ColGlobe At The Spoof

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dominoes: Economic Collapse

Author's Note: Click the links. They will open in a new window which can be closed, returning you to this document. Without them, you are missing the rest of the story. I don't claim to know all of the information, but have put together data from all over the world.

The Story So Far
In the first part of the dominoes series, we took a look at peak production of not only peak crude oil production, but precious metals such as copper, fresh water, and food distribution. The overall conclusion was that there are alternative fuels available, but they all come with a price of their own, and demand ever increasing amounts of energy. This commentary will look at the economy of peak production, and why world economies are suffering, including both the obvious reasons, and the actual ones, lurking just behind the public focus.

Hiding In Plain Sight
There is no conspiracy involved with peak production or global warming. The basic knowledge has existed for more than a century, and the U.S. government has been accumulating data for more than 80 years. Likewise, the effects of emissions pollution have been documented for around 150 years, most notably as acid rain. Finally, the world economy has been monitored since the middle of World War II, and artificially manipulated since the end of it. The final outcome has never really been in question, and yet the danger has been all but ignored in the mainstream public view.

Global Change And Cynicism
To begin, approximately 38% of the world has never even heard of global warming. To complicate matters, cynics and skeptics are quick to point out that there's no need to worry because these types of things have always been solved by the technology of the day. It sounds good, except that this type of thing has never happened before in the entire history of humanity, so there really isn't any comparison to base the claim on.

Global Economy 101
The causes of the Great Depression may be our closest comparison to the current economic problems of the world, but those fall short of explaining the nuances involved when peak production meets environmental collapse. It will require a LOT of money to convert to more efficient factories, transportation systems and environmentally sustainable human support systems. This does not apply only to the United States, but to all "industrialized" nations.

What They Do Not Teach In School
There is really not much difference between capitalism and a typical multilevel marketing operation, other than being artificially manipulated to reduce or prevent collapse. Collapses in the system, though,  are inevitable as the bottom levels are reduced to poverty and then artificially raised above it through the issuance of credit, pushing those levels even farther into debt to generate more capital at the upper levels. To complicate matters, much of the value of money is based on nothing other than energy, primarily in the form of fossil fuels. And that is where peak production and global warming meet the global economy.

The Costs of Global Warming
The cost of converting to ecofriendly energy is not paid for by the companies. Instead, that cost is passed down the line to the consumers. This very fact has been the reason big business has fought so hard to resist the concept of global warming. There is only so much that can be squeezed out of consumer pockets before the market implodes in massive lower level debt. The only conspiracy is that you and I can't afford to pay for world-wide upgrades in energy systems without causing the system to deflate, and the financial giants of the world know it.

The Story That Never Changed
For most of a century, government and industry have been aware of the dangers posed by chemical emissions related to fossil fuels. The simple truth is that there is no way to make the needed changes without causing global economic stress, possibly even bringing about another Great Depression. Entire financial sectors must switch from fossil fuels to other energy production methods, and that may be even more complicated than developing those new forms of energy production.

The Endangered Industry List
Oil companies will have to rework their entire business model, or be replaced by emerging ecofriendly companies such as solar and wind power companies. All petroleum dependent companies are going to have to develop new material sources. This includes automobile makers, most food production and distribution centers,  many medical and healthcare companies, and just about every other facet of life.

How Global Warming and Peak Production Connect
Our planet contains a limited supply of the elements contained on the periodic table. All of them. When fossil fuels are burned, they are converted from one form to another. The atmosphere, a very delicately balanced bubble on the skin of the planet, is really quite easily contaminated by artificial conversion of liquid or solid materials into gaseous ones. The result is that industrial nations are speeding up natural processes that should take millions or even billions of years, and the balance of the atmosphere is unable to readily deal with the phenomenon. It WILL return to a balance eventually, but the cost to the existing life on the planet is as yet unknown.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dominoes: Global Resources And Peak Production

Author's Note: Click on the links to expand on the subject matter being discussed. The data is taken from all over the world, including government agencies, research institutions and other top organizations, such as Forbes, the IEA, and more. Unless you follow the links, you are only getting a portion of the information.

Some of the best minds in the business have calculated that peak oil production probably occurred in 2008. That in itself is not really important, it merely marks a tipping point. What matters to you and I, and our children, and all the generations that follow after them, is that once that peak production was reached, the world will never again see the prosperity brought on by fossil fuels during the 20th century.

Yes, there are several prospects for alternative fuels. What most people do not realize is that production of alternative energy almost always requires the expenditure of fossil fuels or other non-renewable respurces under the constraints of our current technology. Hydrogen is hyped as the best chance replacement for crude oil, but commercial hydrogen production is really quite expensive and generally requires platinum. And platinum is becoming very rare already, as it is a crucial component of ordinary catalytic converters, among many other things.

We can, however, get more production out of our oil fields, which will sustain or even increase production for a short time. Doing so causes two problems, though: 1) It requires the use of other non-sustainable resources, such as rare earth elements. 2) Increasing the production once peak production has been reached hastens the end of crude oil. Unless you watch the news closely, you probably don't even know that we have already passed peak production of some rare earth elements. It isn't widely publicized.

Take note of the dramatic (and magical) increase of oil production from 2008 forward

For a graphic example, press the button in the center of a tire valve on one of your car's tires, and you will hear the air coming out, consistently slower as the tire deflates. This is equivalent to projected post-peak oil production. Now, go around to the other side of the car, and remove the valve from the tire stem completely. Instead of a gradual decrease, the tire will deflate many times faster. The end result is two flat tires and only one spare. Think about it.

Another theory, the abiotic theory, proposes that crude oil is somehow created naturally within the earth's mantle, and cannot be depleted. I haven't bothered to do much research on this idea, but it sounds like something cooked up by zealots to help explain away paradoxes in creation theory. If you really think that crude oil came from something other than decaying matter, you may want to read about abiogenic petroleum yourself.

But enough about rare elements. Copper is one of the more common metals, and it's usage can be dated back around 5,000 years. It is used in almost every electronic device made, and copper is becoming increasingly non-sustainable.

But, as the above rendention of an old commercial shows so eloquently, what is missing is the human element. At the very best estimates, world resources of water and food distribution will be strained to the limit at a population of 8 billion people. The good news is that we can purify water, and increase food distribution. The bad news is that it is going to require even more energy consumption. Here is the current estimated world population.

Here's how it all works:

From the moment a child is conceived, precious metals and other elements begin being used to support that person. Yes, from conception, through the use of medicinal aids and tools. As we age, we use more of the earth's resources. Then we procreate, renewing the process of using non-renewable resources. Every technological "advance" requires an additional supply of energy, making development of technology a liability in itself.

There is not a point to this entry..and that is the most important point of all.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Human Sexuality: Living In The Crazy Years

How on Earth has humanity risen to the top of the ecological chain? The human body is soft and weak, it matures slowly, and has many, many short circuits in the cranium. We spend the first 12 to 24 years of our lives learning about ideas and concepts, understanding how things work and building fantastic machines, and then all but completely ignore the concept of procreation.

Why is sexuality not as common in conversation as the latest world disaster? Why is sexuality something that should be hidden away, and only spoken of behind closed doors? Why is something as important as the propagation of our species left to be rediscovered one shy young couple at a time behind closet doors and in the unseen spaces between dark buildings? Why do some states make driver education courses mandatory, and yet there are no states that require every teen to attend a parental training course?

Reality Check #1: 33 years ago, the world's most famous band sang a song about hunting a girlfriend down and dragging her back if she ever left. Today, we call that stalking and domestic abuse, but not that long ago a man was expected to take what he wanted.

