116 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 17.10.2020

Oct 18, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

We are now part of the TED Circle community in the World (https://www.ted.com/about/programs-initiatives/ted-circles), this is interesting as TED proposes 4 talks to the individual groups each month; we then choose one and use it as a basis for our discussions. We have used TED talks for some time now, and I have the feeling that TED is copying us in what we already did.

The Topic for this month was “Everyone’s Environment” and we watched Per Stokes at

He sketched 5 defences that people have to avoid doing something about climate change:  

Distance vs new social norms, such as adopting the use of solar panels in the home, as the neighbours are doing it, too

Doom vs supportive measures e.g. changes in lifestyle, eating vegetarian, not using the car, etc., recycling

Dissonance vs.  pointing out that climate change creates entire new job areas

Denial vs. transition to energy savings in each household

Identity vs. better Stories

Storytelling seems to be very important to people. He suggested a new story about climate, change, an image, really:

Climate is living air, the air that surrounds us, is a fragile skin for Earth. (5 – 7 miles thick /thin) and we we all breathe the same air all over the planet

The discussion was about how our changes in lifestyle could make a big difference, as in many countries in the world, especially emerging countries, haven’t got the luxury to try to stop climate abuse in their country, and they have the biggest growth in population and energy need.

Climate change will only work if countries like Brazil, Africa and India can create enough jobs for their populations.

Rich countries may be able to afford looking at it.

Ursula von der Leyen wants Europe to be a carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

Madeira is is ahead of Portugal mainland and other areas, we have around 27% renewable energy already, and many projects that will increase the percentage of climate friendly energy production.

Cl. is hopeful that Germany will be at the forefront of climate change. He thinks that the new government to be voted into office next year, will have the Green Party coming in. Green parties should be more prevalent in the EU governments.

The positive points:

Emerging countries can skip steps in their development, e.g. landlines were never an option in Africa, they went right to mobile networks. They can skip R & D costs.

Covid shut down countries for 2 months, if that can be done, climate change can be done as well. In needs goodwill.

“Social Distancing “should be called “solidarity distancing”,  “social Distancing” is at its root, unsocial; it separates people, and humankind is very social.

Such names are important: in South Africa, power cuts were called “power shedding”, to make these service shutdowns more amenable to the people.

What we could do:

We could dim the street lights a bit, we already have LEDs for Christmas decoration. Office buildings should not be lit dsring the night

Fireworks are a no-no, really.

The Madeira Government is doing a good job in education; the people to not dump “monsters” (old fridges, sofas etc) in the riverbeds anymore,.

An Eco-School has a deposit container for recycling but nobody considered that old people may not be able to open the trap doors on the containers because they are too high for them

Fines usually do the trick when the environment is being abused by the population. Barcelona hat a serious dog poo problem which has been solved because the fines are very high

Would it help if climate do-gooders tout their horn?

Cl. explained to us that the debt we are amassing via the European Bank (about 4000€/head) is really our debt because the bank is ours. One day, when inflation rises, the debt can be written off, and nobody will have to pay it because we can cancel it out. Money in itself has no value, it’s just in the books.

Other stuff:

U. entered the “Free the birds” campaign idea into the Orçamento Participativo in Funchal (the Government Orçamento turned it down). We’ll see which projects they chose on Oct 28.

There is a very charming Unusual Guide on corners in Funchal which are little known to the public, have a look. https://novemil.org/unusual-guide/

Nice tips for return clients who want to explore more.

The new petition for the Ferry

has only around 1400 signatures so far, we need 10.000 to be heard by the Government in Lisbon.

115 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 18.9.2020

Sep 20, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

We met in the gallery again, with our new member M. J.

We returned to the topic of alternative tourism and had another guest for this session, R. B. who until January, owned several hotels in Canico.  We had very good input from him but with the current situation, he is of the opinion that before 2022, nothing will improve.

Madeira has an influx of younger tourists (even honeymooners) who enjoy the island; this is positive for Madeira because with Covid, older people now hesitate to travel.

