Archive for February, 2016

Bullshit Jobs

Posted in Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2016 by Drogo

Summary of an Article on Bullshit Jobs

There is another scholar doing research on a question I have been asking for years.

Why after thousands of years of civilization, with all our modern technology and complex sociology and even despite higher educations, do most of us have less ‘free time’ than ever before? It does seem as though we are slaves to the ‘machine’ of the systems of society.

“Rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning not even so much of the ‘service’ sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones. These are what I propose to call ‘bullshit jobs.’ what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call “the market” reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Clearly, the system was never consciously designed”; but the way things are does serve the 1%, and a simmering resentment is fostered against anyone whose work has clear and undeniable social value or appeal. “It emerged from almost a century of trial and error. But it is the only explanation for why, despite our technological capacities, we are not all working 3-4 hour days.”

– David Graeber is a Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. His most recent book is, ‘The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement’.

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SCOD Publishing Info

Posted in Book Reports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 26, 2016 by Drogo

SCOD Publishing Deal Description

There are 3 basic ways to publish any book:

  1. Get extremely lucky to hire an Agent, and the agent talks to a Major Publisher (they will not talk to authors directly) then their company might pay you an advance on potential book sales, and the author gets no say on book cover, illustrator, or any details; but you get some royalties if they keep it in print.
  2. The second main way is Vanity Press, where you pay smaller publishing companies to tailor make a book for you for hundreds or thousands of dollars that you the author pay to them, and there are no sales royalties because it is a one time deal.
  3. The third way is to either self-publish with a company or hire someone (like Drogo Empedocles) with experience and knowledge of how to work the formats, programs, and monitor sales. Traditionally it was very difficult to get published as the first and second were the only ways, and when you kept a book on the market the publisher had total control over printing.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you understand these options BEFORE sending any files. When you send the files and say you want Drogo to publish your book, consider that your request, and if he agrees to do it, that is the agreement that is as important as any formal business contract, verbal, written, or otherwise. To be clear about your desire to hire us, send an email stating that you understand the agreement and want SCOD to publish asap.

This is what you get, when you hire Drogo as your PUBLISHER:

Although we have more options for controlling the look of our books (using the new third way), SCOD is still a publisher for other authors that want us to publish their books, so we need to be the final authority on the product (much as traditional publishers). We still need to put some limits on how many changes can be made; in order to not get stuck in perpetual time-sucking loops with authors. Anyone that wants SCOD to publish their book should have a few suggestions or questions in the beginning; but by the time they decide ‘YES I WANT YOU TO PUBLISH MY BOOK’ they should realize that we have certain formats and certain parameters that can work in order to serve multiple authors, make it affordable, and make some net profit. SCOD publishing is NOT a communal, anarchist, or democratic process; SCOD publishing is run as a representative cooperative with the publisher as the appointed leader.

SCOD reserves the right to format the text, correct spelling & grammar (if an issue), and add publishing information to the front and back of the book, including a list advertising other SCOD books (traditionally at the back). SCOD can remove from publication any book, at any time, for any reason; at which point it will be out-of-print with us.

The benefits of publishing with SCOD include: being able to talk about the issues with the publisher directly, true personal concern for authors and artists, and knowing that the funds go to support SCOD work world-wide with other partners.

Art – We do NOT negotiate with artists, authors, or anyone about any designs or illustrations for the book or cover, once we have the initial agreement to publish. We do allow you to submit cover art or illustration contributions, which will then be considered or edited to fit the book format or style. These minor changes to the author’s original ideas, should be of little concern to an author that respects the process we have for making books. This method requires authors to set aside egotism and perfectionism, in favor of having their book in print with us as we see fit. Drogo charges low rates for work, because it is easier than teaching. To teach someone our process could take many more hours, and the pay would not compensate less potential royalties, which are typically few and far between anyway in this business.

Yes if you do it all yourself or pay more money to hire another company, you may get more options; with SCOD you get your book made in SCOD style, with some consideration for suggestions. Publishing with SCOD is not the same as an ‘equal partnership’ in this case, as the client relinquishes their trust to us, for our services, to make a book that we can have on the market asap.

By hiring Drogo, you want him to make books the best way that we know how for us to share the royalties. We understand authors often get possessive of their work and would not like any changes made that they do not approve of, and for authors that want that level of control we invite them to keep looking for another publisher, or do it themselves; we expect they will find the same obstacles that we encountered which prompted us to handle all these issues this way. Some authors do not want the pains of learning and doing what we do, so we can do it for you!

If you think you want Drogo (SCOD) to publish your book, first see what his existing books look like. If you like how they are done, and trust that we will make your book based on those, then you will know if you want us to publish for you. Once we tell you how much work it will take to publish, you can say you want to make more changes, or say go ahead. PAYMENT must be up-front before we begin work, because we have done hours of work for clients and then they changed their minds, and we did not get paid at all. Ask Drogo what he thinks, and he will publish as soon as he thinks it is ready for a first printing. If there are major problems, they will be fixed asap, and if there are only minor mistakes, we can get around to them eventually. Major and Minor corrections are done to the same edition, changing it for good; while other style or format or content changes may be published additionally as other versions or editions.