Reality Check #2: 100 years ago, a young bride was expected to have started to bear a family by the time she was 18 years of age, and it was much more common to see a 15 year old mother than a woman in her 30's or 40's caring for an infant.

Reality Check #3: Sex is entirely natural, and curiosity is instinctual. Your children may not naturally want to know about algebra, and they may never care at all about social studies or the
world's great authors, but they will most certainly have questions about sex and sexuality.

Reality Check #4: No matter what age society says is "mature," your child will reach it when their body matures, regardless of their age. Setting laws with unrealistically high numbers means that innocent children are committing crimes by adhering to the greater laws of nature.

If you do not teach your children about the magic and mysteries of sex, they will find out for themselves. You can teach it right along with math and writing, or you can let your kids take lessons in secret spots and darkened alleys. There is no need to be overly graphic, but the education needs to exist. As perverse as it may sound to the western mind, we need fewer doors, both in our homes and in our minds.

To hide sexuality behind closed doors, and whisper about it behind shielding hands, is nothing less than creating a paradox in the minds of our children. Educating your children about sexuality will not increase abstinence. Nothing will increase abstinence, because the sex drive is instinctual. What education will do is bring about a better informed sexuality that is aware of the dangers and precautions.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Going Green in America - Giving Up Driving

In the United states, having concerns about the ecology of the planet is apparently akin to some sort of crime. Over a year ago, in the face of the highest fuel prices in history, I gave up driving. I gave up my vehicle, and since have allowed my drivers license to expire. I haven't had a regret about it.

I am in better physical shape now than I was a year ago, mostly a result of riding a bicycle when I needed to go somewhere. I am also in a better frame of mind, because the bike rides give me ample opportunity to reflect on the world around me - to smell the roses, if you will.

But when it comes to my friends and neighbors, it is a whole different story. Last week, I spent 20 minutes trying to explain to someone that I gave up driving voluntarily, and the blank look on their face told me that they never did comprehend the concept. Apparently, the only reason one gives up the privilege of driving is through DUI or some other legal intervention. There simply isn't an analogy for giving it up voluntarily.

No, I was not arrested for drunk driving, there are not a lot of points on my driving record, and no judge took my license away. I chose to give up the non-right of my own volition. In return, I am healthier, and have reduced my problematic stress level. And I save several hundred dollars every month in car, insurance, fuel, and upkeep. In my mind, it was a decision worth making.

If only I could get my fellow Americans to see that there is no crime in cutting the strings that tie you to the fuel companies and insurance companies. Only in America is it accepted that everyone who is anyone has to drive a car. In other countries, vehicles can be shared among the entire family, or not owned at all, but we Americans have somehow got the car fixed in our head as a symbol of personal freedom.

THERE IS NO FREEDOM IN A VEHICLE. The idea that having a car makes you more free is absurd. If you have a car, you are a prisoner of the car makers and dealers. Your are held helplessly in the grip of auto insurance brokers. You are forced to pay tribute to oil companies in exchange for driving your "little piece of freedom." A vehicle is a liability, it is a luxury that has somehow become confused with a carefree, lifestyle. It is a huge expense, and little more.

People expect me to be embarrassed about not owning a car, as though it were a mark of my poverty or sin. It perplexes them when I am not penitent. They quiz me at length, trying to determine what my hidden crime may be, knowing it must be a hefty one indeed, for me to lie so vehemently about it.

After all, no one gives up driving a vehicle voluntarily. The idea of saving those thousands of dollars every year is completely beyond the average person's comprehension. Nothing short of a court order can stay most people's right foot, and even that won't work for a majority who perceive driving as a symbol of their brave and bankrupt nation.

Yes, there are times when having a vehicle would be nice. But there are others who own vehicles, and when times are tough, most people are willing to drive you around for a few extra bucks in the gas tank. It is an inconvenience when I have to find such a ride, but nothing compared to the financial burden of owning my own car.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Thirty years after I am dead and gone and turned to worm food, someone is liable to stumble on this commentary. They may be the first person to to read it, in fact. I don't think I have a lot of loyal readers.

In a nutshell, and I've said it before, the world as we know it is screwed. People have lost touch with reality, and reality is not working out the way we had always expected it would be. Something needs to be done approximately 25 years ago, and the only things that is being done is valuable resources are being wasted to debate what needs to be done.

Twenty years ago, the leading scientists of the world stood up and and told us all that something needed to be done, and it needed to be done soon. This is documented. It was in all the papers of the time. The uproar lasted exactly long enough for the influence of big business to squelch the publicity. What was meant to be a snowball gaining momentum was laughed off in the plenty of the times.

Near we are, a score of years farther down the line, not even a blink of a cosmic eye, and there is indisputable proof that our poles are melting. Beaches are not eroding 50 years from now, they are eroding right now, and local weathermen pass it off as "unusually high tides."

Folks, you can take your blinders off any time you get ready. If you don't wake up and take notice pretty soon, it is going to be too late for us to do any good. Some of the best minds in the world think it already is. Look at what is happening in the world, and start connecting the dots.. they are really big dots and you have to work pretty hard not to see the big picture.

  • Nearly every week, some foodstuff or other is recalled due to contamination.
  • World military forces are drawing in on the expansive oil fields of the Middle East.
  • Ice at the planet's poles is melting faster than anyone had expected.
  • Ordinary people are becoming mass murderers in whims of fantasy.

How about some more bad news:
If we eliminated 100% of our human carbon emissions tomorrow, every last bit, it would still be 25 to 50 years before the things we have already pumped into out atmosphere have had their full effect. Let me repeart that, in case the are Doctorates reading: If emissions completely stopped tomorrow, it would still be 50 years before the damage stopped increasing. Think about that very carefully, because it is important.

Think of the carbon emission phenomenon as peak oil in reverse. The theory of peak oil says that you reach a peak production, and then the availability constantly drops off from that point onward. For carbon emissions, if they suddenly drop off, it will still be 50 years before the peak is reached, at which time the slow decline would begin.

Anything we do to the atmosphere today is being done to treat conditions that we put into motion at about the same time as those first scientists were trying to raise the alarm. We are DECADES from dealing with the emissions that were released while I have been writing this. 

If you don't get the point by now, the odds are good that you never will.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Society: The Crazy Years

Some days, when I am feeling a bit more optimistic about humanity, I think you have all lost your minds. I don't hold it against you, because I don't think anyone is intentionally out of touch with reality, but it does make me cautious when I am forced to move around in the world. Your insanity frightens me, because it is an unpredictable insanity, and I have no way of guessing who might crack next, or in what direction they will go when they snap.

Half a century ago, a science fiction writer laid out a timeline of humanity, and labeled the years during the last decades of the 20th century and throughout the 21st as "The Crazy Years." During this period of time, according to Heinlein's timeline, all manner of strange behavior becomes the norm. John Brunner's The Sheep Look Up is based around the year 2010, and is filled with false "news" articles about people doing things which you and I might find completely insane, if not for the fact that those same things are happening in the daily news every day, for the same reasons that Brunner blamed them on more than 30 years ago. For him, these were not the Crazy Years, they were the end result of a society that was unsoundly based to begin with.

Any way you look at it, television stars who kill their spouses and then themselves is not normal. Exploding bombs anywhere, at any time, in protest of the loss of life is not exactly rational thought. The logic required to abduct a child escapes me. So much of what my fellow humans are capable of is based on unstable thoughts and actions that I have little choice but to admit that we have entered, for better or worse, the Crazy Years.

