Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: Project Savior on Drugs

With General McChrystal resigning from the war on Afghanistan, Americans are remembering we have a war in Afghanistan. A few are even wondering why we are losing, or at least not winning.

A big problem that American politicians see in the war is the drug-lords who can use drug money to fight our troops. They can also use their drug connections to influence any Afghan politician who is using drugs. If we could just identify the Afghan politicians who are using drugs the war would turn around.

People who have been to Afghanistan have come up with a pretty simple test to check if an Afghan is using drugs, Are they from Afghanistan? If so they are probably on drugs.

Pretty much from the time of the Civil War America has been the most anti recreational drug country on Earth, and during the 40 year, “War on Drugs” we have gotten more so. Despite the direct costs of roughly $77 Billion dollars a year to the US Government the number of people who have used drugs remains about 85%. That’s in the US where there is a pretty heavy social stigma against drug use.

In Afghanistan everyone uses drugs bringing the War on Drugs to them is stupid. If we haven’t won that fight over here, how on Earth are we going to stop the Afghan’s from using drugs?

Still destroying the drug trade in Afghanistan is one of the goals in the war. Since nobody has a realistic idea of how to do that the war is lost as long as that remains a goal.

The war in Afghanistan is already the longest in US history. How much longer will we need to be over there pushing a program that hasn’t worked in the US and certainly won’t work in a place where the entire culture has evolved around the use of recreational drugs.

We could easily win the war in Afghanistan if we decided to admit defeat in the War on Drugs. If recreational drugs like Marijuana were to become legal in the US the Afghan drug lords would be fighting to be our allies so they could take advantage of that market.

It would also help the US economy as when you start taking in tens of billions in tax revenue, and hundreds of billions in savings on the Wars on Drugs and Afghanistan pretty soon you are talking real money.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Monday, June 28, 2010

Any of my Kentucky readers please help

I’ve whined and complained about the Mainstream Media a lot. But the owner of one of the blogs I read actually does stuff about it.

Barefoot and Progressive is a Lexington, KY based blog that is unlike most Political Blogs, or local newspapers, because the site’s owner goes out and talks to the people he talks about.

Often times he gets stories that the local newspapers don’t bother with. It is the very example of good Blogging/Journalism.

Unfortunately, his work takes money to support it. I’m asking all of my readers, especially the ones that live in Kentucky to give him a little support by at least visiting his site to drive his numbers up which will boost his ad revenue. Or, if you care about good reporting in the Bluegrass area of Kentucky maybe throwing him some love by donating.

Barefoot and Progressive

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Alcoholic Anonymous

I was reading a post over at "Rick’s World" about Howard Hughes and totally disagreed with him. To fill you in Rick is a recovering alcoholic who is going through AA to get better.

He suggested that Howard Hughes extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) could be helped by going through AA. I know a little bit about OCD, writing 1,000 to 5,000 words a day and feeling sick if I don’t. I even studied it pretty heavily for my novel “Invasive Thoughts” so I told him the simple fact that AA doesn’t help people with OCD and behavioral therapy to “cure” OCD makes it worse for a person with the Disorder, as they are being told to control something that is out of their control. OCD can’t be cured only managed, like turning my Compulsion to write into a writing career.

After the expected Ad-hominen attack (I’ll explain later why it was expected) he said AA would have helped Hughes with his “moral character”. Howard Hughes was deep into a OCD loop where he thought germs were out to get him, it was a mental problem that few people need to deal with but it is horrible having your mind rebel against you, while at the same time stood up to Congress and the entire Military-Industrial Complex and stopped America from having a National Airline, and in doing so gave the US the advantage in the Commercial Aircraft Industry for 30 years. “Moral Character” was not a failing of Hughes.

I was going to refer Rick to my “Shut-up Stupid” post on AA then I realized that I had somehow missed them. My fault, I guess there is just so much stupid in the world and so little time.

Alcoholics Anonymous has been an institution here in America since it was founded in 1935 and was a step (or 12) up from the previous way of dealing with Alcoholics, which was to slap them up side the head and tell them to straighten up, or lock them in jail.

AA works the same way a cult works, it just does it with a noble purpose and has systems to prevent abuse. It “recruits” people when they are down and out and at their weakest mentally, then promises them a better way. AA and cults rebuild peoples self esteem by giving them a group that accepts them and the natural herd instinct makes them want to please the group.

The herd instinct is strengthened in cults by the desire to defend your group. That’s why they send their members out to the airports dressed in silly costumes so that people will laugh at them. The individual members aren’t thinking they are being laughed at for their outfits they are thinking people are laughing at their friends and the natural instinct is to defend your friends, strengthening the bond.

AA talks about “moral character” and other unquantifiable measures to make their members talk with an unjustified smugness to invite attacks, they naturally respond by wanting to protect the group. That is why criticism of AA is almost always met with an Ad-hominen attack, however AA, as opposed to cults, encourage a dual group mentality, one within AA and one with their normal social circle, so after the knee jerk reaction is done an AA member will tend to give a rational rebuttal. AA does encourage members to interact with outsiders and not just put up a wall in defense.

AA fosters a place where people can foster this power of group identity to replace alcohol. So far, so good, but does it work?

The success rate for quitting physically additive drugs like heroin or nicotine is roughly 18% in a control group (people who receive no treatment). By its very nature AA can’t be analyzed, whole Anonymous part of its name, but unscientific polls place the success rate at around 23% or 5% above the apples and oranges control group.

