be patient; something will be changing and become better right after spring.

The following table informs people’s what event may occur in 2014 based on their Day Master Element Type. Day Master is the upper row symbol in the Day Column of the Birth Chart.

Day Master Type What will happen in 2014?
  Metal Wood of 2014 represents money or wealth to Metal. Therefore a money event will appear in 2014. If you have strong Metal in your birth chart, then you will have better money luck. This is because you knew how to mange the money in the past. You should have a chance to increase your income, investments or wealth. But if you have a weak Metal in the birth chart, then you will feel short of money soon or later.Snake of 2013 contains Fire. Horse of 2014 also contains Fire. Metal is afraid of Fire, which represents pressure, job, boss, teacher, career, trouble or law to Metal. Basically, your career luck will be same to 2013. If you were doing well in your career in 2013, then your career luck will continue and you might have a better career promotion opportunity to expand your power and working responsibilities during 2014. If you have trouble in your career in 2013, then the job pressure will be still there in 2014. You may even have more workload and a tighter schedule for your tasks.2014 Wooden Horse contains Wood and Fire. Wood is money and Fire is career. If you own your business and have strong Metal in the birth chart, then your business will grow more than expected and the company’s profit will increase much more than the previous year. If you work for someone with strong Metal, then you should have a job promotion or a potential raise or bonus. Money and career will arrive in the same pace.But what if you have weak Metal? Metal cannot fight against Wood and Fire. Money and job will bring you big trouble. If you are a business person, then you might have money loss in your business or you may pay a penalty for a mistake in business. If you are an employee in an organization, you cannot be greedy with money. You better not receive illegal money. Otherwise, money will bring you bad reputation, maybe even a lawsuit.If you are a man, then Wood of 2014 is connected to women, girlfriend or wife. If you are single, then you should have some chances to meet some women through social networks. If you are married, then you will spend more time with your spouse. If you are a woman, then Fire of 2014 connects to your boyfriend, husband or love opportunity. Therefore, a single woman should increase their social activities to meet more of the opposite sex. A married woman will spend time with her husband or her own career.
  Water Wood of 2014 represents your outlook, performance, speech, behavior, freedom or expression. That means 2014 is the time to show your talents to others. Your social life will make you a little bit busier. If you become popular, people will know you better. Therefore, Wood relates to your fame or reputation. If people like your mannerisms, then you should earn a good reputation. If people don’t like your ways, then people will give you a negative reputation.Fire of 2014 Horse represents your money, wealth, luxury life and financial status. The Fire Horse of 2014 is the continuation from Fire Snake of 2013. If you have good money luck in 2013, then the money luck will keep coming toward you. If you suffer the pain of money in 2013, then the money pressure will be there waiting for you to resolve.Horse of 2014 also contains Earth, which presents the career, pressure or law. If you have strong Water in your birth chart, then both of your money and career luck will be great in 2014. If Water is too weak in your birth chart and cannot accept the challenge from pressure in money and career, then bad health might come after. If people cannot properly manage money, then there is a chance to encounter a lawsuit because of money.Water people will face challenges from reputation, money and career in 2014. It’s hard to win them all. But if they have good planning with confidence inside themselves, then it’s not difficult to earn money with reputation or money with career in the Wooden Horse Year.Horse contains Fire, which is connected to a girlfriend or wife for a man. Horse contains Earth, which is connected to boyfriend or husband for a woman. Therefore, Horse brings love opportunities and relationships for Water people. If you are single, you should attend more social activities. You should have chances to build a good friendship. If you are in love, then you will spend more time with your love in 2014.
  Wood Wood of 2014 represents your friends, siblings, or same generation relatives. You will spend some of your time with them in 2014. If your Wood is weak in the birth chart, then 2014 will be good year to you because your friends or relatives will be around to help you whenever you need. They will provide good advice, which will make your job easier and bring your money investment luckier.If your Wood is strong in the birth chart, then your relatives or friends will bring money trouble to you. It’s not a smart move to any have risky investments with them or provide them with a short-term loan. However, we sometimes have to spend money to help someone we love for their health, education, business, career or special events. And this might happen in 2014.Fire of 2014 Horse represents your speech, behavior, outlook, expression or talent. It’s time to make yourself become popular. If your performance is good, then you will hear lots of compliments from people. You will enjoy social activities with your friends. If people don’t your words and acts, then you will get bad reputation from them. Such a social life will make you tired.Earth of 2014 Horse is connected to your money, finance or wealth. If you earn good reputation from people, then you will earn more income via that reputation. If your reputation is bad out there, then you will have difficulty to bring in money into your pocket.Wood people will spend most of time to deal with friends, reputation and money in 2014. If you have good people relationship, then that friendship will help you to bring in great money and decent wealth all the way. But if your social connection is poor, then you don’t have to expect good luck in money.

Earth of 2014 is also connected to girlfriend or wife for a man. If you are male, then your love opportunity or love relationship will be better than a female. Usually, a man has a good love relationship when he has good income.

  Fire Wood of 2014 represents your parents, mentors, elders, protection, knowledge, education or medicine. Therefore, you will often contact your parents or persons who care you. Or you will spend more time learning. Or you will pay attention to your health. Or you are planning to buy a valuable property. Or you feel lots of support in your career path. All these are signs of Wood to Fire people in 2014.Fire of 2014 Horse represents your siblings, relatives or same generation friends. Since you will spend most of your time with them, your social activities will increase. When similar age people meet together, either they spend money together, or they group as a team to earn money. If Fire is strong in your birth chart, then you usually act as the group leader. Most of the time, a team leader will do more giving than taking. From the fortunetelling angle, a team leader will take less money into his pocket. If Fire is weak in your birth chart, then you will get more support, advice, and benefits from your group. Your money luck will be better than the group leader.Earth of 2014 Horse represents your outlook, performance, expression or behavior to people. The Fire of Horse brings many of your relatives and friends to you. Earth of Horse gives you an opportunity to perform and show off. If your birth chart already contains lots of Earth, then people around you will criticize you talking too much. If your birth chart only has little Earth, people will listen when you talk and send you compliments. Either way, you will feel relaxed, free, and joyful.2014 brings you love from family, elders, friends and youths. You will deal and connect with more people from the increase of social activities. Sometimes, you need to be patience with people. Strong Fire of 2014 might make you short-tempered, which will bring you bad reputation. If you have blood or heart disease, then you need to check out your cardiovascular system before summer.
 Earth Wood of 2014 represents your job, career, boss, police or law. Your behaviors or activities will encounter some restrictions. Or your work at company will bring you pressure. Or you might be losing courage when facing a big challenge. If you are a female, then 2014 is also a year for a possible love relationship because Wood is connected to a boyfriend or husband.Fire in 2014 Horse represents your parents, elders, education, knowledge, or health. Therefore, you will spend some time to connect with your parents and elders. You might focus on education to expand your knowledge and skills. You also might watch your health more often. Fire is the mother element of Earth. 2014 will bring more support, safety, protection and stronger determination.Earth in 2014 presents your siblings, friends or same generation relatives. Therefore, 2014 will be busy year for you to hang around your old and new friends. That’s a sign of money opportunity. Friends might advise and inform you the location of treasure or possible money luck so you know where to get it. But be careful, it might be the other around. Your friends may want you to share your treasure, then you will need to donate some to them. This might happen, if you have strong Earth in your birth chart. In short, if Earth is your lucky element, then it will bring you extra income. If Earth is an unlucky element, then money loss is possible.2014 contains Wood, Fire and Earth, which are related to career, support and confidence. If you had trouble in your career before, then 2014 is a very good year for your career development. You have good job opportunity in 2014. People around you want to support you, and you will have more confidence to on more challenges. This is a sign of career success.

Female Earth  and Male Wood Wood have a Stem Attraction Relationship into Earth. Horse also contains Earth. Therefore, if Earth is your lucky element and you have Female Earth  in your birth chart, then 2014 will be your lucky and joyful year. If Female Earth  is your Day Master (upper low of the Day Column in the birth chart) and you are a female, then it’s possible that a love relationship, engagement or marriage is coming toward you.

Pig  contains Male Water and Male Wood. Horse Horse contains Female Fire and Female Earth. Male Water Water and Female Fire Fire have attraction relationship into Wood. Male Wood Wood and Female Earth  have attraction relationship into Earth. Therefore Pig   and Horse Horse have hidden double attraction relationships, which is good for people, in both social and love relationships. If a person was born on Earth Pig Day, then 2014 will be a marriage or romantic year.

In Chinese astrology, Horse is a Romantic Star to the people born in year of Cow , Snake  or Chicken . If you were born on Cow, Snake or Chicken day, Horse is your Romantic Star, too. When the Romantic Star comes to your birth chart, you will have more opportunities to meet opposite sex and your love relationship will develop faster and deeper.

Male Metal  and Male Wood Woodhave a Fighting Relationship. Rat  and Horse Horse have a Fighting Relationship. Both of fighting relationships imply poor social relationships, which makes it hard for these people to find a close friend or love relationship. If you are in love now. then your love relationship could slow down.

Horse is the hottest animal in the Fire group. If both Snake  and and Sheep  are found in your birth chart or current 10-Year Major Cycle, then three of them form the strongest Fire combination. If your lucky element is Fire, then 2014 will be one of the wonderful years in your life.

If both Tiger , and Dog  are found in your birth chart or current 10-Year Major Cycle, then three of them form another powerful Fire combination. If your lucky element is Fire, then 2014 will bring you a big surprise and you will remember it for life. If Male Fire Fire or Female Fire Fire are also found in birth chart or 10-Year Major Cycle, then people will admire your luck in 2014.

If Horse  is already found in the birth chart, then 2014 brings in another Horse into the birth chart. When two Horses together, the temperature will be even hotter. That implies people become impatient and easily become irritated. If the person makes a mistake because of their short temper, then the person will blame himself. Because of this, he might then make another mistake or accident afterwards.

2014 is a strong Fire year. When Fire is ignited, the flames of Fire will go high very quickly. Therefore, when something related to Fire is going to happen, it will arrive before you know it. Usually, the flame of Fire cannot last too long. That means you need to prepare to receive the fortune when the opportunity appears. Otherwise, the opportunity will come and disappear too soon.

 Chinese Pictographic Character – Horse

Chinese character Wu  using in the astrology calendar means noon, not horse. The traditional Chinese character of the horse is Ma . There is no good explanation for why ancient Chinese selected Horse as the nickname of Wu. The invention of Chinese Horse character is quite interesting. 

Ching Dynasty General on the Horseback

The “100 Horses” or “100 Steeds” was painted by Giuseppe Castiglione, who was a Italian Jesuit brother, missionary and painter at the court of the emperor in China. Giuseppe Castiglione had a Chinese name Lang Shi-Ning. He was born in Milan, Italy in 1688. He arrived China in 1715 and severed the first three emperors of Ching Dynasty. He died and was buried at Forbidden City, Beijing, in 1766.

 The “100 Horses” hand scroll has more than seven meters long depicts a scene of taking a herd of horses out to pasture in autumn. The hundred steeds are shown in a variety of poses and activities as they leisurely make their way around the pastures and trees. This Chinese art is mixing traditional Chinese brushwork and Western painting skills.

About Chinese New Year 華人農曆新年 (updated for 2014 Year of the Horse)

Filed under: China,Chinese — Mr. Craig @ 9:53 pm
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About Chinese New Year 華人農曆新年.

New Year’s Day, the first day of the Lunar New Year. Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) Chinese folk most distinctive of the most solemn traditional festival, which marked the end of the old year and the lunar new year start. New Year’s Eve, and generally refers to the first day. But in private, traditional Spring Festival is the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month of December from the festival or the twelfth lunar month 23 or 24 of Jizao, until the fifteenth day, of which New Year’s Eve and the first day for the climax. During the Spring Festival, China’s many ethnic Han Chinese and have held various activities to celebrate. These activities are worship deities, and pay homage to ancestors, blow away the cobwebs, Ying Hei Blessings, pray for good harvest as the main content. Rich variety of activities, with a strong ethnic characteristics.

January 31st  is the start of Chinese New Year in 2014… it is the Year of the Green Horse.

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horse chinese new year 2014

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Origin of Chinese New Year

Spring Festival is also called lunar year, commonly known as “New Year”, “New Year.” Chinese New Year symbol of unity, prosperity, a new hope for the future sustenance of the festival.

According to records, the Chinese people for the New Year has 4,000 years of history, it is starting from the Yu Shunxing. One day two thousand years BC, that the emperor Shun-bit, who led his men, to worship heaven and earth. Since then, people took this day as the beginning of the year, be regarded as first day. This is said the origin of the Lunar New Year, later called the Spring Festival.Over the past Spring Festival, also known as New Year’s Day. This month is called the Spring Festival in January where.

First day ancient Mongol, Yuan Chen, Yuan-cheng, Yuan Shuo, New Year, the Year once, beginning of the year, towards the old and new is, first Zuo, ternary or year, Chinese New Year, the first year since the beginning of the Han Dynasty was in the beginning to the summer in (Lunar) first day as a “beginning of the year” (ie “year”), which fixed the date of New Year, continues to this day. New Year is called as “New Year’s Day.” Revolution of 1911, they began using the Gregorian calendar (Gregorian calendar) per year, gradually became known as the Gregorian calendar on January 1 as the “New Year’s Day,” said the first day of Lunar New Year “New Year.” Country attaches great importance to the protection of intangible cultural heritage, May 20, 2006, “Spring Festival” Folk by the State Council approved the inclusion of the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage.

