Are we really sure it’s a refugee crisis?

It’s been a long time since I have had the time to write anything recently, and I do apologize.  It has also been a while since I wrote about something serious. Today I thought I would give my take on the whole Syrian refugee crisis.

First and foremost, let’s get the facts about the situation. According to the Un Refugee Agency, there are 4.89 million REGISTERED Syrian refugees. The demographic breakdown of this is 25.5% male and 23.8% female between the ages of 18-59 (UNHCR, 2017). These are refugees that have left Syria.  The website syrianrefugees.eu estimates that there are an additional 6.6 million refugees that are internally displaced (Salman, 2016). And just for reference the population is roughly 17 million and the physical size of the entire country is 71498 square miles, about the same size as the state of Washington (Global Fire Power, 2006).

So what has caused this mass exodus from Syria?  The short version of the story is essentially a civil war inside the country loosely caused between the “Arab spring” as well as a division between religious beliefs, government, etc. (Mercy Corps, 2016).  It is interesting to note that the country is over 90% Islamic [70% Sunni, 12% Shia, and 10% Kurds who are predominately Sunni] (Syrian Civil War Map, 2016).  So much for the “religion of peace”, huh?

So now that we have some basic facts established let’s run the numbers on what all this means. Going by the numbers reported above, there are 1.25 million males between the ages of 18 and 59 that have already left the country. Assuming the same 25.5% male demographic of the 6.6 million still in the country, that is another 1.68 million between 18 and 59 years old.  That equates to 2.93 million total. Think about this logically, if even 25% of these men were willing and able to fight for their homes, that would be a force of approximately 730,500. That’s 730,500 of the REFUGEES.  To put that in perspective, the active military personnel for Russia is 766,055 (Global Fire Power, 2006).  It should also be noted that the 730,500 does not include the potential for an additional 392,700 women [estimating 25% of the percentage of women between 18 and 59]. These figures also do not take into account for the 180,000 active duty personnel currently as well as the additional 502,000 of individuals that reach the age to serve annually.

Now that we have all the facts, lets apply some logic to the situation. Let’s do a though exercise – put yourself in their shoes.  Would you really be willing to leave your home, your country, without a fight? With easily over 1,000,000 people to fight, why has this civil war even taken place. If Islam is the supposed “religion of peace”, then why isn’t it all rainbows and puppy dogs? If one takes the time to think about it logically, there are only a couple of answers to the questions:

  1. The people of Syria do not want to retake their homeland. They would prefer to leave and live off the dime of the infidels.
  2. This is an Islamic invasion. This plays into their religion of spreading the false doctrine to other countries.  Remember, there religion states you must convert or die.

My personal opinion of this situation is that I do not support the “refugees”.  I do believe that their country maybe in turmoil, but I do not in any way support the mass immigration to the United States.  We have seen the devastation that they have caused overseas [just look at the UK].  They have made their intentions clear.  Their own neighboring countries do not want them there when they have the money and capability of housing [Saudi Arabia tent city could hold 3 million].  If they as a people wanted to end the civil war, they very easily could.  They have the numbers.  The ultimate goal as it has been states is the propagation of their false doctrine.  They will do whatever it takes to make it happen.  Islam is not a religion of peace.  I will hopefully have a chance to cover that in my next blog.

 

References:

Global Fire Power. (2006). Syria military strength. Retrieved February 6, 2017, from http://www.globalfirepower.com/country-military-strength-detail.asp?country_id=syria

Global Fire Power. (2006). Russia military strength. Retrieved February 6, 2017, from http://www.globalfirepower.com/country-military-strength-detail.asp?country_id=russia

Mercy Corps. (2016, December 19). Quick facts: What you need to know about the Syria crisis. Retrieved February 6, 2017, from https://www.mercycorps.org/articles/iraq-jordan-lebanon-syria-turkey/quick-facts-what-you-need-know-about-syria-crisis

Salman, M. (2016). Syrian refugees. Retrieved February 6, 2017, from http://syrianrefugees.eu/

Syrian Civil War Map. (2016, April 13). The ethnic and religious groups of Syria. Retrieved February 6, 2017, from http://syriancivilwarmap.com/ethnic-and-religious-groups-of-syria/

UNHCR. (2017, February 01). Syrian Regional Refugee Response. Retrieved February 6, 2017, from http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php

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Political Correctness

How many of you feel like you are sometimes walking on eggshells around people? Are you sometimes slightly paranoid that you will say the wrong thing or that it will be taken out of context? Most of us have had that feeling, and usually it is not because of some deep-seated racism or phobia, but more commonly a fear of some overly sensitive person with a chip on their shoulder. These days careers and even lives can be ruined due to an out of context word or action.