The Obstacles:

  • Groups are difficult to get at this time, too
  • The flights are not there, and the airlines are not reliable
  • Plans cannot be made at the time.
  • Hotels do not yet see the depth of the crisis, and everyone wants to hold onto what they have. Their outlook will only change when they see that other hotels are dying.

BUT Money is there… and the marketing would not be that difficult, especially if an insurance company just sends their clients over.

We need to think about good solutions now to prepare actions and be able to implement them later.

Alternative tourism can have

  1. Residential Tourism – turn a hotel into “propriedade horizontal” :this relieves the hotels sector of pressure and helps maintain the RevPar
  2. Health Tourism – not great for our island, there is a lot of high-class competition all over the world
  3. Senior Citizens Homes – Dilectus is an example of a modern ”Lar”. Hotels would need to be adapted to this type of use, that may be costly but again, it would take a weight out of the hotel sector

Option 4

Alternative Tourism can also focus on health problems which do not require intensive medical intervention.

AltT needs many services:

  • Good location: experiences on the mainland have shown that a location in Town (Portimao) is well accepted but a spot far from town in the beautiful countryside (costa Vincentina) does not attract travelers
  • Health care: doctors and nurses who are fluent in the guests’ language
  • Parks or gardens to walk
  • Exercise programs, the guests need to be kept busy all day
  • Art classes to find another expression in life
  • events that create community such as singing
  • Taking part in sustainable agriculture and planting programs

There could be a cooperation with private insurance companies such as HM Germany or the Red Cross Germany. We would need to ask them if we could receive from them low-maintenance patients’ groups, such as

  • burn-out patients
  • depressed persons
  • recovering alcoholics

The hotels in Canico had extensive experiences with alternative tourism, they offered

  • Ayurveda treatment
  • Fruit fasting
  • Walking groups
  • What can also be done: walking through a banana plantation, harvesting lavender, planting trees.

What we need to offer:

On Madeira, we would have to have an incoming agency to organize the hotel rooms and services. The programs have to be of high and continuous quality. An insurance company might want the therapists to have licenses. Investors will need guarantees to come if, for example, we set a program for 200 rooms but we guarantee 100 rooms occupancy. ROI must be 4 – 5%

A hotel could give a contingent of 30% to such a contract, and the effect should be that the pressure is taken out of the hotel market, by attracting other clients and filling the beds with clients who come her for 4 – 6 weeks at a time (lower CO2).

The first step would be to ask, for instance, HM Germany for the type of groups they might want to send to Madeira. Then we would have to find the rooms with hotels willing to change their strategy in order to survive, and an incoming agency which could organize the service.

Options 1 and 3 would give the most relief to the hotel sector, and the staff would find work in the long-term residential units as well. Private local schools could set up programs for training for higher-value jobs in the area.

This was not an easy meeting because the subject was too broad, and also not an optimistic one. We need to ignore the heavy economical burden Covid places on the island (as is does everywhere else) and still maintain an optimistic outlook, at least for 2022, to work successfully on such ideas. (Ursula’s opinion)

Many thanks to Mr. B., for his input!

 

Other stuff:

U. entered the “Free the birds” campaign idea into the orçamento participativo in Funchal (the Government orçamento turned it down). Let’s see what happens!

The TEDX Funchal will take place on Oct 10 but only virtual and for free, here: www.naminhaterra.com

Alé Hop (the shop with the cow in Anadia Shopping) is selling visors with a sponge to avoid pressure on the forehead.

We now have a solar-powered catamaran on the North coast of the island: https://ondasolartours.com/

 

 

114 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 22.8.2020

Aug 23, 2020 at 11:15 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

We met in the gallery again, this time without watching a video clip because Cl. and U. couldn’t find anything fitting for the topic so we used the courtyard, with plenty of space and fresh air, right away.

We had a guest for this session. Dorita Mendonça, the Director of our Tourism Board who was recently confirmed to her position for another three years. Politicians may come and go quickly, but the administrators who are doing the work, are in the job for much longer.