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Chinese New Year customs

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The twelfth lunar month in the customs

Xxiii, Tanggua sticky;

XXIV sweep the house;

XXV, grinding tofu;

XXVI, to the flesh (stew stew);

Xxvii, slaughter a rooster (chicken kill tumor);

Xxviii, the surface of hair;

29, steamed buns;

Thirty at night boil,

New Year’s Twist.

Twelfth lunar month 23, the twelfth lunar month twenty-four

Twelfth lunar month 23, also known as “small year”, is a private Jizao day. Folk in the “Twenty-three Tanggua sticky” refers to the twelfth lunar month 23 per year or 24 Jizao, the so-called “official boatman Sanmin four five” argument, which is official in the twelfth lunar month 23, generally in homes in the 24 boat dwellers was held on 25 Jizao.

 Jizao is a great influence in our country folk, a popular custom. Old, almost every family Zaojian are equipped with “Kitchen God” tablets. People call this deity as the “Siming Buddha” or “Kitchen God Siming”, he is legend Jade seal of the “nine days Siming kitchen stove East Palace Monarch”, responsible for managing each of the stove, as the protection of God and be a worship. Most stoves in kitchens Wang shrine north or east, in the middle for the kitchen god’s statue. Wang niches of people without lesions, but also to the statue on the wall directly. Some statues painted Kitchen God only one person, while others have both male and female, the goddess known as the “stove Grandma Wang.” This is probably imitated human couple’s image. Like most of the Kitchen God is also printed on the calendar this year, a letter to the “East Siming main kitchen,” “human monitoring of God”, “head of household” and other words to indicate the position of Vesta. Affixed on both sides, “God made good, the lower bound for security and peace,” the couplet, to bless the whole family peace.
Kitchen God from the previous year’s New Year’s Eve has been to stay at home to protect and monitor a; to the twelfth lunar month 23 Kitchen God will have to go to heaven, the Jade Emperor in heaven to report the whereabouts of the family of good or evil, Song Zaoshen of ceremony known as “free kitchen” or “speech stove.” According to the Kitchen God reports the Jade Emperor, and then this one in the new year should be the fate of good and bad fortune to pay for the Kitchen God’s hands.Therefore, the family, the kitchen god’s report is of great interest.
Send kitchen, more time in the evening at night. Family first kitchens, put on the table, the kitchen wall in the kitchen god Buddha in the shrine, and for the surface with caramel and made ​​Tanggua and so on. Bamboo paper and then tied the horses and cattle fed grass material. Chinese New Year festive New Year with caramel for Feng Kitchen God, is to let his old sweet mouth. In some places, the kitchen god will be sugar coated around the mouth, coated side of his mouth: “good words to say, well if let alone.” This is a sugar plug Kitchen God’s mouth, let him not say bad things. In the Tang Dynasty book “Revealed under the age of mind” in between “applied to lesions on the lees Siming (Kitchen God) drunk,” the record. People use sugar coated finish Kitchen God’s mouth, they put statues peeled off, and paper along with the smoke had ascended to heaven. Some places are in the yard at night sesame stalks and pine branches heap, and then for a year as the Kitchen God please the shrine, along with paper horses and forage, set fire to. Yard by the fire will shine brightly, when the family around the fire, kowtow, pray while burning side: this year to 23, Zao Jun on the King to send away to the west. A strong horse, forage, bon voyage to the peace. The Tanggua for sweet and sweet, please forward a good word for Jade.

Send Zao Jun, the number of beggars in some places there were, disguised, went house to house singing songs to send Zao Jun, jump to send Zao Jun dance, called “Song Zaoshen” in exchange for food.

Send custom kitchen is very common throughout North and South in China, Mr. Lu has written, “Boxer send kitchen that is something” Poetry: chicken sugar gum teeth, typical clothing for valve incense. Home and belongings, Qi Huangyangchuan less alone.
In his “Essay on send kitchen,” the article said: “The Kitchen God’s heaven that day, the street also sell a kind of sugar, so there ganzi size, where we also have this thing, but flat, like a thick small pancakes. That is the so-called ‘plastic teeth Xing’ the. intended to eat in your Kitchen God, stick to his teeth, so that he can not tune mouth parrot, the Jade Emperor to say bad things. “Lu Xun poem that ‘Gazelle ‘the story, for “knowledge of the Later Han Yin Chuan”: “Xuan, the negative side by Shiko a sub-Ren Yan. wax on the morning of cooking, and see the Kitchen God-shaped, sub-side Zaibai by the Qing; home with Gazelle, The result of Yi Si. naturally had, the storm to the wealthy. to know III, and then Fanchang, it is often after the lesion and recommended La Gazelle on Si Yan. “Yin sub-side to see the Kitchen God, kill Gazelle worship, and later paid good luck, since then, the custom of killing Gazelle Jizao handed down a.
Tang and Song Dynasties Jizao offerings are quite extensive. Song poet Fan Chengda the “Jizao words” at that time were extremely civil Jizao vivid description: Ancient pass the twelfth lunar month XXIV Zao Jun overturned freely their opinion matters. Ma Yun car wind linger, families with cup abundance Code worship. Pisces pig overripe fresh, red bean Gan Song Mi bait round. Discretion to avoid the man offered his daughter, sprinkle the wine burn Zao Jun hi. Bizi struggle Mo Wen Jun, Jun Mo cat and dog foul touch angry. Song Jun drunk beyond the bounds of the door, a long spoon spoon short Wu Fu Yun, begging their fortunes back points.

The twelfth lunar month 23 Jizao have a close relationship with the New Year. Because, in the week after the New Year’s Eve night, so she took a kitchen god who should get the good and bad fortune, together with the other gods came to earth. Kitchen God is considered to lead the way for the sky gods. Other gods in heaven again after New Year, only the Kitchen God, will long remain in people’s kitchens. To meet the gods of the ceremony known as the “Theosophical” on the kitchen god is called “access kitchen.” Usually in the kitchen then New Year’s Eve, the ceremony is much simpler to just put a new kitchen when the lights, burn incense before the shrine in the kitchen even if the bin.

 There is a saying that “men do not worship, women do not Jizao” argument. In some places, women are not Jizao, it was said, kitchen god looks like a small white face, afraid of woman Jizao, the “men and women too.” For the origins of the Kitchen God, that it has a long history. In Chinese folk gods, the Kitchen God’s eligibility be very old. Back in the summer generation, he is already enshrined in a great civil god. According to the ancient “Book of Rites ritual” Kongying Da Shu: “Master Li Zhuan Xu’s there for the Vulcan, worship the Kitchen God.” “Zhuangzi. Dasheng” reads: “stove with bun.” Sima Biao note said: “The bun, Vesta, the Chi Yi, shaped like a beauty. “” Bao Pu Micro-purpose ‘, he also reads: “On dark nights, the Kitchen God is also God white guilt.” The record is probably the source of God Jizao it. There, or that the Kitchen God is fire by rubbing sticks “Suiren”; or Shennong is the “fire officer”; or should we say, “Yellow Emperor for the kitchen” and “Suji Li”; or Vesta said Zhang, a list of words sub-Guo; everyone different.
Because different parts of customs, civil as well as “jump kitchen King” and “play kitchen king” activities. Jizao section, pay attention to people eating dumplings, from Italy, “dumplings off the windward side.” Eat cake and buckwheat mountain. Southeastern region, the popular custom of eating fried corn, Minyan with “Twenty-three, do not eat fried, Early – pot down” argument. People like to be bonded together with maltose corn, fried, frozen into a large, crisp and sweet taste.
Southeastern region popular among the two songs, one is “Twenty-three, pass the master on the day; XXIV sweep the house; XXV, steamed dumplings; XXVI, cut the meat; XXVII rub tin; xxviii, steep dirty; 29, feet, hands; 30, keeper, paste couplets together. “ Reflects the time constraints and intense preparation. The second is a nursery rhyme: “Twenty-three offerings strike kitchen, children clapped laugh. Another five or six days, bumper came. Evil spirits boxes, playing walnuts, little bit gun twice. Later in life ping-pong ring, than the days of high-rise fire. “reflecting the children look forward to New Year’s Viiv psychology. In all preparations, the clip is the most popular folk grilles activities.Content of a variety of animals and plants and other stories, such as the magpie Mui, wearing Tao Liu Yan, peacocks peony show, lion Gun Xiuqiu, three sheep (yang) Kaitai, Erlongxizhu, deer, crane Tong Chun (six contracts Spring) five bat (fu) holding life, rhino Mochizuki, lotus (even) in fish (other), mandarin ducks playing in the water, fringe theater cicada, Hop Immortals and so on. There are a variety of dramatic stories, folk with the “big Teng Temple, second plum, San Niang taught into the soil at four, five women birthday celebration Snow in June, July 7 with the Milky Way, the Eight Immortals Keiju nine clothing,” the statement reflects the the folk drama of the story of preference.The people have a new wife, new wife to bring their own system of grilles cut, paste husband back window, the neighbors also came to watch. After the twelfth lunar month 23, every household should spend steamed bun. Roughly divided into worship and visiting relatives with the two types.The former solemn, the latter fancy. In particular, making a jujube hill to prepare for worship Kitchen God. ”A steamed bun flowers, neighbors to help.” This is often the smart folk craft to show women a great opportunity, a flower bun, is an arts and crafts.
Twelfth lunar month 23 after the household must write couplets. People pay attention to God must paste, every door will be posted, every thing will be posted, so the largest number of the Spring Festival couplets, the most comprehensive. Special attention to the gods before the couplet, mostly words of admiration and blessing. Common are the world God together: “Grace like the deep sea, to Germany, heavy as a mountain”; land God together: “soil health white, ground in a gold”; Wealth Alliance: “The sky financial resources the main, human Fluke God”; well God Union: “Well can pass the whole world, home of up to three rivers.” Side barn, livestock pens, etc. couplets, it is a warm celebration and hope. Such as “bumper harvest, domestic animals thrive”; “rice as a mountain thick, oil, salt and deep as the sea”; “Nanshan Tiger like cattle, horses, such as the North Sea Dragon”; “Big Sheep in Sheng, a small lamb by month” and so on. There are also some single joint, such as each room are posted “see the rise of hi”, Siemens posted across the “go see hi ‘, stir posted” Wang Qi sky “, the hospital posted” full House of golden “tree stickers” deeply rooted in the “stone posted” White Tiger down “and so on. Couplets on the door, is a facade, with special emphasis, or emotion, or scenery, rich, witty United beads.
Festival held stoves, they officially started preparations to meet the New Year. From the twelfth lunar month every year 23 to the Lunar New Year’s Eve only, this time our country folk called the “Spring Day”, also known as “sweeping dust day.” Year-end clean-up dust is swept, the North called “sweep room”, the South called “dusting.” Sweep the dust before the Spring Festival, is known as the traditions and customs of our people. Every Spring Festival, every household should clean up the environment, cleaning of utensils, washable bedding, curtains, sweep the six yard Lu Shan whisk dirt spider web, open channel dredging underground drain. North and south, the atmosphere of joy out of health, clean atmosphere of Spring.

“The twelfth lunar month XXIV dusting sweep the house,” the customs, long time. According to the “Spring and Autumn Annals” records, there is the Spring Festival in China in the era of Yao and Shun sweep dust customs. By the private sector saying: because of “dust” and “Chen” homophonic, spring sweep dust have “addition to the new cloth Chen,” meaning, the intention is to make all the “poor transport”, “bad luck” were all swept out. New channels of this practice sustenance of people’s wish and pray for New Year’s.

 “Three dead God” in the body cause trouble Taoism said “God.” According to the “too much on the three dead in the Classic”, said: “Peng arrogant name on the corpse in the head; the dead were Peng quality, in the human belly; under the name of Peng Jiao dead, in the human foot.” Said every Gengshen day, the whereabouts of God they were evil Emperor Chan; but as long as people do not sleep all night that night, could have been avoided, called “defensive Gengshen.”
Kitchen to eat sugar, sugar is maltose kitchen, very viscous, it pumping for the long stick of sugar-type called “Kanto sugar”, drawn into oblate type is called “Tanggua.” Put it outside in winter, because cold weather, Tanggua solidification was solid and has some tiny air bubbles inside, crispy taste crisp, distinctive flavor. Kanto sugar really very hard, can not throw broken, to eat must be split with a kitchen knife, heavy material is very thin. Slightly acidic taste, in the middle is absolutely no cell, each weighing one or two, twenty-two, 42, a number of more expensive price. Sesame seeds and sugar have not divided the two sesame, melon-shaped made with sugar or Kitauri shape, the center is empty, thick skin is less than five, though of different sizes, but the deal still weight basis, there is a large Tanggua pounds of weight one, but as a pretext, very few people buy.
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The twelfth lunar month twenty-five

Days on the old customs that the Kitchen God, Emperor of the Jade Emperor in person at the lower bound of lunar December 25 and investigate human good and evil, fortune and is scheduled for the coming year, so every family festival of the blessing, known as the “take Jade.”On this day living, speech should be cautious, for good performance to win the hearts and minds of the Jade Emperor, bless the coming year.

Song Zaoshen only on days to bring back New Year’s Eve, during which human atheism jurisdiction holds-barred, folk and more funerals, known as the “age of chaos in time.” Chaotic years of age is designed to regulate the people for their own specific time of social life. End of the year-end, people with leisure and savings, usually rare for people who have the energy to make arrangements for the event, this is a good time. Therefore, real-life needs of people according to the invention of this special time folk. Can be seen, in the traditional society, people rely on folk life of the order is to adjust the.

