Nov 23-29 2014

[another last-minute insertion but not a TaN] I usually do not read comments about what I write in my blog, but by accident and out of curiosity, I tried reading the (unsolicited but not necessarily unwanted or unappreciated) comments and I would like to express my deep gratitude for the wonderful comments written.  I never expected to find people who will comment on my work, much less give positive ones.  I am deeply touched.  I hope my subsequent TaNs will continue to serve you (and any and all future readers) well.  May you find something useful in what I write to benefit you and all of mankind.  I share and share freely, as commanded in the Holy Scriptures in Matthew 10:8, “…freely ye have received, freely give“.  May my hope and dream of a better world for all come true — no animosity, no wealthy nor poor, no ignorance, no fear, no doubts, no misery, no strangers (just friends we have not yet met)…  Praise and all glory to God.

[last-minute insertion] TaN: From “9 HK journalists who heckled Noy blacklisted, but not for APEC” (NEWS, The Philippine STAR, November 23, 2014, pa 10 in the broadsheet) by Evelyn MACAIRAN, it reported that “A footage showed the journalists shouting at Aquino: ‘So, you’re ignoring the Hong Kong people, right?’” in response to “reporters demanded to know whether he would meet with Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-Ying in Bali and apologize to the families of the victims of the Luneta park hostage crisis in August 2010“.

Assuming these are factual, it would appear that the reporters had very little regard or respect for a president when they (arrogantly) “demanded” and that they are also apparently were “trying to put words in the president’s mouth” when the president did not respond to their arrogance.  It was right for the president to just walk past these so-called reporters because they did not show any courtesy.  To even answer with a “no comment” would be giving the reporters more than they deserve.

However, in a more “civilized ambush interview”, if I were the president, I would first ask what the reporters meant by “ignoring” — after all, their definition may be different from mine.  Just because the president did not meet up with the HK leader does not necessarily mean that the former is ignoring the latter (who is supposedly representing the HK people).  There could be a myriad of reasons, like there was never a scheduled meeting or one is not expected to go out of one’s way to have a meeting — perhaps the other leader is busy with his own itinerary.

It is bad taste — not to mention unethical — for reporters, even if it is in the pursuit of their duty, to allude to or make readers think or conclude in a certain way when there are many possible explanations that can show otherwise.  Reporters should still be conscious at all times of their work ethic and not lead the public into a biased conclusion — especially if it is all for media mileage or sensationalism.  It is just not done.

TaN: What is the ethics in crowdsourcing?  It is ingenious to harness the creativity and untapped talents of the public for ideas.  However, ethics come in when the ideas are used and the originators/sources are not properly and fairly compensated.  In addition, the originators/sources should be given due credit and acknowledgement plus have intellectual property rights.

Actually, crowdsourcing is what the hacker and the free and open software movement have been advocating and doing all this time.  Software — including source code — is written and given away for free for all to share.  Should there be flaws or bugs, users are encouraged to make and contribute their own changes and corrections and share freely with others.

The argument here is that the more people participate in the development (and evolutionary) process, the more brain power working on the kinks, the greater chance of success.  This is in direct contrast and contradiction to the argument of proprietary and intellectual property advocates who argue open systems do not provide security — but this argument is repeatedly and consistently being proven false by the countless cyber attacks, intrusions, and malware.

There is nothing wrong with crowdsourcing, just make sure that proper credit and acknowledgement is accorded to the originator/source/creator and not the one doing the crowdsouring, just compensation (inclusive proportionally of the income/revenue generated) is given to the originator/source/creator for as long as and whenever the idea is used, and proprietary rights are not deprived from the originator/source/creator.

TaN: Every now and then, when I look at animals in nature, I envy them for their simple lives: eat, sleep, play — though oftentimes our perception of their “easy” lives fail to see the constant difficulty of catching their food (for carnivores) and to elude being eaten (for herbivores and smaller animals).  I suddenly came to this when I was watching a documentary showing dolphins frolicking and playfully racing each other near the surface of the water and bursting through the air.  They seem so care-free.  The adage — Ignorance is bliss — is very apt for animals, especially for those that have adapted to life with man (i.e., pets).  This is most true among cats, even strays.