The Topic was Long-Term Tourism, based on the assumption hat Tourism on the island will not return to the pre-pandemic level.

Cl’ intention is to find a long-term solution, things have to change for the hotels now so that in one year’s time, when the Pandemic will have abated, the hotels are set up to accommodate a more special type of tourism. Political shifts in other countries, such as a turn to the left in Germany (elections are in 12 months’ time) may also contribute, if people decide that their CO 2 output has to come down. They can do that by amongst other things, by flying less.

The missing ferry is another big problem. There are now many passenger ships (including ro-ro ferries) on the market, and due to a lower demand, many of them are going to be scrapped. Even so, if we had 5 Mio (which Ronaldo spent on his new yacht), such ships, about to be scrapped, would be more expensive.

M. spoke to somebody in the Sousa group, he said that a new cargo ship is much less expensive (around 20 Mio€) than a passenger ship (around 80 Mio €), M. suggested a mixed type; even this would be more expensive

Another obstacle to turn the market toward long term health tourism, is the lack of nurses on the island. Hopefully many nurses who were hired away to the UK, might return due to Brexit, even if they earned less here. In our favour: The Madeirans have strong roots on the island.

In total, we need emphasize out there that Madeira is a safe destination. The Tourism board has a new word for Madeira; it is a “refreshing” destination.

J. is pleading for less but better Tourism. Their B & B is basically four stars and offers an tailored service, that is not common and attracts many tourists, even in a crisis.

S. came up with the idea that we could have a “fly and vaccinate” programme: tourists from other countries come here, get their shot (we ought to have a vaccine by December), rest a bit, and then return to their home country.

The obstacle to a change in our tourism industry will be that people do not want to change, they want things to return to the way they were, and Hoteliers are human beings. The Covid crises should convince them that something must change, and soon, otherwise they’ll go down. ACIF could hold a conference and make them see that they must adapt to a new concept to be able to survive. It would be good if big hotels would adapt their hotels to a medical, long-term tourism concept or to Senior Citizen’s homes; this would take pressure out of the market for all the other units competing for tourists.

It is to be noted that the IASaude team at the airport is doing a great job in finding the infected travellers!

 

Other stuff:

D. & P., our former members, now living in Tavira, have found a buyer for their lavender farm in Tabua; they will be here by the end of the month, so if you want to catch up with them, feel free to ask U. for their number!

 

A new see-through mask can be found here:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/aug/20/deaf-people-mask-wearing-lipreading (not for sale here yet).

Our next meeting should be on Sept 19, but the date has yet to be fixed

 

 

113 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 25.7.2020

Jul 27, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

We met in the gallery again, with our new member SG who met most of the group now.

Our topic was Freedom of Speech and Section 230 – an American law that provides a shield to internet platforms so that they are not liable when a person posts harmful content on their platform. Prez Twitter spoke about it:

https://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/trump-social-media-companies-alleged-bias

(To balance this, you could watch BBC Newsnight, which is a bit more sober:  How should the internet be regulated?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EjfqM1ka1Y

 

Trump is – he says – going to remove the shield from the internet provides so that they can be sued for defamation etc, if a person is allowed to upload hate speech and such. (Of course, he is only interested in the consequences for Himself.)

The new regulation will also force platforms like Twitter and FB to disclose the person posting the content. VPN Networks and dark servers can, however, disguise the original and identity of any post.

We think that in general, persons should stand by the content they post, and be accountable for it. But money rules the World, and advertising money compels the platforms to harbor as much content as possible.

Several countries ban harmful content by law, due to their history (Germany, Nazi)

Harmful speech: we have no means to talk to each other, to call the otter person and clear up misunderstandings.  Email is not a great means of communication; it does not convey the writer’s demeanor. Things we deem OK, may be offensive to another person, but feeling offended does not constitute a crime.

So if Twitter Prez goes through with it, the platforms could be more accountable. Claus thinks he may even break up the big platforms. They managed it with AT & T but will they manage it again?