A 5% increase is good, better than anti-smoking drugs than can claim, however if someone tries an anti-smoking drug and fails they don’t blame themselves for the failure they blame the drug.

With AA members pushing that overcoming Alcoholism is due to “moral character” and how they have built up a myth that AA has great success rate when it is less than one in four, it makes anyone who has tried it and failed feel worse and less likely to seek a treatment that works for them.

While I encourage anyone who thinks they have a drinking problem and doesn’t have a moral objection to the protestant message that AA uses, to go to AA because it’s free and they have taken a lot of effort to prevent mental abuse that non-professional behavior modification programs often have. Just remember the success rate is one in four so it doesn’t work for most people.

To the AA members who go on about “moral character” and feel that AA is a cure all for any individual’s problems with society, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, I hope you are one of the 23% AA works for, I truly do. But the program doesn’t work to keep the majority of people who use it sober and it certainly won’t help people with problems besides Alcoholism.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fantastic Future Friday: Looking closer at 7th grader’s holes

A middle school class in Cottonwood Calf. Spotted a hole at the top of a lava tube on Mars. This opening gives any future attempt at colonization of Mars a great place to start.

Lava tubes form as lava travels across the open ground, the outer magma cools and turns solid insulating the inner magma which drains off leaving a very hard tube or cave.

With the identification of openings to these lava tubes Martian Explorers will have a place to start a colony that is free from radiation and the extreme Martian environment. The will also have a pre-made structure that will support large building projects, they will just need to make it airtight, pressurize it pipe in heat and light from the surface and they’ll have a large place to grow food generate oxygen and all the things needed for life.

Finding these openings to Martian Lava Tubes gives Martian Colonists a good place to start and that will lead to a fantastic future.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Writing Wednesday: Prepositions

A preposition links nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. The word or phrase that the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition.

The other day my wife asked me if we could would get some take-out for dinner, I asked why and she replied, “Look … the fridge.”

I realize I missed the preposition in that sentence so rather than asking her to repeat herself, I filled in my own. I decided that the word I missed was, “At”.

So I looked at the fridge. I had to admit it was pretty ugly.
The side of it wasn’t much prettier.

So I did what any guy would do and came up with a solution to fix the problem. I grabbed a pint of red paint, a paintbrush and some soda cartons to use as drop cloths and painted the fridge.

An hour later I had a fridge that anyone would be proud to store food in, or at least wouldn’t be appalled to look at.

As I was admiring my handiwork she came in the kitchen and when I told her how I fixed the problem of the fridge being too ugly to work with she informed me that she had said, “Look in the fridge” not, “Look at the fridge”.

I looked inside my masterpiece and found out it was empty and then remembered I was supposed to pick some groceries on the way home from work the night before.

The moral of the story is pay attention to your prepositions as the wrong one can totally change the meaning of a sentence and lead to unexpected results.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: The victims of Gay Marriage

In California the courts are debating allowing same sex marriage, under the rules of the court the opponents of it need to show who will be harmed if gays are allowed to be married. So far they have been unable to do so. Being the nice person I am I will help them out.

Traditional Marriage, the type that is written about in the Old Testament is between one man and several women. The principals of this type of marriage are shown here.

Basically this type of marriage turned the wife into a type of property. Through the Dark Ages this worked as the amount of work maintaining a house needed well-defined roles.

When we entered the industrial age the roles changed and wives could actually have a little free time to do something other than keep the house from falling down. This meant that a few wives combined could have more economic power than their husband, that would not do as it would mean the marriage of a man and a few woman would survive after the man’s death and there would be a separation between individual assets and marital assets. If these marital assets could survive the death of an individual they would continue to grow and families would have more power against authority.

So marriage became a partnership between one man and one woman, except in powerful families. This kept the commoners from slowly gathering power as marital assets dissolved after the death of an individual.

After World War II an individual wife could maintain a house and still have time to work and the economic roles within a marriage drifted towards equality. Slowly the role of breadwinner wasn’t necessarily the man’s role. It could be the wife or shared equally. Marriages still dissolved after the death of an individual because of social inertia and laws governing marriage that reflected the pre-WWII society.

With marriages modeled socially and legally around the pre-WWII economics these marriages failed spectacularly. At the end of the 60s half of all marriages ended in divorce.

As people started to realize that the social model of marriage with the man as the breadwinner and the wife as homemaker didn’t fit the times the social role of marriage changed and with it divorce rates went down to the current one in three and are continuing to decline.

The current marriage laws are still based on the pre-WWII economic models and marital assets are combined with the surviving individual and this preserves the mortality of a marriage giving the State and large corporations the upper hand in society as they are immortal.

With same sex marriages the pretense of unequal partners in marriage will be even harder to maintain and laws to limit the existence of marital assets as opposed to individual assets will look sillier and sillier.

As marriage is now a partnership between equal partners it is no longer economically necessary for them to be of roughly the same age and the marital assets could be transferred (through death) multiple times if the partners are 20 and 30 years apart in age.

This would give marriage as an economic entity a power that has been reserved for the State and Large Corporations: Immortality.

This would decentralize economic power and move it to individual families strengthening them. With families retaining economic power indefinitely Large Corporations would lose their ability to exploit the “Small People” as BP called them.

So for the opponents of same sex marriage I have found you a victim, any Large Corporation that wants to take advantage of families by having any small amount of wealth they have created over their lifetimes destroyed with an individual’s death.