There is no cure for the behavior of the Crazy Years. It will play itself out an a billion minor deceits and major debacles, it will create alliances and topple the beliefs of thousands of years. And we have instances in our history that show us how it will finish out. The Fall of Rome was the culmination of another cycle of Crazy Years, and the debauchery and bloodthirst of the Empire's final decades were only symptoms of a disease that rippled throughout the entire society. Later, a second wave of Crazy Years, or perhaps the final dredges of the Roman Collapse, swept through Europe, eradicating knowledge and science in its path, and ushering in a period in our history that is simply referred to as the Dark Ages.

Are we really in the Crazy Years? Of course not. The books that forecast that period of time are purely fictional, and have no basis in fact. Never mind that the man who wrote them was also one of a very small group invited to help establish mankind's first voyages into space. Crazy Years are a fantasy.

Most adults get out of bed every day and work 40 hours or more every week, simply to give the fruits of their labors away, and start a fresh week in the same position as the previous one finished. And nobody seems to think there is anything wrong with that picture. Nobody seems to question that so much of their lives are being used to support the whims and maneuverings of the rich and powerful. My friends, I don't care what Bruce Hornsby had to say on the subject, this is most definitely NOT "just the way it is."

I have some bad news for those of you who have led sheltered lives and not had to experience the truth: There is absolutely nothing you can do that cannot be taken away from you in the blink of an eye. Nothing. Not your health, your family, your home, or your education. Everything you can imagine can be ripped away from by a single blown tire, or an errant bolt of lightning. You are not safe, and you are definitely not protected, and there is no amount of money you can earn that will provide safety or protection. Luckily, most of you will never have to experience anything worse than the loss of a friend, but that doesn't make total loss any less tragic for those who are devastated by it regardless of their effort to prevent disaster.

Are we living in the Crazy Years? Nope. Nothing wrong here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Writing: The Secret Society

Let's talk about me for a minute. ~ Alan Parsons Project

I write for a living. Whoop-de-do. Another writer who can't seem to put together a best-seller, lurking a little to the limbo side of being an author. It is not the fact that I put together words which makes me a member of that elite group, but more a factor of the words I am paid to weave. I write product reviews and how-to articles for the most part. I teach you how things are done the right way, and why you should buy this product instead of that one. It is not a glitzy occupation on the surface.

But underneath, I have my fingers on the very wheels of capitalistic society. With a few clicks of my mouse and several tens of thousands of key presses, I tell you what you want, and convince you of what you don't want. I mix facts and fantasy in a way that makes it difficult to separate the two, and dish it out a few hundred words at a time, not as the gospel truth, but as something more basic. I give people without confidence the desire to make something of themselves, and encourage people who will never use them to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in equipment that is destined to collect dust and do little else.

That is how I am a member of that select group. Without ever seeing it happening, I somehow went from being one of us, to being part of the mystical them who makes the rules and decides the fads. And I do it off the top of my head, often in the very wee hours of the night.

Who else is a member of this elite club? I have no idea. I have talked to a few of us, but most of those I have talked to really aren't moving and shaking anything except their own egos. And the ones who are helping to shape what society sees.. they don't realize it any more than I did for a the first year. We are such a top-secret organization that we don't even know who the other members are. Less than 1% of us even realize what it is we are doing.

I read a book some years back by a man named Clive Barker. If you want to read some quality storytelling, Mr. barker is one of the best. He doesn't seem to know the difference between the words procrastinate and prevaricate ( an error that I have noticed in several of his books), but other than that one flaw, I have found very little in his tales that is mediocre, and nothing that is poorly told. But I brought him up to present an example.

The book in question is titled, The Great and Secret Show, and centers around the fantastical notion that the dead letters office of the post office contains an intricate collection of conversations and hopeless searches for some corner of reality that lies somehow just beyond comprehension. The story becomes much more fantastical as it unfolds, but this basic notion gave me reason to stop and ponder, and my conclusion is that the writers of the world are only another facet of that great and secret show. We do not exist in some alternate reality, but we are in the business of creating them on a regular basis for others. We add the scent of lemons on a summer afternoon, and sprinkle a light mist of pollen on the branches of trees on spring mornings. We define the way a particular dog barks, and set words to the music that soothes the heart of savage beasts.

Writers are not creatures of other dimensions, or demi-gods of this one, as the characters in that book, but we are the closest thing to it that exists in the world, so far as even "they" know. Without us, your world would be less colorful, your meals would be less tasty, and everything you do would have less meaning. Those things are defined by people like me. We don't even have to know anything about them in order to make them real, we simply imagine them into existence, and pour them on a cold screen where they congeal into something that almost looks like the real thing.

I cannot speak for other writers, but I have a very strong suspicion that those of us who belong to the club write, not because we want to, but because we somehow have to. We write for the same reason most people eat, or sleep or breathe.. we do it because we have no choice. Myself, I can set down my pen or close OpenOffice any time I want to, but I can't walk awy from it. Somehwere farther along the path, I will return to gluing together random words. If I don't write, something inside me becomes constipated, and I find myself having more and more trouble keeping fresh thoughts flowing, because I have not set others to rest. Ghosts of concepts wake me up from a sound sleep, and tell me that I have something I need to do. I write for the same reason a lizard catches flies.. because it is what I exist to do. And that is the qualification that I think defines our special club.. people who don't write from choice, but from necessity.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Human Arrogance - Evolution and Self-Defeat

As a species, we have a lot of nerve. We talk about how we need to protect our planet, and protect this species or that one from possible extinction. And all the while, no one ever points out that we are an aberration. If not for the chance impact of one or more meteorites 65 million years ago, humans as we know them today wouldn't exist. And when you get right down to the facts of life as we know it, the human species is hell-bent on self- destruction anyway.

Breaking Babies
As I write this paragraph, a television ad is offering "protection in case of birth control failure" which is a fancy way of saying an abortion pill. And abortion itself is a species defeating tactic. How many times have crucial mutations in our gene pool been sucked out of a woman's womb with a vacuum cleaner?  There is no way we can ever know. But what we do know, and what has been verified time after time, is that it only takes a single favorable mutation to complete split a species and allow new ones to develop.

Voluntary Sterilization
Every man that gets a vasectomy, or woman who gets her tubes tied, is a voluntary dead-end in an evolutionary chain that stretches all the way back to the first first primitive life on Earth. Of their own free will, they have ended any additional material they may have had to offer the tree of life. How many times have the smartest people who would ever live never lived at all? And how has that damaged the future of our species?

Racial Inequity
A chihuahua can't see that it isn't as big as a pit bull. Only the human species has set up lines if division within the species, blocking off possible genetic mutations, and performing occasional bouts of genocide on people who simply don't look or act or talk like other people. Reality check: We are all different from other people. Not even a plague-like disease will try to kill itself, but humanity has turned it into an art, known as war.

War - What is it Good For?
Nowhere in nature is a spectacle like war repeated. Limbs and entire branches on the tree of evolution engaged in wiping themselves out. The very best that the races of mankind have to offer are packed off to die by weapons that strike from impossibly long distances. Not the ill and dying, or the frail and disabled. Not weak of mind. The very best that can be found. Smarter. Stronger. Braver. Taller. The best features of the entire species are recruited for possible execution.

The Miracle of Man
The real miracle of our existence is that we have not exterminated ourselves. Humanity is alone in feeling malice towards itself, and has spent thousands of years devising methods of bring that malice into action. We burn, starve, subjugate, isolate, and eradicate ourselves in ways that are not duplicated anywhere in terrestrial evolution. And we applaud ourselves for being masters of the world while we do it.

