people use the train analogy to describe the quadruple wammy of global warming, peak oil, overpopulation, and u.s. bankruptcy. we're on a train and it's heading for a cliff. there are folks screaming, stop the train! or we're all gonna die! aaaahhhh! heh. it sure would be nice to stop the train. but that will be a whole lot of work. the world is filled with a whole lot of lemmings. and on the other end of the train there are folks pushing it faster. good god why? well, the theory is that if we hit the die off sooner instead of later fewer of us will die. another theory is they're not the ones that are gonna die. or it's someone else's problem. might as well enjoy the ride. or it's too much work. let someone else do it. or they're too stupid to look ahead. or too lazy. or they're convinced that god will take care of them. heh. he will. he'll collect us all up to heaven.
we export lots of food. but it's estimated that we'll stop exporting food in 25 years or so. in 50 years we'll need to import as much food as we currently export. ha ha. not gonna happen. other countries will need their food to feed themselves. we've been using a tremendous amount of fossil fuels to get the most from our arable land. in 25 years it's quite likely the supply of the most useful fossil fuels (oil and natural gas) will be significantly lower than it is today. and in 50 years well, they will be the most precious stuff on earth. sell your mcdonald's stock. fast food's history. it currently takes 1000 calories of energy to get 1 calorie of food to your mouth. we're gonna need to tighten our belts over the next couple of generations. fortunately, we're wearing a really big belt.
man it took a lot of effort to connect the dots between burning fossil fuels and starvation. it would be really nice to connect those dots a lot faster. to boil it down to a single sound bite. global warming is tiresome. heat won't kill us directly. climate change is better. but how can humans possibly change the climate? sheehs. scoffable. the impending human die off? dismissable nut job crackpot idea. damn. i've got no ideas. any suggestions?
a large part of the fresh water the world uses for drinking, irrigation, and industry comes from the water table. rainfall either runs off and is collected by the watershed and flows into rivers to the ocean. or it's absorbed into the ground and makes its way to the water table. the water table also has a system of underground streams and underground rivers that flow to the ocean. during periods of torrential rains these will swell. just like above ground rivers. but during periods of drought they run backwards. salt water from the ocean is drawn under the ground and infiltrates the water table. the next period of torrential rains washes out some of the salt but not all. it really doesn't take very many cycles for the brine to reach topsoil and seriously degrade its agricultural value. big deal. losing farmland won't kill us. oh wait.
the extra heat from global warming will change the weather. it's quite likely the north atlantic conveyor will shut down. this is the nice warm ocean current that makes great brittain a lovely place. it's quite likely normal weather patterns in many places of the world will be torrential rain followed by scorching drought. so what? snow in london. trees in antarctica. big deal. bad weather won't kill us. not directly anway.
scientists estimate human activities like filling the skies with carbon dioxide, like cutting down forests, like dumping fertilizers and pharmaceuticals into rivers that create dead zones in the oceans, like well you get the idea, will raise the temperature of the planet several degrees. big whoop. we'll just turn up the air conditioners. the heat won't kill us. not directly anyway.
one year my collidj buddies shoo and moose showed up unannounced at another collidj buddy richard's house. surprise! we're here. what's for dinner? anywho, i got shoo back by showing up unannounced at his house. vietnamese for dinner. was good. anywho, i had fallen out of touch with the costa mesa crowd for quite some time. lee and tina had two kids. robert and celeste had one boy: drool. heh. named him well. so anywho, i needed to figure out where shoo lived. finally got celeste on the phone and explained the plan. at some point she said, ooooooofffff! oof? my daughter just jumped on my pregnant stomach. oh. daughter? pregnant? oy. i was definitely out of touch for too long my friends.
i came home from boston to find a partially disassembled motorized toy in my office. it's a cheap piece of boring plastic junk from china. a screw was stuck and they weren't willing to risk stripping it. i of course immediately ruined it and removed it with pliers. i realigned the gears and tested it. it worked. we kept testing it as we reassembled it. at some point it stopped working. huh. while checking the batteries i thought it was possible the spring wasn't making secure contact. so i removed the battery and grabbed the spring to bend it back into shape. ow ow ow owich owie ow ow ow. the sun of a gun was extremely hot. i have blisters on my fingertip and thumbtip. ouch. there was a short circuit. we fixed it with electrical tape and reassembled the thing. so now the boys' toy works again. and we had a nice little talk about why you need to be careful with electricity and fire.