Greed and misery are the only victims of marriage equality, so you can now argue in favor of that.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Getting off Oil II

In my last Fantastic Future Friday I addressed the people (like myself) who watched President Obama’s speech and thought it was too little, too late. In this post I will address the other side, the pro-oil people.

It would be easy to do this post on the extreme pro-oil people, one’s like Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rand Paul of Kentucky who think America should apologize to BP for letting our coastline mess up their oil drilling. But I won’t.

Instead I will address the people who think we can’t break our addiction to oil. Plenty of people think that since our modern society has been powered by cheap fossil fuel energy for so long it will be impossible for us to live any other way, and the idea of renewable energy is just a utopian fantasy.

If you believe that, lets look at what it means if you are right.

The world had roughly 3 trillion barrels of “proven” oil reserves, these numbers are questionable but lets go with them. In the last century we burned 1.25 trillion of these reserves leaving us with 1.75 trillion barrels. So if we can’t get off oil when that’s gone civilization is gone as well.

So far so good at that rate we will have another century of oil. Let our grandkids deal with it.

Unfortunately, our oil use has grown every year, except the last three, by 1.5%. This small increase doesn’t sound like much but it has great consequences. Because of the mathematical process known as exponential growth.

Each of these small increases of 1.5% builds on each other so the amount of oil we need grows more and more. So while we only burn 85 million barrels of oil a day now, if we continue to increase our oil use in 10 years we will need 99 million barrels a day, in 20 years 114 million barrels, by the year 2050, will need 154 million barrels a day, but at that point, we won’t have it as will we have burned through our remaining 1.75 trillion barrels.

Under that scenario, in 40 years we will see the complete breakdown of civilization. If you are under 40 years old, chances are you will live to see this and when it happens the next generation will use you as food since 9 billion people can’t survive using pre-industrial techniques.

Now some of you are probably thinking, what about new “unproven” reserves?

Since 1960 no new large oil fields have been discovered. But maybe we didn’t look hard enough; we had no reason to with only the oil embargo of the 70s and the runaway oil prices of the last decade we had no real incentive.

The wildest claim I’ve heard for “unproven” oil reserves was 9 trillion barrels, this is ridiculously high but lets go with that number.

With our increasing need for oil; In 2060 we will need 178 million barrels a day. In 2070, 207 million barrels a day. Until we reach 2114 when we will need 400 million barrels a day and we will have burned through all 9 trillion barrels (even the 6 trillion that are unlikely to exist).

Under that fantasy, you will live through the modern times and even your kids might live through it. Your grandkids: Fuck ‘em.

However this oil utopia can’t ever come to pass because of some real physical limitations on how we get oil and what oil is.

An ideal oil well taps into a “pocket” of light sweet Pennsylvania grade crude oil. This oil is transported to the surface through a 6-inch pipe pressured by natural gas. This light sweet Pinn oil can be filtered through an old sock and used to run a diesel engine. Back in the 1950s farmers would power their tractors straight from the wellheads in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Unfortunately, we are out of this type of well. Even in prime fields of Kentucky and Tennessee we are no longer pulling up diesel grade crude. As we move farther off the prime oil drilling areas the crude gets dirtier, as it gets dirtier it needs more processing which takes energy, meaning we get less net energy return per barrel. Once it takes more energy to process the oil than it returns it is useless as an energy source.

A lot of oil is useless, I have oil on my land, it is at 200 feet, but it is so thick it needs to be lifted out in buckets and it would take more energy to process it and turn it into fuel than the fuel gave back in energy. For a while people used this oil to paint fences with.

As well as quality of oil, new oil wells have to be drilled deeper. Oil wells in Texas are being drilled a mile deep to get the oil. That takes a lot of resources to drill and as we use up the prime spots to drill the chances of hitting oil grow smaller.

As the prime oil wells dry up we have to move to more and more remote parts to look for oil, beside the hazards of drilling in remote areas, it takes more oil to move the oil to places it will be processed and used. So as we try to get more oil we get less and less return from the oil.

Eventual we hit a peak as to how fast we can get the oil out of the ground. People in the oil industry believe we are at that peak now and that it is between 85 million and 88.5 million barrels a day.

People outside the industry have put the peak at 110 million barrels a day. Lets use their numbers.

If the peak is around 110 million barrels a day, we will reach that shortly after the end of the next decade. If we do nothing to stop our demand for oil all human progress will stop. As we will need to use more and more of our resources to get less and less oil.

The world will enter a period of deflation, the value of your property, assets, everything besides cash will become worth less. As far as the government debt ran up in the last 30 years, it will never be paid. Reducing the deficit now won't even help as GDP contracts permanently the trillions of dollars in accumulated debt will overpower any revenue.

When that happens the economy will break down. Oil and food will be the only currency and we will enter a new type of Dark Age. The infrastructure will start to collapse as it becomes impossible to maintain it and civilization will decline to a state that it can never emerge from as all the easy to get resource have been used up.

Keep in mind I have used the best possible numbers throughout this post, the reality probably much closer.

So to those people who think we can never get off oil think about the fact that in the best possible scenario, one that defies real physical limitations, we will be out of oil in 40 to 100 years. In reality the consequences of our oil addiction will hit much sooner.

So even if you truly believe that those of us looking for alternatives are wasting our time, you have nothing to lose as if you are right you will get to live to see the end of human civilization, but if you are wrong we can move through this period and start and new chapter in humanity’s history.

So to everyone who believes there is no is no point to trying to find alternatives to oil, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, Our quest to find an alternative to oil and continue to keep the human civilization moving forward beyond our current generation is not a matter of life and death, its much more important than that!”