M. said that on Madeira Island the DN has been sold by Blandy’s to the owner of Grupo Sousa (Transport). This may not be an improvement. The JN was re-branded, but both newspapers are very similar now. The DN claims to be not biased and independent, the JN, at least, does not claim that.

We also said that the public could very well influence these platforms with boycotts but as participants aren’t consequent in their actions, boycotts have no real power.

Younger generations should step in but they are apathetic, and their attention span is short.

Altogether, we couldn’t get a good grip on the topic, it is too difficult to draw the line between good content and harmful content.

We also spoke about Covid and flying in these times: without food & drink, but with masks and strong discouragement to use the bathroom, the airlines should give out Xanax pills in a nice tote bag to each passenger so that we can knock ourselves out until the flight arrives at the destination.

A thought experiment for us: In WWII some items were used for barter: cigarettes, nylon stockings, chocolate etc. If we were to get a new financial crisis, it would be good to ponder beforehand which items will be useful for barter this time around…

Cl. says that, with all that money-printing by the governments, there will be no inflation because the crisis is not coming from the banks, the states are causing the problem. If each of us were to personally get 4000€ out of the pot from the EU now, we would just own the 4000€ to ourselves. So there would not be any need to pay back unless inflation comes up again.

 

Covid:

The new see-through mask can be found here.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/21/mit-researchers-designed-reusable-n95-face-mask-for-healthcare-workers.html

and the article about the new Portuguese-made mask (unfortunately, without mention of the shops which sell them) here:

https://www.dinheirovivo.pt/economia/primeira-mascara-que-inativa-covid-e-portuguesa/Upconign

Upcoming medicines and vaccines:

Vaccines AZD1222 Oxford

Medicine: Dexametasona, Epo, Interferon (not so good) and others

Our next meeting should be on August 22nd.

 

 

Covid – we are almost there…

May 5, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

Our Madeira News with Covid Live-Ticker are here:

www.madeira-weekly.com

It is getting boring , we are almost covid-free!

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

5.5.2020

Quarantine after arrival at the airport:

According to new rules,  mandatory confinement can be done at home “in the case of people who have a residence in Madeira or Porto Santo and have performed a test for covid-19, in laboratories certified by national or international authorities, within 72 hours prior to disembarkation, with a negative result ”.

Tourism:

In the interview with Jornal da Madeira, President Miguel Albuquerque says he hopes that in September or October, the resumption of tourism will begin.

The President of the Regional Government argues that it should be guaranteed, at the departure destination, that the traveler is not contaminated. The President of the Government, who considers that the Region is ultra-attractive for Tourism, wants security, saying that it is essential that this guarantee be guaranteed from the airports of issue. “Destinations like ours will never be able to test 5,000 people,” says the Madeiran chief executive. Miguel Albuquerque affirms that the Government is in contact with the airline companies and tour operators.

Coffee – Take-away:

The Regional Secretariat of Economy announced today that the sale of coffee in a ‘take-away’ regime is resumed; it has to comply with the rules: the concentration of people outside the establishments should be avoided, keeping a minimum of 2 meters distance. There is also a ban on the consumption of coffee and other products at the entrance of restaurants and similar establishments.

112th Madeira Consorcio Meeting 15.2.2020

Feb 16, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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We met in the Gallery again; Our topic was Football /soccer

Albert Camus said:

“All that I know most surely about morality and obligations I owe to football.”

We saw the following TED talk:

Three-sided football  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W64ySTJg1j0

Three-sided football was “invented” by a group of philosophers, and is it being played at regular intervals (http://3sidedfootball.com/). The team that receives the fewest goals, wins in this game.

and

Al Pacino with a speech from a Baseball movie:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWKUoQfZg9M

Also interesting:

Philosopher’s football https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXPbKBo-KuM

Marc Barmuthi https://www.ted.com/talks/marc_bamuthi_joseph_what_soccer_can_teach_us_about_freedom

This topic was controversial from the beginning; many members don’t like football and/or do not know how to play it.

Cl. is an ardent football fan (Chelsea), and He. turned out to really hate it.

