Donald Trumps Art of the Gift: Moving the US Embassy To Jerusalem

This week Donald Trump took credit for fulfilling a campaign promise to move the US Embassy in Israel  to Jerusalem.  That was likely an inevitable move, so what could be wrong with doing what Jared Kushner says is taking that issue off the table? Politics is the art of the possible that often involves negotiating with options no-one likes.  In the world of 2018, the official position of the two main parties are: PALESTINE: Israel is an illegal state and…

Why Russia Turned Out So Differently From Germany & Japan

After World War 2 the US (and West in general) supported its former enemies.  Rebuilding cities, legal systems, and economies on a massive scale.  Germany and Japan were the primary beneficiaries of that financial aid and guidance and today those two countries are large stable entities that improve the West’s standard of living by providing both solid trading partners and political allies. Some argue that those countries now take “our” jobs when in fact the evidence is clear that those…

US and Canadian Crime Rates Are Way Down Thanks To Engagement

If you live in the United States or Canada and you feel less safe than you did 20 years ago, you are likely either in one of the very few geographic bubbles (like Chicago or rural Alberta) or you are a victim of politicians and social media trying to manipulate your natural fears.  The fact is that crime, violent and otherwise is waaaay down. Canadian Crime Statistics Below are the Canadian statistics and they roughly concur with the US crime…

What Is Induced Seismicity in Oil & Gas Exploration & What Can Be Done About It?

What is Induced Seismicity? Induced Seismicity is just another way to say ‘man made earthquakes’ and are sometimes referred to “induced earthquakes”.  Induced Seismicity can be caused by many things humans do including: damming rivers for hydro power build a vast water weight behind the dam which was not their previously having old mine shafts collapse draining of underground water reservoirs tunneling / boring for transit systems but the focus of this article is Induced Seismicity caused by oil and…

The Unintended Consequences of Government Meddling In the Steel Industry

It is well established that even well intentioned government intervention in industry very often ends up causing more problems than it solves.  Today one of the issues facing the United States is a loss of jobs in the steel industry and so President Trump claimed this is a National Security Issue and so used his unilateral power to impose a 25% tariff on imports of steel into the United States. On its face, this seems like a good idea.  Simplistically,…

The Dutch Have Reduced Prison Populations 50% AND Crime 39% in a Decade

In the last decade the Dutch have reduced prison inmate populations by 50% and those sentences average to about 90 days in jail.  Many people expected this drastic reduction of inmates to lead to a notable increase in crime because: Dangerous, proven criminals are being quickly released back onto the street There is virtually no deterrent effect to being jailed in the Netherlands Contrary to this expectation the fact is that Dutch system has also reduced crime by nearly 40%.…

How Killing The Canadian Oil Industry Is a Formula For Environmental Disaster

Today Bloomberg’s Michael Bellusci wrote an article explaining that Canadian oil and gas companies are in deep trouble.  Here is an excerpt: Canada’s Energy Industry Faces ‘Extinction’ Without M&A, BMO Says Investors have bailed on the Canadian energy sector, although mergers & acquisitions north of the border could provide a much needed catalyst, barring pipeline and political developments… Source: bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-05/forget-permian-canada-s-energy-needs-m-a-to-avoid-extinction On the same day, Global News reported: Feds to spend $280k to study why Canada’s oil and gas sector is falling behind The federal…

Should You Have The Right To Know You Are Talking To An AI Bot?

The US congress now has an Artificial Intelligence “Caucus” considering regulating how Artificial Intelligence (AI).  One the items they are looking into is figuring out if citizens should have a right to know that they are talking / chatting with an Artificially Intelligent piece of software or a human. Many people feel tricked when they find out that they have been talking or chatting with an AI when the default assumption has been that people are talking or chatting with…

Bankruptcy of Gun Maker Remington Signifies Nothing For the Anti-Gun Lobby

Today the United States oldest gun maker Remington Outdoor Company Inc, which owns Remington Arms, filed for Bankruptcy protection.  The anti-gun lobby has taken this as a sign that the guns and gun companies are finally starting to decline.  Unfortunately, Remington’s collapse is only a sign of bad management and will do nothing to stem the tide of easy to find, cheap guns. Remington expanded production several in the Obama era, especially after Sandy Hook, as Americans feared their misunderstood…

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Sends Donald Trump a Cryptic Message

After numerous rounds of, “We don’t know if Kim Jong Un is still alive,” Kim Jong Un himself decided to send Donald Trump a letter in his own handwriting to let him know he was still in the game. The Donald opened the letter which appeared to contain a single line of coded message, 370HSSV-0773H. The Donald was baffled, so he e-mailed it to the Secretary of State and his aides who had no clue either, (so that’s why Rex…

Anatomy of a Modern Data Breach: The Facebook – Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Now that much of the dust has settled on Cambridge Analytica‘s misuse of Facebook users data the sad story can now be told. It is critical to note upfront that Facebook was not hacked and that the information that was misused was provided voluntarily by Facebook Users.  The only breach was a breach of misplaced trust. Timeline of the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica Scandal: January 2015:  Cambridge University’s Professor Alexander Krogan created ‘ThisIsYourDigitalLife’ personality survey app on Facebook, under his company…

US Government Again Reduces Bank Oversight, 10 Years After The 2008 Global Financial Collapse

After limited debate the US Senate overwhelmingly approved a further reduction in “Dodd-Frank” banking regulations introduced in 2010 to avoid another 2008 style bank generated economic collapse. Dodd-Frank‘s primary mechanism for doing this was to require financial institutions that were “too big to fail” to withstand stress tests.  The idea being that if your bank was going to need a government bail out in the event of failure, effectively making you and me the banks insurance company, that such banks…

Should Disposable Single Use Plastic Bags Be Banned?

There has been much talk in the recent decade about banning disposable plastic bags.  The basic argument is that consumer grade disposable single use plastic bags are the root cause widespread environmental damage but have ready alternatives, so why are will still using them? As is often the case with political issues, there is no simple answer to the question “Should single use plastic bags be banned?”.  Below are some of the facts and you can decide for yourself if…

How We Know The Trump Campaign Did Not Criminally Collude With the Russian Government

Let me start with the obligatory, I do not particularly like Donald Trump, believe much of what he says or think his campaign was shinny clean.  That being said I do like to listen to both facts and common sense, so let’s go: How We Know Trump’s Campaign Did Not Collude With the Russian Government: There are a few key points to consider when thinking about the claims that the Trump Campaign for President of the United States in 2016…

Oil & Gas: Why ‘Keep It In The Ground’ Is A Formula For Environmental Disaster

The environmental lobby has mislead many well intentioned companies and intelligent individuals with the “keep it in the ground movement”.   That logic only applies to “western societies” and has sadly resulted in serious efforts to block even the cleanest Oil & Gas projects for the last decade.  The most recent tactic is to block the infrastructure required to make Oil & Gas functional; in particular pipelines are being opposed at every turn. These next two points should clearly demonstrate…