By Darrell B. Nelson former VP of "Kentucky Mountainview Petroleum" and author of Invasive Thoughts

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fantastic Future Friday: Getting off Oil

In his speech from the Oval Office, President Obama united the nation. People on both the left and right hated it. It was amazing to see such unity in this nation again. However even in unity the people who hated his address have fallen into two camps. The ones that think it was too little too late, and the people who are mad because Obama didn’t apologize to BP because our gulf coast states ran into their oil spill.

I will address both these groups, the too little, too late crowd in this post and the pro-BP crowd on Sunday.

Critics have rightly pointed out that during this crisis Obama did the same thing as the 7 Presidents before him did told congress to fix it. This approach failed every time, so here are some things that Obama could do that will work.

Number 1:
In the upcoming 2011 budget, announce that he will veto it if it contains subsidies for oil companies. The US gives oil companies over $30 billion a year to “explore” in unsafe places like the outer continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico. The oil companies don’t need that money, period.

By stating the oil companies won’t be getting any more federal subsidies the congressmen who try to put those subsidies in would have to justify them to the voters. Progressives can’t justify giving people money to pollute and it would be hard for Conservatives to face the Teabaggers and say they want to give money to companies that don’t need it as they are screaming about the deficit quadrupling from Bush’s $1.4 Trillion to Obama’s $1.75 Trillion (I realize these numbers don’t make sense, but even the Teabaggers will understand cutting $30 billion helps reduce the deficit).

Number 2:
The US Government has 600,000 automobiles, Obama has issued an executive order for them to reduce petroleum use by 30% by 2020. Since they will replace these autos twice in that time this isn’t going far enough, he could change that order to 50% by 2020. An achievable goal.

Number 3:
Geothermal heating and cooling is a proven technology. With the stroke of a pen Obama could order all federal buildings to switch to Geothermal for heating and cooling (or some other form of renewable energy) by 2014. An achievable goal.

Number 4:
Oil independence is a matter of National Security; our last 8 Presidents have stated that and the Pentagon has stated that. The Military is aggressively seeking alternatives to oil in its operations. As Commander-in-Chief, Obama has the power to push them harder and to shift some funds for them to do this. He can also demand congress shift some of the R&D money we are using to fight the Cold War against the Soviet Union to research on making the Military run on alternative fuels. After all we can’t attack a non-existent country if we don’t have the fuel to get there.

Number 5:
The federal government oversees the garbage in this country, even though it is handled at the local level. Garbage is a valuable resource in this country. Through waste gasification our garbage could produce 20% of our natural gas needs. The EPA has the power to force municipal garbage dumps to use this technology, and because in the long run this technology will generate money this could be financed through federal backed bonds as opposed the federal budget.

All these things could be done with little or no action by Congress, who have shown they can’t do anything about the Energy Crisis that we have been in since Nixon was in office.

Taking these actions alone will more than make up for our increasing demand for oil and start reducing the amount we use. With the purchasing power of the Federal Government committed to reducing our oil use companies will have no choice but to start researching more green technologies and it will create a positive feedback giving consumers new ways to save energy.

When people see that we can reduce our oil dependency with minimal changes to our lifestyles we might actually get congress to act after 40 years and 8 Presidents demanding they do something, and that will lead to a fantastic future.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eh aide four human beans who aught two no Homonyms, n half heired since berth.

Readers of my posts are probably aware of my problem with Homonyms (actually homophones), words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings.

Such as this lovely poem:

An Ode to the Spelling Chequer
Prays the Lord for the spelling chequer
That came with our pea sea!
Mecca mistake and it puts you rite
Its so easy to ewes, you sea.

I never used to no, was it e before eye?
(Four sometimes its eye before e.)
But now I've discovered the quay to success
It's as simple as won, too, free!

Sew watt if you lose a letter or two,
The whirled won't come two an end!
Can't you sea? It's as plane as the knows on yore face
S. Chequer's my very best friend

I've always had trubble with letters that double
"Is it one or to S's?" I'd wine
But now, as I've tolled you this chequer is grate
And its hi thyme you got won, like mine.

—Janet E. Byford
But here is a website that has a fairly long list of them. To help people like me.
Alan Cooper’s All About Homonyms.

That’s also the site I got that poem from.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Writing Wednesday: Moving outside my comfort zone

There has been a lot of talk on different writing blogs recently about the importance of reading (and writing) outside your comfortable genres. Something I wholeheartedly agree with, just have trouble doing.

I’ve read literally thousands of science fiction books and it shows in my writing. I’ve read a lot of horror and that shows up as well. I’ve read so much early American lit, especially Reconstruction era for college that I cringe at reading any for pleasure, except Mark Twain he was the great. Outside of those areas I am sorely limited so I’m looking for suggestions. Especially in these areas:

Stephanie suggested Nora Roberts, I’m trying but it’s a little tough. One nice thing is I discovered J.D. Robb, Nora Roberts science fiction adventure books, they’re da bomb.

Young Adult:
I’m writing a book where it is necessary for the Protagonist to be a freshman in college, which will naturally appeal to those readers. So I’d like not to turn them off, its just most of the YA titles I’ve looked at don’t appeal to me, especially not Stephanie Meyers Twilight Series. I barely made it through the first chapter.

Fantasy (Non-SFF):
I like the idea of having different classes and races suddenly needing to work together but I’ve run across a lot of it that was either bad or a Hobbit knock off. I recently read a pretty good Quest Fantasy novel got me interested in this genre again.