Im sure most of us would agree that political correctness has gone overboard, but how many of you know the lengths that the media has gone? It finally dawned on me one day after looking at the below picture someone had posted to pinterest. Yes, Times magazine really has had numerous different covers on its US versions vs its overseas versions. And if you look closely at the main story in each, I’m sure you will see why we do not see the overseas versions here. Most of the articles do not fit into the narrative our media force feeds us.

W2Y5u

…..

In reflecting on this as well as the condition of things in America, I’m reminded of George Orwell’s book, 1984. It would almost seem that we have our very own Ministry of Truth. If you ponder the idea for a bit, it does not seem so far fetched.

In the book, the ministry of truth was tasked with overseeing media, entertainment, and even rewriting history. The idea was to control people thru these forms. With our history books constantly being rewritten, its not a stretch to consider maybe its on purpose. And what about our news stations? The news force feeds us what they want us to see. The only true investigative journalists these days seems to be the smaller outfits that do not answer to anyone but the people who support them. This would omit ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, MSNBC, all their affiliates and parent companies, as well as a few others.

Think about it. The average person will probably know more about deflategate, Bruce Jenner’s sex change, and the Duggars than they know about the Freedom Act, Jade Helm, and the UN Arms Trade Treaty. Which set of those topics seems more important? Just because a news station mentions a topic does not mean you are getting the unadulterated truth.

One of the bigger examples of the truths we are hidden from comes from Edward Snowden. Regardless of whether or not you consider his actions ethical, he did not use the information himself. He released the information to the public. And yet for these actions he is branded a traitor. When I think of traitors in history, I come up with one for sure, Benedict Arnold. And for those of us who have forgotten our history or read a revised edition, He was a traitor because he was using his status to give a foreign enemy information and was going to surrender a fort to them. Allow that to sink in. Snowden is branded a traitor because he gave information to us. Does the government consider us an enemy? The answer is pretty obvious if you ponder it.

You are under arrest for working on your car

Many of you have no doubt heard about the recent push by automakers to make working on your own vehicle illegal. For those of you who have not heard about this, allow me to explain. Most of the major automakers are arguing that because of the amount of software your vehicle contains, modifying it is akin to hacking, stealing, and destroying. They are also essentially claiming that people are too stupid to work on it themselves.

This argument does not mean you cannot change your own oil, but it does mean that if you ever wanted to modify you car’s on-board computer to gain more performance, you would be breaking the law. And, I am sure you are asking what law the automakers are attempting to hijack to make such a claim. Why of course, it is our good friend the DMCA. Yes, the same bill that outlaws pirating music, movies, etc.

At first glance, this is something that is truly anger inspiring. These auto companies are trying to limit how we work on/drive our vehicles. There are many after-market performance shops that will be severely limited as to how they can upgrade your vehicle. The days will be gone where you can buy a cheap car, put some time and money into it, and one day have your own tuner.

But after I had some time to research and think about this, I had a more chilling thought. Why are we being locked out of the vehicle’s computer? Almost every system in a newer vehicle is linked to the on board computers. This includes heating/air, navigation, stereo, as well as the engine, trans, etc. And many new vehicles are “drive by wire”. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, it means that the controls you use to operate your vehicle (gas pedal, steering, etc) are not mechanically connected to the components they control. For instance, when you press the gas pedal, a sensor will detect the motion and electronically relay the message to the computer which in turn tells the engine to accelerate. It also means that some steering wheels are not mechanically connected either. They use the same elaborate sensors to control the vehicle as well.

And lets not forget how many cars have satellite connections ( on star, etc) We all are amazed at what these systems are capable of doing. In case you are not familiar with their capabilities, allow me to explain. With On-Star, you are able to call the company and have them locate the vehicle, remotely start it up or shut it down, remotely unlock it, etc. They can even tell you if your vehicle is over-due for an oil change or is malfunctioning in some way. Why? Because all these systems are linked to the main computer which is linked to On-Star. They truly know more about your vehicle at any given time than you the driver.

So are these car companies trying to lock of us out of the vehicles’ computers because they do not want us knowing everything that they know? Or do they not want us to see how much big brother is spying on us? Or do they think that eventually a hacker will steal the code, figure out how to modify it, and maliciously and remotely use it in an attack? You be the judge.

https://www.yahoo.com/autos/s/gm-ford-others-want-working-own-car-illegal-160000229.html

PS.

In case you wondered what I was referring to the code being used as a method of attack, imagine this:

“You’re driving along the highway, you see the instrument panel slightly flash, feel a slight stutter in the engine, or so you think. It must have been your imagination. You keep driving toward your destination. You notice a fuel truck approaching you in the distance. Suddenly, your vehicle swerves into the oncoming lane and accelerates. You turn the wheel and hit the brakes, but nothing happens. The truck blares its horn at you, but you are helpless. The truck hits its brakes and jackknifes trying to stop, but you are not in control of your own car. Your vehicle drives right into the side of the tanker, exploding in a fiery blast.”