Mass Extinctions
We spoeak of mass extinctions being caused in our lifetimes, but neglect to admit that such extinctions have happened throughout the history of the planet. When a species is able to successfully displace other species, those which can't compete die. We are far from the first invasive species that has wrecked havoc around the globe, and the odds are good that many more will follow after us.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Reality Check: Electric Cars

Why are we driving cars with internal combustion engines? I have heard that it is because of the cost electric cars, and that our current battery technology is not feasible, but NONE of the reasons I have found have much, if any, basis in actual fact. Here is a reality check: Electric cars are affordable and available, and the long-term savings is far higher than any basic list price.

A Brief History Of Electric Cars
The very first automobiles were electric cars. For more than 80 years, electric-powered vehicles were considered to be the only feasible solution for self-powered transportation, and there were far more companies investing in electric carriages than any other form of locomotion. Thomas Alva Edison spent a decade working on electric motors and batteries, and achieved a large industrial following. During the first 10 years of the 20th century, electric vehicles were almost as common as internal combustion engines.

The Electric Car Fades Away
And then a man named Henry Ford began to mass-produce the first automobiles, instantly putting companies which still built vehicles by hand at a disadvantage, and Ford was using a gasoline powered engine. Within a decade, 90% of the electric car manufacturers had quietly faded away. Oddly enough, the final blow to the electric automobile came from another electric device, the electric car starter. Freed from cumbersome and dangerous hand cranks, the average person flocked to gasoline powered engines.

Auto And Oil Companies Have Resisted Electric Cars
Something you may not know is that the United States government has known since 1966 that electric cars were the most viable solution to mounting air pollution. Instead, oil and automotive companies, which had become to of the world's leading economic booms, lobbied to resist change. The result was an ever increasing cost of the vehicle, as more and more costly environmental components were added to the original engine. Today's automobile engine costs as much or more for it's environmental control devices than for the engine itself. 

What Does The Electric Car Lack?
The electric car has a zero cost environmental control system. It has no emissions. That means there is no tailpipe, not catalytic converter, no exhaust manifold, and no carburetor. There is no gas tank, and no engine coolant system, and none of the hoses that those systems require. It will not require a starter. The entire brake system is much too complex for an electric car, which stops when power is removed, and braking can be done using magnetic or centrifugal forces. And the electric motor is only about the size of a microwave oven, much smaller then a gas engine.

What Are The Negative Aspects Of Electric Cars?
So what is missing from an electric car? Until recently, they had a maximum range of about 60 miles, and this frightened people away from buying them, never mind that the average person rarely goes more than 50 miles from their home. They have also tended to be slower than gasoline powered engines. And to buy them, you had to purchase cars that were not mass-produced, and which cost a small fortune to make. Until recently.

What About Modern Electric Cars?
Things have changed a lot more than you might realize in the last 10 years. The maximum range for a fully electric car today is nearly 300 miles, which is not substantially different than a gasoline engine. And while there are not going to be any racing cars made that run on electricity in the near future, highway speeds on today's electric vehicles can be as high as 50-70 miles per hour, depending on the vehicle.

What About The Cost Of Electric Cars?
The Tesla Sportster is probably one of the most flamboyant electric cars on the, and has a list price of over $80,000. Economy electric cars can be picked up for under $10,00, and a sedan styled auto will run anywhere from $25,000 to $60,000.  If you are willing to give up the speed and range, take a look at some values for under $30,000. But that still puts a sedan model in the same general price range as a gasoline powered model. And doesn't even take the savings into consideration.

What Savings Can I Get From An Electric Car?
The cost of charging an electric car is around one dollar. You could fairly accurately estimate that you will spend around $3 for EVERY tank of gas you formerly used. The average person can expect to drive maybe 12 thousand miles in a year, and that would cost something close to $1200 or more in fuel, as opposed to around $100 for an electric car. And this doesn't count the 8 oil changes, 2 sets of brakes, antifreeze, transmission fluid, air filter, and other required maintenance of a gasoline motor. There are no emissions inspections. In all, your first year savings could very easily be in the neighborhood of $2,000, or more. And that is the first year.

Who Needs An Electric Car?
Anyone on a budget needs an eletric car. They are more than 10 times cheaper to own and operate than a gasoline or diesel engine, which much more than offsets the intitial purchase cost. Anyone who drives less than 20 miles to their job, or less than 1000 miles per month could drive en electric car without any inconvenience at all. Anyone interested in causing less damage to the environment should drive an electric car. Anyone who drives. Anyone who breathes would be healthier with an electric car.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Size Matters: Human Perception

I think that the most important fact of the universe, and one that very very few people have ever actually accepted, is the sheer size of it all. Every single thing we talk about, we describe in human terms, and those terms are based entirely on our PERCEPTION of time and space. The only problem, as I see it, is we have little hope of comprehending the sheer vast spaces involved in universal origins.

Who do we think we are, anyway? Here's a reality check for you: Our entire existence depends on a thin film of gases, called an atmosphere, that is probably not as thick as the average American commutes to their job each day. Everything we have had physical contact with, aside from assorted probes, is contained within that thin bubble, and without it more than 99.9% of all life on earth would end instantly. Every animal, tree, and insect, and a majority of single and multi-celled animals as well.

Have you ever considered whether the flea knows it lives on the back of a dog? In a very real sense, we less than fleas on the back of the planet. From outside the atmosphere, no single person can be seen at all, and only our largest cities form nests that are large enough to perceive with the naked eye. And "nest" is a good term, for it is built by ravaging the surrounding area, laying waste to entire ecosystems in order to feed the unchecked growth within the nest.

From just outside the atmosphere, our own perception makes us almost invisibly small. But journey to the edge of the solar system, and this world that dwarfs us into obscurity is likewise dwarfed by immense distances that seem awkwardly large when expressed in kilometers or miles. And from as close as the closest start to our own, even the solar system is unremarkable dot. At the distance of the edge of our galaxy, it would be nearly impossible to even locate the area of space our sun resides in, let alone finding a minuscule lifeform on a single small pebble of rock.

At the universe level, our entire galaxy looks to be a single bright dot among billions of other dots, and we, who have the audacity to believe that we understand the universe, and everything we have ever done for as long as humans have existed, is less than a single drop of water dropped into the ocean.

And if we go one more step, to the macroverse level, nothing at all of mankind is visible at all. At that level of perception, our entire galaxy has become nothing more than the background hum emanated by the universe, with nothing coherent about it all. And of anything which may exist beyond the macroverse level, we don't even have the concepts to fathom.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Big Bang - Echoes

I suppose that my biggest single peeve with people is that they are a very narrow-minded species. They think small, they act small, they use a very well evolved selective processing circuit in their brains to block out what they don't want to hear. I can't do that.

I have to question everything. Just because some mysterious "they" tells me something is so, I don't believe it. I want to see for myself, compare evidence, touch, feel it, know that what "they" say is truly the way it is. Let's face it, our entire history is filled with people refusing to believe this certain fact or that irrefutable truth, and turning out to be completely correct in doing so. Our very foundations of knowledge were formed by just such thinking. But I want to talk about the universe.

A hundred years ago, the universe and the galaxy were synonymous. Our most powerful telescopes could not determine where any matter existed outside of our galaxy. The universe, which means something to the effect of "the one container," was simply another way to describe the imaginary bubble that our one galaxy was contained within.

Today, we know that that there a literally billions of galaxies, each one composed of literally trillions of stars. The universe, in order to keep its name, has expanded to include all of known space, and mankind has set out to find the single point from which it all began. The Big Bang, is the most elusive known event in the history of the universe, and it is the subject of hot debate among - what was that I phrase I began with? - a very narrow-minded species.

