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Saturday, 14 June 2008
Religion, Star Trek And Science Fiction
Before the middle of the 20th century religion was shrouded in mystery, dogma, and authoritarianism. Much of the vision of Christianity was fixed on religious art work between the 4th and 15th century. With this kind of baggage, it was difficult for Catholics and other fundamentalist sects to accept scientific thought like an Earth that went around a sun or  basic evolution.
Science fiction writers of the 20th century like Issac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Ron Hubbard, Richard Matheson and Gene Roddenbury became the modern prophets of the new age religions of the 20th century. This was especially true in the many chronicles of Star Trek crews.
It should be noted that "Star Trek and Religion" is taught as a course in an Indiana university. While there is some evidence that Gene Roddenberry was a humanist and a religious cynic, he was open to different concepts of advanced civilizations in the universe. Religious individuals could be controlling and cultish like "Landru" in "Return of the Archons" or distant and mentally manipulative like "The Melcosians" in "Spectre of the Gun". Some beings like in "The Q Continuum" could be practically omnipotent. A whole religious mythology could be set up from an accidental contact of an advanced civilization with a primitive one(e.g. "Who Watches The Watchers" episode.)
There are scholarly essays on religious viewpoints in Star Trek. You can find some of them here and on other websites on the internet.
However, you don't need deep religious meanings to enjoy good spaced-out adventures and that's what Star Trek and it's various incarnations have in abundance.

Posted by qualteam at 10:15 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 15 June 2008 1:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Muhammad Yunus And The Grameen Bank

This has to be one of the biggest success stories of the 21st century. It's both a human and a financial success story.

Mr. Yunus is a Nobel Prize winning economist who empowered poor people with his money and his trust. Look at the record:

"Grameen Bank has 7.5 million borrowers, about 97 per cent of them impoverished women. The bank lends out about $1 billion each year in small loans to help stimulate the most basic entrepreneurial activities, such as processing rice, raising chickens or selling eggs. And even with no required collateral or default penalties, Grameen Bank boasts a repayment rate of more than 98 per cent".

It's important to note that Mr. Yunus has established a bank branch in New York City. That doesn't mean the U.S. is now a third world country, but it does mean there are uses for this kind of financial institution in prosperous countries like the United States and Canada.

Below are some of my suggestions for Ontario and the rest of Canada:

  1. His bank could offer credit/work counseling and small loans for those who wanted to work at a small business.
  2. His bank would allow those who are not credit worthy to have a bank account and to develop a credit rating.
  3. His bank would offer competition to exploitive “Pay Day Loan Companies” with ludicrously high interest rates.
  4. His bank could help "contract-employees" get started.
  5. His bank could work with the Ontario Government in advancing green technology and green businesses in Ontario.

I'm sure you can think of other ways that "micro-financing" could be used in your province, state or city. Let the politicos know your ideas on this subject.


Posted by qualteam at 12:18 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 10 June 2008 2:42 PM EDT
Monday, 9 June 2008
Barron's Green Crusade

This blog entry has nothing to do with "Barron's Financial Magazine". While my name is Barron, I'm not one of those rich guys who spends time and energy driving an SUV, a personal jet, and a big boat.

Probably, I'm moving in the opposite direction to those high rollers.

Recently, I sent four letters to V.I.Ps in politics and automobile manufacturing. Here are some of the highlights from those letters:

"I do not want to be held hostage by oil companies, OPEC, hedge fund managers, greedy speculators or fossil fuel terrorists in the world.

With gasoline going up to $1.34 and higher, it has become very important to buy the most fuel efficient car that I can. It's also good for the environment and promotes green technology and industry which Ontario and Canada needs very much.

I believe we are living on the edge of a golden era of cheap electrical energy for all mankind: limited and cleaned up fossil fuelsnano solar power, fuel cell generators, advanced hybrid electric power, geothermic heating, wind power and garbage heat exchangers. Clean energy production should be encouraged by the taxation system and polluting energy production should be penalized by the taxation system.   

We are at the beginnings of a new industrialized revolution similar to what happened in the 19th century. It's important that our focus is on the future and not on the past.

The survival of North American automobile companies is important to our standard of living, but they must change to meet the challenges of this new age".