According to Tian silkworm also called “burning fields silkworm”, “Field burning money”, is popular in the southern area of ​​civil pray customs. This day will be the twelfth lunar month twenty-five torch strapped up in the fields of Chang Gan, divining the New Year with a flame, the flame is harbinger of the coming year prosperous harvest. Some places in the New Year’s Eve at the event.

Festival of Lights is one thousand Mongolian, Daur religious festivals. Mongolian “the next dry Zhuola”, which means one thousand Lantern Festival. The twelfth lunar month twenty-five this day, to do “that dry Zhuola” to the temple to light that points the more the more auspicious. This holiday customs, most Mongolians in Xinjiang virrat popular. Local people on this day to eat roast beef and mutton, a traditional sports recreation activities.

The twelfth lunar month twenty-seven

Traditional folk to focus on these two days to take a bath, laundry, remove the bad luck year in preparation for next year’s Chinese New Year, the capital of “twenty-seven wash remorse disease, xxviii wash dirty” adage. The twelfth lunar month twenty-six bath to “wash Fluke.”

Twelfth lunar month 28

In rumor goes: “twelfth lunar month 28, rice cake steamed bun paste flower.”

 The so-called flower paste is posted paintings, scrolls, grilles, and various god code. Which couplets from the ancient custom of the “Spring Festival.” To ward off evil in ancient mahogany trees, “Code surgery,” said: “Peach who, five fine wood also, so those who are evil-volt pressure.”
The Five Dynasties period, the Shu monarch Meng Chang Ya good literature, he every year ordered wrote the Spring Festival, a later couplets marked the beginning, and wrote in the Spring Festival “on New Year’s satisfied Yuqing, Ka section number Changchun”, has become a documented history of China first deputy on the “couplets.”
Later, with the advent of paper-making, there came to the post scrolls of red paper instead of the custom cherry wood.
 Old Beijing customs -

Surface of the twelfth lunar month twenty-eight steamed buns made twelfth lunar month 29

 The twelfth lunar month twenty-eight face hair, ready to staple food, baking, teaching in the past is no quick hair powder, it is not easy to put an ordinary face, baking does not love the bad, so twenty-eight this day baking, prepare the first day -five staple food, there twenty-seven sent to the surface, xxviii this day is steaming with steam Zaohua date, these stuffed.

Children according to old arguments that start from the first to fifth day of the bread and stir-fry over high heat can not move, so the old habits in the Danian twenty-eight Beijing, twenty-ninth two days to do the staple food. As the Spring Festival avoid doing steamed, fried, fried, baked and other cooking, and steam and fight homophonic, homophonic fried and noisy, fried and fried (four tones) euphony, branded and off the euphony, are unlucky, so the old Beijingers in years ago, the family have enough to eat steamed bread a week or so, called the following year to eat.

New Year’s feast of steamed food in addition to bread, there are some other pasta. Shizong descendants Wanyan Zuo Yin in the “test Kangxi relic anecdotes accessories listed in” New Year’s feast of steamed Manchu had: steamed buns, steamed hi, steamed rolls, steamed Zaoni side garden, steamed red bean bag round, steamed bread descendants, steam wishful wraps. Chinese New Year when the bread, the above points to be used for rouge red dot to show auspicious. Now the absence of so many taboos, want to eat bread during the Spring Festival, you can buy at any time.

People praying in the new year family and the U.S. United States, proceeds smoothly, so he deliberately discordant harmonic things that sound to eleven away. Although this steamed bread baking something a little trouble, but there are a lot of people are still willing to stick to this elders passed down in culture.

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Twelfth lunar month 29

The day before New Year’s Eve, called “Little New Year’s Eve,” family home banquet, people between the visit is “not old.” Incense in the outdoors, called “Fantasy”, usually three days.

 Over time for years, the traditional festival of Tujia, also called the “annual adjustment.” Tujia one or more days earlier than the Han Chinese Spring Festival.

The twelfth lunar month 30 – New Year’s Eve

Annual Lunar New Year’s Eve is the evening of the last day of the twelfth lunar month, with Chinese New Year (first day) end to end, also known as “New Year’s Eve.” ”New Year’s Eve” in the “addition” is the word ‘go; easy; alternate “means New Year’s Eve means” to do on the poor old “people have a new addition to the old unit, there is the old year and in addition to this, other new ones coming year old means is a lunar year last night. Therefore, during the activities are centered around the new addition to the old unit, Prayer for the center.

Zhou, Qin period of a year will do when the palace to hold a “big Nuo” the ceremony, drumming expel pestilence ghost, known as “by addition”, after the day before New Year’s Eve, also known as a small addition, that Xiaonian Ye; except for the big New Year’s Eve, the Danian Ye.

Goalkeeper has posted all over the country the custom of New Year. The original carved mahogany door god is for the human form, hanging next to the man, later painted door god portraits posted on the door. Legendary god Tu, Yu Lei brothers special tube ghost, they hold a door, the size of evil can not start damage. After the Tang Dynasty, there are paintings Reggie Qin Qiong, Yuchi King Tak as the keeper of the two, as well as draw Guan Yu, Zhang Fei as the keeper of. Households around the statue of a door, and their offspring often put one pair of door gods painted a text of a force. Keeper of three types: first is the “door keeper” and more attached to the door or the door on the whole, about four five feet high, two feet wide. The second category is “Street gate keeper” and more posted on the street door, about two feet high, one foot wide. Both goalkeeper is a bad cop bad cop a two deity.Black and white left-right, white good and easy, black and odious, each armed with lance ax. The third category is the “door keeper”, smaller than the Street gate keeper is limited, but also black and white two gods, but there is a black and white statue of the gods. Door up to the posted “unicorn ever been,” like, two powder coated grease comb Fu crown prince doll, all by Kirin. The goalkeeper, shall be affixed to the door on a new marriage, in order to get lucky, and later also for ordinary street door of the New Year dressing up.

Couplets Yiming, “the door of the”, “Spring quote,” is a couplet, as posted in the Spring Festival, hence the name. One source is the Spring Festival couplets. Initially it was the peach wood hanging on the door to ward off evil human form, the door was painted on the statue in mahogany, cherry wood board and then reduced to the keeper’s name inscribed. Another source of spring couplets posted. Beginning Day posted in more than the ancients, “Yichun” word, the latter gradually developed into couplets. Real popularity began in the Ming Dynasty scrolls, and advocate of the emperor. According to the ancient Shang Qing Chen, “hairpin Guoyunlou miscellaneous said,” recorded a year to prepare the New Year when the emperor ordered to be posted one on each door couplets, to show to celebrate. The original scrolls inscribed in mahogany board, and later rewritten in the paper. Mahogany color is red, red with good fortune, the meaning of evil, so most red paper couplets written. But the temple with yellow paper, mourning (mourning under) white, green and yellow, with white the first year, second year green paper, yellow paper the third year, fourth year of mourning before resuming full red the paper. Because of the Manchu still white, clear court couplets with white, blue bag on the outside edge, red stripe inlay on the inside.

When the midnight delivery is midnight, New Year’s bell sounded, over the entire land of China, firecrackers rang Sky. In this “Year of the yuan per month, when the yuan” and “triple” time, some places still in the yard barrier “stir,” to show the busy air sky, booming prosperous. Stir around in burning, the children set off firecrackers, happy to jump, then, the lights inside the house is brightly lit, pre-trial is a bright spark, and outside is the sound of thunder, the excitement of New Year’s Eve into a climax . Ancient poet of letters is always the best poem in praise of the coming New Year.Wang’s “Mongol” poem:

Chinese New Year Psalm

Mongol (Song Wang)

 Firecrackers of the year, vase into the Su Tu;
1000 10000 Hitomi Hitomi day, the total of the new replace the old character.
 Su Tu wine (Ming Qu)
 Purple fairy granted treasure overlooking the square, the new promise is the first taste of youth.

King’s harvest was ordered to tone, stretch down bag full rejuvenation.

Well the night six thousand feet, gold liquid, into the nine-Xia Xiao spring feast.

Feng Li from the beginning put the number of daily visits Zuixiang cup holders.

New Year (Ming Wen Zhengming)

Ye seek to meet but do not pass, to the full name of the paper toward the spacious Cottage.

I voted in tandem with the number of paper, never too virtual world situation too simple.

Fengcheng New Year speech (clear check Cautious)

Qiao Sheng test Silla cut streamers, color painting for trouble gilt moth;

From scissors busy in January, before the age of multi-apartment in needlework.

Spring Song (Ming Yuan Hung-tao)

The east wind warm Loujiang tree, Sanqu nine street smoke condensate. White broken Xuefei Ma Ju-lung, calf cars rolling through Hong degree water.

Pat to go around blowing smoke, Hyun service Liangzhuang 100,000. Luo distinctive color wins the amount of play, community song-filled cluster Mountain God.

Fei Yi Jin with clothing such as fighting, the forefront after a long house prefect. New tales of black yarn Palace flower, blue slave kneeling into the Su Tu wine.

Picking on a jade plate for buildings, both songs boy hair white female. Legendary old music three thousand, Suzhou new spectrum thirteen cavity.

Hu first jump like a tiger mask, narrow shirt embroidered pants hammer drum. Ghost gold python fine cotton body makeup, white Goddess of Mercy dance together in prayer.

Jin is a mountain with the viewer, who points to stagger wire and meat. Wind all the way to Hong laughter, drunk cover thousands of miles Hong Sha Yu.

Ching Lin pale pinkish purple tunic skirts, skirts bun through the amount of light makeup. Lost Youth of praise and sisters, Kenjiro sleeve to throw seeds.

Emergency pipe fan string and time, one thousand young willow branches broken.

Tian Mongol (Meng Tang)

Fight back to the North last night, at the present age of the East;

I was already strong, non-agricultural Lu still worry.

Father on the farming Kuwano, hoe with the boy;

Tian accounted for climate, said this was a total abundance.

Mongol Yuk  Chun (Song Mao Pang)

Lotus drops every year, leakage, Shen Su Tu Bi well frozen wine. Cold and chilly dawn is still deceptive, Liu Chun-state first slim.Weight to persuade one thousand beauty and longevity, Boye pepper flower fun Cuixiu.

Zuixiang depths less know each other, with only partial Dongjun old friends.

In addition to the night (Song Tianxiang)

Empty, heaven and earth, time to dignified;

End for surprise rain, the poor side of full Xueshuang.

In Yujin with life, body and forget all the world;

No-Su Tu dream, stay up the night is young. 

Firecrackers of the year, vase into the Su Tu.

Paste the word blessing, stickers grilles, paste pictures, put up thousands, which have a prayer, folk decorated home features. New Year is one of China’s ancient folk arts, he reflects the customs and beliefs of the masses, is entrusted with the people hope for the future. Paintings, scrolls, and also as the origin of the “keeper.” Couplets by the god Tu, Yu Lei’s name and the development of the text, and painting along the direction of still pictures. With the rise of printing, wood, paintings of the content is not limited to keeper and the like, and eventually go home to the God of Wealth, and then in a number of paintings produced in the workshop “Gods Samsung map”, “day official blessing.” “bumper harvest”, “domestic animals thrive”, “Spring Blessings” and color pictures, happy people pray to meet the good wishes. Advocate for the Spring Festival couplets the first Ming emperor, along with the paintings also affected by the prevalence of open, there have been three important paintings Origin: Taohuawu Suzhou, Tianjin and Shandong Weifang Yangliuqing; the formation of the three major schools of our pictures. Early Republic of China, Shanghai Zheng Mandolin calendar and New Year will combine the two. This is a new form of pictures. This combined two into one of the paintings, later developed into a calendar. Linked to thousands, is to use auspicious words engraved on red paper on top, one foot in length with Zhi, stick the front, and Spring Festival with shine. The figures on the Eight Immortals, the Buddha before the hanging. More than one thousand people linked to household use it, it’s less aristocratic families. The three-inch long yellow paper, red paper over inch long, is “small hanging 1000″, as used by City restaurants. When is the earliest system of money linked to one thousand (coins) hanging string, and the lucky money, have won the role of pressure.

Set world tables, this is a temporary altar is dedicated New Year’s Eve of the table. Usually no special attention to large temple of heaven and earth desk at home, because usually offer less for the Buddha, to the end of the year-old Buddha do when a big reward, in addition, this table is mainly used for the Theosophical. World tables of contents with different perennial temple, in addition to a total of hanging money, incense, five for large than for its worship of idols is also affected by mostly temporary, such as: “percentage”, which is a wood statues carved version of the album; “Heaven and earth realms eighteen Buddhist gods”, is a wood with a large yellow water color of the creators Mao Bianzhi code; Gods Samsung portraits. Above all, as some Theosophical after incineration, such as “percentage.” Some are required to break five, or even to the Festival of Lights was burned. Put the position of the table is not a unified world, such as the main room where large, can be placed in the house, such as the house without land, they placed in the courtyard. Legend of the night when the lower bound for the heavenly gods, so people have this Theosophical customs.

 Shou Sui in New Year’s Eve with our private habits, the common name “boil years.” Shou Sui to eat dinner from the beginning, Dayton dinner to eat slowly, take a seat from Zhangdeng hours, some people have to eat late at night. According to were awe-struck “starter at the age of mind,” the records, at least in the Northern and Southern Dynasties has been the custom to eat dinner. Shou Sui practices, both on the water with the years passing farewell feelings of nostalgia, but also for the coming New Year wish to send to a better meaning.
Firecrackers to celebrate Chinese New Year of our people depict a grand festive scene. Sound is a sign of New Year firecrackers, festive mood of outpouring. Business people. Meaning there is another round of fireworks: they put firecrackers in the New Year’s Eve night school to the new year big fat Italian. However, according to old habits that respect the God of Wealth to vie with one another, set off fire crackers to bring up the rear. Legend, those who want to get rich, firecrackers to ring in the end be considered sincere.

