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Monthly Quote

About Earl

Good stuff on the web

My heroes

Earl Killian Puffle inspecting construction My name is Earl Killian. This is my personal web page. I like to read (history, politics, fiction, science, science fiction), and these pages contain pointers to a few books I recommend and pointers to interesting things on the web. I like to muse on the way things should be and these pages include some of my thoughts and ideas. I am vegan and a supporter of animal rights, and these pages include a few quotes and pointers on these subjects. I have a strong interest in technology and public policy that will eliminate the world’s greenhouse pollution. I have three battery-only powered electric vehicles (a Nissan Leaf, a and a Tesla Model S 85, and a Solectria Force), and these pages have some EV analysis. I do not currently have a fossil car. I once built a solar (passive solar heating plus PV), straw bale home, but I no longer live there. I currently live in Los Altos with Puffle, a Labrador Retreiver who runs my life. My current home has three solar systems (PV, domestic hot water, and pool) and a heating/cooling retrofit. Finally, my politics, values, and essays here reflect my interest and appreciation for non-violence and pacifism.

The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect upon any organization, despite any association I might have.

Monthly Quote

Quote for December:

If our handling of the problem of Communist influence in our midst is not carefully moderated—if we permit it, that is, to become an emotional preoccupation and to blind us to the more important positive tasks before us—we can do a damage to our national purpose beyond comparison greater than anything that threatens us today from the Communist side. The American Communist party is today, by and large, an external danger. It represents a tiny minority in our country; it has no real contact with the feelings of the mass of our people; and its position as the agency of a hostile foreign power is clearly recognized by the overwhelming mass of our citizens.

But the subjective emotional stresses and temptations to which we are exposed in our attempt to deal with this domestic problem are not an external danger: they represent a danger within ourselves—a danger that something may occur in our own minds and souls which will make us no longer like the persons by whose efforts this republic was founded and held together, but rather like the representatives of that very power we are trying to combat: intolerant, secretive, suspicious, cruel and terrified of internal dissension because we have lost our own belief in ourselves and in the power of our ideals. The worst thing that our Communists could do to us, and the thing we have most to fear from their activities, is that we should become like them.

— George F. Kennan, Where Do You Stand on Communism?, New York Times Magazine, May 27, 1951

Quote for January:

                                    PART I
                                  Article 1
    1.   For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any
act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is
intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or
a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a
third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or
intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on
discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at
the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or
other person acting in an official capacity.  It does not include pain or
suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
     2.   This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or
national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider
                                  Article 2
     1.   Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative,
judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under
its jurisdiction.
     2.   No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a
threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency,
may be invoked as a justification of torture.
     3.   An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be
invoked as a justification of torture.


                                  Article 5
     1.   Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to
establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in article 4 in the
following cases:
     (a)  When the offences are committed in any territory under its
jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State;
     (b)  When the alleged offender is a national of that State;
     (c)  When the victim is a national of that State if that State considers
it appropriate.


                                  Article 16
     1.   Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under
its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article 1, when such
acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or
acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official
capacity.  In particular, the obligations contained in articles 10, 11, 12 and
13 shall apply with the substitution for references to torture of references
to other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (signed by Ronald Reagan for the U.S. 18 April 1988, ratified by the U.S. Senate 21 October 1994)

About Earl

Good stuff found on the web

My heroes

There is no single reason I see some figures and not others as heroes, but one pattern does emerge. My heroes are individuals who I recognize for seeing truth that other their contemporaries could not, successfully communicating this truth, and often thereby changing the world in some way. Usually both their accomplishments and methods are worthy of praise. Some of these people profoundly changed the world. They were or are not perfect, and fault could be found, but I find their examples inspiring. Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein’s were not the only great scientists. Darwin’s work revolutionized the way we look ourselves and ushered in an era where science supplanted faith and superstition in much of the general population. Einstein’s genius was coupled with a social conscience (his pacifism in militant environments), and with free thinking and non-conformance that has been all too rare in scientists. I recognize George Orwell, Rachel Carson and Ralph Nader for their illustration of Margaret Mead’s observation that a committed citizen can change the world. Carson’s Silent Spring ignited the environmental movement, and Nader’s long career standing up against the powerful showed how to use the legal system to hold power accountable, even if just a little. George Orwell in his essays and fiction shows that penetrating observations beyond the conventional wisdom are not only possible but also that fiction can shape societies (Mark Twain and Noam Chomsky are two others with penetrating observations). Off with the blinders! George Soros, while he acquired wealth in less than exemplary ways, shows that wealth can be put to political use in enlightened ways. Mohandas Gandhi and Aung San Suu Kyi both demonstrate courage that I can only aspire to in working to effect change non-violently.

Sub-content: 2014-12-17 16:55:23

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