The Al Pacino speech was controversial because it shows that football (and similar) games are being saddled with martial language which express aggression against and separation from other groups. The fans identify with their team and “abhor” the “enemy”.

But Cl., as an insider, says that the aggressive language is only in fun, that the fans know that the game is a game, and not to be taken too seriously. On the other hand, fans can and do suffer when their team loses. The learn to live with disappointment, a good ability to have for their daily lives.

Cl. says the game is against racism, as many international players are being added to the teams, and adored by the fans because they play well. Fans develop a fierce loyalty to their team, also a good character trait for a human being.

The game creates a sense of belonging, being “in” the group, and group consciousness. Fans are not only single white men, but entire families. Children may be drawn to their team at a young age, and stay loyal to them for all their life. The “attacks” fans yell to the opposite fan group or to the coach of their team are for fun and not meant to be serious. It builds camaraderie.

Football (soccer) can be played by everybody, as long as there is a green and a ball. It is a popular game in all neighbourhoods. Cl. and his team used to be chased away for playing on a green somewhere (typical German attitude, the lawn is worth more than the children’s play), which is why he also learned to abhor authority.

Football at the community level is not corrupt, it carries the real atmosphere and connects strangers into a common interest.

Corruption sets in when money comes in, with ads, TV, sponsors and rich people buying the sport. Money leads to corruption in any sport.

it is difficult to fix a football game because too many people would be involved. Prediction experts can often unable to predict an outcome correctly, 6 out of 10 predictions (based on many factors such as weather, injuries etc) are false.

Vandalism, in terms of percentage, still is small phenomenon.

Politicians and politics should be forbidden to even show up. Salazar is said to have abused football in order to keep the Portuguese population quiet and obedient (Bread and Games in Rome).

Ce. said that the money spent on tickets (and they can be expensive when compared to minimum salary) could be used much better for other purposes. But community building is important as well. Nowadays, it is much harder to be part of a community because we are too many people, and community in the Internet does not have any bonding effect.

Football is a bonding system for a community, like festivals or concerts, and art festivals can create the sense of togetherness in a community.

Cl. says everybody should be obliged to support a football team (or a team in another group sport) as it builds character.

Women could choose a club with a female team. During WW2, a female league existed for baseball (seen in the movie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_League_of_Their_Own) , some team members  were later entered into the Baseball Hall of Fame

He. hated football because she had to play it when young, and she doesn’t understand why 11 men run after one ball: why not all give them one, so they can stop running about?

It keeps kids out of trouble, teaches them loyalty and channels their aggression (testosterone) into better behaviour.

Our next meeting should be in mid-March.

 

111th Madeira Consorcio Meeting 18.1.2020

Jan 20, 2020 at 10:33 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

We met in the Gallery again; we saw the following TED talk about artificial intelligence (AI):

https://www.ted.com/talks/zeynep_tufekci_we_re_building_a_dystopia_just_to_make_people_click_on_ads

(You should also have a look at these two but they are scarier:

Peter Haas: The Real Reason to be Afraid of Artificial Intelligence

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRzBk_KuIaM

Jay Tuck: Artificial Intelligence: it will kill us |

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrNs0M77Pd4)

The speaker is warning that AI cannot be controlled because AI Algorithms take decisions they cannot “explain”. AI is still being developed and is wrong often (recognizing a dog as a wolf, just by information about the background). Therefore, AI may make wrong decisions which can cost human life (self-drive cars)

Most AI algorithms cannot be checked anymore. The structure is too complex for humans to be grasped

AI has no ethics, it cannot solve the question whom to run over in an unavoidable car collision with either an old lady or 2 kids. In such a situation an AI driven car would not send the car into a tree because that would mean self-destruction, and that is not is program.

Even if we tried to switch AI systems off, they would stay online; they have ways of keeping connected to the electricity grid.

It is strange that in the US, the social security number is now supposed to be kept private whereas in other countries in Europe, we give them out freely, e.g. the tax number in Portugal. On the other hand, Portuguese tax office clerks are not allowed to enter a bank account in the taxpayers file, they are not supposed to receive such private data.