Chick Lit:
I want strong characters in my books and Chick Lit offers them, but like Fantasy I’ve had bad luck blindly picking them out.

So if anyone has any suggestions in these areas I’d love to hear them and I’ll check them out.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: Fighting Fire with Fire

South Carolina is the state that keeps on giving, comedy wise. Its mid-term elections promise to be a hit.

Normally I don’t watch debate in races I can’t vote in, but the Senate Debate between Jim Demint and Alvin Greene will be too funny to miss.

In case you haven’t heard the news, one of the candidates knows nothing about the issues and talks in incoherent gibberish. The other is Alvin Greene who won despite doing no campaigning.

This debate will be great I can’t wait to see the two candidates spout out gibberish like:
"It’s no coincidence that socialist Europe is post-Christian because the bigger the government gets the smaller God gets and vice-versa. The bigger God gets the smaller people want their government because they’re yearning for freedom."


“Rather than just save the $10,000 and just go and buy gasoline with it, just take [it] and just be unemployed for [an] even longer period of time, I mean, that wouldn’t make any sense, um, just, um, but, uh, yes, uh … lowering these gas prices … that will create jobs, too. Anything that will lower the gasoline prices. Offshore drilling, the energy package, all that.”

On the other hand I could be surprised when Greene comes out with statements like this:

“We have more unemployed now than any other time in South Carolina's history, so something isn't working. We spend two times more on inmates than students. Priorities are not in order. I want to make a difference and Jim--the incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint--he's against the health care reform. They're trying to repeal the health care law that was passed. The Republicans are trying to repeal the health care bill that was signed into law recently. Things like that. That's the difference. I'm for health care reform. And getting folks to work here.”

So the South Carolina Senate race could be most interesting mid-term race, as Greene comes out armed only by conviction in making a positive change and faces the person that has become the very face of the Republican establishment.

Greene might have gotten in the race by a complete fluke, but as he gets used to public speaking his desire to make a difference may well resonate with voters.

Demint’s entire campaign strategy of blaming everything on the Democrats won’t work as Greene had no prior ties to the Democratic Party other than voting Democrat. Demint might have to actually address the issues, which is his weakest point.

Either way this race goes it will be fun to watch.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: “News” channels

In our new world of 24-7 news coverage we have more “News” anchors and commentators than ever. So with more people involved in the “news” we should have better information than ever, so why don’t we?

I don’t remember a time when the “news”, and not just Fox, was farther off events than they currently are.

Last year health reform was deemed dead since the start of the process, and it passed with a majority in the house and 60 votes in the Senate. Same with just about every other thing the pundits speculated on.

This year is an election year and these same people claimed it is a huge anti-incumbent year. In Tuesdays primaries, incumbents won 82 out the 84 positions they were running for, with one forced into a run off election and the one that lost was under so many felony charges he would need to legislate from his jail cell.

These same people are saying the Democrats will lose heavily in November. But a look at the individual Senate races show 5 Democrats are in danger of losing their seats and 5 Republicans in the same danger. In all likelihood the Democrats and Republicans will swap 10 seats and the balance will remain roughly the same.

So why are the “news” channels so wrong?

While the number of anchors and commentators are way up from before, the number of reporters is down by 25%.

So you have more people than ever looking over less data than ever.

Without actual reporters on the scene, not just cameramen, these anchors and commentators don’t have an accurate picture of what’s happening to comment on. So they can talk about how Rand Paul supporters show up to all sorts of events, but without a reporter there on the scene to talk to this same 10 people and report on how the one unemployed guy at these rallies, I forget his name, is constantly drunk, the commentators can’t really get a good handle on what a joke these people really are.

It’s the same with the “News” everywhere. Back when NY-23rd district was in the news anyone who spent any time up there could tell the “man on the street” interviews didn’t include anyone from the region, but without anyone on staff familiar with the area the camera crews were returning completely false images of what was happening up there.

Hopefully enough people will start to tune out the “news” channels until they stop putting all their money into the anchors and commentators and hire some more reporters.

So to the over-paid anchors and commentators I say, “Shut-up Stupid, you are only there to relay what the reporters are seeing and feeling on the ground, without them you are useless as the false narratives have shown. Take a damn pay cut to get some real reporters working under you and your shows will be better and you will actually earn the respect of your viewers.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fantastic Future Friday: Obsolete Technology

I could have sworn I posted this at 2pm this afternoon, here is a late Fantastic Future Friday.

Watching the Teabaggers protest the lack of government action on the BP oil disaster made me first laugh and think a little. Needing something more to laugh at I turned to one of the greatest comedy gifts to the world: South Carolina. It seems the Republicans in SC are all overjoyed that Boeing is going to build the 787 Dreamliner in their state and the state only had to pay for them to build the plant and give them the operating costs in the form of tax incentives for 17 years. I realized that the same misplaced thinking was behind both projects.

Deep Water oil drilling is not profitable yet, if you have to do full compliance to safety regulations and have insurance to cover the possibility of disaster. The reason oil companies do the Deep Water Drilling is the government pays them billions of dollars to do it. There is a certain (bad) logic to this. As onshore and shallow water oil fields deplete, the oil from the Deep Waters wells will be all that is left. So in order to maintain the centuries old industrial technology we need that oil.