Is this far fetched? Possibly. But is it impossible, you tell me. But if you think copyrighting the computer code would ever prevent such a scenario, ask yourself this, since when has any criminal obeyed the law?

Where do we draw the line with big brother?

Skynet or Big Brother?

We all know about computer viruses/malware. Many of these annoying programs slow our computer down, link to other websites, steal our data, and even completely destroy the computers OS. Most of the time we know what we did, whether we admit it or not. It could be something as simple as clicking a link to a untrusted site, surfing naughty sites, or trying to find free stuff. We all know most of these behaviors run the risk of infection. But what if there are other viruses that work in much more stealthy manners? What if one infected computer could infect another computer without even being networked to it, no internet connection between the two, or even wifi?

Let me introduce you to “badBIOS” as it is being called. It is a true nightmare to any computer user, but not in the way you might think. This beauty of a virus has the capability to utilize one computer’s speakers to transmit packet data to another computer’s microphone, without the need for a true wifi, lan, internet access, etc. Let that sink in for a moment. The computers are literally talking to each other using audio. These are not audio conversations in the sense that we can hear, but they are utilizing frequencies which can be detected.

The repercussions of this are extreme. Think of how many devices are in your home or place of work which have a speaker/microphone. In this day and age, everyone has a cell phone, with a vast majority of them being smart phones. We also have tablets, laptops, desktops, smart tvs, gaming consoles, and even our cars have microphones and speakers built in. What if a virus like this could spread thru any of these devices? Even people/companies that run private networks cannot fully protect themselves from a menace such as this.

But I think the bigger question that needs to be asked is this, “Who made it and why?” Is big brother so desperate to spy on us that it would create a virus that you cannot hide from? I would not put it past them for sure. But one problem is that they would be almost as vulnerable as the rest of us in this case. So if not them, then who? Are computers secretly linking up autonomously in a “sky-net” style of computer takeover? I would not count that possibility out either.

Regardless of the who or why, we ALL should note just how attached we are to our electronics. Imagine how our life would be if we could not trust any electronic device. So think about that as you are reading this article. Imagine every electronic device near you at this moment talking, secretly plotting against you. Whether its big brother monitoring your every move, or all the computers in the world preparing to takeover, this is not something we should lightly dismiss.

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/171949-new-type-of-audio-malware-transmits-through-speakers-and-microphones

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24582-can-a-computer-virus-communicate-via-your-speakers.html#.VT1nOyFVhBc

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/10/31/meet-badbios-the-mysterious-mac-and-pc-malware-that-jumps-airgaps/

Preemptive Surgery

A good portion of us will have to face it one day – we go to the doctor and they find a growth somewhere. And what to do. Of course they will want a better image of it, so that means x-rays, CTs, and possible MRIs. After they get a chance to examine it, its time for a biopsy.

Regardless the outcome of the biopsy, most doctors will still want to operate to remove the growth, even if its benign and not hardly growing. Of course that choice is up to you, but why do so many people do it even when its not a threat. What is more puzzling to me is the choice to have preemptive surgeries.

Preemptive surgeries are generally surgeries for when nothing is found, but you might have the chance of something going awry. A good example of this is Angelina Jolie. She has now had a double mastectomy, and has had both of her ovaries removed. And all of this because genetic testing has shown she has a chance, granted a higher chance than average, of getting cancer in these particular parts of her body.

Everyone should understand their odds, but keep them in perspective. A 55% chance of getting cancer certainly sounds ominous, doesn’t it? However, that also means there is a 45% chance you will not get cancer. That doesn’t sound near as bad does it? You should always been mindful of the dangers of surgery, including the risk that even if you have the surgery, you could still be susceptible to that cancer.

I have seen many people in my family and others suffer from cancer. I have also seen them suffer from the surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. I do not wish that fate upon anyone. I am not saying that the preemptive surgery is a bad decision, I am just saying think it through. This country as a whole seems obsessed with surgery (and perfection). Where does a person draw the line?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/angelina-jolie-has-ovaries-removed-i-know-my-children-will-never-have-to-say-mom-died-of-ovarian-cancer-10129251.html

Working on some interesting research!

I know it has been a while since I’ve posted anything and its been for a good reason. I’m still settling in and making changes to the site. And I’m also researching some very interesting topics.

As you know, research takes some serious time and effort. One of my research topics will be the biblical possibility of a real zombie apocalypse. In my opinion, the bible does not preclude it, nor does it preclude the possibility of an alien invasion as our demise. In fact, with mentions of fire and brimstone, giants, leviathans, etc, I believe that the bible might even be hinting to some of these so called paranormal phenomena.

So I will continue to post blogs as often as I can about topics that I encounter in my day to day life, but I will be researching and pondering a much bigger story as well. So keep your eyes open to some exciting, upcoming stories.