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Genesis 1, 28 says that we should "go forth and multiply, and replenish the earth." Not all Bibles have this "replenish the e...

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Do our titles define us?

All in the Numbers. David Lipschitz Letter to the Cape Times published Fri 29 Jul 2016

THERE are three political parties: party A, party B and party C.

There are 10 voters. Three people vote for party A, two people vote for party B, one person votes for party C.

Party A wins the vote with 50 percent of the vote, even though only 60 percent of the voters voted. And party C maybe doesn't get enough votes to even get a seat in Parliament.

If the four people who didn't vote, voted for party C, then party C would have got five votes and would have won the elections with 50 percent of the overall vote.

This means that a small party that gets people who are dissatisfied with South Africa's five main parties to vote for it can win the elections.

If you don't vote, you vote for the winner, and you have nothing to complain about.

Note that I won't be voting because I have deregistered as a voter, and I will be representing myself in Parliament, according to the provisions of the Preamble of the South African constitution.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The end of a (programming) language?

Dear friends

Delphi is not being shut down and I have reinvigorated my investment in it in August 2017.
Delphi has been my front end development tool of choice since 1995 when it was released and before that Turbo Pascal was my development tool of choice.

Pascal and Delphi are really intuitive to use and it is especially easy to maintain software written in them.

And today, using Delphi, one can develop native applications for Windows 32, Windows 64, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, smartwatches, IOT (internet of things), etc.

My journey with programming started with programming in Assembler and then in 1979, I become Cape Town's first Apple and BASIC expert, at the ripe old age of 15.

I worked in the new Computers Etc shop in the new Link shopping centre in Claremont and by the end of the December holidays, I knew BASIC inside out. BASIC stands for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.

I was born BC, Before personal Computers, and at UCT, in 1983, I was part of the last generation of students who used punch cards on a Univac 1100 mainframe.

My journey in Pascal started in about 1980 on an Apple II with a Z80 card, running CP/M. And Pascal ran on this hardware and software stack.

Anything anyone can do in C, I can do in Pascal.

I can blaze a trail in Pascal, named after Blaise Pascal, a child prodigy like me, who couldn't catch (school work) and didn't understand (stand under authority or fit in) at school.

And I am a Delphi evangelist, using both the Delphi front end development tool with the Oracle relational database management system, hence I might be called a Delphi at Oracle.

The programming language Delphi might be at the end of its useful life, but there is a free version of Delphi called Lazarus, the subject of yet another miracle.

The zero marginal cost economy ethos says that the marginal cost of everything in a capitalist society will be driven towards zero and perhaps Lazarus is a true successor to Delphi. Licensing Delphi is about R15,000 per annum. Theoretically licensing Lazarus is free, an infinite decrease in price!

I am happy to be a programmer.

I continue to remain your servant.

Humbly yours,

David Lipschitz

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Virtual Parliament. David Lipschitz Letter to the Cape Times published Mon 25 Jul 2016

IN REPLY to Ben Smit's letter, "An idiotic route" (Cape Times, July 22), perhaps an answer is to go back to having politicians that have full time jobs?

Parliament was only really created because the far-flung volunteers who provided oversight to the government needed a place to work and stay (once empire was created) whilst parliament was in session.

And once these volunteers had moved in, they never left. Today with the internet and webinars, Parliament has become a relic.

The land that Parliament is on in Cape Town and Pretoria can be sold, and all the second dwellings and second cars can be sold, and the money used to create inner-city places for dispossessed people to live. The running costs of this venture can come from the money saved from flights and flying specialists in to present to Parliament.

These specialists can present on Virtual Private Networks on the internet, safe from prying eyes.

And existing parliamentarians can receive their current salaries for a period of two years whilst they find jobs in the private sector. Thereafter, the money used to pay them can go into paying for tertiary education.

PS: Thank you to Sandy Le Fevre and all the other people who support the "regular contributors" letters, verbally and in the paper. I appreciate your acknowledgements and support.

Doing Our Part. David Lipschitz Letter to the Cape Times published Mon 25 Jul 2016

SO, I'm in a coffee shop in a hotel in Cape Town. And the assistant says "why does the navy only accept people between the ages of 18 and 22?"

And I ask: why do you want to join the navy?

And she says because it's a secure income, she can have time off with her family, and she will get a pension.

I say that these aren't reasons to join the navy.

And then she says that she wants to serve and defend her country, and that she wants to be honoured, and she wants to know that if she spends two weeks with her sick child, that she won't be fired, and that she wants to know that one day when she dies, her colleagues will put the South African flag on her coffin and honour her.

And those are real reasons for joining the navy.

And I say that she can do these things every day in her job.

She serves hundreds of people of multiple nationalities and different cities in the coffee shop in the hotel every single day.

She represents her country.

Every day she has opportunities to show South Africa's face to the world.

She can be honoured by getting the hotel to put up a board of people honoured every month as being the top employee for whatever reason; teamwork, serving the customer, being praised by a customer, preventing a disaster or saving a life.

And I say that I would rather spend two weeks with my sick child and be fired than be sitting in South Sudan fighting a war I don't believe in, and only finding out that my child was sick and died six months later when I return home from "duty".