As a publisher SCOD needs to be able to keep books for sale as long as possible, with as many books as possible, that is why we insist on final control of how many changes and editions are made to the book, which we have copyright to print and sell once it is published. Once a book is made, if an author becomes disagreeable about it, and breaches our verbal contract by communicating things to the contrary; the only course of action is to pay debts, remove their books from online sales, and be done with them; this is sad and costly, so that is why all sane and polite authors should understand the control that I need to operate as a publisher does not put them in a position to remove or change their book. Requests for changes can be negotiated, and the author should understand that the reason for publishing with me is not to make things difficult, but rather to publish without much hassle, stream-lined as easy as possible, and sustain availability of the book to share it with others. As long as my authors know that I value their work, but need to be patient with the limits regardless of expectations or surprises, then that trust is all that matters and I will make and keep their book available for all, as long as possible.

SUMMARY: Ask yourself a quick question to know if you want SCOD to publish your book. Can you give up control enough to be content or happy to have Drogo publish your book in his own way? Sacrifice enough ego, and the book can be made.

1. If you need things to look ‘a certain way’ and will be unhappy with any changes in font or format, and want to change things on a whim, DO NOT hire Drogo.

2. If you want your book to be published affordably and quickly, the way that Drogo can do it, and you will be satisfied enough to have it made into a book because you like SCOD, publish with us.

Make sure you are familiar with SCOD work, before you decide whether or not to publish with us. Once our book gets done, Drogo can make some improvements or corrections, but it is entirely Drogo’s product and time-table (unless there are additional payments for changes).

If this all makes sense to you, and you prefer Drogo to publish your work, then he can send you the ‘SCOD Cooperative Agreement Contract’ which contains all the details you need to know. Drogo Empedocles of SCOD  (find him on FB or email drogo76@hotmail.com)

Books Published by Drogo Empedocles  (click on the links for titles)

Habitat Fragmentation and Land Ownership

Posted in Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 21, 2016 by Drogo

Essay for ON THE WILD SIDE January 2016

Our land is more valuable than your money. It was put here for us by the Great Spirit, so we cannot sell it because it does not belong to us. As a present to you we will give you anything we have that you can carry with you; but the land, never.”*

In this present time civilization humans are finding themselves in the midst of more than one environmental quagmire. How to get control of the plastic and junk in the ocean ? How to keep air clean enough to breath in China ? How to rid old pipes of poisonous lead and our water of pharmaceuticals waste which go into toilets ? Am I getting too personal ?

Actually, everything we do and have done in the past are exactly what professional scientists/ecologists are dealing with now. If there ever was a field in which our children will find ready employment, it will be as research problem solvers and maybe even politicians who care about cleaning up our messes. The question we all have is, however, how did we ever get to this point anyway, and what can we do about it as individual home owners, as people who care ?

To their credit, in 1621 the people native to America, the “Indians”, after prayerful consultations with their elders, dieing and weakened due to disease brought here by previous white explorers, and weary of warfare, decided it was in their best interest to make peace with the Pilgrims. In spite of the Mayflower crew robbing them of their seed corn and burial treasures, they made a pact together that would endure long enough to get squash, beans and that same stolen corn planted, harvested and then shared.**

Peace, for the natives, was the best and most productive remedy, even though strangers were encroaching on their land. Interesting…and perhaps something we can learn from during this present time of anxiety about refugees. Unfortunately, back then that fragile peace did not last very long. There will always be the good mixed with the bad, the greedy mixed with the philanthropists, and I assume this is how it will always be. Nothing seems to have changed since the beginning of time.

Of course, as years passed and more settlers arrived to colonize America, the natives were totally kicked off their land. The settlers had brought with them an entirely different ethic of land ownership from Europe, as well as military hardware far more effective than the natives hand crafted bows, arrows and spears. Over the centuries their precious land has been stolen, divided and subdivided…fragmented… sold, and some of it has sadly been misused and polluted.

I am fortunate to live in a sub-division of a beautiful old 200+ acre homestead here in the Catoctins, Due to my love of and concern for diversity in the natural world, I am allowing my 11+acres to not only feed me, but to feed all my other “relations”. The native idea of “other relations” extends far beyond human relatives and includes the wonderful diversity of flora and fauna which most of us care about…bees, butterflies, birds, wildflowers, trees. etc..These are things our children are learning to care about in school, and as wise elders, we should also.

As home owners, and landowners, we can begin to bring these various fragments of land together by allowing native plants to grown, by creating native wildflower gardens on part of our lawns, and planting native trees. That way, the habitat fragmentation which has been going on since the pilgrims settled at Plymouth Rock can be somewhat remedied. If you ever feel like giving up in despair, there is one very real thing you can do, and the opportunity is right in your own back yard, or front yard too (why not ).