By now, Russian interference in several elections and in the Brexit referendum has been proven by journalists. The money came from Russia, and several companies in the world do nothing else but to create campaigns that manipulate well targeted recipients for elections. They may even try to keep certain groups of people away by dissuading them to go and vote.

S. said that, like under the dictatorship in Portugal, the state always obtained information about individuals and harassed and imprisoned them; the channel of information is just different now.  in China they did it to the Tibetans, now they are doing it to the Uighurs.

AI may decide that, if a person lives in a bad neighbourhood, this person might also be a “bad” person. It’s “decisions” may cause a person not to get a job or health insurance, just by misinterpreting data; this can ruin a person’s life.

We think we are free but we are being manipulated by AI already now. We may be more vulnerable now because we cannot detect the manipulation.

The “right to die in the internet” is also a farce: even if an account is closed down, the data live on somewhere else. If someone were to “die” and chose to “come back”, that person might well see that all the old data are still online. If we want to be undetected in our movements, we have to take the battery out of the mobile. Still, the state can “find “ us by face recognition in the airports and other public places. The surveillance system is never switched off.

We like the positive side of the internet, the fact that we have access to an enormous library, and that we can communicate better, it empowers us. Also, government abuse is more difficult to hide now.

But: Subliminal messages may not even be registered in our awareness. Clothing stores apparently use smell to entice the customers to come in and to remain in the store.

All citizens and children should learn to make good use of it. For example, look at page 99 in a Google search, not just on the first page.

We spoke about the “Wahl-o-Mat” in Germany, a system set up before an election in which each party has to state their position on specific topic. Then the voter can use the Wahl-o-mat to see which party reflects his preferences, and vote for this party. It is open and transparent. Unfortunately, parties in other countries do not have a party program which they can be nailed to before an election.

Basically, politicians are trying to win, they money to achieve their win. Money rules this.

U. said that individually, we can protect ourselves by

  • Not using Facebook, or at least, not “liking” anything
  • always logging out of secure systems
  • always closing the browser window before opening another one
  • using CCleaner to throw out cookies.

A good defence is to be in a position where we can say “I don’t need anything”

Even though we take such precautions, these Social Media companies can still see our activity, States get data from them, they also get date from other sources, and try to control and manipulate us, e.g. for elections

In the old days, people were targeted by ads in TV, Radio or by posters on the street and ads in the newspapers. The form of targeting has changed but still, each person has the option to not listen, read and follow the nudges in the ads.

Have a look on how to beat SPAM by James Veitch, very funny:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4Uc-cztsJo

Our next meeting should be in February.

110th Madeira Consorcio Meeting 16.11.2019

Nov 17, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

After our usual fight with technology, we saw the following TED talk about the new Story humankind needs to get out of the mess:

https://www.ted.com/talks/george_monbiot_the_new_political_story_that_could_change_everything

The Speaker was right that greed and dishonesty on the side of the state, the media and the bankers are the problem now. Communism, free market economy and other systems didn’t work. A new story needs to focus on the Commons idea.

We came to religion right away, and some of us have a problem with organized religion. C. said that she met some members of the Bahá’í faith and that a communication between the religious groups is in order. Cl. said that bridges need to be built between opposing groups. Most of the time, we all stay in our comfort zone, to be confronted with opinions we are in agreement with. Bridges should be between people of different views. One should be able to speak to alt-right people as well. Things are never black and white only.

Historically, people depended on each other to complete tasks, today we do not need other person to accomplish things, this isolates us.

The Social Media claim to create community but it is not true. Community happens between people who meet in person and really talk to each other. Although: some such “real” groups have their start in the internet, e.g. through Madeira Interactive  who created sub-groups who have meet-ups.

We spoke about the idea to pay for internet services, to regain ad-free lives and avoid being spied on. If these service providers do not need to sell us ads because we pay for the access, they don’t need to spy on us.

