Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Well This Hurts

So Bill Cosby was released today as a free man. Not because he didn't do it.  He did, he gave quaaludes to women in order to have sex. Either through their reduced functions or via knocking them out altogether.

This is simple he true. He stated it on the record. Unfortunately, he said it after the Prosecutor told him they would not bring charges. But they wanted help in the case. He took their offer, gave testimony and was subsequently charged. One of our Constitutional declares we do not have to testify against ourselves.

But, it still hurts. He was a beloved figure who took advantage of his stature and persona to drug and rape over 40 women. LINKtoNYTimesStory

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Holey Moley - Look at this from the Faroes

 As you may remember, I spent my 60th birthday with Lynn in the stunning Faroe Islands. Ed was, luckily, working so he didn't go (I say luckily because he really had no desire). I was blown away by the rugged beauty and staggering amount of waterfalls, lakes and the ocean.

Well, this is a new townhall for 5 small cities that have combined. To celebrate this coming together, the new town hall straddles a river / creek the lies between the two banks and sets of people. It holds offices, conference rooms and a community center. 

It is gorgeous and done in the basic black with sod roof that is endemic to the Faroes. The roof here also acts as a bridge / walkway between the communities.

A View of Lake and Fort Ontario

Kojak and Moose - Rescue Labs

As we are dogsitting for the two lovely dogs in the picture above, we are in Rochester New York for a few more days. This Sunday we took a drive east on Lake Ontario. It was a gorgeous (albeit HOT) day.

This is the view of Lake Ontario from the banks.

We drove up to a town called Oswego, where Fort Ontario is. We visited the Fort, now a historical site. The history is interesting.

First it was a fort the British established a decade or so before the American Revolution. It was designed to protect the region during the French and Indian War.  During the  Revolutionary War, the British  marched from New York City to Albany to Oswego in the drive to get to the interior. The y retook the fort and the British didn't return the fort to the Americans until a decade after the Revolution was won.

It was expanded and reinforced during the war of 1812, although wasn't used much at all.

After the Civil War, it was turned into a station for many of the injured Union Soldiers. It is this period that has been recreated in the current park.

Officers had housing inside the berm

Between World Wars I and II, it was a base for an Army battalion and one of the larger military hospitals in the country. During this time many many out buildings were put up to handle the military, the officers and their wives and the infirmed.

After World War II, this complex was the largest place to help process and relocate the survivors, mainly Jewish survivors, of the German concentration camps. Thousands were processed and rehabilitated here in the hospital and surrounding buildings.

Most out buildings are gone now, but these remain as Civic Centers.

When this action completed successfully, the fort was decommissioned in 1947.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Dan Rather's Views on AIDS will now probably be true for Covid Survivors

It was a late night in 1994 when I was driving myself from LAX home to West Hollywood. Mark had recently passed away, and my friends were dying at a truly staggering rate. I remember because it was one of those perfect LA nights. Cool, after a hot summer day. Driving home at around 11PM, windows down, radio up very little traffic on the 405.

And that was when Dan Rather spoke on an editorial that changed my mindset.

Dan said, I am paraphrasing: Dan's team did not have the actual recording when I asked them. He said, What we do not know is how this will change an entire generation of gay men. Do they give up? Do they change their worldly priorities? Is the work / friend / life balance change? We will find out in the coming years.

And, it did change for us, not just us "gays", but everyone who had to live through death and pain and collective grieving.

We became more compassionate but also more demanding of acceptance and respect. Most of us changed to living a bit more and working a bit less. Many decided (and are following through) with retiring earlier.

And now, the world has gone through something very similar. 600,000 dead in American from COVID touches a lot of lives. And we are beginning to see some changes throughout the country. Jobs that were okay before, are not acceptable now. People want a different balance. A year of not leaving your home, not seeing friends reminds you of what is important. And non-stop work pressure isn't it. 

The pandemic of 1918 - 1919 brought on the roaring 20s. In the United States it was a time of hedonism, rule braking and speak easys. People moved around, unionized and enjoyed themselves. The piety-bound of the day passed Prohibition, leading to a wholesale breaking of the law.

I don't know what our 2020s will bring, but I am interested in seeing it. And, it is interesting seeing the world move a bit towards my priorities veiwpoint.