Messages like the above should be sent to your favourite politicians and automobile companies. Sometimes, "the powers that be" need motivation from the grassroots of humanity.

Look at all the inventions of mankind. One person can make a difference.

Tyler Hamilton's Test Run Of A Plug-In Auto

 


Posted by qualteam at 12:17 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 9 June 2008 3:46 PM EDT
Friday, 6 June 2008
Tired Of Being Held Up By The Gas Pump Boys

When oil prices shoot up more than $11 in a day to a new record above $139 U.S., isn't it about time we did something about it?

The electric cars are out there. It just takes more incentives and will power to bring them to market. Everyday there seems to be a new development in this technology.

Tesla motors seems to be on the cutting edge of the new automobiles.

Wouldn't it be great if automobiles go the way of "Old Steam Engines of the 1950s". The change over to diesel locomotives happened very quickly back then.

Check out a "The Tesla Roadster" for yourself:


Posted by qualteam at 10:19 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 June 2008 8:31 AM EDT
Thursday, 5 June 2008
The Next U.S. President Faces Formidable Challenges

The world we live in today is different from what it was in the 20th century and the early 21st century:

  1. The high price of oil is having a adverse effect on commodities, transportation,  and the inflation rate.  Apparently, we're near the end of the line ("Peak Oil") for  fossil fuels.
  2. The U.S. Housing Market has been in a recession for over a year.
  3. Hedge fund managers have been pushing oil, food and gold higher through market speculation that is often hidden behind the non disclosure wall of hedge fund secrecy.
  4. Terrorism is often supported from profits from the Middle East Oil Industry and poppy growth in Afghanistan.
  5. The U.S. deficit has ballooned trillions of dollars from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  6. Confidence in U.S. financial institutions have eroded because of the subprime mortgage crisis.
  7. The U.S. stock markets are down 6.00% on the year while the Canadian stock market is up 6.00%.
  8. The slowness of North American automakers to make fuel efficent cars, vans and trucks has resulted in massive job losses for GM, Ford and Chrysler. Alternate energy vehicles have yet to come on the scene in a significant way.
  9. There are still hundreds of coal producing plants in the U.S. and the world that should be discontinued.
  10. Barack Obama has to be more specific on the changes needed to escape the monopoly of oil producing cartels. 

Posted by qualteam at 12:55 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 5 June 2008 10:26 PM EDT
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Going Postal In The Right Direction

I've been working at Canada Post so long that I sometimes I forget what life was like before I became a postal worker.

Hopefully, I'll discover what the real world is like when I retire. 

I don't take anything for granted. The viability of our pension plan depends on our ability to compete against UPS/Fedex and to make a good profit.

Here are my suggestions for modernizing the 150 year-old Canadian postal institution:

"As we know, The Post Office went through a period when just making a profit was the bottom line for Canada Postal Corportion and the Canadian Government. In the meantime, the infrastructure suffered because management was unwilling to commit revenues to new machines.
 
"A labour-intensive mentality" hit CPC and thousands of casuals were recruited to do work that machines could have done. Many of these casuals worked excessive hours and had to be hired on as full timers because of contract agreements with
CUPW.
 
This is a challenging environment for any CEO to inherit.
 
Waving the finger of blame doesn't do any good now. Canada Post needs financing to service all the citizens of Canada. We need the Government to help us out. This was done in the early 1970s when Canada Post went in debt (800 million dollars) to build mega postal centers like Gateway and South Central. This was necessary to serve all customers and citizens of Canada.
 
In my opinion, the loan was paid back to the Government by royalty payments through the years. Whatever is remaining should be forgiven.
 
I'm not sure how much Canada Post needs to borrow for its 2020 modernization plan. I know that The Government, CPC Management, employees, customers and retirees have a stake in this. We are all shareholders.
 
I suggest an audit of Canada Post to determine its existing value now. I then suggest that shares of this Crown Corporation should be sold to its owner(Canadian Government), employees and customers in a way that would not undermine its value or potential. At least, half the shares would go to Federal Government. The remaining shares could be distributed through the CPC Pension Plan, postal management, postal employees, and preferred customers.
 
The Federal Government would have a buy back option of the shares at any time.
 
Dividends from the shares could end up as part of the yearly CTI payment.
 