We won't find The Big Bang Event. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Big Bang happened so far outside of our realm of perception that we aren't even capable of understanding it. What we are looking for is an echo of the Big Bang Event, a tiny bit of a chain reaction that spans many universes, creating them in all in a single explosion that brought everything imaginable into existence. But our Big Bang is not The Big Bang Event. It is but a grain of sand on beach a thousand miles long, a minute speck against which it is hard to tell the difference from one speck to another.

And beyond that other Big Bang Event, there lies still another, and one to follow that. The more we know and the farther we are able to look into time and space, the farther the repercussions and systems will be repeated on ever larger and grander scales. Echoes of echoes, for as far as our feeble minds can comprehend in either direction. Each pattern will have some slight difference, or a major change of shape and texture, because the intricate combinations required for exact duplicity are beyond the power of the most brilliant minds and computers we can bring to bear.

I've said it before, and I will quite likely do so again: everything is a circle within a circle. Wheels of quarks forms wheels of atoms which form wheel of molecules. From those form cycles that are subjective for us, and beyond comprehension, and from those form wheels of worlds, then suns, and galaxies. Universes are made of galaxies, and then engulfed in the multiverses that spawned them.

Each one is a necessary step to arrive at where we are, and a logical conclusion to follow the path to where we are going. But even our most brilliant minds are like tiny bacteria crawling around in a Petrie dish, with no concept of what lies beyond the barrier of the dish itself, and only a rudimentary understanding that the dish is even there.

Big Bang? Sure. It's the only logical conclusion, but the event we think of as defining time and space is only an echo, and both time and space are redefined a billion billion times over, encompassing minds far superior to our own, and yet just as incapable of seeing beyond what their minds are able to comprehend. It's a big place, and creatures the size of people can't even imagine what it all means.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Generating Wind Power

You hear it in the news again and again, how alternative power sources can't possibly compete with the efficiency and cost of fossil fuels.  Simply explained, as though we were all mildly disadvantaged. Endorsements that carry the fine print of companies allied with oil companies show us facts and figures that prove beyond a doubt that we have no choice but to keep burning crude oil to power our homes.  

My advice is to turn off the TV and save the power, since you're not getting anything useful from it anyway.  

Alternative electricity sources are no longer pipedreams, becoming, instead, profitable schemes.  What those ads don't tell you is that the irrefutable proof they offer was a result of times when crude oil prices were less than $100 a barrel.  They don't bring up that fact because the conclusion is obvious-- as the price of fuel has skyrocketed, the gap between alternative power and conventional fossil fuels has narrowed to the point of coming out nearly equal.  They don't mention that advances in solar and wind power production have increased the efficiency of those devices to the point where power could be abundant and cheap. 

Ten years ago, a wind turbine at maximum efficiency could capture about 30% of the power available from wind, but the winds had to be blowing fairly strongly, and at constant speeds.  Today, those turbines are capturing more than 60% of the potential, and require little more than a steady breeze to operate.  Gone are the  huge fans that require vast open spaces.  They have been replaced by sleek stylish devices that add futuristic appeal, and may be mounted on rooftops.  Vast fields of turbines power cities, but the new quiter and more efficient models can power individual homes, often with energy left over to sell back to the power grid.  

The only problem is that neither the oil companies nor the electric companies are in a hurry for you to cash in on the continuously rising cost of fuel and power.  You see, profits for those companies aren't falling as prices rise, they are rising in tandem, and rooftops generators will reduce those profits.  Being able to power your own home means that the power grid, which you have unconsciously worshipped all these years, will serve you instead, and your profits are the losses of energy companies the world around.  

Imagine, if you will, living in a geographic area where power failure is common, and may last for several consecutive days.  Now add to the image strategically placed turbines spinning nearly silently in the light after-storm breeze, lighting your home and powering your refrigerator.  Imagine FEMA workers rolling into a hurricane blasted area and setting up temporary shelters that provide adequate lighting, cooling, and cooking, all without ever looking to the power grid for assistance.  This is not a dream of the distant future, it is merely a page 10 newspaper article that few people will ever stumble across.  In order to accomplish such feats, a major war must be waged, not against invaders from foreign lands, but against the leeches of capitalistic society.

You see, if you are able to supply your own electrical energy, you have broken the ties which bind you to endlessly rising fuel prices.  You have removed yourself from the tally that puts energy executives in mansion sized homes, and sends them off to Cancun for summer vacations.  In short, you have cut a hole in the pockets of corporations that have grown fat and complacent knowing that you were forever in their grip, and under their economic control.  Instead of paying more than your share of the cost of fuel, you have begun to do your share in the future of mankind.

Friday, February 13, 2009

DoomsDay 2012?

Okay, I am not a superstitious person, and have very little use for ancient rituals of any religion. But I neither am I foolish enough to think that modern man knows so much more than his less-industrialized predecessors. Whether humanity is headed for Doomsday in a little over THREE years is doubtful, but the fact that we are very near to some major social cataclysms is irrefutable.

Let's put aside our haughtiness for a few moments, and look, not at the science of celestial rotations, but at the events in the world around us. I do not have enough fingers on both hands to tick off the many points of balance that are dangerously close to tipping, and that is a very bad thing, indeed. Instead, I'll name a few seemingly isolated groups, which encompass most of these problems through various interaction.

  • Global Warming
    Even as the fools of the Northern Hemisphere have jumped onto their soap boxes and began to preach that global warming is a farce, and we are having one of the coldest winters on record, human beings are being cooked in their vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere. Droughts that have carried over and intensified for many years are starting to culminate in the inhabited portion of Australia becoming little more than fire tinder under the right conditions. And yet self-proclaimed experts in the United Kingdom tell us the danger of global warming has passed us by.

  • Geologic Stresses
    Around the world, volcanoes that have lain in dormant remission for decades or longer have begun to rumble and spew and spit. Earthquakes, tsunamis, avalanches, and all manner of devastation related to movements in the crust of the Earth are becoming weekly events in many countries around the world.

  • Global Food Shortages
    Around the world, millions of people are falling short of the basic requirements of sustenance. Grain is rotting in shipping yards as human conflict prevent delivery to entire peoples who are facing slow death through malnutrition. Ill-considered concepts of sustainable fuel are further reducing the available grains that feed the world, and luring landowners away from human food crops altogether in search of elusive farming profits.

  • Droughts and Floods
    As the ecosystem wobbles around, fumbling to adjust its internal balance to account for carbon releases beyond anything that should have been naturally possible, fields are wilting and dying, while other fertile regions are made unusable by rising waters and unprecedented rainfall.

  • Financial Collapse
    World economies are poised to crash if only a little more stress is applied to the systems. Stocks which traded at record highs a few short months ago can now be had for pennies on the dollar. Working class people around the world are being faced with choices between food and shelter. Entire nations are struggling to prevent an economic failure unimaginable a quarter of a century ago.

  • Human Deviance
    The murder rate is rising. White collar and strong arm crime are flourishing. Pedophilia is becoming commonplace, and tragic stories of abuse and neglect have become so common that there is a fear that society will be desensitized to their dangers. Psychopathic behavior, which has always afflicted a percentage of the population, is becoming more apparent as larger populations are crowded into smaller areas of habitat.
Now then. Let's look at 2012 again. No failure of such unprecedented proportions could happen overnight, short of some major calamity such as a meteor striking the earth. And the nightly news is happy to point out the chance of that happening is less than the chance of dying by falling in the shower. But it seems as though everyone is either missing the point, or choosing to ignore it: No failure of such unprecedented proportions could happen overnight.

