Tag Archives: Dhahran

Bias, Discrimination and Deception

We are all biased, most of us are merely that to a degree, partially set to convictions we have, partially set to values that we endorse, embrace or idolise and part to what the media tells us and how it is told to us. We have always claimed to be the better person, to look beyond, to get ‘the big picture’, but is that actually true?

You see, there are rips in the fabric of objectivity, it changed what we see to be no more merely subjective, we are treated to biased views and that is a much larger problem. Reuters gives us ‘Eighteen fishermen killed off Yemen’s Red Sea coast‘, with the quote “A frigate attacked a fishing boat off Yemen’s Red Sea port of al-Khoukha, killing 18 fishermen on Tuesday, relatives said. The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi group denied reports that it had carried out the attack“, as well as “The Saudi-led coalition denied attacking the boat and said an unknown vessel opened fire on the fishermen, killing 17“. we also see CNN, who gives us ‘Saudi-led coalition investigates Yemen airstrike following CNN report‘ with the quote “The Saudi-led coalition fighting a war against Houthi rebels in Yemen said it will investigate an airstrike that killed two children last week after CNN provided evidence of the incident“. Now I am not debating whether this is all true, or that things did not happen. You see, the bias here is that no one (the western media) gave us ‘Mosque, house hit by Houthi missile fragments in Saudi Arabia‘ with the quote “Civil Defense Forces launched a report on Tuesday regarding a military projectile launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia from within Yemeni territory toward a village in the southern province of Dhahran“, this news we got from the Arab News. The issue is not merely that it happened, the fact that a Houthi missile caused damage. The reasons for this are unknown. We can point at several settings (the Iranian nuclear deal being one), but in the end it remains speculation, merely the fact that the bias is occurring can be shown and there is no way that a lack of storage space on the media servers will ever be a valid one.

Yet bias goes both ways. That is seen when we are confronted with the accusations against Facebook. Many covered that and in this case I decided to look at several sources whilst giving view to the Australian Financial Review. When we see: ‘Facebook accused of allowing a bias against women in its job ads‘, we are given “a group of job seekers is alleging that Facebook helps employers exclude female candidates from recruiting campaigns” and normally i would agree that there is an issue. Yet here we need to consider two elements. The first is not merely the job; it is the setting that is actually beyond ludicrous. I agree with the statement: “Debra Katz, a Washington-based employment lawyer not involved in the case, said the advertising campaigns appeared to violate federal law“, I think that the setting has a discriminatory setting, yet is it discriminatory? Two sides of not merely the same coin, but settings of different currency (in this specific case). The quote: “The employers appear to have used Facebook’s targeting technology to exclude women from the users who received their advertisements, which highlighted openings for jobs like truck driver and window installer. The charges were filed on behalf of any women who searched for a job on Facebook during roughly the past year” seems to have the goods. When we consider: “truck driver and window installer“, we see two very physical demanding roles, and no one denies that women can do these jobs too. Now we get the part “exclude women from the users who received their advertisements“, even as we see: “the Facebook disclosure for an ad by Nebraska Furniture Mart of Texas seeking staff members to “assemble and prepare merchandise for delivery” said the company wanted to reach men 18 to 50 who lived in or were recently near Fort Worth. The lawyers and their team collected the ads between October 2017 and August 2018“, you see the actual job is one thing; targeting advertisement to get more people to apply is another matter. With the Facebook ad, we do not get to see an actual job, merely a link to where the careers are. And advertisement is about reaching a population, in this case the male population. I know that it still sounds discriminatory, but look at it for the placement angle. Is any firm mandatory in creating job awareness (again awareness, not the actual application) for 50% to a group of people where less than 1% would even consider a job (better stated, this specific job)? On that foundation the job market will collapse, because in my view all professional medical jobs will be prohibited from advertising in medical publications as these magazines are not free and often not cheap either. This gives us that unemployed medical professionals would be unable to afford it, which implies that any medical professional sought, can only be sought if the advertisements are balanced on all media in equal measure. So even as it diminishes the capacity of the employer to find the suitable market, it must be visible everywhere.