Artist Marcus Jansen in Naples

Lynn and I went to the Baker Museum in Naples Florida last week. There were a couple of cool shows, most primarily one by Marcus Jansen.

He is from New York, with a heritage of Jamaican via his Mother and German via his father. He studied art in Germany in the 1980s and came home to enlist in the Army in 1989. He was part of Desert Storm - the first Iraqi War of George Bush the Elder.

He returned with PTSD from the war to wife. They had 2 young children when the wife died of Cancer in 2011.  This show "Two Decades of Relevance showcases18 powerful paints by Jansen, demonstrating the artist's sustained preoccupations with power structure and their manifestations across different spheres, struggles of the disenfranchised and displaced, urban and rural landscapes, surveillance and technology."

The images are powerful and interesting. The two below seem to counterbalance the people pulling down the statue of Sadam Hussein vs the people pulling down a Confederate statue.

This is an image of Iraq being bombed. You can see the explosion. The look at the detail farther down.

Here you can see the message that the children are hurt, even when you try to avoid it. Further, behind the girl are two silhouettes that represent arms dealers, the only ones profiting from war.

Why The Hell is It Getting So Hot

The Pacific Northwest (of the USA) and the Pacific Southwest (of Canada) are breaking all time temperature records all over the map. Yesterday all time high temperature records were set in Seattle (105), Portland (114) and the entire Country of Canada at 115.

(For Brits) Seattle - 40.5, Portland 45.5, Canada 46

That is hella high. But why is this happening if Climate Change is only in a few degrees? Well the illustrator below helps to show why.

Temperatures run between very very cold (which happens infrequently) and very very hot (which happens infrequently). If you plot every temperature over the course of the year, it would follow a curve like this. Now, while the average curve barely moves as climate change occurs, the tail ends' move to encompass a new normal. Very very cold gets even less frequent. But very very hot become smore frequent and you can add the new tail of fuck-all hot into the mix.

In the old system, what we are seeing in Seattle and British Columbia are once in 10,000 year events. But in our new average curve they will just be once in a while events.

One side effect that might not obvious from this, the greater the range of the curve, the more extremes you will get. Think of Minneapolis where the summers scorch and the winters are very very cold. Versus San - 70 and sunny - Diego., that has a very very flat curve. Because its average temperature doesn't very much at all, the small climate change will reflect as a small climate change, not the crazy things happening in the Pacific Northwest right now.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Rochester New York

Eddie and I are spending a few days in Rochester New York dog-sitting for a friend. What is amazing is that in all the time I have been in Rochester, starting in the 1980s! for work, I have never seen the falls.

Well, Eddie and I went downtown and it was fascinating.  We also toured George Eastman's Home (of Eastman Kodak).

First: the falls of Rochester:

The George Eastman House was also very cool. Now, I had be there for a work event at Xerox, but I had never toured the home before.  Very fun.

The Eastman's Living Room

The Central Sitting Room from above. Ignore the Elephant in the room, it is fake (although there was undoubtedly a stuffed real one once).

Notice the Organ in against the left wall

This is one of the walls that hold some of the 3,000 pipes for the pipe organ

Better picture of the organ.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Back From Florida - And the Edison House

Eddie and I traveled to Florida this past week-end to see Lynn. We did a number of things and hung out. It was great to see her. While there we toured the gardens and ground of the Edison / Ford complex.

The home and Thomas Edison.

This is where Thomas Edison and much later Henry Ford has winter homes in Fort Meyers Florida. Thomas Edison used his lab here for a number of experiments as well as a holiday home. In particular, he spent quite a bit of time and energy in developing a source of rubber that could replace the natural rubber trees found in the Amazon jungle. Although ultimately successful, it seems they were preempted by the use of planted and farmed rubber plantations in Malaysia.

The family living room (with a portrait of Edison over the fireplace)

The library / sitting room.

The family home was not particular big by today's standards, but it was fully wrapped by porches and most of the windows and doors opened to allow the cross breezes.

Below is Edison's second study. Henry Ford built it after his family moved into the adjacent property and took over his lab space. This is the back of the lab with a few of the "moonlight garden", which was designed with bright plants and lights to enjoy it in the evening. 

Moonlight Garden

Interior of the study. Note the beautiful colors on the Edison phonograph trumpet.

Eddie and Lynn under the massive Banyon Tree

Friday, June 18, 2021

End of My Week of Explanation: Is The Nation State Headed the Way of the Dodo?

