Listen and watch for free on your computer

April 11, 2014

Computers and handhelds are rapidly becoming universal devices for entertainment, communications, and creativity.

I often find myself without access to a TV, and commercial TV is largely a wasteland anyway, strewn with ads, trashy sitcoms, and propaganda dressed up as news.

Thank heaven (or whatever) for the internet and the world-wide web (WWW). The web provides an ever-increasing number of sites that offer music customized to your tastes. Pandora.com, http://www.pandora.com/, is one I used to listen to a lot but I’m now finding better options. If you want to listen to Pandora without paying you must put up with commercials that have become more frequent and intrusive, with content that often spoils the mood of the music you’re listening to. Pandora does offer ad free listening, but at a price, and it is not available when you’re outside the U.S.

Calmradio, https://calmradio.com/, offers some nice options for my tastes and it too allows you to listen for free if you are willing to put up with frequent interruptions nagging you to sign up for a paid subscription that provides ad free listening.

I recently discovered Upchucky (http://upchucky.com, and http://upchucky.org), which provides a vast assortment of audio and video entertainment. I especially like the “Jukeboxes” that cover hits from each year from 1940 to 1999.

Surf Music, http://www.surfmusic.de, provides links to a reported 16,000 free online radio stations from around the world. I’m just now beginning to explore this site but I especially like BBC Radio 3 for classical music.

Another such site is live365 that claims, “5,000+ online radio stations run by real people, not generated by computers.”

Everyone knows about YouTube, but there must be dozens of other sites that provide great video and movie content for free.

For documentary and educational programs the Smithsonian, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/videos/, is a good place to browse.

And I’ve just discovered, The Archive which provides access to an enormous array of resources, including audio, video, and text materials, as well as software and much more: https://archive.org/details/DonQuixoteDeLaMancha

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In the interest of providing everyone with more listening and viewing options, you are welcome to add your favorite free sites by entering a comment to this post.

And, if you find my posts on this blog to be useful and interesting you may want to check out my other sites that address more serious topics.

My active site that showcases my work in the realm of community economics and improved mechanisms for exchange and finance, Beyond Money: http://beyondmoney.net

My archival site for serious students of money and banking, Reinventing Money: http://www.reinventingmoney.com/

My non-profit organization, Community Information Resource Center: http://circinfo.wordpress.com/

My photo albums of my extensive travels: http://picasaweb.google.com/tomazhg

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97 taxes Americans pay…

April 9, 2014

This list of taxes Americans pay every year comes from the website, The Economic Collapse.  The article contains many other useful facts. You can read more at http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/a-list-of-97-taxes-americans-pay-every-year

#1 Air Transportation Taxes (just look at how much you were charged the last time you flew)
#2 Biodiesel Fuel Taxes
#3 Building Permit Taxes
#4 Business Registration Fees
#5 Capital Gains Taxes
#6 Cigarette Taxes
#7 Court Fines (indirect taxes)
#8 Disposal Fees
#9 Dog License Taxes
#10 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)
#11 Employer Health Insurance Mandate Tax
#12 Employer Medicare Taxes
#13 Employer Social Security Taxes
#14 Environmental Fees
#15 Estate Taxes
#16 Excise Taxes On Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans
#17 Federal Corporate Taxes
#18 Federal Income Taxes
#19 Federal Unemployment Taxes
#20 Fishing License Taxes
#21 Flush Taxes (yes, this actually exists in some areas)
#22 Food And Beverage License Fees
#23 Franchise Business Taxes
#24 Garbage Taxes
#25 Gasoline Taxes
#26 Gift Taxes
#27 Gun Ownership Permits
#28 Hazardous Material Disposal Fees
#29 Highway Access Fees
#30 Hotel Taxes (these are becoming quite large in some areas)
#31 Hunting License Taxes
#32 Import Taxes
#33 Individual Health Insurance Mandate Taxes
#34 Inheritance Taxes
#35 Insect Control Hazardous Materials Licenses
#36 Inspection Fees
#37 Insurance Premium Taxes
#38 Interstate User Diesel Fuel Taxes
#39 Inventory Taxes
#40 IRA Early Withdrawal Taxes
#41 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
#42 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
#43 Library Taxes
#44 License Plate Fees
#45 Liquor Taxes
#46 Local Corporate Taxes
#47 Local Income Taxes
#48 Local School Taxes
#49 Local Unemployment Taxes
#50 Luxury Taxes
#51 Marriage License Taxes
#52 Medicare Taxes
#53 Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare
#54 Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (if you don’t buy “qualifying” health insurance under Obamacare you will have to pay an additional tax)
#55 Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income)
#56 Parking Meters
#57 Passport Fees
#58 Professional Licenses And Fees (another form of taxation)
#59 Property Taxes
#60 Real Estate Taxes
#61 Recreational Vehicle Taxes
#62 Registration Fees For New Businesses
#63 Toll Booth Taxes
#64 Sales Taxes
#65 Self-Employment Taxes
#66 Sewer & Water Taxes
#67 School Taxes
#68 Septic Permit Taxes
#69 Service Charge Taxes
#70 Social Security Taxes
#71 Special Assessments For Road Repairs Or Construction
#72 Sports Stadium Taxes
#73 State Corporate Taxes
#74 State Income Taxes
#75 State Park Entrance Fees
#76 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)
#77 Tanning Taxes (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services)
#78 Telephone 911 Service Taxes
#79 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes
#80 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes
#81 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes
#82 Telephone State And Local Taxes
#83 Telephone Universal Access Taxes
#84 The Alternative Minimum Tax
#85 Tire Recycling Fees
#86 Tire Taxes
#87 Tolls (another form of taxation)
#88 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)
#89 Use Taxes (Out of state purchases, etc.)
#90 Utility Taxes
#91 Vehicle Registration Taxes
#92 Waste Management Taxes
#93 Water Rights Fees
#94 Watercraft Registration & Licensing Fees
#95 Well Permit Fees
#96 Workers Compensation Taxes
#97 Zoning Permit Fees