The 787 Dreamliner plant will help the state of South Carolina, if airplane technology doesn’t advance beyond its current level in the next two decades. If the Air Force were to develop a new Airplane technology like the Hypersonic X-43A the 787 will be obsolete long before the taxpayers will be paid back. The Hypersonic Aircraft Industry will need machinist that have a much higher skill level than what is needed to build the Aluminum and composite sub-sonic aircraft. For that Boeing will return to Seattle.

The legislators that vote to give big oil huge subsidies, ruling out corruption, are thinking that we won’t advance past our oil dependant technology.

Unfortunately, investing in obsolete technology is expensive. In Engineering Economics (yes there is such a class) I learned how technology has its own curve. At the beginning a new technology’s rate of return is negative, meaning it costs more money to develop the technology than it pays in sales (or the bleeding edge). As the costs of using the technology go down the rate of return goes up until it is profitable (the leading edge). Suddenly the technology takes off and fortunes are made (the entrepreneurial stage). As it becomes commonplace and everyone gets in on it driving the profits down to at or below the market average (Competition Stage). Then the best companies survive and the others die (Shakeout Stage). Finally, someone comes out with a replacement technology that kills the original technology, and continuing to use the technology costs money (Obsolesce Stage).

The Federal Government plays a role in this technology curve, during WWI through the 80s the federal government supported the bleeding edge of technology with a peak of 3% of GDP. During that time we saw the development of airplanes, then Jet planes, went to the Moon, made computers that people could use and laid down the foundations of the Internet (all because of government funding).

In the 80s and through today government funding has been shifted to support the other end of the curve and keeping obsolete technology afloat after its competitive time is over.

Spending Billions to encourage oil companies to drill in unsafe and uneconomical areas to keep the cost of oil down, instead of investing in the bleeding edge of alternative fuels and conservation. Propping up airlines whose jet planes reached their technological peak in the 60s, instead of investing in research into hypersonic aircraft. The list goes on and on.

As far as the money spent, the 3% of GDP we invested in the bleeding edge from WWI until the 80s accounts for half of our current GDP. The money put in obsolete technology returns one-third, with two-thirds being wasted.

Maybe with the disaster in the Gulf, our political leaders will see the folly of using taxpayers money to prop up obsolete technologies and use that money to fund new bleeding edge technology that will replace them. If this happens we can have a fantastic future.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Free Marketing Thursday

On my Monday post I decided to do an evil experiment, (well, not really evil since everybody involved gets something out of it) and ask authors to send me their press releases.

I thought up this experiment because my publisher PublishAmerica sent out a god-awful press release to the local media that no one (including myself) printed. I wanted to see examples of other press releases to see if other publishers sent out the same type of thing. Here are the results:

LM Preston – THE PACK

LM Preston is having a Virtual Book Launch and here is a Press Release about THE PACK


Author Skye Savoy Announces Release of “Finding Her Perfect Master” Through Eternal Press

Jackson, MS – Normally, genies grant wishes but, in Skye Savoy’s debut paranormal romance, Cala Lowery, a 310-year-old half-blood jinn needs a few granted herself. If she doesn’t find a new master before the Queen of the Jinn finds her, she'll be auctioned off on eBay... again.
Cursed by the Queen for supposedly flirting with the King, Cala’s auctioned off to the highest bidder on eBay. Her luck fails again when her master trades her in. She’s thrust into the world of humans with dwindling magical abilities which often misfire. Cala begins a desperate search for a new master to regain her powers and avoid being listed on eBay for a second humiliating time.
Her new job as an Entertainment editor and mystery e-dater for a newspaper’s online dating site brings in plenty of candidates, gives her a taste of independence and reunites her with the victim of her one-time one-night-stand, Lee.
Lee forgives Cala for an incident with a leaky pepper spray can during their first meeting. Their relationship skyrockets until Cala finds herself struggling to keep her career and potential new master when someone tries to sabotage her column and expose her identity to Lee, who happens to have a secret identity himself.

Originally from Pensacola, FL, Skye Savoy is a playwright and hospital marketing director in Jackson, MS.
“Finding Her Perfect Master” is a magic carpet ride with enough passion and comedy to keep the reader soaring.
Coffee Time Romance gives Finding Her Perfect Master “4 Cups.” A Reviewer says: "A fun story riddled with misadventure after misadventure, Cala is a wisecracking modern genie who is easy to relate to. Lee is torn between rescuing her and washing his hands of the whole mess, but at the same time drawn to her with a need he cannot explain. As hot as a genie’s blood, this book was a wild ride from start to finish, while being hilarious from page one."

Siren Book Reviews gives Finding Her Perfect Master “5 Siren Stones.” A Siren Book Reviewer says . . .
"Skye Savoy has created a superb story of love, life and mystery that is certain to capture the imagination of the reader and keep them hooked from beginning to end. The characters are realistic and evoke feeling of complete relation as they mutter through the turmoil of everyday life, and the unique twist and turns of being something more."
"This is a story of love, relationships, and the emotional roller coaster that accompanies both. It contains just the right amounts comedy, sex, frustration, turmoil and triumph to propel both the hero and heroin into the heart of the readers. I found myself laughing at the comical antics, and gritting my teeth at the arrogance of the unique array of characters Ms. Savoy has managed to bring together in a story that is certain to remain on my favourites list. This is easily a high recommendation read."