Children playing firecrackers when the housewives in the kitchen is also the most busy time, New Year’s feast days are the first well, but always in the New Year’s Eve dinner the same day the chef to make it. In the north, New Year’s dumplings have to pack up within thirty at night. Then every family of cutting boards are busy in the thump thump thump to cut meat, vegetable. At this point, every household heard the sound of the chopping block, the streets came the sound of firecrackers, shop shop came the “crackling” sound and cadence of the calculations are accounted for sound, and then mixed with the laughter everywhere, one after another, ocean Yinger, woven into a lively music of New Year’s Eve.

Eat dinner, is the most popular happy New Year when every household. Danian Ye. Filled with rich New Year’s dinner table, family reunion, sitting around the table, a total of reunion dinner, my heart is really difficult to put into words the sense of fulfillment. People enjoy the full table of food containing both dishes, but also to enjoy the happy atmosphere share the table with dishes, pots of cold, hot dishes, snacks, general and ultimately two things, one pot. The first fish. Pot boiling, steaming, warm and sultry, indicating booming; “fish” and “I” homonym is a symbol of “more than auspicious”, is also metaphor for the “annual surplus.” There radish commonly known as turnips, wish good luck; lobster, fish and other fried food explosion, I wish the family fortune prosperity such as “fire cooking oil.” Finally, more for a sweet, sweet sweet blessed days ahead honey, this day, if not drinking, but also how much to drink that.

New Year

New Year’s tricks many different parts of north and south, there are dumplings, ravioli, long face, lantern, etc., and their own stress. Northerners used to eating dumplings Chinese New Year is to take the inter-face “more years of age pay child” means. And because the flour dumplings shaped like silver ingots, pots of the tables a symbol of “New Year fortune, gold roll in.” means. Some dumplings, the boiling water after disinfection also several coins into the bag, tell you who was the first eating, and will be able to make more money. The custom of eating dumplings, is passed down from the Han Dynasty. According to legend, St. Medical Zhongjing in deepest winter, to see the poor ears were frozen rotten, they produced a “dispelling the cold Jiao ear soup” to the poor governance of frostbite. He lamb, pepper and some dispelling the warm medicines, into the ear with a face like a bag, “Jiao ear”, the pot boiled, give to the poor to eat, people to eat, I feel whole body warming, ears fever. , People follow the do, has been passed down to today. New Year to eat ravioli, whichever is the meaning of the early opening. Legend of the previous generation the world is chaotic state, Pangu epoch, the universe only four, long face, also called longevity noodles. New Year noodles, is a pre-birthday long years.

New Year’s money is distributed by the elders, younger, and some home after dinner is finished, everyone at the table not allowed to go, so we are finished, issued by the younger elders and encouraged the children and grandchildren in the new year learning self-improvement, a good man.Some people are children of the parents to be fast asleep at night, on their pillow, the more people are children who gathered at the main hall, shouting grandparents, parents Happy New Year, lined up bow; then ask for a red envelope. Grandpa even recovered her mother’s bedroom, the bed went together, a lot of noises special shout: “lucky money, lucky money!” Elderly not enough excitement, pretending to be stingy, besieged by the bargain to explore, and finally dug out red envelopes of our ancestors, We looted, it sped scattered. This scenario was overjoyed every elderly, that this is the New Year every success good luck. New Year to New Year’s money, reflecting the care of the younger elders, respect for elders and younger people, ethics is an integrated family relationship folk activities.

Nursery Rhymes

Samsung in the South, every family New Year;

Junior children’s kowtow, elders give money to children’s.

No money, Niulian children left.

Theosophical distinction for the old and new years, but have not unified the Theosophical time.Some one to midnight ceremony began, some to the “child is” when the midnight start Theosophical, while others are in the “child is” after the party received. Jizao, the gods are back to the Temple, ignore human mundane, to the New Year’s Eve, after midnight, the new year comes, they come to earth director. Theosophical ceremony held at the world table, the longest by a host family. Because the gods of the different orientation of the home to heaven, when the lower bound to the direction of the naturally different, as then any god, where god come from, to pre-check is good, “written constitution”, and then move to lead the family in the hospital in Hong access by position God.Xinwei years as the “constitution book” on the instructions: “God of Wealth east, south mascot, your God, northeast, southwest hi god, Jupiter southwest of God.” By position Koushou Libi, the incense stood to be doing, kowtowed again, and finally the root incense, statues, gold ingots removed, placed in a prepared already in the hospital burning money and grain basin. Incineration with burning pine, sesame stalks and so on. Theosophical when the firecrackers, the atmosphere is very strong.

Theosophical, it will spread sesame stalks from the street door to door, people walk on, pops pair of silent, known as the “hit-year-old,” also called “step away evil spirits.” As the “broken” and “evil spirit” are homonyms, began to drive out the evil spirit to take New Year’s means.

Ancient, ancestor worship rituals are filled. Due to the different parts of customs, different forms of worship, some to the wild Joan ancestral tomb. Han Chinese ancestors, most do fish bowl dishes, bowls filled with high, rather Zhongming Ding food intended. Southerners Refugees in Beijing, ancestor worship is particularly grand, most of the eight bowl dishes, set in the pot, cup and chopsticks set by the souls, in the New Year’s Eve, New Year, per night, will fan the pot, ready for cooking. Flag clan ancestors, Manchuria and Mongolia is different from the Mongolian yellow banner for the butter fried rice, fried with sesame oil withdrawal for the time, dipped in sugar, and another flavor. Manchu banner worship, for walnut cakes and hibiscus cakes, apple, plain wax sandalwood, quiet Su exception. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day cake for prime cooking, for the Spring Lantern Festival night, burning incense and kowtow to the daily morning and evening, offering for the new tea. Although the different forms of worship, most of all New Year’s Eve hanging shadow, Spring withdrawal for the night, close friends and family matter, New Year, also must call Ye Zuxian Tang, not just reverence for his ancestors Zhiyi is not deleted, because people respect the virtues of their ancestors , we also saved.

Old, from the Spring Festival from midnight to open the door money, there is sent to the God of Wealth, the hand holding a piece of paper printed the god of wealth at the door shouted: “Send Treasurer’s coming!” When the house owner, in order to welcome Wealth, they take the tips to come, sending the mouth of the God of Wealth, of course, always found something to say auspicious words. For example: “gold and silver roll in.” it! ”Gold lion on the left side, right side of the Golden Phoenix ‘it! So like the mouth of color. There is also a God of Wealth is dressed as the appearance, wearing a red robe, wearing Shamao, fake beard hanging from his mouth, the yellow body carrying a money bag, followed by several drums, and from house to house God of Wealth like to distribute to discuss tips. Each door to others, it sang: “Zuoxiang library full of gold and silver, on the right treasure room full heap.” Unlucky, then a lot of discussion, without a break in the mouth, until the owner happy to take over as Treasurer goes on red paper , give them some money, those who play God of Wealth, profuse, you energetically beat while, in the sound of gongs and drums pound, Qiang Qiang, go to another home.

Su Tu wine is a wine. In the ancient custom, the Mongol family Su Tu drink wine, to remove errors of the gas. Su Tu wine production is: a money rhubarb, Campanulaceae, Chuanjiao each one fifth of the money, Guixin an eighth of the money, money cornel a half, wind one or two, to purple-red capsule containing the suspended wells, Yuan take effect on Yin Shi, Jiu Jian forty-five to boiling. Su Tu ancient drink wine, the method is very unique. Most people drink, always starting from the elderly to drink; Su Tu drink wine, but just the opposite, is from the young to drink from. About the young person grew up, the first drink to show their congratulations, while older people over a year at least one year, after drinking to show retention. Song writer Su Che’s “except on” Poetry: “The Su Tu mid last drink, feel more than seventy years.” That is the custom. This spectacular drink order, in ancient times often give rise to all kinds of emotion, and so it left a deep impression.

In the north, and some people even for a pot of rice, years ago, burned to for New Year, called “every festive dinner”, every year there are leftovers, eat throughout the year, this year also meant to eat grain previous years. This festive dinner across the basin is generally mixed with boiled rice and millet, Beijing slang called “two fermions rice” is white to yellow, which is called “gold with silver, gold and silver bowl full” and “gold and silver rice.” Many places in the Shou Sui fruit cakes prepared when are they want to seek the mouth auspicious color: eating dates (early spring), eating persimmons (all the best) eat almonds (happy people), eating Changsheng Guo (immortal ), eat cake (year after year). New Year’s Eve, the whole family, drink and music, laughing cheerfully.

First day

Spring Festival, commonly known as “New Year”, was originally called “New Year” in the Sui Dynasty Qing Du Taiwan “five candle Collection”, said: “Celebrate the end of May, the day of Mongol, Yiyun moving, Yiyun Yuanshuo.” “Dollars” The intention of the “head”, after the idea was “the beginning”, because this day is the first day of the year, the first day of spring, the first month of the first day, so called “Three”; because of the day or towards the aged, months North Korea, Japan’s North Korea, so called “dynasties”; and because it is the first Hatsumi, so called “Yuanshuo.” First day there the previous day, moving, three moon, three before and so another name, which means that first day is the year, month, day three started.

China is an old multi-ethnic country. Different historical periods have had different peoples according to their own cultural traditions and customs had their New Year’s Day determined that the words “our rules”, the beginning of a period of time to correct. Zhuan Xu Emperor and the summer generations to Meng first month Yuan, using built-yin of the lunar calendar to lunar calendar first day of New Year’s Day; Shang use Yin Li, Yin Li Jian ugly to lunar month first day of New Year’s Day; Zhou use week calendar, weekly calendar built son, who started for the New Year in lunar month; Qin Qin calendar use, Qin Li Jian Hai, the first day of the Lunar New Year’s Day; still use the pre-Qin Li Han, Han was in the beginning the first year (AD 104 years) to switch to Sima Qian, Luo created under the Hong primordial experience, again using the built-yin of the lunar calendar, the first day of the Lunar New Year’s Day. In addition to Wang Mang and once after the switch to build ugly Emperor Ming Yin Li, Tang Empress Wu and Su-tsung of the week when children use to build calendar, the lunar calendar of the dynasty to the Qing Dynasty are used.

Spring morning, open the door down, the first firecrackers, called “open firecracker.” Firecrackers, the broken red everywhere, illuminating as heavenly brocade, known as the “full house.” At this time the streets Bling ahead.

An important activity in the New Year, is home to friends and neighbors of new friends there, congratulations to Chinese New Year, formerly known as New Year. Han Chinese New Year of the wind, Han has. After the Tang and Song dynasties is very popular, and some do not have to go to the person, He can Mingtie vote. Eastern Han Dynasty, known as the “thorn”, it is business cards, also known as “name thorn.” Ming Dynasty, many people posted in front of a red paper bag, specializing Mingtie, called “door book.”

New Year is a traditional Chinese folk custom, people toot, another way to express good wishes.Ancient “New Year” is the original meaning of the New Year for the elderly Baihe, including kowtowing to the elderly salute, Happy New Year wishful, greetings and so on living well. In case of peer friends, but also salute congratulations.

In ancient times, Tang Huo Square neighborhood friends too difficult to door visited, with a business card on the servant sent to the New Year, known as the “flying post”, each bag in front of a red paste, write “Blessings” word, that is used for the bearing of flying posts. This custom began in the Song upper class. Qing Dynasty, “Yan units on order” to describe the Beijing New Year: “is the month also, the film fly, empty away.” Fashion. Large house special “door book” to record the guests and flyer between the door more than a virtual page book, “who went to the” four: a life Pai said the old man, living a hundred Square Lane; one reads more than the rich lords , live ingot Street; one reads your Promise adults, living scholar archway; one said Fu Zhao Lin lords, living Wufu floor.Geely plans to discuss with the mouth color. The New Year has presented New Year’s card, greeting cards, is to send each other flying posts of this ancient legacy.

Useful upper literati Mingtie He cast another customs. Zhou Hui Song, “Shiba magazine,” said: “Song Yuanyou years, New Year He Jie, often used on behalf of domestic servants who were stabbed to.” At that time the literati make friends widely, if the four-door New Year, both time-consuming, but also exhausting, so little to some close friends not in person, but sent the servant to take one kind of two-inch cut with a plum Jian Zhi wide, three inches long, marked with greeting people by name, address and congratulated the New Year on behalf of the discourse of the card to. Ye Ming people to vote instead of New Year. Ming Dynasty distinguished painter, poet Wen Zhengming in the “New Year” the poem describes: “Ye pass but does not seek to meet, were full of paper to shield toward the House; I cast in tandem with the number of paper, never too simple virtual world abhorred.” Here talks about “name thorn” and “name Ye” is the origin of today’s greeting cards. Greeting cards and greeted each other for emotional contact, convenient and practical, and even today is still popular is not bad.

From about the time the Qing Dynasty, the New Year have added “gathering” in the form of the Qing Dynasty in Yi-lan primary “side of the cap over Tan” said: “The capital in the beginning of the year, routine gathering, a joint-year friendship, to don his homeland,” “Every age set by the value off in the red book, eating dinner, for Jingri joy.”