I have decided to end my week of explanation with a question that has been occupying my mind. What's next for humanity?

I read George Friedman's The Next 100 Years and The Next Decade. (Good books, although, his prognostication of the next 10 years was not so great). But he simply draws forecast from the current state and moves it forward. I'm not sure that is correct, in fact, I'm almost positive it isn't correct.

I think that, moving forward, the common worries (except climate change) are not going to be our big problems. Most futurists or social commenters on the future have called out two big changes for "humanity". First, the coming hacking of our genes, first to reduce diseases and then to modify our future generations. They are worried this will split humanity into those modified (the rich and powerful) and the rest. Their second worry is that Artificial Intelligence will run amok. Although number 1 may happen, it would be a long time from now. As for AI, I tend to think we are overestimating the difference between human thought and AI non-human knowledge. I could be wrong, but that is what I think (AI is great at a task, but not so great thinking up tasks.).

Credit to A R Tuladhar - 2015

Instead, I think the first big change might already be happening. And that is the end of the Nation State as defining unit of mankind.  Oddly, while investigating this I found a GREAT article from the Guardian about this from 2018. If you're interested it has a lot of their assumptions. I haven't read the actual article itself yet, because I wanted to pontificate myself before I do (smiley face).

General Idea

The richer and more educated people of the rich world feel less and less tied to a single nation state. As the nation state becomes less sentimental and important, does it wither away?

Casually, you can see this in the astounding number of people for whom travel is almost a way of life.  You see free-lancers that can work from anywhere, rich people that have a second of third home in a different country and those of us who very close friends outside their home country.

More formally, you see some people actively preparing for trouble and unrest in their home countries.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

To Make Myself Enjoy The Day...

 ,,, yesterday, I went to the Bronx Zoo.

Wednesday are half price and there were lots of kids and parents. I had a bite to eat and was sitting at the picnic tables, and I hear 1 mom (sitting with her kids) after a bird took her chip yell to the world in general, "I swear to God, that bird comes back one more time and I am punching it in the throat!"

And I thought, thank goodness penguins don't have throats. Here are some pic (not of the woman)...

This is a "Little Blue" Penguin. We saw these in Australia a long time ago. They used to be called Fairy Penguins"

This is a Little Blue, outside his house. If you look in the box in the back and farther past that, you see a breeding pair near their house.

This is an African Penguin. They used to be called Jackass Penguins because of their call.

And yes, the penguins did make me feel better.

Not the Shit Show ... Yet

The headline is deceiving here. It is correct, but it doesn't answer the question many people want answered. The question people want to know (on both sides) is Can companies discriminate against legally married homosexuals?

The answer is still unclear. I say this not as a "look on the bright side" guy. But as a realist here. The court decided, once again, to limit the question. In Colorado this questions was turned to, did Colorado discriminate agains the baker? In this case, the court turned its unanimous to deal only with the contractual relationship between the adoption agency and the city. Leaving the larger question for later.

Why did the Supreme Court do this? Well, there is a 4 person minority (that is of 5 needed) that is willing to overturn Obergefell, which allowed gays equal rights at the federal level. There is a 3 person minority that wants to preserve Obergefell. The most middle of the judges, particular Roberts, is not ready to overturn gay rights. Yet. Just like they are not quite ready to overturn Roe v Wade yet, but are approaching it in baby steps.

What is the actual impact of this result? Practically, almost none. As a blueprint for laws against gays, pretty important if the legislators can tie any legislation to freedom of religion.

Historically Fascinating

I am listening to a new podcast I find fascinating. It is called "The History of the Early Church" - the Church in this case being Christianity. No particular sect, as it was the very beginning - before the Roman schism and a LOT earlier than the Protestant split.

I have only listened to a seven of them so far, but it is cool.

It finally answered who the heck Paul was. (FYI - I don't feel like cursing in this particular post) Spoiler, he wasn't an original apostle. How, why and when Christianity broke from being a Jewish sect to being its own religion. Why Rome hated and persecuted Christians (because they were, to the Romans, atheists). How the early church dealt with money and followers (communally - what we would call communist today). What happened to the other apostles. How apostles and prophets found the Bishopric.

Anyway, it is taught by a very pious college professor, and, while he treats the religious aspects with reference and respect, he treats the historical record matter of factly.

Any who... just wanted to mention it.

Addition ---

Oh Yeah! It also explains why the Eastern Orthodox Church uses Icons!

Week of Explanation 4; Infrastructure

Infrastructure is one of the key philosophical differences in our political system now. That is, it does break down along Democratic / Republican lines, but for actual reasons of political policy, not just posturing (although there is plenty of that too).

Politicians have been proposing (and failing to pass) "Infrastructure Bills" since at least the time of George Bush the younger. Sometimes they are planned but not introduced because they won't pass (Obama). Sometimes there are planned, but other things get in the way (Bush the younger an 9/11). Sometimes they are talked about endlessly, but fuck all is actually proposed (Trump). So what is the problem? There are a few:

Infrastructure Problems are Out of Sight

Americans don't usually notice problems until they fail. Politicians, in particular, don't like to spend money that can wait. Think of it like a person with limited funds taking care of their home. If the Cable TV works, you don't usually mind that the cable itself stretches across the floor, you can live with it. Or if a lamp has 3 light bulbs and one burns out, often you don't care. It's the same with infrastructure. Remember the bridge in Minneapolis that fell? The governments (local, state and federal) knew it needed work. But nothing happened until it collapsed.

Our infrastructure is aging, and we know it. Look at the "report card" above. It's not just that some categories are poor, but many are increasingly poor over time, but until they break, we don't do anything about it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Update on the Southern Baptists

Early I blasted the Southern Baptists for their hard turn to Trumpland (i.e. the Fox induced fever dream of the Right). Here is the post. link

The good news is that the Baptists' Convention turned back that attack. So there you go. Things I didn't expect to say, Good for the Baptists.

Week of Explanation 3: Why Can't We All Get Along Anymore

One of the great questions of the age is why can't Republicans and Democrats get along anymore.  And, surprise surprise, it isn't just Republicans' fault.

Here is the thing, Bipartisan legislating happens when 1 of 3 factors is in play. And none is in play now.

First - Overwhelming Majority

Bipartisanship worked from the 1930s through the 1960s because the Republicans were at a huge disadvantage in both Houses of Congress. If you have a permanent majority party (in that case it was Democrats), then Republicans have a vested interest in bipartisanship to either get what they want included in Democratic legislation OR remove what they can in Democratic legislation. 

Obstruction is a losing game if it means getting NONE of what you want in a system like that. Bipartisanship means that maybe some of your ideas get through.

But IF the parties are narrowly divided (like now), compromise often means you lose your seat to a more "pure" member of your party.

Second - Heterogeneous Membership

From the 1950s through the 1980s, the parties themselves were made up of a diverse membership. There were liberal Republicans (say Governor Nelson Rockefeller or Gerald Ford or even Richard Nixon with regards to the environment) and conservative Democrats (Robert Bryd or Strom Thurmond or John Connally).

This started to change in the 1960s as Lyndon Johnson (another Conservative Democrat from Texas) passed Civil Rights legislation. Conservative Democrats rebelled but the legislation was forced through by President Johnson and the liberal members of both parties.

Conservative Democrats, particularly in the South where Jim Crow laws were being overturned, decided to leave the Democratic Party for the more reactionary Republican Party. Liberal voters - particularly in the North East - both Democratic and Republican started moving towards the less reactionary (some might say less racist) Democratic Party.

Now there are no Liberal Republicans. And, despite what we think of Joe Manchin, no Conservative Democrats. Hence, less members pushing bipartisanship.

Third - The Lack of an External Threat

From the late 1940s until 1989, Communism was a unifying enemy. The threat of nuclear war outweighed petty arguments about the size of national parks or what horrible thing MJG or AOC might say.

We still see this in the rare cases of bipartisanship now. BOTH sides recently passed a bill to make us more competitive with China - who we see as a threat to Capitalism. Both sides usually agree on anti-terrorism bills.

Oddly, the Republicans under President Trump (and never until President Trump) have made Russia a partisan issue. They trust Russia now more than our own intelligence agencies. And Israel (via their Prime Minister Netanyahu) has made Israeli support MORE partisan by fucking with Barak Obama and (metaphorically) giving a blow job to Romney and then Trump.