“Finding Her Perfect Master” is available through Eternal Press at www.eternalpress.biz and www.Amazon.com and www.Fictionwise.com. For information on the author, go to www.skyesavoy.com.
For information, contact Becky Martin at 601-507-9319


Sending You Sammy by Sarah Butland
published by ProSpec Industries Inc
Sells for $14.95

A fictional children's book which teaches its readers the benefits of eating healthy and leading active lives while being a book they love. Follow as Sammy, your everyday 10 year old boy, becomes a superhero named BananaBoy.

Website: Adventures of Sammy

Just from my own experience as an author, newspapers have very limited room for their novel sections, and unless you find a very kind editor they will probably pass over any long press release.

So from the editors I’ve talked to of the three, Sarah Butland’s SENDING YOU SAMMY would probably be published in any newspaper. LM Preston’s THE PACK might but it doesn’t really entice the reader, a one-sentence description would pull it all together. And finally, Skye Savoy’s “FINDING HER PERFECT MASTER” although it sounds like an interesting book, the press release would probably be passed over by the newspapers as it is too long for print and would need an editor to condense it down to one sentence.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped me with this experiment as it gave me a chance to look at press releases from the eyes of an editor (I couldn’t do that objectively with my own). This process will really help me when I make press releases for my book signings.

Does anyone else have any helpful critiques of these three press releases (As they are not my own I reserve the right to delete any mean spirited comments) that might help me and the authors of these three books?

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Writing Wednesday: Bookstores

As I transition from just a writer to being a full fledged author I had to put my toe in the marketing waters and pitch my book to a real bookstore. I naturally picked the smallest store to start with.

It turns out that people who own bookstores, like books. Go figure. And because they like books they are friendly to authors. So they are really nice to local authors.

The bookstore I went to unfortunately was just purchased by a new owner so it will take a while for them to have Book Signings but they told me to check back.

Hopefully I’ll have more to report on setting up book signings in coming Wednesday posts.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: Ads for stupid people

I try not to look at the ads that pop up on web pages, mostly because the big ones seem to be targeting stupid demographic, or at least people with no concept of logic.

Progressive Insurance has a whole ad campaign based around people not thinking. They say, “People who switched from [other insurance company] saved so much money.” No Duh, they wouldn’t have switched if it was more expensive. So absolutely any insurance company can make the claim that people that switched saved money, not just Progressive Insurance.

Since I’m slamming Progressive Insurance by name in order to get their ad to pop up on adwords I might as well rant about adwords for a while.

It’s well known that if a customer has a bad experience with a company they are more likely to share that experience with people than if they had a good experience. This blog is no exception. In an unscientific survey, I tried to remember the posts I did that were praising a company vs. slamming them and I can only remember one positive shopping experience that I talked about, that was K-Mart and that letter had such an impact on sales that they closed down the store near me.

On the other hand the companies I slammed are numerous, National City Bank (bankrupt), Bank of America, Genpact Services, BP.

Large companies should know this and think about the fact that their ad is far more likely to appear on a site slamming them and make their ad so it appeals to dissatisfied customers, rather than displaying their generic ads.

Soon I’m sure google will program a way for their bots to determine positive reviews from negative ones and web advertising will change again.

But for now I can just enjoy the fact that most likely you will see a Progressive Insurance ad at the bottom of this page telling you how much people who switched saved.

BTW: If you have written a book check out this post if you want free advertising for your book.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Monday, June 7, 2010

Free Marketing Thursday: Calling all Writers

As I’ve been exploring book marketing ideas on this blog, it occurred to me that the more times a books title and authors name show up on the web the more people will see it. I call this the “No Duh” theory of marketing.

So to help with the “No Duh” theory of marketing I had an idea, if any reader of this blog has a book (online, in print, as a pdf that they give to whomever asks) or if they are looking for an agent for their book, or if they have an idea in their head for a book and want to see what their press release would look like on a web page, just put your press release in the comments and on Thursday’s I will post it here on Project Savior, thereby giving it another listing.

I’m personally not picky about format, however any professional searching for your book might be so here is the format I’d like to see.

[Title] by [Author’s Name] ([Publishers Name, Price]): [Author’s Name, few words to describe the author] writes about/tells the story/envisions [one sentence description of the work]. [link to website]

Here is some tips on the the one sentence description

This formatting rule is made to be broken, so feel free to do so. If you do please be concise, and professional because if this works like I think it will when it shows up on search engines the whole one paragraph description will show up giving people an idea about your book.

This is a chance for a little free advertisement for your book.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: RIAA not suing

When it comes to bad guys RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is always in the top 5 on most peoples list. This group of Japanese and European record companies is famous for launching huge lawsuits against people who can’t afford lawyers.

They sue this people up to $100 million per song that they share. So if someone has an iPod that holds 40,000 downloaded songs they figure that is worth $40 Trillion, or slightly more than all the money, bonds, stocks, and liquid assets that exist. The imbalance is a little extreme the monetary value of the entire Earth is less than a filled iPod.

They say they do this to protect the property rights of the artists, even though the artists only receive pennies per album and make their money on concerts and merchandising and the more a song is shared the more people show up at concerts and the more the artists make.

But oddly RIAA the most sue happy group on Earth is totally silent when politicians steal artists music. Instead the artists have to bring up the lawsuits individually when a politician steals a group’s song and uses it in their campaign.

If RIAA were serious about protecting the artist they would be the ones to step forward and stop politicians from using songs without permission. But of course they are not serious about that, they are only trying to preserve a business model where the middleman makes over 90% of the profit.

So when RIAA says they are trying to protect the artist, I say, “Shut up Stupid, you are suing to stop things that help artists and staying silent when someone does something to hurt an artist.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fantastic Future Saturday: Luckily Unlucky

I wish I could figure out a way to use my powers for the good of mankind.