With the development of the times, New Year’s customs are constantly adding new content and form.In addition to follow the past is now New Year approaches, the rise of the New Year’s telegraph and telephone etiquette New Year and so on.

But the first day to fifth day, most families are not receiving women, that the “avoid the door.” Only man to go out New Year’s, women are required to go until the first month after the sixth day visit.New Year’s activities should be extended for a long time, to the fifteenth day of the Festival of Lights around. New Year’s evening to the people called “worship Night Festival”, named after the tenth day “thanks to the Festival of Lights”, so there are “determined to New Year, Cold Food is not late,” the joke.

If for any reason less than routine rituals, in the future make up the line, that the “worship in his later years.”

Old people are beginning to enter the new few days to account for weather confront harvest this year.Said Han Dongfang Shuo began its “Year of account”, that after the age of 8, the day is chicken day, two day dog, three days for the pigs, 4 sheep, five days for the cow six days for the horse, seven great men, 8 for the Valley. If the day is clear, the main thing is the breeding, overcast day, the day of the Lord is not chang. Descendants along its learning, that first day to the tenth day, begin with clear weather, no wind, no snow for the guitar. Offspring from the accounting year-old into a series of ritual, celebration. Have started not kill a chicken, do not kill a dog two days, three days … … the seventh day is not a feminist is not the custom of execution.

Spring in the doors and windows painted on ancient chicken to drive evil ghosts. Jin dynasty people with the “mysterious in the mind ‘in talking about the moon in front of the mountain comes to the degree only Chicken, that is when the sun just rising, the first rays of sunlight shine on the trees that line when you cry Chicken Ming had. It is a cry, the world’s chicken is called to follow up. Spring chicken cut so that, in fact, a symbol of Chicken Little. However, there is the ancient myth that chicken is a bird heavy deformation argument. It is said that Yao Di, the side of the allies had one kind of tribute to ward off evil Shigeaki birds, we all welcome the emphasis that the birds come, but not every year tribute to the people on the heavy wooden carved out a bird, or copper Shigeaki Bird on the door, or doors and windows painted Shigeaki birds, scare away demons, so can not come back. Similar by Shigeaki bird-like chicken, the chicken after it has gradually changed to draw or cut window bars attached to the doors and windows, that later became a source of paper-cut art. Special attention to ancient China chicken, call it “Five Virtues of the birds.” ”Hanshiwaizhuan’s Disconnection,” said its head a crown, is Bonaventure; feet away from the can after the fight, is Takenori; enemy front Ganpin, is fortitude; greeted with similar food, is benevolence; vigil yet When dawn crowing, is faith. So people do not cut the chicken in the New Year, but also the first day of New Year’s Day as a chicken.

Enrichment, vulgar mass first day as a broom birthday, this day can not use a broom, otherwise it will sweep away the luck, or even bankruptcy, while the “Sao Zhouxing” lead, lead to bad luck. If sweeping is not necessarily required to sweep from the outside to inside. This day can not be splashing out the trash, so afraid of bankruptcy. Today, many places still preserved a custom, Danian Ye swept away, New Year’s Day no broom, no trash, prepare a bucket to water containing the day nothing more than throwing.

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Two days of the first month

Two days of festival in the first month in northern Fortuna, this day whether it is commercial shop, or the ordinary family, festival to be held in the God of Wealth activities. New Year’s Eve each connected to the worship of some god of wealth.Actually bought into the rough print incineration trouble. That day at noon to eat ravioli, commonly known as “ingot soup.” Sacrificial offerings with fish and lamb. Old Beijing’s big firms, both large-scale festival this day, offerings use the “five for”, that the whole pig, a whole sheep, whole chickens, whole ducks, red carp live, hope this year to making a fortune. Who is saying about the God of Wealth is not uniform, mainly in the following categories:

Zhao Gongming, was ordered by his Heavenly Master Zhang Shou Xuan Tan, also known as Zhao Xuan Tan. This person comes from the “Gods”, a late-bloomer to him as “wishful dragon is a dragon Xuantan Zhenjun God.” Zhao clear, the word the New Komeito, the Taoist god of basalt, commonly known as Zhao AD division. This said, comes from the “three religions of God found Daquan”, all the holy name is called: “the mains honest one Yuan Zhao Xuan Tan Tiger Wheel enforcement division.”

Fan Li: Spring and Autumn Period Goujian hands of the Minister, to help defeat Yue Wu, and later made a fortune in business, renamed Tao Zhu. Descendants regarded as the God of Wealth.

Guan Yu: Three of Guan Yu is a “round” characters, the most important duty, and descendants of the “righteousness” and “profit” equal treatment, regarded as the God of Wealth. Mostly dedicated to Guan Yu, who is generally firm, that he has a protective effect on firms.

The God of Wealth

In, Fan Li, Wen Wealth Wealth Xing Jun, Chao Tian, ​​Wu Guan Yu as God of Wealth. There are also those dedicated to Tai Baixing, known as the “wealth Xing Jun.” Because Tai Baixing also called Venus, with a will of the God of Wealth. There to Monkey, Lucky boy who is the God of Wealth. 

Most of the people to Zhao Gongming mostly for its printed image is very powerful, black-faced thick beard, a consistent top helmet, hands Zhibian, painted around the pot of gold, large ingots, coral-like patterns, to be set off, you highlight the Furama the effect.

Flood the temple

Goalkeeper burning paper, when the old temple day and night to New Year period of pine branches and sections of the memo and other door hanging door god be incinerated in order to show complete years have passed, but also began to make a living. Proverbs are “burning the keeper of paper, look for physical individuals.”

People that flood the temple of millet birthday, this day I wish sacrifice pray, and fast rice.

Small in North Korea, the feast day. Song court holiday, the first year of Emperor Song Dazhong Xiangfu, declined due to human transmission with hieroglyphics, Shinshu under the edict, will flood the temple feast on for days, officials and other leave days. Later in the DPRK, said small, not sweep the floor, not begging the fire, do not draw water, and towards the same age.

Fifth day of the first month

Fifth day of first month, commonly known as break five. Folk one that broke many taboos over the previous five days Jieke broken. According to the old habit of eating “water dumplings” 5, North called “boiled cake.” Today, some people eat three or two days, some every other day to eat, but do not not eat. Princes street from the mansion to the case of small farmers are

Wu Si is offering households God, Kitchen God, earth god, keeper, the line of God, the so-called “road head”, that Wu Si in the very God. Where the God of Wealth for the sheep’s head and carp to be, Sheep’s head for the “auspicious” meaning for carp is a map “fish” and “I” homophonic, poetry auspicious. As long as people can be confident that the God of Wealth manifestation can become rich. 

Therefore, every New Year, people are fifth day 0:00 in the first month, opened the door and windows burning incense set off fire crackers, fireworks, point to welcome the God of Wealth. Took the God of Wealth, you have to eat the way the first wine, tend to eat the morning. Full of rich people’s hope, I hope God of Wealth can bring home gold and silver, in the new year, big fat rich.

Road head Wu believed in God is a God of Wealth. Vulgar Yishi day for his birthday, offering to meet the sun, is quite spectacular.

Streams of people out, worship God in order to safe road, this is the “ancestral Road” is vulgar; Wu vulgar access road head, and the festival is also the way of God, and this way God becomes the God of Wealth. Way God becomes the God of Wealth is the result of commercial development, increasing the circulation of wealth and goods. Wealth and goods to and from the water between land, people intuitively believe that some kind of dominated the way wealth and goods.

Customs that access road head, the sooner the better, God is first received, particularly efficacious, so called “stolen road head.” In some places, it is really the fourth day of the Mongol “rush rush road head” of, and bent along into the vulgar. Since the way of God is no longer the protector of Streams, people will no longer travel time to go to worship in it.

As for the way people worship in the fifth day of January, the first God, and thus on their birthday, is in God’s Rd “five” and the fifth day of the “Five” involved with the rules. North Festival this day “five poor” as well. In the first month than other months, is taken from the New Year new atmosphere, auspicious year plans, financial resources lush, East and West, and thus wealth Rd.

Fifth day of the first month “to send the poor”, is a useful feature of China’s ancient folk customs of the age. On this day each woman made of paper, known as “sweeping clear mother”, “five poor women” and “five poor mother”, toting bags, sweep the house dirt bag, sending artillery bombing of the fuel door. This custom is also known as “send the poor soil,” “poor wife to send out.” Shaanxi area, avoid breaking five day out, and fresh meat to the pot on the grill, but also stir Madou, so that it cracked voice, that this gas can collapse in addition to the poor, and seek fortune. In addition, the old New Year’s Eve or the fifth day of the first month to eat special bread, commonly known as “poor hole fill.” Wide range of popular folk custom of sending poor, reflecting the general desire of our people New Year, bid farewell to old of poverty, new year’s tradition of psychological good life.

Head Road, also known as “Five Roads God.” He said there is a Yuan Dynasty Rd, to resist Waikou died, so that people worship him as God, the name “Five Roads God.” However, this seems Rd God as the God of Wealth God not involved the way the first Rd. Or Youyi Rd God the Holy Spirit is actually five, or say five speaks, in the reign of Emperor Kangxi Tang Bin ban destroyed the top of Temple Mount after the five-pass, not worship five people speaks, it changed its name and the worship of the first road . General as head of the ancient Wu Si Road, in the line of God, the so-called East and West Rd is also; wealth and goods by road with all the line, so people of God as the God of Wealth to the line, would like to add worship, seeking it cited financial entry, or travel profit.

Ancient Old customs during the Spring Festival since the size of shops closed from New Year’s Day, and in the first month, fifth day of the opening. Fifth day of the month for the fiscal secular holy day, that will choose this day opened Fortune.

 Sixth month

Sixth month “to send the poor”

Sixth month “to send the poor”, is a useful feature of China’s ancient folk customs of the age. Its meaning is offering to send beast (Qiongshen). Beast, also known as “the poor child.” According to Chen Yuan Liang Song “at the age of Hiroki” drawing “Zong prepared to ask,” reads: “Zhuanxu digoxin, the palace a son, could not finish coat, the palace known as the poor child and subsequently the first month dark death, burial palace of, with that said ‘today sent the poor child.’ “legend beast is Zhuanxu Son. His weak little body, likes to wear rags, porridge. Even if the new clothes for him, he also torn or after the fire out of its hole to wear, so “the poor child number palace.”

The custom of sending the poor quite popular in the Tang Dynasty, Han Yu, a great writer once wrote, “to send the poor Man,” which stated: “(master) three divisions of the military’s beast and said: ‘heard a Japanese sub-line men, and I There are resources to send grace, children and other interested in the line of peace ‘? “Yao Tang Dynasty also wrote a poem” Misoka send poor three, “the first song which goes: every year to this day, thanks to Street Lek wine. Ten thousand one thousand of view, no do not send poor. Widespread folk custom of sending poor, reflecting the general desire of our people New Year, bid farewell to old of poverty, new year’s tradition of psychological good life.

 Seventh day the first month

Man-days known as “Man wins Festival”, “human feasts”, “Population Day”, “seven people” and so on. Legend of Nu Wa initial creation, create a Jigou in pork, beef, horses and other animals, after the seventh day create a person, so this day is the birthday of human beings. Han dynasty folk festival was on, after paying attention to Wei. Ancient man-days are wearing “who wins” the customs, who wins is a headdress, known as color wins, Huasheng, from the Jin dynasty began to cut the ribbon for the flowers, cut the ribbon man, or man to engrave gold paste screen, also worn on the the hair.There is also the custom of climbing poetry. After the Tang Dynasty, more attention to this festival.Each condemns day, the emperor gave the ministers who wins thread color, and climb banquet ministers. If the first month, seventh day the weather clear, the main population of peace for one year, and out smoothly.

 This day people eat Chunbing volume “box food” (cooked food), and pancake stalls in the courtyard, “smoke blackening the sky.”
Qibao soup, soup made with seven vegetables, when consumed in man-days, in order to get good omen, and that this matter can remove evil, cure-all. Different parts of the property, the use of different fruit and vegetables, intended to take, there are differences. Guangdong Chaozhou mustard, kale, leeks, spring vegetables, celery, garlic, thick flap vegetables; Hakka with celery, garlic, onions, parsley, chives add fish, meat, etc.; Taiwan, Fujian, with spinach, celery, onion and garlic, chives, mustard, shepherd’s purse, cabbage and so on. Including celery and onions trillion intelligent, skilled in calculating trillion garlic, mustard is longevity, so many.

Eighth day of the first month

Valley Day, the birthday of the legendary eighth day of the millet. That day the weather clear, the main rice harvest this day, the day was overcast then apologized.

 Shun Xing Festival, also known as Star. Eighth night, the first month, regardless of whether people go to the temple to burn incense worship Xing Jun (ie, cis-star), so the sky after a homogeneous star, each star to be held in a cis-worship ceremony. Festival star, to the desk, stove, threshold, Guotai, etc. and put on a “golden light” (yellow flowers) and light, called “flowers scattered light”, there are ominous meaning than to avoid. After the Star Festival, the Lantern Festival the whole family together to eat. Ninth month

ninth month is the highest god of heaven Jade Emperor’s birthday, commonly known as “Lord of Heaven,” “Jade will be.” Taoism called “Yuanshi Senior” is to dominate the universe’s highest God, he is commanding the ten realms of human spirits, gods and the highest God, the supreme representative of the “day.” Rumors of the deities in heaven, on this day to be a grand celebration, the birthday of the Jade Emperor in the afternoon return back to Luan Temple.