Things that are free are not being appreciated. One “old” internet nerd suggested to his colleagues that the ads-based model is bad and that the community needs to turn things around and start charging for the use if the internet.

https://www.ted.com/talks/jaron_lanier_how_we_need_to_remake_the_internet

The pricing of access to the Internet should be flexible because people poorer countries may not have, say 5€, to pay for the access per month. A basic package should be free, and above that, prices should increase incrementally for people in the Western world who can afford it. This way, a mixed calculation would work for the service provider.

J. said there is a custom in Naples where a person pays for 2 coffees in order to enable a poor person to get a free coffee in the same snack bar. (It is not known if the second cup is actually served to somebody). The idea is nice.

Also, if the Internet was not completely free, and if we paid for emails, the use of the system would decrease, and we would save a lot of energy for computer warehouses, electricity and cooling these systems.

An Internet we have to pay for is more valuable, slenderer and would likely deliver less rubbish.

The problem is that people are stuck in consumerism and they have strange priorities: H & J have a house in their neighborhood which has no window panes and a broken door; apparently, people are living in there (easy to spy on, no curtains), but they have a mobile phone in their hands.

The Internet joins people who have things in common but it does not create community.

K. & Cl. tried to create an Art Network online, offering “Art Walks” in the area around the Gallery but people are not interested to join up.

We came to the conclusion that people have lost their sense of purpose in life. Spirituality is not part of people’s lives but we all need such direction somehow.

C. is sure that she has/had a ghost in the house in Northern Portugal, and she has a good connection to God. She says that our life should be such that we, when we get into paradise, don’t mess it up like this Earth.

On the other hand, if there is a God, how can he permit the atrocities we see (Cl.)?

U. said that one answer to the question why we exist for us is “we represent the complexity and harmony of the universe”. Other, deeper meanings have to be worked out by each person him/herself.

Meditation and contemplation should be taught to the children in all schools; it has been proved that their learning gets better, and the aggression levels go down.

D. mentioned a TED Talk about plastic pollution in the third world but I haven’t been able to find it yet

Another TED talk about recycling in India:

https://www.ted.com/talks/mani_vajipey_how_india_s_local_recyclers_could_solve_plastic_pollution

We’ll have a Christmas Lunch or Dinner in Funchal but the dates/times have to be worked out yet (no workshop meeting in December).

 

109th Madeira Consorcio Meeting 18.10.2019

Oct 20, 2019 at 9:50 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

 We had an excursion to the IGA Water Treatment plant in Sta. Quiteria (very near the Madeira Shopping).

Engineer D.S. and his assistant gave us a three-hour tour and showed us every nook and cranny, they are very proud of their work.

Sta. Quiteria – one of 10 such paces on the island – is much larger than it looks from outside, it consists of several floors, and on the lower basement the water is in a big tank before it gets introduced into the public water network. Lots of pipes and tanks, and half of the system, built in 1976, is not even in use yet as it is not needed. The website is http://www.aguasdamadeira.pt/

The most important points we took away from the visit:

  • The incoming water quality has improved because the population stopped throwing rubbish and old electric appliances into the river beds.
  • The water is treated in several stages and with chloride gas, and this gas has to “last” until our water faucets. We can then let it evaporate by simply letting the water rest in a jar.
  • New products are used to flock out the organic residue in the incoming water (mind you: this is only about fresh water, not sewage)
  • The water quality needs to be checked and leveled out more than in the old days.
  • The water quality is very good, it can be said that is it’s of better quality than “Agua de Luz”
  • They have a great many security measures to make sure that the chloride gas doesn’t escape from the plant.
  • The new “telemetragem” oversight is in the station in S. Roque
  • The water we have in Sta. Quiteria comes from the North, via Encumeada and other ridges to Covão in Curral das Freiras.
  • There is a map which shows where the water comes from:
  • http://www.aguasdamadeira.pt/Portals/0/Documentos/Mapa_Madeira_interactivo.pdf
  • The water is also used to produce electricity and to produce energy for the pumps needed to clean the sand filters. Eng. Sousa switched this cleaning process on for us, it was quite impressive!
  • The best way to save water is for the municipalities to replace the old broken pipes, they are still losing a great amount of water!
  • If water becomes scarce in Summer, some of it has to be redirected to some private Levada water companies who have a right to receive water for their agriculture: there is plenty of politics in it as well.