out of town
i've been out of town since august 12th. i had internet access at camp michigania. well, mostly. i could get to everything except my blog and my email. pah. so now i'm at my mother's house in pennsylvania. we just got her connected to the internet again. i had to talke to two support people named 'mac' and 'alex' who had indian accents. so now i'm on the slowest dialup connection in the universe. yay. but at least i can get to my blog. yay. (alisa, i love you and i miss you!)
warren buffett recently gave some $30 billion to charities. it was the largest monetary act of altruism ever. perhaps he feels guilty that his tax rate is so low.
i added up all the taxes we paid last year: federal, state, local, self employment, property (house, two cars, airplane, land), sales (estimated), etc. then i divided it by our income. i included our non-taxable investment income. because well, frankly, it should count. our effective tax rate was 17%. seventeen lousy percent. and we're not even trying to shelter income. crikey, that's a lower rate than i paid in federal taxes alone when i was a starving college student. but wait! there's more. incomes higher than mine generally pay a lower effective tax rate. why? because many taxes have caps: social security, medicaid, sales. sales tax is included because rich people proportionately spend less on goods than on services which are mostly not subject to sales tax. and rich folks are strongly motivated to shelter their incomes from taxes. neat huh? anyone still want to argue with me that the income tax rate on rich folks is too low?
high oil prices will be good for us. they will force us to do things we should have done years ago. like solar power. like higher mpg standards. like conservation. kinda like the fuel shortages of the 70's. at least until opec created an oil glut. this time though, there is no spare production capacity. prices are going to stay high. and with the events the war president set in motion they're likely to stay volatile too. another boon for solar. i am still stubbornly refusing to accept the notion that swatting the hornet's nest was either the best way or the only way to achieve these results.
i saw a pretty cool movie
on you tube about mondegreene's. he calls it misheard lyrics. it's pretty funny. at least to timmer. and mostly sfw. i had to look up the real lyrics
i'm in boston. but i'm working from home. i log in to my computer to check on the status of some very long tasks i started days ago. and to start new ones. unfortunately the end product is a 100 meg file compressed. the hotel boasts high speed broadband access. well ha ha! it might be high speed if i was the only one using it. but apparently everyone else is also downloading large files. guess i'll check the results in the morning.
i had an english muffin the morning i got on the flight to come to boston. then i missed lunch. and dinner. and breakfast. and lunch again. oddly, i wasn't all that hungry. they finally fed me dinner. at this rate i ought to drop a few pounds. though tomorrow we're going to legal seafood for company dinner. i might just stuff myself silly. i have instructions to not tell the beautiful and talented alisa about any lobsters i eat. so uh i plan to have uh a burger and fries.
there once was a president who lobbied for a top tax rate of 74% and advocated nationalized health care. and broke down previously impenetrable walls between countries. sounds pretty good eh? ah if only it weren't for that little war thing. and that getting caught cheating in his election thing. have you seen the bumper sticker: i miss nixon.
i went to a fundraiser for senator bayh (pronounced bye). he talked quite a bit about himself and a little bit about alternative energy. he's an interesting person. he struck me as intelligent, honest, and qualified for the job of president. which pretty much makes him unelectable. sigh. he's a democrat from the red state of indiana. was governor for two terms. is now a second term senator. turned around education and health care in that state. turned a deficit into a surplus. and didn't raise taxes. the country would be well served by him.
the other day, i was thinking.
so here i am in boston. i forgot what a pleasure it is to drive here. at least it's after midnight on a friday. i blame the directions. turn left from sumner onto dartmouth. ha ha ha. so we toured mit. briefly. didn't see the cannon. room's nice. not as nice as the boss' in the four seasons. this is more like the one season. at least dustin and i have separate beds. and cold water as well as hot. i was given one task to do this week. i finished it four hours ago. i think i'll call andy tomorrow. we can pal around. maybe i can sneak him into sigraph. i have two badges.
rich poor barrier
heh. lotta posts for one simple conclusion: the rich poor gap is irrelevant. as long as it's a gap and not a wall it doesn't matter how big it is by any measure. as long as everyone has the opportunity to make and lose fortunes. this is especially important to americanism. governments are run by rich people. we want talented hard working people to run the show. ergo we want talented hard working people to be rich. no matter how poor they started. and we want lazy good for nothings to be poor. no matter how rich they started out. we definitely don't want lazy good for nothings running government.