The vision is to create a beautiful tapestry right here where we live of yards and properties dedicated to the health and well being of our earth. It already looks like a quilted pattern here in Thurmont, but the work is not yet finished. If anything, the work has just begun !

I belong to the Green Team here in Thurmont and am heading up a project along the rail road tracks which will not only beautify our town with wildflowers, but create habitat for wildlife. I am presently seeking volunteers to clean it up a bit in February and then spread seeds. All this must be done before March, as seeds need the time to stratify (to get the benefit of freezing weather), so as to enhance their germination.

If you are interested in helping me with this project, please do be in touch with me at songbirdschant@gmail.com. If not, then consider doing something on your own little fragment of land, no matter now small. As I always say, “Every little bit helps !”, and THANKS !

* Response of a Chief of the Blackfoot Nation when told to put his signature on a land treaty in Montana; from Touch The Earth by T.C. McLuhun

** as documented in Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

– Christine S. Maccabee

Don’t Ever Tell Me

Posted in Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2016 by Drogo

 

Don’t ever tell me the past is past, it is over,

so move on, get over it, forget it;

for the ancient glacial rocks at my doorstep,

making walls and lining garden paths

would not be there were it not for the past and

neither would I in the form I presently exist .

There are ancient trees the world over,

like the Redwoods which stand yet

as monuments to past centuries of change

scars where branches fell,

and circles in their wood which tell their age

as well as years of drought and rain.

Don’t ever tell me the past is gone, so get over it,

for I feel as old as those trees, those rocks ;

My body with scars which speak of history and

my stories which you may hear if you listen.

Feelings too run just as deep as a trees rings do,

for my present is built upon my ancient past.

So don’t ever tell me the past is past,

so get over it,

Because I really couldn’t even if I tried !

– Christine S. Maccabee

Always Remember

Posted in Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , on February 5, 2016 by Drogo

Always remember

how truly beautiful

life is.

There will always be

death and decay

trials and

tribulation;

But always remember

to witness the red sunrise

to enjoy the cardinal

at your feeder,

to brave the snowstorm

in all its glory,

and feel the peace

of the sky at dusk,

the warmth

of home.

Breath it in,

see it,

feel it

and

Always remember

how truly beautiful

life is.

–   Christine S. M.

Song of the Piper

Posted in Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2016 by Drogo

There is a little bird behind my house

whose first song speaks of the start of day ;

He heralds his voice like a piper’s tune

and very soon the others follow.

Then when dusk comes on and the day is done

I hear his melody once again

As he ushers out yet another day

and tells us all it is time for bed.

I may not sleep once his tune is sung

For unlike him I am restless ;

Still his song lingers on in my heart,

in my dreams,

‘Til I hear him again in the dawn.

  • Christine S. M.

Coin Flipping Odds

Posted in Science & Math, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 2, 2016 by Drogo

Essay on Coin Flip Probability

by Tom Over-Being and Drogo Empedocles

Basically the odds of a coin toss in your favor are 1/2 right? 50/50 in other words, 50% of the time tails, 50% heads. It’s a function of how many times you toss the coin then, represented as (1/2) ^ x Where x is number of tosses. In the case of 6 coin tosses then it would be (1/2)^6 which works out to be 0.015625 or 1/64.

It is easy to understand that each time you flip a coin you are re-setting the odds. The previous result means nothing. So the fact that the chances of getting the same result over and over is not 50/50 is the weird part; as referenced in ‘Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead’ by Tomm Stoppard (Video clip). Each toss is supposed to be 50/50, but the odds of 6 results ending up one way is not the same math, and this may seem odd.

Tom O – “say I have a d4 (pyramid dice), It’s (1/4) if I toss it once, it’s (1/4)^1; if I toss it twice, and want to get “3” both times, the odds are (1/4)^2. Now with the dice the only thing that changes is the fraction coins are (1/2) dice are (1/6). Or another way of looking at it is say you have to make the best of 3 tosses. That’s the most equitable way to randomly make a decision if you don’t want to flip just once right? Well each time you toss that coin the odds of getting heads is 1/2.. You could also solve the problem by throwing 3 coins at once too right? Well that means you’ve run those odds (1/2) by themselves 3 times (1/2)^3 the exact same thing as tossing the same coin 3 times too.”

The odds of getting heads 6 times in a row are not 50/50, like in the Democratic Iowa Caucus of 2016 (‘lucky’ Hillary) that used coin flips in the ‘democratic’ process rather than votes; the odds of getting heads 6 times in row are 1-to-64 !!!

6 heads in a row = 1 / 64

12 heads in a row = 1 / 4096

24 heads in a row = 1 / 16.87million

Khan Academy – Probability & Statistics

Other Probability Math links: Calulator / Coin Flip Pyramid Stat Basics