I know it is a stretch. It gets worse when you consider that the actual job advertisement regarding ‘Nebraska Furniture Mart‘ is on their own website, visible to all, with a clear mentions of: “Nebraska Furniture Mart is an Equal Opportunity Employer“, the actual job advertiser, visible to all, to get more awareness, places like ‘Nebraska Furniture Mart‘ reached out through other additional medium setting the scope narrow to achieve more applications. Now, the fact that they were approaching one specific group, because the other group is likely to get a mere 1% chance of an applicant does not make is discriminatory, it is merely a setting to hopefully get more awareness more effectively.

That is the problem with bias, especially when it is set on common sense. I wonder in how many Republican magazines and affiliations we see ACLU jobs, or call for sponsors of the ACLU, if that is zero, is that not equally worthy of investigation? When we consider that “It is against the law to discriminate against anyone in the workplace because of their actual or assumed political beliefs or activities“, should we not investigate whether the ACLU advertised 50% in democratic and 50% in republican publications? You see, it suddenly becomes a different setting. It is like watching the overly political correct rejection notices, whilst at these firms you are unlikely to see people over 45, which in light of an aging population is a statistical outlier in several ways. No, the ACLU is looking into the discrimination of advertisement. In that light, we should see a 50% gender setting of anyone receiving Viagra ads, is that the case? You see, it is also a treatment for pulmonary hypertension, are women not allowed medication for pulmonary hypertension?

If one side is demanded, should the other not be equally enforced?

The fact is that advertising is always, not sometimes, but ALWAYS about discrimination in some form, and as such, I am happy to see the ACLU trying to make advertising obsolete (for several reasons).

So here we see the two forms of bias. The one stream is where we are not given all the news, we are merely receiving filtered news and no one seems to raise a finger, in the other version we see on how one gender is suddenly feeling left out, feeling left out, whilst all the indications give us that 98% of that gender would not ever consider a certain job. The fact that the advertisement merely links to the job page is also important, because ‘searching Google’ for the job gave me the page in seconds and I live on the other side of the Pacific River. This now gets us to the part where it is not about discrimination, but about awareness. You see, growing awareness is about reaching MORE people, reaching optionally the INTERESTED parties, which is not discriminatory. If so, I will forward this to the NRA, showing them that they can advertise in EVERY university publication and the NRA cannot be blocked or disallowed providing clear safety issues are part of the advertisement. And let’s not forget that the NRA is currently holding the ‘Banned Guns Giveaway‘ raffle, I personally always liked the FN Scar as it reminds me of my old FN FAL, not sure if I could ever get it into Australia, but that is just a different challenge for another day.

Is my setting ridiculous? Yes, it kind of is, but then so is the setting by the ACLU, especially when we see the scope of it. It is not about setting a president; it is about the application of common sense. It also makes me wonder how many secretary jobs were shown to men in all this (perhaps there is no Facebook advertisement need). The question then becomes, can there be bias in the raising of awareness? If you can raise awareness and you have $10 to do so, so only 100 people could be made aware, when you see that in the gender setting 50% is immediately lost, is it discriminatory to set the stage that 100% of the funds are used wisely?

That is the much harder question in all this, is it not? Consider that it was a job that both genders desire, at that point the ACLU would have a clear case, is that still the case here? There is actually a second setting, which we see in the Washington Post. there we are treated to: “The groups bringing the charges, including the 700,000-member Communications Workers of America union, argue that long-standing civil rights laws that protect people from discrimination are being routinely broken as more job and housing searches move online“, that is not entirely the same, is it? That is, apart from the fact that they added housing searches to the equation.