Instead, let us consider that the current state of the world indicates an overall collapse of systems which is not GOING to happen, but is IN PROGRESS. Global warming won't happen overnight, but has been in progress for longer than any human living today. Desperate people will do the unthinkable. The very law of evolution supersedes any human legal edicts, and people will do what they feel is required to protect themselves and their offspring.

While researchers are pulling in grant money to study things which no one believes will come to be, the ugly truth is slowly wrapping itself around the figurative throat of a majority of the life forms on the planet. Doomsday, whenever it may arrive, won't come in the blink of eye, but will simply be there one day when the veil of ignorance is pushed aside.

We are not waiting on a global emergency, but living through it's final stages of development. And most us are blinded by the tiny points of consideration to the point that we are totally unable to see the larger picture of how these individual parts combine into a tapestry of human futility.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ti-Ming - The Theory of Everything (Reprint)

Perhaps as old as the universe itself, Ti-Ming accounts for a goodly portion of everything that exists. The discipline of Ti-Ming has been preached by many and practiced by few for thousands of years, in palace gardens and village hovels. Ti-ming is so important to life as we know it, that it has been given it's own dimension, right along with height width, and depth. And that is where the pity begins.

Timing is everything. It is an axiom of all life on earth, and expressed in various forms in every language. Every battle that has ever been won, or heart lost, has been at the whim of Timing, and acknowledged as the great decider yes or no, success or failure, even here or there. To say that it is a dimensions such as the width of an object is both misleading and belittling to something as valuable as timing, without which neither space nor substance could exist at all.

I have seen personal fates mortally altered by the dropping of a coin, and studied histories that came crashing down as the result of the act of an instant. Every instance is printed on the film of time, not a moment in the past but a version of right now that has already happened. It contains the depth and length of every moment, defining it as the container in which the other perceptions are locked, not a partner in their presence.

Without the timing of the seasons, or even the spin of the planet around the sun, it couldn't have happened at all. This is not obscure philosophy, but a statement of fact so basic that most would never notice it at all. And yet our very existence depends on not just one such instant of time, but an entire sequence of them stretching back to the moment of the Big Bang itself. Each one a direct and necessary result of the ones that came before it.

Without the element of time, there is no touch, no taste, no sense of cold or sound of the wind. Sound itself is a feature of something traveling directly across the field of time. The idea that even space could share equally in something as powerful as time is a mistaken impression of the very nature of time itself.

Light itself is helpless in the absence of time. there can be no movement, leaving light as frozen in an instant as if it didn't exist at all. Time defines the movement of the smallest particles, and the largest masses, it played a apart in the very act of creation in every way we have ever imagined. Without time, there can no creation, regardless of the form that creation may take. Nothing of which we have any concept at all exists outside of the container that is time. Nothing.

Length can be zero, as well as depth and width. Dimensions can be eliminated from the equation, narrowing down each variable until you reach a point in time where nothing exists. But that was a point in time, because even time could not be removed until there was nothing else left, and only then because time would become meaningless, not because it would cease to exist.

Time controls gravity, and regulates magnetism. It causes elements to decay, and unleashes both the fury of storms and the majesty of snow capped mountains.

Never forget that. Ti-Ming is everything. In Ti-Ming, all other things exist, but none can exist without it. The smallest instant is but a representation of the much larger fabric of time, which stretches to the very ends of space itself.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

US Stock Market Stumble - Reprint

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Didn't your MOTHER ever teach you not to be greedy? Don't you wish you had listened?

It's okay, unless you were totally absorbed in imaginary wealth, you'll make it through. The rest of you are screwed. Not my fault, you did it to yourself.

The US stock market stumble isn't the end of the world.

It's the equalizer to bring the high and mighty back into the realm of reality. As it looks at this writing, not even gold is a sacred investment, but that isn't a surprise to people who have looked with open minds rather than open wallets. THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH WEALTH IN THE WORLD. It has always has been that way, and so it will ever be.

For the other 90% of us, there's some really good news. The inflated prices we've been paying for years to boost the incomes of the greedy few at the top are going to drop. It is not inconceivable that we'll see gasoline below 2 bucks a gallon again, and while it won't show up at the grocery store for a few months yet, we'll be seeing the benefits at department stores this holiday season. Those of us who work hard for our money rather than playing with other people's futures are being put on steadier footings than we've had for many years.
Credit is not real wealth. It never was. It never will be.

Go to, and read the blog posted November 14, 2007, titled "notes from my debit card." There is nothing happening today that wasn't already in progress a year ago. NOTHING. It has been in progress for over 200 years, perhaps as much as 2000 years.

An excerpt:

For exhibit number two, we'll introduce the influence of government. Like any other business, government wants your money as well. In exchange for your money, government will tell you what to buy, and when to buy and how to buy and why its important to buy it now. They won't TELL YOU they are telling you this. That would collapse the markets. In capitalism, the government is responsible for maintaining the markets. It must regulate the local currency exchange, and modify something that I will call "base value" as needed to keep the economy active. This second part sounds good until some wise-ass points out that "base value" is any arbitrary value. In other words, it isn't real. It is a value that is generated by a very select group of people (in the U.S., this group is the federal reserve, or simply "The Fed"), which has little or no actual basis in reality, but relies of the whims of current events. This number, while being imaginary, is the "base value" on which everything else is priced. And there you have exhibit two, parts A (government guides consumer buying) and B (government sets arbitrary base value of currency). If desired, we could complicate things by adding part C (government prohibits monopolies under exhibit number one to prevent competition under exhibit number two, parts A and B).

Hallelujah, noel, be it heaven or hell, the Christmas we get, we deserve.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stock Market Woes

Are you having stock market woes?  For many, but only a small percentage of the population, the current stock market implosion is a terrible thing.  For the vast majority of us, it will make our lives a little better.  Let me explain it to you, slowly, and without using too many large words.

When the stock market is high, people were buying those high priced stocks instead of selling them are being set up for failure.  You see, when the price of a stock falls, the value goes down, and a stockholder takes a loss.  On the other hand, as that stock drops, so does the value of that stock as it filters down to the consumer market, and we see companies having price lowering wars to try and lure us in.  They need your money.

Okay, so now mainstreet, who expensive politicians are claiming to want to help, is finally getting a break in a continuous rise in pricing that has gone on for nearly a decade.  Fuel is costing less, food is costing less, the value of items are going down, and it is being reflected in our bank accounts in a way that bail-out billions and tax-payer rebates could never do.  The little guy is not hurt by falling stocks, but helped by them, because the value of that person's money suddenly goes up.

And if you have a few thousand dollars you'd like to do something with, ignore the Wall Street experts who are telling you to hold on to it.  Now is the time to invest, if ever there was one.  Think about it.  Are you more likely to make a profit on stock purchased at 35 a share, or stock purchased at the low of 17 a share?  Come on, folks, this is not rocket science.  The golden rule of stock trading is BUY LOW - SELL HIGH.  The people who don't want you to buy stocks now are the ones who purchased it at a higher price, and hope to drive the value up again to regain some lost revenue.  BUY LOW.  Don't even think about selling anything.  Whatever you have, keep it.  

That includes for selling a car or home.  You can't sell it for the same value it had, so don't try.  HOWEVER, if we BUY LOW, now is excellent for purchasing a home.  Builders are unloading property at record prices right now, to get out from under them.  If you purchase a home now, you are almost certainly guaranteed to make a profit on owning the home in just a few years.  BUY LOW.