We can fulfill our mission in multiple ways in multiple places if only we understand the meaning in our words and how it relates to where we are and what we do.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Making it a Vocation. David Lipschitz Letter to the Cape Times published Fri 22 Jul 2016

A SHORT message to a friend who just got his first job.

Applicable to us all, all the time.

Well done. Work hard. Be conscientious and tenacious. Be precise. Learn. Learn. Learn.

Know more than your colleagues without being arrogant. Ask questions, but do your own research first. Help people. Be honest and if something goes wrong tell your boss as soon as you know about it, especially if you can't fix it. Enjoy your job and make it your life's work & vocation.

Stats Misleading. David Lipschitz Letter to the Cape Times published Thu 21 Jul 2016

FURTHER to my note about genetically modified (GM) seeds in my article on July 19, I just found some earlier research. A hectare of maize farmed by a Native American could yield two tons of maize per hectare. The same hectare farmed with Monsanto seed can yield six tons of maize per hectare.

But statistics are misleading.

"The Native American cultivates a mixed crop on the same land area. Beans twining round the maize stalks, fruit, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and several kinds of vegetable, fruits and medicinal herbs. He produces a good 15 tons of foodstuffs per hectare... without commercial fertilisers or pesticides." Jose Lutzenberger, The Absurdity of Modern Agriculture, published in 1998!

With the GM seed ONLY that crop is produced, thus the total effect is nine tons less food (and ethanol) per hectare.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Some of Gates's 'Sugar-Coating' Not Ideal for the Continent. David Lipschitz "op-ed" Article to the Cape Times published Tue 19 Jul 2016

Bill Gates and David Lipschitz on the same page (Cape Times, July 18) pleases me.

Mr Gates has a lot of good to say, however, I have three problems with his approach:

1) He says "the good news is we have a growing suite of cost-effective interventions - things like cooking oil, sugar fortified with Vitamin A and like sugar and flour enriched with iron, zinc and B vitamins".

The only sugars that people need in their lives are natural sugars from fruit and vegetables. Sugar and starch are not a requirement.

Over the weekend, I met a personal assistant to an anaesthetist. She told me that toddlers as young as two years old are having major tooth surgery and that they need to come back at six years of age for more treatment.

This is because of the amount of sweets being eaten, and because of sugared drinks. Babies need mothers' milk, not sugared drinks.

I remember when I was a child we were allowed one chocolate on a Friday when my gran came to visit. Thanks to my parents, I have good teeth and don't visit the dentist very often.

And thanks to my wife, we now have home-made muesli, home-made yoghurt, home-made bread, and more, because we cannot rely on supermarket products, even those branded as the most healthy, and possibly the most expensive because of the sugar added, unnecessarily, in our opinion.

In the mornings I have one-third of a bowl of muesli and yoghurt, and I am full. If I have one of the "top healthy brands", I need to eat a full bowl before I am full.

If you eat a meal and you are still hungry, then it is because there is sugar in the food.

And if you eat a sweet desert, you are tormenting your body, spiking your sugar, and putting yourself to bed into a sleep where your body is overworking, processing sugared foods, rather than detoxing you and preparing you for the next day.

2) He says "African farmers need better tools to avoid disasters and grow a surplus - things like seeds that can tolerate droughts."

This is the last thing that any farmer needs! Farmers need their independence. A well-rounded organic field can grow much more food than a single crop like maize.

People are eating more global brand foods called staple commodity crops, such as wheat, rice, sugar, and maize.

In the meantime, the consumption of locally and regionally important crops, required for the maximum performance of the people living there, has declined. Consumption of rye, yam, sweet potato, cassava, coconut, sorghum and milled consumption has halved since 1961.

A particular threat is a single monoculture, even if genetically modified, that can be attacked by a new disease, or more likely by a disease that mankind has not identified yet.

For example, there are more than 80 types of carrot, and we eat orange ones!

"More than 80 percent of the world’s annual tonnage of agricultural crops is accounted for by just 12 species: the cereals wheat, maize, rice, barley, and sorghum; the tubers potato, manioc, and sweet potato; the sugar sources sugar cane and sugar beet; the fruit banana; and the pulse (as agronomists call beans and other legume seeds) soybean."

3) Education.

Africa does not have the time for Western-style education, which requires 12 years of schooling to socialise (brainwash) people, removing their latent and innate capabilities whilst preparing them for a slave-based industrial revolution that has long ended.

These "schooling" years are followed by four years of post school tertiary education, followed by 10 000 hours of learning on the job before someone can be productive. Africa needs to use its in-built education systems to further its own vision.

Note that your headline "Gates see health, education as key" is slightly misleading. In Bill Gates Annual Letter for 2016, published on his blog on February 22, Bill and his wife Melinda were each asked: "if you could have one superpower, what would it be?".

Mr and Mrs Gates replied "more energy" and "more time" respectively. These superpowers are available right here in Cape Town.

The key that Mr Gates needs that will open the gate of his mind is to come and experience the Africa that we Cape Times readers experience every day, then he will find the superpowers he dreams of, in the foothills of Table Mountain.

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_diversity; http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/Mann.pdf; http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/; https://www.gatesnotes.com/2016-Annual-Letter

Proud of Roots. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Tue 19 Jul 2016

On Monday, July 11, I took part in the Taxi Hand Signs exhibition tour given by artist Susan Woolf Mathabo at the Jewish Museum in Cape Town.