Next Steps

I cannot see a way past this now. If Republicans did not object to Russia supporting Trump both publicly and clandestinely, then there is no common "external threat". As Republicans and Democrats have separated into camps that can't even talk anymore I don't see a drive for bipartisanship. As for overwhelming support for one or the other side, BOTH parties have agreed, via gerrymandering and corporate donations, to pretty much divide us up to make safe their seats are safe.

So there you go. We're fucked unless a new threat comes out to unite us.

Possible Solution (Bad Though It Is)

One possible break through would be the introduction of a pure Populist. That is, someone who could appeal to the disenfranchised on both the Left and Right. And here is where Donald Trump was politically savvy. He did not really campaign in 2016 as Republican. He as more a populist who said he could bring cheaper universal health care. He said he could remove graft and corruption in Washington. He said he would spend $1trillion on infrastructure jobs. None of those are particularly Republican positions. He promised to stop letting foreigners take American jobs.

His failure was that he didn't GOVERN as a populist. Those first 3 promises were completely lost. Instead he left the work of governing to Republican insiders who passed tax-cuts, tried to overturn the Affordable Care Act and didn't even propose an Infrastructure bill.

So, could a more honest populist win and govern? Maybe. But the more scary idea is that a smarter authoritarian would be able to pretend to be a populist and actually take over the country. We know that Republicans wouldn't lift a bill to stop him.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Great News on the Energy Front

Many of the things I learned at UCLA are now coming to fruition in the real world. I was a Geography and Economics major, and my best classes were in Economic Geography with visiting professors from Rand Corporation. Scotland is now producing and testing one of the most innovative of possible energy solution.

Scotland is testing two solutions that are reasonably well examined in academia, but unproduced in the real world. Until now.

The First

A "Tidal Turbine". There have been a (very) few tidal energy solutions now, the issue with these is location and impact. Traditional tidal energy is created with essential a damn in front of a tidal inlet. The damn is then used to drive power (like a river damn) as the tide goes in and out. The problem with this solution is: 1) there are very few inlets where the tide is big enough to make a difference, 2) they are not particularly efficient and 3) they tend to screw up the inlet for other uses.

Enter Scotland's tidal turbine. In this case a turbine is setup at areas os tidal changes, but it doesn't include damning the estuary. Instead a turbine sits int eh water, and as water passes through it turns the blades. Now they go slowly, but because water is so dense, they generate electricity at lower speeds! The one illustrated seems to be near the surface, but you can easily attach them below water level and use the tides from deeper in the water.

The Second

Another system being tested in Scotland harnesses kinetic wave energy to create electricity. In this case the waves drive a turbine in kind of the reverse system of how your car engine pistons drive the wheels.

Both have amazing possibilities. First tides (and waves) are more predictable than sun and wind energy systems. Second, there are plenty of islands (think Hawaii) that need energy and now have to import it. The tidal turbines create a LOT of energy. And finally, they don't produce carbon emissions.

The next hurdle is to make them affordable. Scotland thinks that with a few years they can make the cost consistent with nuclear energy. And, the one thing we have learned from solar and wind power is that costs go down quickly once these can be mass produced.

Pity Women and Fashion

I saw this headline in Huffington Post and had to pass it on.

I do feel a little sorry for women who seem to have more demands for fashion then men. Men used to wear a suit everyday and not worry about anything, but the width of the tie. Now, we don't even do that. It is just shorts when it is hot and jeans when it is cold. And God forbid kilts ever come into real fashion, because if you get a man into a skirt, we would never go back. And kilts already look wrinkled, so you could just grab them off the closet floor.

But I digress.

And below is the funniest tweet about fashion I have seen in years!

A Stupid Idea that Works For Me

I read, and laughed at, someone who wrote about putting siracha into coffee. But, plain coffee kind of bores me and coffee with milk and sweetener is too sweet. So I tried it.

And, Mikey likes it. Wakes me up, gives me a kick and tastes like something. Go figure.

Ideas to get rid of Clutter

CNN has an article on how to get rid of clutter, which mainly involves buying more shit to put your old shit in.

You know what else gets rid of clutter. Throwing shit out.

Thank You Marjorie Taylor Greene

Marjorie Taylor Greene is a crazy ass Representative from Florida (where else!). She recently compared wearing a mask to being put in the gas chamber in the Holocaust. She, rightfully, got a ton of shit for this. Whether forced or not, she visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC and learned about the Holocaust. She has apologized for her comments. (Although I found it interesting they don't teach about the Holocaust in Florida. Maybe it is too negative, the same reason they can't teach about slavery any more.)

Is it heartfelt? Who cares. She did the right thing. Thank you MJC. I wish more politicians would be able to admit a mistake.

Week of Explanation 2: Violence

There has been a marginal upswing in violence and violent crime since the pandemic.* The "consensus" is that covid lockdown and black lives matter have brought things to a boil. I disagree.

Here is the thing.Covid hasn't so much driven people crazy because of the lockdown, but HAS made people so much more aware of crap that has being going on. And violence and crime is the logical answer to it. I see four things pushing this:

(clockwise from upper left) Covid Inequality, Guns, Unequal Policing and Political Lawlessness

1) Covid Shows the US Inequality. 

The United States population is used to inequality. We (mainly white people) have been told from a young age that inequality can be overcome based on merit. We have been told if you work hard, you will succeed and if you do not, it is your own fault. Covid showed what a fucking lie this was. 

During 2020, the year of the lockdown, 631 Billionaires increased their wealth by $931,000,000,000.00. that is $931 Billion dollars. Where did this money come from? It came from us, who had to buy their products during a lockdown. And it came from the government, who helped the rich get richer with loans, graft and direct payouts.

This was on top of the gigantic tax cuts the rich and businesses got under Trump.

Covid has shown us that "playing by the rules" is a sucker's game, and the rich get richer. If you eliminate the path to income growth, people will find another path.

2)  Guns - and the Impossibility of Avoiding Them

Criminals need guns (in the United States). More guns mean more chances to use them. Just since Trump, laws were changed to allow more people to carry guns without any checks. People with a history of mental illness are allowed to carry guns. We put less restrictions on gun ownership and carrying them than we do on people getting a driver's license. It is easier to get a gun than a license to cut hair. Dogs require more licenses than guns.

Do guns "cause" more violence? Yes. The more people that have guns, the more people use guns. Then those victims want more guns, which leads to more gun deaths.

Can it be stopped in America? We will not get rid of guns in America. But we should be able to limit automatic weapons and cartridges with hundreds of rounds. We did this before (and violence was reduced).

3) Black People Are Killed Indiscriminately - And Therefore We All Trust the Police Less

Policing tactics have long been aimed at Blacks and other minorities over white middle class folks. It's just a fact. Blacks have always been more routinely stopped, arrested and killed. Covid lockdown happened when cell phones made documenting this inequality of justice easy. 

And I stupidly thought that documenting inequality would reduce the inequality. It has not. It has just shown this injustice to all of America. For a large portion of America, the response was "so what"? If a 12 year old was killed in the part for playing with a toy gun (which was marked correctly with the red muzzle), surely justice would occur.  If a women EMT was shot to death in bed while sleeping, surely justice would occur. If a black man was killed while jogging by off-duty officers and white guys, surely justice would occur.

Justice did not occur. So something else occurred, we have collectively tossed belief that the police bring equal justice to America. It is up to the people. And the people are armed (because #2).

4) Lawlessness in the Political Arena Teaches that Rules Are For Suckers

Donald Trump broke the Constitutional laws of enriching himself and his family with no consequences. Matt Gaetz paid minors for sex, and no consequences. Two Attorney Generals and 2 acting Attorney Generals broke the laws of surveillance and had no consequences. I could go on but you get it.

Before you say that this doesn't lead to violence, consider the 55 MPH speed limit. It was routinely ignored and people no longer felt the law was fair. People blew that law off.

Well, now Americans know that the laws are not fair. Not only are minorities over policed (see #3), white politicians are not policed at all for graft, bribery or perjury. When the few are prosecuted and convicted, they are pardoned.

When we prove that breaking the law had no consequences, people will break the law.

I don't know if we can fix it. We have a political system now that reinforces lawlessness like the Jan 6th insurrection, and there are more donations for politicians that promote breaking the law.


* Note that I would say the increase in crime is not that large. We are still have much lower rates than the 1980s. But Fox News and Republicans see this as an issue they can ride back into power. Since they have nothing else they believe in.

Monday, June 14, 2021

The Illustration of "Closing the Barn Door After The Horse Has Escaped"

Ever wonder what a time worn expression looks like in practice. Here is the perfect example of Closing the Barn Door After the Horse has Escaped...

