Storm Clouds Gathering

A peace activist speaks out

About five years ago a young man who wanted his children to live on a war-free planet started a website called StormCloudsGathering.com and started making and posting videos on the subject on his site and on a YouTube (a Google company) channel.

His videos were short and to the point. He used reasonably reliable information, had a very good announcing voice, and learned how to make videos of quite good quality using images from the web. His audience on his YouTube channel started growing. At some point, he made a decision to “monetize” his YouTube videos and work at the project full time. With the income flow from the channel, he could scrape by and have time to cover more topics that were important to him.

Today his YouTube channel has 468,555 subscribers. His total views is over 46 million. Then just recently, according to a post he made on the 23rd of September, some, then all, of his videos were demonetized by Google. Apparently they have a new policy that monetized videos can’t be controversial. However, it’s not clear that they are enforcing this rule fairly, and this rule itself demonstrates the anti-free-speech middle-class belief that controversy is not commercially viable, though, oddly, large sectors of the economy totally rely on conflict.

So this young man is no longer able to make a living acting as an “alternative” media outlet (and a very popular one, at that). He will have to cut back on his video production to make time for some other sort of income-making activity, or appeal for listener donations all the time the way National Public Radio (and TV) do.

George Orwell (pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, an anti-totalitarian British writer) fancifully placed a nightmare story of complete state control, apparently based partly on what he was seeing in Russia under Stalin, in the year 1984. Though our loss of freedoms was not quite as described in his book by that year, that isn’t to say that no one was working on it.

A “middle-class” (for lack of a better term) distaste for controversy in personal opinion, regardless of how bad things look in general, has overtaken much of the “free” world. We find this segment of the population locked into a system where personal comfort for a lifetime seems possible, as long as no one rocks the boat. That others in different circumstances have not felt personal comfort for many lifetimes does not make that much difference to these people. That’s why we have charity, they reason. And that’s what is criminal about the middle-class approach to life. In leaning towards the comforts of materialism, they have also turned away from the spiritual realities of the situation. They think they live but once. No. They will all be returning, unaware of past existences, but back none the less. And they will have to reap the harvest of the seeds of neglect they sowed in earlier lifetimes. If things get really bad, most of them will most likely simply give up; they are spiritually that weak.

I feel no great pride or sense of superiority for being aware of these things; just a little more hope. If I can become aware of these things, if StormCloudsGathering can find some way to keep making videos, and people keep watching them, then more people can become aware of these things. And maybe some day it will be enough to make a difference.

My bench gets some upgrades

My work bench may one day be an important source of income for me. In some ways it is already, as that’s how I kept up with electronics, which is partly why I was able to land my current job.

So I have been investing in it a bit. I recently procured a tool cabinet (made of steel sheet metal) to help me get more control over my storage problems. And I have pushed by “tower #3” – the Tower of Power with Bungalow – up to an operational status.

Unlike my previous two towers (see Tale of Two Towers), this one resides in a rear corner of my bench, and only a small desktop unit (the bungalow) is within reach. All the contraption does is supply power for my projects before the boards are assembled into self-powered enclosures. I decided that this was the most-needed function. Another bench-top unit houses a couple of digital multi-meters and a continuity tester. I use these all the time.

The “work bench improvement project” continues with various efforts to consolidate parts storage, create modules for prototyping, experimental, and demonstration purposes, and throw away redundant and trashy stuff. The current effort focuses on finishing projects that I started earlier.

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