At 11 am yesterday I opened up the live feed of the Falcon 9 test flight and waited for the launch. And waited, and waited.

Eventually I got bored and wrote a chapter of my new book.

At 2:30 I checked the AP about the launch and they said it was postponed until Saturday, so I wrote that on my blog. 10 minutes later they launched. It is my awsome power to have reality refute me with a great sense of irony.

About the launch:

It was about as successful a test flight could be without blowing up.

What I mean by that is a perfect test flight would follow Murphy’s Law and everything that can go wrong, does go wrong.

Luckily a few things did go slightly wrong on the launch, but not enough to stop it from reaching orbit.

First, the onboard computers gave weird readings leading to the launch being postponed. Not a huge problem for the test flight but they will need to fix it before they can service the ISS as they will have a much smaller launch window. It would have been bad if they got “lucky” and this problem didn’t show up until they were actually going to the Space Station.

Second, the second stage rolled more than expected but still within their safety window. When they look this data over they can find out if the rolling was a serious problem in the design or not.

I’m sure they probably had 100’s of smaller things that weren’t quite optimal that they can look at to improve on before the next test flight this summer.

So with this test flight SpaceX has found a few things to fix and proved that their design is capable of reaching orbit.

This is the beginning of a new era of Space Flight as this shows that a private company can start to take over operations in Low Earth Orbit, taking over this critical task from the government. Now NASA and other Space Programs can start looking out further and we as species can start to think about working in the inner solar system. A place with nearly infinite resources and infinite energy (at least more than we can use in the next 300 years).

This is a great step in our journey as species.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fantastic Future Friday: Tomorrow

I was planning on writing about SpaceX's launch but that is postponed until tomorrow, so my post will be as well.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Writing Wednesday: Back in the Saddle

When Isaac Asimov finished a book he used to put a fresh piece of paper into his typewriter and write a short story, then if he had time a science article that way he didn’t have to make two (or three) trips to the mailbox.

I tried that (sort of) after I wrote my first book, “Invasive Thoughts” I jumped right into a second, which I started to hate after 100 pages. After I wrote this little piece for TIBU “The Scariest Conspiracy Ever” and it received over 30,000 hits, I switched and started writing, “Project: Sparerib” based on that piece, which was a chore as I needed to do as much research for it as a non-fiction book and could never get a good balance of action/character/infodump. I’ll do some heavy revisions on it sometime.

After getting done with that book I enjoyed myself by writing an old school science fiction tale, “The Setting Earth” focused on a cold war 200 years in the future between Earth and the colonies that were set up throughout the Solar System. That was a fun couple of months.

Then I had a lot of ideas for stories and novels but just couldn’t get them onto paper.

After a little research I found a lot of writers go through this postpartum depression after finishing a book. So this time I planned ahead. After finishing, “The Pizza Diaries” I forced myself to take two weeks off. I went to the library and got a couple of books I had been meaning to read. “The Time-Travelers Wife” to check and see if it was anything like my tale of time traveling romance, it wasn’t. And “Time Enough for Love” not to compare it’s just one of the few Heinlein books I haven’t read.

Now that my mind has had time to idle a bit, and get the characters and tone of “The Pizza Diaries” out of the foreground I’m about to start on my fifth novel. This one is actually a Young Adult/Science Fiction novel, if 18 year olds are considered Young Adult. It features a college student, “Howie” who is having his mind stolen and the only one who can help him is “Vivian” a girl with extreme Bi-Polar disorder who has nearly lost her own mind.

This should be different enough so I don’t have to worry about mentally comparing it to my other novels, but still have a lot the weird dark tones that I’ve put into the others so if someone likes it they won’t be to disappointed if they pick up my other books.

I’m looking forward to writing again. Hopefully in three months, or less, when I finish this one I won’t need two full weeks off. Forcing myself not to write was tough.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: Phoenix from the Oil Spill

The oil “spill” in the gulf is tragic, it has the potential to inflict nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars per year for the next ten years in direct damages, as well as a fucktillion in indirect damages. So it’s hard to look at the bright side, but I found one.

A large part of the damages to the gulf come from the oil-eating bacteria, they eat as much oil as there is available oxygen. They consume all the oxygen around the spill leaving the water unlivable for most organisms.

Once the oxygen is sucked out of seawater one of the few things that can survive is algae. The algae sucks carbon dioxide out of both the atmosphere and the water, then releases both cyanotoxins and oxygen into the water as well as pulling the atmospheric nitrogen into the water making the water deadly to most organisms. Not too cheery yet.

One promising new alternative energy source is biofuels made from algae. It is economically competitive with oil and can be used in existing flex-fuel vehicles.

Because of the oil spill the gulf is going to turn into the largest algae bloom since the Proterozoic era. All it will take is some seeding the area with some of the least toxic strains of algae and they will grow and reduce the damage that would occur naturally, as the bloom grows boats could skim the top layer and bring it on shore to be processed. It could replace a substantial amount of our oil based fuel consumption as well as putting oxygen back into the gulf, speeding up the ecological recovery.

As the gulf recovers over the next decade and the algae bloom subsides, algae can start to be made inland in controlled environments, like in the desert. We can switch a lot of our oil use to algae use and have a cleaner economy.

Unfortunately, it took a huge disaster to give us this opportunity to change our economy from being oil based to a cleaner alternative, lets not waste it.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts