It seems that Bill Gates doesn’t fully understand what our basic needs are as human beings. As I wrote in my post on the subject, the ability to connect and communicate with one another is one of the most important of our natural needs. Gates apparently just can’t bring himself to realize what kind of impact connectivity to the Internet will have on the improvement of people’s lives. From here:
Gates described initiatives by Facebook and Google to position online connectivity as a humanitarian concern as ‘a joke’
While Gates, 58, said technology is ‘amazing’, he doesn’t believe it is on the ‘first five rungs’ of basic human needs.
‘I certainly love the IT thing,’ Gates told The Financial Times. ‘But when we want to improve lives, you’ve got to deal with more basic things like child survival, child nutrition.’
‘PCs are not, in the hierarchy of human needs, in the first five rungs,’ he added.
Gates’ comments come just a few months after Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook wants to get more of the world’s more than seven billion people online through a partnership with some of the world’s largest mobile technology companies.
Known as Internet.org, the initiative was launched in August and also includes South Korean electronics giant Samsung, Finnish handset maker Nokia and wireless chip maker Qualcomm.
Today, November 5th 2013, millions of people worldwide will march in the streets of their cities to promote ideas for a new and better world. A world where the freedom of every single individual is truly respected. A world where honesty and the truth are valued. A world where knowledge is free to flow without restrictions, empowering every single human being on this planet, and enabling them to reach their highest potentials.
Even if you are not among those of us marching in the streets today, think long and hard about the world you want to leave behind for your children. Our civil liberties are constantly being threatened; we cannot afford to continue to stand by and watch it happen any longer. The system we live in is fundamentally corrupted. The system is against us. The system enslaves us.
Let us remind this world what it has forgotten; that fairness, justice and freedom are more than just words. A new and higher awareness and collective consciousness is developing on this planet. Nothing can remain hidden.
Knowledge is FREE.
The Corrupt Fear Us.
The Honest Support Us.
The Heroic Join Us.
We Are Anonymous.
We Are Legion.
We Do Not Forgive.
We Do Not Forget.
So there’s this girl that I got to know a while ago. I started talking to her online, found out she had a very nice personality, and it got to a point where I wanted to meet her to see what she’s really like in person. One day I invited her to come along on one of my personal photowalks so that we could meet in person, walk around and chat a bit. She agreed and we decided that we’d do it the following week on a Wednesday in the afternoon at 5 ‘o clock. However at that time we were in the rainy season, so in the days leading up to our meeting the weather was very bad. It literally rained all day long every day. And I can remember her being concerned about the weather, and mentioning that we’d probably not be able to meet. My reply to her each time was not to worry, and that if we were destined to meet on that day, it would happen and the weather would clear up for us. Of course she laughed at me and thought I was being silly. So I told her to just wait and see. And lo and behold, that Wednesday afternoon as the time for our meeting approached, it suddenly stopped raining. Now, just like her, you may initially think that I got lucky, but there’s more.
Mark Zuckerberg’s — or Fuckerberg, as I like to refer to him in such instances — war against female nipples on Facebook just got even more hypocritical. From the Guardian:
So now we know. In Facebook’s world, a beheading is OK but an exposed nipple is not. The social media behemoth has decided that a 13-year-old – for that is the permitted minimum age of a Facebook user – can watch a video of a decapitation, but must be protected from the potentially scarring effects of seeing a breastfeeding mother and child briefly pause for breath.
How else to read its latest decision to lift restrictions in place since May and allow users once again to post head-chopping videos, even as it maintains its ban on images of the most mild form of naturally occurring nudity? (“Photos that show a fully exposed breast where the child is not actively engaged in nursing do violate the Facebook terms” is how the site puts it.)
Really, what the fuck is it with Fuckerberg and female nipples? And why is Fuckerberg allowed to get away with such blatant hypocrisy for so long? It’s not just pictures of breast feeding women that get banned on Facebook, but even cartoons and artistic nude photo’s featuring female nipples. Obviously male nipples are perfectly OK seeing as how Fuckerberg’s own nipples were allowed to be shared on Facebook.
I saw an interesting article on Business Insider today about a proposal that is being considered in Switzerland to implement an unconditional basic income for everyone living there:
Recently, there has been a spate of popular initiatives designed to curb inequality in the country. Earlier this year Swiss voters agreed to an idea proposed by entrepreneur Thomas Minder that limited executive (in his words, “fat cat”) salaries of companies listed on the Swiss stock market. Next month voters will decide on the 1:12 Initiative, which aims to limit the salaries of CEOs to 12 times the salary of their company’s lowest paid employee.
There’s a crazier proposal than this, however. Earlier this month an initiative aimed at giving every Swiss adult a ”basic income” that would “ensure a dignified existence and participation in the public life of the whole population” gained enough support to qualify for a referendum. The amount suggested is 2,500 francs ($2,800) a month.
While most observers think that the vote is a longshot, it has certainly sparked debate — and not just in Switzerland. Writing for USA Today, Duncan Black said that a “minimum income” should be considered for the U.S.