Speaking of cats, I always have the urge to “ruffle” cats whenever I see them smugly perched atop somewhere, sleeping the day away.  They seem so at peace with nary a care in the world and me with so many responsibilities and obligations.  It is indeed very enviable.  Sometimes I think cats have the best lives of all — what with it (the cat) being such a graceful and “perfect” hunter, with ever-sharp, retractable claws, stretchable spine, padded fur-lined paws, see-in-the-dark eyes and quick-adjusting eye lenses, responsive and pivotable ears, whiskers to enhance sensitivity to movements through the air, and an incredible ability to twist and turn in mid-air to ensure landing on its feet most of the time.

Truly, as someone once said, Heavy is the head that wears the crown.  The more knowledgeable one is, the greater is one’s responsibility (to be righteous and be an example to and for others to emulate) — especially for leaders, who should be the epitome of humility, of service, of fairness, of magnanimity, of compassion, of generosity, and of dedication and commitment, among many more admirable qualities.

I guess it is the price one has to pay for having free will and the power of discernment.

TaN: Rights and responsibilities — the latter is integral and inseparable and should never be apart from the former, lest it becomes unjust and evil — are endowed and exercised precisely to ensure that one does not encorach into another’s enjoyment of life.  Rights and responsibilities are inseparable.  Rights without responsibilities is anarchy, while responsibilities without rights are burdens that will only make our lives miserable and (practically) unbearable.

Most people do not comprehend the intricacies and interrelationship between rights and responsibilities.  Rights are entitlements, meaning that people are entitled or guaranteed to possess and exercise.  Rights endow people with the freedom, ability, or privilege to certain behavior or acts and these rights are protected.

Responsibilities complement rights and puts a limitation to its exercise.  Responsibilities ensure that rights are not abused or mis-used and one does not trespass into other people’s rights.  It is said that: One man’s right is another man’s responsibility.  It is the responsibility of people to respect other people’s rights.

Recently (as in a few years ago), in the USA, there has been a rash of changes in the aspect of rights where rights have been “extended” to those who are not qualified — as in corporations, animals, and even inanimate things.  This is an attempt to endow those otherwise not qualified to enjoy and exercise rights and privileges only intended for and available to the qualified.

Rights are only intended for those who have — or will eventually have or gain — the ability to exercise and defend them.  In this argument, only people can have rights and only the living.  Rights cannot be extended to animals because they cannot exercise them — not the way that people do.  Moreover, rights can only be endowed on those who can be held responsible.  Animals cannot be held responsible.

As for corporations, just like animals, unless and until there is a concrete means of holding corporations responsible for acts and behavior, rights and privileges cannot be extended to them.  There has yet to be a case or instance when a corporation is tried and put in jail for the death of an individual, whereas a person can easily be made to answer for his/her actions.

Moreover, rights have been and continue to be abused and mis-used by Big Business.  Instead of outright selling and transferrring ownership to the purchaser, Big Business has now learned to “lease out” rights for the use of their products — in effect, retaining sole and absolute ownership of their products.  This is most evident in the case of software — where, in effect, the user merely shells out money to gain the right to use a software but not its ownership.  This ensures that Big Business can (legally) dictate to the market/consumer how and to what extent s/he can use a product, because Big Business still owns its product.

It is absolutely and very important that people not take and talk only about their rights but understand the responsibilities that go with them.  One cannot have rights if one cannot be responsible for them.

TaN: With the continued advancement in electronics technology, people are readily and eagerly but unwittingly accepting and even demanding for greater convenience at the expense of control and autonomy.  This is very evident — though not to most people — in the “backdoors” that Big Tech builds into their technology that enables remote access to consumer products.

Having remote access to products has its advantages but only if and when there is a need to troubleshoot remotely and the troubleshooter is genuinely and sincerely trying to offer and provide assistance.  However, the “dark side” of remote access is if and when a tech savvy cracker — take note: “cracker” and not “hacker”, the latter of which is a benevolent techie who frequently and unhesitatingly offer technical assistance to others — decides and succeeds in gaining access and take control.

Today, most people would, without a moment’s hesitation, trade control for convenience.  This is normally harmless, but this would be so in days of yore.  The world today is under constant (unwanted, undeserved, uninvited) and unbridled surveillance — a clear violation of the rights of privacy and against scrutiny — with the various intelligence agencies of the so-called Five Eyes (USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada) encircling the planet with a global network to troll every electronic or cyber communication across all networks and with the witting or reluctant participation or connivance of the biggest tech giants and social media.  [But I digress.]

Back to the topic at hand, just like anything, whether natural-occuring or man-made, the beneficial or detrimental impact depends entirely on the manner in which it is used.  The potential for improving people’s lives or for inflicting incredible misery is tempting and great.  Because of this, we must answer the question, Is gaining comfort and convenience worth the risk of losing control, especially over important things in one’s life (like secrets, privacy, autonomy)?

It would not be so bad had intelligence agencies not been revealed to be so “interested” in everyone’s affairs, snooping and prying into every aspect of every person’s life (globally) and taking action arbitrarily and unilaterally, without the slightest tinge of guilt or remorse or repentance — using killer drones to terminate people summarily and anyone who was unlucky enough to be nearby to become collateral damage.

Havng remote access to gadgets and devices for our convenience is the stuff of utopias but can quickly become the most frightful of nightmares when another gains unsolicited access for personal gains or malicious intentions.

TaN: People who permit or rely on business to tell — dictate to — them what to do and how to behave is setting themselves up for disaster and misery.  Business, by its nature or design, will never have the welfare of consumers at heart — regardless of how noble and praise-worthy their mission-vision is.  By “business” I am referring to contemporary business and not how “ancient” business originally started out.

I am reminded of commercial advertisements involving skin pigment alteration, where people with dark complexion living among predominantly fair-complexioned people or vice versa wittingly permit themselves to be “bullied” into changing their skin complexion — where the climate says otherwise.  People living in temperate regions should have fair complexions, living in tropical regions should have dark(er) complexions, and living in polar regions should have white complexion.  This is nature’s design to ensure they will not only survive but be healthy.

Tropical regions have greater sunlight intensity so the dark skin pigment — melatonin — provides protection against sunburn and skin damage and even skin cancer.  To insist on whitening the skin only invites detrimental consequences.  For polar regions where sunlight is weakest, a white complexion ensures maximumized benefit from sun exposure to harvest valuable natural vitamin D(3) for strong bones, anti-depression, immune activation and fortification, and cognitive boosting benefits, among others.

Dark complexioned people living in temperate or polar regions often suffer from osteopenia or worse osteoporosis, while fair and white complexioned people living in tropical regions are frequently victims of skin problems and maladies.  These self-inflicted ailments are avoidable but because people permit themselves to be influenced and manipulated, they have no one else to blame but themselves if and when they develop ailments and problems.

In these times, one would be a fool to rely completely on others to make decisions — such a terrible waste of God’s gift.  It would be better to exchange your perfectly functioning brain with that of anyone in those mental asylums and institutions.

Furthermore, it is especially disastrous to entrust one’s decisions to (today’s) business, especially the important ones — whose purpose or objective is profit and many would do anything, including resorting to deception and fraud, for profit.  Doing so leaves one vulnerable and open to being taken advantaged of.  There is no logic in putting onne’s faith in someone or company whose primary (and frequently sole) purpose is to profit.  One’s welfare nd interest will (almost) always come in conflict with their (profit) motive.

This is akin to an earlier TaN where I discussed that inviting foreign investors/investments should be the least priority and optional.  The argument is because the foreign investors come only for the profit.  If they are able to provide assistance to the host country — like in creating additional employment or infusing money to add to the economy — this is often an unintended benefit and absolutely no credit or gratitude should be given to the foreign investors.  They invest because the profit climate is good and for no other reason.  Any mention of benevolent intentions are but lip service and are mere empty words.  Once the profit conditions turn even just slightly against their interests, they pack up, take everything that is not nailed down, and move to another country — who may be offering better incentives (i.e., greater profits and easy pickings).

The best thing to do when it comes to inviting or encouraging investmets to spur economic growth is directed to local investors.  Even local investors to (also) invest abroad, for as long as the first prirority is the homeland, there is nothing wrong in investing in others too.  As they say, Charity begins at home…but it should not end there.

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