Yet they too are not on the clear setting of awareness and actual job applications, is it? Yet here we also see “Federal laws prohibit employers, lenders, insurers and landlords from excluding people from advertising on the basis of what are known as “protected categories,” which include gender, race, national origin, religion, age, military status, disability and sexual orientation“. It almost seems that there is a case, yet here too we see two parts, the first if on the discrimination, the second is on the party doing so. You see, the image gives additional facts that we were not given before. When you look you are given the first part, the fact that this was shown via Survey Monkey, this not a job site, but a Market Research link, so basically it was a questionnaire with one question: ‘Would you like this job?’ offering a job link. So someone at that firm decided to get creative and offering another way to gain visibility, now gives us the stage setting of deceptive conduct, deceptively marketing a job, not to the viewer, but to Facebook. The earlier settings still apply in my personal views, but the fact that they used deceptive conduct was not shown in either article, making the issue larger, yet taking Facebook out of the equation as an optional guilty party.

Yet the Australian Financial Review does give another part. With: “In practice, Facebook, with its more than 2 billion monthly active users, can be the most important tool for reaching certain types of workers, such as hourly workers, who often do not use other platforms like LinkedIn and sometimes do not even have resumes“, I acknowledge that, yet that does not make the gender filter valid, in addition we can argue that “she would like to find a similar job and had used Facebook actively for her search but had had difficulty finding leads” is an optional viewing of a lack of common sense as it is a social interaction media platform, not a job hunting platform, there are loads that are tailored to that and Facebook ain’t one of them. In addition when I am treated to “By contrast, Spees said, her husband saw numerous ads for high-paying manual jobs when he was searching online for a job two to three years ago“, it does not state ‘he was searching Facebook for a job‘, giving the notion that there is way too much BS at the end of that article, especially when we are treated to: “Spees was lucky to receive such intelligence from her husband. More often, said Galen Sherwin of the ACLU, her lawyer, “People don’t know they’re not seeing an ad.”“. I would see it as the misrepresented part of it all. It is almost like a person going into the Russell Senate Office Building looking for a prostitute. In light of the far too often illustrated fact (via media) that politicians will do anything for money (or votes for that matter), we now need to seek one there. It does not matter that they are apparently overly available at the intersection of 11th and K Streets in Northwest (Washington DC that is). We can decide to go looking for them in the Russell Senate Office Building (both genders are available there, so it is not discriminatory).

So in all it is not about discrimination, it is not about bias and not about awareness (although that remains an option), it is about the setting of deceptive conduct on whomever used Survey Monkey to bypass whatever Facebook had in place and the fact that the ACLU could (read: should) have clearly seen that this was a setting of deceptive conduct and skated around that setting is also a reprehensible side of the ACLU.

It is not the first time that the ACLU left common sense in the basement, but you know that is the setting, because if we condemn them for not being common sense inclined, that might be regarded as discrimination too.

Perhaps we should consider that an overly politically correct world is the most useless one, because if we get all the noise, if we get every option because it is the right thing to do, we soon stop looking to whatever might be of value too. You can test that for yourself. How often have you missed a letter because your floor/mailbox was overflowing with junk mail and advertising? That is the setting that the ACLU seems to be going for, and if they were genuinely interested in addressing discrimination, they would have clearly indicated the deceptive conduct part, which they did not, they merely wanted to kick Facebook. When we are reaching the stage where Facebook has the higher moral ground over the ACLU, how far off the track has the ACLU gone?

 

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Mining the Ocean

We might look at how Dow dropped 1175 points; we might in equal measure react to the act that Yemeni Houthi’s have decided to perform another attempt to send missiles into the Saudi civilian populations, all factual events of the last day alone. Yet that is not the initial issue that I am looking at. These are short term events and the media loves them because they get to report on the event, the proclaimed solution and the actual solutions. All follow up stories and the media loves them for the coin they tend to bring to their personal pockets. So it was nice to get a look at Saturday’s article by Jonathan Watts who gave us a look at an upcoming disaster (at https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/feb/03/day-zero-cape-town-turns-off-taps), not in Saudi Arabia, but in Cape Town no less. Yet it must be said that what is good for the one, could potentially hit the other as well.

