Author: arjaybe

Jim has fought forest fires and controlled traffic in the air and on the sea. Now he writes stories.

Oh, Greta

Public Domain

A local politician decided it was time to tell us what’s wrong with Greta Thunberg after her “… meteoric rise in the world of abstract environmental conscience.” Quite the turn of phrase, eh? Abstract, he said, because she highlights the problem and assigns blame without providing workable solutions.

Then he reminisces about how dense and zealous and simplistic he was at that age, and concludes that she must be equally ineffectual. He spends the last ninety percent of his speech pointing out the real problem — too many people — and the futility of expecting a naive girl and the idealistic, privileged people who listen to her to deal with it. They’re just too entitled, he says, and delights in the prospect of seeing their “rose-coloured glasses … ripped away.”

This politician has pointed out what a hard problem these young people face, and how they’re going about it all wrong. It’s just too complicated, he says. It won’t be solved by “radical environmentalism.” What, then?

The politician didn’t provide any workable solutions, either. He just pointed out the problem as he sees it, and assigned blame where he thinks it belongs: naive young people.


PS – Greta Thunberg has suggested solutions, though they might not be workable. She’s asking our leaders to act like leaders and grownups to act like grownups, so the children don’t have to.

Human Rights – Article 1

Credit Canuckguy – CC-BY-SA

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

The declaration begins at the beginning, with birth. It says that we are all born free, and we have equality in dignity and rights. Those are our rights. The declaration also says that we have responsibilities to go along with our rights. Since we are endowed with reason and a conscience, we are expected to use them to protect the rights of our fellow human beings. We are expected to realize that the rights we demand for ourselves belong to everyone, and that we have a responsibility to ensure them.

Looking at the world it’s obvious that these rights and freedoms are not universal. Far too many people don’t enjoy them. The reason for that is that some of us aren’t upholding our responsibility to make them universal. Some of us are abrogating the rights and freedoms of others for personal gain, and too many of us are shirking our responsibility to stop that. Things are better than they were before the United Nations made this declaration, but there is plenty of room to make things better still.


Guest Post – Cybersecurity PSA

Credit Ben FrantzDale – CC-BY-SA

Guest Post

From time to time I will be publishing posts from guest authors whose writings I think will interest people. Of course, all opinions and assertions in these posts belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily agree with mine. Please direct your praise and criticism to the author. — rjb

Today’s guest author is Graham Salwell

Before I begin I would like to remind you to check out the free novels and audiobooks while you’re on the Green Comet website.

In the past year alone, 23% of Americans either fell victim to identity theft, phishing scams, and credit card fraud or personally know someone who has. According to the University of Maryland, every 39 seconds, a hacker attacks an unsuspecting victim. That is an excessive amount of people targeted, and the statistics look equally grim for virtually every area in the world.

Image by ItNeverEnds from Pixabay

What can we do about this? We can protect ourselves against these attacks by exercising smart cybersecurity etiquette. Here are some good tips for you to apply moving forward:

• Use protective software for all of your devices

First thing’s first – invest in some good anti-virus software. That goes for your phone and your tablet, as well, not just your computer. Every device that is connected to the internet can be a target, so you don’t want to mess around with this. Thankfully, if you’re cheap, broke, or simply can’t be bothered, there are lots of free trials for anti-virus software, so you can just use those for now. Some of these trials allow you to set up multiple devices, so you may just be able to cover your phone, as well.

• Don’t connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks

We all love a bit of free Wi-Fi, right? But that sweet, sweet Wi-Fi can be your downfall, if you’re not careful. The great thing about unsecured networks is that anyone can connect without a password. The awful thing about unsecured networks is that anyone can connect without a password. That includes people who are out to steal data from unsuspecting users who don’t know that any sensitive information they send across via this network can be intercepted by third parties. It’s always best to go ahead and ask for a password from a business or institution or travel with your own data, to avoid issues.

• Do not open emails from addresses you don’t recognize

Did you know that a lot of these scams are perpetuated via email? That’s right, the infamous Nigerian prince scam is still kicking. Amazing, isn’t it? To be fair, most of these sketchy emails end up in your Spam folder, where they are easier to avoid. But every once in a while, they make their way through the spam filter and into your inbox. If you see a weird email in there, hover over the sender to see the email address. Does it sound familiar? Do they have a reasonable way they could have gotten your email address? Is the subject something that concerns you directly? If not, you can safely ignore or send it to Spam purgatory.

• Learn how to recognize phishing scams

The reason why these attacks make so many victims is that phishing scams are getting cleverer. They are often disguised as emails from friends, from your bank, or from other institutions that may reasonably contact you. They will usually ask you for sensitive information, such as your bank details, or passwords. They may even require you to click through and sign in again on a fake website that looks exactly like the legitimate one. Remember that legitimate businesses and institutions never ask you for this kind of information over email, especially your bank.

• Look for the signs that a website is legitimate

And speaking of sketchy websites that look legitimate, if you’re ever in doubt, there are ways to verify whether the website you’re on is real or not, and if it’s safe.
First of all, make sure to double-check the URL – is it correct? Is it spelled right? Sometimes, fake sites will have a very similar, but different URL to the legitimate one. Does the site have an active SSL certificate? You can verify that by checking if there’s a lock next to the URL. That indicates that it’s been verified and encrypted. It’s very important that if you have any doubts about the legitimacy of the website, that you don’t use it. Don’t input your details, don’t click on anything. Just click away.

• Set strong passwords

Passwords are still super important for security in 2020. With the sheer amount of cyberattacks taking place every day, there are hackers trying to break into your accounts everywhere. A weak password only makes it easier for them.

Image by TheDigitalWay from Pixabay

A solid, strong password must be at least 7 characters long, and feature a mix of lowercase and uppercase characters, as well as special symbols. That will make it harder to guess or brute force-hack. We have so many online accounts, each with their own password that it’s often tempting to just use incredibly simple passwords that are easy to remember, like birthdays or names. But that’s like offering your information on a platter for hackers to take. At least make them work for it.

• Keep your sensitive information in cloud storage

Proper data storage is a hot topic right now, as data breaches are happening more and more often; and to big companies, too. It obvious we are not doing a good job of storing our data securely, so what’s the best way to do it, in order to make sure that you’re keeping your sensitive info as safe as possible? The best way to do it is to put it up in cloud storage. Yes, there are still some security concerns – mainly related to entrusting a third party to protect your data – but it’s safer than just keeping this information on your computer. Having the info on your device means it can become corrupted if the device breaks down, if it’s stolen, used by someone else, if someone manages to connect to it without your knowledge, or if it becomes infected by malware, spyware, or ransomware.

What’s the bottom line? All in all, cybersecurity is an important – and relevant – topic for all of us. Unless we actively take measures to protect ourselves, we’re all sitting ducks for the hackers who infect our computers and steal our data. Whether it’s setting a better password or becoming more aware of spam emails and fake sites, we can all do a better job of protecting our data.

Graham Salwell

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Eleanor Roosevelt with the English version of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

In 1948, a few years after the end of the Second World War, the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Here is a copy of it.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.


Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Maybe we’ll look at some of those articles in depth over the coming weeks and months.


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