 

Medical interventions: physicians don’t want them.

February 25, 2014

Here’s an article you may want to read. It’s titled, How Do Physicians and Non-Physicians Want to Die?. The article reports the results of a survey in which physicians gave very different answers than non-physicians in regard to various interventions that might be administered toward the end of life. This information may help you make better decisions for yourself.

Farming with nature

February 13, 2014

From “fir tree desert” to model permaculture farm.

Go jump off a cliff…

January 8, 2014

It’s truly awesome what humans can do.

My Travels: 2013-November/December

December 22, 2013

I’ve been abroad since Nov 13, starting in Istanbul where I gave a presentation at the Green Economy and Commons conference and spent a few days exploring the city. (Here is the link to the conference site : http://www.tr.boell.org/web/35-1830.html).

Istanbul was interesting and I think my presentation went over well. You can see the pictures from my Istanbul visit at, https://picasaweb.google.com/112258124863172998784/201311IstanbulTurkey?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJv3nPOd34igcQ&feat=directlink

From there I flew to Kuala Lumpur then a couple days later traveled by bus to Penang.

Penang

I stayed almost two weeks in Penang at a small Hotel where I’ve stayed before. I like Penang but this part of it (Georgetown) is very busy and the traffic gets worse each time I visit. Also, lodging costs keep going up as old guest houses get refurbished and new ones pop up.

Penang is a UN world heritage site, very diverse ethnically, racially, religiously, culturally, etc. and, in my opinion, has the best food in the world, much of it vegetarian. Food is still cheap there; how about $1 for breakfast, $2-$3 for dinner? Of course if you want western food you’ll pay more but still less than western prices. Penang was once a British colony, so that influence is evident, including English and Scottish street names and a British fort (Fort Cornwallis) built in the late 1700s . Penang’s population is majority Chinese with a healthy sprinkling of Tamil Indians and Malays. Islam is an ever increasing presence as more mosques and masjids are sited in Chinese neighborhoods.

Cambodia

Two weeks in Penang was enough. I chose to visit Cambodia instead of going to Thailand, taking a flight on December 5 from Penang to Phnom Penh.

My Cambodia visit got off to an inauspicious start. After checking into my hotel, I decided to take a stroll down by the river. I tried to cross the street and got sideswiped by a motorbike; no stitches but my left shin got skinned and bruised. I managed to get to the other side and sat down on a convenient bench; almost passed out but got some aid from a British friend I had been traveling with for some days, and a Polish couple who happened to be passing by. My wounds have fortunately turned out to be minor, no trouble walking, only a little discomfort, and healing is almost complete by now.