His birthday, it will hold ceremonies to the table to celebrate, to worship God in the ceremony, very grand, starting from midnight until four o’clock that day, you can constantly hear the sound of firecrackers.

Tenth day the first month

Stone birthday, the day where grinding, milling and other stone tools could not move, and even set up offering Xiangsi

 Stone, fear of injury to crops. Also known as “stone does not move,” “Ten does not move.” To this day every family in Henan custom stone cense. Lunch will eat steamed cake that Chibing within a year will be fortunes. There are other places in Shandong Yuncheng God lift a rock move. Ninth night, it will be a jar frozen in a smooth stone head, tenth day morning, cans tied to the nose, take turns carrying the jar by ten young man to go. Year indicates the stone does not fall harvest. Old folk customs letter. In the first month at the Si mouse activity, also known as “rats married woman,” “rats married.” Dates vary, and some in the first month, seventh day, and some in the first month XXV, the first month in many areas is the tenth day. Pingyao County, Shanxi tenth day of the bread set foot of the wall, the name “He married female rats.” 17 places in Hunan Ning as “rats married women” avoid open the cabinet of the day, afraid to disturb the mouse. The night before, children will be candy, peanuts, put the shadows and large objects such as large pot dustpan knock played for rats Cui makeup the next morning, the Shuxue occlusion, that is you can never disappeared since then. Some regions in mice married women go to bed very early days, nor to disturb the mouse, vulgar that you disturbed it one day, it is disturbing you for one year.“Married female rats,” folklore, very popular in our country. However, around the “rat married woman,” the time is different. 

In the southern area of ​​folklore, that mouse is harmful, inauspicious, so the lunar New Year’s Eve night to have it married, to ensure safe good luck next year. Shanghai suburbs in some places that married female rats in Sixteenth day, that night, every household fried sesame candy is ready to get married candy mice.

In the north, married female mice 25 in the first month of the evening. In this night, not every household lighting, the whole family sitting on white picket fence, quietly, but the dark eating flour made of “rat claw claw”, “scorpion tail” and fried beans. Do not light up, do not say anything mean to marry female mice provide a convenient, married for fear of disturb the happy event. Eat “rat claw claw,” said the rat paw itching expected, good up earlier action; eat “scorpion tail” that is to marry a female rat hole will not hurt by the scorpion. Fried soybean issued Ga bang Cui Xiang, seems to be married to rats firecrackers.

Married women in rats at night, Hunan Zixing area in the corner, hallway Biancha candles, meaning

The mice were married shone brightly lit through the road. “Married female rats,” “mouse get married,” the paintings and folk paper-cut in China as a “mascot”, holidays, on the wall and windows. Sichuan Mianzhu printed “mice married women” paintings, showing a group of rats carry on shoulders flag umbrella, gong trumpet, carrying the bride wedding.While this group of ugly class swaggering through the streets of the time, waiting for their rhubarb is a cat. Paving the way in front of a pair of mouse rat brother brother, one of which has been the cat’s claws to seize, the other cat is biting in the mouth. At this point, sitting in the sedan chair, “bride”, knowing doom, burst into tears.

Fifteenth

Lantern Festival is China’s major traditional festivals, also known as Lantern Festival, per night, also known as the Lantern Festival, the New Year because it is the first full moon night. Yin ancient customs of this festival have lanterns, it is also known as the Festival of Lights. Lantern Festival vulgar form a longer process, according to the general information and folk legend, the fifteenth day has been taken seriously in the Western Han Dynasty, Emperor Wu of Han Xin the first month on Temple worship night at the Oasis “too a” campaign, by later generations as for the fifteenth day worship the gods of the precursor. However, the fifteenth day as a real folk festival in the Han later.Han culture, the introduction of Buddhism, for the formation of the Lantern Festival has an important impetus vulgar meaning.

Yongping Han Emperor Ming period (AD 58–75), to promote Buddhism by Emperor Ming, Cai Daniel coincides with Buddhism from India to seek return of, say India’s Mount Tuo country drink every fifteenth day, the monks gathered to pay tribute to Buddha relic, is the parameter Buddha’s auspicious really good time. Han Emperor Ming to promote Buddhism, ordered the fifteenth night in the palace and temple, “Lotus Lantern Table Buddha.” Hence the custom of fifteenth Enlightening night with the expansion of cultural influence of Buddhism and Taoism in China to join gradually expand. The Lantern Festival is vulgar because it is the real driving force at the new point in time, people take advantage of this special time of life stage to express their wishes.

Lantern Festival lights up the custom, unprecedented in the Tang Dynasty to become the city of lights, the Tang Dynasty, has developed into a universal carnival. Xuanzong (AD 685–762) when the Kaiyuan prosperity, Chang’an city of the size of a large lamp, Enlightening fifty thousand, lantern variety, the emperor ordered to do huge floor lamps, Quanta 20, 150 feet high, golden bright, very spectacular.

After continuous development history of the Lantern Festival, the Festival of Lights of longer and longer. Tang Dynasty Lantern Festival is “the day before Spring” Song also added in the sixteenth after two days, then extended to the Ming Dynasty by the eighth day of the eighteenth full ten days.

To the Qing Dynasty, the Manchu Central Plains, the court will not do lantern, folk lantern is still spectacular. Date reduced to five days, continues today.

“Riddles,” also known as “playing riddles” is an activity increased after the Lantern Festival, in Song Dynasty. Southern Song Dynasty, the capital Lin’an during the Lantern Festival, when the system fans, many people guessing. Began as Nosey the riddle written on a piece of paper, attached to the bright lights of the lanterns for persons guess. Because the riddle can inspire wisdom and interest, so the spreading process was welcomed by all sectors of society.

Tang and Song Dynasties, when light began to appear all kinds of circus skills Shangwang. Ming and Qing dynasties light Shangwang addition to riddles and 100 opera singing and dancing, it had also added the contents of the opera.

Ancient people in addition to travel outside the city lights, there are welcome Zigu festival toilet God, walking across the bridge touch nail diseases such as customs, have hit the peace drum, Yangko, stilts, dragon, lion and other game. At the same time, but also eat festive food: Northern and Southern Dynasties and the Lantern Festival to eat meat and animals with the Congee or rice boiled oil, the Tang Dynasty to eat something called “surface cocoon” of pasta and coke Shi chase (ie, scones) , the Song of salt and soy bean flour soup made subjects fighting soup, and a “maroon”, eat after the Lantern Festival Lantern of the North and South are learning.

During the lantern festival, young men and women meet with the timing lover, so the Lantern Festival has become China’s “Valentine’s Day.”

Lantern Festival is a traditional rural society, a large emphasis on folk festival, the Lantern Festival in the bustling city is particularly strong, it reflects the unique carnival spirit of the Chinese people. The traditional Lantern Festival hosted by the customs of daily life function has been digested, people gradually lose the spirit of common interest, complex folk festival has been reduced to “eat the Lantern,” the Sisu.

Send baby light referred to as “send light”, also known as “flowers Light”, etc., that is, before the Lantern Festival, her parents marry off their daughters at home to the new light flowers, wedding gift or general infertile relatives home, in order to add Dingji Zhao, because ” Light “and” D “harmonics.The custom in many places, Xi’an area is sent during the first month to fifteen eighth day lights, large lanterns first year to send a pair of glass lamps are painting a pair hope that their daughter married to come, Lin Early child; such as pregnant daughter, then in addition to large lanterns, but also get twelve pairs of small lanterns, and wished her daughter safe during pregnancy.

Ying Zi Gu, Zi Gu also called Qi (g) Regardless, the North said the toilet more than Regardless, pit Sangu. Fifteenth day of the ancient folk customs to meet God Zigu Erji toilet, divination sericulture, and accounting for public thing. The legend Zigu concubine for the people, for large women are jealous, the fifteenth day of the cubicle was killed, a toilet of God, so people mostly women made Zigu of shape, and meet at night in the toilet room and worship of the pigsty . The popular custom throughout North and South, Southern and Northern Dynasties era found in early records.

Travel sickness, also known as diseases go, casual sickness, take the bridge, is a good of prayer healthy activities. Women Meet the Lantern Festival night travel, go hand in hand, will see over the bridge, thought that it would illnesses and sickness.

Popular area of ​​Guizhou Province, Huang Ping, Miao festival stealing food in the annual Lunar New Year is held. Festival this day, the girls would steal someone’s home in groups of food, non-stealing the family, same-sex friends can not steal, because stealing Knight’s love affair with them on. His food is limited by the cabbage, the number of people eating a meal can be enough. Not afraid to steal food was found to be copies of the others is not to blame. Discovery to the food we put together, do the cabbage dinner. Who is said to eat up, who was loved back, while most of the strong support of the silkworm, the silk is the best spit up.

The traditional festival of Yi in the Lunar New Year festival Bau. ”Bau” means “hunting return.” Found in Yunnan, the Yi branch of the Black Heqing living residential area. This section was originally a celebration when the hunters returned from the custom, then move, without a fixed holiday. Old people back pack hunting prey, to hunt the command of the beast, animal skins for hunting people, meat is grilled, during which the beast before the skins with, people from, around the fire to reproduce the hunting action. After the meat cooked, everyone eating. Later evolved into a fixed holiday.

2014 is  the Year of the Green  Horse, which falls on Jan. 31 on the lunar calendar. A lucky year, according to the Chinese. The Year of the Horse kicks out the Year of the Snake — not a good year considering all the turmoil, conflicts and tragedies in the world.

As the Chinese say, “A good horse never turns its head to eat the grass behind.” So, look ahead, not back.

Horse people may be a little untamed, but they are supposed to be popular, cheerful, talented, independent and skillful with their money. Don’t forget that a horse shoe is a sign of good luck for Westerners.

You are a horse if you were born in 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002 and, of course, in 2014 on or after Jan. 31. The Chinese zodiac runs a 12-year cycle with each year symbolized by an animal. Besides the exiting snake and the horse galloping toward you, the others are sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit and dragon.

By the way, horse is pronounced “ma” in Chinese. Among famous horse people are Billy Graham, Nelson Mandela, Angela Merkel, Clint Eastwood, Teddy Roosevelt, Chopin and Rembrandt.

Johnny Lin, chef at Asian Gourmet in Gurnee, and his wife, Anne Chen, manager at the restaurant, both are horse people.

Asked how it feels to be a horse, he said, “We work hard like horses and oxen.”

The Chinese New Year is celebrated not only in China but in most East Asia. With China growing in wealth and influence, anyone doing business with the Chinese probably have learned to say “Xin nian kuai le,” Happy New Year, and “Gong xi fa cai,” May you be prosperous.

In China, the New Year is celebrated as a holiday from three to 15 days, depending where one works. The private sector is more liberal by giving employees a longer holiday. Unlike in the United States where stores offer big sales during a holiday, in China, stores generally are closed for three days during the new year, called the Spring Festival, to allow employees to go home for family reunions. Railroad stations, bus terminals and airports are invariably jammed with travelers carrying gifts for home.

The Chinese New Year celebration revolves around serious eating, often accompanied by drinking. It is not unusual to see 10 to 12 dishes at a family reunion table.

Firecrackers will explode during the holiday, especially at night, to rid evil spirits. As experienced by this writer and his wife, who spent New Year in Nanjing in eastern China last year, firecrackers exploded throughout the night. There was no use complaining because no one wanted to spoil the fun, much less challenge the age-old tradition.

The 15th day of the New Year is the Lantern Festival when kids play with paper mache lanterns, which come in shapes like lotus, rabbit, tiger and dragon. No one in China will pass the day without eating dumplings. It’s an irresistibly delicious tradition.

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Chinese Zodiac horse represents energy, intelligence and ability 

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January 13, 2014

Some info on Ghana and West Africa

The race to become West Africa’s central port hub intensifies

Two substantial port investments have been announced recently by Ghana and Nigeria: the awarding of contracts worth US$2.5bn to double Ghana’s port capacity by 2018 and the approval of Nigeria’s first deep-sea port at Lekki, which will take around four years to complete at an estimated cost of US$1.35bn. These announcements are indicative of the competition between West Africa’s ports, all of which are seeking to become the primary gateway to the region. However, it is the more western ports of Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) and Dakar (Senegal) that are proving most successful in attracting transit traffic.

West Africa’s proliferation of competing ports—six ports in the region handle more than 300,000 containers a year—is attributable to the concentration of economic activity along the coast. Although this competition encourages investment, it has also split it: West Africa has more projects than any other region (16) under the African Development Bank’s Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa, but they have a lower total value (US$6.2bn) than any other region bar North Africa.

A 2011 study by the African Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD, a group led by the African Development Bank) showed that the region’s ports, together with those of Central Africa, had the highest average dwell time, truck processing time and container cargo handling charges on the continent. Fragmentation means that the region lacks a single efficient hub. Furthermore, although West Africa has the potential to be one of the world’s fastest-growing regions in the coming years, gridlocked ports represent a major threat to economic expansion.

Ambitious plans across the region

While Tema in Ghana and Lagos in Nigeria may be the two largest hubs in terms of current traffic and proposed investment, others are making efforts to close the gap. This year Guinea signed a deal with Mubadala Development and Dubai Aluminium to develop port facilities in Kamsar, as part of a US$5bn investment. Elsewhere, a consortium consisting of APM Terminals, Bolloré Africa Logistics and Bouygues was chosen by Abidjan Port Authority to build and manage a second container terminal, with plans to invest more than €450m (US$585m) over the 21‑year concession period, and the International Finance Corporation, the private-sector funding arm of the World Bank, arranged a €225m debt package for Lomé Container Terminal, representing Togo’s largest-ever direct foreign investment. In November alone, The Gambia announced plans to construct an inland port at Kuar; the Liberian presidential delegation to the UAE and Kuwait made ports and infrastructure a focal point of its trip; and the Sierra Leone Ports Authority reiterated its openness to partnerships and investment.