I found the tour fascinating because Susan has taken taxi hand gestures and found a way of representing them that allows blind people to read these signs, and then know how to hold their hands to ask for a taxi to take them to a particular destination.

She submitted her thesis for a doctorate in anthropology and fine art at Wits University

Susan displayed her art works at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2011.

I have wondered for a long time how the minibus taxi industry works when there is no "underground" map (like the London Underground Tube network map) or the local MyCiTi bus schematic diagram.

The taxis go past so fast. How do you know if you should stop them? How do the taxi drivers know when to stop? How does a blind person communicate with the taxi driver?

The answer is so much simpler than I ever imagined and so much more genius.

The passenger holds their hands in a particular hand gesture and then the taxi driver knows if s/he should stop or not. There are signs to take one to almost any destination.

I think that perhaps these gestures predated "the white man's" adventure in Africa. How did the stage coach or horse and cart know that he must stop? Simple: the passenger held out his or her hand in a particular gesture. And consider that the information technology world is only now starting to use hand gestures so that people can interact quickly with computers without using keyboards or voice commands.

Is it possible that hand gestures predated language?

Imagine that before language we used gestures to tell each other things. There were also things like smoke signals and drum signals.

Canon signals, like the Signal Hill canon that used to tell people that the Mail Ship was in the Cape Town harbour, were in use long before telephones and other modern forms of communication. And I often hear this signal from my house in Milnerton, even with all the noise in a modern city.

The opportunity to find so much more lost data in the Ubuntu (African Wisdom) culture is so vast.

I pray that the local peoples find their roots and show them to the world.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Paradigm Shift. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Mon 18 Jul 2016

In case you're wondering what is going on in Turkey and Britain, watch Tracy Chapman's "Talkin' Bout a Revolution" on Youtube at https://youtu.be/EAscWLlvUKY

People are rising up against their corrupt "leaders" who have forgotten how to listen to the (their?) people. The last time this happened, the world experienced The French Revolution.

I personally believe that bloodshed is not required anymore. Talking is needed. Trust is needed.

Equanimity must be used to replace ignorance, and aversion with compassion and unconditional love on an abundant planet which a few people have corrupted by creating artificial scarcity.

People must be allowed to say what they truly think (about each other), and they must have trusted guides, without agendas, who can facilitate this discussion in a tranquil manner in a beautiful setting like the City of Cape Town. My personal suggestion is that these discussions are held inside St George's Cathedral, which was a bastion and barricade against apartheid and other past dangers.

Talking and action, with self and community regeneration, is already happening in grass-roots communities in (South) Africa, and in "awakened companies" (see book by Catherine Bell) throughout the world.

Government is not needed anymore, at least not the way it is currently structured. Something else is needed. And ubuntu and its foundation of "seeing each other for who we truly are, inside" will show us a way.

Its not the best quality photo. On the right of the left hand page is my letter as published above.

On the right hand page is Bill Gates letter.
We are finally next to each other.

Letter to the Mayor of London. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Thu 14 Jul 2016

Letter to the Mayor of London, submitted on Tuesday on his website.

If anyone knows him or can ensure that he reads this letter, please will you see that he reads it and that it is not just read by a member of staff or a computer robot which response with "nice letter" and nothing happens.

Dear Mayor of London, Alderman Sadiq Khan. Please read my Brexit articles that appeared in our local Cape Times Newspaper.



My colleagues and I would like to scaffold you as you traverse "the valley of the shadow of death", a very scary place indeed. We believe that you have the capability that Britain and the EU need to take Britain and the EU into a new globally diversified world and that in order to succeed, you need scaffolding from alchemists. An alchemist in the modern sense guides guidées to emerge their incipient value. An alchemist helps the guidée find the "gold" and extract it from the "rock".

We look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,David Harold Lipschitz, also known as Isaac Raccoon GeneratorGuide, Generator and Aspiring Bodhisattva at My Power Station

PS: Please note that payment for our services is in the form of a value exchange. We would like you to make us Freepeople of the City of London and of-course you will need to pay our expenses. Besides this, there is no fee in the normal sense of the word.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mentoring Vital in Treating Depression. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Wed 13 Jul 2016

Your articles about mentoring and depression today (Cape Times, July 12) refer.

I had a meeting with Mr Nagel today. I asked him if he had seen these articles. He said he had and he wondered if I had noticed that they were on the same page. I said yes, and I said that I believe that the answer to depression is not only a "medical" one, but also a mentorship one.

I firmly believe that many (young) people are depressed because they are misunderstood.

And Mr Nagel said that it is time for a new academy to be started to mentor one million people from Lentegeur and the surrounds. He and I will carry this out over the next seven years.

And back to "the coincidence". Mentoring is above Depression. Mathematically if one were to "solve" the equation of mentoring and depression, one would put mentoring above depression, i.e. mentoring solves depression, hence why these two articles were coincidentally (?) organised the way they were in your newspaper and also why Mr Nagel and I coincidentally (?) met today.

One should note that Mitchells Plain's Mental Hospital is in Lentegeur. We would like to work with them to combine our mentorship and guiding philosophy with their medical drugs. We believe that depressed people are going through their "process" - "the valley of the shadow of death" that I wrote about in a previous article.

These people might need the drugs to help them get through the valley to the other side. However, if all the drugs do is keep them on the same side of the valley that they started on, then the medical profession will have failed in its duty by treating the symptom rather than the whole.

Degrees not the be all. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Wed 13 Jul 2016

Many people who joined Hitler early on were incredibly well educated with lots of tertiary education & doctorates.

Being educated is not an indicator of sanity or spirituality. It is only an indicator of being better equipped to get the job done.

Clarity Warranted. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Mon 11 Jul 2016

My article "Britain, EU must become true partners in diverse world" (Cape Times, July 7) refers.

In the third-last paragraph, the editor misunderstood the intention of my sentence and added a "to" which changed the meaning of my intention.

Here is the edited version: "Global economic recession" and "currency devaluation" and "leaderless political parties" and Martin Shultz, president of the European Parliament saying that "the Tories have taken us hostage" are all to blame and scapegoats
What I wanted to say is that everything in quotes is being blamed and that these are scapegoats preventing the British people from traversing "the valley".

These are all sentences that are put out there by people who don't want this change and who don't want to change. From a South African perspective, I've called this fear: "waiting for the future whilst blaming the past".

And here is my original version: "Global economic recession" and "currency devaluation" and 'leaderless political parties' and Martin Shultz, president of the European Parliament saying that "the Tories have taken us hostage" are all blame and scapegoats.

We need to take the time to understand the meaning and intention in what people are telling us. This is critically important as we move forward in our globally diverse and complex world, where misunderstandings and "half-truths" (where we only hear or read half the sentence, and where the meaning of the sentence is lost) are rife.

Note that after every one of my letters and articles are published, I compare what I wrote with what was published, and I learn more and more about journalism, editing, grammar and how newspapers work. Normally I accept all the corrections, but in this particular case, i needed to send this correction.

Descriptive Powers. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Wed 6 Jul 2016

Adjectives turn fact into opinion.

"I sleep in a bed" is a true statement.

"I sleep in a big bed" is subject to interpretation. What does "big" mean? If I told you that I sleep in a "double bed", you might say, "that isn't big; I sleep in a king size bed". We must understand how language is used and how our truths are misinterpreted because of the adjectives we use.

Partnership Required. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Mon 4 Jul 2016

At my meeting with Mr Nagel, he spoke about engagement vs partnership.

I needed time to think about this before writing to you, as these are incredibly powerful words and concepts.

Mr Nagel said that the minibus taxi industry had engaged with the cities and government, but that they didn't see each other as partners.

Engaged, to me, signifies that a (minimal) level of communication and commitment has been achieved.

A partnership would signal a full integration and full commitment of both parties to a process of growing and getting better together.

Getting "engaged" to someone signifies commitment, but there is still an easy "out".

You lose the engagement ring and perhaps you feel dumped. You recover and get on with your life.

Once people are "engaged" they might get married and this signifies a full commitment to each other, a full partnership, a full trust and love for each other.

Each person in a partnership or marriage wants the best for the other person and goes out of their way to help this person achieve the best they possibly can in the relationship.

The city of Cape Town and the other cities in South Africa, and the ANC and DA governments in the country, need to get into bed with the taxi industry, instead of staying in the lounge!

Full partnerships are required where both parties receive the best possible value out of their relationship, instead of simply engaging with each other.

In this way I believe that South Africa will move in the right direction.

Staring down barrel. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Wed 29 Jun 2016

The world's biggest air force is the US Air Force.

The world's second biggest air force is the US Navy Air Force.

The world's third biggest air force is the Confederate Air Force, second-hand air force planes now owned privately in the USA. Add guns, weapons, and more, and you can see where the balance of (gun) power lies in the USA.

Guns should not only be owned by governments. "Government only" gun ownership leads to fascism and hot wars where millions die.

Private gun ownership will keep America free. Now to solve the depression problem and the xenophobia problem. And then "small scale gun violence" will disappear.

Time well spent learning from a man of Nagel's Calibre. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Wed 29 Jun 2016

Thank you for publishing my letter regarding the taxi industry last week, and for publishing Mr Nagel's reply on June 24. I accepted his invitation for coffee as requested in his letter.

On Monday, at 4.30pm, Mr Nagel ("rhymes with Bagel") and I met at Mugg & Bean at Cavendish Square for "coffee". Actually he had scrambled eggs on toast and a cappuccino and I had a cheese and tomato omelette without toast and with camomile tea.

We spoke for two hours.

Please note that Mr Nagel said that I could write about "everything" he told me.

In our time together, I learnt about 50 years of the private "black" taxi industry in South Africa, from the days of Valiants to the apartheid government's insistence on the introduction of their own buses to transport township folk from the outlying townships that that government had created, to the cities, and then to the taxi industry saying that there weren't enough buses, and then to the change from Valiants to the kinds of minibus taxis we see today.

It was a fascinating journey for me. Mr Nagel's family has been in the taxi industry for three generations and Mr Nagel himself for 42 years. I met an open and honest man of integrity.

One of the things that Mr Nagel is upset about is that the ANC government has not undone the wrongs of apartheid planning regarding the taxis. "Routes" and "radiuses" are still the same as they have always been. Opportunities for the taxi industry to work with the Post Office have been missed.

We both believe that there is huge scope for the advancement of the taxi industry in South Africa, and for the taxi industry to be a catalyst that gets South Africa moving again.

Thank you for publishing our letters, and for helping to make this meeting happen.

Africa for those who have Ubuntu in veins. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Thu 23 Jun 2016

I read of riots. I read posts on Facebook from my friends who see darkness and not light.

"South Africa is ruined" is the refrain. And in these same people I see "armchair activists", apathetic people who will pick up a pen, but not get out into the streets and make a difference. These armchair activists are a pathetic (apathetic) sight! There are lots of good people around. I have been traveling with them in Uber and in minibus taxis for the past week.

I have so much confidence in them that I am selling my car and going private.

Getting off public transport and going private? The wrong way around? Nope: Uber is run and managed and governed privately, and is regulated privately. The driver and the passenger rate and comment on each other.

Minibus taxis are private. They are "a law unto themselves". They "own" the road. And soon they will also have their own app. And be twice as strong as they are now.

Africans, and those born here, have Ubuntu running in our veins. We want the very best for each other. We love and are compassionate no matter what names we are called. My black friends are called "k******" whilst I am told "your grandparents should have perished in the Holocaust!".

I too am an "outcast" who "society" is trying to cast away. Why? Because I am free. Just as my African brothers and sisters are truly free, owning land in the Eastern Cape, with fresh mountain water, the highest quality food in the world, and the best outdoor environment known to mankind.

Just ask where they go on holiday and you will know where their hearts and minds are whilst challenged daily in "the city".

Yet the fisherman's net has been cast and the lure of the city awaits. Bright lights and noise attract people seeking "the light".

And "the light" is already in their hearts and minds.

I've decided to simplify my business by adopting a cash system. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Mon 20 Jun 2016

I've decided to shut my Pty Ltd after almost 22 years in "corporate" business.

There is really no reason to have one of these monsters anymore.

All the red tape is really bad and still getting worse. Legislation is getting more and more complex, and more and more onerous for SMMEs.

And the so-called protections that directors once enjoyed are almost gone. My business will continue as David Lipschitz, sole proprietor. Kind of has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

No more: VAT returns, PAYE and UIF returns, six monthly reconciliations, payments on the last day of the month and the 7th day of the month, VAT audits, no need for R15 000 of accounting fees every year, no need for corporate lawyers, no need for annual CIPRO fees, no need for special private and company insurance structures.

I can run my business on the "cash system" instead of the "profit and loss (P&L) system".

In my humble opinion, the P&L system is almost meaningless, and is subject to infinite manipulation, making company law more and more complex, and more and more difficult to implement, which is making the corruption in company accounts worse and worse.

I have done everything right in my business, but I am treated with suspicion and I don't want to be a part of this negative energy system anymore.

The company's act and regulations on companies and directors make director's life a misery of spending inordinate amounts of time reading new "governance" requirements on businesses, most of which are common sense if one runs an ethical and aware business.

Yes, I expect that as a sole proprietor, I might pay more tax, but I'll immediately save a month of bureaucratic red tape, even with my wife doing most of the actual bookkeeping. And my stress levels will dramatically decrease, thus making me a better person.

And I've been taking Uber and minibus taxis for the past two weeks and I've met truly amazing people.

Hoping to sell my car and "go public" once again, for the first time since 1995. Less insurance. Less worry. Maybe these minibus taxi guys don't have any liability insurance but, you know, with the right approach they will change, especially if someone writes an Uber type app for the Minibus Taxis.

I have worked out a new business model to grow the minibus taxi industry, and I've already activated two of my mentees to work on this project.

Yes, my commute will take 1.5 hours instead of 45 minutes, and three minibus taxis instead of one car, but I don't need to drive and I've always wanted "a driver." If we can get the suburban people into the minibus taxis, imagine what a revolution this would be. Routes would multiply, and soon my commute would be 45 minutes again.

I survived eight years of commuting in England and Australia.

I'm sure I can survive many more years here.

Looking forward to my new life, where I will have more time to spend on the environmental and human causes I care so passionately about.

Tread Carefully. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Thu 9 Jun 2016

​Your Business Report article​ on June 7, about accounting for income derived from one's clients
​for cloud ​computing ​services, refers.

Whilst I don't want to point a finger at any particular cloud provider​ as I do not have knowledge of these companies' accounting practices​, I do wish to remind people that if one takes the entire contract's income and profit up front, then one is practicing "m​ark-to-market" accounting, which is what crashed Enron.

Create Citizen Courts. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Thu 9 Jun 2016

Your article "Gang stat source dispute" (Cape Times, June 7) refers to the low rate of criminal convictions in South Africa.

In the 18th and 19th Centuries, the poor and middle classes created prosecution associations to deal with criminals in their midst.

In the 20th Century, parts of the US created prosecution associations, run by citizens, because of the very long backlog in the public court system.

The law is still applied. The time-consuming delays in the public system are avoided.

We should create prosecution associations again, funded by the poor and middle class, who will be a lot richer if crime is eliminated.