In November, we are planning a TED talk/Discussion in the usual meeting place again.

108th Madeira Consorcio Meeting 14.9.2019

Sep 15, 2019 at 11:01 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

We met in RESTOCK, again with a small group because some of our members couldn’t come.

The video we saw:

Universal Basic Income (UBI) Raf Manji

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EluxCgnQVzg  16 min, from Dec 2016

Raf is for the Universal income and thinks it can be financed through financial tools which are used to create more money for the economy by accounting.

He says that with a UBI, we could eliminate the entire Government welfare administration.

Several trials have been run in some European countries:

https://interestingengineering.com/the-15-most-promising-universal-basic-income-trials

Finland has stopped it.

Some arguments in the group for it:

it gives poor people the possibility to partake in society and in culture, to go to cinema or visit a museum. If the basic needs are met, people have the opportunity to express themselves as human beings.

Cl. suggested, that with the money drawn from buying back bonds, the German Government could support 100.000 people with a basic income of 2000€ net/month. They could be chosen by lottery, and as part of an experiment, the test would show what they would do with the opportunity.

Microloans in Bangladesh, India and Africa, show that money given to poor people results in a higher income not only for them but also for the whole community where the loans were received.

The discussion then veered off to the bigger problems of the world:

  • consumption has to be lower than now, to lower CO2 and promote sustainability
  • with automation, there should be less production of goods that are now foisted upon the consumer by marketing
  • citizens are not aware that they, when buying a cheap product, are buying a product that cannot be repaired later
  • producers build in break-point weaknesses into the products to ensure that consumers need to replace broken items later.
  • industrial design should aim at sustainability and recycling from the start
  • toasters, for example, should be built from a few, easily replaceable part

Japan has collected millions of unused mobile phones from its citizens and retrieved around 2 tons of gold and 400 tons of silver from them for re-utilization.

Cl. said that the western world, citizens are now producing an average of 11 tons of CO2, this needs to go down to 4 tons, if we want to stop climate change. Technology can produce goods with less CO2 output.

 

What we can do :

Following the discussion, here are two Repair/Maker contacts:

Repair guys (TV, Videos, household items)
in Arco da Calheta:

Electroeste , Sr. Antonio

ER 225, Estrada do Arco 17

Tel 291 822072, email somimagemcalheta@gmail.com

In Funchal

VideoMad ,Sr. Rodrigues

Rua da Velha Ajuda 47 (or in the bar next door, Sr. Rodrigues runs that as well)

Tel 291 761186, no email, people

In social Media, such info about Repairs/Makers, should be permanently available, and should not be swept away be the daily input of new info.

The good news is that citizens are waking up to the fact that consumption has to be lowered. Some big companies want to exploit the Lithium deposits in Portugal and public opinion is starting to be against it. Even the Portuguese are learning how to protest. If a petition is ignored – as can easily be the case – the protest organisations have to insist (as in the case of the fishermen’s houses on Culatra island). But some protests fail, such as the ones Gil Canha made against Quinta do Lorde and the destruction of Minas Gerais for the La Vie shopping complex.

Back to the UBI:

It should be accompanying, as said, in the video, by duties.

One proposal was to oblige recipients to do (and be able to prove) volunteer work for the society, as many women are going already for the family and elders. Such volunteering is an expression of the self and might lead to more work for others, restoring the “we” feeling.

K. found a good link which explains it well, by an association that advocates for it:

Unconditional Basic Income Europe (UBIE) is an international network of activists and initiatives.

https://www.ubie.org/who-we-are/

 

There are two other talks about it:

Marin Ford  – how we‘ll earn money

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swB7Ivct8d8 15 min

The Trojan Horse – by ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7sgv1VCRSs  12 min

We also briefly touched on Brexit – no surprise – and we did not talk about Trump – big surprise!

 

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