Once you've bought a home, a car, and invested in AIG at bargain basement prices, sit on the investments.  The car is going to depreciate anyway, so you can cruise around town while you watch the stock market make a slow turn upward that multiplies the value of your investments.  Stock Market Woes?  Only for those who forgot to BUY LOW, and were stuck with worthless stock.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Go Green to Save Green

I've said it before, and I'll likely say it again many times. We have all got to start paying more attention to what we use and how we use it. The word is CONSERVE. The clue is to REUSE. The choice is not going to be available much longer.

But you can also save a little green by going green. As an example, let's say that you like tomatoes. Did you know that growing two tomato plants can feed the veggie-like fruit to your family for several months, and cost about the same as buying a single large tomato? Or that a fishing license and basic fishing gear have about the same pricetag as buying fresh fish at the market? Did you know that by spreading your lawn cuttings out thinly and evenly on your lawn can reduce the amount of nutrients you must supply to it, AND they'll help hold in moisture so that you can water less?

There are a number of fruits and vegetables that can be grown in pots or flower beds. Tomatoes are excellent potted plants, if carefully pruned, but can also be grown as a climbing vine. In fact, tomato, cucumber, yellow squash, and canteloupe can all be grown on a trellis. Other types of gourds, such as acorn squash, can be grown in a flower bed. A single plum tree will provide more plums than a family can eat in a blooming season. And the price for veggetable and fruit seeds is very low. You can feast for a summer for the cost of buying the ingredients of one deluxe table salad. Onions, peppers, and many types of spices can be grown in pots or planters. And your fence becomes a truly effective hedge when you plant blackberry or other thorny fruit bushes along it. The thorns dissuade trespassing through the thicket, and they'll provide an abundant source of vitamin C for about a month out of the year- longer, if you care to make jams and jellies, pickles and salsas.

Veggies are great, but you'd rather have meat in your diet? If you live within city limits, this can be a problem, but the odds are very good that you can find a private meat packing house within an hour's drive. You'll find that these places offer better deals than you can get in your local chain grocer, and it may sound strange, but the meant will TASTE better. Commercially raised livestock is treated and fed differently than the way the same animals would be treated on a farm, and the result is a leaner, more flavorful cut of meat. If you happen to live on the outskirts of town, you may be allowed by local law to grow some of your own meat, in the form of chickens, rabbits, or even a goat. A goat makes especially good sense, as it can also be used for most household vegetable waste disposal, and to cut and fertilize your lawn. Of course, if you raise any of these meat animals, you'll probably still have to find that area packing house, but you'll still find that you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year over conventinal grocery shopping. You'll only think you can't eat an animal you raised yourself until the first couple of bites. Humans have been raising and eating animals for thousands of years and, after all, it's the idea of NOT raising your own food that is recently developed.

Go fishing. You don't need thousands of dollars of expensive gear, either. The fish are not impressed any more by being caught on a brand new $300 rig, than with a 5 year old Zebco 33. Are you fishing to play the "look at me" game, or are you trying to save money by putting food on the table and in the freezer? If you're going to use the millenia-old bait, you can keep a worm bed at home, they're very easy to maintain, and the one-time purchase of a tub of live worms can last you for months, or years. If you really want to go the recycle route, walk along the banks of where you fish, and gather hooks and floats and sinkers for later use.

So let's look at this. We've grown the veggies, and fed the greens and leavings to our rabbits, and used the refuse from the rabbits mixed with plain black dirt to grow our fish bait, which in turn gives us excellent fertilizer for our planting beds. True, each step has an inherent cost, but the overall total is the savings of hundreds or even thousands of dollars over buying the exact same foods in the market. And now, instead of being a dead-end point at the top of a food pyramid, we've become the coordinating center of a cycle that goes around for as long as we wish to keep it going. And the food will all be more flavorful, with a better texture and density.

And what have you saved? Well, there's the cost of the foods themselves, but only by a small margin. If you have a particularly green thumb or lucky hook, you may be able to sell or trade with friends or relatives for something they have an excess of. Bartering allows the distribution of items that would otherwise literally become waste. If you have a really green thumb, you can find a farmer's market in your area to rent a stall, or sell to an existing distributor. But you've also saved fuel, electricity, water, and chemical use, multiplied over EVERY item you have produced yourself. If you are lucky enough to live in a location where a yard goat is an option, you have even provided better lawn care without adding chemicals or using any type of conventional power. And you get to eat the lawnmower!! A small goat will cost LESS than a riding mower, and where the machine continually depreciates, the value of a goat increases as it grows and fattens.

Which part of the equation are we all having a problem with? The part where we come out ahead, or the part where we do less harm to the planet?

ColGlobe Productions

American Economic Crisis

You know what surprises me the most about the current U.S. economic crisis? It's not the sheer size of the bailout that is required. It's not that without the bailout, the economy can only slip lower. No, those things could be predicted, and anyone of the 3 or 4 people out there who have been reading my useless posts for the past 20 years knows that I've been expecting it. The thing that is a surprise is that no one else realized this was inevitable from the very beginning. And we haven't yet gotten to the exciting part of the ride. Wait until the whole planet finds out that there just isn't enough money to pay the debt, or enough resources to build the products, or enough fuel to power the machines. Cycles do not go forever in one direction, they go high only to fall low and roll around again and again, losing a little more momentum with ever smaller rotations. Until they reach a dead stop.

In the U.S., multi level marketing is illegal. Why is a valid and profitable marketing plan disallowed by law? It was that consideration that first drove home, in my mind, the flaw of the U.S. economic system. You see, MLM cannot be allowed to exist, because it is a model of the U.S. economy in miniature. A company produces a product, and that product is passed through the hands of the company managers to the next lower level of product distributors. The distributors in turn arrange for another level of product distribution below them, and another level below that. And another. And another. The only problem is that the only people who are actually buying the product are the ones at the very bottom of the pyramid, the ones who made the product to begin with, for the people sitting comfortably at the top. Those people live to make a product to earn the money that buys the product that they created. Is there logic in doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting the result to be any different?

Why has no one ever realized the that capitalism never had a hope of working smoothly forever? It cannot be sustained indefinitely by pouring more and more resources into the top tiers of the system. In the end, the people at the bottom simply can't continue to feed the top, produce the product, AND buy the product. This is not a difficult train of logic to follow. It's taught in middle school in the U.S. And yet I have never heard anyone point out the futility that is inherent in the system. Ever.

So here we are, and the people at the top, who own the mortgages on our nation's homes and collect on the balances on our people's credit cards, they are standing in front of us in their $1000 suits and telling us that as American citizens it is our duty to give them enough money to sustain themselves. Giving them the money will not eliminate our mortgages, or ameliorate our debts. We still have to pay the monthly bills, or they'll take everything we have, but we must give them an amount of money that exceeds that very debt as well. Excuse me? Those men in their fancy suits make more money in a single day than I earn in most of a year, and yet it is MY responsibility to bail them out? I think they are going to have to draw me a picture, because I surely don't understand the logic.

Right on, and pigs will fly.

I am a poor person. I rent a room. I pay for my rent, my food, and everything else I must buy with cash. I've always done so. I have done so with a dogged deliberateness that flew in the face of insurance companies who wouldn't insure me because I had no credit. I did it despite automobile dealerships who refused to sell me a car for CASH because I had no established credit. I did it because when the collapse comes, as I've always known it must, I will not be as badly affected by the calamity. I'll still be poor, but guess what? Having lived my life that way, I'll be better able to survive the crash than those whose lives have been dedicated to mounting sums of nonexistent money. I am poor by choice, not by force.