If we're going to have the latest and best equipment available like hybrid or fuel cell trucks then substantial investment is necessary. This is the 21st century".
 

There is more information about my involvement in the Canadian Union Of Postal Workers at www.cupw.info.

The Toronto CUPW Local


Posted by qualteam at 6:37 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 June 2008 4:03 PM EDT
Sunday, 1 June 2008
The Best Of Harvey Korman

I guess everyone has their favourite Harvey Korman role in the movies or with Tim Conway, Carol Burnett and Vicki Lawrence.

I was surprised that Harvey did a great deal of work in cartoons, especially in "The Flintstones".

In his later years, he also went on tour with Tim Conway and did many of his old routines from the Carol Burnett Show.

My favourite Korman character was "Hedley Lemarr" in the movie "Blazing Saddles". One of the top comedy movies of all time.

Harvey's scene below is priceless and well worth watching again and again.

Feb/1927 to May/2008, thanks for making us laugh.


Posted by qualteam at 11:09 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 1 June 2008 11:25 AM EDT
Saturday, 31 May 2008
Investing In Canada

Since the beginning of the year, The Canadian TSX Index is up 6.37% while the S&P 500 is down 4.63%. The Dow is up about 1.00% on the year.

I have a great deal of money in the Toronto Dominion Equity Fund which has delivered a gain of 20% over a three year period.

Not only does Canada have many profitable oil and mining companies, it has banks which were not exposed to the subprime crisis. The Toronto Dominion Bank and The Bank of Nova Scotia are the main ones.

In blue chip investing, one should choose the top companies in any sector.

As well as being a net exporter of oil and minerals, Canada also has a secure mortgage market which was lightly exposed to subprime mortgages.

Another good TD mutual fund that grown by 24% over the last year is the Latin American Equity Fund.

The number one investment, of course, is buying a house at a bargain price and then paying off the mortgage, so one can live comfortably in their 60s, 70s, and 90s. Certainly, the U.S. is better off than Canada in this regard.

May you have profitable investing for the rest of the year and beyond.

 

 


Posted by qualteam at 6:06 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 31 May 2008 11:03 PM EDT
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Are You Taking A "Staycation" This Year?

With gasoline hovering around $4.00 a gallon or $1.30 a litre, it's perhaps better to have a "Staycation" this year rather than a vacation.

There's always lots to do around the house or the local area. One can always get caught up on the chores or the investments of the future like electric automobiles, and green mutual funds.

On the internet, you can easily improve your poker game with the ten cent tournament at Poker Stars. Personally, I've finished in the money three out of four times in this tournament over the last few days: 30 cents for 26th place, 40 cents for 16th place and $4.00 for 3rd place. I won't get rich playing this way, but my poker is improving and that's what counts.

If you want to broaden your point of view, check out some "new age religions" and some websites created by aliens. Maybe!!

It's always fun to upload songs and pictures to your blog or websites. I have close to a half a gigabyte on my websites.

Indoor and outdoor sports are not only exciting, but good exercise as well.

Hopefully, you will have a good staycation this year that suits you and your pocketbook.

Beach Party/Annette


 


Posted by qualteam at 9:00 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 31 May 2008 11:21 PM EDT
Sunday, 25 May 2008
Mind Melding And Christianity


The original "Mind Melding" concept comes from the first Strar Trek series. It involved linking one's mind with that of another. Memories, thoughts and emotions could be shared on a very spiritual level. Looking at it from a religious point of view, you might call this act: "A Vulcan Communion Service". 

Holy Communion in a church could be called a "Mind Meld With The Divine". The body and blood of Jesus Christ are touched by Christians through the symbols of bread and wine.

The Body Of Christ is everyone in the church past and present, so they connect with each other's mind as well. This is a mind meld of great proportions through space and time.

It is highly likely that "Crystal Skulls" play a profound role in memory transfer as well. It has been reported that if a crystal skull is nearby a sleeper some of its memories will flow into the sleeper's mind. 

On the internet, a primitive kind of mind meld is achieved through hyperlinks to webpages, blogs, pictures and music.

Hopefully, this kind of communication reaches a deeper level than good natured banter and/or long winded explanations.

One Day At A Time/Christy Lane


Posted by qualteam at 11:39 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 25 May 2008 11:47 PM EDT

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