I spent only a couple days Phnom Penh then decided to take a minivan to Sihanoukville which is on the Gulf of Thailand. I stayed a week at Otres Beach about 5 km from Sihanoukville. Otres has a nice clean sandy beach, clean water, and a couple dozen guest houses and bungalow places ranging from backpacker dorms and huts to pretty decent rooms with A/C and hot showers. Almost all have free wi-fi and decent internet connections. After two nights in the rather primitive Done Right ($18), I moved a few meters away to the more comfortable and quiet Otres Guest House ($20). There are many places to eat right on the beach and you can hang out all day long on their lounge chairs if you buy a drink ($1-3) or a meal ($2.50-$6.00). Done Right has both “geodomes” and “cubes,” as well a dorm rooms, is run by young  people and meant to appeal to the twenty-something backpacker crowd. As you might expect, there are lots of dogs and cats around, (and consequently, lots of flies) an open-air pool table and ping pong table, so there’s lots of activity from morning to evening, but nights are fairly quiet except when the dogs get set off by something.

At my age, I require something more comfortable and conventional. Otres Guest House provides it. My room was large and I had a desk and chair that provided a decent work station. The beach across the way provides a good diversion when I tire of working.

I had some surprisingly good Greek food in Sihanoukville at a restaurant (the sign reads “Greek Cousine”) that is run by Greek restaurateurs who spend the off season here.

I’m now in Kampot, a charming little riverside town which is a couple hours’ drive toward the southeast, where the lodgings and food are both good and cheap.

I also have Siem Reap (Angkor Wat ) on my agenda and will visit there at some point. I hope to schedule another visit to Phnom Penh to see the “killing fields” and the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21). Here’s a bit of pertinent history:

“Prior to 1975, Toul Sleng was a high school. When the Khmer Rouge came to power it was converted into the S-21 prison and interrogation facility. Inmates were systematically tortured to extract confessions, after which they were executed at the killing fields of Choeung Ek. S-21 processed over 17,000 people, less than a dozen of whom survived. The building now serves as a museum, a memorial and a testament to the madness of the Khmer Rouge regime.”

Yes, Cambodia has that gruesome history, but so do many other countries, including the U.S., Argentina, etc. The situation now seems quite different. You do notice a dearth of old people, and Cambodian government is said to be corrupt, but that seems to have little impact on the tourist. The people are friendly and helpful and no one has tried to rip me off yet. Still, this is a third-world country and not up to the standards of Malaysia or even Thailand, which have had more time to learn the tourism business.

An amazing dance

October 25, 2013

Awesome! I’ve never seen anyone move like that…

Deadly medicine and the future of health care in America

October 4, 2013

Up to now I’ve not paid close attention to the debate about the health care law commonly referred to as Obamacare, but I’m beginning to think that it may be important to do so.

I never did like the provision that makes it compulsory for everyone to buy insurance. That seems a blatant attempt to secure profits for the insurance oligopoly. Nor do I have much respect for big pharma and the massive promotion of prescription drugs, most of which I avoid like the plague they are.

Now, investigative journalist Jon Rappoport raises further concerns about the health care law and where it seems to be taking us. His recent article, The devastating truth behind Obamacare, begins:

I want my Obamacare! I want my Obamacare!

It’s vital to look at the real meaning of this sinister plan. It’s all about the toxic effects of mainstream medicine. That’s what the sold-out press is refusing to examine.

A year ago, I discussed the case of a young Michigan boy, whose parents had been taken to court three times to force them to submit their child to intensely toxic chemo treatments—despite these facts:

The boy’s latest scans revealed no sign of cancer; the drugs that would be forced on him can cause cancer; the drugs have not been approved to treat children.

And I warned: this is what waits for you and your children, up the line.

The “share and care” humanitarian mask will be peeled away. The US Dept. of Health and Human Services will create, as ordered, a complete list of approved treatments for every disease-label under the sun. And everyone in the insurance plan will be forced to take what the doctor tells them to take.

For a bonus, unapproved treatments will be banned. People and practitioners who try to use alternative treatments will find themselves in trouble.

This is the hidden agenda of Obamacare. This is what it will morph into in the future.

You can read the rest of the article here.

You might also read the report of Dr. Barbara Starfield that was published in the AMA Journal several years ago in which she exposed the large number of deaths caused by medical treatment every year (Is US Health Really the Best in the World? JAMA, July 26, 2000—Vol 284, No. 4). You can download it here. — t.h.g.

 

 

 

Preserving the commons

September 26, 2013

On The Commons is a “commons movement strategy center.” It provides a great deal of useful information via its website, newsletter and magazine. A recent post describes Legal Structures for Protecting the Commons. You can read it here.

Products need to be modular, durable, adaptable, repairable, recyclable…

September 13, 2013

The mufti-dimensional mega-crisis crisis includes resource depletion, waste, and pollution. Products need to be modular, durable, adaptable, repairable, recyclable, and efficient in their use of scarce resources. The old corporate model of private profit maximization encourages just the opposite.

Here’s one example of how products can be made the right way.


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