So when you initially read the caption, you might think that the quote “In 10 weeks engineers will turn off water for a million homes as this South African city reacts to a one-in-384-year drought” is no big deal. Let’s face it, an event that hits once every 7 to 8 generations is not really a big deal is it. Yet that is not really the part that matters. You see, when you see the pictures, not on merely the empty swimming pool, but the image on the Theewaterskloof dam and how we see on what was and what now is. When we realise that ‘Day Zero, the apocalyptically named point when water in the six-dam reservoir system falls to 13.5% of capacity‘, is upon them just as autumn is ending, is in my view a much larger issue. When we see the people in queues with as many jerry cans as they can carry, that same point of befuddlement is reached when you consider why alarms have not been ringing a lot earlier, or were they ignored? They were not! The official Cape Town page (at http://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/residential-utility-services/residential-water-and-sanitation-services/Residential-water-restrictions-explained) gives us a lot. So as we see “A daily limit of 50 litres or less per person whether at home, work, school or elsewhere” we need to realise that 433 thousand people will still potentially drill down on 21.6 million litres of water every day. I am not putting any doubt on the 10 weeks until day zero, I merely wonder what else could be done to bring that number down and not to forget, that the WWF reported merely 4 days ago that only 39% of the Cape Town residents are adhering to these restrictions. The question becomes, when these restrictions began. For how long was there some plan of no-water, because the article gives us: “Greg Pillay: “We had to go back to the drawing board. We were prepared for disruption of supply, but not a no-water scenario. In my 40 years in emergency services, this is the biggest crisis.”“, it is fair that there was no plan and the fact that this happens once every 384 years makes the non-plan acceptable part, but the fact is that the empty dam pics should have been an alert stage when it had gone down to 50%, the restrictions to the degree as now might have been less severe pushing the reserves forward to a longer time. Now we see that the oddest thing will happen in 10 weeks, the taps will be turned off, no water from the taps. As seen the current 10%, who own up to 95% of all assets can likely afford, that each person buys a 20 ft. container filled with mineral water and ship it to their home, yet the other 90% will not have such an option setting a very dangerous situation, a very flammable and oddly fluid one to say the least.

the one good part is that Cape Town will start getting more rain by the time Day Zero approaches, so with April getting on average 300% more rain than the quarter before, and the steady incline in the months thereafter implies that the worst might be over, the dangers are that mother nature is a bitch on the best of days, so if they end up with a soft and warm winter the Cape Town goose ends up being most literally dry-cooked. There is just one other element. It is the one that they got to live with in Australia, these water catchments have no real purpose if the rain falls in the wrong place, so there is still that risk to look forward to.

So, why mention Saudi Arabia?

Well, Saudi Arabia has a similar drought pressures, yet they have additional issues as well. In Saudi Arabia, according to some sources groundwater extraction far exceed the level of natural recharge. The Al-Asha aquifer in the Eastern Province experienced a drop of 150 meters over the past 25 years. the National Geographic reported in 2015 that by 2012 80% of the aquifers had been depleted. That is one large setting whilst on taps the vein to find out in the first just how reliable those numbers are, but in the second degree as to how the impact on larger cities will become when the news brings them the story that ‘the fore mentioned source of water has been drained‘, because at that point the breakdown will be a lot larger when you consider 433 thousand in Cape Town versus 5.1 million in Riyadh. When that happens in one place, who long until Jeddah, Mecca and Medina follow? The problem is that there is no way to tell because there is no transparent oversight (an issue in many countries), there is no way to reliably forecast the issue and in all this the long terms impact of places that want to upgrade and maximise their economic potential sounds nice, but when the water level hits zero, everything stops, and right quick.