A bigger picture. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Mon 30 May 2016

In the light of your article "Bill means land owners may not be compensated" (Cape Times, May 27), do I still need to pay my rates now that my land is worthless?

I bought my house from the previous owner and it goes back several owners until 1963, when the land was sold by Milnerton Estates to the first owner. Milnerton Estates have owned Milnerton, Tableview, Parklands, etc since it was farmland. From whom did they buy it? Is it responsible to me for the value of my property, assuming that it gets confiscated? Who is the original owner of the land? God? Who did He give it to? How far back should we go back to determine "ownership"?

We are all here temporarily in any case. Life expectancy in South Africa is only 56 years and the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

Our galaxy is about 13 billion years old, and according to your newspaper, there are at least 50 galaxies that are visible to the MeerkAT telescope using just four dishes.

Who really owns the land?

Oh, and do I need to continue paying rates? And if so, to whom?

City preventing mayor's power dream from becoming reality. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Wed 20 Apr 2016

At the City of Cape Town Energy Efficiency Quarterly Forum on Wednesday. March 16, Mayor Patricia de Lille said her dream was that every house should be a power station generating electricity for the grid. And another part of her dream is that Tesla and other electric vehicle suppliers come to town and we have electric cars and electric busses for the MyCiti system.

This is a dream I also have.

But the city is doing everything it can to prevent the mayor and my dream from becoming a reality.

Why? Because the city is scared of losing electricity revenue.

So they are sitting on their hands fiddling with electricity tariffs and service fees while their customers go elsewhere.

Some of these customers are talking about going "off grid", i.e. separating themselves from the grid. We heard at the forum that this will be economically viable within five years, using solar panels, batteries and inverters.

But the mayor's and my dream is that houses should be power stations. In order for this to happen, houses must remain connected to the grid. And for this to happen, the people who could have gone off grid will need to be incentivised to stay on the grid.

The first incentive: no service fee. At the moment, the city is instituting service or connection fees for all its clients. See the new "home user" tariff in the City's draft tariff announcement. Their reasoning is that people will need the grid from time to time to charge their batteries or to run high power loads, and that this grid infrastructure needs to be maintained.

What the city has forgotten is that it too needs electricity for its buildings, for its infrastructure, for its business clients, and soon for its electric buses. And in a few years' time for its new pumped storage systems that it will build as part of its rollout of new dams to prevent water shortages in future. These pumped storage systems are massive and efficient batteries. The City will need the cheap electricity generated by rooftop electric systems during the day to pump water from the lower dam to the higher dam and it can then sell this electricity at night or on rainy days to its users at higher prices.

Additionally surplus electricity generated during the day can be used for desalination, thus averting our water crisis and at the same time providing water for the dams.

And whist Eskom say that there will be a surplus of electricity in five years' time, who knows what it will cost. There is a massive shortage of electricity at the moment, and in five years' time thousands, or perhaps millions, of homeowners and business owners will have "defected" from the electricity grid and will be producing their own electricity for their own consumption, and will have physically disconnected themselves from the grid in order not to pay the service fees.

At the same time as this, with solar-electric prices coming down every year, within five years, solar-electric electricity will be cheaper than Eskom's selling prices to the municipalities.

Wouldn't the City rather buy cheaper, clean electricity from its own inhabitants than buy expensive, dirty electricity from Eskom?

Wouldn't it be much better to allow a free connection, but to tell home-based power stations that they must supply the grid when there is a shortage of electricity, i.e. when electricity is expensive and buy from the grid when electricity is cheap?

This is entirely feasible with modern Smart Meters, Time of Use Tariffs, Net Metering, Demand Response and existing battery technology.

[left out in the newspaper:
Net Metering means that one buys and sells electricity at the same price. I would recommend that CNEM be introduced, i.e. City of Cape Town Net Metering. In CNEM, electricity sold to the grid by home owners and other "embedded generators" is sold at 80 percent of the current buying price.
Time of Use Tariffs means that the tariff changes depending on demand and supply. And Smart Meters means that the City will know exactly how much homeowners are producing, how much they are capable of exporting to the grid, and how much they are buying or selling from or to the grid at any particular time.
Demand response means that the City can disconnect or reduce its local electricity users electricity consumption with short notice, that saving on expensive electricity from Eskom, and at the same time making the local Western Cape grid more reliable, resilient, and it's electricity cheaper than elsewhere in the world.]

The mayor and my dream can become a reality. But it needs the mayor and her committee to talk to their citizens instead of producing reports which tell the world how fantastic they are, whilst they ignore their citizens, and whilst they ignore their future.

[Also left out in the newspaper:
There is a lot of research in strategic circles of over-reliance on experts, and under-reliance on grassroots research and citizen scientists' knowledge. Experts want the status quo to stay as it is - then they can keep their jobs!! But it is time for the City to act on this research!
And once everyone is a power station, then everyone will be contributing to a healthy environment where everyone has jobs and the city remains the world's best, cleanest and healthiest city in which to live.]

Please for better focus. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Mon 4 Apr 2016

Imagine if a 20 000 car cost R20 000 instead of R340 000, Imagine if a $2 500 laptop cost R2 500 instead of R40 000.

This is where we should be targeting our energy; how to make South Africa strong financially and economically.

South Africa is already strong in natural and environmental resources, why continue down a road of ruin?