I resent that someone who makes more in a year than I will earn my lifetime needs me to bail them out. I find it laughable and ludicrous that the financial moguls are scrambling for some safe haven in which to continue their inflated egos. I say let them fall. Let them learn to wonder how to pay for next week's groceries, or have to repair a rip in last year's fashions. Let them sell their luxury cars which guzzle the last dregs of fossil fuels and walk to their jobs, or ride the public transportation they've always told me was good enough for such as myself. Let them discover that equality isn't just for the lower class, but it means we are all in the same boat, and that boat has a leak and must be constantly tended to avoid being left adrift without a life raft. Let them wash their dinner dishes with their own hands, and hang their laundry on lines to dry in the sun. After all, it's good enough for me, and they've told me so all my life.

Let the auto insurance companies go, they who have charged me more than the value of all the vehicles I have ever owned regardless that I have rarely sped and never caused an accident; let them fold up and fade away. I've supported them long enough, only to find out that even with the legally required support of an entire population they they have managed to put themselves into a stranglehold of debt. I've paid my share. I've missed my meals so that they could wear their suits, and worked straight through the day and night to give them money I have never seen a return on. I've lived on dried beans and dry rice, stale bread and tap water. Let them find out what it is like to do without, to wear a sweater indoors in the dead of winter, and to rummage through the sofa cushions for a lousy handful of pennies and nickels. Why should I care that they become just like me and my neighbors and their relatives and their friends and a majority of the people that make up and have made this brave nation? What have they ever, even once, done for me in exchange for all they've taken from me?

I haven't eaten at a restaurant in months, not even from the McDonald's dollar menu; I live on simple foods bought at bargain grocers. But I am far from starving, and I am not naked, and I do not get wet when it rains in the night. I do not ask for a hand out on street corners, nor blame my contemporaries for my failures or fallacies. And I am not alone. I am one of hundreds of millions of people scattered all around the globe. In fact, I am in better financial shape than a majority of the world. I am of sound mind and body, and I laugh at jokes and cry out in pain. I do not fear muggers coming out of the fog, because they can see that I've nothing to give them. I do not fear creditors taking my old computer, because it is mine, bought with money earned through hard work and hot sweat. For all the bits of nothing much that I have, my investment is paid and the deal is done. And it has been a fair and honest deal, which allows me peaceful sleep.

I don't envy those businessmen in fancy suits the fall that they must face. It will be hard for them to adjust, and the harsh reality is that many won't adapt at all. But life has always been hard and the idea that it wasn't difficult is not something that the poor people of this country or any other have ever had. They and I cannot afford such convenient lies filled with glitzsy gloss and glamour. For that reason, I cannot summon a false sympathy, or offer any compelling compassion. Let them reap the fruit of what they have sown, and deal with the harvest which they have for so long nurtured, feeding it on the refuse of so many other broken dreams. It isn't my problem, and will have little effect on my way of life. I learned in middle school that capitalism depends on taking from the poor, and lived my life to avoid a collapse that has been building since this country was founded, knowing all the while that it may never come in my lifetime, but prepared for the possibility that it could happen at any time.

When all the money has been channeled to the top of the pyramid, it collapses. MLM plans are illegal for that reason, and to prevent the blatant truth of capitalism from being recognized by the sheeplike masses. I have no sympathy for those who lose the money they've taken in bad deals and fruitless plans. Nor should you. To bail them out will not solve the problem, only postpone it. The only solution is to let the collapse happen, and step aside when the dust billows up from the wreckage of their wasteful expenditures. Whether it happens this year, or next, or twenty years from now, there is no other possible outcome, and we can only begin to rebuild when the rubble lies in a heap that we can pull apart and start with once again.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

WTF is a Genius, Anyway?

I have been accused of being a genius.  In my mind, such a word is relatively meaningless, since we all have pretty much the same equipment to work with, and it is only in our application that we excel in this way or that. Some of the people who are true genius types are also completely incapable of communication, while some people who are regarded as fools really couldn't give a rat's arse what the world thinks anyway. And vice versa.

AM I a genius? Beats the heck out of me. If you put a multiple choice test in front of me, I will do well on it, whether I have studied the information before or not. But that isn't genius, that is simply the ability to read through a list of possibilities and deduce, reduce, or induce which of the answers is more likely to be correct. IQ tests invariably say that I have an IQ somewhere between 130 and 150. But I will be the first to say that such tests are meaningless, as I have just explained.

Some of the same people who will applaud my intellect will also say that a person who drops out of high school is a complete fool.  I am effectively a high school drop out. In my Junior year, which would have been my senior year if I had stayed out of trouble, I took the GED, got a diploma, and then signed myself out of school. Did I quit? Technically, once I had a diploma, I had no choice except to withdraw from classes, which means I didn't quit, even though I left school before graduation. So, does that mean I am a fool? Perhaps. It is a fine line line between insanity and genius, and we all walk the line our whole lives, occasionally stepping off that line onto one extreme or the other.

All I know for certain is that I have an excellent use of the English language. I am, for lack of a better description, a weaver of words; a person who takes abstract concepts and turns them into something that other people can understand. To me, it is nothing more than a form of art, similar to what a sculptor or painter is able to do. My palette is composed of the letters of the alphabet, and my easel is a blank page, or an equally empty screen. 

I don't expect to solve the world's problems, even though many of them are simple exercises in logic and could be easily reduced to simple answers. The problem is, the world doesn't really want its problems solved, and I don't care enough for humanity to put much effort into trying. I will post a message now and then, warnings to all who would listen, and have this far never been surprised that very few are willing to listen at all. Makes no difference, to me.  We are born and live and grow and die, and that is just the way it all works. I can't stop that process, nor do I have any desire to slow it down. I've already lived 9 years longer than I ever wanted to, and this body becomes harder to maintain as time goes on. Ashes to ashes is not a biblical prophecy, it is a simple statement of fact. That somebody chose to attach God's name to it weas most likely a mere attempt to claim for spirituality what was beyond the grasp of people.

God doesn't impress me. I can't imagine worshipping any being, no matter how omnipotent it may be, that would have so little regard for its own offspring as to allow it to die without lifting a finger. Any God that could be so callous is not a creature you really want to be in the company of for an eternity, folks. It is worse than evil.

Likewise, I have very little patience for science. Science is incomplete, and will always be so, for as long as people insist on treating the different sciences as separate forms. Biology and ecology are the same thing. Algebra and and art are sisters in the act of expression. You will never understand the secrets of the universe as long as you strive to put things into pockets of definition. The universe is a single thing, not a myriad myriads of different ones.  All I know for certain is that there are no singularities. Everything that exists does so in complete tandem with every other thing in all of creation. The breath I draw now has been aimed at my lungs since before my family tree was a bud on the tree of life. The women I have lain with have been only another part of me, and I a part of them. we are not solitary creatures, we are creatures who have not learned to exist as a single entity. People I have never met, and to whom I will never speak, have shaped my life with no realization of doing so, and I have likewise shaped the lives of people who have no idea that I have even existed. 

To some, this may seem a pointless rambling, and to those I can only say that I rest my case. Others will feel a tingling echo in their minds, and will sense that there is meaning hidden somewhere here. Both cases are extremes of delusion. There is nothing hidden here at all, and no unconnected patterns. I have stated in this message everything mankind needs to know to form a better future, including stating the fact that no one will pay attention. After all, one person can't do it. We are an entity, not individuals, and as long as we insist on behaving alone, we will prevent ourselves from achieving the greater truth.

Think about it. In large groups.