“It’s pretty clear that the most efficient way to improve the lives of people is to guarantee a minimum income,” Black concludes.
I often wonder why it is that after all these years, we haven’t managed to figure out how to structure our societies in such a way where every human being on this planet could at the very least have access to the basic human needs for his entire life. Just recently I blogged about why the poor get poorer and the rich continue to get richer, and it’s very clear that this is because of the way the economic system is set up so that a constantly smaller elite benefits from what is essentially the enslavement of the rest of the population. We’ve reached a point now where this abhorrent situation of inequality is not going to be tolerated much longer, and the kinds of developments discussed in the above mentioned article clearly show this.
I was standing at the waterfront in Paramaribo at dusk about to take this picture, when a homeless guy walked up to me to ask me for some money. He stood next to me while I continued to look at the sky and waited for the light to get more interesting. At the same time I listened to him while he explained that he was really hungry, hadn’t eaten for a while and would really love to buy himself a good meal. He then proceeded to describe in great detail what kind of food he would buy and how he had been longing for a while now to be able to enjoy the taste of such a meal again. I’m used to homeless people asking me for some spare change, but the kind of food this guy wanted to buy would easily cost at least 20 times more compared to what they usually ask for. I got curious and started asking him questions about his background and family, trying to find out how he got into the situation he’s in right now.
After a short conversation during which he answered my questions I put down my camera, reached for my wallet, took out some money and gave it to him. I gave him enough to be able to buy at least two of the meals he described to me. He looked at the money in his hands, looked at me, and then as he clearly started to feel a little emotional and couldn’t look me in the eyes anymore, looked away over the river. Since I’m not very good at handling emotional situations, I looked away over the river too and took another couple of snaps. After a minute or so when his emotions subsided a little he looked at me again and expressed his gratitude with a trembling voice. I gave him a smile and nodded, but started to feel really sad on the inside.
I was already picked up so I told him I had to leave, said goodbye and walked towards the car that was parked further away in the distance. Half way to the car I heard him calling me from behind, so I stopped and turned around. He walked up to me and said, “My brother, be very careful ok? Don’t let anyone ever do you any harm. Ok?” I think I must have looked surprised at first, wondering why he felt the need to tell me that (*), but then I smiled and nodded and continued walking towards the car. I felt more depressed than usual, felt guilty in a way, and started wondering again, as I often do, why I had to live in such a cruel world. I got inside the car and the driver looked at me and asked where I wanted to go. I sighed deeply and answered, “Take me home.”
(*) Days later my dad would tell me about a dream my mom had, where she saw me wading through a very dirty place in thick mud, and told me I should probably be careful. Coincidence? Perhaps. Certainly interesting seeing as how there was a single bird flying high up against the dramatic and stormy looking sky in the above picture.
Russia Today did a cool interview with Steve Wozniak that you might want to check out. One part that I found interesting was where he talked about learning around 6:25 in:
When I worked for Hewlett Packard designing all the Apple stuff they had a policy in the company that was written, and it said that an engineer could have parts out of his storeroom — chips and things like that — for devices of his own design with supervisor approval. Well you know what, to borrow a few dollars worth of chips and build something up even for yourself for your home is increasing your mind in a way that you couldn’t get the same sort of learning from a university course and it would cost a lot more.
Looking at the image of the global wealth pyramid above, it’s sickening to realize what it actually means. As mentioned on Business Insider:
[...] it shows how 32 million people, representing 0.7% of the world’s adult, population control $98.7 trillion or about 41% of the world’s wealth.
On the base of the pyramid we see that 3.2 billion people, representing 68.7% of the world’s adult population, control just 3% of the world’s wealth, or about $7.3 trillion.
The below video also does a great job illustrating this global wealth inequality.
At a time when it’s very often possible for me to go from being really impressed with a photo I took to thinking it sucks within the scope of just one minute (don’t ask), I think older work that still manages to impress me is probably really special in a way. Especially since I often cringe when I look at my older work. To me this photo has kind of a cinematic feel to it. Certainly the colors and shadows add to the dramatic look. And what makes it interesting are the 4 layers visible that add depth to the photo, the sharpest layer being the main subject — the fishermen heading back to their boat. The other layers are out of focus and have kind of a soft look, making the photo have kind of a dreamy feel to it. What also makes the scene interesting is one of the fishermen in the small boat gesturing with his hand to the other.
I still remember being by myself, quietly standing there and watching this scene unfold. It was a good day.
This image of an egret flying to its nest at dusk all by itself reminds me of the fact that life can be very lonely. And ironically life can become very lonely when you try to live an honest life. Common sense would lead you to expect the opposite; that life would be lonely if you lied and cheated your way through it, but the reality is different. More often than not it seems that you can only get what you want and succeed in life if you lie and cheat very often. Indeed you learn from experience that the system you live in actually encourages such behavior by design. Instead of being rewarded for being honest and true, things get more difficult for you and you may even get punished. You may eventually even find yourself isolated. And then you’re practically alone on your journey through life, not consciously knowing where it’s leading to, but having a faint realization deep inside you that once the journey ends you’ll find yourself back at home.