Let people of SA be central in decision over fracking. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Fri 11 Mar 2016

According to your newspaper (March 10), the government will release their fracking findings today. Should fracking go ahead? Should we be concerned about the environment? Can there be compromise between environmentalists and frackers?

The problem in South Africa is much bigger than mining. We all know about the "resource curse."

Mining countries are worse off than countries without mines, even in Africa. The mining and mineral rich countries are growing slowly. The others are growing fast.

Why? Because countries without mines rely on their ingenuity, whereas countries with mines rely on their mines, and forget their minds.

Colonialists came here, initially for the bounty from our soil, and then for our mineral wealth.

They took huge amounts of money and built their empires and their houses. Think castles, chateaux, mansions, manor houses and stately homes with their hundreds of rooms, many servants, and huge grounds. And not only their rich got rich, but many of their people got rich, too.

Nkandla fades into insignificance when compared with the grandeur of these massive houses and estates.

And through all this, the masses of South Africans remain destitute, dependent on the state. If the state decides to frack the Karoo and the coastal waters around Cape Town, then the state must give the profits to the people so that the people become as rich as the state. We know that this is never going to happen!

We cannot blame the colonialists. It is a fact of the past, applicable in "white" countries and in "black" countries; applicable to white-on-white colonialism and black-on-black colonialism, applicable to religious colonialism and any type of colonisation where one people wanted something that another people had, or has.

We are in the 21st Century, a century with more possibilities for the people than ever before if we choose to grab hold of the opportunities and the future, rather than corrupting our minds by staying in the past.

So we can either spend the billions of dollars that would have been invested in fracking our gas resources to pollute our world and our minds for another 30 years - before we run out and then deal with a worse environmental disaster than the one we already have, probably with even bigger unemployment, more crime and more destitute people - or rather take the decision to immediately clean up our act and install the alternative, clean energies, that we have now.

Our costs will be a lot less. Our health costs will be a lot less. And government will be doing its job of governance, looking after the land and its borders and the environment, thus making it as clean as possible so that its people can have healthy minds, healthy bodies, and so that we can all be employed.

Life or Death Matter. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Tue 8 Mar 2016

According to the City of Cape Town web site, dam levels are at 38.7 percent and last week they were at 40.5 percent. In 2014 they were at 81.2 percent. Theoretically Cape Town has 21 months of water left, assuming no rain, but with dams silting up, who knows how much water we really have?

See http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/water/pages/weeklydamlevels.aspx

Cape Town's dramatic population increase over the past 20 years, together with hardly any increase in dams, combined with the drought over the past two years, and lack of imagination in the City of Cape Town council and at provincial level, had led to the problem.

Some people are calling for "Level 3" water savings. If the City implements Level 3 water savings, there will be an even more dramatic reduction in income for the City.

Many people have already installed pool covers and with a reduction in watering allowances on gardens, people are seeing a 50 percent-plus drop in water consumption, with an associated decrease in income going to the City, even with the massive price increases for large, home based water users.

At Level 3, people might find ways to stop buying City water altogether! People and organisations are already finding ways not to buy electricity due to the massive price increases, together with less Eskom and municipality electricity being available. Cape Town's lack of water is a big problem, made much worse by decades of bad planning, and bad thinking! Desalination could solve our problem, but government isn't thinking about that - yet.

If people were allowed to install rooftop solar electric systems on their houses, and if we were allowed to feed our excess electricity into the grid at a reasonable price, the excess electricity could be used to desalinate water. This is much cheaper than building new dams, and dams take years to build and need rain and mountain water - and we just don't have this time, nor, with climate change, can we expect the needed rain to materialise anytime soon.

If the City runs out of water, we'll all be dead within four days, so perhaps allowing rooftop electricity is truly the answer to many of our problems! Many people have planned their retirement, but isn't it better to plan to be alive next week?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Humbling to hear other side of Islam. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Fri 15 Jul 2016

I was very lucky to hear Professor Dr Taj Hargey, from Oxford University's Muslim Education Centre, and who has a doctorate in Islamic studies, speak five times in Cape Town recently.

The first time was at Temple Israel Wynberg where The Open Mosque Community's Muslims celebrated Iftar, ie broke their Ramadan Fast.

Dr Taj spoke about the connection between Judaism and Islam.

Then I heard Dr Taj three times at The Open Mosque, where I prayed Iftar, Eid (end of Ramadan) and Jumu'ah (Friday prayers) with my Muslim half-brothers and half-sisters.

And then I heard Dr Taj speak at the Methodist Church in Rosebank about "the close connection between Christianity and Islam".

At every one of these talks, Dr Taj reiterated his belief in "the L of IsLam". The vertical part of the L (ie the |) signifies the connection between Allah and mankind. The horizontal part of the L (ie the _) signifies the connection of siblings with each other, families with each other, tribes with each other, religions with each other, etc. This is very similar to the Cross in Christianity, which has the same strokes as the "L" of IsLam.

I was truly humbled to hear the other side of Islam, as opposed to what we read in the mainstream press on a daily basis. My personal belief is that our way of life is made up of three parts: religion, community and soul. In the Torah, in the Shma, this is represented as Mind, Heart, and Soul. In Christianity, this is Church, Body (of Christ) and Spirit. In Buddhism, this is Dharma, Sangha and Buddha.