Scott's Week of Solving Issues

I have decided to just expound on things I have an opinion on this week. Not necessarily the right opinion / solution / cause / response but, come on, when has that ever stopped me?

First up, why don't people believe in Climate Change or the dangers of climate change.

I ask this because climate change is actually here and affects us most of us quite a bit. I believe most people now believe in Climate Change, but what took so long?

I think there are a couple of things working here. Some logical and some illogical. Let's start with the logical reasons.

  1. Early on, it made sense to take the idea with extreme doubt. Science regular makes some bad calls, so why respond to this any differently that other "life and death" issues that fissiled? 
    1. For example, as early as 1798 (!) science predicted that growing population would outstrip food production and mass famine would occur. Instead good production, fertilizer and engineering means food production has grown much faster. And population growth slowed as fewer offspring died and therefore families had fewer children.
    2. The end of fossil fuels was predicted near the end of the 20th century. Instead we found ways to pull natural gas and oil from shale, tar sands and from beneath the oceans.
    3. In the 1960s, Americans (and many others) were convinced that nuclear war would wipe us out within a decade or less. Science may have pushed this idea, to be sure it never happened, but it still seems very "chicken little" in retrospect.
    4. Even the "global pandemic" of Covid has killed far fewer than a similar outbreak during 1918.
  2. Climate change is the ultimate "public good / private wealth" (the economic freeloader model). What I mean is, climate change may well kill us, but it only gets better if everyone responds. Therefore, why should I stop eating meat, if no one else does? Why should America stop using oil when China still uses coal? 
    1. On a national level, governments often play the arbiter when a public good is needed and everyone has to comply. Think public schools, highways or electricity. In most cases the government has to provide these because the costs are too much for one person to bear, and others can use it.
    2. The same process works in reverse for negative consequences (which are more like Climate Change). The US had to provide clean water and clean air standards to stop individual companies from pollution which we all pay for in terms of health.
  3. Corporations (particularly Exxon and other oil companies) spread disinformation when they knew the truth. And, of course, none of them paid a price for this. Exxon knew about climate change in 1978 (which makes sense because I studied it and wrote papers about it in college from 1978-81). In fact, Jimmy Carter and Congress started to attack this in the late 70s, WITH Republican backing. But, when they found it was cheaper to lie about it, and had a White House that was bought with campaign donations, they just lied. And stuck with the lie.
  4. Bad Public Relations. I don't know who remembers, but Climate Change is a relatively new term. It was called "Global Warming" for years, because scientists understood what that term meant (increase energy in the global system) and how it would affect everything. But most of us humans took the term literally (which makes sense) and thought, a little global warming will help, not hurt.
Now the illogical.
  1. "My smart-ass kid told me and they will learn better as they grow up." At least, my dad thought this.
  2. "It is a way liberals want to control what we do." Which is both bullshit and actually kind of true. I want to leave an actual planet to the next generation. But I don't want to tell people what to do. I want them to understand and then want to do what I want them to do. (smiley face to show I know how asinine that sounds.)
  3. "I want to eat hamburgers." Turn off Fox News. No one is trying to take away your fucking hamburgers, steak or meat.
And now, it is - honestly - too late to fix. Just like we cannot un-discover the nuclear bomb. Just like you can't be a "little pregnant". Just like the Berlin Wall won't keep people locked up forever. Climate Change is coming because of the industrial revolution in the 1850s started a process that has built up too much. Humans won't willingly go back to being hunter gathers, or to not using electricity, or not travel. We have to find a way to minimize or stop CO2 emissions now, and adapt to the planet we live on.

It's not easy, but we are a smart and resilient species. God gave, or we developed, a big-ass brain. Let's use it.

Our Friend's birthday

It was our friend's birthday last week. So we took him out this week. What do 60 year olds do on their birthday. Well, if Scott is planning AND yous till don't want to go inside too much (him not me, I feel fucking bullet proof!) AND you don't want to spend the night drinking.

Mini Golf!

Ed and Randy (birthday boy) at the Pyramids 

The funny family ahead of us. The child was bored by golf, but loved the giant animals!

The "Grasslands" at Essex Safari Pee Wee Putt

While some rural-dependent brands dump LGBT and CEI - there is Campbells Spoon

 I totally get how John Deere and Tractor Supply felt the need to publicly repudiate their DEI and LGBT support positions; they are, after a...