Inland infrastructure will be a driver of port demand

As the landlocked economies in the region grow—Burkina Faso and Niger are among West Africa’s fastest-growing economies—more attention will be paid to inland transportation. Progress in intra-regional tariff liberalization and the lowering of non-tariff barriers has led to increases in transit traffic, enjoyed predominantly by the western ports of Abidjan (a 126% increase in transit traffic volumes between 2008 and 2012) and Dakar (a 125% increase). These increases have been at the expense of ports further east, such as Ghana’s Tema, which experienced a 43% decrease over the same period.

Inland infrastructure developments will further this trend. A railway connecting Niger and Burkina Faso with Cote d’Ivoire, due to begin construction next year, will help Abidjan to increase its share of transit traffic. Road transportation, which accounts for 90% of inland transportation in West Africa, is expensive because of an oligopoly of trucking companies that enjoys profit margins of 30-40%: rail transportation in the Abidjan-Ouagdougou corridor is already 30% cheaper on average than road transportation. Niger and Benin are also planning to extend and rehabilitate the existing railway line between Cotonou and Niamey; Niger wants the work completed by 2015, although that is optimistic.

Piracy makes eastern ports less attractive

The rise of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea—there were 67 attacks in the first half of 2013, compared with 34 in the same period of 2012—will also push port traffic westwards. These attacks have a substantial impact on shipping: when 22 attacks occurred off the coast of Benin in 2011, the subsequent categorization of Beninese waters as “high risk” by insurance companies—a category that already includes Nigeria and Togo—led to a 70% decrease in port traffic, according to a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Although there have been three attacks off Côte d’Ivoire this year, one off Sierra Leone and one off Guinea, the overwhelming majority of incidents occur east of Ghana, at an estimated cost of US$740-950m in 2012. This challenge is unlikely to be solved as effectively as it has been in the Gulf of Aden: the required regional co‑operation is likely to be hampered by the same bureaucratic challenges that have affected other regional efforts in the past, and the necessity of vessels to queue for port access—rather than passing through the waters off Somalia—makes them vulnerable.

Ghana and Nigeria lose out to Abidjan and Dakar

Investments in the port infrastructure of Ghana and Nigeria will help them to ease congestion and more effectively serve their growing economies. As the two largest economies in in the region, their domestic markets alone could ensure their position as the largest ports in the Gulf of Guinea. However, without accompanying efforts to improve inland transportation corridors and combat piracy, it is unlikely that either will become a dominant transit hub for the wider region. Instead, transit traffic will increasingly move westward. Abidjan and Dakar, which are already the two largest ports west of Ghana (handling 18m tons and 113m tons of cargo respectively in 2011), stand to gain the most from this shift.

Watch for Ghana to develop significantly greater Energy exports by the end of this decade. 

December 23, 2013

Formal Education Studies or Travel?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 2:04 am
The other night, I had a conversation with a young woman who had a number of decisions ahead of her, one of which was whether she should go to grad school or travel the world.

I told her to travel. Hands down. No excuse. Just go.

She sighed.

“Yeah, but…”

Never were more fatal words spoken.

Yeah, but… what about debt?
Yeah, but… what about my job?

Yeah, but… what about my boyfriend (or dog or car or whatever)?

“Yeah, but…” is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should.

It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.

Most people I know who waited to travel the world never did. Conversely, plenty of people who waited for grad school or a steady job and traveled still did those things — eventually.

Be careful of the yeah-but. The yeah-but will kill your dreams.

I was so stirred by this conversation that I shared it with a group of about thirty young adults last night, many who were asking these very questions.

The life you’ve always wanted!

When you get older, life seems to just sort of happen to you. Your youth is a time of total empowerment.

You get to do what you want. As you mature and gain new responsibilities, you have to be very intentional about making sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important.

So if you still have a reasonable amount of control over your circumstances, you should do what really matters. Because life won’t always be just about you.

During early adulthood, your worldview is still being formed. It’s important to steward this time — to give yourself opportunities to grow. A good way to do that is to travel.

So, young person, travel.

Travel wide and far.
Travel boldly.
Travel with full abandon.

You will regret few risks you take, when it comes to this.

I promise you.

There are three reasons to travel while you’re young:

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1. Traveling teaches you to live an adventure:

When you look back on your life, you will have moments of which you are proud and maybe a few you regret. It’s likely that the following won’t be on the latter list:

  • Stand on the Equator in Kenya.
  • Go inside one of the Great Pyramids of Giza.
  • Walk on the Great Wall of China.
  • lean French immersed in the culture.
  • Meet and talk with the President of another country.

They’re not on mine ….. (fun fact: I’ve already done all of the above).

What, then, will be your excuse to NOT live a full life? Why are you….. 

  • Holding back.
  • Being afraid.
  • Making excuses.
  • Not taking more risks.
  • Waiting.

While you’re young, you should travel.

You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. It’s worth whatever investment or money or sacrifice of time required on your part.

It’s not about being a tourist. It’s about experiencing true risk and adventure so you don’t have to live in fear for the rest of your life.

2. Traveling helps you encounter compassion:

In your youth, you will make choices that will define you. The disciplines you begin now will be with you for the rest of your life.

Traveling will change you like little else can. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you.

If you go to southeast Asia, you may encounter the slave trade. If eastern Europe, you may see the effects of genocide and religious persecution. If Haiti, you’ll witness the the ugly side Western paternalism.

Your heart will break.

You will begin to understand that the world is both a big and small place. You will have a new-found respect for the pain and suffering that over half of the world takes for granted on a daily basis. And you will feel more connected to your fellow human beings in a deep and lasting way.

You will learn to care.

3. Traveling allows you to get some culture

While you’re still young, you should get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it.

There’s nothing quite like walking alongside the Coliseum or seeing Michelangelo’s David in person. I can describe the city of San Juan and its amazing beaches and historic sites to you, but you really have to see it for yourself to experience it. You can read all the books in the world about the Great Wall of China or The Louvre, but being there is a different story.

The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it.

Do this while you’re still young. Do not squander this time. You will never have it again.

You have a crucial opportunity to invest in the next season of your life now. Whatever you sow, you will eventually reap. Please. For your sake, do this.

You won’t always be young. And life won’t always be just about you. So travel. Experience the world for all it’s worth. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion.

“What if I’m not young?”

Travel, anyway. It may not be easy to do, but find a way to get out of your comfort zone. It’s really never too late.

But if you haven’t gotten sucked into the routine of life yet, I implore you — travel. It will never be easier than it is right now for you to do that which really matters.

books versus actual travel

December 17, 2013

The Ideal Path for Mass Production of Natural Gas and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

There is a problem for all of the auto manufactures of Natural Gas and or Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles seeking to bring them into mass production face today:

It is the lack of fueling stations and those stations reluctance to install equipment ( what many would call a  chicken and egg issue)…. who will go first…. so far the answer is neither although a few “prototypes” have been made.

 HOWEVER this conundrum is based on what has been the “traditional” way of doing fueling and a lack of vision in solving issues that appear to have no solutions. … such common practice is called a paradigm.  Some have suggested a more radical approach to refueling  that currently being  “home fueling”. The best current example of that is of Electric vehicles … just plug them into your own electric at home.  There are several issues which have made the Auto Industry’s tepid introduction into this method more anemic than they would like to have us believe.

First and foremost 70% of the potential owners of most passenger vehicles do not have parking close to an electrical supply or  electrical outlet that can deliver the electricity needed.  than there is the cost of an electrician to bring a 220 line to your garage or driveway to make that connection.

The second is the range is only 100 miles for all-electric vehicles on a good day.  that takes the 30% that might be interested and cuts it 90% so that only 3% of all new vehicle purchases would actually buy an all-electric vehicle.

Remember the word I used above? A “Paradigm”. How things have traditionally been done…. obviously we have seen many advances in technology where shifting the Paradigm.. from types of cell phones to the changes in computers and the  cutting of wires making everything from TV’s to Computers to printers and gaming all wireless… all of these have been gradual change.. and will continue to take place. 

For the Automotive industry to make radical paradigm changes on the second most expensive thing most people will ever buy was just bad marketing mentality. People need a gradual change and one that does not involve additional work or expenses or equipment to make their expensive purchase function on this new world they are trying to sell us… Their hearts are in the right place… this  change away from gasoline and diesel for running Automobiles must take place for a whole range of reasons. but HOW they are going about it will only delay the success and cause financial hardships for most of these companies. 

The above thus reflects why hybrids are the most popular of electrical vehicles.

Some Background:

I started in this project almost 15 years ago.. from attempting to buy Citgo.. not for the refining but for their service stations… but for reasons of bad partnerships that were more interested in short-term gains on an actual oil buy/sell agreement with Venezuela that fell apart because of others greed.  The hardest part of changing a paradigm is getting people to believe in it…  and so I toiled watching Conaco and others shed themselves of the fueling stations that I wanted to transform… and knowing that the new independent companies would not invest in something new that would cost a lot for minimal returns sometimes in the future when these vehicles became popular… NO, my dream of using those fueling stations and having expensive pumping facilities in each one died a painful death… but I did not give up… 

I came to realize that if this was going to be successful I would need to keep the “paradigm” of individual habits of the consumers of the fuels mostly in place…  Later in this article I will give you my synopsis of where I believe this change in fuels can succeed and why. 

But let me get  back to the Alternative fuels and away now from Electric…. what about Natural gas… or for that  matter Hydrogen? Can they work.. and if so HOW?

Lets start with Hydrogen. Does anyone remember about 10 years ago when the then Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to promote them by placing a few filling station along a highway in hopes of getting California into the forefront… well that failed unfortunately as the demand for vehicles without many more filling stations and the lack of demand for the cars made their price too high.  This effort well-intentioned but unfortunately poorly planned.

While Hydrogen fueling pumps could be placed in many Fueling Stations there is the infrastructure required to bring that hydrogen to each station as well as the high cost of storage and pumping equipment which no one wants to do if there are not enough customers. 

The same can be said of Natural gas. While there are many ‘Homes” that “Could” refill their own with the proper but costly equipment and like those with Electric connectivity there are a smaller amount that would have natural gas close enough to where they park their vehicles at their homes to utilize this .. here the reliance on the traditional method of fueling and use of fueling stations  (again…  a paradigm) is in dead lock.. something I believe I have found a way to unblock and provide fueling of BOTH Hydrogen and Natural gas to vehicles.. but not in the traditions fueling pump found at fueling stations. 

Why can’t Natural Gas be provided in existing fueling stations? Well, there are two problems. Natural gas only flows through the pipelines at 60 PSI…  this would bean additional investment for the now independent Fueling (gas) Stations.  One to store large quantities of natural gas as it would not flow fast enough into your vehicle and second an investment in to the compressing equipment to make the gas flow faster into your vehicle. 

So these are the real problems facing the automotive industry.. it holds back innovation and stifles the change to the use of Natural gas and or Hydrogen fuel cells. .

A quick note on Hydrogen fuel cells:

Some people are under the misconception  that all they need is tap water to get hydrogen. FALSE! most tape water or well water had other things in it that would clog up your personal hydrogen generator unless you filtered out the water to a degree that the cost of doing it individually would become prohibited. While Exxon is working on an on-board hydrogen generator it is still years off and it is unknown if it would get the hydrogen from natural gas or water via a specialized system. IF they chose natural gas than this project fits well in their plans.. if not this project could be used to provide containerized filtered water for use in that generator. 

Before I get into the proposed solution I want to pay a quick tribute to other innovators and inventors out there that have had to deal with the inane nature of huge bureaucracies like I have. GM for example has a website for ideas submissions… but I loved it (sarcasm) when they wanted an “elevator” pitch in 1000 characters or less…. such a condensing of information was just NOT possible when it came to problem identification and proposed solutions. The larger the company the less truly innovative it is especially if the suggestions do not come from “Their” industry… this “halo” effect is what ultimately causes major companies to fall from grace and become antiquated. 

The proposed solution: 

I have devised a container that is light weight (grandmother can lift it) and can hold either Natural gas or Hydrogen at 25,000 PSI and is safe for vehicles. 

Additionally such pressure needed a specialized Nozzle that allows filling and controlled release at low quantities as needed.  

BOTH of these  components are patent ready and as such their material composition and design are not being released. 

The containers are designed for easy exchange in less than 2 minutes and all have RF chips for tracking at the manufacturing, distribution and filling locations.

These containers can be refilled at roughly 500 locations around the USA and from  there they can be placed in over 100,000 “fueling Stations” in less than 2 years.

I have the distribution network of 500 refilling depots and they can be fully operational within 6 months at all locations.

Believe it is possible to fix the rate of Natural Gas for the Canisters for 5 years.

The change in the paradigm is ONLY the opening of the slot on the vehicle and take out the old canister and insert the new one such that existing  fueling stations can still be utilized and no special equipment is necessary for the filling station (except for the rack) nor the vehicle owner making the paradigm shift that much easier on the ultimate consumer. 

My advantage is not just in the design of the canisters but in the extensive distribution network.  A generous tax incentive is expected despite the divide in congress because of the benefits to the strategic partners. This is a win for every participant  from manufactures and owners to gas companies and employment.. but I don’t have to prove that… all you have to do is have eyes to see and a brain to contemplate the financial and stockholder benefits such a comprehensive plan could be for the companies that take advantage first.