This might be the one long term danger that some are not looking hard enough at. so with: “Under the slogan “Bounties of our land,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih inaugurated the 12th International Geological Conference on Sunday and an accompanying exhibition at a local hotel in Jeddah“, is nice to propagate the Vision 2030, but it is still 12 years away and at present, the water mining issues as well as the water disruptions that are currently still happening (as stated by more than one source) would impact it all. The growth of infrastructures, the middle eastern heat that is about to hit Saudi Arabia for the next 6 months, whilst the rain will again decide to remain absent until December (speculated forecast), that alone would require a much higher priority to resolve water issues in Saudi Arabia, or at least give it additional priority. The fact that there are 27 plants in Saudi Arabia, creating millions of litres of water every day implies that perhaps it is time to see if this process can be improved upon and more important 9 more plants will be added to the need of Saudi Arabia. Now we can agree that Saudi Arabia has made massive strides here and the fact that they have upped it to 5 million cubic metres a day should not be underestimated. I am merely speculating that if someone finds a way to improve this process by 1%-5%, the impact for the water quality of life for Saudi’s would go straight through the roof, the impact is that large at present. In addition, the fact that for now the 36 plants would suffice in the short term, the long term is still not a given, that is because the need cannot be predicted. Here too it is about the data captured and to learn where the losses to the water cycles are found and how they can be prevented. More important, if mining is an initial issue now, how much of an issue will it be in 10 years, because depleted places could have other implications too, implication mind you! There is a lot that is not known, but it seems to me that both Saudi Arabia and South Africa will have issue to deal with over the coming year. Not just the water as needed for consumption, whatever else relies on water will also impact structural changes and even more drastic show an optional impact on infrastructure. Part of this was also seen last month (at http://meconstructionnews.com/27099/emerson-opens-new-tech-lab-in-saudi-arabia), where Emerson is set to a “new $25 million new technology and innovation centre at Dhahran Techno Valley, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia enables the company to host Saudi students, entrepreneurs, researchers and industry stakeholders to collaborate with its technical experts to develop process automation technologies and design products and solutions that, “meet the country’s goals.”“. Yet how much priority is given to design new ways to give rise to measuring and monitoring production, distribution and delivery of water solutions towards data collection, designed to contribute to longer term forecasting of water needs. You see, most of these systems tend to be short term, or when they are longer term they lose reliability because of a number of factors, so what happens when we can map and monitor the factors themselves? It is one of the powers that 5G could bring to an automation system, automated drone technologies that monitor and feed. This reminds me of a 2006 paper called ‘Modular learning models in forecasting natural phenomena‘ by Solomontine and Siek. Now in the paper we see in the abstract: “Comparison of the algorithms based on modular local modelling to the more traditional ‘global’ learning models on a number of benchmark tests and river flow forecasting problems shows their higher accuracy and transparency of the resulting models“, now what if the plant is the source of the river and the pipes are the river themselves. What if losses and therefor risks of these pipe systems could be mapped and correctly categorised? Only last year the Saudi Gazette reported (at http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/500157/SAUDI-ARABIA/Water-supply-disrupted-in-five-Jeddah-districts), “Residents of five districts in southeast Jeddah have complained about disruption of water supply to their homes after the National Water Company (NWC) changed its supply schedule. The residents of Al-Musaed, Quwaiza, Al-Nakheel, Al-Raghama and Al-Obaid districts in southeast Jeddah were mainly affected by the supply disruption“, now there can be all kinds of valid reasons why this happens, yet the official response was: “it was beyond their control as the quantity of water they receive from Shuaiba plants was less than what they received before“, the question is not whether, why or the issues of delivery, it is whether quantity of water changes can be measured and set into data models that give better forecasting, this is seen as that nations will soon face provision from 36 plants and any plan to rely on full production and let things run will have longer term problems. Knowing where water is going and what losses are measured will also give rise to initial better information and longer term better water measurement. In my view it is the same with almost every port in the world. It is not how much you ship and how many vessels you service, it is the one place where idle time is not monitored, that is the place where the cost of it all spins out of control really fast.

As I see it, both South Africa and optionally Saudi Arabia have a flaw in the long term view of water, from the articles South Africa is already past the initial point of worry from what I have read and I am speculating that Saudi Arabia has an optional issue growing as it is working towards Vision 2030, because when those tech firms start rolling in in 2031, Riyadh with all its growth could potentially grow by at least 10% in the short term, the question becomes whether Riyadh would be ready to service a jump that is twice the size of Cape Town? I have no way of knowing and it is not yet the point where it is out there, but Vision 2030 is only 12 years away and desalinisation plants do not grow overnight, which would be awesome if someone could design one that did so.

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