Fundamentalist belief lives in the religious practice, and in my humble opinion, religious practice without community and without spirit is only one third of a whole way of life.

Protect the past. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Thu 18 Feb 2016

One of the reasons we know so little about the past is because it has been destroyed and burnt so often. And then we have people who spend huge amounts of time trying to find out about their past or the world's past or the universe's past.

We should be past destroying the past, so that we can fully understand the present, and always remember the good and bad of the past. And one person's "good" past might be another person's "bad" past.

If we are to grow and eliminate racism and other challenges in our society, we must protect the past, perhaps move it to a special museum, but never destroy it. It will always be there!

It all starts at home. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Wed 27 Jan 2016

Until we find ways of making women true partners in our still male dominated society, often with women of the same race and religion maltreated by their men, how can we have a hope of eradicating racism?

Respect needs to begin in our homes!

If you have failed matric I can help you, please give me a call. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Fri 8 Jan 2016

I have so many friends whose kids are now grown-ups, completing matric this year. And I am hearing about all their success and it is truly wonderful.

People probably won't let the newspaper or their friends know if their kid has failed, and those people and their kids need the most help.

Just to let you know that there are people around who can help you. Seek them out and ask them.

And if you don't find someone the first time around, keep trying.

And if your kid (or you) has failed and they need a shoulder to cry on, tell them to give me a call! I might have a long queue of people needing help, but we have the internet and we'll find a way to share and use it to help us.

As an entrepreneur in business for 21 years, I have failed many times, picked myself up, dusted myself off, perhaps given myself a pep talk or two, turned to my wife and close friends for help, sometimes engaged a psychologist or psychiatrist or social worker, learnt to do Tai Chi, meditation and Reiki to calm myself down and see things I would never have seen.

And I also failed first year at university (I changed degrees because of it), but I did a lot better at university that at school, and just because you did badly at school or university, doesn't mean that you must give up.

For me university was freedom.

At school, we pretty much had to tell the world what the teacher or education system had told us. At university, we finally got the opportunity to tell the world what we thought. And as we progress to postgraduate Honours and then Masters degrees, so that freedom became more and more and the world became a bigger and bigger "oyster".

And if you can't get into university, or you can't afford to go to university, then read a very difficult book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. This book is about a very special university, called "the university of life".

If you're a failure, or even if you're a success, convince people to believe in you.

Show them you are special. Show them a project you've done, or an invention or something that makes you unique.

It doesn't matter what it is. It only matters that you are exceptional at it.

And keep at it.

The best things in life take time and effort.

And so far, I have now been to three schools, four universities and one tech, and on a number of other training programs in various parts of the world. I still want to do a doctorate one day. I don't give up when I "fail" and neither should you.

In any case, failure is a judgement by someone else of your "achievements". Edison and Tesla and Einstein and Lipschitz (me) failed many times before they achieved (or will achieve) greatness.

Life is incredible.

If it was perfect, it wouldn't be life.

Life is difficult. Life is painful. Life is costly, especially the financial mistakes (most mistakes seem to be financial in one way or another).

But life is also beautiful, challenging (in a positive way), and with good friends and good relationships, and with caring for oneself and one's family, one can also be happy with oneself and with what one does and has done.

If you need my help, please ask. I don't know if I can help, but I do know a lot of people and perhaps I can refer you to someone else.

And the Cape Times has hundreds of thousands of readers, so who knows, perhaps they'll publish your letter asking for help?

For the parents: if your child doesn't know what they want to study, or if they are drifting or if they can't find a job, please also let me know and I'll organise a webinar (an online seminar) for them all.

I have an approach which has worked for many people looking for work.

For the kids and university students and drop outs and out of work people: the previous paragraph applies to you too.

I can't offer you a job, but maybe I can help you invent one.

So remember: we are all in this together.

Just as sunny weather ("good") or rainy ("bad", until it doesn't rain and we have a drought) or storms or earthquakes affect us all, and just as pollution affects us all, so too positive and negative energy affects all of us. Without earthquakes the world wouldn't exist. As painful as earthquakes are, they are a part of life on this place that we call home.

If you need help, ask. If you ask, and the person you ask says "get your head down" or "get to work and you'll feel better", or if you feel that you can't ask, then ask someone else.

And if you have asked "everyone" and you are still at a loss, then learn to meditate. Join your local meditation group and learn to meditate as this slow process is the fastest way for us to truly learn to understand ourselves, IMHO.

Good luck in all your futures and in all your endeavours.

There is so much work that we all need to do, especially YOU, to make this world a better and safer and cleaner place.

Just because you can't find a job doesn't mean that the job doesn't exist.

It just means that you need to invent the job.

Oh, and if you are depressed, I understand. I was in "the valley of the shadow of death" (refer Psalm 23) for 18 months a few years ago during my depression recovery "process".

I know what it's like; and I discovered my true friends, colleagues and mentors who helped me through it.

And I know it's a very scary place. But you (we) are here for a reason.

You (we) need to find that reason and act on it.

Love and respect to you all, especially the "failures" who pick themselves up, and make themselves into successes, no matter how hard it is, or how long it takes,