A business plan and list of potential strategic Partners to facilitate the program for mutual benefit but no capital is necessary to establish this program unless principals want to participate in revenue streams over time and that is open for discussion obviously.

So this is the story of nearly 15 years of labor and though process and trying to figure out what would be good for everyone.. and yes I am included in that.. but there is no other reasonable and implementable program than this that i have been able to see. One with the least cost to everyone and the least risk and yet the maximum financial benefits.  I hope it one day gets picked up… I am not going to go after anyone else before Christmas as I did submit to GM.. but in 2014 I will make a much harder approach to others in the industry.. and hope ti finds a home.

To find out more about Craig Eisele follow the link on the top right hand corner  of the page above this article titled “About Craig Eisele”.

And always remember:

IF YOU CANNOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM YOU ARE FACING… THEN YOU ARE FACING THE WRONG PROBLEM….

CHANGE THE DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM TO FIND SUITABLE IMPLEMENTABLE SOLUTIONS. 

December 15, 2013

Motley Fool Hypothesizes Why There Are Not More Natural Gas Cars; And I Tell You the Real Reason Upfront

Keep this in mind when you are reading this article from Motley Fool: 

BUT I PERSONALLY KNOW :
Auto makers will not make huge numbers if there is no infrastructure to fill every town and no self-respecting gas station owner or operator would invest in the required pumping equipment and logistically the normal pipelines are 60 psi so it would take some time to refill IF you could get natural gas to your location… but what has surprised me more is the failure of everyone in the automotive industry and even in some in the gas industry that there is a very new and complete proprietary system to facilitate the immediate roll out of a structure that would be available in over 100,000 + locations around the USA within 2 years and with sufficient low-cost natural gas to supply more than 10 million passenger vehicles with natural gas in less than 2 years.. but it seems nobody wants to admit or even to acknowledge there is such a strategic business plan that has been shopped to the powers to be with absolutely no response… The only reason I can figure is that these powers are too arrogant to realize that a separate infrastructure unaffiliated with automotive or oil companies or even filling stations can make this entire thing happen. (1 GGE is 126 cuft Natural gas and this system can handle a 12-16 GGE refill in about 3-4 minutes) (GGE is Gallon of Gasoline Equivalent ) and yes, your great-grandmother can do it. And my real secret it can be used to distribute Hydrogen for Fuel Cell Vehicles as well and just as fast. 

PLEASE GO TO THE ORIGINAL Motley Fool ARTICLE AT THE LINK BELOW: 

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/12/15/why-natural-gas-powered-cars-still-havent-seen-exp.aspx

 

Why Natural Gas Powered Cars Still Haven’t Seen Explosive Sales

By Travis Hoium | More Articles | Save For Later
December 15, 2013 | Comments (15)

Just a year or two ago it appeared that the natural gas vehicle could begin competing with the conventional vehicle for consumers around the country. Natural gas was cheaper than gasoline, the fuel burns cleaner, and some of the infrastructure to make it a viable gasoline alternative was already being developed.

But car companies are now pushing electric and hydrogen vehicles far more than natural gas powered ones. So, what happened to natural gas vehicles, and do they have a future?

The trucking industry loves natural gas
There are companies growing natural gas fuel successfully. One business trying to do this is the trucking industry and Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE  ) , who builds fueling stations and other infrastructure, including the Natural Gas Highway, a network of fueling stations around the country. So far, the adoption is slow but it’s picking up steam. The company recently said its customers ordered 70% more fuel in the first nine months of this year than a year ago.

Compressed natural gas Ford F-150. Image courtesy of Ford.

Westport Innovations (NASDAQ: WPRT  ) is making the natural gas engine technology and components that drive this new trucking fleet and, again, progress is steady. Revenue was up 51% to $30.7 million last quarter and the company is working with CumminsVolvo,Ford  (NYSE: F  ) , and others to expand vehicle offerings.

While there’s some success in the trucking market, it hasn’t turned into a lot of genuine interest from auto buyers, or even automakers for that matter. There are a number of challenges that natural gas autos face that electric or hydrogen vehicles don’t.

No appeal to tree huggers
One of the challenges selling people on natural gas is that it doesn’t appeal to your typical early-mover crowd. Hybrids in their early days appealed to the environmentally conscious type because they use fewer fossil fuels to power their cars. That same appeal powers electric-vehicle sales today; EVs can get energy via something like solar panels, thus eliminating all fossil fuel emissions. Someone with the disposable income available to buy an electric vehicle doesn’t see the same benefit being offered by natural gas.

Infrastructure isn’t widespread
The bigger challenge facing natural gas vehicles is that refueling stations aren’t widespread across the country. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are only 632 compressed natural gas stations and just 42 liquefied natural gas stations in the U.S. That compares to 6,883 electric charging stations for public use.

Thousands more natural gas fueling stations and additional compressed or liquefied natural gas plants would be needed to make this a viable fuel source. From an infrastructure standpoint, that puts natural gas well behind electric when it comes to ease of building infrastructure for vehicles.

Cost savings can’t save natural gas
I don’t question that natural gas fuel costs less than gasoline, which is the biggest selling point for natural gas vehicles. That’s the reason the trucking industry finds natural gas attractive and why Ford is trying to sell a natural gas F-150. But the infrastructure needed to make natural gas a viable option for the rest of us would cost billions of dollars.

When comparing the potential of natural gas with that of electric, the hurdles for EVs are far lower. At the end of the day, I don’t think natural gas will catch on beyond the trucking fleets.

 

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How to Vaccinate yourself from Statistical Idiocracy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 1:26 am

Statistics used badly to generate a case that could never have been made had an honest statistical analysis had been used. Such is the way of the internet today forced results of a flawed statistical study to validate a point that is not valid. Yet people read this nonsense and believe because it is on the internet. HOW SHALLOW and disruptive to any real discussion of facts and honest analysis of issues

The following is important not only to show outright fraud that has been disseminated around the glob  in the proffered analysis and is  hence dissected herein to also show how such fraud is perpetrated and how something that needs to be accurate can actually kill people if false information is believed. 

Here is an Internet story was Julia Ioffe writing in The New Republic about her whooping-cough.  As she points out, whooping-cough (also known as pertussis) had almost disappeared in the United States, but cases are on the rise. One reason speculated  is that a growing number of Americans are refusing to vaccinate their children.

As expected by anyone who has ever seen vaccination discussed on the Internet, Ioffe’s comments section rapidly filled with anti-vaccine cranks. Some approach from the right, with claims of personal autonomy that trump even the libertarian night-watchman state’s power of quarantine. Others come from a narcissistic pseudo-Green belief that their Superman immune systems, fortified with expensive supplements, can take on all those pesky germs. How dare we ordinary people complain that in reality they are free-riding on our assuming the non-zero (albeit small) risks of vaccination! [Note: autism is not one of these risks.]

Either way the denialists have a major statistical problem: the near-eradication of several diseases in the course of vaccination campaigns. Flailing attempts to solve this problem include: Big Pharma has persuaded doctors to reclassify paralytic polio as something else; sanitation and hygiene improved; the disease rates were going down before vaccines; and people who are vaccinated still get sick (no one, of course, denied this).

No pseudo-scientific campaign is complete without pseudo-statistical nonsense, and in following the antivac links I encountered some real doozies. A few of them are generalizable to bad statistical reasoning in general, so for the details and maybe a good laugh, follow below the cronut.

1. Easy Warm-up — What’s wrong here?

Chart of polio cases over time

Sorry about the poor jpeg, but if I made this mistake, I’d use a low-quality format too. This chart is supposed to show that polio incidence went up after vaccination.

This is strong evidence showing that the Polio vaccine is not responsible for the decline and should negate the belief and statement that the Polio vaccine demonstrates vaccine success. Below, see research that reflects what it stated above.

Now get out your magnifying glass. The chart shows the introduction of the vaccine against diphtheria and pertussis but the Y-axis measures the number of cases of polio! You would think someone would have noticed this before spreading the chart to three different slickly produced antivac web sites, with many links from Facebook and Twitter. In case you were wondering, the polio vaccine was introduced at just the time this chart ends, 1954 and 1955. And they end their chart because polio cases sink like a rock: from 36,000 in 1953 to under 200 in 1961.2. Missing Data Are Data They Don’t Want You To See
The anti-vacers pick the narrative back up in 1961. We shall see why the 1950s got disappeared.

In 1977, Dr Jonas Salk, who developed the first polio vaccine, testified along with other scientists that mass inoculation against polio was the cause of most polio cases throughout the USA since 1961 [Emphasis added].

Quite true! The Salk vaccine could cause polio; indeed one of the first batches was screwed up by the lab and caused ten deaths and much illness before being identified and withdrawn. But we’re talking about “most” of 100 cases, 10 cases, and in recent years no cases whatsoever. The author is trying to leave the false impression that it’s most of the tens of thousands of cases from the early 1950s. Here is the real picture.

Polio cases in USA 1951-2003

Polio cases 1951–2003

3. A Little Bit of Data is a Dangerous Thing
Obviously, looking at that last graph, something happened around 1954. An alternative (in every sense) explanation is that doctors substituted diagnoses of aseptic meningitis for polio.Here’s their evidence (using the word loosely).

Date Viral or Aseptic Meningitis Polio
July 1955 50 273
July 1961 161 65
July 1963 151 31
September 1966 256 5
October 1966 312 3

Oh, and these numbers are only Los Angeles County! Why do you suppose five months for just one county were cherry-picked out of years of data? Why does the Nigerian guy want your bank data? It’s a swindle: all you have to do is wait for a local outbreak of aseptic meningitis after 1955 from some cause other than polio, and presto, a data point. Unfortunately for this theory, recent data for viral meningitis in Los Angeles are online, and between 2008 and 2011 the largest number of cases in any month was 102, and the mean (average) less than 50, notwithstanding that the population increased by half. So what are they diagnosing polio as now? Chopped liver? Like most conspiracy theories, this one falls apart fast under scrutiny.

4. You Say Morbidity, I Say Mortality, Let’s Call the While Thing Off

Another frequently cited  antivac web site explains “there is no credible scientific evidence that the vaccine caused polio to disappear.” This claim’s original source is a parenting book by eccentric pediatrician Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, who, despite the importance he gave to diet over medicine, died aged 62 from a heart attack complicated by diabetes. Pro-vaccine Dr. Spock lived to 94. For some reason, Dr. Mendelsohn did not accompany his statement that polio declined in European countries that did not vaccinate as fast those that did with any data or even a source citation. The web site, however, continues with this remarkable chart.

Polio death rates

Polio death rates

This is a chart of polio mortality, i.e., death rates, normalized to 1920=100%. This is a bait and switch: polio vaccination reduces morbidity, i.e., the number of cases. Both our chart and, ironically, the chart somehow claiming that the diphtheria-pertussis vaccine caused more cases of polio agree that polio morbidity was climbing. One reason for the steep decline after 1920 is the invention of the Iron Lung, that saved the lives of polio victims who would otherwise have died on the spot. Patients also had better access to doctors and hospitals and, for the latter half of this chart, antibiotic treatment of secondary infections. Why this is a point against polio vaccination which can drive mortality all the way down to zero is a complete mystery—unless, of course, the idea is to fool you into thinking that in the pre-vaccine era polio morbidity, with associated permanent paralysis, was going to zero at the same time, even when their own adjacent chart shows the opposite. Death was not the only life-changing outcome from polio: there were 20,000 cases of permanent paralysis from polio in the United States, just in 1952.

5. At the Last Gasp, Botch the Math

Given the evidence that the number of cases of these diseases declined drastically after the introduction of vaccines, antivac-ers tend to change the subject. Their reasoning skills, however, don’t improve.

Table 1 at the end of Dr Witt’s document shows the percent of cases in the vaccinated, and it as follows: 86% age 2-7, 86% age 8-12, 62% age 13-18, 81% age 2-18. So now you know who gets more pertussis. It is not the unvaccinated.

The implication is that the pertussis vaccine doesn’t work, but the correct conclusion is that the pertussis vaccine does not always work. (No one ever claimed otherwise.) The numbers here are about what we expect when the vaccine is only 80% effective. Let’s do the math.

Take 1000 kids. 95% vac rate. Make the vaccine 80% effective. That says the susceptible population is 50 un-vaccinated kids and 190 unsuccessfully vaccinated kids. That means that, on average, the cohort of sick kids will be 190/240=79% vaccinated! In other words, the very fact that the number of unvac-ed kids is minuscule makes it more likely that those kids who do get sick come from unsuccessful vaccinations.

For vaccines that are more effective, even this seeming paradox does not occur. In the recent measles outbreak in the New York Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, every victim was un-vaccinated, either too young or by refusal!

The percentage to look at is not the number of vaccinated children in the sick group, but the comparative likelihood that an unvaccinated child gets sick. Dr. Witt’s complete study is available free online. The very same Table 1 shows that un-vaccinated or under-vaccinated children were, with 99% significance, twice as likely to get sick. Indeed, that was the purpose of Table 1; see the screenshot for yourself. 

Vaccines work.

Pertussis cases in Marin County outbreak by vaccination status

The author of this particular antivac travesty is a genuine M.D. turned quack. You can not become a doctor in the United States without a statistics class; in fact, she needed to understand the table well enough to derive the fact the majority of sick children were correctly vaccinated. So, why would she do this? A trip through antivac country shows that not only do they not believe vaccines work, they don’t want vaccines to work. The reasoning behind this selfish, fortunately false, belief is a good essay for another day.

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